Somehow I stumbled across videos about the struggles of anorexics and bulimics. I watched a couple, the ones that had the message “this is what will happen to you if you continue your behaviors”/”this is not pretty”/”I lost it all” and I cried and I cried. I had no idea I would have such a deep, strong reaction from my soul. My soul hurts because it’s hauntingly true. I am haunted daily by the past and the present of this. Of the masks, the falseness, the relentless pursuit of thinness despite my intelligent, brilliant mind the “knows” the all humans need vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbs,fruits, and veggies for optimal and proper bodily functioning. The type that keeps you pretty with a head full of hair and no dentures. My soul is in a deep abyss.I HAVE lost so much.
As each second, minute, minutes pass I am gaining more control over these self-defeating, deceitful beliefs I tell myself about the “wisdom and results” that the eating disorder mentality tells me of not letting a morsel of food pass my lips. I purged last night and I didn’t feel any pain of not letting go of my self-care and further adding a notch to my demise. I am numb. I am sad. I am frustrated. I am wondering: do I have more notches towards life or death? Have I corrected the deficits? Will I soon feel joy just “to be”? Be the vivacious spirit I was meant to be and spread my light and laughter with the world?…and I keep thinking…
This crumbled my heart. Something to think about. Something for ME to reflect on as it applies to my life experiences with this ED, and the now what? I will sit with my tears and it is okay. I have just realized I have not mourned my losses. Something to talk about with my therapist.What light lies beyond the mourning? And I cry.
Love and light from Madeline
Read the following stats on this blog: http://cherriemac.wordpress.com/
Statistics are as follows:
- 5-10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease and 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years.
- Anorexia nervosa has the highest death rate of any psychiatric illness (including major depression).
- The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15-24 years old.
- Without treatment, up to 20% of people with serious eating disorders die. With treatment, the mortality rate falls to 2-3%
Scary stuff. Made me think of the totally serious, “in your face” talk my doctors had with me last week at the treatment center. “Do you want to die?”…That question still reverberates in my head. I questioned the seriousness of his query but at the same time got scared at how serious everyone was looking a talking to me in that exam room. He told me the same thing. And so did my therapist, that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any other psychiatric disorder. 20%. 20%!!!!!! TWENTY PERCENT!!!!! Especially if you’ve had one for years like over a decade. That is so scary. I think the reality of the serious of this condition is starting to sink in. Does it make it easier to eat? No. Do I feel less emotional misery? No. Have I stopped thinking about buying more diet pills again or making the porcelain bowl my best friend again? Maybe. That’s a start. But by far not enough.
I’ve been trying harder at the center with my meals. I’ve increased my fruits and vegetable intake and am learning to cook for myself with healthy oils like olive oil. I’m learning how to choose healthy foods even though there is fat listed on the ingredient labels. I’ll still, by no means, entirely comfortable with it, but at least I’m willing to listen to the information…willing to consider the nutrition benefits I’m being told about…willing to give it a try at a lower level so if I don’t turn into a tub of lard. I’m told that I won’t. This is where the trust comes. Is it more important to trust the stats and therefore eat the recommended food exchanges prescribed for me???? Or is it more important to listen to my emotional mind which tells me that in my history, eating more means gaining weight.
Eating more means outgrowing my clothing. Eating more means giving up a persona, an identity. Who will I be? Can I deal with being ordinary? Am I special? Do I have other attributes that are worthy? Can I contribute successfully to society? Can I find a passion? Can I live for me? Can I be my own judge and not worry or depend on approval from others?….Know that I am good and worthy and intelligent and beautiful and a highly skilled professional in my career? Can I accept this? Any? All? None? Some?…Well, at least I ate my evening snack tonight. 6th meal of the day….3 snacks and 3 meals. First time in forever. My body must be seeking life. Hope I enjoy the journey.
