Don’t take this the wrong way

I’ve been managing my impulse to isolate quite well, considering my circumstances. I try to get out of the house every day, even if it’s just to walk the dog. Some days, I just can’t do much. I’ll take a walk down the block, and I’ll just know from the dizziness in my head and the pain in my chest that I can’t do anything but rest. There are times when I push myself too much, and I always end up regretting it. But I still get out there the next day.

I could have stayed home on Easter. I could have stayed in bed all day or smoked through a pack of cigarettes in the backyard, which is what I usually do when I’m alone on days like that. But I decided to go. After all, my case worker says I should work on being more social.

It started out okay. There were a lot more people there than I thought there was going to be, most unknown to me. I stayed calm, and migrated toward people I was familiar with. I had my knee brace on over my pants (because it’s impossible to wear a full-length knee brace under anything that’s not oversized sweatpants). A friend of the family asked what happened. I told her I had torn my ACL, and wore out all of the cartilage on my knee. I stayed positive about it, though, telling her how I was still getting out and walking around as much as I could. She shared some (very) distantly related story about how her knee hurt her 40 years ago.

And then she said those words, the words that never, ever end well.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but…”

She then proceeded to tell me how my weight was likely the cause of my problems, and how I need to watch myself, and when I feel the urge to take those “third helpings” of food I just need to stop.

As soon as I caught the gist of what she was saying, I had so much shit going on in my head that I couldn’t listen to her anymore. I just sat there quietly, holding back the tears. I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t. I was just hoping she’d stop. But she didn’t.

When the food was finally served, I stayed in my seat. All I could think about was how fat I was. My friend was encouraging me to get some food, telling me what they had. “You should eat a salad.” Before I could even respond, my friend told her that I didn’t eat that. She then went on to make another suggestion, and by that point, I had enough. I knew I was going to emotionally explode, so I got up and went outside.

I smoked a few cigarettes, let out some tears, and calmed myself down enough to go back inside. I thought I would be okay, but I wasn’t. The sight and smell of the food made me nauseated. The memories replaying in my head made me sick to my stomach. I wanted to run, but all I could do was walk away. I wandered the neighborhood, smoking my last cigarettes, crying, and blasting my music as loud as it would go so I could drown out the voices in my head.

I eventually found my way back, numbed out from all emotion. But I still couldn’t eat. I felt like anything I put in my mouth would be judged by people, would be judged by her. It felt like I was under control again. Instead of you can’t eat this, you don’t deserve it, it was now you can’t eat this, you don’t need it.

I get it. I’m not a thin girl. I never was. But why do people feel the need to tell me what food I should or shouldn’t need, and what I should be eating? I’m on a high sodium diet, recommended by not one, not two, but three cardiologists. I also have to consume a considerable amount of protein to keep my creatinine levels normal. I eat a lot of vegetables — they are my “safe” food, the food I can always eat no matter what, and they help increase my vitamin levels, which have been dangerously low in the past.

I may be fat, but I struggle with an eating disorder. And no, it’s not binge-eating disorder. I’ve been doing well in recovery for the last several months. I’ve been eating two to three meals a day. I haven’t purged. I haven’t obsessed over counting every calorie and weighing myself every morning. I haven’t had to fight at any meals because I haven’t refused to eat. Although a combination of my knee injury and my heart medication has led to a substantial increase in weight over the last few months, I wasn’t letting it get to me.

But now the devil is back on my shoulder. My ED brain woke up from its peaceful nap and is now wreaking havoc. I’m struggling to eat. I’ve started counting every calorie. I let myself get this way, and now I need to fix it. I need to not be fat — a goal which logically, I know is unachievable, but emotionally, I believe is the cure for what ails me.

Don’t take this the wrong way…it’s amazing how just a few words can really fuck up your recovery.

I still don’t know — what other way was I supposed to take that?

13 thoughts on “Don’t take this the wrong way

  1. Makes me so angry, KJ. This is one of those thoughtless, generally socially accepted (if not by you and me!) phrases people use, meaning: “I WANT to talk, but NOT to have any responsibility for what i say. I just like to hear the sound of my own voice.”

    I want to slap her.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Im so sorry you had to go through that ((hugs)). I know that devil on the shoulder all too well, it seems to come back and slide into our lives so seamlessly and suddenly, I hope you can dislodge it again before it grips too hard. You are worth it, you are worth recovery, you are worth happiness , worth loving and worth living and your weight and your size are completely unrelated to your worth. xoxo Kate

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Argh!! How dare she?!? What makes her think she has the right?

    She was so wrong at so many levels: 1) she knows nothing about your health conditions; 2) plenty of people (myself included) carry more weight than “ideal” for a whole variety of reasons and we can’t know what’s going on with others about food; 3) eating disorders and body-hatred are rampant issues in society; 4) it’s none of her business; 5) it’s incredibly rude.

    Don’t take this the wrong way?!? Seriously?!?

    I used to have a “friend” who often thought she should “just tell me what she really thought,” which was always something judgmental and harsh. It took me a long time to realize that she wasn’t a friend at all (self-esteem issues, you know) and that a lot of what she said was just meant to make herself feel superior. I suppose this person also had her own body complexes that made her speak to you that way. I wish there was a little card we could keep in our pockets and hand people at moments like that, something that said things like, “that comment you just made was hurtful and unnecessary, and I hope you will go home and give some thought to the way you interact with others.”

    As I’ve told you in the past, I think you are brave and smart and admirable in many, many ways. I am sorry this thoughtless person hurt you.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. People have no idea of the damage they can cause with casual thoughtless remarks. The only real answer to someone like that is “don’t take this the wrong way … but remarks like that make you come across as an ignorant, judgemental bitch” (I’m not as polite to other people as La Quemada).

    I hope you can claw yourself back from this and allow yourself the food you need to nourish both your body and spirit

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t do it often, but I’m gradually getting to the point where every now and again I just don’t care any more about the consequences and say what I really feel.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I was going to say “I can’t believe this!” but sadly I can, because often times people just suck (sorry if that’s a bad attitude!). This sounds like a person with a lot of her own issues that she was either consciously or subconsciously taking out on you – and she had NO RIGHT to do so. Why do people think this is okay?! And how were you supposed to take it any other way?!? I’m sorry I don’t have anything constructive to comment; I’m just so horrified and angry on your behalf. I am sending you love and gentle, warm energy.

    Liked by 1 person

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