Recovery from an Eating Disorder without the weight gain

I think I am not alone in saying that getting better without gaining weight or changing what I was eating was something which I have desperately searched for. I wanted to find that place where I could have both the positives of the illness and the ability to experience the positives of everyday life.

I have learnt that place doesn’t exist. Sometimes I forget that I know that and go out searching for that place again, determined that it is possible; unwilling and unable to finally accept the devastating reality that it isn’t.

Those times of searching are getting shorter and further apart.

And here I am, having called off the search party, having settled on the reality that place doesn’t exist.

I have battled through the weight gain, I have allowed my body to maintain a healthy weight, I have eaten and I have started to live life. But what is recovery beyond those ESSENTIAL building blocks? Is it possible to describe recovery from Anorexia without mentioning what is necessary and essential but rather what makes the essential things possible?

It will be different for everyone but for me…..

Recovery goes so far beyond food and weight. It is the most complicated, muddled, messy and painful experience to express let alone to live. It is about changing the way I interact externally with the world around me and changing how I interact internally with myself. It is integrating compassion, compromise and imperfection into EVERY ASPECT of my life despite those things going against everything I’ve ever learnt about how to protect myself. It is living in a way that is gentle on myself when society has a sick admiration for those who ignore their bodies and minds. It is putting myself first. It is being utterly scared, directionless and lost. It is wanting to go back but having to trust that there is another way. It is uncertainty. It is vulnerability.

It is the hardest and best thing. It is letting go slowly and changing slowly until, for the first time, I get the positives of everyday life without needing to have an Eating Disorder  in tow.

Recovery isn’t what I imagined,

Madasanegg

 

 

 

 

 

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Recovery from an Eating Disorder without the weight gain

Guilt, weight gain and the recovering body

I am ashamed and guilty. It comes over me in waves and it makes me want to run away from myself. This body (which has taken months of nurturing, patience and courage to heal) repulses me and I want to hide it and the physically obvious care that I have shown it.

I feel judged, vulnerable and unsafe in a body which is cared for and healthy. Fundamentally I am uncomfortable with the idea of looking after myself and even more embarrassed by the idea that anyone else will be able to see that I am doing so.

I fear getting hurt; I fear I am becoming ‘too big’- OVER confident and TOO much. I pin it down on to my body because the waves of self loathing are easier to direct onto something measurable.

But the truth is that I haven’t learnt to fully trust that it is ok (and incredibly necessary) to nurture and respect myself DESPITE what the Eating Disorder says.

Rather than getting lost in a focus on weight, shape and measurements I choose to carry on, I choose to turn away from over simplifications and I choose to believe that by doing so, one day I might feel worthy of the care and respect I am showing myself in the process.

Recovery is the hardest thing we are likely to have to ever face. If there was ever time to treat yourself gently, it is when you feel the least able to.

Hugs and courage from a fellow traveller,

Madasanegg

 

Guilt, weight gain and the recovering body

Choice and recovery

I have ‘messed up’ doesn’t seem to cover it. I am gutted. Totally and utterly gutted.

After months of recognising eating disordered thoughts and saying to myself “no thanks, that life is not for me” and “that is not an option- not even once” I’ve had a moment where I recognised that I was thinking in a disordered way and backed myself into a place where I thought “I don’t have a choice but to do that”.

I chose to take the Eating Disorder route BUT I didn’t choose to feel like that was all I could do.

It sounds like an over simplification but….

There is ALWAYS another option than the deceptive world of an Eating Disorder. If you don’t chose that option, it isn’t because recovery isn’t possible for you it’s because in that particular set of circumstances, you don’t know what your other choices are yet.

Keep searching for choices and don’t give up if you stop seeing them for a bit,

Madasanegg

 

 

 

Choice and recovery

When your Anorexia is screaming at you to lose weight again (or something equally unhelpful you’ve worked so hard to stop) remember this….

Would you talk to someone the way you talk to yourself?

Really?

Didn’t think so.

But you don’t understand. I’m different. I deserve this.

Maybe you don’t see it right now but those thoughts are the illness. I’m having them as well. We are in this together stranger.

You are no different. Nothing you have done or ever will do warrants the way this illness makes you treat yourself. You are perfect how you are. I don’t know you but I do know that. I also know that you’ve probably heard this all before BUT there is no arguing with this- you really don’t deserve this whether you can believe it now or not.

And that is exactly my point. You cannot argue with this illness. I’m sure there are a million and one things you could come up. I am sure you could describe in detail why you should do X, Y or Z. Plus it would only be once, right? It wouldn’t be that bad if you just….

STOP.

When someone is angry and shouting at you they aren’t really in the mood for a sensible debate. I am yet to meet someone who is better at talking sense when they are @*&%ed off.

Walk away. Come back to it if you need to. Now isn’t a great time to make a decision methinks.

You have come a long way and now isn’t the time to turn back.

Love, strength and hugs stranger,

Madasanegg

 

 

When your Anorexia is screaming at you to lose weight again (or something equally unhelpful you’ve worked so hard to stop) remember this….

BMI targets and stages of Anorexia recovery

Is it important to have a target weight in recovery?

