Falling Apart

Let me just preface this by telling you, my thoughts might be a little scattered in this post. Like always, there is a lot swirling around in my mind that I am having a terrible time sifting through because of the dual personality I often feel torn between. Having 3 days of unstructured, holiday/celebratory, activity created a lot of anxiety, put me in situations that were uncomfortable, and my behaviors, although nothing short of “normal” and actually pretty appropriate in the recovery realm, left me feeling uncomfortable and moody.

Not that getting healthy is supposed to be easy; I did publish an article written by Jenni Schaefer on that very subject last week, as a matter of fact, but during the process a person will come to many crossroads and I feel I am approaching one of them.

I can either give into my body’s desires and eat everything it happens to be craving (which I am seriously embarrassed to admit are pretty relentless…we will get to this later), or I could do my best to restrict again and ease the anxiety and body image issues that have been plaguing me for days.

Anyway, perhaps it would be best if I started at the beginning…

Last week my appetite started to rage; I like to call this my “hunger beast.”

No longer was it satisfied by my “normal” breakfast, lunch or dinner…

It wasn’t thrilled with my sort of meal plan that I will admit wasnt really at the 2500 mark.

It was seriously roaring nearly every 2 hours for food, and that IS NOT OK in my head.

I sat down on Tuesday with my therapist and told him I was having a shitty day.

“Why is your day so shitty?”

Because I am too hungry.

“What does that exactly mean?”

It means I am eating more than I need to be.

At the risk of boring you I won’t give you the line by line conversation between me and Dr. G. but the long and short of it was an in-depth discussion about denying myself things that are a necessity, like proper nutrition, because I feel like I don’t deserve it. Nothing new here by any means, but now I feel an extra layer of guilt because I am feeding myself even though I don’t feel as if i should.

It is like I can no longer just push the empty stomach growling away. It is too distracting and won’t stop until I respond with food so I feel out of control, weak, and fat for giving into my body’s demand.

I was starting to accept my daytime needs, UNTIL they did not just end with bedtime.

I then started waking up in the middle of the night…

1 am “wow I really could eat some yogurt, I am feeling kind of empty.”

2 am “only 2 more hours until your alarm goes off, you will live.”

2:30 am “you can’t sleep because your stomach is making noise, go downstairs and get something small, you can just subtract it from breakfast…”

2:45 am…I had my “snack” and was still not comfortably full…and as much as I wanted to just go back to bed and forget it, but I couldn’t so I had more (I will go into more specifics for WIAW just so you can get a more clear picture of why I feel so terrible) and by 3 am I was back in bed, shaking like crazy, half because I wanted to cry at my “gluttony” and half because I was hoping I could burn off some of the calories I just consumed at such an odd hour.

I proceeded to go through my morning in my normal routine but I know my exercise was more intense than it is supposed to be.

I know I walked outside additional miles to those on the machine because of my calorie-guilt.

And by lunch I wanted to cry again because I was a couple hundred calories over where I “normally” come in after that meal.

I was completely consumed by these irrational, but very real and detrimental ED thoughts, because of my hunger, feeling a loss of will-power, out-of-the norm eating schedule and overall belief that I no longer had any control over my intake.

I literally felt like I was expanding by the second.

And then we went shopping…

Ryan and I decided to hit the mall for some sales and to pick up a few odds and ends that we need for our trip next week.

I was in one of my favorite stores, browsing the AMAZING clearance section, and a woman walked in that grabbed my attention.

She looked frail, her hair was frayed, her bones jutted out in all different directions, she was wearing a neck brace…she was sick and it showed.

I caught myself staring, which I am hoping she didn’t notice but it was as if I was looking at this woman with pity.

Ryan tried to snap me back to reality by a nudge and said, “that is the closest thing I have ever seen to showing you what you look like.”

“I don’t look like her, at all…her clothes don’t even fit.”

“CJ, you looked exactly like that about a month ago.”

Holy shit. Let me tell you what my f*cked up mind did with this statement.

“OMG CJ YOU FATASS YOU GAINED SO MUCH WEIGHT IN A MONTH AND YOU NO LONGER LOOK SICK….YOU DO NOT NEED 2500 CALORIES TO GAIN, OBVIOUSLY. YOU ARE A PATHETIC LOSER WHO WAKES UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT TO EAT WHEN YOU OBVIOUSLY DONT NEED TO EXTRA FOOD. IF YOU CAN GAIN ON WHAT YOU WERE EATING YOU WILL BE A F*CKING COW IN NO TIME ON YOUR NEW HUNGER LEVELS.”

