Finals week craziness

My goodness has it been a CRAZY week! Finals and studying and church and work and Awana and a crazy art project. Here’s the jist of it, I definitely need to elaborate more on some later:

  • Finished up  both bio lab exams – one easy, the other not so much
  • Margie’s nephew still hasn’t called and I’m totally okay with this yup
  • Wrote a yoga paper in under an hour that was a complete joke
  • Got asked to use my paper on anorexia as an example from my psych prof
  • LESS THAN 2 MONTHS TIL NTS!!!! My girls are excited to have me come and I am so so so pumped
  • A scale smash is on the horizon
  • Unfollowed some accounts that weren’t doing any good in my recovery
  • Started work Tuesday and I absolutely love it. The people rock and its a great atmosphere with other Christians around 🙂
  • Planning a super secret surprise!
  • My last day of Early College is today! It’s so bittersweet but I’m extremely relieved to be done with this chapter of my life
  • Done with all exams except one for psych
  • This summer is going to involve so much time in God’s word and I am pumped and ready for it
  • Finally finished my annoying art project last night. We had to turn a box into a sculpture using xacto knives, glue, and whatever the box offered. Safe to say that neither hot glue or the sharp knives are my friend. I stabbed my finger pretty good and also have little burns all over my hands.
  • I haven’t looked at my grades since Monday because I was obsessing over them and it wasn’t a good thing. I’m going to pretend they don’t exist until after the final grades are in.
  • A Jenny quote from yesterday’s awesome therapy session: “You were facing hospitalization so making it through this semester at all is HUGE. I am amazed that you’re doing as well as you are.”
  • Yesterday was the last night of Awana 😦 I am going to miss those kids and seeing my favorite people in the middle of the week

That’s all for now. I have a ton I want to post about soon though!

Counting, calculating, and ending the addiction.

I’ve been contemplating writing this post for about two weeks. As you’ll soon read, this post also meant deleting another hold anorexia has on me from my life, and that was hard. I honestly wasn’t ready but just now I did it. I am sick and tired of this disorder! 

If ever there was such a thing as Calorie Counters Anonymous, or perhaps Food Trackers Anonymous, this is how I imagine my introduction would go: “My name is Emily and I am addicted negatively attracted to keeping records of meals, calories, and exercise.”

The first time I ever fell into this trap I was 14 and years before I would ever believe I could have an eating disorder. I had just gone through a surgery to reverse my pectus excavatum (still have to write about this one day) and I was gaining weight pretty rapidly. The condition had kept me underweight my entire life and the weight gain ultimately gave much better health, but it was hard on me. I wasn’t allowed to exercise at all  for 6 weeks. Adding to the stress of not being able to “get rid of” any excess calories, my lovely health teacher decided it would be awesome if we could all track our calorie intake for a week. I was absolutely overwhelmed after the first day. I had a huge breakdown and it was bad. So bad, in fact, that I’m honestly surprised I never ended up developing more ED behaviors right then. Anyways, for that week and a little while after I was absorbed by Livestrong’s website. I spent hours comparing different foods and which were healthier. Thankfully my mom shut that one down really quick. She had no idea that I was full of disordered thoughts/patterns that would have turned into an eating disorder right then, and neither did I. Although it didn’t cause my disorder I do believe that project lit up some disordered part of my mind that went into overdrive a few years later.

I got my first smartphone in May 2013. Not even a week into owning it, I turned to two apps that I felt could help me lose weight and keep track of calories, Lose it! and My Fitness Pal (MFP). So many things were going on at that time and leading into summer. I broke up with my long term boyfriend, went to NTS, told the first person ever about self harm, and eventually got to a point where I was forced to give up said self harm. I started using both apps more and more as each of these events happened and by fall it was a religious amount with a huge attempt to lose weight. Seeing my first therapist did help some but until the next spring I couldn’t even think about eating without going into the apps. I restricted more heavily each passing day. I felt immense shame with going even a tiny amount beyond my maximums and joy if I could stay way under. It was pretty innocent starting out with these apps but soon they became one of the many things that lead into my eating disorder.

That April my new therapist immediately had me delete the apps… and start a food journal (my little black book). This worked well for not even a week. I competed with myself each day. I spent a majority of my time wondering how I could possibly fit in more exercise and cut calories. I got a sick satisfaction each time she read it in session and gave me a worried look after. My disorder fed off the concern by trying even harder the next week. To this day, I don’t understand how she never thought to stop the journal or saw how badly it was hurting me. The only difference between this and the apps was that I had to spend extra time calculating calories. My eating disorder LOVED that. Any more time it could have to control me was perfect. I used that journal up until the second week of Forest View when I finally had enough. We all destroyed the thing and it became this:

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I didn’t use any method of tracking food/calories/exercise until late fall. Paul tried to have me do a simple “put a check if you finished the meal plan” calendar for a month. It became yet another way to see how little food I could eat so we put that to an end at our next appointment.

