It’s Not Just About Food (Or: ED Has Two Mommies)

If you’ve ever dated a momma’s boy, you know how hard that relationship can be. (Or, if you’re like me, and have only lived vicariously through literary characters analyzed through a post-Freudian Oedipal lens, then you’ll at least understand know the pitfalls of such a relationship on an intellectual level–and probably have a very low real-live-dates-to-books-read ratio like me.)

Having lived pretty exclusively with ED for the last 13 years, I know that ED has some serious mommy-issues–compounded because ED, it turns out, has two mommies. Let me explain:

ED was born of an ill-fated merger between Biology and Socialization, perhaps brought into being by the half-witted sperm-donor we alternately call Culture, Social Pressure, and the Mass Media). ED was breastfed on Biology, drinking the milk of imbalanced neurotransmitters and nourished with genetic (or epigenetic) traits that could only be corrected if detected amidst the usual white noise of personality and assumption. ED was brought up on the knee of Socialization, taught habit, ritual, obsession, and isolation. And once ED was unleashed upon the dating scene, he immediately began pushing his issues onto his latest fling: me.

My entire life, I suffered from depression and anxiety, but those “disorders” were often brushed off as hysteria, hypochondria, and a type-A personality. Even as a child, I found it hard to develop real relationships with people because I was constantly isolating myself* by burying myself in books, art projects, and games that could only be played by me. I had obsessive compulsive tendencies** (a merger between the biological and social), and developed habits and rituals that deepened both the depression/anxiety and the isolation.

So when I had my “aha” moment and met ED at the ripe old age of 13–on the day I first gave in to Culture and Social Pressure, the day I reached puberty, no less–I was exactly the kind of girl that ED was looking for. And it took me a long, long time to realize that I needed to get out of that relationship. Like, until this year.

Some of the interventions were medical, and I’ll post about how I broke free from much of the depression/anxiety without using Western medication soon. However the biggest intervention that I’ve needed (and, in many ways, still do need) is social. While biology can be lived with, habit and ritual–and their cousin obsession–are killers. It takes a lot of strength to learn how to break free from the mental and emotional prison that they construct, and even more strength to keep from returning.

I say all of this not to excuse myself from taking the blame for my inability to form solid lasting relationships with people–romantic or otherwise–but to publicly come to terms with some of the issues I have struggled with (and know others continue to struggle with as well).

It’s relevant at this point in my story because the last of my relationships in Florida became the biggest casualties in my struggle with ED–just as they had in the past. And it kills me to write about them, knowing that I was fighting a losing battle and didn’t even know it at the time.

– K.

*My mom’s favorite story to tell is this: when I was three, she put me into preschool. One day, she came to the playground to pick me up. All of the other kids were playing with each other, but I was off to the side, spinning in circles by myself. I think this may actually be a metaphor for my life up until recently.

**Examples include obsessive hand washing, elaborate bedtime rituals that turned into insomnia if performed incorrectly, and perfectionism bordering on hysteria.+

+Ask anyone who knew me in high school about that last one…I guarantee they have stories for you.

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