Relentlessly Destructive

*Mild Trigger Warning for topic (Eating Disorder Behaviors)

Last week was a little rough. Beyond pulling my hamstring, which has still not fully healed, we had an incident involving stimulant laxatives. Apparently River was displeased with our stalling weight loss. So she fronted long enough to both procure and take three times the recommended dose of laxatives. I did not know this until I went to class the next morning and suddenly felt very ill.

At first I thought it was just some strange tummy ailment caused by all the meds I was on. I’ve never taken muscle relaxants before, so I figured it was causing some unpleasant reactions. Then my nausea got worse and worse. I thought I was going to be sick, but then I had to go to the bathroom very urgentlyI excused myself from class and after three trips to the public ladies’ restroom, my professor asked if I needed to lay down. My classmates reflected back to me that I looked “a little green in the gills” and everyone told me I should go home. I asked my professor if I could leave and he said that would be fine and to feel better soon.

It was a rocky commute. I just kept begging my stomach to stay calm and wait to get home to completely freak out. Luckily, I made it home without incident. I took some stomach medicine and laid down, willing my intestines to relax.

Once I felt somewhat settled, I pulled out my iPad and stylus. I opened up the System journal I created (using the GoodNotes app). I very nicely asked if anyone had any information or input on why our stomach was so upset. I got a quick reply from another Part (admittedly “tattling”), letting me know what was going on. Eventually River admitted to it, but she didn’t say much beyond that.

I brought this up to the therapist in session later that evening. She asked me if I had any input on why River was “upping her game” in terms of disordered eating behaviors. I honestly don’t know. I thought things were going fairly well, but obviously they’re not. I expressed extreme frustration and distress about this whole situation. I feel so helpless. I hate it when Parts front and push me out of the way, especially when they use that time to do unsavory things.

The therapist said, “You talk about your Parts with a certain quality…as if they are relentlessly destructive.”

“They are. And that’s not to say I don’t blame them, because I understand why they act the way they do. But it also helps me understand exactly why no one wants to be the ‘host’ of this System.”

“Why is that?”

“Because it sucks. Especially for me.”

“Can you talk more about that?”

“It’s as though I’ve been elected president of a tiny nation that hates me – full of people that hate me. I don’t have their history, I’m not part of their story…their tragedy. Yet somehow I am expected to bring peace and order. I’m supposed to fix things and make it better, but I don’t know how because I don’t have the whole picture. It’s so frustrating.”

She offered me some empathy and validation before asking if I could understand why River might be acting this way.

“No. How would I know?”

“Well, if you’ve known someone else who restricts their food, what do you imagine that is about for them?”

“A lot of things. Control, communication…”

“Communication? That’s a good point. What do you think River is trying to communicate to us?”

“I don’t know. I wish I did.”

“That’s probably going to be something really important for us to figure out.”

“Yeah. Probably. But also…I feel as though this isn’t just about River anymore. When this all started back in November, it felt very separate from me. It was this foreign experience. But now, as time passes and passes, it feels less separate and more integrated. What used to feel totally separated from my own experience became more and more intrusive until now it’s how I feel about myself. The way River views this body (as fat and disgusting and horrible), I look in the mirror and I start to think those things, too. I feel more anxious and scared around food. I tell myself awful things – the things I used to hear coming from my head are now my own thoughts. This has become the center – the focal point- of everything. All plans, every decision I make, revolves around food.”

“That sounds very stressful. But, also, I think it might be good that there is less separation between you and River. Even if that means you take on some of the distorted body image and food issues.”

“Perhaps. But how do I fix it?”

“That I don’t know yet.”

“Great.”

She asked if I am concerned. I’m not (yet). I’m what I called “pre-concerned”. Regardless, she urged me to call the psychiatrist she recommended so that I’m under the supervision of a doctor (and also so I don’t run out of medication).

I don’t genuinely believe the Parts of the System are relentlessly destructive. But I do think that things can never get better for us if we can’t replace some of these old self-destroying habits with something a little more productive.

