Written by: Ryan K
Originally posted: 9/3/2015
In honor of Judge Berman's decision to nullify Tom Brady's ridiculous 4-game suspension, I would like to chat a bit about our beloved QB and how he has helped with my eating disorder. I know what you're thinking. This is too much of a stretch. Kim (going by Kim now, hooray) is pulling way too hard to make Tom Brady somehow relevant to eating disorders. Doesn't really make sense.
OH, but it does.
In a perfect world, nobody has an eating disorder. In a semiperfect world, if someone MUST have an eating disorder, at least everyone else understands and is supportive and knows exactly how to help. In the real world, nobody knows what the fuck is happening.
When I started treatment at Walden back in December, I had quite the dilemma. How are my family members the ones who want me to recover more than anyone else in the world, also the ones who are the most upsetting?
For years, they were desperate for me to get help, but were forced to remain helpless as I wallowed in denial. Beginning last year, the patience was almost gone. They were mad.
Most families want to help. They really do. But because of general lack of education, both families and patients are pretty much in the dark. Exasperated, they would ask, "What do you want us to do? How do we help you? Just tell us and we'll do that!"
The answer was I don't fucking know.
Eating disorders are like snowflakes, only way uglier. They are all different. Something that may trigger one person may go unnoticed by another. Most of the time, we don't know what upsets us until it happens, which is super fun. When my family pushed me about the eating disorder, I would react strongly. The subject was still VERY sore for me. Like Michael-Phelps-after-the-Olympics sore. Or after drinking and driving. Sorry, low blow. Anyway, I would retort with, "NO, DAD. YOU'RE WRONG. WE'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THAT. THAT'S NOT HOW IT WORKS. YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND. JUST STOP! PLEASE, JUST STOP! WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT? THAT DOESN'T EVEN MAKE ANY SENSE!"
So here my poor father is trying to help but going about everything completely wrong and pissing me off instead. There was an instance where I yelled back, "That's just WRONG. Whatever, we'll talk about it at the family meeting on Thursday." To which he spitefully responded, "Clearly I'm not helping at all, so maybe I shouldn't even go to the family meeting."
I LOST MY SHIT.
I yelled, "FINE. YOU DON'T WANT TO HELP ME? I'LL JUST BE SICK FOREVER AND DIE!"
I proceeded to openly binge eat.
As you can imagine, these episodes rarely ended well. I am not proud of any of this and actually feel slightly embarrassed right now. The ED still had way too much power and I still felt way too much shame, so when questioned, I lashed out in anger.
Here's where Tom Brady comes in.
I told my family about the code word method. Anytime somebody said something "wrong" or triggering, etc., instead of reacting in frustration and telling everyone they don't know what the hell they're talking about, I would say, "I love Tom Brady." This worked wonderfully. Supports felt like we had some sort of inner circle agreement and wouldn't feel attacked and get defensive. And I wouldn't get all worked up in a tizzy because nobody will ever understand me. Later on when I felt better, I would explain why the situation was stressful and how we could prevent that for next time. Talk about healthy communication!
If you're struggling with an ED and your loved ones always say something wrong, try to be compassionate with them. They are almost as lost as you are.
So thanks, Tom Brady. Thanks for helping me communicate with my family. I'll see you in Game 1!
Original post can be found at www.ryandoesresi.com.