What does a hard week look like in post-(lots of)treatment recovery?

This has been an extremely difficult two weeks or so for me. It has brought back old thought patterns, urges, and behaviors. I think a huge part of the “why” is stress. My first two nursing exams were this past week. I also have worked more than normal, so studying kind of took a backseat. Adding to this, I’ve had some pretty terrible body image, little to no hunger, and general frustration with food. These things are not an excuse to return to Ed, but it certainly is a factor.

While it can be disheartening that I am back in this space, I am (attempting to) treat myself the way I would treat my best friend. Recovery isn’t perfect and I need to accept that. I deserve grace. If I sit here and go “woe is me,” I will be stuck and feel more hopeless/helpless than ever.

Before, I had zero tools for effective coping. I turned to the eating disorder again and again and again. It was never “I can do this and it will take care of these urges in a healthy way.” Now, I do have a variety of coping skills to use when I need them, everything from mindfulness to journaling to using my kinetic sand. The problem currently resides in the fact that I’m not using them. While I am past the learning phase, application can be difficult too. It comes down to motivation at this point, which has obviously been lacking some.

One thing that I didn’t necessarily expect is how scary this all is. I am on the cusp of choosing recovery and getting back on track or continuing this downward spiral. It’s only a slip right now, leading towards a lapse. While neither of those are great, I’m not in a huge danger zone. I am leaps and bounds above where I was last fall or before residential. This doesn’t need to become a relapse, but it does remind me of the beginning of each one I’ve had.

For me, the main and most important thing now vs. pre-treatment is that I have a strong desire to turn it around. I don’t want to sit here and continue fading away. I have reasons to recover that truly matter (and aren’t all extrinsic). I have hope. I know my strengths. I may not have constant support like in treatment, but I can do this. I am not alone. I don’t need to recovery alone. That’s a beautiful thing.

To come out of this, I must apply what’s worked before. I haven’t had to really use these things in a long while, but now is time to bring them back out. Some pro-recovery things I will do from here on out:

  • Utilize my DBT corner when I’m having urges or very strong emotions
  • Phone a friend – the support I receive is invaluable
  • Journal, journal, and more journaling. It is something I need to do every day, whether I’m in a rough patch or not
  • Eat.the.food. Mechanical eating may be the only way I can go about this and that’s okay short-term. I can’t expect to continue recovery if I’m slowly starving myself. Also, that just fuels the eating disorder even more
  • Listen to and be honest with my treatment team and myself. This is huge. My team are not mind readers. It’s impossible for them to help me if I’m not telling the truth. I won’t get anywhere this way. What starts out as little lies quickly become complete denial. I start to convince myself of the “truth” as well.
  • Practice self-care. This is the last thing I want to do when I am in the ED/anxiety/depression, but it also has helped to bring me out of negative periods as well. Just 5-10 minutes of treating myself like I am worthy it will make a difference.

It isn’t easy just because I’ve been here before, but being here before means that I know how to break free. I am ready to do so.

Honesty Time

So… honesty time. I haven’t been honest with my parents, my support (Kim and Livvy), my therapist, or myself. I’m not ready for the majority of it (coughcough Kim and Livvy and Jenny should just read it here so I don’t have to say it) but I have to start somewhere.

In being honest, there’s no way I’m going to come out and tell my parents everything I’m about to reveal here. They STILL do not know anything at all about my huge slipping back into Ed basically since I left FV. I don’t plan on telling them. It’s probably better that way. The only hint they even have that things aren’t okay now was yesterday. In saying that, however, my mom just thinks it was a mixture of stress and having little sleep.

Jenny and my support I am almost completely honest with. They are here to help me and can’t do that if I lie to them. I have a hard time telling my support when I’m struglgling because I feel like a burden and I don’t want them to worry. I still end up telling them most things though. Kim especially can see right through me and knows when somethings up (like tonight). Livvy can tell too so I really don’t have too much deception there. Jenny I’ve also told basically everything to except what I’m about to talk about.

Alright, so what’s been going on I’ve really been in denial about. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to admit it. I am finally beginning to realize it isn’t okay and that the signs have been there for quite a while. First off, my depression is worsening. I just can’t seem to stay positive and any small negative thing overwhelms me. Negative thoughts take over and make me feel terrible. I don’t have much desire to do anything and it also attributes to not wanting anyone to know. This second part is so much harder, but I am having self harm thoughts. Not just self harm, sometimes even worse. I have had a hard time walking past pills at the store and I’ve searched all the cabinets to see if my parents missed any when they took them away before. Not as much, but I have considered cutting. I think at this point there is a much stronger leaning towards pills. I’m not too sure whether I would really do it again. I think maybe if I got that bad of thoughts I might. I am pretty scared. Even though the pills are and have been hidden for nearly a year, I could easily get everything if/when I had about ten minutes home alone. This has been fine before since I didn’t have that strong of a desire to do anything but i think if I keep going down this road I will get them soon. I think the worst part about admitting this is it means I am just where I was last year. I had quit self harm and I took up my eating disorder full force. Now, I am trying my best to recover from the eating disorder but this old behavior is trying to creep in. I don’t want that to happen.

It feels so weird to have that all typed out. I want to cry thinking how I have gotten here. I want to give up sometimes because it seems impossible. I need to recover from all of this fully. I can’t keep going to different bad coping skills. I want to try and be honest with Jenny and my support. I think it will be hard but I need help if I want to get better.