Posts Tagged ‘food’

Since I’m on this kick of stream of consciousness, I have to write what is currently irking me. Last night, the house staff approached me to have a “pow wow” in the front room. She has a pack of pudding in her hand and tells me that this is for me, _____ is replacing it because she ate mine. I looked at it, saying, “well I don’t know if I can have this brand, I’ll have to check, I can’t just have any brand”. She proceeds to tell me that this is the same brand ____ took. I thought for a moment, saying, “I don’t have this brand, so it wasn’t mine.” She confirms this with me, and then goes back to _____ saying that it wasn’t mine and asked her what she wanted to do with this (replacement) pack. _____ says to put it on her shelf in the refrigerator.

Granted, _____ didn’t take my food this time. My concern is when is this binge eating others’ food going to be looked at as stealing? I understand I am in eating disorder treatment and yet there has to be a barrier, a line drawn, and someone has to realise that even though it wasn’t my food this time, it has been my food in the past. I honestly am at a point of absolute disgust; I don’t care whether or not the food is replaced; at what point is this going to be seen as a violation of boundaries and trust, and that this is actual theft? And to be clear, I am not entirely biased and think that stealing food is wrong. After all, at the age of 7, I played the boy in the marketplace in Aladdin and my sole line was, “I want an apple, I need an apple, I’m hungry.” Then Aladdin goes on to get food for me through stealing… or something like that…

However, this person taking the food is not poor, is not a child, and has the resources to go to the market herself. And Aladdin was a play where no one who could afford food actually took food outside of scripted lines. This person I am referring to who took the pudding likes to have her entire life catered to her, lay in bed for days on end, expecting people to care for her, and people to be quiet and cater to her every beck and call. I am not one of those people who is going to act any differently towards her when she is in one of her states, and I am fuming that she gets away with taking food time and time again.

I recently went out and bought a lot of delicious food because I may be unable to drive for a while after my eye surgery this week. I want my food to remain there until I consume it, not anyone else, less they have my expressed permission. I am not living in a place where food is communal, and I have limited finances to put towards food, and am grateful that I receive money each month to purchase food. How dare someone take my belongings, especially without asking. It wasn’t me this time, it was someone else. How unfortunate to think that I live with a food thief, a person who thinks that she can do anything and get away with it. She has done more than most and not received consequences. She speaks in a harsh tone to others without so much as flinching, she lays in bed for days without being discharged or moved to a higher level of care, and she steals food, even though she has the money. Amazing what money does to someone; now go to the store and get your own damn food with that same money.

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This picture outlines the “normal” trajectory of food.

According to a study performed in August, my food takes minutes to reach my stomach. The radiologist conducting the study informed me this pattern of delay is generally seen in people in their 80’s. Cool, 60 years ahead of the game.

I hate wasting food. Generally, I either finish what I take, even if that leaves me full. Lately, I’ve wasted a lot of food. If you don’t already know, I have a rare swallowing condition. It is in fact so rare that at the moment there is no name to it.

Dinner consisted of a few forkfuls of some type of bean and white sticky rice combination. It also consisted of me sitting there, feeling the food forcefully make way down my esophagus.

Whether it’s peristalsis or spams, I felt the solids travel down my throat, millimeter by millimeter. And it was uncomfortable. I tried a few more bites, and drank some water in an effort to guide the food down. I ended up choking on the water as is commonplace nowadays.

A struggle to enjoy any nutrients that I can intake, I now fear mealtimes. Socially awkward and obvious I have some sort of eating difficulty, I cleared my plate, full of food and left the dining hall.

I feel horrible for wasting and horrible to not have normal intake mechanisms. Grrrr….

 

“It’s Just Food”

That’s what “they’d” say/ Whoever the fuck “they” are. Eating with my host family has become awkward. I love everything about them aside from the food bit. Perhaps it’s my ED talking though I’m inclined to think otherwise considering my friends here have similar experiences without an ED. It’s possible that people here are just unbelievably strict regarding food and are somewhat hoarders in the food department. Anyway for me, the unsettling feelings around mealtime began about one month ago when I was restricted to a soft-food/liquid diet. I suppose because my host family was aware of this, I wasn’t “invited” to meal times. Though I imagine they had the best of intentions at heart, they likely didn’t want to tempt me with foods I’d be unable to consume.

