As I write this, I’m fairly sure no one’s ever going to read this. Part of me hopes that I can keep it to myself, and that the problems will go away. That I’ll wake up in the morning, hit delete, post about honey apple ice cream and move on with my day.
People have been talking more and more openly about their experiences with depression and anxiety and honestly. I’m so grateful for their stories and for their help in de-stigmatizing these mental disorders… making it ok to go find help and honestly making it feel less like you’re a total loon for going on antidepressants. Because in college I didn’t have that. I was depressed and I had other issues. I saw a therapist but never felt comfortable accepting her suggestion to maybe see someone about medication.
Eventually, I stopped seeing her because I found other ways to cope. And by cope, I mean mask the symptoms through copious amounts of exercise… until this year when everything boiled over.
The problem with numbing your feelings with exercise is if you get hurt, it totally takes away the only coping skill you have. So when everything is already starting to bubble, even while still exercising… and upping the amount of exercise… when you get hurt and don’t have that anymore… things get bad.
When I hurt my knee, exercise was already not working great to mask my anxiety. And when I stopped… it felt like everything stopped. My depression which I had been able to dodge, came back full force. It was hard to make it through a whole week of work because I was basically have an anxiety attack more days than I wasn’t, and I basically stopped feeling anything but anxiety.
Which brings us back to food. See, this is the part that I feel especially nervous to share. Who cares if I’m taking anti-anxiety and antidepressant medication. That’s basically normal for people now. But for some reason, saying I’m an adult who can’t bring herself to eat food.. that’s scary. I feel so much shame about it.
Whenever I talk to people about therapy, I tell them I’m going for anxiety and depression. If we’re really good friends, I’ll tack on “and issues with food,” “problems with food,” something like that. Because that’s how I talk about it. Like “oh food and I, we just need to talk some things out.”
It took me until this weekend to say out loud to my boyfriend “I have an eating disorder” and actually believe it.
When you’re seeing a dietitian, a therapist, a psychiatrist, and you’re in group therapy, and you ate nothing but an apple that whole day, you have to admit to yourself you have a disorder.
But still, I feel silly that I could have this disorder. Even though I’m working through recovery and it’s hard every single day… I still think I should just be able to be normal and eat food.
But here’s the stupid thing about eating disorders. They numb you. Totally numb you from your feelings. That’s why it was such a great new coping skill when I lost exercise. It numbed my feelings, and hey, if I lost weight it meant I was doing something right, accomplishing something…
But when you start eating again, suddenly you have 10000 feelings and no coping skills, because your only coping skill is a dangerous food behavior, and you basically feel lost in it all.
This week a girl from group asked me “is it weird to you that you run a food blog?”
And to me it’s not. I started baking in college when I went through my first round of this. And it was baking that kind of helped me channel my food obsession into more healthy ways.
It was actually this banana bread recipe that I used to credit with me “overcoming my eating issues.” Because it was the first thing I ever baked that turned out right. The first recipe I ever tweaked to make as perfect as possible. It was my first staple recipe and I saw everything that happened after I made this banana bread as going uphill with my relationship with food.
But, honestly, it didn’t help me overcome anything. This food blog is just a place for me to do something I love – create recipes, be creative, take some fun pictures – really develop something I’m proud of. It’s a haven for me. Because even though when I’m baking it’s a 50/50 shot if I’m going share it like a normal person or binge on it in one sitting, I get something more from it. I have something to focus on that brings me joy, and fulfillment.
I remember nailing my recipe for mimosa scones and just feeling so proud. Sometimes that’s a hard feeling to come across and I’m happy to have this blog here to help me feel that.
What does feel weird to me though is how, week after week, I write here and post recipes and present myself as a person who isn’t totally censoring 90% of her feelings.
Basically, I hate that I can casually tell people about my anxiety, and depression (and I have mentioned it here before, in passing), but I’m totally terrified to mention anything about my feelings around food.
I know there have been big strides made in eating disorder treatment over the years, but I hate how shameful it feels. No matter how opened I am about it, how accepting and kind people are about it, I still feel embarrassed. But now you know. And hopefully, one day I won’t feel like I have anything to be embarrassed about.
This banana bread recipe may not solve your problems. It may not do anything more than make your day a little bit better. But at the very least, I hope it does just that.
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/2 cup applesauce (or oil)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cup wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Optional mix ins - raspberries, chocolate chips, nuts, magic
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Mix bananas, applesauce and sugar together well.
- Add the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and stir until just combined.
- Fold in whatever mix-ins you feel like adding and pour the batter into a greased or lined bread pan.
- Cook for 50-60 minutes - I always check it after 45 minutes. You have to stick a toothpick or something in and make sure it comes out clean, it's difficult to tell on the outside if it's done.
- Let cool on cooling rack