Dragon? Nonsense!

“There hasn’t been a dragon in these parts for a thousand years!”

Ill cop to being a huge Lord of the Rings fan, and with zero shame too.  It was the series that defined my high school years, as the first movie came out my freshman year and the last came out months before I graduated.   It was the every December event for three glorious years.  In December of 2003, the final movie came out.  It was part of all the fun that went with a senior year – my friends and I were HUGE fans of these movies.

Like Frodo in the movie though, I was fighting my own demons.  I was in the middle of an escalating eating disorder.  It went on to rob me of a lot more of myself physically and also rob me of part of myself mentally that 14 years later I still haven’t found again.

So now, to the point of this post: is an eating disorder a mental illness?  I’ve now dealt with both, and one – the mental illness – is bringing back the other (the dragon of my eating disorder) into my life.  It’s at the fringes of my heart and mind and I can feel it closing in with ever increasing speed.

There was a time when my eating disorder was something that had happened, and it was a badge of honor to have survived it.  Perhaps it was folly, but I also never planned to have to deal with it again.  It was on the shelf, like a trophy. I didn’t plan to have to look the dragon in the eyes anymore.  My bipolar has brought other plans to the front though unfortunately so here we find ourselves.   And I’ll return to my original, sincere question: is an eating disorder a mental illness?   Or am I just someone with enough moxie that life has decided I should deal with both at the same time?  Because they’re here.

And I need help with managing them.

Heres the brutal circle of it all.

– eating disorder under control, I was in a happy healthy place.

– I went on my mission and had the best time of my life.  The eating disorder was under control.

– I came home and started school.  Under control.

– got married, under control

-kids, under control, enjoyed the pregnancy.  Wasn’t even bothered by the weight gain as a “pregnant dad.”

– life for six years, two jobs, ups and downs of life … under control.

-bipolar diagnosis, three months of strong antipsychotics, and the dragon is back.  It’s only been 14 years, not 1000 like Bilbo said.  When I wrote a week ago, it was just peeking around the corner but now he has turned and is looking me right in the eye.

In three months, it’s all been wrecked and I’m ready to go back to eating nothing.  So again, I ask:

does eating disorder = mental illness ??

I feel like I could be on the verge of a hypomanic state, which isn’t a full on manic episode but is almost equally dangerous because it can lull you into a sense of false security.

The body issues seem to have shown up because of the weight gain that’s come with the meds.   I haven’t been this big in 14 years and my mind is particularly weak right now when it comes to resisting down moments you know?

If anyone has thoughts or ideas about this please share.   There’s some genuine concern and curiosity here on my part and I’m glad for a forum like this where I can share and hopefully get some feedback.  In the meantime, I’m glad to have friends and family to lean on in this time.  It seems like we never get to stop fighting, and I right?



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