Some people, professionals included, would say that the answer is yes. Those people argue that having a safe BMI is paramount to being physically safe (it’s all in the name) being able to think straight (should we say emotionally safer)  and having a healthy goal to aim for.

I can see the benefits of this but for me, the most important part of Eating Disorder recovery is recognising that Eating Disorder recovery is not about the numbers (or in fact about food) and if we adopt that strategy we are running the risk of feeding into the illness (Pardon the pun!)

How I see it, Eating Disorder recovery in which weight restoration is a factor is a staged process. This is how it was for me, obviously it might be different for others….

Stage 1

Committing to the idea of recovery and that weight restoration is a part of this picture. If you aren’t committed or open to the possibility, then you aren’t going to restore your weight or recover. Fact.

Stage 2

Tentative change. Small initial steps. Small goals.

Stage 3

Shifting your focus onto what a healthier body will give you. Reaching life and weight goals and hanging out there for a bit (or realising there will never be a time when it feels right and moving to…)

Stage 4

Re-committing to new goals; weight or otherwise.  Start building a different life for yourself. Start recognising that holding your weight at a particular place (healthy or otherwise) means that you have less flexibility to do the muddy, beautiful mess that is life.

Stage 5

Accepting the idea that weight is fluid, changeable and irrelevant to the person you are or are becoming. Reaching a healthy weight. Living, living and more living. Ups, downs and all the in-betweens.

 

It isn’t a linear process. I have to commit, re-commit and re-commit again and again. I move backwards and forwards between the stages. I get scared. I find courage from somewhere. I get scared all over again.

I am going for full recovery from this illness. It’s going to be a fight but one which I am committed (and have re-committed to on multiple occasions so far and expect to have to do so again!) to. My weight is irrelevant in this battle; but I am going to maintain a healthy BMI (There is no escaping this one) but I would also like to point out that I’ve been unwell at a healthy BMI so in short….

Recovery is so much more than BMI but you need for your body to be healthy. If having BMI goals helps you to take those first steps than go for it but at some point, if you feel brave enough and stable enough to let your body lead the way then take the leap. Life is better when you are free.

Love and hope,

Madasanegg

 

 

 

BMI targets and stages of Anorexia recovery

Leaving Eating Disorder Inpatient Treatment

I have come a long way but I am not where I want to be.

I’m not ready to leave but I can’t stay here.

I want my life back  but what is my life going to look like?

I am petrified but I am excited. One minute I am high on the prospect of buying pegs, the next minute I’m crushingly low when I realise that I’m perched awkwardly bang smack in the middle of all of the things that made me sick in the first place.

Everything is new and with that comes moments of utter joy (think waking up to your cat licking your face and fresh PJ’s in YOUR OWN freshly made bed…..oh and purchasing pegs because you can hang your washing out these days) and utter panic (think the realisation that you and solely you are responsible for your life)

Leaving hospital is like having your roots firmly planted back in soil that has the potential to not give you the nourishment that you need. I’m not talking food here; I’m talking purpose and direction in life, close bonds and people that you can share your deepest darkest emotions, experiences and fears with; people that automatically ‘get it’ without you needing to start explaining from scratch.

You need to and have to (if you don’t want to live your life desperately unhappy) totally change the way you do everything. That can leave you feeling alone, incredibly anxious and overwhelmed whilst you try and juggle the practicalities of what you need to do whilst you….

Change how you deal with emotions. Change how much pressure you put on yourself. Change how you relate to yourself and others. Change the need to be strong and independent all the time and the reluctance to ask for help. Change how you talk to yourself (think you are bloomin on this girl/ you got this/ I think you need a bloomin break- the use of the word ‘bloomin’ is purely optional BUT….

Keeping up doing things differently, keeping up being gentle on yourself and taking your time to find new sources of nourishment in old soil ARE NOT OPTIONAL.

Yes, you can opt out of your meal plan and slip into behaviours that momentarily help. You can slide quickly or slowly back into an illness that sometimes seems to offer you the answers for life difficulties. You can do what you like (here comes that complete sense of panic again) If you get ill again the person it matters for is YOU. Do this for yourself. Try something new because the old got you to….well lets just say, the old didn’t get you wandering happily to a shop to buy pegs listening to 90’s cheesy pop with an utterly ridiculous grin on your face.

Love and hope for your journey,

Madasanegg Xx

 

Leaving Eating Disorder Inpatient Treatment

Relapse

If I was to weigh my sense of humour, I’m pretty certain that some of it will have slipped away; that the scale will weigh lighter than before. The eating disorder is back at full strength. I am relapsing and I cannot even be sure if I care. Or at least I don’t want to care.

But I do….

I don’t want to spend my time weighing cherry tomatoes.

I want to achieve something more worthwhile than laxative induced piles.

I want to eat a pea knowing that I will never see it again, hell I want to eat a whole portion of peas knowing I will never see them again.

I know zombie films are in but I want to look less like I died and accidentally carried on.

I want to be able to talk without fearing I am wafting sick fumes up peoples nostrils like smoke signals.

I want my smile back.

I want my smile back knowing that it isn’t being slowly erased by stomach acid and diet coke.

I want my sense of humour back.

I want to eat.

I want to live.

Relapse