When I decided fuck what the doctor says, I’ll eat whatever, things were still weird. Most nights I’d be around I wouldn’t be “invited” to dinner and meals were not cooked for me as had been in the previous weeks. I got sadly and uncomfortably use to this process and resorted to eating alone later, snacking on foods in the basement where my room is, or just not eating and missing meals.

Tonight, when I came home, I was asked if I’d be eating with them and I responded that I would. About 30 minutes later, I heard the usual plates clanking and laughter coming from upstairs. I believed that even though they acknowledged my presence for the meal, somehow they had forgotten. I began to snack on pretzels and cheese dip. About ten minutes later, my host dad opened the basement door and pops his head through, asking me if I was coming up to eat. Startled, and with half a pretzel stick in my mouth, I shook my head “yes”.

I was mortified, to the point that you’d think he caught me doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing, or something horribly inappropriate (insert fantasy here). Knowing or thinking that the adults upstairs (we have guests over) would be at least slightly inebriated (judging by sounds and speech heard), I decided that in order to be present at the table in the least uncomfortable way, I’d chug some sparkling cider alcohol prior to making my way upstairs, ease the nerves a bit you know?

Problem is, I don’t have a drinking problem, and rarely have I used alcohol to make myself feel better. The fact that I thought about drinking and followed through with the act makes me a bit uneasy, not now at least emotionally but in my logical mind. I felt embarrassed to be indulging in food that I “fixed it by indulging in alcohol. That does not clear things up. It’s just way messier. That is not normal, and it is not ok that I feel entirely embarrassed caught in the act of eating.

Disorders:

Is this quote actually supposed to help me???

If I didn’t already have an eating disorder, what is occurring now would undoubtedly propagate one. Currently, the esophageal spasms I’m having (Jackhammer esophagus/hyper-contractile esophagus) prohibit me from in-taking any solid foods. At the doctor’s office yesterday, I learned the intricacies of the health care system a bit more. Apparently, the reason I haven’t been able to find nutrition drinks such as Boost or Ensure or the equivalent is because they don’t exist here. Yeah, that’s right, you read correctly. The only time a patient is given a nutrition drink is if he or she prescribed it by the doctor and only if the patient has cancer.

Excuse me? So when the doctor told me that I should eat ice cream for the next few weeks, I gave her a quizzical look. First of all, I have to wait two weeks to receive a letter in the snail mail after a central system has filed my case and found the next opening at pretty much any hospital. Specialist are only found in hospitals here.

Secondly, ice cream is not sufficient nutrients for two weeks, unless there’s some sort of magical ice cream that I am unaware of. The doctor then suggested that I make my own nutrition drink and continued explaining that she’s not recommending I put fruit juices in my drink since that will (likely) aggravate my symptoms. I chimed in, “can I put in banana and avocado”? It was at that moment I realized I know more about nutrition than she does and figured out how to end the session quickly.

There’s a word in Danish the doctor used for my symptoms.. it might be trang or traeg, except I don’t know for certain. It’s nice there’s a word to describe something that’s more than a big nuisance or inconvenience.

Last night I purchased bananas, avocados, and ice cream and made a somewhat delicious drink. However, this morning I could not make the same as my host family must have been somewhat keen on my banana purchase and unknowingly consumed part of my next meal. I can’t be too mad considering I didn’t actually mention that I need those and they are just about the most awesome people if not the most awesome that I have ever come across, so sure let them have the yellow fruit not often found in the home :).

Trying to recreate parts of the drink this morning, I had an under-ripened avocado and only the ice cream. The task to make a mush mixture did not pan out as I had hoped. There were pieces of avocado left after blending the two substances for many times. And in my efforts, I figured, I might as well try the drink considering the pieces were miniscule and I had put a lot of time and effort into this. Upon first attempt, the pieces got caught in the back of my throat and I began “choking” as I do multiple times in a week now. Usually, I can propel the foods up or down depending on the occasion so I do not consider this “true” choking.

Now, I have a dilemma. Knowing I already have many eating disorders, this seems to be creating a new one-complete aversion to solid foods. I can’t even consider taking in anything that’s not pureed or baby food consistency. Even on liquids, I’ve choked. This situation is challenging, and I hope this will not become more of a burden than it already is. Gotta keep looking at the positives, like the fact I don’t have to be tubed.

