“Safer”

I am surrounded by resources to recover. Within a five foot radius, there is one memoir on survivng anorexia, my bible, three books on eating disorder recovery (one workbook, one by Jenni Schaefer, and a Chrisitan recovery), my phone which has access to all of my support, and this laptop with access to endless resources on the web. Down the hall in my room is every handout, note, and therapy activity I’ve received to date. Yet, here I sit, stuck.

I’ve done well today, and the past few days. If you’re measuring wellness by amount of food eaten I’m doing amazing even. I’ve had s’mores, ice cream, peanut butter, fried food from a restaurant. I’ve gone well over needed calories. I’ve stayed away from most safe foods, given in to insatiable hunger, not turned down pizza at work. But beneath this healthier eating is a girl who feels completely out of control and confused.

I sit here at a crossroad. I have been here before, way too many times to count now. I can continue to try and recover. I can use all of my resources. I can fake it till I make it and continue eating as well as I have been. That scares the hell out of me.

Choosing my eating disorder is so much easier. Its safer. It may require more effort in certain areas, like hiding my restriction from others, but that disordered part of my brain is trying to prove how worth it that is.

Tomorrow, if I follow the ED, I will eat very little, spend the day with no energy or focus, maybe pass out at work again. It will send me backwards more. If I continue until NTS camp there’s no way at all I will be the leader the girls need. I may not be able to stop after that. It could jeopardize my college in the fall and send me back into the hospital. Statistically each relapse has a higher chance of that happening.

All I can think about is the weight, fat, inches I will lose. I’m freaked out about my hair and nails and some other things ED brings, but I’m much more open to the bad side effects because the promise of shrinking away is so strong in my mind.

Its scary being in my head right now. I really don’t know where I’ll be at NTS or college or next week. I pray I can fight this and continue to heal physically but most of all mentally. I don’t want the ED to be safe anymore.

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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!!!

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.

What I (probably) won’t share in therapy tomorrow

Fair warning: this is going to be negative. As always I’ll do my best to stay away from triggering info.

I’ve been dealing with some really crappy thoughts lately. And by lately I mean the past forever. I ignore them usually (smart, right?) and haven’t mentioned them to anyone. I feel like now is a good time to talk about them so I don’t have to in therapy.

My lovely disordered thoughts are definitely changing. Before I would have extreme guilt and self-hate thoughts after eating and also before I ate. This would cause me to restrict heavily then feel bad even eating a tiny bit. Now that I’m all fully committed to recovery I have been eating better, but not really for good reasons. Basically it’s only because I feel extreme guilt letting my mom, Livvy, etc down. In doing this I am creating way more negative thoughts than I could have. It gets to the point where I hate myself and my new body and all of the gross foods I’m eating but I just don’t care about myself enough to change a thing.

The thoughts I’m dealing with now suck. I hate myself 100% of every single day. I can’t think about much else. I don’t even have confidence in things I normally would, like my ability to be a youth leader. Mirrors, old pictures, getting dressed, really anything can be a trigger. Once I head down the negative route it just doesn’t stop.If I’m being honest, I have had suicidal ones lately too. It’s not really wanting to do anything but more feeling like I should be dead. If someone told me I was going to die tomorrow I really wouldn’t care… I know there are people who love me (I don’t get why though) but it really doesn’t make a difference. I’m sick of who I am and who I’m becoming. I would rather not burden anyone anymore.

Well that’s the end of negative thoughts for the night. No way I’m sharing it with Jenny tomorrow. I haven’t told a single health professional about any of the suicidalish thoughts since… Susan maybe? So it isn’t going to happen tomorrow, that’s for sure!

I know certain members of my support would probably yell at me if/when they read this so let’s hope they don’t.

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.

Bad thoughts.

I haven’t updated my blog this week much because I am increasingly feeling/doing worse. Fair warning this is going to be negative. Also, if you’re one of my supports you can ignore this post because quite honestly I don’t need anyone to sit here and worry.

Now that that’s out of the way, I guess I’ll go into the how/why of how I am. I think my grandpa being sick and the tests/stress of school really amped up everything. I have a history of not dealing with stress well so it doesn’t surprise me all that much, I simply wasn’t prepared to handle it AT ALL. Other than school and my grandpa, I also had to schedule a doctor appointment for Monday that I wasn’t expecting. I think all of it happening at once gave Ed a huge opportunity to take over.

Basically since the day I made the appointment I’ve eaten less and less. I suddenly realized how much weight and at I’ve gained. I see myself in a way different light and it makes me want to vomit. All I want is to be back at the weight and body shape I was at my open house last summer. It was before Florida and before I was at the point where I scared my mom and treatment team. I wouldn’t consider it a perfect weight but it’s a thousand times better than this.

I feel like I’ve fallen off a huge cliff and went from near full commitment and trying in recovery to relapse. I really don’t care at this point what happens. I just need to be thin again. And have a perfect 4.0 this semester, make it into honors fellow, etc… If you can’t tell, perfectionism is at a high now too.

I don’t know where I was going with this post or anything but I just needed to get some of these thoughts out. There’s no way I’m telling Jenny or Kim or anyone. It’s going to be my secret.

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.