I’ve Started Running

1 07 2013

I started running in February of this year, but underwent surgery in February and fell victim to a “metabolic crisis” in March. It’s thought that I have a potential mitochondrial disease, for several reasons I won’t get into here. Regardless, it laid me out for almost two months, during which I lost all the progress I’d gained in February.

Starting over, I was 195 pounds, unable to walk further than about 2 miles and hating myself more than ever. Now, on July 1st, I’m 182 pounds, can maintain a 13″ a mile pace for 4-5 miles and have been sucked into an entirely different set of numbers. When I was in treatment, one of the doctors said to me, “The rules of an eating disorder are generally pretty simple. Regarding food, it’s always less, never more, and regarding exercise, it’s always more, never less.”

I’ve never understood that until now. I’ve never had an “exercise problem,” and I’ve always LOATHED running in any form. I’ve never understood the drive to continue moving, and honestly, it feels about like the very first time I purged: I wish I’d never discovered it.

I’m trying to remain healthy, trying to maintain my intake, but most days of the week, I end up with a net calorie intake of 250-500. A few times, I’ve even had a negative balance, and that felt better than anything.

I just want to be able to wear my favorite pair of jeans, enjoy it when someone touches me instead of the immediate firestorm that hits my brain (“DON’T TOUCH ME; I’M DISGUSTING!!!!!”), and be able to venture out in public without feeling every eye on me and my massiveness.

I know, logically, I’m not even really all that “huge,” but I feel as if . . . . . I occupy far too much space and that it’s just utterly foul. I can’t stand seeing myself, being touched, or having someone look at me. I’m really working to avoid falling off the restriction cliff, but it’s hard.

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In the Dark

31 10 2010

I feel like I’m lost, separated from the rest of the world and in the dark. A war is raging within and I don’t know how to verbalize it or express it. Unfortunately, the conflicting desires and constant Ana abuse wears me down and I snap at those I love, trust and rely on.

My recovery headspace is so flawed right now. I started slipping while I was traveling and upon my arrival home, was confronted by KY. The next day was extremely difficult but went reasonably well, all things considered. The next day, I was extremely sick with a quickie virus and threw up everything I ate (not by choice).

Well, that was the end of that. I’d just as soon

  • Skip meals
  • Purge (This is the BIG one right now)
  • Start cutting pieces out of my diet
  • Edge towards additional, anxiety-driven exercise

I had to fight harder not to purge yesterday than I have in months. It’s like it was when I was at my sickest but I physically wasn’t able to purge. I ended up missing my snack and delaying dinner to impossibly late times which just about killed me with the anxiety. I was *non-functional*. Today, it’s Halloween. Cupcakes and candy all around! Anddddd there’s the problem. I’m not technically Ana (not that it matters); I’m EDNOS. I have a lean towards Ana but Mia rears her ugly head quite commonly. It’s like there’s this switch in my head: everything or nothing. I have a drive to always eat LESS because I typically always eat MORE. I was a binge eater for 12 years; I don’t really know how to self-regulate. I will just as soon eat a whole cake as none of the cake and feel internally driven to do ONE or the OTHER and as such, I restrict so I don’t eat it all. Holidays are problems for me. They didn’t use to be when I was twice this size; then, I enjoyed the food to the max. Now, though, it’s a problem.

Here are some points I need to remember about the holidays:

  • If I restrict, I will end up binging.
  • If I restrict, I will lose weight but will slow down my metabolism, leaving me with uneven body conformation when I gain weight again.
  • Any food that I want is not going to disappear off the face of the Earth. I can have a bit now and a bit later.
  • I have minimum caloric needs and falling beneath those is not acceptable.
  • Just because something isn’t a perfect fit into my meal plan, it’s still food.
  • “I’ll do better tomorrow” isn’t an excuse for blowing off today.
  • Whether I’m a smaller size or bigger size, I am still loved.

Ok, I can do this. We can do this. 🙂 What are your favorite eating disorder holiday coping tips? Remember, recovery-focused!





Home Again

28 10 2010

My 10 day trip was cut drastically short. It wasn’t due to ED that the trip was cut short but it’s probably a good thing that it was. I was starting to slip rather significantly. I didn’t feel like eating all of my breakfast yesterday and so, I didn’t. I was full at lunch, so I only ate half. I somehow missed both my morning and afternoon snack. Yesterday wasn’t very good, even though I did manage to finally meet my calorie count with a huge, calorie soaked dinner that kept me anxious for hours. Upon my arrival home, KY and I had a rather intense come to Jesus meeting regarding my slipping and my choice to perpetuate those lapses. I got frustrated and angry when confronted and informed him that:

  • At least I ate. I didn’t have to eat at all. <—- Don’t DO this! It was bad, really bad.
  • It happens.
  • It’ll happen again. <—- This didn’t thrill him, either!
  • That I just didn’t FEEL like it, darnit.

