Im picking up the pieces and slowly, but surely attempting to become whole. The thing about eating disorders is they break you. Not fully at first, but slowly with tiny cracks until you shatter.
After an endless binge/purge cycle I’ve managed to finally get nine days free that lead to a little slip and then back in the right direction. Its been atleast six days so far , but it’s a big deal for me. I haven’t been able to go this long without behaviors since February 2017. Every thing is so much more challenging when you are suddenly recovering for you and no one else. Two and a half years ago I entered recovery for my ex boyfriend all because I didn’t want him to leave me. It wasn’t even for me or because I really wanted to. Now its for me and thats the most challenging part because I don’t fully believe I deserve recovery or to be happy in general. I’ve lost track of days, weeks and even months while I was in my on-going binge/purge cycle. Parts of it were terrifying because I felt so scared and helpless. Parts of me wanted to die because I felt like a prisoner to my own mind. My body and my mind were at war and neither it felt were going to win. I felt like I was slowly ripping myself apart from the inside out. Every day was the same day, every food taste the same and I knew in the end it all needed to leave my body the exact same way each day. It was the true definition of insanity; completely maddening. My only hope is that slowly, but surely I will find myself somewhere amongst the pieces I shattered.
I can’t focus on anything other than the pain from my lower back teeth in my mouth. The ache is a brutal reminder that Bulimia comes with consequences and after eleven years those consequences are no longer things you hear about, but real.
I have recently had dental work done on fourteen teeth within the course of a few months. Some of the teeth were in much worse shape than the others and it’s a miracle they were able to be saved. Due to my eating disorder my teeth are very sensitive from enamel erosion and when ever I binge/purge even if it’s only for that one day my mouth suffers for it to the point where my teeth ache. In reality you may think you can out run everything, but eventually consequences will always catch up to you just to prove that you aren’t not as invincible as you once thought.
I am drunk. I am lost.
Really I’m just melodramatic and tipsy stuck between a rock and a hard place. Over thinking life and no one next to me is a deadly combination that leads to instant sadness. The type of sadness one can not shake. The sadness that feels like a bottomless pit growing inside your stomach that gradually takes over your body until you can not breathe. The type of sadness that would make me tear at my skin creating marks of madness or purge myself into oblivion. Parts of me wonder if recovery is possible or if I’m stuck forever? Doomed to a binge, purge, and restrict cycle followed by brief periods of recovery that are filled with urges and eventually lead to spiraling relapses. Eleven years in the making of kicking and screaming just to find myself drowning in regrets and wishful thinking.
My head is pounding not because I haven’t eaten, but because after deep consideration I took myself off of my stimulant that I have been on for several months perscribed to me by my psychiatrist. Stimulants in a way worsen my Bulimia. I crave sweets and various processed carbohydrates constantly to the point I end up binging and purging or occasionally my appetite is nonexistent. This is not only extremely difficult, but also confusing for me because once the stimulant wore off I would become so hungry to the point I would once again binge and purge. A huge part of recovery for Bulimia revolves not only around noticing how you feel, but mindful eating as well. This means being able to follow hunger ques, to tell the difference between when you’re actually hungry or simply in emotional mind and want to manipulate food and being able to nurture your body without harsh judgement. I found it difficult to do any of those things while taking a stimulant. Now finally being off stimulants for good I can continue practicing mindful eating and following hunger ques. However I can not place all the blame fully on the stimulant; I know there were several times I found myself in emotional distress and instead of distracting myself or delaying the binge/purge by using distress tolerance skills I chose to binge and purge instead. Constantly I am looking for quick fixes for my Bulimia. New diets, different exercise routines, food restrictions, moving to a new place and so much more. Instead of acknowledging that these quick fixes are not going to be permanent, but are just a bandaid, I throw myself in denial and say “this will cure everything.” Often the only cure for pain is pain because no one said addressing that pain and looking at yourself would be painless. If this all was painless and easy everyone would be in recovery. All those suffering from an eating disorder would jump right into treatment if it was completely painless. Sadly it’s not. Facing your demons and learning to love yourself despite the years you spent attempting to destroy yourself is not easy. You were searching for a peace of mind only to discover you were at war with yourself. You were destroying your own temple. To love yourself fully after spending years of drowning in self hatred is ultimately one of the hardest lessons to learn. The second is believing you’re worth it. And maybe it’s time I tell myself I am.
Sometimes things are great and I can see the progress I have made and other days I wonder what the hell happened to all that “progress” and where the hell is it hiding. Lately I have been struggling with extreme **“splitting” and **“paranoid ideation,” at least this is what psychiatrists, therapists and psych majors of all sorts would call this. Which in reality is just a fancier and more professional way of saying “fucking bull shit with a cherry on top” so to speak. Both these behaviors are having an impact on my work and relationships with others. I don’t know how to snap out of it and to see things as a whole. Good and bad qualities, instead I see it as one. If my boss is displeased or upset with me I begin to think I am going to get fired, that I need to find another job, that her and other employees are talking about me and that they all have a grudge against me. Especially one particular employee, I constantly think she will do anything in her power to get me fired, that her and her friend that works there are always making fun of me and are talking bad about me. In other words, my thought logic is, “the cleaning ladies that work at the restaurant I work at are secretly planning to get me fired and are sabotaging me because they don’t like me and are always talking bad/making fun of me behind my back and my boss hates me and everyone knows it too. She’s looking for any excuse to fire me” This then leads me to think badly of them and it escalates into disrupting my work performance. A similar situation has been an on-going occurrence with my boyfriend as well and I struggle to look passed some of his behaviors and will even blame him for my work issues and that he’s part of the problem. It is extremely challenging for me to accept everyone has flaws and negative qualities. Just as I struggle with the reality that the chances other people along with my boyfriend are “out to get me” or “want to sabotage me” are small. Instead of fully accepting this I withdrawal from work, choose to isolate and become passive agressive. I withdrawal from my boyfriend and put a wedge between us. I lay in bed curled up on the edge making sure my body doesn’t touch his in any form as I face away from him. I can not understand this at all. Parts of me want to scream at my therapist and blame her for all of this, but in reality what would I even be blaming her for? Convincing me I was cured? She never told me I was, but I took “improved behavior” as “fully cured.” I took “progress” as “perfection” and ran with it thinking I’ve reached the finish line only to discover it was a rest point. Except I don’t even know why I began running in the first place.
