WAMM, WIAN, part IV; A liar and a cheater

Today I would like to ask you WAMY, what anorexia made YOU, yet WYAN, what you are not. Can you identify with the subjects I have mentioned thusfar? Anything you would add to the list? I think, as I’ve been pondering the subject for a while now through writing this ‘series’, there will be a few more to add to the list at some later point. But I would like to hear your experiences/views/comments.

The things that anorexia made me, part IV; A liar and a cheater

As I briefly mentioned in my last post, my anorexia made me steal from friends too. This, to me, was worse than stealing a loaf of bread from the local bakery or supermarket, because stores have plenty. It’s not like they will go bankrupt from that one missing loaf. But stealing from friends was so painful to me. They trusted me. I trusted them! And there I was, spooning out a jar of peanut butter straight into my purse when they went to the bathroom. I don’t think they ever suspected anything, and if they did, they probably never suspected it to have been me, but even today thinking about it still makes me cringe.

You have to know I was always an honest girl. I was known for being brutally blunt honest. When I went shopping with friends, I would never sugarcoat how I thought they looked in something. If they fancied a guy in the bar, I wouldn’t tell them to ‘go for it’ if I thought the guy next to him was way cuter and they could easily score him instead. But I would also go up to random strangers on the street if I thought they looked amazing or tell my friends how much they meant to me.

Whereas at first my anorexia made me a sneaky girl instead of the open, talkative one I used to be, it later turned me into a liar too. I always told my mother I would do my absolute best to never ‘let my anorexia make me lie’, and I managed to keep that promise for quite a long time.

Now, I realize this sounds like  a very strange promise, but I didn’t actively lie (as opposed to hiding or dodging telling the truth) until late in recovery. I did, however, know that eating disorder patients were known for lying a lot. My bestie’s father (who is a GP) even told her she had to stop seeing me because ED-patients are ‘no good’ and ‘unhealthy to have in your life’ because of it (as I briefly mentioned here ). That hurt me so bad, because actively lying was so not me and something I never had done even when I was sickest. The most painful was, however, that she had coped with boulimia a few years before and had never told her father. The fact she stuck around anyway meant the world to me (and was the reason I wanted to give her the ring I talked about before).

Luckily I managed to turn around my newly developed actively-lying habit fairly soon. The habit of lying was what made me angry at anorexia the most, I think. It felt so unnatural and (unlike many other ED-related behavior) so wrong instantly. The second I told a lie I felt a pang in my heart, which igniting a hatred against ED so strong that almost immediately I would blurt out that what I had just said wasn’t true at all.

Though still, I bump into little white lies I spread during that time. Some I was aware of being false (like; oh what a shame but I just had lunch already!) and some I only found out of later (during and after recovery) being untrue  (like; I do not like mayonnaise. I really thought I didn’t. I might not love it and I might prefer other things, but apparently I do not consider mayonnaise to be nasty at all!). Funny how anorexia makes you absolutely convinced of certain things without you realizing you’re believing your own lies. I guess there’s different levels of lying. There’s not telling the truth, there’s dodging the truth, there’s being ignorant of the truth and there’s believing another truth. And then there’s actively lying, which I suppose can even be to try and save something, or simply to save your own ass. None of them I like, all of them came with my eating disorder. And none of them I hope will ever be part of me again.

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16 thoughts on “WAMM, WIAN, part IV; A liar and a cheater

  1. they won’t ever be a part of you again…you’re shedding, and with that goes those pieces of you that are not you.

    you’re a whirlwind of amazing, my love.

  2. Lying to ourselves, that’s an interesting concept. I know I lied to friends and family about what I was doing/ how I was doing/ how much I’d eaten etc. I know I’ve lied through my teeth (even on my own blog in the old posts from February/ March/ April, pretending my life was amazing and I was going out, doing things and having this great life when in reality I was a starving nervous wreck too afraid to leave the house…) However, I realise I did lie to myself. Little things like ‘oh I don’t like cake/ chocolate/ biscuits. I LOVE salad! Yummy yummy low cal salad… actually vegetables have too many nutrients! I HATE salad, I like yummy yummy rice cakes.’ to the more serious one of how ill I actually was. I was totally in denial. ‘Oh real anorexics weigh 4 stone, I don’t so I’m fine!’ ‘Oh I can’t walk to the end of the road… BUT I CAN STILL WALK! I MUST BE FINE! EVERYTHING IS FINE!’

    WAMY and WYAM? Liar, thief, timid, weak, clingy, a hoarder, a wannabe child, a glutton, a binger, a foodie… so many things. I may even do my own post on the subject!

    • The lies sneak in, don’t they? I don’t think we consciously lie a lot of the time. Even to ourselves. We ‘make believe’. We make ourselves believe.

      Ha! Rice cakes! I havent eaten those since I’ve been weight restored. They used to be my ‘favourite food’ because ‘I didn’t like bread at all’. HA HA. I think there were a few that I did really like (the small, crisps-like flavoured rice cakes) but I just haven’t had any craving to eat them ever again. It’s like, it doesn’t make sense. If I want something cheese-y, I’ll eat cheese instead of cheese-flavoured rice cakes? Haha.

