Life becomes a lot better when you start telling your eating disorder how horrible it is and refusing to let it say the same to you
These past few days have put me through the worst lapse I have experienced since before I was admitted to Remuda. At some points, I truly thought that this was it, I was relapsing and for moments, I was okay with that. It is hard to explain the feelings of restriction unless you have an eating disorder, but it is truly the best feeling with the worst consequences. For the first time, I couldn’t believe the benefits of recovery over my eating disorder and that terrified me. I was back to living in fear and secrets, hiding food, saying I had already eaten when I hadn’t and abusing diet drinks like it was my job.
But I shut my eating disorder down.
I am not sure how but I am fucking pumped I did. By the end of the day yesterday, I had only an ounce of energy left in recovery and I went to bed with thoughts of worthlessness and anger towards myself. Over and over I kept repeating,
“you have six weeks until your life starts again and you’re fucking it up now?”
“How can you go back being just as bad when you left? You’ll fall on your face and nobody will care”
Why now? Why couldn’t I of tripped up a month ago when I could still go back to PHP or have room in my time to make up for mistakes. It was so disappointing to have this happen right as the pieces of my life that were lost were slowly coming back. Just imagining my life going back to school with full blown Anorexia would create the same scenes that I played in last year. Having to leave, having to tell everyone, having to go to treatment, etc. And reliving those memories was when I decided that this lapse wasn’t going to beat me. I have earned hope and I have earned going back to school.
Time is running out until school and I have to prepare myself for the lapses in my future because I know this won’t be my last. Lapses will happen, it’s a part of the process, but if I let the first one turn into a relapse then how will I know how to get back on my feet when this will happen in the fall? And, to quote Shaw from Remuda, its not if lapses will happen but when. I have to learn to trust that I can beat the days when I feel there is little to fight for and the only way I can build that trust is to keep moving forward, accept what happened and take responsibility for my recovery.
I ate today. Against every fiber of my being I ate. Three meals, no purging and sitting it with it is a little uneasy but the pride I feel in myself for having the bad days and refusing to starve is worth it. I needed a curve ball to show myself that my recovery isn’t a phase that my eating disorder will snap me out of, it’s something that I can make happen.
I am a perfectionist. Months ago it was to be perfect at my eating disorder and lately it has been perfect at recovery. In both mindsets, I did reach out to people but within both I also had walls. I would tell you maybe an inch of what I am struggling with but at the same time hidden behind the wall was a whole damn highway of the lies I had hidden. I told people I struggled with an eating disorder but I wanted it to look perfect. Some would know but few bits and pieces but my main goal was to be thin. And it wasn’t enough. The day I decided that my eating disorder was more important than what others had thought of me was the day that my life truly spiraled out of control. Long story short I went to treatment and there I found women who were motivated.
Being around those who are motivated is nice, great actually. Even now I try to stay around those who like smiles above frowns. But the motivation I found was a twisted kind of motivation. I remember within my first week of two in remuda there was a rumor that one of my suite mates had purged. To this day, nobody truly knows who I was but somehow the purging got pinpointed on me. Which for the record, it wasn’t. But I remember the group where people blamed me, and looked at me like I was some sort of outcast. Maybe I am just crazy, but you would think that if someone purged you wouldnt give them words of anger but of support. That’s when my perfection found it’s new host. Recovery.
(Just as a side note, the women that I met at Remuda Ranch were truly the most incredible women that I have ever met. In no way I am saying that they did this to me or anything. Just an experience)
I felt as though I couldn’t slip up and if I did, don’t say too much because then I’d get the same reaction as I did at first. You can struggle, but not too much. I told myself I had to be good at this, I had to recover. And as the days pass from my time at remuda my sea of people who wanted recovery has gotten down to a small puddle. I saw one by one as all of my best friends from Remuda fall back into their disorders. And then I slowly watched some of my Renfrew friends fall back like this was some sort of plague.
I was alone. This pain cuts so much deeper than the loneliness of my eating disorder. My eating disorder made me feel like nobody understood me. My friends who have eating disorders who are struggling understand me but I have to distance myself because I can’t be around that. I created this puddle and it fucking sucks.
This pushed my perfectionist nature in my recovery further. I began isolating, purging and the suicidal thoughts came it. I suck at my eating disorder and I suck at recovery. If I can’t do any of these right what the hell can I do? I have spent the past few nights taking the wrath of my mind, telling me how horrible I am, how there will soon be a time where the world sees what I truly am, a pathetic, shallow and ugly girl.
I am struggling.
I can tell you with honesty that I am not fully relapsing but I am engaging in behaviors. My mind is settling. Purging every once and awhile but not going into other behaviors. Like a trade of sorts. I don’t know what to do nor does my team. On one hand, I have been in treatment for a combined 7 months so what else can I get out of this but on the other I still need treatment.
What’s frustrating is at the beginning you are praised for only engaging in behaviors a few times a week so I got used to that. I can struggle a bit but still be in recovery. And that’s what my perfect recovery looked like, still being able to purge here and there but for the most part, having positive thinking.
I don’t want to lose weight, I don’t really think I’m fat but there is that high from my eating disorder is convincing me to continue what I have going.
So here I am perplexed and lonely.
Do you guys ever feel like your eating disorder is bargaining with your recovery? My eating disorder is okay to start eating something as long as I start working out. It’s a constant push and pull that really has me questioning how far I am in my recovery and what a hold my eating disorder still has on me.
