Diabetes and Eating Disorder: Or The Ultimate Weight Loss Plan
I crawled into the doctors’ surgery and life as I knew it ended. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes my entire chocolate life flashed before my eyes. Oh how naive I was to think that would be it!!
With a frantic doctor and even more erratic reception staff buzzing around me I barely had a minute to think. Ten minutes later an ambulance arrived to cart me off to hospital and thus began my life of a diabetic.
Above my head doctors were uttering words meaningless to me then, like Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) and more painful suggestions such as arterial blood gases. No longer I had my name but was a “female patient, or a rarity to have had the onset of diabetes at age 23.” I felt like a celebrity as student doctors in their masses arranged themselves around my bed, looking at me strangely. Of course I was embarrassed as I thought that this had all been preventable, that diabetes was something I brought on myself. Something that was simply untrue.
So they sorted out my DKA and I was sent on my merry way. I was even introduced to a new regime which allowed me to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. The old traditional thoughts of diabetes were vanished. Hello chocolate!! I had a positive outlook and diabetes could not hold me back.
Life has a way of winding and twisting and not always for the better. I had a ‘honeymoon period’ where my body didn’t need very much insulin as it produced a little of its own. This was brilliant as I didn’t have much dietary restrictions, and things like fruit juice entered my bloodstream just a little quicker than my insulin and made me feel a little fruity. During this “honeymoon period” I ran to my local shop and bought gallons of tropical juice. I had missed it dearly.
As the weeks passed I felt a little more tired and thirsty. A strong indicator that my body had packed in all insulin producing. Before I began upping my doses I noticed another thing – I fit into smaller jeans. I was losing weight fast. Still carrying my baby weight which I hadn’t shifted for quite some time I found the answer. I would stop the majority of my insulin and lose weight. As it was very dangerous to play around with insulin, I decided to only do it until I went down to the next size. I didn’t have to wait long, around a week and a half.
The clothes were getting smaller and smaller. As the clothes size dropped so did the energy levels. I decided to stand in front of a full size mirror (something which I couldn’t bring myself to do in quite a while). I expected to see a beautiful body but I couldn’t see any change from what I was before. I saw a beast. People everywhere were commending me on the weight loss and saying how fantastic it was. However, the reflection didn’t change.
Looking back you might think it was mad. I went from a size 12 to a size 4 in a matter of months but all I could see were the fat, wobbly bits. Each compliment I received urged me to go that bit more. The tight clothes that I hadn’t fitted into in years, or ever, were falling off me.
Those around me, especially those who were close soon changed their opinion. I had 6 trips into hospital with DKA. One of those times was a visit to the resus ward. It was touch and go yet I resented the weight I put on in hospital and with those release papers I was free to start it all over again.
I was walking between a tight line and referred to an eating disorder clinic. Though I didn’t feel like I had a problem. In my mind it was just jealousy. I didn’t not eat, I ate plenty. And I kept it down. How could I have an eating disorder?
Diabetes without insulin works in opposite to a non-diabetic. The more carbs I eat (without insulin) the faster I lose weight. My justification was that people use dieting pills which aren’t great for their health either. It was once put to me that smokers don’t think they’ll get lung cancer. They know the risks but there’s a disassociation. Given all the health risks for me, and I know them (death, blindness, kidney failure, amputation etc the list is endless) -why would I do it? Disassociation was the only answer I could give.
The verdict on the eating disorder is that I had atypical bulimia and atypical anorexia. Bulimic behavioural tendencies (over eating) and anorexia because although I was eating my body wasn’t receiving the nutrients it needed, effectively starving myself.
So how did I deal with this? I haven’t, it’s still a battle. Sometimes I see things for what they really are. The mirrored reflection and camera pictures tell different stories. The mirror is distorted and horrible. I see a beast. In the camera pictures again its horrible but because it’s so skinny. I want to feed the girl in the picture. I did for a while and I gave her her medicine. She glowed for a while but her demons came back.
The doctors keep pestering me to change things but it’s easier said than done. That’s not to say that the eating disorder will always be here because when the time is right I will get rid of it.
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