None of those points landed me in a very happy situation. A couple hours later, I had finally calmed down enough to see not only his points, but why he’d reacted the way he did. After my recent significant relapse, he wasn’t allowing any foothold at all and was stopping ED dead in his tracks. So, I’ve got it now and I’m good to try again today. 🙂





No More Secrets

16 10 2010

As I look over this past posts, it seems as if there’s always a “starting again.” I’ve yet to see a “I just ate a huge meal that I greatly enjoyed and it was wonderful. The end.”

I’m looking forward to that day. Yesterday, I was asked about my ED and how I was doing. I’d been doing horrible. I’d fallen fast and far. My calorie count had dwindled to basically non-existent. I was sporadically purging. I was lying about my intake and activities.

I’m glad that’s all out in the open. It’s almost as if once that barrier between ED and the world is broken, it’s ok to just “be” sick. There is no shame, no embarrassment and no fear. It’s ok that I’m struggling. It’s ok that I’m having a hard time. What’s not ok is not eating or purging and not telling anyone. Well, it’s not really ok, period. Regardless, it feels wonderful to have the OPTION of telling someone, a luxury that ED strips from me quickly and completely.

ED has been raging ever since I finally told. It’s been really bad, a war zone in my own head. However, I’ve had a good day and I foresee many, many, many more to come. So, today, I make an affirmation:

NO MORE SECRETS. When the secrets come, recovery starts to slip. That can’t happen again. I won’t allow it to happen again.





For Parents

11 10 2010

Parents and caretakers,

Today, this post is for you. If you have a son or daughter suffering from an eating disorder, I want to applaud your strength, determination and love. Eating disorder treatment isn’t easy, nor is it fun. Today, I wanted to give you guys some resources. First, here are some things you should know about eating disorders:

  • It’s not a choice. We didn’t choose this and while it may seem that we wish to perpetuate the eating disorder, it’s just as much a hell for us as it is for you.
  • It’s not your fault. No matter what, don’t play the guilt game. Eating disorders are sneaky and secretive and very hard to pin down. Don’t blame yourself for “not knowing” or for “not acting sooner.”
  • There is support. If you don’t have a support group locally, find one online. It will prove invaluable throughout the course of your son or daughter’s treatment. In order to help us take care of ourselves, you must take care of YOURSELF.

Here are some things to remember about us:

  • We are people first. Between all of the doctor’s appointments, nutritionalist appointments, therapist appointments and all the other appointments, it’s so easy to forget that we still exist under this fog. We are people first and eating disordered second.
  • When we get defensive, lie to you, or have emotional breakdowns, take a step back and remember that we’re scared, feel out of control and hate what we’ve become. We take comfort in our eating disorder just as much as we loathe and fear it.
  • We don’t always know what we need. An eating disorder can cloud our perception so much that we’re unable or unwilling to care for ourselves. Please be willing to step in and do what must be done.

Here are a couple more things to remember:

  • We will lie to you throughout the course of treatment. We won’t always mean to but the fear easily overrides our desire to tell to truth. It may be fear of your reaction, fear of food or fear driven by the lies of ED. Please don’t take this personally. Take it as a sign that we need help still and aren’t ready to function by ourselves.
  • Don’t trust us. If you didn’t see us eat it, assume we didn’t eat it. If we didn’t stay with you, assume that we’ve purged. No matter what we tell you, if you didn’t see it during the beginning stages of treatment (or as long as someone is uncooperative), assume it’s not true. An eating disorder is sneaky and manipulative and will do anything to get its way. While we may throw pitching, screaming, yelling fits at your “control,” during initial treatment, we need that safety net and accountability.

Finally, here are some important signs and symptoms of a relapse. I know there are signs of relapses posted everywhere but I’ve yet to see a list dedicated towards parents and caretakers. All the lists I’ve seen are focused on the eating disordered person themselves and what their behaviors and thought processes are doing.

  • Weight loss. If we’ve been on a meal plan and maintaining weight (or gaining) for awhile and suddenly start losing weight, something is up. Corner us, pin us down. We don’t really want to relapse. Eating is scary and can be inconvenient but relapses are even more inconvenient.
  • Withdraw. If we’ve been working with you throughout recovery and all of a sudden, we’re defensive and wary, something is up. Watch us very carefully for we’re starting to struggle.
  • Shift in clothing choice. If we’re suddenly wearing a different style of clothing (big, baggy, warmer), look at us with suspicion. We’re either masking weight loss or we’re cold all the time.
  • We take extra time to change position. You may not see blatant dizziness for most of us are really good at hiding that. However, we make take a few extra seconds while standing to catch out balance and let the buzzing in our skull pass.
  • You notice an increase in anxiety. If we’ve been doing well and all of a sudden we seem to flip out, something is going on, even if we don’t know it or we don’t understand it. Probe deeper.
  • We start noting a reluctance or a return to old thinking patterns. We probably won’t come out and tell you, “I don’t feel like eating.” What we may do is use phrases like “In a bit.” or “I guess I will.” or something similar to signal how reluctant and unenthusiastic we are.
  • We start talking about food more. If everything in the world always sounds good and we want to talk about food all the time, it’s probably because we’re *hungry* all the time. We might start looking through recipe books or researching meal ideas.




