Side Notes: Portia de Rossi Book

[[Side Notes: Portia de Rossi Book

Where do I even begin with this book?  I am all over the place with how I feel about this book.  But let me back track on something a bit.

My goal for Biz’s Holiday Challenge was to enjoy myself more and not feel guilty about the things I eat or do.  I went to Kauai with a strong hold on this goal, and as hard as it was when I first got there, by the time I left I felt so free and worthy of the things that I have.  I felt so much better about my body, my life, my self esteem and so much more.  I was hoping it would continue after I got home and it did, but not for more than a day, when I started reading Portia de Rossi’s book, Unbearable Lightness.

I have heard from so many people, recovered and not, about how great this book is.  I have been scoping it out for a while, but didn’t want to spent the almost $30 for the hardback version that’s only available.  When Whit got me a Kindle for my birthday, I knew I could get the book for cheap so I finally purchased it and started reading it on the way home from Kauai.

At first I found it to be like a fiction book, nothing too provoking or completely gripping.  But as I progressed through the book in the past three days, I found myself in what felt like I was reading my diaries from so many years ago.  It was like an ugly flashback of past behaviors and was completely overwhelming.

As I realized all the things in the book that were so similar to what I had done in the past…I also felt myself starting to think back to those days…and feel those emotions again.  I suddenly remembered all the foods I put on my “Bad Foods” list and avoided like the plague.  I remember the constant movement, the bitterness of everything feeling cold, and pure exhaustion.

But as I started to feel those emotions again, I also felt them coming into action.  It took me a while to see it, and one thing set me off on this bad path from a reminder in the book: a banana.  When I was in the depth of my ED I never EVER ate a banana.  It was like the fruit of the devil, even though they were one of my favorites and could eat everyday.  For the past few days, I’ve had 5 bananas sitting on the counter, wanting to eat them, but feeling like I couldn’t.  I’ve hated the feeling, but can’t seem to make myself grab one.

It’s driving me absolutely crazy.

I’ve never been triggered by a book like this before, and believe me when I say that I have read so so many so similar to it.  After realizing how it made me feel, I immediately stopped reading it.  I knew that if I continued, it was going to bring back too many feelings and put me in a very very bad place.  But I think the worst feeling of all, was the feeling of failure that came with realizing all the numbers and calories and exercising and …everything really.  It made me feel so low.

I’ve got a very crazy work week ahead of me this week and the next, causing a serious amount of stress and sleep deprivation, so I can’t let this kind of thing keep me from being strong and doing my job.  But it suddenly seems so hard…

Did you read Unbearable Lightness?  What did you think?  I’m very torn about finishing the book…

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22 Responses to Side Notes: Portia de Rossi Book

  1. RunEatRepeat says:

    I haven’t read it.
    You need to read uplifting fiction. Seriously.

    Let me know if you need to talk.

    Eat the bananas. :)

    <3 Monica

  2. I haven’t read that book, but there are some things similar to it that have triggered me–sometimes even blogs. For me the key is realizing when the feelings start to emerge and turning away from whatever it may be.

    You were so right to stop reading. Good for you!

    • Melissa says:

      So very true. I too have stopped reading several blogs because of some ED tendencies. It’s definitely good to realize what is good for us and to stay away from that which makes us uncomfortable.

  3. Katy says:

    I read this book in January and I felt so depressed for the weeks it took me to read it. (I couldn’t read it non-stop because it was so heavy so it took me a while to get through it.) I would never recommend for anyone to read this because it’s packed full of behaviours and unhealthy habits and thoughts.

    When I read it I was hoping for it to be more recovery oriented but it wasn’t. It definitely had a negative effect on my state of mind so you’re not the first that it’s happened to :)

    • Melissa says:

      I was hoping it would be more recovery oriented too, but it certainly wasn’t and I guess it caught me off guard. I definitely wouldn’t suggest it to some of my readers or those recovering either.

