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What a difference a year makes

A year ago I was clinically emaciated, and going through refeeding.

I’m glad I documented this process because it helps me remember how hard it was. It wasn’t just that month in residential. It took months to be able to eat again without my eating disorder screaming at me. It whispers, now. It whispers and I can tell it to fuck off.

My therapist told me she can literally tell when I haven’t eaten that day. She can tell by my mood. And she is never wrong when she calls me out on it. It was eye opening to see just how much starvation effects my depression.

So when I have to force myself to eat, that realization has helped probably more than anything else has. I ask myself, is this worth my happiness? When I feel depressed I’d give anything to not feel that way. And this is one of those things I can do. I can nourish my body to nourish my mind.

I’ve said more than a few times this year, as my eating disorder attempts to sneak it’s way back into my life, that I never want to have to come back from that again. And I’m not certain my body could handle another relapse, to be honest. #Anorexia #AnorexiaNervosa #EatingDisorder #eatingdisordertreatment #EatingDisorderRecovery #Residential #ResidentialTreatment #MentalIllness #MentalHealth #MentalHealthAwareness #Recovery #growth #Healing

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January 11th, 2021 “Recovery Fatigue”

I’m super unhappy with my body right now. I’d guessed by knowing how my body is at each weight, that I was about 110. I finally caved and stepped on a scale to find out I was exactly right. I have gained 15 lbs in 5 weeks. That’s 3 lbs a week. That’s intense. Of course I’m unhappy with my body. Anyone would be after gaining so much so fast.

I’m experiencing some extreme recovery fatigue. I know some of it is brought on by my intense hatred of my body at this weight. But also just 5 weeks of all day therapy is a lot. 5 weeks of working my ass off to recover, and I am just tired. I’m tired of group therapy. I’m tired of yoga. I’m tired of having to plan my meals to fit the right amount of exchanges. I’m tired of having my food intake monitored. I’m tired of ensure. I’m tired of trying so damn hard.

The urge to restrict is extreme right now. I want to lose this weight. My jeans are tight. My leggings, which used to be huge on me, fit. I miss my old body. Idc right now that it wasn’t healthy -that’s part of the fatigue. I don’t care what’s healthy and what’s not right now because I’m tired of caring and I’m tired of trying and I’m tired of hating my body.

The good thing about recovery fatigue is that it doesn’t last. It doesn’t stick around. It may come and go, but it’s not a constant. So if I can just force myself to do what I’m supposed to for recovery during this episode, it’ll go away.

That’s where “opposite action” comes in. If you want to do something unhealthy for you, do the exact opposite. For example: If you want to isolate, call a friend to hang out.

Also, something called “urge surfing” comes in handy during times like these. Acknowledging your urge, accepting that it’s there and not judging yourself for having it. Not ruminating on it, but just riding it out, maybe even distracting yourself, until it goes away.

I skipped lunch and snacks yesterday. It was easy to as I didn’t have PHP. I still feel like I ate so much. Today, I had breakfast, didn’t finish snack, and had to supplement an ensure for half of my lunch. If it wasn’t for PHP I don’t know if I’d have had anything yet today. Maybe just a snack. I just want my old body back. My ED is screaming that it took *so long* to get there, and I threw it all away in 5 weeks. And it’s going to take forever to get there again, because I did this to myself. I’m trying to remind myself how awful I felt when I was sick, and when I first started recovery, but it keeps trying to focus on my body then and now.

I’m super ready for this recovery fatigue to go away so I can remember the good things about recovery and feel proud of myself again.

I’m trying not to fall back into old habits, but it’s hard right now.

#AnorexiaNervosa #EatingDisorders #eatingdisordertreatment

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January 8th, 2021

I started the partial hospitalization program (PHP) on Tuesday. We log on after eating breakfast, then discuss what we had for breakfast, how we felt after, what we had for dinner and snacks after programming the night prior, and how we felt after those. We have snack and lunch in the program, which is much weirder to do virtually than when I was in IOP treatment physically in 2005. It’s not as weird as I thought it’d be though.

Each week we have a menu that tells us what meals to have prepared each day for lunch. Today was stir fry consisting of our amount of exchanges of protein, veg, rice or pasta, and teriyaki sauce. I have never made stir fry, and can barely boil water, so I was pretty intimidated. I managed to make it all on my own without any recipes or anything. I was terrified it would taste awful, but it actually came out pretty decent.

On the emotions side of things I’ve been completely hating my body with the weight I’ve gained while in residential. I’ve resisted all urges to weigh myself. I haven’t known my weight since the morning I was admitted when I checked it before I left home- so December 7th. They weighed us daily, but didn’t show us the number. I actually pulled the scale out and started to step on it today before stopping myself. Knowing my weight will only make keeping up with my meal plan that much harder.

