Tired As F*ck by Caroline Dooner
“I am sharing my story because I know I am not alone. You are not alone.”
TIRED AS FUCK
My review for Dooner’s debut, The Fuck It Diet remains the most read book review of all time on my platform. It's garnered tens of thousands of views since I posted it last year.
I picked up Caroline’s second book the day it came out, and had been waiting for a day when I really needed her words of wisdom to guide me.
After a long week of appointments, research, and writing, that day had finally come.
The realization hit me that I've been in full time treatment for my eating disorder for more than two years. I've either been in a hospital, or staring mindlessly at the Zoom application on my laptop.
And quite frankly, I'm tired as fuck.
“You must always be productive. You must always be improving. You can only relax once you reach your goal and become more impressive. I never felt like I was allowed to just…be. And I didn’t think I could accept myself the way I was because I wasn’t good enough. I was deeply flawed,” Dooner states on the opening pages.
I can relate to Caroline right away. I’m always chasing that one thing that will bring me closer… to the next thing. Be it submitting pitches, chasing stories, publishing work, and yet never quite feeling good enough.
I’ve spent hours in self-compassion training, and at the end of every workshop my goal is, “I’d like to work more on self-compassion.” I’ve reached a point of wondering if self-compassion and self-love actually exists. Logically, I know it does. However, my disordered thinking patterns drive me to believe otherwise.
As a society it’s woven into us to have this compulsive work ethic, and we must hustle in order to succeed.
As Kim Kardashian recently said, “Get your fucking ass up and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days.”
As Caroline states, “we live in a culture that doesn’t really understand or respect burnout.” Note to Kim, we're all fucking working.
An early chapter called to mind my first hospitalization a few years back. While I took time away from work physically (I wasn't actually in the office), I made an agreement with my employer to work from the ward.
So, I would participate in gruelling groups, appointments, and meals throughout the day, and then I’d open my work laptop at night, slug through my inbox, and make calls from my bedside. I don’t think my employer was to blame. I underestimated the amount of work recovery actually required.
I pressured my boss to allow me to work, because I didn’t understand the concept of rest and recovery. Honestly, I was scared if I stepped down, someone else would step up.
Moving through the book, Caroline touches on her relationship with food as a kid. When talking about visiting friends houses who had snacks she didn’t have at home, “it became crystal clear to me that I was obsessed with snacks, and they weren’t.”
I’m reminded of childhood. Lurking in the kitchens of friends’ homes and devouring whatever I could get my hands on. I even stalked through their kitchens at night eating their snacks. Those thoughts bring so much shame, even to this day.
I try to tell myself now it was just something I was going through and not a form of BED (Binge Eating Disorder), but I really don’t know. A friend’s mum called me out for my behaviour once — comparing me to a garbage can “because he’ll just eat anything”. That comment stings as though she just made it today and not over 20 years ago.
Like Caroline, my obsession with food started early.
“I didn’t understand that restricting food or carbs wires our bodies to become more hungry, and our brains to fixate on food. Thinking about food nonstop wasn’t a moral deep failing, it was because of the diets I was constantly putting myself on.”
Caroline lays it out in simple terms which many will appreciate. She’s not here to tell us the scientific facts of starvation, which can be helpful, but are also overwhelming. If you want to know more, I recommend reading about the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, which is what many eating disorder recovery centres base their treatment protocols on.
Dooner also touches lightly on trauma in the book, although she doesn’t dive too deep into the subject since she's not an expert, and she's not going to pretend that she is. She shares her own personal experiences and recommends two fantastic books, Waking the Tiger and The Body Keeps the Score.
My heart ached for young Caroline at points, trying to hold herself together with diets, medication, catholic prayers, and a bottle of Krazy Glue. After years of failed diets, she shares in the book, “This is it. This is the end of the road. This stupid diet hasn’t healed me of anything. And if I don’t stop this miserable diet cycle, this is never going to end.”
I don’t know if I ever had a realization like that, having battled with my eating disorder for so long. There are parts of me that still cling to diet culture’s latest fads, but slowly I’m learning that it’s all trash, for lack of a better word.
As a society, we’re recycling diets, and we always have been. There’s no new or revolutionary cutting edge diets. There hasn’t been for years.
I’ve existed in a destructive cycle with my own body for eighteen years. My gastrointestinal system and heart have both taken a huge hit from what I’ve put them through, and my organs are going through a tremendous amount of healing now. I may not love my body, but I'm learning to respect it.
As sad as I found parts of the book to be, I did love the story of how The Fuck it Diet came to be, imagining Caroline reaching her wits end and purchasing the web domain from her New York apartment. She wrote the blog post Why I’m Going on Two Years of Rest in September 2016, and I highly recommend reading it.
To conclude, Dooner kept me company well into the night. Despite being very tired when I picked up this book, I couldn’t put it down. I found similar themes to The Fuck It Diet, with some familiar storytelling, which was fine with me because I loved that book, and so did my readers.
Tired as Fuck is another reminder that diets do not work. It's a show of just how caught up our society is in diets, cult-like mentality, and hustle culture.
Just like The Fuck It Diet, Caroline’s writing style is effortless throughout. I don’t know if she’d agree with me or if it actually felt that way for her, but as a reader, her prose flows, is engaging, and is brimming with her unique humour.
|Courtesy of Caroline Dooner|