On Sunday, I discharged from hospital again after a 7 week admission. It was supposed to just be a 3 week admission, but you know how it goes… You realise just how much there is to work on once you’re there. Continue reading
I feel like in society, there’s this idea that we can’t ask for help until all hell breaks loose, until we’re in complete crisis, until we’re having a major meltdown, until the shit hits the fan… However you want to put it, our pride can often stop us from asking for help until we absolutely need it. We wait until we’re at rock bottom before asking for advice, asking for a hand with our uni work, asking for a shoulder to cry on, asking for help to follow our meal plan, asking for accountability for something we may be struggling with. This isn’t even specific to eating disorders – I think to some degree, this can be true of us all at various times throughout our lives. Continue reading
Long time, no blog. I’ve had lots of ideas floating around in my mind about things I’ve wanted to write about, but I haven’t been able to string the words together quite as I’ve wanted to. I figured though, that I may as well give it a crack. This blog post is something I’ve been thinking about recently, something I’ve needed to write for myself and be reminded of, and something I’ve wanted to write for those who may also be at a crossroads similar to my own. So here we have it – a blog about the overwhelming nature of recovery from an eating disorder. Thanks for reading, pals. X
Where I became really pissed off at the system and how crap it is and how hard it is to access care, and I wrote this letter to Jillian Skinner (the minister for health here in Aus) and I’d really appreciate it if you gave it a squiz and got pissed off too. ‘Kay, thanks.
I’m sitting on my bed at the moment, casually eating chocolate, yoghurt and an apple for dinner / supper (I’ve been sick this week, no judgings!) thinking about the exam that I really need to be studying for that’s occurring tomorrow but getting epic urges to be blogging and song-writing and laying down horizontal in my bed sleeping away festy infections – so I’m shoving the studying and the sleeping aside for the next half hour or so and getting rid of the writing cravings and dropping chocolate crumbs on my laptop in the meantime.
Oh, by the way. This is one of those epic, ranty, stereotypical “I hate ye eating disorder!” *waves fist angrily* letters, yeah. Grab your own chocolate and make sure you’re comfortable and your brain is in gear – blog post may contain ramblings and chocolate crumbs and a wee bit of joy and perhaps a pinch of sadness.
Yeah, like I said in my previous post – I’m prone to becoming quite obsessed with exercise. I think I might still use it as a form of punishment if I overeat or eat something my eating disorder deems “bad”. And it starts slowly but quickly takes its grip on you and before you realise, you’re doing too much.
I wouldn’t say I’m doing too much at the moment, but I’m doing more than usual. And a lot of it is stress induced / boredom induced / eating disorder induced. When I first began to exercise again, I was allowed to walk the dog 20 mins a day. Then M, ze dietitian lady said only 5 times a week – because I’m (or the ED!) is so rigid in my (its) actions.
So now I’m walking the dog for 20-40 mins a day and swimming for 2 hours a week. Which I think is a pretty normal amount of exercise, nothing too obsessive there. Except for the fact that I still would freak out if I had to miss swimming (which I did today, and thus did some extra walking) or if I didn’t do any exercise at all in a day.
I know that it’s great to have a break from exercise at least one day in the week. I know that I don’t need to do as much exercise as I am to maintain my weight. I tend to do either too much or not enough of most things and the result is me being a big ball of stress. So here we are.
Don’t have much to comment on really, or encourage with but here’s my parting words: don’t overexercise! It screws up your brain. And the exercise monster can often be one of the most challenging monsters to beat in the long run.
Love, Rebekah X
The eating disorder life becomes focused on isolation. Eating alone. Exercising alone. Doing everything independently so people won’t realise that you’re not eating, or that you’re throwing up, or that you’re doing far, far too much exercise.
This week I have gone swimming 4 times, and I was thinking today as I lazily swam up and down the pool that I really should get into exercising more often with people. It’s probably an eating disordered thing that I generally opt to do it alone. I mean, swimming alone has its benefits. I find it quite relaxing actually. It’s lovely to shove the ear plugs in the ears, whack the goggles over the eyes and think – it’s so quiet and wonderful!
But having other people around can be a good thing every now and then too. Perhaps it’s a useful tool for anyone who takes their exercise too seriously, or is prone to becoming obsessed and addicted to exercise. So maybe it’s good to be accountable to someone.
I think even now I have to be pretty careful – when I started exercising heavily, I only did a few gym classes a week before that erupted and then I was somehow doing 30. I think I could still quite easily become obsessed with it. So in order to prevent that, I need to acknowledge it, be aware of it and cut right back on my exercise if my eating disorder is completely lapping up the attention.
But I’m mostly eating disordered free these days, isn’t that pleasant?
I think one of my other big fears in exercising with some people is that they also would take it too seriously, or be competitive (and oh man, is the eating disorder competitive!) and not just see it as a relaxing, slow paced activity. So yeah, I’m being a control freak and preventing that from happening in exercising alone. I’m not sure how one goes about solving that.
So be honest with yourself: are you doing too much? Are you isolating yourself for a purpose? Are you in control of your actions, or are they driven by your eating disorder and fears of weight gain? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – don’t let your eating disorder win!
Wordnetweb defines Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as “an anxiety disorder characterised by recurrent and persistent thoughts and feelings and repetitive, ritualised behaviours.”
A lot of eating disordered behaviours and eating disordered rules revolve around compulsions. A lot of my own food rules used to revolve around compulsions also, and these are things I have made mention of before. Rules such as eating only 1/2 a cup of yoghurt or 23 almonds; eating 23 bites of an apple or cutting out complete food groups. Suddenly, I started counting things all the time. I would count my steps, only walk over lines with my right food and stand in the shower for 180 seconds before getting out. I would go swimming and count my laps: I would weigh myself obsessively prior to and post exercise.
So I thought I had mostly kicked all of these habits until just recently when L brought it to my attention. As I mentioned in this post here, I have started swimming again. I was going to the pool and swimming half a kilometre twice a week, which is a far cry from the 2-3km I used to swim three or four times a week (never again!). But yeah, I was counting my laps. And sometimes I don’t even consciously do it, it’s just such a habit now that it seemed like no big deal. But it is (was!) a big deal. And so I had to do something to change it. Yesterday I went for a swim and decided I’d stay in the pool for half an hour. The first few laps I started counting but then I prayed over the top of the counting in my head and eventually I just swam, not knowing how many laps were completed. Of course it made me feel panicked, and of course it was uncomfortable but isn’t all change until we become accustomed to it?
For those of you without eating disorders: I hope this (in some small way) helps you to understand eating disorders just that little more. And for those of you with eating disorders – what compulsions are you still holding on to that you need to let go to continue to move forward with recovery?
Don’t let your ED win.