But at least I have learned to cook and bake so many different things. It probably would’ve been easier and cheaper (and had so much less crying) to take a cooking class, but it would’ve been a lot less interesting.

#AnorexiaNervosa #EatingDisorders #eatingdisordertreatment #PartialHospitalizationProgram


January 3rd, 2021

Today, I want to use my ED symptoms to cope with something I’m dealing with. I want the distraction from my feelings I’m trying not to feel. I want to feel like I can fix things that I cannot fix. I can’t fix what’s causing me pain, but look what I can focus on and fix: my weight! My body. What I eat. I can fix and perfect that so I feel like I’m not completely helpless in a situation. I may be helpless in some parts of my life, but hey! Look here! I’ve got control over this!

It’s amazing how many ways it’s trying to sneak back in. It’s also hard to say no when I’m so incredibly depressed and hopeless about the situation. The depression strips me of my motivation. I’m too emotionally exhausted to care to try.

I’m not giving up. That’s not what this is. I’m just venting. It’s hard. I want a distraction from what’s causing me turmoil. I want to feel like I have control over the outcome of something in my life. I want to prove I don’t need the thing that’s lacking here. But I do need it and that’s why I’m in so much pain without it.

I’m trying to avoid feeling the things I’m feeling so that I don’t hurt. It’s not working, but it’s what I do.

#AnorexiaNervosa #EatingDisorders #eatingdisordertreatment


January 2nd, 2021 First day home from residential

Today was my first day home. It was hard. I had my wife hide the scales as I almost didn’t make it past them in the bathroom. I knew I couldn’t keep up the resistance. Now I don’t see them, but I know they’re probably easy to find. It’s easier to resist looking for them than it is to resist getting on one when it’s staring at me. And yes, I own multiple scales. I couldn’t trust just one.

The day was hard. It is really hard to keep up recovery once I’m home. The eating disorder can be enthralling and manipulative. It lurks in the shadows, whispering its lies in an attempt to slink its way back into my life. I’ve let it twice now.

All day, it whispered how I don’t need to eat this much. No one is watching me now, not as closely as when I was there. No one is giving me a supplement when I don’t finish my meal.

“Just leave a little bit on your plate,” it whispers, “No one is making you finish it. If someone says something, tell them you’re full”.

“You can skip a snack or two,” it tries again, “Just a little less food a day can’t hurt”.

It tells me this as it reminds me how much weight I’ve gained. It dangles the idea of weighing myself at me again. It has me look down and see my body, now full of life rather than skin and bones.

“Just a few pounds less,” it purrs, “We won’t fall down the rabbit hole again. Just a few pounds is all”.

But that’s how it starts.

That’s always how it starts.

And I’m not falling for it.

No matter how much it is trying to make me hate myself and my body right now, I can’t go back.

It’s been a very, very hard day struggling to keep up with recovery now that I’m home.

I’m so glad I’m starting PHP Tuesday. I need the support. I need the help in transitioning back to my life without my eating disorder. I need all the help I can get to stave off the cunning bastard.

#AnorexiaNervosa #EatingDisorders #eatingdisordertreatment

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December 31st, 2020 “Goodbye ED”

As part of our last group, we write a letter to our eating disorder. We read it aloud in group. Then we play a song we chose for our last group. I chose “Love Myself” by Olivia O’Brien ft. Jesse.

Then, we go outside and we burn our letter. It was cathartic. Writing it, reading it, and burning it. There’s usually a scrap left. We read what it said and keep it. Mine said, “I wasn’t skinny. Good enough. I’m done believing. Your hold on me”. I wasn’t skinny enough or good enough. I’m done believing. I’m done with your hold on me.

My letter to my eating disorder:
“Dear ED,

When you first came into my life, you enticed me with your promises. You promised to take away my pain. You promised me I’d feel safe, secure, and in control. You promised I’d have it all together if I could just follow your rules. You promised that if I could just prove I didn’t need something as basic as food, it would somehow prove I didn’t need the love, comfort, affection, and safety I’d felt I’d lacked.

But you lied to me. Nothing you ever promised me came to be. Instead, you brought me self-hatred, shame, and guilt. For too long, I’ve allowed you to control me. For too long, I let you convince me that none of your promises were coming true because I wasn’t following the rules well enough. I wasn’t trying hard enough. I wasn’t good enough. “Enough” was a never ending symphony in my head. And yet, you kept convincing me that those things you promised me would come true if I could just do it better.

For too long, I’ve allowed you to strip me of my self-worth. You convinced me that I took up too much space in this world. You convinced me I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t skinny enough, sick enough, good enough.

But I’m done believing your lies. I’ve broken your hold on me, and I am never going back.

