Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lunch and Comparisons

Today I got to my office, worked for a couple hours, sneaked out for my therapy appointment, and got back to work around lunchtime. I've become pretty good friends with two other girls who intern there and we eat together most days. Today one of them was looking up random news online and found an article about an ED treatment clinic - specifically, the very same clinic where R works, and the very same clinic from which I had literally just come ten minutes earlier. OH MY GOD you guys, it was mortifying. I was sitting there chewing my lip and jiggling my leg and nodding along while they talked about eating disorders and dieting and weight. Obviously neither of these girls are aware that I have anorexia (as far as I know) and they didn't mean to make me uncomfortable, but I have no freaking clue how to engage in these conversations without like, I don't know, outing myself.

Another not-insignificant issue: both these girls are a little overweight, but eat teeny tiny bird food lunches. I'm talking stuff like celery with hummus, apples, bananas, green tea, etc. More than a little triggering, especially since I'm already paranoid about overeating.

Which brings me back to therapy: R and I talked a lot about how much comparing I do. Comparing body size, food intake, exercise habits, the list goes on. I compare myself to everyone and somehow, whoever the other person is, he/she always comes out on top. In my head, I am fatter/uglier/stupider/less interesting than every other person in the world. I know that these girls do not have the same nutritional needs as I do, but I still start berating myself for eating my entire, dietician-approved lunch while Interns 2 and 3 are noshing on baby carrots.

Another example: my roommate. Love her to death, but damn it I wish we weren't the same height. She has told me her weight (in an attempt to give me some healthy perspective - since she outweighs me by XX lbs and still looks tiny and gorgeous) but now I have that number stuck in my head. I go back and forth between Whew okay, she weighs XXX and looks awesome so I can gain quite a bit and still look small and, unfortunately, holy mother of God she only weighs XX more than me which means that I'm almost at YYY which is scary high and I can never weigh that much. In my head, I have this vague sense that I'm the anorexic roommate, remember? so I have to weigh less. How sick is that?

So basically, comparisons are negative and unproductive and make me feel like shit about myself all around. R wants me to try journaling whenever I start evaluating myself against someone else, and challenge the tendency to self-deprecate. Generally I suck at journaling, but maybe I'll give it a shot.

Sometimes at the end of an appointment where I've been particularly down on myself (so like, um, at every appointment pretty much) R makes me say positives from the week. Positives can basically be anything good that happened, or that I did, or about myself. I always whine and resist and tell him positives are stupid because life sucks and everything is negative. Which is a lame outlook, considering I'm doing pretty well lately and am feeling a lot more stable and happy than I have in a while. So without further ado, my positives from today: 1) getting my period this week 2) buying dinner from a food truck last Friday. Wow, I am SO accomplished!


  1. Sounds like a really awkward lunch conversation! But I'm sure you handled it well :) Comparisons are so difficult! I find myself doing that a lot too, and it just makes my head spin with more numbers. It's great that you and R will be tackling that; hopefully it'll help ease some anxiety.

    And those are awesome positives! So great that you're being adventurous about your eating and really challening yourself! And yay for a functioning reproductive system!

  2. I have struggled/do struggle with the comparison issue in the past; it's hard to not be self-conscious when you're consuming more than the people around you...but try to think of the food as medicine. Clearly, you wouldn't take someone else's medicine, even though it's prescribed/required to keep them healthy, because what you need to be healthy can be something completely different. YOU are the only one that has to live in your body, and doing what you need to keep it healthy and functioning well is nothing to be ashamed of. Props to you for facing a challenge like that at lunch every day; hang in there!