Summing up, this quote which I suppose is supposed to help people overcome their eating disorders is in fact not helpful for all sorts of disordered eating. And yes, there is a major difference between the two as one is a full blown condition whereas the other is meant to explain a pattern of eating that is not always regular.

This current pattern of mine feels extremely disordered except it also feels like I don’t have utmost control over this physical manifestation. Grrr….

The larynx is responsible for the voice which is located in a region most people would consider the throat. So I guess technically, this wasn’t my throat, yet this was the first word that popped into my mind tonight as I was speaking with my Somatic Experiencing Therapist. She asked for sensations that arose when I made contact with my throat and instead of sensations, I gave her words. After all, that was the first thing that came into my mind.

Tonight however, my “throat” and me were two separate entities for lack of a more accurate depiction. My throat spoke to me and I spoke back.

Lately, I’ve been having problems with my esophageal spasms (Jackhammer Esophageal type). If I didn’t already have an eating disorder, this would be a great way to propagate one. I can see now that it stems back from long before I was able to form memories. for this time period, all I have to reference are medical charts from my home for the first two months of life, A.K.A., the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at New York Hospital.

I read in the charts that there were times when at the doctor’s direction, feedings were discontinued for me, sometimes for more than one day.

This leads me to believe that this is where I learned a pattern, namely the pattern of defeat and then to reset/rebound/get back to baseline again. I was going to be all corny and write, “get back on my feet, no pun intended”, but then there would be a pun, and oh look I did that anyway.

It’s a matter of resilience and what people do when confronted with a difficult situation. And it’s true, you never really know how you’ll react or cope until something comes your way. For me, the pattern seems to be that even at the worst of times, when negative circumstances arise, I tend to have a decent ability to sit in my shit, and then come out from it stronger in the end.

For an excellent understanding of resilience, if you enjoy TED talks, check out Brene Brown and resiliency. I don’t know how to make the fancy accents on the 2nd “e” in her name, but I’m sure it’ll pop up… or click here for easy access:

However, this is not a pattern I want to continue. I don’t like that a negative circumstance is what I need to live positively and more strongly if you will. I want to have a fighting spirit without the constant reminders in the form of some traumatic or challenging situation.

Back to the topic at hand-conversations with my throat. I had my hand placed on my throat during this conversation:

Throat (imagine a person slumped over in a chair, this is how my throat is acting, not literally, just defeated): Why should I work now? You’ve neglected me for so long.

Me: Yeah, but it was hard-wired for me to do so from a very young age. No one took care of me, they ignored me. It became a pattern, habitual

Throat: Yeah, but what about now, now you have control.

Me: I know I do, I can’t describe it better than I was hardwired to not feed myself.

Somatic therapist interjects: I prefer to think of it as “conditioned”. You were conditioned to do this, not something that can’t be changed.

Me: Oh yeah, sorry, forgot that word. Hard when learning a new language to remember words in other languages (I’m learning Danish). Then I relayed this information to my throat.

Throat: (scoffs)

Me: I’m not really sure what more to tell it, because it has a point.

Therapist: try just sensing it.

Me: Ok.

Throat: You know, you abused me, you treated me badly.

Me: What? I may have an eating disorder, but I never have purged. How could I have treated you badly?

Throat: You may have not purged, but c’mon, I’m connected to your whole body.

Therapist: You know your throat has a point, do you agree?

Me: Oh yeah, absolutely (not sarcasm).

Therapist: So can you sense anything changing in your throat?

Me: I reached for my drink to test.

Therapist: No I want you to just feel it.

Me: A sudden burst of energy-Upon doing this, my feet began bouncing up and down nonstop for minutes, I probably would have run a mile if I were standing considering the speed and duration of my movement.

(Many minutes later)

Throat: I need (therapist). She’s got skills.

Therapist (chuckles): Lots of people have skills. You just need a person.

Me: Yeah, but my throat knows that you can help it.

Therapist: How does it know that?

Me: Because you helped other parts in the past and my throat was witness to that. Like remember the time we had a session and you said normally you don’t go that fast with your clients but my body was in crisis? First, you put your hands on my kidneys and then you moved to my left side and said there was a lot of heat in my stomach region. Then, it was kind of like a volcano after some time and began spewing out (the negative energy). Then you moved to my neck and the upper part of my chest, but you didn’t get to my throat that day. My throat felt neglected, forgotten.