I’ve been so overwhelmed with fear and reality shock. My doctor actually asked me, “Do you want to die?”. That sealed it for me, the seriousness of eating disorders. I have a hard time saying ‘my eating disorder’. I just call it ‘the eating disorder’. I am more than the disorder but right now I am so overwhelmed, terrified, depressed, sad, lost, dejected, disappointed…I don’t know where to stop. I’m feeling so much at once. I was told I am ABSOLUTELY NOT to lose ANY more weight and that’s all I can think about (wanting to lose weight). I’m not happy with how I look. I’ve been in treatment for a long time. I’ve been followed around everywhere I go which is the only reason I haven’t lost any weight. It’s scary. I was ready to leave and then I’m told I am very sick. Was I in denial? Like, total denial? I’m sick now after eating for months? What was I before, at death’s door?? I felt totally fine. I was used to my coffee all day, not eating for two days every week, and still working 55hrs a week and going to night school. I thought I looked great. I want to look that way again. Did I really look THAT bad? People are telling me now (and they don’t know I’m in a 12hr daily treatment program for eating disorders) that I look great and then they start talking about how frail and skinny I looked back in January and earlier and last few years. They are saying I look great. But my clothes are on. Underneath I’m a blob that needs lots of working on. I was also put on exercise restriction, meaning I’m not permitted to exercise vigorously. Is it really that bad? Is it REALLY that bad??? I keep asking myself. I want to just do it anyway but I’m almost afraid I’ll get chest pains and end up going unconscious and back in the emergency room again with tubes and catheters. On the other hand, I have so much fat on my body, I feel like it’s okay. I need to turn this fat to muscle. Then it won’t be like I lost weight. Muscle weighs more but it will eat the fat by burning more calories at resting rate so it will even out. I’ll be smaller but the weight will look about the same. I have to do strength training to gain muscle, I know. But cardio burns fat. I enjoy yoga. Some of those routines generate quite a bit of sweat and test your muscles with all the balance with use of your own body and the poses that rely on the different opposing muscles, sustained lunges with upper body movement combined with controlling the body to maintain balance by manipulating and using muscle power to remain upright. Win win all around. I need to breathe.
In….out….in…out…..in….out….what sensations do I feel in my body? What emotions do those sensations correlate to for me? What do I feel I want to do next? Emotional regulation? Distract? Self-soothe? Progressive Relaxation, Mindfulness exercises (a mental process). I know one thing…I am ready to come off the wave of emotions I’ve been surfing. What to do, what to do….
image source: surfing.gemzies
It is after 9 on a drizzly Sunday morning. I slept all day yesterday so I didn’t get any of my goals accomplished. I had a ‘to do’ list a mile long. Many of them were fun things like decorating around the house, hanging new treasures, adding touches of love and comfort here and there so that it feels more ‘homey’. I’m really groggy this morning…having a little trouble getting the engines revved up.
On a sadder note, I consumed nothing yesterday. Not even a drink. That was completely unintentional. I took something to help me sleep Friday night (legal!) and ended up not waking up until now. On the other hand, I’ve lost 10 pounds in two days. What’s an eating disordered person to do? That was a real shock to me. On the one hand, I was delighted. On the other hand, I questioned whether I should see this as a setback (in wisemind thinking). I felt guilty for feeling good about the weight loss although I still feel I have tons to lose. I have gained quite a bit of weight that I’ve been told that I NEEDED to gain.
I’ve been making progress all week for the most part eating all my meals and snacks even if some weren’t the portion size the clinicians were pushing for but I did the best I could. I don’t know why they keep pushing us to pile all this food on our plate when it overwhelms me into just not wanting to eat any of it. It’s not like I’m not going to eat. I’ll eat the snack or meal or whatever but putting stuff on my plate I don’t want is a distracter for me and just makes me fear the whole plate.
For the cynical, it’s not like I had 14 grapes on my plate and they want me to add crackers. I’ve progressed substantially past that point. That took years but I am at a better place for me now. Notice I say, ‘for me’. It is not my intention to put anyone down that IS at that place. There are different states or places along the recovery continuum. Sometimes we regress, sometimes we take some risks, sometimes we plateau, and this happens repeated in any order. At the treatment center where I am at, we have people along the whole range and we support each other because we know what it feels like. AND, at this center you have to be willing to eat and receive treatment. You also have to be medically stable for the most part. If not, then the patient is sent to another center that is considerably more intensive, where IV’s can be used for extended periods of time, etc.
So what to do for the remainder of the day? I’d like to add joy to my life. Adding joy for me means appreciating the small moments of life that cause wonder, intrigue, and inspires possibilities. I do need to start drinking liquids so that I don’t end up back in the emergency room tomorrow. I also need to go grocery shopping, a chore I always dread. I used to shop like once every three weeks or so but now that I am eating more healthily, more fresh vegetables and fruits, it has turned into an every other day event.
