“…neuroscientists found a substantial link between brain size and shape and anorexia…those with anorexia had reductions in brain shape and size twice to four times as large as those with other mental health conditions”https://t.co/fCJue1cLce — Alsana (@alsanallc) October 5, 2022 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js From https://twitter.com/alsanallc/status/1577722542160318501Check out recent news from Alsana@alsanallc: “…neuroscientists found a substantial link between brain size and shape and anorexia…those with anorexia had reductions in brain shape and size twice to four times as large as those with other mental health conditions”
I’ve been on vacation and ever since I have been back home I’ve tried to really sit and evaluate my life. I went soul searching i guess you could say. Sadly, I quickly realised that when I really sat with myself in the quiet I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the quiet. I didn’t feel comfortable just sitting. My mind was slowly calming down but my body was on constant go. I spenty vacation enjoying life, enjoying the relaxation. What my mind couldn’t let go of was her. Constant body checking. Constant nagging of when I ate and how much I ate. A very intense battle knowing I need to leave her behind. I love hiking in the mountains but I hate that my mind always goes into how many calories I have burned and how much muscle verses fat has been distributed. She is constantly there. She is constantly challenging my will to live in recovery.
Here I sit so uncomfortable in my own skin. I am hyper aware of every breath I take, the fact that my legs need shaved, and the sound my stomach just made was enough to think careflight was passing overhead. That is her in and out. She always makes you hyper aware of every cell in your body. All I want to do is strap on my running shoes and just hit the trails.
Now that I am back home that all looks like a far away land I’d dream to go. It’s not though. It’s a six hour drive south of me. The beautiful Smoky Mountains are my home away from home. I think that is part of why she was able to follow me through the mountains and on those mountain bear country trails. She is my best friend but she is also a silent murderer. I need to be strong and take back my power. Since I have been home, I haven’t had the strength to let her go. One day she will just be a voice of whispering winds. One day I will get there.
It is a battle between physical health and mental health now. I feel my body slowly fading as my energy goes more and more towards her and even less towards myself. I am physically drained. The most mundane tasks are taking more energy then they have in quite some time. I cannot afford to slow down now. I am getting closer and closer to where I want to be.
This is what happens when you let her take over. She destroys your body. Slowly so you don’t really pay mind to it.
That last sentence pains me to reread. I want to be tiny, I mean tiny. Yet, I don’t want to forsake my physical health to get there. My heart is beating in a bizarre manner that catches my breath and stops me immediately. It is an odd sensation and I’m not sure if it is just the daily stress bothering me or if my heart is really trying to tell me something. Should I actually be worried this time? I don’t see any reason to. I have GAD. So they will say it is my anxiety. I drink a lot of coffee. They will say it is the caffeine and to cut it back. My PCP even told me that he once had a patient go to hospital for an EKG and he was having a full blown heart attack but the EKG read normal. Where do I go from here?
My body isn’t small enough yet. I have too much going on in my life presently and especially in the coming months. I don’t have time to stop and turn course. I have to keep pushing through. I always say that pain is just weakness leaving the body, but what if the weakness isn’t pain, what if it’s a sign of something screaming for help? Can EDs really be that damaging? I dare not ask as I shouldn’t put that out into the universe.
How do I stop attaching a moral value to food?
How do people just eat?
I stared at my nutrition shake for what felt like forever. I couldn’t do it. I felt that if I just pour it into a coffee mug then it would be easier to drink. Simple right? An expensive nutrition shake cannot be wasted that easily. What was easy just three weeks ago is now a mountain I cannot climb. I put it back in the fridge and walked back to my desk completely defeated and empty. I had nothing left in me and I mean nothing. I left work early because I just didn’t have anything left to give. I drove home in a flood of tears. What happened? How did it become so severe again? Where did I go wrong?
Today is a new day and I am going to fight like hell to give my body the energy and nutrition it so desperately needs. I did it! I ate my morning bowl of cereal. I am current fixated on Frosted Shredded Wheat. I poured that into the bowl and added the almond milk. Though it took time I was able to finish the whole bowl. Success for me. I did it. I fought back!! However, I start to feel that draining of my energy so I pop in both of my headphones and fall into Hillsong United’s 100 billion times, Know You Will, and Another In The Fire. As I fill my ears and heart with worship music and feeling the chills that these songs bring gave me the energy to keep pushing forward.
I let my guard down. I felt like I had a positive grip on fighting for recovery today. I took a walk on the treadmill at lunch. I had brought my computer to work so I could work on this blog. Needless to say that’s when I lost my grip. I added up every single calorie. I calculated the in and out. Since my FitBit took a crap I’m back to handwritten math. By the time I came back from the gym I knew I had to fight again. I have to keep fighting because I am worth so much more than this. I deserve to live a life that doesn’t revolve around numbers, food, exercise, and so forth. Yet, I caved. I forced myself after what felt like an hour to drink my nutrition shake, which had been in my line of sight this whole time. So I didn’t listen to her. I got a coffee mug and poured my chocolate Orgain shake into the cup. I took the first two sips. I did it! I am winning again.
