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Member # 79657

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I have Major Depressive Disorder, and have had it for so long that I no longer remember what it's like to be happy. I struggle with self-injury and suicide. I see a psychiatrist and am on anti-depressants.

In the past month I have developed something of a problem. I either don't eat at all, or when I do eat, it's something very small and I throw it up right after. I actually have no idea if this is an eating disorder or not... I don't even really think about doing it. It's deliberate, don't get me wrong -- it's not a problem with my stomach; it's definitely a mental thing -- but I don't FEEL like I have an eating disorder. I don't actually know. My thought process behind the restricting and purging is that food makes me feel revolting. Not physically, and I haven't always felt this way. It's just that when I think about food, I feel repulsed, and when I eat something, I end up focusing on how the little mashed-up bits of food feel in my mouth, and it is nasty. If I don't spit it out, then I swear I can feel the food sitting in my stomach, swimming around in there, and I just have to get it out of me.

I would like to discuss this with my psychiatrist. Actually, I've tried bringing it up with him, but he just kind of dismisses it when I mention that I haven't been eating, and we never actually talk about it. Don't get me wrong, my psychiatrist is the best, but here's the problem: I'm overweight. Always have been. I think my psychiatrist looks at me when I say I haven't been eating, and thinks to himself, "Wouldn't hurt her!" or "She's lying. If she were starving herself she'd be skinny!"

Am I being paranoid about my psychiatrist's feelings? I know you guys can't diagnose me, but does this sound like an eating disorder to you?

Posts: 68 | From: United States | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I kind of hope someone from the scarleteen staff also jumps in to give you more information, but, the short answer is yes, what you're describing sounds exactly like an eating disorder.

Eating disorders appear in all sorts of ways - there's sort of one very typical variant of eating disorder (obsessing about weight, unrealistic body image, etc) that often is the only type of eating disorder that's ever discussed, especially with young people, but it's just not true that there's only one kind. Really, any time you're not eating normally in a way that is risky to your health, that's an eating disorder. (I don't know if you know this, but there's some data that suggests that depression can also make you more vulnerable to eating disorders.)

Please, please, please talk to your psychiatrist about this, and instead of just saying that you haven't been eating, tell him exactly what you wrote here. Print it out and read or hand it to him, if you have to. If he doesn't take you seriously (which I can't imagine that he wouldn't, but just in case), seek counseling about the eating disorder from someone else. Ask your psychiatrist for a referral, or, if you're in school, ask a school counselor or university counseling service for a referral to someone who specializes in eating disorders, ok?

It sounds like you've been doing a great job managing your mental health- I'm so glad you're working on getting better, and I'm glad that you realize that there's something problematic about the way you've been feeling about food. Take care of yourself, okay?

Posts: 100 | From: Virginia, USA | Registered: May 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 79657

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Thanks for the input, BrightStar. I'm kind of in denial though. I've looked up eating disorders and I KNOW there's multiple varieties, and I KNOW it's not always about body image. But my mind has been conditioned to think, "Well, I'm not thinking about losing weight when I restrict/purge, so it CAN'T be an eating disorder." And the thing I said my shrink thought? That I'm overweight so I can't have an eating disorder? I know that's bull. Anyone can have an eating disorder. Binging is an eating disorder! But I look at myself in the mirror and think to myself (even though I know it's wrong), "Well, if you really had an eating disorder, you'd be skinny."

Does anyone know how an eating disorder is treated? Like I said, I'm already on medication for depression and doing weekly psychotherapy. At some point (as soon as my psychiatrist calls the doctor and arranges it and I get to the top of the waitlist) I'm going to do ECT (electroconvulsive therapy or "electroshock") for my depression, which I have heard also helps with eating disorders.

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Really, this is something that's quite outside the scope of what we do here, unfortunately. You're already in treatment for depression, which is great, and the best place to start with this is by talking to your psychiatrist. (People with eating disorders aren't necessarily thin, by the way, and any good mental health professional will know that whatever your weight an eating disorder is harmful to your health. So I wouldn't worry about them thinking you need to lose weight.)

Per treatment, that really depends on the individual. Usually, it does involve psychotherapy, but again, the specifics depend on the situation.

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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I think, though I'm not an expert by any means, that eating disorders are treated with about as broad a range of different treatments as depression is- i.e. medication sometimes, psychotherapy sometimes, ECT, as you said, etc.

About what you said about being in denial- really the best thing is to tell all the details to your psychiatrist (especially the food aversion you described). He should be able to get you the help you need, and work it into your ongoing treatment. I mean, even if part of you doesn't believe it's an eating disorder, you should still obviously tell your psychiatrist if there are any weird changes in how you're perceiving yourself/your body/your food, right?

Posts: 100 | From: Virginia, USA | Registered: May 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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