The biggest compromise my eating disorder has been trying to make is allowing me to recover as long as I don’t get to x pounds because once I get to x pounds, I’ll be fat and I will need to lose weight. There is no push and pull with this either, it’s like once I hit that number I feel like I’d be getting a call from TLC asking me to be on My 700 lb. Life. This worked for awhile because once I hit a certain weight, the weight gain wasn’t as rapid as it was when I first started this process so I’ve been feeling ok but I hit that number and it’s like when you take a wrong turn and your GPS goes immediately to recalculating.
Is it worth it? Can’t I just dip back into my eating disorder until I am under the weight that my eating disorder told me I could be than go back to recovery? I am trying to keep afloat with all these expectations I have of myself. I want to be back into life with my full time job, going back to school, making good grades which are all things that require recovery and at the same I want to be starving, purging and working out just as bad. Somedays the latter more than the first.
Somedays I am just tired of fighting, I am tired of being uncomfortable, I am tired of only feeling the consequences of recovery and having to continue to stay patient. The only thing that is keeping me going is the few memories I have from before I went to treatment and watching everything fall apart. As fucked up as it may sound, I have to hold onto that misery to remind myself what going back it like.
I grew up in a family with a set of rules, ones that backed up my parents expectations and ones that reflected their beliefs. I got older and then there were new rules, set by school and church and jobs or anything that I got apart of. Although, I look at my life and think I was somewhat rebellious, for the most part, I loved following rules.
And these rules weren’t just don’t eat paste, I am talking the life rules that you are told. Be kind and people will like you. Think about others and people will respect you. Fake it til you make it.
Rules were what separated the good and the bad. If you do this, you are good, if not, then you are bad. If you do it well, you deserve praise, if you suck, people will talk. I love that. Follow tasks and boom, you win. I am going to get a tad boastful, but with almost anything that involves rules and standards, I am pretty damn good at. I am always a top employee, and I fucking shine in leadership positions because then you help create the rules. I mean, I even have a written list of “Rules of an Argument/Breakup” that I reference like it’s a goddamn famous speech.
Go Sarah. Woo. Party.
The thing though about rules it that with a black and white rule system that I shine in leaves no room for gray area. Most people realize that there is some grey matter in life and prepare for it. Realizing that yes, it is important to think of others but in some situations its ok to think about yourself. Or, to reference my rules of an argument, I would firmly tell you that in every argument and breakup, there is a winner and a loser but I refused to think of a situation where they either both acted crazy after the breakup or, an even harsher pill for me to swallow, what if they were both ok and they were both winners. I would imagine that most people would see that but I refused to.
There were forces that out of my own control that traumatically impacted me, like my dad getting sick, that made my grey matter get out of hand. My dad was kind and was healthy how is he sick? That’s not what the rules say. He should be fine, he did what he was supposed to do. And from there things got more out of control because things kept happening to me that either had a rule that put me in my perception of a being the “loser” of the situation or things that shouldn’t of happened to me because it was not the result that the rules that I was raised on told me it would be.
So I created my own rules. I wouldn’t plunge right in because, ya know, what if it was a wrong rule that gave me a bad result? So, slowly and carefully, I would dip my toe into newly created rules that I hoped would give me a purpose. I thought I had found the loop hole in the rule system, if I find rules that work, then I can create what the destiny will be if I follow them. I could turn the black into white and eliminate the grey. After months of dabbling, I found rules that worked. Rules that were an eating disorder.
It felt incredible at first. Purge this, look like that. Weigh this and you’ll achieve that, etc. etc. It was perfect and not going to lie, sometimes the rules resulted in the expectation. That’s what made it addicting. If I only ate x amount of calories and I got compliments, imagine what would happen if I ate even lower. It took me months, but I found an eating disorder routine that worked and what I thought was success was a disguise of the severity of the disorder. Eventually there were more rules and less resulted. I was where I started, in a pool of gray the I didn’t expect while the black and white became further and further apart.
Then I went to rehab, blah, blah, blah.
Now Im here. Been doing PHP/IOP for 2 months, continuing to gain weight, and following the recovery rules which honestly don’t feel as good following because it mainly consists of being yourself and eating. Which, to me, is like having a hallmark card in one hand and a panera gift card in the other. There whole thing is to give up the control and let life happen and even the result is unknown. You would think with all this loving yourself shit, you’d be promised a hug or a daily rainbow. Nope, you just get insurance and supplements.
And I find myself, making rules in my mind constantly and getting excited about the fictional high that I dream will come with it. Creating times to eat, creating ways to purge, things to order, ways to lie with the result of happiness and thinness. Also what my disorder tells me that if you follow this new set of rules, adapted by your own rules, then nobody will know because this time, secrecy will be more of a priority this time and this time, I will be happier.
I want to follow these so bad. I want a system that can tell me my worth by following simple steps, not having to go into an area of my life that doesn’t allow me to protect myself with rules. I loved the feeling of believing I found this magic elixir that give me the rebellious control to be create a loophole in life that allows me to create my own rules and create my own results.
I don’t know what I am going to do now. I know what I should do and I know what I want to do. I know that the main result from my old rules transformed me into a person that wasn’t myself instead of a free bird with the secret code of life. I mean, I am pretty secure in saying that tomorrow I will put the recovery rules into play but what about in a month when I am back at school. My mind always goes back to “What if something bad happens again and I don’t have my rules to protect myself”. It is a fair fear for me to have to admit that today might be my last Father’s Day with my dad and I would most like hear about his passing when I am at school. Those rules have kept me safe before, if they didn’t, I would have never followed them in the first place.
What to do, my kittens, what to do