  4. I read that book in one sitting, on New Year’s Eve of this past year, and like you, it reminded me of the things I used to do in my eD. However, I took that as a “My goodness, I never want to be like that again” situation, and I used the book from there as a template on how to be strong in the face of those feelings. I don’t know what I can say to help you adopt that mindset, but I hope you find peace soon.

    • Melissa says:

      I’m now using it as a way of showing myself that I will never ever let myself go that far ever again. The misery she describes is a reminder of how I never want to feel!

  5. Amy Lauren says:

    Good call to stop reading that book. I haven’t read it but I have read a lot about it and pretty much determined it’s probably not in my best interest to read it. I know the story is true and you can’t sugarcoat things, but it’s really sad that it’s not a more uplifting book and makes people want to restrict or change their eating habits… but I can see how it will. For the audience who would likely read it, it’s definitely enough to set someone off and back into ED related behaviors (or deeper into them).

    And eat the bananas if you want one. There really aren’t that many calories in them, and they have potassium and fiber which are good for you :).

  6. C says:

    I’m almost finished with the book (I’m at the epilogue). I actually read most of it over 2 days because I couldn’t put it down. It was very engrossing but like you said, reminded me of my worst days. It hurts to think about those memories, but at the same time it makes me appreciate how far along I am in recovery.

    I used to fear bananas too, but now what I do with my fear foods is sit down and enjoy them. Most of the time. More often than not, I can’t make myself sit down at the table and eat, say, nutella…I’m spooning it out of the jar, standing at the kitchen counter. But I’m nowhere near as depressed about eating that stuff as I used to be. Recovery is a wide spectrum. Eat the banana, feel the fear, and then congratulate yourself for facing it head on. It gets easier.

    • Melissa says:

      I did just that: ate the banana and congratulated myself for doing it. There is no harm for eating it and it’s showing myself, the bad and good parts of my mentality, how strong I am!

  7. I read the book last year, and I felt similar to the way you do. I had trouble because she would talk about all her exercise routines and then I felt bad because i live with my husband who was no longer letting me exercise like that. i could take walks with him, or we could play tennis, but there was not 7 miles on the treadmill at lightning speed. it made me feel like i was gaining at an exponential rate and was completely out of control.
    I also have the same problem wiht bananas. They used to be the “bad” fruit and I couldnt have them. I used to weigh my apples and count out grapes or measure the strawberries, but these things are FRUITS! they should be consumed and who cares if my apple is LARGE and not the smallest in the barrel.
    you are a beautful girl, inside and out and have helped me so much. please dont let portia’s book deter you from making the healthy desicions for your body. if there is anything i can do for you please let me know.
    i wish i could hug you right now.

    • Melissa says:

      Ah, thanks hun. I used to do the same things with fruits and now realize how freak’n crazy it was. But i’m proud, I ate a banana today and no shame anywhere. Best feeling ever!

  8. Krista says:

    I’ve never heard of her book, but it sounds like it was a wise decision to put it down….

  9. I have heard of the book but have been too scared to read it.

    I can definitely relate with you on the banana fear. It is something that still carries over for me. I hate to admit it, but it is still on my “no” list along with a few other foods that I seem to not be able to shake quite yet.

    Hang in their girl! You are beautiful and you are so amazing! Chin up!

    • Melissa says:

      Ah, I hope that one day soon you’ll be able to eat a banana without fear, along with the foods still left on your “no” list. I still have foods like that too, but they make their way into my meals sometimes…needs to be more often though. I ate a banana today, and by the end of the week, I plan to have pasta (another fear food)!

  10. Biz says:

    I love your goals Mel! And don’t read the book – you have come so far and you don’t need to read something that is going to trigger old habits – you are stronger than that! :D

  11. Amanda says:

    I struggled with that book. Made me so uncomfortable for so many reasons. I agree you need to find some uplifting fiction! I will think of some good book suggestions. I’ve been reading way too much depressing stuff lately. It isn’t good for me!

  12. although I loved the book, the DETAILS about what she ate and her weight made me want to “take notes” to eat like her. Definitely triggering. You aren’t the only one. The way she described her bones/etc can really affect you if that is what you still long for.

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