Yesterday at around 5:30pm, I went downstairs to the kitchen, to grab something for dinner before heading out for the evening. I wanted something quick, so I made two tuna fish sandwiches and took them back up to my room to eat while I finished getting ready. One of my roommates was cooking herself some dinner, and another roommate was doing homework on the kitchen table. After I finished eating, I came back downstairs to put my plate in the sink. My roommate, who was still cooking her dinner, said "Wow! You ate that SO fast! Hungry much?"
I know she wasn't trying to be mean. She probably didn't even think twice about what she said, because most people probably wouldn't have been bothered by a comment like that. But it's a completely different story for someone who is recovering from an eating disorder. Someone who is already sensitive about those kinds of comments. And, as I have been getting stronger in recovery and moving further away from the eating disorder - comments (about eating and food, my body, diets, ect) haven't bothered me as much as they used to. One of the things the eating disorder is a master at - is twisting ANY kind of comment (even harmless ones) into distorted, irrational thoughts and feelings, and convincing you that those distortions are actually truths (when they aren't!). And those kinds of comments, back when I was still struggling, would have spiraled me into ed behaviors and negative feelings about myself so quickly! They would have given the eating disorder fuel to distort "harmless" comments into much bigger and badder words.
Throughout my recovery, I have slowly learned (and am still learning) to NOT give those kinds of comments ANY amount of power to twist them into distorted/negative reflections on myself. And for the most part, I am able to do that. Most of the time, I am able to just let them go in one ear and out the other without letting the comments bother me too much. So I was a little caught off guard when those old emotions came rushing in when my roommate said that to me last night. I immediately felt embarrassed and the ed used this vulnerable moment to sneak in and try to take control. I responded to my roommates comment with, "I didn't really eat that fast. You've been down here cooking for a while." And she responded with, "Didn't you have two sandwiches though?" And I said, "Ya, but I haven't eaten since noon." And she said, "Oh, well it just seemed like you ate them so fast."
During this whole conversation. My mind was spinning with SO many thoughts. I thought, "I don't think I ate it too fast? did I eat it too fast? maybe I should have had only one sandwich. Did I eat too much? I couldn't have eaten too much. Two tuna sandwiches isn't really that much considering that's all I ate for dinner. But I am so embarrassed because one of my other roommates (who was doing homework on the table) is overhearing this... does she think that I ate too much too? Did I overeat? Are they going to think that I have no control and eat too much? No, jenn, she said you ate fast - not that you ate too much. Ya, but maybe I should have eaten slower, or just had one sandwich. But still, I don't think I ate it too fast... did I? I thought I ate it at a normal pace. Is it bad to have two tuna sandwiches. Should I have only had one? But why would she have made that comment unless I did eat too much or ate it too fast...?" And on and on the thoughts went in my head as I finished getting ready for the evening. The eating disorder and recovery battling it out in my head.
Looking back on it now, I recognize two important things. The first one is that lately the ed thoughts aren't as vicious and cruel as they used to be (which I am soooooooo thankful for because the ed used to tear me down and make me feel completely worthless). I think, for the most part, when the ed does creep into my thoughts now, they are more often questioning or being unsure about what I do, say, or how I look - and not so much the cruel, hurtful, fear & guilt filled abuse I used to have from my ed. And the second thing is that it wasn't just the ed's LOUD voice in my head... MY voice was in there too. Throughout my recovery, I have learned how to "talk back" to the ed, and recognize when the ed is distorting things... because for the longest time, I listened to (and believed) everything the eating disorder said to me.
I know I have come such a long way in my recovery, but I guess I am still frustrated when I let comments affect me like they did last night. It doesn't happen too often. But there are times when I am more sensitive to them then other days. But that's okay. Right? It happens, and it's normal.... right? The important thing I need to remember is what I do after - is what matters. And after the whole thing happened, it did bother me for a little while, but I was able to brush it off and not let it ruin or affect the rest of my evening. I am thankful for that. I just wish the eating disorder would stay away, and not keep trying to creep into my thoughts, my feelings, and my life.