Pointing it out

I’ve been working at my job for 4 weeks now. I absolutely love it. I work at a bible and missionary conference in housekeeping with the most amazing coworkers I could ask for in the greatest Christian environment. Housekeeping is hard work and physically demanding, which means calorically demanding as well. For three out of the past four weeks, I’ve followed hunger cues and increased food intake where needed. In actuality, I didn’t even think of what I was eating, I just did. I say just three out of four because last week my dad threw a nice wrench into my mostly disorder-free eating habits.

We were driving as I mentioned something about how much of a workout my body is getting at my job. My father,very pointedly, explains that I need to eat more so I don’t “get in trouble again” and an internal freakout ensues. Deep down, I knew that this was the case. I mean it’s only logical (well okay logical to someone without ED thoughts) that more energy out = more energy in. The thing is I have an eating disorder and I’ve been trying to avoid anything to do with calories or eating and instead do what feels right. Intuitive eating is hard on its own and to have my dad say that screws up everything I’ve worked towards. (Note: I’m not blaming him at all, even if I wish he hadn’t said it. I’m just sensitive to these sort of comments and only my eating disorder is to blame for that.)

Since that drive I’ve been slipping back into disordered thought patterns and behaviors. I’ve felt a need to restrict my eating some even though I should be doing the exact opposite. I haven’t given myself a rest day, it’s either work or an hour plus of intense yoga. I’m also avoiding sweets or any sort of indulgence. And lastly, I have stepped on the scale a few times.

I am going to work on this. I have so much to work hard at recovery for. I am going to NTS in under a month and I cannot be a good leader and be faithful to my eating disorder at the same time I have to spend time with God and the girls there which leaves no room for restriction, exercise, or obsessing. After NTS is work for the rest of the summer and I definitely can’t do my best if I’m constantly malnourished. When I’m not working I want to do things I love: read, watch Netflix, relax, write my book. None of that can happen with the ED intruding. At the summer’s end I move into college. I’ve already tried to do that with the ED and being on my own at a new place is more than enough stress for my first semester at Calvin.

So, instead of allowing this to send me into a spiral, I have a few strong words for my dumb ED. I am not following you again. You’ve done nothing but harm me! I am getting help from Jenny this week (no waiting to tell her this time). I will get back to a better eating regimen so that I’ll have energy to work and do all the things I have planned this summer. You may have taken my dad’s words as fuel but I am not feeding you. I’ve been down this road many times and I am beyond sick of it!!!

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.

How I’m REALLY Doing

This past week, maybe even a little before that, I have been transported back to Summer 2014. My eating, or lack of, is out of control. I have no energy. The main difference from then to now is the fact that I am 30 pounds heavier than I was.

There are many more differences than just my weight and I will get to them as well. My weight now is allowing me to hide. I don’t look sick. You could put me in a line up with other healthy people and I don’t think I would be picked out as the one with the eating disorder. Now I know size has absolutely nothing to do with how much someone is internally struggling, but in my case it’s the only real symptom I show. My parents never believed I truly had a problem until suddenly my hip bones were clearly visible and I didn’t fit into my clothes anymore. Being at a heavier, normal weight now means that they suspect nothing. Heck, my mom even suggested cutting back or ending therapy which I absolutely still need.

It’s hard to admit, but my eating is out of control. I literally can’t tell you how it happens. One moment I am sitting and doing something else and then my parents leave for a little and I run to make it look like I ate a meal and just throw it all out. In those moments I blank out. I am powerless against the thoughts. Same thing goes with exercise. I start and continue to push, push, push, until I am beyond exhausted and in pain from running. I don’t allow myself to enjoy the run or any food I actually do get in.

It’s hard to actually speak about how little I eat. I don’t realize how bad it is until I see the sad and worried look in Jenny or Kim’s eyes when I am honest. Just today I wanted to cry seeing Kim react. I mean this is more than just restriction. It’s skipping meals and entire food groups. It’s running on the lowest amount of calories and food intake I can bear. Today I had just three bites of sloppy joe after Kim begged me for a good 15 minutes and I felt like exploding. I have moments of clarity like then where I see this is bad but I don’t really want to change.

I am scared. Actually, make that terrified. I owe it to Kim and Livvy and Lily to tell Jenny the truth. She already heard it last Wednesday and told me the next step would be IP at Forest View if I didn’t improve. I don’t want to go back, not now. I really can’t go back. I have five weeks left in this semester and if I don’t finish my parents will kill me. I have to finish, there is no getting around it. Telling Jenny how I have been struggling would mean possibly losing my chance to finish. Although I am in full denial that I’m as bad as she thinks, I can be forced against my will if she believes I need to. I’m also worried that even if I do go to FV again it won’t help. The words of T who was been in and out of treatment for 15 years always remind me how IP is a bandaid to make you stable not to cure you. What if I go and waste more money we don’t have and then I’m not better?

