It’s finally happened. Guilt over not posting has won out over anxiety about writing about a particular subject. You see, I promised myself when I started this blog that I would write about whatever was going on with me at whatever time it happens, no flinching, no hiding. Sorry about the silence on the blog. Here goes, a post about jealousy…
I’ve been feeling really jealous lately and it’s been bothering me. Most of the time I’m okay with whatever pangs of jealousy come up because they’re really normal kinds of jealousy. What I mean by that is that most of the time I’m jealous of really normal, understandable, transitory things. When I feel a stab of jealousy over someone’s job, it’s perfectly understandable since I’m unemployed and desperate for a job. The same goes for when I get jealous over people with money, looks, children, and so forth. These are all things that I want in the future or things I know I’ll never be able to have. I can understand and forgive myself for them. I acknowledge that pang and move on.
However, recently I’ve found myself jealous over things that are kinda…well, icky. And it makes me think there’s something wrong with me (more than normal that is).
Here, in no particular order, are things I’ve been jealous over lately that I’ve got a problem with and/or can’t quite get past:
People with Bipolar Disorder. Now, I’ve got what they call Unipolar Disorder in the psych biz. That means my
moods just get really low. If you’ve got Bipolar Disorder, your moods would go from high (manic) to low (depression). As you might have guessed, this disorder used to be called Manic Depression. (If you want more info on this disorder, click here).
Why am I jealous of these people? Let me list the ways:
- They get to feel good. At some point in their lives, people diagnosed with Bipolar have a manic period. Granted, that mania may be mild or extreme, but at least they get to feel something more than the horrific depression I get sometimes.
- They get a lot of attention. I subscribe to the Facebook pages of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), their website is here, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, their website is here, and a website called HealthyPlace, their website is here. Sometimes it seems as if most of the posts/articles I see in Facebook are about Bipolar. Not plain old, I-only-get-really-really-down, Unipolar Depression.
- A lot of celebrities have been “coming out” as Bipolar. It almost seems as if it’s the new “sexy” diagnosis. So it gets a lot of attention in the media.
The worst part of it is that I know that I’m blessed in a way to only have the boring diagnosis of Unipolar Depression. People who have Bipolar have a much harder time getting diagnosed and treated, have a much higher rate of suicide, and overall have the worst of the two diseases.
And yet, I’m jealous. It just makes me feel like I’m a selfish person because I’ve got the boring diagnosis. Ick.
People with Anorexia and/or Bulimia. You’d think the one thing I wouldn’t be jealous of would be someone with a worse eating disorder than I’ve got. For those new to my blog, I’ve got Binge Eating Disorder (for an overview of all three disorders, click here). I just eat…and eat…and eat. A lot. I don’t throw it up or over-exercise to compensate. Hence my lovely circus-lady-fat-physique.
So why am I jealous? Let me list the ways:
- Just like people with Bipolar, those with anorexia and bulimia get a lot more attention than those who just binge. Think about it, how many times have you seen a movie of the week, or Lifetime movie, about someone with Binge Eating Disorder? Bet you can’t think of one. And yet, there are plenty of movies about anorexia and bulimia. Celebrities who have anorexia and/or bulimia are profiled all the time in the media. Very few celebrities even admit to binging without purging or dieting in some manner to off-set their binges. Yep, starving, throwing up, and over-exercising seem very sexy. Just eating until your stomach can’t take anymore, not so sexy.
- Anorexia and, to some extent, bulimia, is very visible. And when people see them and understand what they’re doing, they (most of the time) react with some modicum of sympathy or respect. It’s pretty easy to understand that someone who is starving themselves or throwing up all the time is in need of some help. Not so much bingers. We’re often the butt (no pun intended) of jokes. We’re told that we just need to stop eating and get off the couch. Let me tell you, it is not that simple. If I could’ve done it, I would’ve done it twenty years ago.
- Control. Anorexics, and to some extent, bulimics, have some modicum of control over their eating. All three
disorders are constantly thinking about food, but at least anorexics/bulimics have enough discipline to stop or compensate. I can’t seem to stop or even attempt to off-set it in the way they do. Granted, I don’t want to throw up or abuse laxatives (not that abusing laxatives actually works, more on that here) but at least bulimics are making an attempt to control their weight. And anorexics have the ultimate in control. They starve themselves. The exact opposite of how I deal with food and my emotions. Often I wish I had that control. But I don’t.
- Believe it or not, there are actual websites out there that are all about helping those with anorexia and bulimia to continue their eating disorder behaviors. Often called pro-ana (ana=anorexia) and pro-mia (mia=bulimia) websites, they’re all about getting deeper and deeper into these awful diseases. Are there any pro-binge websites? Not that I’ve ever heard of.
Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not advocating anyone, including myself, try to become anorexic or bulimic. Both
anorexics and bulimics have a much harder time recovering than bingers. Both are much more likely to die from their diseases than a binger. They are awful, horrific, terrifying diseases.
And yet, I’m jealous of them. Ick.
How sick am I that I’m jealous of people with these diseases/disorders that are so much worse than what I’ve got? Why can’t I just be glad that I don’t have it as bad as those sufferers?
Maybe it’s because those people have illnesses/disorders that are often much more visible. And they get more sympathy. If you see a person going through a manic phase, you can tell they’ve got an illness. An anorexic is obviously sick. My illnesses seem invisible. With enough effort, I can smile through my depression. I eat alone. People out on the street are much more likely to yell the name of a famous weight-loss company at me than to think I might need to be hospitalized. My size is out there for everyone to see, but most just think I’m an undisciplined, lazy, person not worth their respect.
And sometimes I feel that way about myself. If I had a disease that would kill me quicker (anorexia) or was more fun (bipolar), would I respect myself more? I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t think much of myself for being jealous of those people who have those diseases/disorders. I know it’s wrong. Those people suffer so much, have a much harder time, are in so much more danger than I am. And everytime I feel jealous of them, despite the fact that I remind myself of this, I still can’t make that jealousy go away.
How icky is that?
If you need help with any of the above mentioned diseases/disorders, please don’t wait. The sooner you
get help the better. Here are some hotlines (all for the USA):
National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA): (800) 826-3632
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline: (800) 950-6264
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) Helpline: 630-577-1330 (Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm, Central Time)
National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA): 1-800-931-2237 (Monday-Thursday from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm and Friday from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Eastern Time)
Blessings to all of you.