Those Weeks You Feel Like You Can’t Catch a Break With a Mental Illness
If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.
Another day has gone by, and my to-do list looks no different than it did days ago. Thoughts of suicide are swarming my mind. This is the first time I’ve had them in weeks, which is probably the longest span of time in eight years I’ve gone without them. I feel hopeless, my heart is heavy and tears are silently escaping my eyes. I know there will be better days, but tonight, everything just hurts.
Last Monday, I found out I had endometriosis. I wasn’t surprised; for years, I figured I had it. But finally hearing that diagnosis aloud was harder than I thought it would be. As my doctor mentioned the possibility of different fertility options, I immediately tuned out. I left the office with a heavy heart, but I know at least there are treatments and many people live content lives with this.
What concerned me more was the implication this could have on my weight and body. Many of the medications can cause weight gain, and I know firsthand how real of a thing “endo belly” is. This wouldn’t have been as big of a deal if I didn’t have an eating disorder … but I do. I would say I’ve relapsed back into the disorder, but thinking about it now, I don’t know if I ever even recovered from anorexia nervosa enough to consider it a “relapse.”
In the past month, my eating habits and body image issues have been becoming more and more apparent to me. I didn’t want to admit I was struggling with an eating disorder again. I didn’t feel “sick enough” for this to be real. I didn’t feel worthy of help and I was terrified of being judged if I reached out or even talked about it. While I consistently topple the line between underweight and average weight, I don’t look like it. And people can’t see the inside of my brain. They can’t see that all I think about are calories and food and exercise and how much I hate my body. So, a lot of them don’t understand.
I knew this was getting to be a real problem as I became unable to focus on anything or get anything done, but I didn’t want to admit I needed real help for this. The therapist I’ve been seeing for a little over a year now had told me when I first started seeing her she didn’t have the skillset to help with my eating disorder, but encouraged me to find a specialist to see in addition to seeing her. I finally took her up on it and found someone. I had scheduled an appointment for last Wednesday, two days after my gynecological appointment. I was terrified going into it. People who know me know my past experiences in therapy have been terrible, and therapy in general gives me a lot of anxiety.
I had panic attacks in the days leading up to the appointment, but I tried to keep as open of a mind as possible. Unfortunately, it did not go well and I walked out feeling defeated, knowing I would have to keep searching. However, the one thing that still gave me hope was the knowledge I still had my current therapist, at least. She is amazing and I never thought I would find a good therapist after so many bad experiences, but she completely proved me wrong and has helped me more than anyone I’ve ever seen. I’m so thankful for her.
But, alas, this was not my week. After hearing I had endometriosis, using all the strength I had to go to this appointment with an eating disorder specialist only to be left disappointed, the very next day, my therapist told me her practice was dropping my insurance company. I immediately put a wall up and acted like I wasn’t too bothered by it, but as soon as that session ended, I broke. Any ounce of hope I had left felt lost. I know I have so much to be thankful for, but I just felt like I couldn’t catch a break this week.
I don’t know how I’m going to do this. I’ve researched and emailed so many therapists in the last week, but speaking honestly, I don’t have high hopes. I’m struggling and I’m worried I’ll slip back into old habits I’ve worked so hard in the last year to break. My depression and anxiety are coming back full-force on top of everything else, and it just hurts.
But at the end of the day, no matter how hopeless I feel and how much it hurts, I know in the end, it’s going to be OK (even though I don’t believe that right now). I know there are better and brighter days ahead. I know there is more out there, even if I can’t see it. I know, despite everything, I’ll make it out of this one day. If you can relate at all, I know you will, too.
Photo by Nina Mercado on Unsplash