Dual Recovery: Bipolar and Eating Disorders

My eating disorder started in high school, but it really got into full swing after I split from my fiancé of four years in 2009. It was a rough breakup and I was devastated. I withdrew from people around me, ignored phone calls and cried constantly. I lost the spark that makes me who I am. My body felt like a balloon with the air let out, lying limp and sad on the ground. I was in a depressive episode. Everything tasted metallic and bland at the same time. I’d sit down to eat, take a few bites and lose my appetite. “Why bother eating?” I’d think to myself, “What’s the point? I just want to die.” Yep, that’s depression alright. So of course, I lost a lot of weight. My clothes got baggier, and it seemed like every other day I was buckling my belt one notch tighter.

And something strange happened. People around me began saying things like “You’re so skinny, you look different. You look so pretty!” Friends I hadn’t seen in years were asking me what my secret was, how I lost so much weight. I’ve never been overweight, but when I went from a size 8 to a size 2 I got attention like I never had. Men were flirting with me (something I’m not used to) and women were showering me with flattery.

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God Knows Where I Am

I watched the documentary God Knows Where I Am on Netflix last night. For those of you who haven’t seen it [spoiler alert] here’s the description from Rotten Tomatoes:

“Linda Bishop was a loving mother, a well-educated and happy woman. Then her body was found in an abandoned New Hampshire farmhouse, marked by cold and starvation. What was once Linda Bishop had quickly become a mystery, accompanied by her diary that documents a journey of starvation and the loss of sanity. For nearly four months, Bishop, a prisoner of her own mind, survived on apples and rainwater during one of the coldest winters on record. Waiting for God to save her. As her story unfolds from different perspectives, including her own, we learn the heartbreaking reality about a systemic failure to protect those who cannot protect themselves.”

I’m so saddened and moved by this film. Much of the movie is someone narrating her diaries, and I really felt what it must be like to be inside her head. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar, bipolar with psychosis. Whatever it was, her words resonated with me. I felt what it must be like to lose one’s mind.

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My Manias

When I’m manic, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve yelled at people in public. The “rude” (according to me) receptionist at my doctor’s office who’s already lost my records twice and doesn’t care that I’ve been waiting for 45 minutes. The “asshole” at the business tax department who wasted 4 hours of my life because she couldn’t fill out forms properly, even the “sour-faced c-word” who acted like I ruined her day by asking her what aisle the dish drainers are on.

And I can’t even count on my fingers the number of times I’ve thrown my cell phone across the room while being hung up on for the 5th time after asking to speak to the Sheila, the phone operator’s supervisor and asking Sheila what her last name and ID number is. Thanks USPS, Comcast, Sony, 1and1, Zingotel, Vonage, AT&T, CapitalOne, and on and on and on.

Some of the symptoms of mania are: anger, rage, irritability and highly vocal arguments. Yep, that sounds like me.

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