You’d think that with my history I’d stay away from anything remotely close to what I’ve abused in the past. Well, that didn’t happen. I was so excited to hear that the Rise Up + Recover app was coming to Android. I wanted to use it so badly. I was sure an app specifically designed for recovery wouldn’t hurt me. The day it came out I downloaded it. (Quick disclaimer: I have nothing but praise for this app. I love the inspiring quotes and coping mechanisms. I also appreciated the fact that you can track behaviors, meds, etc. I truly feel it can aid many people in their recovery. Unfortunately I’m not one of them.) I wasn’t even counting calories but I still use it to try and eat less than the day or week before. I allowed it to help push me into relapse. As much as I’d love to keep the app for it’s good aspects, I know deleting it means letting go of this disorder even more.

Although I can’t be certain of what my future holds and how much healthier I will become, I am sure that I have to stay away from any form of tracking meals, calories, or exercise. It isn’t okay for me like it is for others. Even though I just deleted the Rise Up app, I haven’t used it since the day I committed to recovery again. It was hard, at first, to not write down every single thing I put into my body. 9 days later, however, I feel relieved. I am not held back from recovery like I would be if I was still meticulously tracking intake/output. This is right for me.

On fighting

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This quote easily could have been one Jenny said. I came across it while eating my lunch today and its perfect for inspiration. Today is the first full day of trying to recover again. I have to be resilient everyday. I often get discouraged because I feel like I am just going to relapse again. That’s not the point of recovery. You’ll have bad days, meals, maybe even weeks or months like I’m trying to come out of. No matter how long you’ve been down you can continue to get back up and push forward. That’s what I’m doing today. I will fight this battle as often and as long as I have to because I want recovery and the freedom that comes with it!

I hate the weekends.

The following includes disordered thoughts and while I try to keep it safe to others, please don’t read if you are easily triggered. Stay safe ❤

That’s pretty sad, coming from a college student with sophomoritis and beautiful springtime surrounding her.

My hatred isn’t about spending time with my family or the procrastination that tends to take place. I hate them because it means a lack of control over food situations. I don’t have much choice but to eat each and ever meal because my family’s always around. The only thing worse than having to eat is the chance of them discovering my relapse if I don’t. So, reluctantly, I eat (and sneak to fake meals and cut corners at every chance).

Today was especially terrible and I will be paying for it with immeasurable guilt for who knows how long. I made the mistake of heading to the farmers’ market with my dad just before lunchtime. Of course, my mom had to inform him we should get something to eat. And where, of all places, did he chose? Not Subway or even Firehouse Subs like I was hoping, but freaking Popeye’s (imagine me flipping out internally while also trying to show him how A-okay I was with this decision). I ate it. I didn’t die, but boy did I want to in that moment.

To a “normal” person, fast food once in a while is no big deal. Not to me. I’ve planned more exercise and less calories for the next X days. I’m punishing myself for indulging. I’m vowing not to go anywhere with my parents at mealtimes again.

I hate this situation. I cant deal with the spontaneity of any kind surrounding foods. I like my predictable schedule I’ve made for myself. I get that me hating weekends and the change they bring to my norm is bad, disordered, unhealthy. I’m just not in a place where I can change it yet. Right now I need to continue my consumption of food I’ve set for myself, even if it is restrictive, because the alternative of super-restriction after 1 unplanned meal is much worse.

“But you’re not sick anymore so no reason to worry about Ensures”

That statement should make me happy. The fact that my mom thought I was well enough to not torture me with threats of Ensure as we passed them in the store is no small miracle. And yet, here I am, laden with extreme guilt.

I am not okay. The rational part of me knows this. If I was anywhere near okay I wouldn’t be throwing out meals and restricting and everything else. I wouldn’t let the scale determine my days. I am pretty far from okay. I know, deep down, my mom saying this is so bad because she has no clue at all of what’s going on.

Obviously, there’s a lot more to my mind than just the healthy, rational thoughts. These Ed thoughts interpret the statement so differently. It’s amazing that my parents suspect nothing. This means I can continually follow Ed as long as possible without them knowing. It excited me in ways I prefer not to describe and am a little ashamed of.

More than any amount of good thoughts this could bring me, the guilt is almost overwhelming. I feel like I’ve cheated on a test or gotten credit for a project I really didn’t do. I’m getting praise and recognition when the only thing I have accomplished is deception of everyone around me. That’s not something that should warrant any positive reinforcement.

Now that my suspicions of my parents being clueless are confirmed, where do I go form here? I don’t know. As much as it hurts I feel the need to continue the lies until its too obvious to hide. It’s bad for me but at the same time I don’t have self-love or motivation to do anything else.

Finding an answer isn’t required today. I want to pray on it and get some advice. I need clarity that the ED thoughts are currently not allowing.

Sick.