*I used capital letters here because my ED voice was literally screaming at me and I wanted to just ball up on the floor of the store and be invisible.

Not that the woman we saw deserves to observed and objectified by any means, but I should not have taken Ryan’s comments and construed them as fuel for an ED bashing.

I should have taken my first thought, of feeling “sorry” for this lady, all by herself and looking a little weak, and used it as motivation because I don’t want that life 20 years from now.

But still, even though this situation happened 2 days ago, my brain is having trouble determining how to process that information.

Do I think Ryan was calling me a huge whale? No but I have no way of gauging how much I have gained on my current eating structure and that made me panic that my physical recovery is moving too fast.

And adding that to my guilt about the hunger beast, and the middle of the night snacks, is just making me so terribly conflicted and emotional I am living in a constant mental battle that I need to turn off as soon as possible.

Restricting is not really an option because my body basically won’t let me, but I am sure if I really wanted to I could probably lower my intake by a little bit each day and eventually be more comfortable.

I could probably sneak in some exercise somewhere in my day that might make up for those extra calories consumed this weekend, and MAYBE my anxiety would ease just a bit.

But is that really want I want to do?

CJ doesn’t, because she wants to have an awesome trip to Europe, keep her fabulous husband and family, and the life God has been so gracious to provide, but ED is really starting to mess with my world and it is making it very very difficult.

Ugh Jenni Schaefer, I think I need to give your words a re-read.

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8 thoughts on “Falling Apart

  1. What a powerful story! I don’t think Ryan meant that in anyway. I think it’s so hard to have someone else help you in something like this. Just remember you ARE strong, and you ARE doing everything you can to recover. 🙂

  2. I remember that stage where you could eat anything in sight and your hunger doesn’t seem to go away. it’s petrifying! But…. it’s an essential step and one, that like you said, is PAINFULLY difficult to ignore (not that you should even try! but obviously, with EDs, we do try). All I can say is, I’ve been there, and I know it sucks, but it’ll pass…. you’ll normalize. Try your hardest to not even think about anything when you eat and forget it as best you can. The less you focus on food, the easier it becomes to do what your body has to and just let it run its course.

    • thanks jess! i have been doing my best to listen and listen well….have you heard of thomas fruit harvest bagels?! a bagel wouldnt have even been in my kitchen a few months ago but those have become one of my new favorites!
      did you also combine weird things together??? tomorrow in wiaw i tell you one of my most odd match ups but my body seems to crave sweet and salty everything!!!!

  3. Aw CJ. I am so sorry to hear this story. Although, I can completely relate to how you are feeling. It is so hard to see other people suffering with this disorder, it sort of “fuels” the competitive edge that most of us ED sufferers deal with. I think this is pretty common and now you know it is one of your triggers for your ED. I’ve definitely dealt with extreme hunger throughout the night as well, and don’t really deal with them well, I most likely would not head to the kitchen to eat, and it is a very frustrating experience, but just know your body is basically begging you for food. Its trying to repair itself and just wants to get back to its healthy state. Its such a hard thing to figure out your “healthy voice” and you “ED voice” and separate the two. You are very lucky to have a supportive husband and of course your friends and family. You can beat this my friend! We all deserve happiness and a better life free of ED!

  4. This sounds like such a critical point in your recovery- your metabolism is speeding up obviously as your body tries to repair itself- this is NOT code for fat! It is hungry for energy to repair internal organs, to build bone tissues, to repair muscles that have been sacrificed for fuel. Try something different this time, and know and trust that your body is asking for what it needs- nothing more, nothing less. There is no shame or judgement in having two or even eight servings of crackers, if you are hungry in the night then eat. Your body will and IS using every single calorie right now at a crazy rate. Try to be kind to yourself right now and realize that its called “recovery” because you are recovering from physical trauma. You would never yell at ryan to go and run a marathon if he had a broken ankle and took of the cast this morning, so dont do this to yourself either- its the same thing.

    • thanks so much for the reminder about metabolism. i always read things about how slow a metabolism gets when someone restricts but i “forget” that it does start to burn sometimes with a vengence when you finally listen to it and eat!

  5. Are you on any medications to help with these feelings?…You do realize that what you are feeling is NOT normal right?? You have a disorder – this is a physical and primarily mental disorder – it’s not your fault you have these thoughts and feel this way…but it’s not normal either. Do you realize that most people do not struggle with this everyday? You are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. You should really be in a serious treatment program. How old are you? Do you want to be 40 and still like this? Because you will. If you’ve been dealing with this for a few years already – I can guarantee you that you will.

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