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16 thoughts on “Relentlessly Destructive

  1. kat says:

    you are absolutely right, one must replace new habits with old ones, or you can’t get rid of the old ones, cause what would you do then? there would be a void.

    so it is important to get better communication in the system and more knowledge of the system to you, so that you and T can work on coping skills, processing, and EMDR (if that helps). That will help change the focus, change the behaviours, and be inclusive–encouraging everyone to work together and to give you knowledge to be in control.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      I agree. The unfortunate situation is that the more communication we gain in the System, the more things seem to get worse. Which makes me think perhaps those barriers are in place for a reason. Thanks for the support, kat. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachel says:

    Andi, River, everyone. I am so sorry. This sounds really tough. Andi, you handled the surprise very well. I agree with the therapist; as I was reading your post, I was struck with the progress you are making within the system, even though I know it feels like things are out of control. The fact that you are internalizing those ED symptoms and body image cognitions means your work is paying off. Which I know doesn’t feel good at al right now. I am sending lots of support. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      You’re spot on – because the more progress we make, the more chaotic things seem to get. It’s so frustrating because I feel utterly helpless most of the time. I need to see the light – the what comes AFTER all of this pain, you know? Thanks for your support ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ZOE says:

    First of all I want to say that I am sorry for not being very “vocal” on the topic of food because it’s a bit sensitive for me. I still want you and River to know that I do care about what’s going on and hope you two can come to some sort of agreement about all this. The body suffers a lot and it’s the one thing you all share, regardless of the memories or experiences each has.

    The president metaphor was brilliant. Precisely because you are president I think the residents / voters should try and communicate more with you on what they’re feeling, since you all have to live in the same country. I do hope that bit by bit River can tell you. The impression I got from a post (a while ago) is that perhaps there’s this sense of “they don’t understand why this is so important,” which reminds me a lot on how sometimes we keep things from people we believe won’t get us or will “admonish” about the topics discussed. Maybe I’m just misinterpreting everything, but I felt that from the words River expressed.

    Maybe that post could shed some light to the therapist on how to help, assuming River is comfortable with her reading it. I don’t know. I wish I could help. All I can do is say I’m with all of you. I want you all to be happy and whole.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      I totally understand your lack of commenting. I know some issues are perhaps more activating than others. I appreciate your support whenever you’re able to offer it.

      Thanks for your appreciate of my metaphor, haha. I felt a little silly both saying it out loud and posting it, but it really did make the sot sense to me. Very good insight on River – now that you mention it, I do get the sense that she feels tremendous isolation and misunderstanding within the System. Which might have served an important purpose at some point.

      I hope so very much that River will talk to the therapist some more, but we shall see. Not much trust going on … at least not what I’d hope for.

      Thanks, love ❤

      Like

  4. silentlistener2510 says:

    Hi Andy River, and everyone,

    I think River has something very important to share with all of you. I think it’s also about control.
    Keeping control like that can be so exhausting.
    I wonder if River would share some of her posts with the T too but that’s her choice of course.
    I also wonder if River has anything else that’s just hers besides the Ed behaviour.
    Replacing old habits with new ways is good and feeling what they feel is hard but a sign of solidarity and progress.

    I’m willing to address anyone who reads these words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      I have shared some of River’s thoughts, but it really doesn’t mean much coming from me. Plus it tends to upset her when we “talk about her” in session. And yes, I think she is exhausted. I know I am! Hoping so much to make some progress with this soon.

      Thanks for your support and understanding xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Tessa says:

    Andi I can’t even imagine what you are going through. And to have River do something that you knew nothing about has got to be even harder. I wish you all love. ❤ And peace!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. manyofus1980 says:

    It sounds like it is tough. Trying to figure out why river is acting this way, trying not to panic, trying to go with it and just let things happen how they happen, perhaps river could have a session to herself if she needs to process stuff. Maybe you could invite her to do that in the journal. XX

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      I have invited her. My wife encourages her all the time. I think she wants to go to session and talk, but she’s scared. I will keep suggesting it though because I agree that it would be good for her. Thanks for the support xx

      Like

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