My last day to myself for tomorrow it’s back to the center for 12 hours a day everyday. Now, off to sprinkle my home with love and joy. And nurture myself with kindness, love, and care.
I’ve been in treatment now for three months. I’ve been in therapy for years to control the ED but now I’ve gone hard core in the attack. I’m still hanging in there. I’ve had it for 16 years, more years than not. It’s time to get on with my life. Time to live. Time to love. Time to succeed and establish myself. My ED was a way of hiding from the responsibilities, the FULL responsibilities of being an adult. In some ways, I could not help that even if I wanted too. So much of one’s time is robbed for the ED that we don’t grow and develop. The ED is our job.
I am in a residential setting. I have learned to cook a few basic things. I’ve gone from sustaining my existence on coffee all day to eating 5-6 times a day. Grueling. I almost quit. I still at times feel like this is futile. I don’t accept my new fuller body. I DO enjoy the new peace I’ve learned to enjoy through meditation and regressive relaxation techniques. I think all of us with Eds tend to be perfectionists, thus constantly worry and make lists, not to mention ruminate about our various food issues.
I think the most helpful practice I have embraced is the meditation. I put so much stress on myself that I really benefit from it now that I know how to do it correctly. Nothing beats having a real live human guide you through the process. We are social creatures. A soothing voice, lavender, and candles help as well. I got the encouragement I needed and soon I will be able to do that for myself. Getting candles and lavender (a plant with a scent known to induce a more relaxed physiological state when the scent is present, as in oils, candles, etc.) is the easy part. The affirmations and self-validation is a work in progress.
I’m supposed to be having my evening snack right now but I don’t want it. It’s been a particularly difficult day today. No dinner nor afternoon snack either. I was too upset over some incidents that happened in the living community. I did, however, talk to a counselor about my feelings and felt A LOT better afterwords. Talking to people is a new skill I am learning. Finding true genuine friends on the “outside” will be challenging. My ED was my best friend. It calmed me, soothed me, took away my tears, and deep dark horribleness I felt when I was upset. I will have to have faith that the authentic me that I am learning to let grow from within will be enough. That I AM enough. Therein lies the challenge.
I am still and listening to the language of my soul. I must look for my fire daily to continue to shine. I must have the courage to allow my Soul to shine. I must not snuff the flame by turning a deaf ear. I must let me light shine from within. to beThis week was a struggle for me. I was physically drained. Every morning when I opened my eyes, I had to call to my Soul and ask for fire to drive me to do my divine work. That little fire from within was the only thing that kept me going. Only because I allowed myself to listen to my Soul was I able to give to humanity and share my gifts. My earthly struggles were weighing heavily on my body but daily I dared to embrace the whisperings from within.
Courage to all,
It is after midnight and I am preparing for the upcoming work week…specifically tomorrow, Monday. The first day of the week after Spring Break. We will all arrive bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, eager to work. Hopefully. I know I am.
So many of my colleagues have bad attitudes that it’s depressing to be in their company. I wish people could focus on what is happy about their life and their work, rather than who they don’t like and how much they loathe the boss. There are so many delights that can be discovered and focused upon.
We all work with children. The question I wish I could propose to them is, “Are you here as a means to an end or to enjoy the day (aka, your life) and make the most of it?”.
I had to do some soul-searching a few months ago because of all the gloominess at work. It was starting to have an effect on who I was and that was not okay with me. I am a happy spirit. I do not want my spirit to fade away just to socialize with “the work bunch”. With them, it’s cool to be unhappy.
My life is about happiness. Everyday I go back, I tell myself I must be true to myself and stick to what I believe in. This means joy, peace, and enlightenment. Enjoying the moments.
It seems such a waste to show up just to begin counting down the minutes ‘til we can leave. This diminishes the special gift that is today.
Today is a gift we should be so lucky to receive every morning when our eyes open (should we not have to pull an all-nighter like I tonight). I decided I need to make the most of my moments. Value the interactions I have with my innocents. Make every moment count…an opportunity for quality learning and meaningful experiences. A time for social dialogue and a chance to learn to love one another and appreciate each other’s differences. A time to create and make beautiful things along with my little students. A time to let my spirit glow and help my innocents find the glow within themselves.
I will not settle for less.
May my day be filled with spirit, appreciation for the little moments, peace, love, and happiness. May I savor it as the precious gift that it is, to have the light within glow to the world around me, and fill my body with warmth and contentment.
Love and light,