I honestly can’t say what the next few days will bring. Tomorrow school starts again for the week so I at least will have some distraction. I made a promise to Kim to work harder this week. I meet with Paul tomorrow (not looking forward to it one bit) and since it’s also going to be the last time I see him ever I don’t plan on mentioning the restriction at all. Maybe if he asks specifically but I just don’t feel like it. He’ll just give me another “You should consider Forest View” talk which I already got from Jenny. Wednesday I meet with her and I may or may not be truthful. If I can do better with food until then I probably will be. If not then there are no promises. My number one goal right now is to stay in school. Five weeks is all it takes. After that, who knows.

I’ve put a lot of effort this week into the body image talk I was doing with the girls. I had it all planned out. I wanted to share it. Than, life happens and none of the girls or myself are going to youth group tonight.

I think it took that happening for me to realize that I am a fraud. I can put this huge thing together ad preach the importance if loving our bodies and ourselves when I couldn’t care less about mine. I don’t think I could really love myself any less.

I hate living like this. I am slipping and if I don’t stop I’ll be back where I was this summer. Its making me doubt why I’m even here. I don’t deserve all of the love and support that everyone gives me. I should be tossed aside. I shouldn’t be trusted as a leader because I’m a terrible example. I have all of these supports and resources and I am still barely afloat at this point. I have everything I need out in front of me but I am choosing to drown and follow Ed.

I’m scared. I’m scared of what’s to come and I don’t want to bother anyone anymore with my problems. I should be better. I should be healthier and happier but I’m not. I just want to be alone.

Blergh day

I always said I was going to be honest on here since there is no reason not to be and it’s the best thing, so here goes.

Today I lied to Erin when she asked how things were going. I told her I was fine, that I didn’t need a dietitian, that I could manage all of this. While I am definitely in a different place than before, I’m not “fine” by any means. This whole day is proof of that.

This morning I decided to weigh myself. I know this isn’t a big deal to someone without an ED, but I was once at a point where I would weigh myself a minimum of five times a day. I broke this habit after FV, reducing it to maybe two times a day. In the past few months I had completely let go of my scale obsession. The last time I was weighed before today was in November at a Dr’s appointment.

I’m not going to give specific weights because there truly isn’t a reason for it, but I am extremely confused at what the scale said. I have gained just a few pound in over two months. I don’t get it! I should weigh 15+ pounds more than this because of how I’ve eaten and not exercised. Ed has hijacked what should be a good thing (since EDs don’t like weight gain) and convinced me that I must have gained a ton of fat and I must be huge.

I’ve spent all day feeling miserable. Ed thoughts are loud. I’ve hurt my body today and used behaviors.

I think the right thing to do tomorrow would be go into therapy and be honest with Jenny about what happened. Ed is telling me to use this as a way to restrict and hide it from her and everyone else. Knowing Jenny and my other supports, they will probably end up detecting there’s something wrong anyways. If I don’t tell her it will make this next week worse. I won’t be able to do my schoolwork and be the youth leader I want to be. It will send me into a spiral and I just can’t handle that right now.

So, regardless of what Ed says I am going to speak up. I want to reach out this week. I need and deserve to get help from others.

The happiest place on Earth with an unwelcomed guest

They say Disney World is the happiest place on earth. I have no doubt it is for many people, just not me, at least not my last trip there. My time was hijacked by anorexia and I didn’t have much happiness to speak of at all.

I along with three other girls in our school made it to HOSA nationals which just so happened to be held at Disney. Instead of being elated when I received my medals, I panicked. I barely managed states and now they wanted me to hop on a plane with two other girls and my teacher and fly down to Florida for 5 days? I didn’t think I could do it. My parents threatened to keep me home if I didn’t promise to do better with my eating. Despite the voice within me screaming no, I signed up for the trip. How bad could it really be? Even before we left the airport I knew I had barely any control over my situation.

Ed took over the entire trip. I had to find the lowest calorie options possible for each meal. When our teacher informed us we must have breakfast each morning, Ed told me grapes were good enough. I had two days of testing at the main resort. I was so low on calories I’m really not sure how I managed to focus during my tests. Except for those few hours in testing, I was constantly exercising. I purposely “explored” as much as I could and made any excuse possible to get up and move. Even when the other girls were resting I found some way to burn more calories. I was constantly obsessed with not gaining weight on vacation though I knew deep down I was actually doing the opposite.

The days we went to the park was way harder than I ever imagined. I started by skipping breakfast and then lunch all while the others thought I had both. I didn’t have close to enough calories to even break even for the day. We walked 10 miles at least and I still felt it wasn’t enough. When it came time for dinner I had a tiny amount of food. I just couldn’t do it. I think at this point the girls and my teacher figured something was wrong. They made some comments which I blatantly ignored and denied.

