Not If But When
I find myself fascinated that anorexia is the disease I have lived with for well over a decade considering, not only have I always loved food, I have also considered it my comfort, my reward, my medicine, my ally. I identified as having bulimia in my twenties but as the binge/purge urge eased, I believed having an eating disorder was just a phase I had gone through, I never imagined that when eating disorder 2.0 emerged it would be so different, so sneaky, so fierce. Why anorexia?
Apparently, I have the right personality for it.
When, after her initial assessment, Kirsten suggested that I had the traits of a person with an over controlled personality, I laughed.“Tell me something I don’t know,” I said to Kirsten, “my family gets on me all the time about how controlling I am.”
“Being over controlled is not the same thing as being controlling,” Kirsten patiently explained, “it is more a matter of excessive self-control.” As she continued to describe some of the characteristics of an over controlled personality, my brain simultaneously tried to absorb and resist the words. Was this accurate? Was this what I had become? Over controlled characteristics.
“It’s not a bad thing Sherri,” Kirsten tried to assure me, “people with over controlled tendencies are the people who get things done in this world. They are do-ers.” Ok THAT I could kind of see.
The get-er done” mentality was the reason Marc and I married, had a second kid, and live in our current home. It is also the reason Marc has thrown up his hands in frustration much of our life together. Marc likes to think about things, write lists, and research before making a decision, all which have made him a successful business owner. Me not so much. When I make up my mind about something it’s not an “if” it’s a “when”.So, when Dylan was just over a year old, I decided it was time to shoot for a second baby. I was hung up on that whole "two years apart is the ideal sibling age difference" theory. Good thing I got us going because unlike Dylan, this was not a one and done deal. It was more like five months and done.
“Marc, we cannot raise two toddlers in this house”, I adamantly declared two months into my pregnancy, “It isn’t kid friendly and I think we need to consider looking for something smaller and flatter,” (now with two teenagers I regret those words). Our house was a spacious tri level on a hillside lot. The backyard was two stories down from the main floor as were what we planned as the kid’s bedrooms. Nope. Not gonna work for this mom.
“Sherri, let’s think about this,” Marc was using his calm voice, the one he uses when he is trying to slow me down. “We have only lived here two years, we will lose money if we sell now so let's talk more about it when I return from my business trip next week ok?” Needless to say, we ended up talking about the FOR SALE sign he found displayed in our yard upon his return. Oops, were we going to talk about that first?
So when did it all change? When did I go from a get it done do-er to a risk avoidant, rigid, compulsive, perfectionist? And more importantly why?