I am worthy of everything good this world has to offer me. I am worthy to take up space, to laugh, to enjoy life. I am worthy to be happy.

I’ve discovered what it’s like to be proud of myself, to accept myself, to love myself. Your promises are nothing compared to the joy I’ve found in recovery. You can try to entice me with your lies, but I know what it’s like to be happy without you. I have the tools to send you packing when you try to creep back into my life. It’s over for good. Goodbye.


#AnorexiaNervosa #EatingDisorders #eatingdisordertreatment #ResidentialTreatment

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December 30th, 2020 “Preparations”

I had to write all my letters to the staff I got close to and to the girls here. I put bracelets in the ones who I made bracelets for. I have one bracelet left to finish for a staff member, so I need to get that done tomorrow.

In the morning, after breakfast, we list 3 goals for the day. We give ourselves a positive affirmation. We say something we are grateful for this morning. We write down the day’s quote, which we give our interpretation of. And we rate our depression, anxiety, eating disorder urges, self-esteem, body image, and anything else we want. I chose body checking. We also rate our hunger/fullness before and after each meal and snack.

In the evening, after last snack, we state whether or not we completed each goal. We list a positive thing about the day, and something we are grateful for. We rate all of those things again at the end of the day. We can see if they’ve changed, and discuss what may have caused the change (positively or negatively).

I think I may keep up with this for a while. Maybe not as extensive, but the goals, gratitude, and positivity. (PHP will probably at least have us do goals.)

#AnorexiaNervosa #EatingDisorders #eatingdisordertreatment #ResidentialTreatment


December 30th, 2020

So Seeds of Hope has to temporarily shut down. Their nursing director left and they couldn’t find a new one. We all have to be out by Saturday. Since I was already discharging soon, I will just be going home and starting PHP. I’m scared. I don’t know if I’m ready to leave yet, but I don’t have a choice. Well, I kind of do. I could transfer to another place. But I think that would just be harder on me. The girls were assuring me I’d be okay. That I’m an entirely different person than when I came in. And that I’ve mentioned that I feel I can and will follow my meal plan when I go home. And I’ll have the support of PHP 5 days a week. And of my family.

I’m still scared.

#AnorexiaNervosa #EatingDisorders #eatingdisordertreatment #ResidentialTreatment

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December 29th, 2020

My second paint-by-number came. I’ve started on it already. It seems much easier than the last one, which I’m grateful for.

Today, I got my discharge date. I’m leaving Thursday the 7th. I haven’t told anyone besides my wife, mother, and ex-husband. My ex-husband knows because I am having my wife get the kids from his house (where they’ve been staying) under the guise of her wanting to take them out to breakfast because she’s barely seen them this whole time. Then she’s going to bring them with her to pick me up. And my mom knows because she’s my mom. 🙂

I’m ready, but I’m nervous. It’s scary. It’s change. I also have so much to do before I go home! I have to finish my painting and my bracelets for everyone here. I have to finish reading the 2 books I’m currently reading (it was 3, but I’m putting one back). I was in the middle of a thriller and a book on happiness when the one therapist here (the one I talk about a lot) loaned me her book on self-compassion. I was only about a chapter into the book on happiness, so I’m going to put that one back. I am halfway through the thriller and it’s good, so I want to finish it. And I definitely want to read the book on self-compassion that the therapist loaned me.

I also need to write letters to everyone here. This isn’t required, but is a tradition everyone follows. To let each and every staff member (that we connected with) know how much we appreciate their hard work and never-ending support. And to the other girls for their support. And then, still not necessarily required, but essentially you do it unless you truly don’t want to: we write a letter to our eating disorder. Then we have our final group therapy session where we read the letter. Then we go outside and we burn it. Usually a scrap of paper is left. We read the words left on it. Then we keep that. I’m excited for that.

I’m nervous I won’t get everything done in time!

#AnorexiaNervosa #EatingDisorders #eatingdisordertreatment #ResidentialTreatment


December 8th, 2020

Today, we had a new admission. She’s 27. Finally someone a little closer to my age. She’s very overwhelmed, as we all were when we first came. This also helps me see how far I’ve come.

Today, we got our snack list and menu for the week. We don’t choose meals, but we can choose our snacks (we are given options based on what the snack should be. For example, 1 protein exchange and one fruit exchange). They handed me my old meal plan, which only had 1 exchange for first and second snack. Instead of going with it and attempting to eat less, I told them I had the wrong menu. That my meal plan was upped. I am proud of myself.

I asked about figuring out a discharge date for me. I am seeing my progress, and holding myself accountable. And I will have the support of the Partial Hospital Program (PHP) 5 days a week when I go home. I think I’m about ready. Next week or the week after.

#AnorexiaNervosa #EatingDisorders #eatingdisordertreatment #ResidentialTreatment