How do I tell the difference between low self esteem that is reflected in my attitude towards food and an actual eating disorder? Also do you know how I can just let go of my body issues and stop trying to constantly psychoanalyse myself?
An actual eating disorder is about behaviours and attitudes. Do you obsess about food and calories? Do you feel that you ‘need’ to exercise to justify the food you’ve eaten? Do you feel compelled to binge eat in response to emotional stimuli? Do you restrict the way you eat? Do you think of food in terms of how many calories it contains or how much exercise it will take to burn it off? All of these things can be warning signs that you may have disordered eating behaviours. The best person to assess this is your GP. You can find doctors who specialise in treating eating disorders if you want to ensure you get an informed opinion.
Letting go of body issues can be a huge challenge, especially if you’re an overthinker. The best advice I can give you is to start talking about it. I know it’s personal, I know it’s hard, but starting to verbalise these things can honestly make a huge difference. See a counsellor if you can. Talk to a friend or family member. Write in a journal. Just start putting words to what you’re feeling to take some of the negative energy out of these thought processes. I can tell you from my own experience that the more I talk about my body issues, the less they plague me.
I’m really struggling with how much weight I’ve gained lately. When I first started Lexapro, it made me feel amazing - no appetite, no need to sleep, overly confident, happy all the time. My psychiatrist figured out that this was because I have bipolar, and the Lexapro triggered mania. Since then I’ve been put on a couple of mood stabilisers, not just to keep me from getting too low, but to stop those highs. This means the Lexapro is doing what it usually does to people - levelling me out, and making me gain weight. It’s so hard to look at this excess weight every day and still feel comfortable in my body.
But you know what? I’m OK. This won’t be forever. I’m working with my doctor right now to down titrate my medication in order to get a better balance, particularly because I’ve been coping so well lately. She’s agreed on the condition that I don’t make any major changes while I transition to a lower dosing regimen. I have some major changes on the horizon, so I’m seeing how much I can accomplish before then. I want to be sure I’m following my doctor’s advice while still making the changes I feel I need to at this point in my life.
Super secret hint: the major changes involve moving to another country. I just turned 30, and a lot of countries don’t let you apply for visas past the age of 30! I haven’t lived abroad since I was in Japan, so I am ready for some amazing new adventures in a colder country!