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.

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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”




Back On Track

18 07 2010

So I think I’m getting back on track. It hasn’t been the easiest week on Earth, but it’s a week worth of steps in the right direction. I went through the angry, defensive stage and am now back to the “Just gotta do whatcha gotta do” stage. I’m measuring out my food again and carefully ensuring I at least hit my suggested calorie count. My anxiety response is getting better, too.

I’ve also started flirting with exercise. . . . . Can’t say I like it, want it, or enjoy it, but hey, whatever. 🙂





Coming Clean

10 07 2010

So . . . . . I’ve finally come clean about how far I’ve slipped, how far I’ve fallen.

It hasn’t just been “struggling a little bit.” It’s been close to all-out restrictive reversion, to the point that a normal sized, low-calorie meal gave me an anxiety attack yesterday.

We’re going back to meal plans and rigid accountability. No choices, no excuses.

I don’t like this plan. I’m clinging far too tightly and am *almost* too far gone to see the benefit. It scares me because I know the struggle and pain that will ensue.

It’s worth it. . . . . I know it is. Freedom is always worth fighting for.

I guess I really just didn’t and don’t want to admit that this will always be here. . . . . always something that I can give no ground because then, the ground swallows me up.





Struggling

28 05 2010
Heaven bent to take my hand
And lead me through the fire
Be the long awaited answer
To a long and painful fight
Truth be told I’ve tried my best
But somewhere along the way
I got caught up in all there was to offer
And the cost was so much more than I could bear
Though I’ve tried, I’ve fallen…
I have sunk so low
I have messed up
Better I should know
So don’t come round here
And tell me I told you so…
We all begin with good intent
Love was raw and young
We believed that we could change ourselves
The past could be undone
But we carry on our backs the burden
Time always reveals
The lonely light of morning
The wound that would not heal
It’s the bitter taste of losing everything
That I have held so dear.
I’ve fallen…
I have sunk so low
I have messed up
Better I should know
So don’t come round here
And tell me I told you so…
Heaven bent to take my hand
Nowhere left to turn
I’m lost to those I thought were friends
To everyone I know
Oh they turned their heads embarassed
Pretend that they don’t see
But it’s one missed step
You’ll slip before you know it
And there doesn’t seem a way to be redeemed
Though I’ve tried, I’ve fallen…
I have sunk so low
I have messed up
Better I should know
So don’t come round here
And tell me I told you so…

No, I haven’t relapsed. . . . but I feel as if I’m fighting an uphill, losing battle. Someone very close and dear to me, a man who willingly adopted the “father” role throughout most of my childhood, died tragically and unexpectedly. All desire for food was instantly stricken from me. . . . .Eating is difficult, at best, and feels impossible at worst. I bicker and fight about food, something I haven’t done in a long time. I’ve made the promises to fight. . . . . to stay strong. . . . . and I’m trying, but it seems impossible. I feel as if I’ve been driven to my knees in a world that just keeps spinning.

I purged for the first time in roughly two months the other night. I didn’t binge. . . . but I was eating emotionally. I quickly got back on track the next day; I wanted no part of that demon. I was seeking that numb, foggy feeling that purging brings. . . . . that disconnect from everything around you. . . . and it just didn’t happen.

Since then, I have struggled to eat. I met my calorie count yesterday, but with a lot of consternation along the way. The day before, I wasn’t even close. Today, I’m just struck with the absolutely MASSIVE amount of food that 1700 calories is. It doesn’t make sense; it’s too much.

Four days ago, I believed that this was going to be ok. . . . . that food was coming naturally and easily, most of the time, and it was just going to settle into a lulling rhythm. Now, I don’t know. Nothing feels the way it did, and feels more akin to how it used to.








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