Eternal Vigilance

8 10 2010
So I know I owe you guys an update. Eating disorders are so cyclic. It seems to be “really good” or “really bad” and it goes from 0 to 60 faster than anything I’ve known. One blogger I follow, ED-Bites uses the traffic light system to figure out where she is, recovery wise. It seems to be a really good system and one that I’m going to have to give more thought to. In the meantime, I give you a quote:
The price you pay for freedom is eternal vigilance.
— Mad Eye Moody
Avid Harry Potter fan, here . . . . Mad Eye Moody definitely has a point, though. When you deal with an illness as potent and powerful as anorexia, it’s entirely possible (to borrow ED-Bites analogy) to go from Green Light (recovery) to RED LIGHT (Get help NOW!) in as little as a few days. Some of us (and I tend to be one of these people) completely bypass the Yellow Light. I’m either fine, or I’m not. There is very little middle-of-the-road. The trick to being free from an eating disorder is to be ever vigilant against the signs and symptoms and seek help early.
Today, I just urge everyone to remember how strong you are. When you feel like giving up, remember why you’ve hung on for so long in the first place. Also, here are some common signs of relapse to remember:
EARLY SIGNS OF ED RELAPSE
  • You have thoughts about cheating on your meal plan/calorie count.
  • You find yourself wondering what your weight is more frequently.
  • Your internal voice is getting slightly more critical.
  • You find yourself remember favorable parts of ED.
  • You have a vague, passing sense of anxiety.

MIDDLE SIGNS OF ED RELAPSE

  • You find yourself cutting out “fringe foods” like fruit after dinner, a special treat or salad.
  • You find yourself shaving calories in any way possible.
  • You find yourself thinking that “a little bit never hurt anyone.”
  • You find yourself fudging the truth with your treatment team.
  • You don’t finish portions.
  • You start noticing slightly increased anxiety.
  • You start noticing thoughts about safe/unsafe foods.
  • You start having lapses. (Single instances of missing meals or purging.)
  • You notice that you don’t really care what kinds of foods are around or not. (Grocery trips are less frequent.)

LATE SIGNS OF ED RELAPSE

  • Instead of hanging onto the cliff with your fingernails, you let go and shove back from the edge.
  • The thoughts are constant and overwhelming.
  • Anxiety and depression levels are high.
  • You avoid situations with food.
  • Outright lying to your treatment team
  • Grocery trips cause intense anxiety.
  • Intake dwindles/purging increases
  • Fear and panic is more and more common.
  • Weight loss of more than 5-10 pounds within a month
  • Clothes that fit are too loose.
  • Shifts towards a primarily liquid diet
  • Weighing yourself multiple times a day
  • Increased pill/laxative use
  • Increased compulsive exercise
  • Planning fasts
  • Digging out the ana/mia playlist
  • Increase in self-harm
  • Fear of talking with your treatment team
  • Shame/desolation
  • Telling yourself that you’ll only do it for a “little while”




Stuck In the Middle

12 08 2010

I’m in a weird place. A friend of mine once said, “Recovery, for me, was eating the way I knew I should and trying to ignore all the ED thoughts.”

I didn’t understand that for the longest time. Even as recent as a couple of months ago, I didn’t understand that. But . . . . I do now. I’m stuck in the middle, somewhere in a vague, hazy form of recovery. I was doing really, really well for awhile. I was eating more because I was exercising and then I did something really stupid. I purged for the first time in months. Anxiety gripped my mind like it hasn’t since earlier this year and I buckled under the pressure.

I’ve returned to eating 1700 calories a day and scraping by. However, I’m also loosing weight. I didn’t know I was losing weight until a good friend of mine pointed it out because she was concerned. I asked for confirmation from a member of my treatment team and was quite astounded to find that not only was I losing, I’d lost a bit of a chunk of weight.

Since I’d basically maintained my weight for months on 1700 cal, the relatively rapid weight loss points to the fact that I’m *somehow* not eating as much as I think I am, which is really frustrating.

I have an incessant drive to restrict and to purge. I have fleeting thoughts that lying about my intake is acceptable and I struggle to *make* myself eat.

I’m frustrated with this entire process. Sometimes it’s SO EASY but when it’s hard, it’s REALLY hard.








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