**Paranoid Ideation: when one is under the belief that they are being harassed or persecuted. It can also refer to beliefs of general suspiciousness regarding the motives or intent of others
**Splitting: a term used in psychiatry to describe the inability to hold opposing thoughts, feelings, or beliefs. Some might say that a person who splits sees the world in terms of black or white. It is a distorted way of thinking in which the positive or negative attributes of a person or event are neither weighed nor cohesive. Splitting is a common term that is often used to describe a defense mechanism used by those with Borderline Personality Disorder. This behavior/defense mechanism can lead to unstable relationships, intense mood swings and self destructive behaviors. A person who expierences “splitting” will typically frame others or events in terms that have no middle ground for discussion Things are either “always” or “never.” Often these beliefs may fluctuate and shift from one extreme to another. Examples:
- People can either be “evil” and “crooked” or “angels” and “perfect.”
- Opportunities can either have “no risk” or be a “complete con.”
- Science, history, or news is either a “complete fact” or a “complete lie.”
- When things go wrong, a person will feel “cheated,” “ruined,” or “screwed.”
If I had to explain to you what the true meaning of “stuck” was or at least paint a picture of it, I would paint a picture of me at 1am in the morning in bed staring at a ceiling. Perhaps even a picture of 2am where I lay restless and gradually reach the conclusion that once again I will be getting barely any sleep as I look over at my lover on the floor sleeping off his drunken night. Maybe the picture wouldn’t be of 1am or 2am, but of me the day before instead. Where I spent the morning wondering from cafe to cafe on a binge/purge spree and spending money I don’t have on food I am only punishing myself with before entering work. Maybe I’d paint a picture of a girl who has no clue what she’s doing and keeps wishing she could at least go forward instead of always taking several steps back. Maybe fast forward passed the Bulimia or rewind it to the time it didn’t exist. Eleven years backwards is alot of rewinding, but maybe it’s also a long time to stay stuck. To suffocate and drown alone. To hide and keep secrets. Maybe the definition of stuck is the moment you find yourself crying because you read in an article that there are some people that do not recover from their eating disorder no matter how much treatment they receive. Stuck is the moment you read that article and want to scream because you don’t want that to be you. Stuck isn’t just not moving forward, but also it’s being afraid to do so because you’re so scared of letting go of what you know and replacing it with everything you don’t. I am stuck.
Nothing is as simple as it seems. There’s no black or white, good or bad. There’s various shades of grey and many forms of “okay” that exist in between both these things. Ideally this is the same with a beautiful painted picture. Behind it is dirty paint brushes, messy hands and stained clothing. These are simple examples that can be used in a sense to briefly underline an eating disorder. It is not as simple as “eat normal again,” “well just don’t purge” and “well just stop.” Nor is it as beautiful as media describes it. Behind the “pro-ana,” “pro mia,” “skip dinner to get thinner” and all this other bullshit is complete misery. What starts off simple becomes complex and this eventually leads to an on going addiction you can not rid yourself of. Maybe earlier in my Bulimia Nervosa I could tell you stories of the pure bliss I found in my bulimia. I could glamourize it and paint a gorgeous picture that anyone would want. Until they truly can not escape it; until they know the ugly truth.
The past eleven years for me have been filled with various treatments centers, several attempts at recovery that would last for several months or up to a year periodically, slips that transformed into cycling relapses, severe dental problems, follow by physical and mental health issues and so much more. It’s a hell I won’t invite you into and a hell I still struggle to fully get out of. This isn’t “to lose weight” nor does it only have an impact on those of a certain size, gender, sexuality or race. Eating disorders are one of the few things that won’t discriminate against you. Make no mistake as weight is not even the actual issue let alone food truthfully. An eating disorder is a pure form of control and a way to manipulate food in order to not deal with the current issues and/or emotions. It is a cycle that in the end can and will happily break you. Most importantly it’s something you can not out run because it follows you wherever you go. Even into a new home you moved into with your boyfriend. So when I tell you nothing is going the way I need it to and I can’t control it so I look for something to control and it just so happens to be food in excessive binges that lead to the compulsion to get rid of it, believe me when I say it’s not as simple as just “stopping.” Would you believe me if I told you I spent countless times crying after purging simply because I no longer want to do this, but feel I have to? If I told you I am currently in the process of treatment once again and that each time I purge I actually end up hating myself a little bit more? How bizarre is it to do something to gain control only to discover it controls you and how bizarre and sinister is it to discover that your addiction literally lives and sleeps within your stomach? How the demons so to speak crawl up your throat periodically and escape out of your mouth? That hell and all those demons exist within you and this sinister addiction isn’t something you hold, but a part that sleeps inside of you? Is this the definition of irony because it screams “at it’s finest!” Nothing is ever as simple as it seems nor as beautiful as you may believe it to be. Hell is often not what we expect it to be especially if we created it. There is no uncreating hell, no running from it and the only way to fully get out alive is to finally face it. Often this is where the problem sleeps; after all how does one face hell if gradually they’ve grown use to living in it? If after all they are the creator and the demons that lay sleeping inside them? Certainly not alone and certainly not right away; only progression, only within time.