  3. WAMY and WIAN.. liar, thief, weakling, immature, irresponsible…. hoarder definitely.. disgusting (habits, messy) pessimistic copout – I basically copped out of life.
    I hate anorexia and this series you have been writing is particularly good for me. Because it made me many things that I really regret. And that have just intensified the self hatred. If you read my post about how my sister made it look like I was stealing things off my mum, you will understand why me stealing food years later because of the ED was particularly heart breaking and soul destroying for me… not only had I completely broken my own values and gone against them, but I had become what they wanted me to be and thought I was. When I was still hoping that some day I could ‘prove’ to mum that the ‘good’ Fiona she always said was missing was still in here somewhere, when there was still hope of that, to have turned out this way just… shattered me. But now… I do realise it’s not who *I AM*. That’s not to say I absolve myself of responsibility for it… because if there is anything I do NOT agree with it’s when people say to me, it wasn’t you who did that, it was the ED, like it’s not my doing – they might as well say to a bank robber who has held people up at gunpoint “It wasn’t you who held up a bank at gunpoint it was your drug addiction” not going to wash!
    What saddens me most is that… before anorexia took my future away, I had the world at my feet, literally. And now, I feel like a failure at life. I know that’s anorexia not me… but basically, my life IS very devoid of ‘real’ achievements these days. I mean sure, going to work a few hours a week is an achievement, going to a ballet class is an achievement, staying out of hospital is an achievement… but they feel rather empty and sad ‘achievements’ in the face of the extraordinary goals I once had. I know… that’s silly of me to think that way, but it does hurt!!
    So I guess. I have to rethink what my whole life is about.
    If there is anything anorexia made me that’s positive it’s that it’s made me more able to relate to other people and more concerned about ‘how can I make a difference to THEIR lives’ than ‘how can I be successful’.
    Anyway… I think it’s important for us to remember that we are always in a state of change. Always. Who we ‘are’ one day doesn’t necessarily have to be who we ‘are’ tomorrow. So if we really do find it hard to handle what it’s made us… we don’t have to be that way forever. That’s something to hang onto :) xxx

    • It truly is crushing how it turns us into something so ‘unnaturally us’. Like, the opposite of our core. Painfully so.

      I hope you don’t mean that reading this series has intensified your self-hatred? That was not at all what I intended. For me, writing this series has been eye-opening and re-infirming that there is so much more to ‘me’ than what has come out the past years. That it is time to explore the true me again.

      And I disagree with you with it really being you in the end that does it. I hated it too when someone would imply it ‘wasn’t me’ (Shaggy!). My mom always said that she had to differentiate between ‘her daughter Sooz’ and ‘the eating disorder’ and I thought that was so stupid, it was all me. But I disagree now. If that bank robber is schizophrenic, the court would definately take that into consideration too when deciding his punishment. We are not CONSCIOUSLY doing these things, and therefore it isn’t really US. I really think you need to differentiate between the ‘core Fiona’ and the ED. Ofcourse it is the ‘physical you’ who does it in the end, but I think you should compare it to schizophrenia.

      And you’re not a failure at life. You and your current life and your future are different than they all would have been if you hadn’t had an eating disorder. But that is not something negative. It is different, yes. But please do not even for one single second think your life would have been only roses and babybums if you would not have been ill! Nobody leads a perfect life. Whether it be with or without an ED. I am currently doing a project on Down syndrome and have been reading a lot of stories of parents who recently had a baby with DS. They all say that they wouldnt have had it any other way now. That, yes, this was not what they had ‘wanted’ at first, ofcourse. But that through this they discover an entire new side of themselves, of the people around them and of life in general. It’s a completely new, amazing outlook on things. And no, a person with DS will never run for president, but in their own way they will be able to do and become amazing things. Becoming a usher at the local movie-theatre isn’t less amazing than becoming a president. I really don’t believe those amazing things are of a ‘different hierarchy’ than becoming a president. Just like going to ballet class isn’t less of an achievement than getting your Uni degree is. It is equally an achievement. And from there, you move on to the next. It’s not like the president became the president overnight either

      Your ED has turned you into who you are now. Life is never without bumps. You need to realize this; People without DS don’t all become presidents either, you know? Just like people without EDs don’t simply all lead perfect lives. There is no such thing. Not leading a perfect life doesn’t make you a failure, but expecting perfect life does make you feel like one. Huge difference there.

      • i dunno sooz. on one hand its easy to say.. ” oh.. that’s not me, that was ED..” which is true, in a way, but somehow.. we have to accept that ED HAS changed me, and it is a new me now, albeit one I hate and would have never in a million years thought i’d become, regardless of the reason. Yes, it’s an illness and it isn’t out fault that the weird neurotransmitters in our brains are all screwed up, but just like someone who’s had a heart attack- the damage is always there, you know? part of their history, and they will forever have to be mindful of it. But that being said.. we DO have the power to change what ED made us.. The ED past would forever be part of us – it’s one our life experiences – you can’t cast away the bad and just keep the good… all these experiences shape who we are, but only we can determine who we WILL be in the future. .. and that’s something to work on :D

      • I am definately not implying that we can ditch our ED-past. Nor do I want to. As I said before, it makes us who we are and it makes us all the more wiser. But I do not think we should hate ourselves our punish ourselves for what we did when we were ill. Because that was not ‘us’ in the way that, yes, ofcourse, we were the one acting but we were not thinking clear. We were unaccountable in the way that our minds were ill. Even in lawcourts, there are special rules surrounding that. So, we have to learn to re-be (ha) ourselves, put it in the past and not punish ourselves about it. That way we can leave it behind us in a positive way, and integrate it into our (new) lives. Our past is our past, and you cannot change it, nor should you want to. That is the only way to truly find peace, to accept the past for the past, I think..