Today is Easter and I so wish I could be focusing on the amazing miracle of Christ rising again to save us. Instead, I have had a terrible day coming after this already hard holy weekend.

Why is that exactly? Well it all started last night when I was trying on dresses for church. Ed took over and I couldn’t stop crying about how I looked in them. I happened to notice the night before that my epsom salts had a second use as laxatives on the package. I made the decision that I needed to lose some weight and right now, so I dissolved some in water and drank up. I was certain I wanted to make myself sick so I could stay home from church and wallow.

I woke up a few times sick and then told my parents this morning so I got to skip church. I say that with so much sadness because I haven’t purposely missed church at all in a very long time. I’m so wrapped up in all of this that I just want to be alone and miserable. I can’t look at myself anymore. I can’t wait until tomorrow so I can restrict as much as possible. I know this is all a bad thing but I also am not telling anyone who asks. I deserve this on my own.

Processing

Jenny said it in session yesterday and I think it’s a good way to describe what I’ve been doing the past day or so. Even as I’m here living it, it’s hard for me to understand what is going on in my life and why. I certainly don’t have clarity on that yet but I feel like maybe I will.

The first thing Jenny and I talked about was my eating. I attempted to distract her first but she knows how to cut through my crap. I honestly kind of surprised myself by not holding back. I said what it is and left it all out there or her to make sense of it. The verdict isn’t what I want to hear. She’s worried for me. We talked pretty extensively about what road I’m headed down. She thinks I’ll end up dead if it doesn’t change (I don’t believe this of course).

“Hospitalization is the next step.” That killed me. I know I miss Forest View at times and it definitely was a powerful and overall good experience, I just can’t go back. I am FULL of excuses but to spare you all of them the main reasons why not now include money, timing with school, and hopelessness about recovery. She isn’t going to force me in this second (thank God!); however, she does have the authority to breach confidentiality if needed so I can be safe. I hate that she even has to mention it. I probably am in denial, but I don’t feel “that bad” yet. Sure I’m eating about the same as last summer but I was way thinner then and had time for treatment. I’ve made it my goal to do just enough to stay out of the hospital the next four weeks while I have school.

Another statement Jenny made was how it usually takes more than one go at treatment to fully recover. It’s hard enough thinking I wasted my parents’ money and time and everything to get help once. The reality of having to do this all over again is scary and frustrating, She didn’t explicitly say it, but it sounds like no matter what I will be in treatment again. I didn’t really know what to do with that until I came home and just cried.

My homework for this week is to try and find out what block is keeping me from trying to recover now. I’ll sit down or a meal and get ready to try only to give up right away. I have no motivation to work hard or do this for myself. It’s more effort to choose recovery then this disorder. I used to push past the thoughts during those solid few months and now that’s impossible. I hope I can search and find the answer. A teeny tiny wants me to get better and that’s all it takes.

Kim and I had lunch today at her house. I had texted her earlier saying how she wasn’t going to be a fan of my lunch (big mistake apparently) so she decided to “surprise” me with a sub. I so badly wanted to run far, far away, but by the time she gave me the sub we were at her house and I couldn’t really leave. I wanted to throw it away except for whatever reeason the guilt in doing that after someone buys food “just for me” is far worse than what I would experience in just eating it. Plus if I threw it away I have no doubt Kim would resort to extreme measures and buy an Ensure or something like that. I felt horrible after eating half the sub. My stomach hurt so badly and I had guilt and I could feel the fat growing on me. I told Kim all of this which just made her say how I wouldn’t feel so bad if I was eating better. She was right. As far as eating goes, the rest of our time together didn’t involve any more and we got to talk about some things.

I shared basically everything Jenny and I talked about in therapy. God was it hard. I hate that I have to worry her and burden her. I hate the look on her face when I showed her my list of safe, unsafe, and scary foods. As much as that part of her being supportive in my recovery/relapse/whatever’s going on sucks, I am forever thankful for Kim. I get to have someone I can be honest with and who can give me advice and prayers. I got to process and talk through more feelings and thoughts therapy stirred up. We talked about my parents and how the pressure they put on me to not need treatment anymore is so guilt-inducing. I also am so incredibly proud of her own progress against Ed. I see such a difference compared to when I first found out about her ED. That connection we have because of these terrible diseases is something I treasure and thank God for. Someday I hope we can have recovery instead of active disorder as a common thread.

I can’t tell you how I stand right now. I see what I should be doing and what others want of me and what they think I deserve but my brain is just messed up. All I know is I absolutely cannot jeopardize school or let my parents down or give up on other commitments right now. It’s a lot and I don’t have a plan I’m just going to survive the best I can.

This was all written really late last night and then I fell asleep before posting. My eating was better-ish today but then guilt hit me so hard and I couldn’t stop myself from using behaviors and going on bad websites and other self-destructive things. I’m not feeling too optimistic about waking up tomorrow. I’m really worn out and sick of all of these things. I want a break from my thoughts too.