Post Edited (shine_on_u_crazy_dimond) : 2/17/2007 4:42:46 AM (GMT-7)
Hello, (this is long winded, but it's to offer heartfelt support)
I am new to this board, but wanted to chime in with some more support. I was diagnosed with bipolar two years ago, at the age of 23, however I and my doctors feel that I may have had the disorder since childhood. I was also quite severely anorexic from the age of thirteen until seventeen, and dropped down to 85 pounds. It took a team of health professionals to achieve as much freedom from my eating disorder as possible. I gained 40 pounds (something I NEVER thought I would do), and am much healthier physically. However, those feelings of rage are still there, along with the negative self talk. The body dysmorphia I suffered, and still suffer from time to time no longer controls my life and I have tried to overcome it. I studied nutrition in college, and though a healthy weight and consuming a healthy diet, continued to exercise obsessively, both with draining, 90 minute running, and with boughts of weight training, (as you said initially, the MORE painful, the better- not surprisingly, I'm still doing it and now have back and knee problems). I have managed to tone down the exercise a LITTLE bit, and have achieved a very healthy eating pattern as a nutritionist (hard to do when you're sensitive, have a history of an eating disorder, current bipolar, and talk about food to clients all day) but still use exercise to punish myself when I get angry, and ironically, instead of calming me down, it makes me even angrier sometimes. Unfortunately, my doctors don't tend to encourage me to tone it down, and instead are like, "Oh, how good for your heart!" But it just strikes me, the similarity between all types of restrictive eating disorders, as well as body dysmorphic disorders (some of my other friends have had different ones) in that burning need to obtain perfection. I'm certainly not implying that you have an eating disorder but I know the urge driving exercise tends to coincide with eating. At the crux of my suffering from bipolar cycling, when I finally sought treatment, there had been an interesting shift in my attitudes toward eating and exercising in that I TOO felt that if I did not have a certain muscle mass the world was falling apart. MY workouts began chewing larger and larger chunks of time out of my life. Finally, I have been able to beat back the urge a little, but I just wanted you to know I feel very much for you. I know what it's like to have others in your life completely insensitive to your insatiable drive to obtain physical perfection. But you know what? Physical perfection does not exist! I have been at many weights, and I can honestly say, had many different shaped physiques in the past fifteen years (I know that sounds really weird, but eating disorders do strange things), and I can tell you, that no matter WHAT I looked like, or look like, any feelings of, "YES!! I FINALLY look great!" have always been short-lived. No matter how good I look, I'll never believe it. Having bipolar, and dissatisfaction with your body are terrible burdens to bear, and I know how many times they both slam down on you at once, together, magnifying each other's strength. It's interesting that you have rage and have associated it with that immediately- I too have rage associated with that very thing, but it took me far too long to connect the exercising/obsessive body thoughts with the rage itself. For me, the exercising never makes it better. I am trying to find a happy medium. It is actually working, and just wanted to let you know, you are not alone, I feel for you knowing how hard it is to go through something like that, and have faith that you CAN be happy one day and find a medium for yourself. It's been a lifetime of struggling with depression, and 12 years struggling with the body/eating issues, and despite not achieving perfection, a lot of progress has been made. I am SO sorry for that very long-winded post, from someone you don't even know, but I wanted to reach out and sincerely wish you the best.
Nice to meet you!