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Old 03-24-2018, 08:50 PM   #1
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My Mood: labeling foods again...sigh

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I have been in recovery from anorexia since 2002, 2003 with a brief relapse around 2012. When my ED was in full swing, I labeled foods "good" and "bad." I pretty much had running lists. it took years after recovery, working with a group of registered dieticians (all of whom had recovered from EDs) to finally get past labeling foods, looking at food as a source of nutrition, and challenging myself to start eating foods on the "bad" list. Eventually, the lists disappeared, though I would at times imagine how many calories would be in a piece of cake or a sweet and feel a twinge of guilt before eating it. A lot of the specifics of the lists I forgot over the years.

I had to have a very invasive stomach surgery for a perforated ulcer on Valentine's Day 2018 (worst Valentine's Day ever, hands down). At first, I couldn't eat many foods and lost weight, from lack of appetite and the course of the hospital treatment. Now my bipolar disorder has me a bit hypomanic, a state that tends to limit my appetite, not really connected with the ED.

However, since that operation, there are a lot of foods that churn my stomach just thinking of them. This is not uncommon after the type of operation I had; I have read lots of similar accounts of this by other people posting on ulcer surgery forums who had similar procedures to mine.

What is disturbing me and reminding me of my ED again is that I am once again labeling foods, this time as foods I can eat and foods I cannot (meaning consuming them actually causes me stomach upset). I don't have a written list or anything, just a mental one. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, grilled fish or chicken, foods like that don't upset my stomach. But the more processed a food is or the higher the fat content, eating it just causes me stomach discomfort. A lot of these foods I used to like such as pizza, hamburgers, French fries, chili, hot dogs, nachos, rich desserts like cake or brownies. It disturbingly reminds me of a "bad" foods ED list even though these are foods I would eat if I didn't have to deal with indigestion and stomach issues afterwards. I don't know. Some people report over time they can eat these foods again (and I am still not 6 weeks post-surgery) or at least eat them again in small quantity. Other people say it just never got better for them, they have had to stick with eating bland foods the rest of their lives.

I have an appointment with my gastroenterologist on Tuesday. Since I am finally in less pain and can think more clearly again, I will ask him about it. It seems I did get lucky in the hospital, and the trauma surgeons consulted one of the top ranked gastroenterologists in the area (he also comes with a top ranked expensive price, but I will do whatever it takes to not have one of those surgeries again). He has me on a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) twice daily for my stomach, not sure how long he will have me on that, and he has scheduled me for an upper endoscopy in April, to rule out other stomach issues such as more ulcers. I guess the course of treatment will follow according to the results from the endoscopy.

While I am happy I did not die from this event (without medical intervention, the mortality rate is quite high), and I am thankful to finally be out of so much pain I wish I had died, the food thing is upsetting and disturbing me. I hate that I am starting to categorize foods again, and worse, now there are foods that make me physically feel ill when I eat them. This never happened to me, even when my ED was bad. I had anorexia, sure, but I never restricted the way a lot of people with anorexia do. I did eat fewer calories, but I always ate daily, probably comparable to the amount of food a general dieter (on a healthy diet) would eat daily. My problem was that I would then spends ages over-exercising to compensate for all the food I ate. So when I gained weight back later, I never experienced re-feeding syndrome or had digestive issues, I think because my body was still used to eating and processing food; I just ate way too little for the amount I exercised.

Now, I need to gain weight again, from the surgery, from a bad bout of stomach flu, from the lack of appetite caused by hypomania. I probably need to consult a dietician again, to find foods that are not highly processed and won't upset my stomach but have sufficient calories to help me gain weight. Our health insurance is the pits, though. I can barely afford the psychiatrist and my meds, let alone the gastroenterologist and upcoming upper endoscopy. I need a therapist too and can't afford that either. I hate all the bad ED memories this situation is causing to resurface

I spent over an hour on the phone on Friday with the state department of health & human services, answering all sorts of invasive financial questions only to learn at the end of the interview, sorry, my husband makes too much money as a high school science teacher, so sad the state gives teachers terrible health insurance, and I cannot get any health or mental health aid at all. In this country, you practically have to be unemployed with zero income to get any sort of government help, even if you have a recognized disability like bipolar disorder that makes it impossible for you to work. I want help, but I can't find a way to get it I am so frustrated!
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:04 PM   #2
Wild Coyote
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My Mood: labeling foods again...sigh

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Heart Re: labeling foods again...sigh

I am not overly familiar with eating disorders. I hope someone who is comes along to comment.

I hear you on the health insurance issues and have very similar issues in that arena. I am shocked a teacher is given a plan with such a high deductible. We need good teachers and they deserve better.

You have been through so very much lately.

My heart goes out to you.

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