My throat became more neutral, which was better than the initial distant teenager feeling it first emoted. Hoping that I can learn to listen to my body and we can work together more often than constantly fight with one another (physical symptoms manifesting as a way to express that something’s not ok).

“And now I’ve got to explain the smell that was in there before I went in there. Does that ever happen to you? It’s not your fault. You’ve held your breath, you just wanna get out, and now you open the door and you have to explain, ‘Oh! Listen, there’s an odor in there and I didn’t do it. It’s bad.”
Ellen DeGeneres, My Point…And I Do Have One

A simple task, at least physically. No no it’s not about relieving oneself. I went to the store yesterday to buy food. Emotionally this gets to me, because anything surrounding food is triggering for me. Physically, going through the motions of buying the food, well that’s ok.

After longer than I anticipated, perhaps one hour, I finally made it to the checkout. I pay for my food with EBT (electronic benefit transfer/food stamps). It hasn’t always been this way. Ever since I lost my entire savings paying for health-related matters, I qualify for food stamps. A year ago at this time I wouldn’t have been eligible.

Needless to say, it’s embarrassing. Once the bright yellow card is whipped out of my wallet, I feel like the cashier and those in line look at me differently. I feel as though I can’t even take my phone out at the checkout because people will judge me for having a smartphone. Little do they know that I bought this at a huge discount and that my phone bill is also massively discounted.

I feel bad if I get snack foods. I’ve read peoples’ opinions on those receiving EBT. They firmly believe that it should be used only for healthy foods and they think to themselves “damn MY hard-earned money is going to pay for this b#tch’s snack attack”.

Let me make it very clear that not everyone who has food stamps is unemployed and being “unproductive” in life. I work two-three jobs at a given time and attend school. My earned income has gone likely to my own EBT card (in the scheme of it all).I still fall below the poverty line. I am not sitting at home, munching away on non-nutritious items. Still, I feel judged in the line.

Yesterday was no exception. I made it to the front of the line and was swiping my card to pay. Mind you, the majority of items I bought were healthy. I do appreciate that certain snacks are vegan, and I essentially had a craving for Oreos (>99% vegan) and Skittles (100% vegan).While paying, not all of my items were valid. I asked the cashier to please let me know which items didn’t qualify as I wasn’t able to pinpoint them. She was not the best at math (I blame calculators), and kept saying it was items that didn’t actually add up to the leftover amount. Eventually, she summoned a manager and suddenly, three store employees were working to figure out this freaking simple task. I don’t know why it is as problematic as this. I’ve had cashiers at this store in the past be able to let me know immediately which items don’t ring through for EBT purposes.

People started to get antsy in line, completely understandable. They were agitated and annoyed. I felt bad because it’s always made known when someone has EBT. Certain items qualify, (sometimes even at different stores, eligibility differs-go figure) and certain items don’t qualify. There is often no logic to the method. I thought by now I had figured out the system considering I’ve made at least 20 trips to the store since receiving EBT. The five or so people who were behind me removed their items from the belt and brought their carts to another checkout. With the efflux of customers, some customers thought this was their chance to come to a checkout with a small line. To the first person who arrived I said, “You might want to go to another line, this could be a while; all the other people here brought their items to another line. He replied, “Oh did they?” and kindly moved on. I couldn’t bring myself to say it to the next person and I didn’t.

Needless to say, by this point, the highest manager started also doing improper math, and then determined matter-of-factly that it was Oreos and Skittles that didn’t fit the bill so I asked her to remove them from the bag. I was through with this public ordeal and still didn’t feel right with the calculations. I took my receipt and items with me outside, sat down on a bench and did calculations. Oreos were still listed on my receipt, skittles weren’t. Stuff just didn’t add up. I went back in, regained my composure and asked the cashier to see the manager again.

The manager directed me to the customer service area and cancelled my receipt. A  new cashier rang my order through. It was at this point it was determined that there was still a discrepancy in the bill. The manager may have been accurate in taking out the Skittles earlier, but not the Oreos. The new flavor of Triscuits, a red savory bean flavor made with brown rice was the culprit. Triscuits, people! Healthy crackers. Boy do I despise the brains of humanity at times.