Breaking Rules and Needing More Support

At this point it has been six days since I stopped actively restricting or counting calories.

It is hard. Really hard.

I don’t have any intention of stopping anytime soon, but I’m not sure how long I can keep this up. Every moment of every day is a struggle. I feel like I’m standing right on the edge and fighting to keep from sliding right back into the disorder.

Part of what made me want to stop restricting is that my therapist does not want me to have to go into inpatient or residential treatment again. I don’t want that, either. I think it can be tempting to surrender all control over to a treatment team that tells you exactly what to eat – how much should be starch, protein, dairy, vegetables, fruit, etc. They decide when you eat, where you eat, how you eat, what you do before and after you eat; they essentially make every decision around food for you.

Which can be very helpful, especially for someone in the throes of anorexia who is so malnourished and trapped in the disorder that they are in danger of dying if they don’t get calories. It can be simpler to follow the rules someone else is enforcing than to have to break your own rules.

But, in the end, it’s still about rules. And that is what my therapist and I are trying to avoid. Neither of us want me to trade my own rules around food for someone else’s. Part of why I have this disorder is because so much of my life was controlled, particularly regarding food. I was told what foods I liked and disliked. I was put on a diet as a toddler. I was deprived of the foods that I loved and forced to eat foods I hate.

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Done

It’s strange how so much can change in so little time.

In my last couple of posts, I’ve addressed the challenging nature of battling an active eating disorder. I felt so completely helpless and out of control. I could feel myself spiraling further into self-destruction and although I also felt a sense of urgency to grab hold of something – anything – to prevent further descent, I could not figure out how to do that.

However, it would appear that a series of well-placed events and interactions have finally opened up the space I needed to slow, if not stop, my free-fall into anorexia.

After my double session last Friday, I felt unsettled. Having an ED is sort of like living inside a very well fortified castle. I think that somehow the workshop at Renfrew, combined with my conversation with my psychiatrist about ED-specific treatment (where she recommended residential treatment), followed by an email, phone call, and two-hour session with my therapist somehow had enough force to breach the castle walls.

I couldn’t quite understand what had happened, and I still don’t really get it, but I just sensed that the eating disorder was struggling to maintain its hold. Restricting suddenly felt difficult, where it normally is effortless. I found myself questioning if starving indefinitely is truly what I want for myself and being curious about other options.

Then I saw my nieces and nephew.

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Losing Connection 

Things have been tough.

I graduated. 4.0 GPA. I won the Outstanding Leadership Award for my cohort. My professors each made a point of telling my wife how incredibly proud of me she should be. I even went out with my classmates to celebrate.

But otherwise, everything sucks. I am so completely IN my eating disorder right now. I feel detached and dissociated from almost everyone and everything. I have to make an effort each day to make sure I actually interact with my wife in a meaningful way because it can be easy to just dissolve into the illness. It’s as if nothing else matters. I easily spend 99% of my energy on ED thoughts and behaviors.

Therapy has been empty and hollow. I am terrified to connect with my therapist because I know that intimacy will jeopardize my eating disorder.

And I am not ready to let go of it yet. I don’t know how.

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Random

I went to a workshop at Renfrew tonight that really just solidified how badly I need ED treatment. And I want it. I just don’t feel like I deserve it. (Yet?)
I felt so sad for myself and so profoundly envious of the other women who had been through treatment and were seemingly light years ahead of where I could ever even imagine myself being. It seems hopeless. I think I would fail spectacularly at NOT being eating disordered so maybe I am just more content being really good at it? Who knows. 
But it sucks. I want what they have. I want to feel better. I just can’t figure out how to allow myself to do that. And on the opposing side, I also really want to be anorexic, which is gross and fucked up. 

Such a mess.