Unfortunately, my brain had other things already set in motion. After successfully fighting her and drinking my shake a bit I put it to the side so I could keep working. That was all it took. As they say, out of sight out of mind. Though I could still clearly see it, I was immersed in my work that it became an after thought. I checked the clock as I was nearing the end of the day only to my horror that I still had a mug full. I broke. I tried to hold it in. I tried. But the first tear fell and a wave of anger and panic hit me. How could something so damn easy as drinking something I have been drinking for the last two years, albeit, begrudgingly for a solid eight months? Why am I different in that three weeks ago I would just open the cardboard like material box and drink the shake as if it were nothing? Fully acknowledging the nutrition I was getting through the shake that I wasn’t getting elsewhere. I lost that victory that I thought I had gained.
As I sit here I want to know how it feels to not have a voice, your very own voice, dictate a nonsensical moral value in regards to what you eat and how your existence in this world is meant for you to be tiny. I want to know what it is like to look at food as fuel and not a death sentence. If I continue to let her win I will die. Ana is literally the deadliest mental illness. It beats out Bipolar and Schizophrenia. An eating disorder, anorexia, is the deadliest mental illness.
I need to take my power back. Linda’s power, not Ana’s. Something so simple caused me so much paralysing fear that almost drove me to ask someone else to open the shake and to pour it into the mug henceforth not being able to back out of drinking it. You get 4 shakes for $9-10 dollars. That’s a lot to just pour down the drain. But I did it. I ended the day with the mug completely empty. I won.
Now as I close, can we leave some ways to combat the panic and fear surround meals or snacks? Let us know what has helped you. I want to be able to build a solid toolbox that me or you can reach into that can guide us in our recovery. Our ED thrives in secrets and hopefully with these honest posts we can each reach out to each other as we work to put ED behind us. I don’t believe in a full recovery in the matter that this will go away forever and that I won’t fall again into old behaviours that can lead me to where I am today. I do believe that as long as I choose to be transparent with my struggle and I ask for support that I can be I can reach a recovery where I will be without behaviours and without these chains that are holding me today.
Tomorrow will be a better day. Tomorrow will be a successful day. Let’s do this!!
Another successful day for her and another loss for me. I lost my fight over breakfast. I only had an apple. For lunch I made myself drink an Orgain shake. I ran two miles and that exhilarating feeling getting off that treadmill is something unbeatable right now. Yet back to the office I must go. I want to be able to complete the full 5K by the end of the month.
I did have one win. One win for recovery today. I ate dinner. Not what most would consider dinner but it is better than last night… better than nothing.
One bite at a time. Recovery is my commitment. Am I on the right track? I’m trying to be. Will it all be better by morning? Absolutely not! However, by writing this, no longer hiding the secret she loves to be, I am able to fight for recovery whether or not I want it right now. I will get better eventually. For now it will be my daily struggle until it become natural once again.
One day I will be better. As of right now, I shall quote Emma from RBS: “I’m not better, okay, I’m not better and I keep waiting for someone to figure that out; and they don’t. I mean of course they don’t ’cause as long as I say the right thing and I act the right way they’re happy, because that means they cured me right?”
Right now I am not better and that is why I decided to write this. To share and to learn from others. There are many of us bloggers that are trying to recover and there are those that have blogs of recovery. I hope to be able to share my experiences and hopes for a recovered future and that one day this will be a blog of nothing but recovery.
It was on the treadmill at that mile and half with two minutes to go before I had to get off, stretch, and get back to work. I hit that runner’s high. It felt so good to get to that point finally. Exhausted I stepped off but feeling amazing I stretched out and went back to work. Stepping back into the office and clocking back in it hit me. A promise had officially been broken. Not just a promise but a pinky promise. It was in that moment I felt utterly broken. If she finds out she will be undoubtedly disappointed.
As these words pour from my soul, tears pour down my cheeks. How did I get here again? I just want to be tiny. I didn’t want to give her her power back. I tried to keep myself from going this far again. Another day where my total intake was less than what a bird would eat. Yet, I have found a sense of peace in writing this.
I found this in a quick search for something else. There was that reminder. That one touch of hope felt so soothing. As it says there are only small steps upward. It is right. One small step towards one small piece of recovery is moving upward and out of the hole. That is where I need to get to. To a point where the mirror, the scale, the numbers simply no longer matter. That the only thing that matters should be the laughter and the smiles. That love should be the guiding voice and not that of her stealing those moments away.
One day, one bite, one less tear. One step at a time. I pray that I open my eyes and my heart tomorrow to a beautiful day where I choose to listen to love and let her go to the back where she can scream but hopefully it will be more like a whisper. I need to stop looking to be tiny and fragile. One day, I hope I reach that.
For now, Ana is in control and I am fighting to get that control back. I’ve already destroyed the pinky promise I made. I can only make the choice to turn around and try again. I need to make that choice as I don’t think my physical heart can take any more. The chest pains and missing/skipping beats have intensified again and it is that sinking feeling that the eating disorder is finally taking its toll. I don’t want to be another girl that died from anorexia or complications thereof. I want to live. I know there is so much more to life and I will be damned if I let Ana take that away from me.