The whole time I was so miserable. I had little energy and nearly fainted multiple times. I didn’t get to have anywhere near a full experience. I was cold some days even though it was in the 90’s and sunny our whole trip. I put on a huge front for those girls though. None of them could have guessed the internal war I was going through. I put on a fake smile and pushed on through. They just assumed I liked to eat healthy and had a small appetite. In some ways I wish they would have said something because maybe I would have gotten help when I got home instead of waiting until the end of summer. I lost so much weight that week. My mom looked like she was about to cry when she picked me up. Even though she commented on the weight difference, I was able to hide my eating habits while we were up north at the cabin. That trip also brought weight loss.

I look back at Florida and want to cry. I was so sick and I didn’t believe it. I needed help. My dream is to go back to Disney one day but this time not bring Ed. I think I deserve to truly enjoy it and be healthy next time around.

Tough.

I had a hard day/night. We went to a friend’s house in another city and I hated it. My mom really tried her best to be accommodating and have some safe foods for me, but all of that was no match for Ed. I absolutely hate eating with people I am not used to. This is an extremely small number. Adding that to the fact that I was already worn out from fighting Ed this week made it a recipe for struggle. I had zero control over that meal. I barely had enough to convince my parents that I wasn’t trying to starve myself. I felt really bad about not trying their food but the guilt of having it would have been too much to handle. I shrank away after the meal and barely spoke the rest of the time. All I could do was think about the calories I consumed and couldn’t get rid of.

I think the main cause of excess Ed thoughts this week, other than the fact that it’s holidays and such, is that I injured my foot last week running. It’s extremely painful to even walk so running or exercise in general is out of the question. Each day gets worse as I become more anxious from lack of burned calories. I’m considering running on it tomorrow because that pan is better than having this mental battle everyday. I also have done a super crappy job of utilizing support. I feel like a burden and especially so since it’s the holidays and all. I simply don’t want to be anyone’s problem.

Tomorrow I’m going to try and at least distract myself for a little while. I have lots of space left on my motivational wall and tons of time to write/draw things out. Having no true plans is really hard for me, but I have to manage. If it gets absolutely unbearable I’ll be forced to contact support but I am absolutely not doing it otherwise. (Yes I know this is bad but oh well.)

The Grinch who stole Christmas Eve

I had a really nice post planned out for tonight. It was going to be full of joy and happiness. Sitting here as I feel right now, I can’t write those words. I am not feeling okay tonight. I’m sorry that this won’t be a great or positive post, but it will be true to how I am doing.

I woke up feeling decent. I was able to down breakfast and relax those first few hours. Just before lunch, however, Ed decided he had other plans. He ruined my Christmas Eve and stole the amazing day from me.

Today was a hard day with food after Ed came into play. I restricted pretty heavily for lunch and dinner. What hurt me even more than that was all of the thoughts racing in my mind. A few months ago, I didn’t think I would be home right now. I was certain I would have been put inpatient. That’s truly where I was headed too. I should be celebrating that fact, and that I have gotten better in a lot of ways, but I’m not. Ed has screamed at me today that because I’m not bad enough to be in a hospital I am huge and worthless. He convinced me that if we saw my aunt this break, she wouldn’t call me “skinny minnie” like last year but would instead stare at all the fat and weight I’ve gained. It’s like all of the sudden I realized all of the food I’ve consumed in recovery and all it’s done to my body. I feel numb and disgusting and appalled.

We went to a beautiful candlelight service at our church tonight. I wish I was more present for it. I tried my best to listen to the verses and songs being sang. I couldn’t bring myself to really sing along or experience any sort of joy. I really hate that Ed ruined it for me. Kim could tell something was wrong, probably from the dead look in my eyes that Ed always gives me, but I didn’t want to worry her.

I want tomorrow to be better but I’m already dreading it. Having family over and the stress that that causes plus being around tons of food really isn’t a good mix for me. I really hope and pray I can somehow have the strength to fight Ed tomorrow, even if it’s just for a little while.

Blech

Today didn’t go like I wanted. I sit here miserable because I followed Ed so much but also unwilling to do anything different. I know what I have to do to recover but I can’t bring myself to do it. It is the most frustrating thing I’ve experienced.

At some point I’ll have to stop being in this limbo and choose recovery. I’m not too sure what needs to happen for me to get there. I’m already doing a lot to gather support and help, I just don’t put it all into action. This has irrational thinking behind it but to me its all I know.

This week, I have prayed and will continue to pray for guidance. I want to give up my power to Him. I’m not doing well and if I keep going I’ll be in the hospital by the end of the month. I know God has a plan and knows exactly what will get me out of this place. I just have to trust Him over Ed.

Dear Lord,
I am so sorry I’ve strayed and not worked hard in recovery. I am letting Ed come before you and your plan for my life. Please help me put You first. I need your hand to guide me the right way. I so badly need you now Lord. Help me come back to you and give up my control in my eating disorder.
Amen.