Friday, January 18, 2013

Unexpected Triggers

Up to this point, I feel like I have managed my reaction and approach to triggering situations pretty well. 

For example, I avoid the gym, buffets, diet talk, certain websites, and even a few different foods that don't sit well with me. Shopping is always a sticky situation, but I have developed a few strategies that help me survive the process. Pushing back meal times, allowing myself to get too hungry, even eating too fast can send my trigger red flags up in the air. But, like I said, over the past few months I have learned to think about triggers in a healthier manner and was feeling confident for a change.

Until yesterday. 

In my biology class we just started a chapter that breaks down carbohydrates, lipids (fats) and proteins and talks about how they are used in the body. A discussion about calories and metabolism was started. I began squirming in my seat a little, but kept my cool. There was something about being in a room full of people talking about calories that made me want to take a bathroom break or something.

The high fructose corn syrup and childhood obesity debate was somehow brought up next. A girl in the front row was giving her two cents and made a statement saying, "The obesity epidemic is just as bad as eating disorders in this country. If people could learn to listen to their bodies and feed them appropriately, we wouldn't be having this discussion."

For those of you who know me well, you can picture me sitting there biting my tongue and scratching my head furiously. 

After that statement was made, a boy, also sitting in the front row said, "I agree. Eating disorders of any form are confusing. Nutrition is basic stuff." Followed by our teacher, "I could never be anorexic, I love my food too much (laughing). I don't get it either. The obesity problem makes more sense, but I am a chocoholic. That's my eating disorder (still laughing)." At this point the class is roaring with laughter.

Really? Did that just happen? Wake me up. 

At this point my hair was a complete mess from feverishly scratching my head and I was ready to start pulling it out if this conversation continued. I wonder if anyone could tell how that I was crawling out of my skin. Surely the girl sitting next to me could hear my heart pounding. After I felt my eyes begin to well up with tears I had to leave the room and collect myself in the ladies room.

Unexpected triggers. Surely I'm not the only one who has dealt with type of thing. Honestly, I can see where my reaction was a little extreme, but I have never been in a room full of people laughing at eating disorders before. How does one deal with triggers that seem to come out of the blue like this? If you think about it, this type of conversation happens all the time; the general public really doesn't understand.

Being the optimist that I am, finding the progress in this situation has been a challenge. I spent the afternoon beating myself up for not being able to handle it. Triggering things happen every single day and I have been able to  move on with my day, so what made this any worse?

But, after a good night's rest, I have found a little more self compassion. Granted, the normal person wouldn't react the way I did, my normality is not the same right now. Just like I know I can't go to the gym like normal people, certain situations will arise that I have to handle differently. 

Unexpected triggers will always be there, but that's life. There's no avoiding it. How I choose to deal with those triggers is the only thing I can control.



  1. Kels, I am looking forward to the day, WITH YOU, when you "EDucate" (ironic huh? and no pun intended) those in the dark. There are MANY in the dark and even more the ingorant.

    The way I see it, you DID HANDLE IT...YOU took yourself to a place to regroup.....that IS HANDELING IT kiddo. :)
    The positive I see is your passion for progress!

    I believe ANYONE with "passion" for or about ANYTHING or ANYONE can be triggered into "action" (whatever the "action" may be). We may not always be pleased with our "action" and that "action" may seem out of the "norm" to others without the same "passion", but I do not see that as a negative thing. :)

    Luv your "passion" for "Progress"...and that is what I see in this.
    xoxoxo luvmuch

    1. Thanks Sandy- I love the irony in "EDucate" haha. I might keep that with me for years to come. :) Love you! Miss you! <3

  2. I know the feeling of unexpected triggers- in my food and nutrition class... I know triggering enough with the label. We were doing a unit on ED's and many people made comments like "I could never be anorexic, I want to have anorexia for a day to see what it feels like, and "that's just so gross." The teacher then proceeded to show a documentary on ED's. I asked to leave the room with her and the guidance counselor's permission. It's hard when people don't understand. You did the right thing though :)

    1. Oh wow, that would be really difficult to deal with. Good for you for asking to leave the room and take care of yourself! It must take some serious guts and self determination to get through that class. I don't think people mean to hurt others with those comments, but that's the problem; it's not an easy thing to understand.
      Thanks so much for the comment! Good luck with the rest of your Food & Nutrition class! <3

  3. This reminds me of a time in high school when some fat kid wore a "I beat anorexia" t-shirt to class and everyone found it funny but me. I had to laugh with everyone else because I didn't want others to know that it bothered me because I was in fact struggling with overcoming a real battle with anorexia. What I learned over the year since then is that you can't control what people are going to do and say and you can't tell them to sensor themselves around you, instead you have to sensor yourself around them. You can control what you allow into you mind and you can control how you deal with it. It's good to hear you have put this behind you!

    1. I love this! (Well, not the "I beat anorexia t-shirt" but,) The "you can't control what you allow into your mind and you can control how you deal with it," is so perfect. I will have to keep that in mind the next time something like this comes up. You are so strong, Tayla! Thanks for your words of wisdom. <3