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.

Except last week I emailed her. I’m not supposed to do that, but I was willing to risk it. It worked out fine. We had a difficult session the next day but I called her afterwards and asked if she could do a longer session on Friday. She said yes, so we had a double session.

Which went well. We were able to talk about some important stuff I had been avoiding. And then in the last twenty minutes or so, I sabotaged the session. I don’t even know why I did it, but I pushed her to say something that I knew would make me feel rejected and hurt. So then it severed the connection we had built up over the previous two days.

It’s what I suppose I wanted. I brought in on myself after all. Yet still, once I realized what I’d done, I just held my head in my hands and cried.

Because although I am indeed scared that my relationship with her will interfere with my admittedly pointless quest to starve myself, I also really want to feel connected to her. I needed that and I worked hard to get it on Friday.

I had it. I lost it. I ruined it.

So now she’s on vacation for ten days and I feel so far away from her in every way. Which really sucks.

Before I left, she told me that I hadn’t ruined anything and that we’d done a lot of really good work that would pay off. She asked me to hold onto hope that we would find our way back to that space of connection and to continue to fight against the urge to isolate and disconnect from the world.

Which is perhaps why I am writing this post. I don’t write much anymore because I barely have the brainpower, but also because it interferes with my self-imposed isolation.
I wish I was better at holding onto connection. I’ve always considered myself an open person but now I am realizing that I actually exist behind a fortified wall that prevents me from actually ever feeling loved or protected or nurtured.

I deny myself so much. Food just seems to be the most obvious.

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29 thoughts on “Losing Connection 

  1. SassaFrassTheFeisty says:

    So is food the go to tangible thing you go to when you feel the need to dent yourself of things? Or seems as if that when you where so busy with school and your internship what you didn’t have the time to focus on the negative. Just noticing the distance even in your posts makes me wonder if that kind of busy-ness is what actually helped you. Something to try and ponder at a later time. Lots of hugs

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sirena says:

    I’ve missed you Andi. I hope you can try to reach out more. Congratulations on the excellent results at college. I’m sorry things are so hard. You know where I am if you need me x

    Liked by 2 people

      • Robert Matthew Goldstein says:

        I understand. That’s how you know that the therapeutic relationship is working.

        I think one of the reasons people prefer to use ‘cognitive’ treatments is that all they change is a behavior.

        Complex trauma is not a behavior.

        It is a set of adaptations of the brain and personality to a hostile and life threatening environment.

        Working through the devastation of being a child in such an environment can take years and a lot of hard work.

        You will be glad that you did it but in the meantime it hurts like Hell.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. ambivalencegirl says:

    I’ve missed you too.i have so much to say but really I don’t know where to start. Eating disorders suck. Suck the life right out of you. Not that this will be helpful but when I graduated college (also at the top of my class) I was terrified. I received all sorts of honors and awards and instead of flourishing I shrunk. I shrunk myself away to nothingness. I ended up at Renfrew around that time. I thought it saved me at the time but really I never resolved much of anything. That desire to be better but hold on is so confusing. Remember my post about losing my AN diagnosis. Now it’s just EDnos or whatever it is called now. But I was mortified because I’ve always identified with being AN. It’s gotten easier and I’m still thin but it’s the lowest range of normal. I don’t even know where I’m going with that but it’s a crazy feeling and I just wanted to say that I get it. I’m reading about anaclitic depression, you might find it interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Thank you so much, I’ve missed you as well. Yes, EDs are the worst. I am definitely experiencing a lot of paralyzing fear around finishing school and trying to figure out what to do next. I think I sorta view this as my “final chance” to hit a new low weight or something. Idk, it’s confusing. The thought of giving that up is absolutely terrifying.

      Like

  4. Sara J says:

    My dear, I’m so sorry you’re struggling right now. I hope you give yourself credit for every little moment of connection you manage, from writing this post to commenting on my Facebook. You deserve to be loved and protected and nurtured, and I know you’re fighting so hard to get to that space. I love you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Thank you so much, my love. Sometimes those little things take all the energy I have. But I keep fighting and working and hoping that I’ll find something to hold onto to bridge the gap. I love you, too xx

      Like

  5. e.Nice says:

    I am sorry Andi. It is so tough. But I agree with your therapist. You didn’t lose it. She will be there and its okay that you are stuck between wanting connection and wanting the ED. I think its progress that when you tried pushing her away and distancing yourself, you are recognizing what is happening and realized that is not what you want ultimately. I agree with what many of the others have written and am glad you are reaching out to your wife, and to us here, and the other efforts you make. Those are herculean efforts. Good job on your program! Endings are never easy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andi says:

      Very true. I admittedly feel quite torn between leaning into my ED and leaning into the work with her. It is really difficult to find balance and I feel like I’m being pulled in opposing directions at all times. And there’s definitely a lot of emotion around endings. Thanks for the support!

      Like

      • e.Nice says:

        The pull in both directions is painful and crazy making. I don’t know what the answer is. Q once said that when she feels torn she leans to self care and things like choosing to keep working towards connection and healing. I still find myself working the opposite plan and giving the part that wants healing time and space is hard and feels like betrayal at times, but there you have it. Maybe strengthening that part via little steps someday the other route won’t be the safer and more desirable one at some point? Meanwhile I guess I keep both my options open and stay crazy 🙂

        Like

  6. Rachel says:

    Totally here for you Andi, whenever you want to connect. I think of you often. I understand why you are choosing the ED, it has kept you safe for a long, long time. It is scary to trust there is another option, that letting go doesn’t mean you won’t be held.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. La Quemada says:

    Shit, I tried responding last night on my phone, and obviously it didn’t post.

    I know something about self-imposed isolation, though mine has never taken the form of ED. And sometimes I have felt torn between wanting to stay in this strange alone painful place and wanting to get better. I don’t know what the attraction is to alone and in pain. It’s more than saying “it’s familiar,” though that is clearly a part of it. Maybe it’s because I think depression and self-harm and isolation and floating outside the rest of the world is part of who I am. If I am healthy and connected, I won’t know who I am anymore.

    (I write that but don’t even know if that’s really the reason.)

    I worry about you. I fear ED, and I don’t want it to hurt you. You are so obviously bright and talented (many congratulations on your amazing academic outcomes!), and I wish for you to be well and happy and able to blossom into your full potential. I don’t want ED to get in the way of that. I don’t know at all what to say that is helpful, but I just know that I care and want you to be well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Thank you so much, Q. I agree that the isolation and painful loneliness has a strangely comforting familiarity to it. I am fighting like hell, and I will absolutely beat this ED, somehow. xoxo

      Like

  8. jaklumen says:

    Sorry I haven’t been in touch for a while, Andi.

    Incidentally, I’m working with a nutritionist on binge eating. I came to her first and foremost for prediabetes- but- she happens to be THE lone specialist in our region for eating disorders, and no surprise… she got me to open up about it. Wasn’t easy, especially as I quickly found out there are no support groups for me (as a man)- just her, and me, one-on-one.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Boost Connection says:

    This is a tough fight but you are a strong, resilient person. I know it’s confusing to have conflicting wants/needs, but clarity always comes when it’s supposed to. The struggle is very human/robot trying to be human.

    And you could never lose connection with me because I simply won’t allow it! Too much love for you ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  10. didandme12 says:

    Good to hear from you! Congratulations on graduating; with honors and awards! That is a huge accomplishment- be proud of the work you put into getting there. I totally get what you’re saying about the ED. I struggle with that so much and it is easy to isolate and withdraw from any connection. Your T seems like she is excellent and isn’t going anywhere. Hang in there!

    Liked by 1 person

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