I have to do hard things

I haven’t been doing so hot. I’m trying to accept that this is relapse and not just a slip backwards. If it was just a small slip, I probably would have crawled back out of it by now.

Things have become more crucial at this point. My team has been more concerned lately, and last week I got some news that I’m not thrilled about. My eating disorder has always included solely restriction and exercise, so my weight trends can be predictor of how I’m doing, to a point. It has been trending down for a while now, and I am now out of the range my team sees as good for my body. I only just found this out last week.

Thursday was rough. I had my phone session with K, lunch and therapy with R, and IOP stuff the rest of the day. I wasn’t fully expecting the news they both shared: I am on a weight gain protocol, starting today. In our treatment facility, this means that if I have lost weight or maintained below the cutoff I will be given an ensure on top of my meal plan. I’ve voiced my opinions of Ensure before, but I’m definitely more upset about the principle of being forced to have them (if needed) and not the disgusting taste.

I know what to expect today. My eating wasn’t great over the weekend. I don’t believe I necessarily lost, but I also am 99% sure I didn’t gain. Ed thoughts are strong. All I can think about is having to supplement. I imagine how I could be defiant and just refuse, but I know that can only lead to a higher level of care or being kicked out of IOP/outpatient.

I don’t have any options other than fight. I have to do the hardest thing and drink the damn Ensure. More than that, I need to find motivation to put serious effort into my recovery. Slipping more jeopardizes all of my dreams. It’s time for Emily to become stronger than Ed again.

Ensure.

I drank an Ensure tonight. I wasn’t forced. I didn’t want to. I easily could have avoided it. But I didn’t.

I always equated Ensures and supplementation in general as a punishment or sign of failure before. Truthfully, that’s exactly how Forest View used it. If you needed supplementation, you did something bad to receive it. Because of this, I rebelled and refused to drink them every single time. This has carried over, even up until tonight. I would avoid using supplements when I really needed it. Each time I actually forced myself to drink one it had a “well I won’t do that again” and “I am terrible now” effect. I felt disgusted enough by the Ensure that I would attempt to “do better” for a while.

For obvious reasons, that view of supplementation hasn’t helped me. I never felt I could actually reach for an Ensure without extreme shame and fear. Admitting I had to drink and Ensure to my therapist, friends, dietitian, and support people was almost always tear provoking. Supplementing meant I had somehow failed at recovery. I felt worse about myself if I used one than if I had just restricted.

Tonight was the end of that. I’ve been having a hard time eating the past week or so due to a basically nonexistent appetite. Although I’ve managed pretty well so far, today was just too much. ED thoughts took over and I just knew I wouldn’t be able to give my body all it needs through food. I made my decision to supplement and drank my Ensure.

There’s been a big shift in my thinking tonight. Sometimes I may have to use supplementation, and that is okay. Its another way to get calories in. Sure, its not ideal or anything, but if I can’t handle the food its better to have Ensure than nothing. Choosing to continue nourishing my body is the bravest thing I can do.

Back to Forest View and I (voluntarily) drank an ensure

First off, no I am not yet again a part of FV’s treatment program. Despite how much I love and appreciate a lot of the staff there, I hope to never be again. Secondly, no I was not drugged or suffering from a psychotic break when I drank the ensure. These two things actually go together.

Now that I’ve cleared that up, I can talk about what led me to FV. B, a sweet lady from Forest View round 1, messaged me on Monday afternoon and asked if I would like to come to the ED support group. I’ve known about it since last summer but thought of many excuses reasons not to go. I also never had a ride. A main thing I was afraid of is how I would feel being back. I was ready for a full emotional breakdown. (side note: we were on the partial side but if we had been in the “ED room” I would have lost it). I also assumed I would be huge compared to the other girls and would feel judged for it. Even with all these things keeping me, I decided to be brave.

I still teared up walking into the building. I was also extremely nervous and didn’t want to talk at all. There were six of us and I knew both B and S so that was nice. I also got to see Karen (the best activity therapist at FV) and Hannah (old FV ED therapist) which was the best.

Group was almost as amazing as they were at FV. We supported each other and it made me feel less alone again. Also, it was freaking hilarious. L came in late and Karen had her do a motion for how she felt and she flipped her off and then proceeded to make that her favorite answer to anything all night. We had so many jokes and they were perfect. Karen was informed about the “Wack Shack” and had the best reaction. Our next meeting in two weeks will be our “fancy ass tea party” and I’ll just say I am pumped.

After a tough day with food and therapy, group was the comic relief and support I needed. I talked to S and Karen afterwards and, even though I am wholeheartedly #teamnoensure, decided I needed one.

I’ve had a pack of ensure in my dorm since school began. I also have been at a place of needing them enough to have gone through a case by now. Why haven’t I used up a case or even one before monday? I am stubborn and listening to the ED.

Anyways, I got back to the dorms and went to go find my suitemate/RA B. I knew I was not about to finish an ensure on my own. I told her I needed to drink one and asked if she would check on me in 10-15 minutes and keep the bathroom closed so I wouldn’t dump it. I got down a few sips by the time she came back. She gave me a little pep talk and had to leave. I am not going to lie, doing it on my own was HARD. I wanted to dump the rest and fake it so badly. At that point I knew I deserved to fuel my body in some way and this was what I got because I basically skipped dinner. I spent about an hour making small progress and finally finished it. I cried/had terrible thoughts/felt sick and miserable.

Both of these things were steps towards recovery, even if I truly didn’t feel like doing either. Like Sheri says, sometimes I have to push myself to take action even when I don’t feel like doing it or the ED is loud. After all, it’s not one giant leap to recovery but many small steps, detours, pot holes, setbacks, and, in the end, freedom.