  4. Gosh, the lying thing. This I’m ashamed the most my ed turned me into – a liar. Mostly I lied because I hated who I truly was – about everything – food, life, weight, diets, money… you name it. At one point I lost myself in that imaginary world I forgot what I was. The funny thing sometimes I once again I say I’m allergic to some foods (usually fruit) but I’m not – am I? This is so bizarre…

    Thank you for being so open about it, Sooz. I love this series. I see myself in you. ;)

    • Yes I still ‘bump into’ old lies quite often. Also about things I said I had done or places I said I had been. Or movies I never saw or books I never read etc. And then people will ask me about it ‘because you said.. ‘ and then I realize that, shit, I made that up at some point. Lying is definately the thing I hate most. It is just so unnatural to me. So not me!

      I admire you a lot for trying to ‘undo’ your lies as you wrote at some point. I’ve been struggling to admit that they were lies at some point. I sort of find my way around them now, but I rarely ever tell people that something I said or did was a lie. But I think it’s pretty awesome we’re both trying to ‘come clean’ and start afresh. Find ourselves and stay true to ourselves instead of making ourselves up.

      I recently realized that it takes a lot of energy to make up lies and to remember them all and keep ‘making them work’. The energy we put into the lied-lives we should put into ‘pimping our real lives’ instead. So instead of putting energy in making up a lie, we should put that same energy in doing something real that will be worth sharing as a REAL story. Does that make any sense?

  5. selfish. irresponsible. I used to pride myself in taking care of others, putting my friends and family first, always. But all this- hurts them so much. And I don’t have the energy to care for them as I used to, though you could argue that it was overcaring for others that put me in this spot in the first place. By not being the best I can be, developing my full potential- it’s selfish. And wrong. to my family, my friends, my patients. and that’s just not who I am.

    oh. and can totally relate to the stealing peanut butter out of jars part.. ><

  6. Hey Sooz,

    Gosh my eating disorder turned me in to a person I didn’t recognize. I became an expert liar, completely in denial, a proficient thief, I stole food and other items from friends, family (even sweets belonging to my young nephew) and shops.
    I became and still am a recluse, only going out in the early morning to avoid people. I became an exercise addict and I still struggle with this to this day.
    I was a manipulator, an attention seeker, a self harmer, irresponsible, didn’t look after myself including hygiene.
    My family forgave me for all these things but I find it hard to forgive myself and still believe that I am a bad person.
    I am trying hard to change these defects of character.
    I’m trying to be a good person.

    Love to you x

    • I think recognizing that these things aren’t YOU but what your disorder made you/made you do is a huge first step. It is a hard process to rediscover who we really are (again?) and crossing off things we are ‘not’ is part of it.

      Also, forgiving yourself is pretty crucial I think. I have found that admitting that it was my ED who turned me into something I am not, has helped me. That doesnt mean I will ever truly forgive all the things I’ve done. But again; steps.

      I don’t think you have to ‘try’ to be a good person. I don’t think you were ever not a good person. Maybe you did some silly things, but who hasn’t? You are dealing with this, changeing into a new you. You will have plenty of time to do marvellous things in your (and others’) lives.

      I made myself create a list when I was (halfway?) in recovery. A list of all the things I thought I (once?) was and all the things I wanted to be/become. A list of ‘Sooz-ness’, I suppose. And I asked my mother to make one too. I made an ABC-type of list and just wrote down whatever popped into my head. Some letters had a lot of words attached, some none. That wasn’t important. I just wanted to find things/qualities/bits and pieces to (re)identify with. I think it helped me focus on the positive things of recovery (goals). Someone else making the list helped broaden the perspective on things as well, as we tend to be our own worst critics. Maybe you could try something like that for yourself?

  7. That sounds like a really worthwhile thing to do Sooz.
    I do feel a bit lost and don’t really know who Ruby is anymore
    I don’t know my likes and dislikes (apart from food)
    I don’t know what my opinions are about things
    The thought of finding out who I am is scary but thrilling
    Today I felt so overwhelmed at the thought of living my life like this for next year, month, week, day
    I need to break free or I’ll be a prisoner in my own body forever
    Reading your blog gives me hope that I can do this

    Thank you x

    • It is thrilling! And horrible at times, like being a teenager all over, with all the drama that comes with it. But its also very exciting!

      Opinions, likes, dislikes. You will learn more and more when you let go of ED more and more. It’s amazing how much the world opens up around us. Fascinating! There is SO MUCH more waiting here for you.

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