Friday, 31 May 2013

You Weren't Invited to the Weigh-In Party

Someone asked me today whether I ever get angry any more. My immediate response was 'no'. It's my default answer because I've kind of got used to having no emotions. I don't cry although I crave release, I manufacture laughs because I'm supposed to and I'm too stifled beneath my insecurities and worries to feel anger. But then I suddenly remembered 1 thing that DOES make me angry, without fail. Here's how it happens. A family member will phone me or see me and we'll be talking just fine, normal things. Then they'll ask if my appointment went ok, I'll say yes, I always say it in a closed manner, try to change the subject because I know what's coming. It never seems to work. The inevitable follows. They then ask 'How did the weigh in go?'. Here's what I say: 'Fine'. Now here's what I WANT to say:

'And what fucking business is it of YOUR'S may I ask? Perhaps I'd love to ask you what YOU weigh but I never have because guess what- I have a grain of social awareness. I may be anorexic but I'm not a fucking Free Entry Public Exhibition! Is it something you would ask anyone else huh? 'hey, how are you? Work going ok? And yeah have you gained or lost weight this week??' Well I severely doubt it. So how about you nose OUT and grow a little sensitivity'

Now, I'm not sure how that would go down, but every time this happens I think I'm getting closer and closer to finding out because my tolerance is just about shot through.

I am quite aware that they wouldn't ask anyone else this. The reason I am posting this is because I'm so sick of the fact that people feel because you demonstrate your emotions through shrinking yourself, they somehow have complete authority to pry and probe at the most delicate parts of you with clumsy intrusive fingers. It's amazing how understanding and sensitive some people can be about everything else and then they blow it all by doing the equivalent of 'mentioning the war' (fawlty Towers reference here, see bottom of post for explanation if baffled).

I feel like screaming at them. If they ask about my weigh in, and they ALWAYS do, and I have lost wight-then of course I don't tell them. What on earth would compel me to do so; I'm no idiot- I know it's not a good sign for someone in recovery to lose weight and I really don't want a lecture or even intrusive concern thank you very much. What exactly are they going to do? 'Talk to me'? I don't want to be 'talked' to. However well intentioned, 'talking to me about it' always becomes patronising and repetitive.

It feels a lot worse when they ask and I have gained weight. If I feel like screaming if they ask this and I have lost weight, well then I feel just about ready to combust if they ask when I have gained weight. It starts a seething torrent of fury within me. A bubbling lava of self loathing. I want to shout 'Yes I'm a fat fucker and I've gained. Of course you're happy, it's what you want. A fatter Katie who isn't a precarious starver. Fuck it, I may as well go the whole hog and get a big mac and please everyone'. I'd like to tell them quite frankly I'd like to kill myself because the numbers gone up.

Basically this is what it boils down to: I despise the fact that when you come out of hospital you get the general impression that people, mostly those in your family, have assumed some ownership of your privacy. Your secret world of starving and rituals has been unveiled. People barge boisterously into what was once your private world, like unwanted visitors who invite themselves in to your home and start knocking things over and talking too loudly and sitting in your chair. Part of you feels like balling up in a corner, tight as you can, trying to block them out as you create an even smaller private world in the darkness of your own embrace, praying they will have gone away when you peek out. The other part wants to chase them back out the door, throwing heavy objects until they run, run, run and you have your little haven back all to yourself.

Half of an eating disorder is a timid, hideaway who just wants the world to forget the world and the people in it. The other half is the raging bull who wants to drive everyone away by demonstrating their strength and autonomy. I have been both. They both get you thin just as quick. They will also both still fuck up your life just as effectively.

And It's a confusing world once you're through with fucking it up.

Fawlty Towers Ref.: 1970's Hotel Proprietor Bazil Fawlty has a booking of prestigious Germans and the one thing he must remember above all else is not to mention the war!! He ends up prancing and pleasing them and treating them impeccably but of course he soon 'mentions the war' and all goes to pot.


  1. I am grateful that you commented on my blog... otherwise I may never have found your blog.

    I totally get where you are coming from... when I eat healthy and exercise and attempt to lose weight... all I hear is how much did you lose? Goodness forbid if I gained... they are sure I have been eating privately.

    People really need to mind their own business.. they can pray for you and wish awesome positive thoughts... they don't have to grill you about your weight.

    Awesome and honest post:)

  2. I hear you Katie
    It drives me nuts too

    We have a lad that comes to do our garden and work around the house
    Now he has become a family friend but he straight out asks me how my weight is
    I find it really intrusive
    It's such a personal question, especially to us
    And I'm quite sure he doesn't ask my sister or my mother how their weight is
    I don't tell anyone my weight
    Only Mary knows
    I don't post my weight as I don't want to be defined by it and I don't want others comparing themselves to me
    I know I get triggered by reading others weights
    In the end it's just a number
    It's what is going on in our heads that really counts

    Stay well Katie x

  3. oh wow, I totally get this. I remember getting furious one time right after I was diagnosed—my dad insisted on coming to my dietician appointment with me, and the drive home turned into a majorly hostile discussion about my weight, why I hadn't gained, what the dietician had said (which we had each interpreted differently, obviously...) etc. etc. etc. And the whole time, I wanted to scream: IT'S MY BODY AND IT'S NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS.

    No matter how far into treatment I've gone, it still has always driven me nuts that everyone—family, doctors, therapists, dieticians—treat your weight like public property. Even though it might be necessary, I hate the fact that being in treatment erodes all kinds of privacy barriers. That being said, I *can* promise that once you are weight-restored and no longer freaking everybody out with how skinny you are, the weight thing becomes a much less talked-about issue ;)

  4. Yes it becomes total public property! I feel like walking around with 'loss' or 'gain' written on my forehead for other peoples god damnn benefit. Also it really annoys me because when you gain people take that as a 'good sign' and you are getting better when in fact this is when you are most depressed and feeling hideous.

    Oh dear! Thanks for the lovely comment anyway


  5. I feel this Katie, totally. It is such an ambivalent situation - and half the time I don't know if I want to BRAG about losing weight for 'Ana' and SHOCKING people by not caring that I've lost weight OR tell people about gaining weight and please them, and face the torrent of abuse inside for being a fat/greedy/weak/lesser person for gaining a few lbs. I guess I know which is MEANT to be happening - gaining. Not losing. But I WISH it wasn't something people ASKED at all these days - I am recovering from anorexia, of course I'm not going to be screaming and celebrating gains - but I accept they're what's got to happen. However, I have been roughly the same weight for 12 months - which is also dangerous, because maintaining weight becomes the new losing.....