Rock-Bottom?

Eating disorders are full of paradoxes.

My thoughts and actions often contradict one another, or themselves, because my life is dictated by two voices (Ok, I sound crazy here, forgive that description), which I often personify as ED and CJ.

CJ desperately wants to be a healthy individual and always has, but the negative portion of my brain has been too loud for far too long and most times totally warps reality, obviously.

I will be completely honest here and tell you what you probably already know; I want to rid myself of this horrific lifestyle, but the thought of gaining weight and feeling out of control is terrifying.

Since we have been home I feel like I have ballooned up a gazillion pounds, and I am starting to panic.  Scientifically Ryan continues to remind me that isn’t really possible, but between it being the week before my most dreaded time of the month (meaning edema and an obsession with chocolate and nut butter…) and being back in the stressful environment I call work, my body image sucks.

I look in the mirror and see someone disgusting and expanding by the second, but paradoxically sometimes when Ryan touches me, almost wincing when he comes to a jutting bone, I know I am completely ugly and sick-looking.

I want to be the girl I was in college when I was a pretty “normal” eater, with a great appetite for food and also life, and didn’t really think about lunch beyond “man, that was good.”

I was reminded of this when one of my lovely friends at work sent me a picture she found when I was at a good point in my adult-life and pointed out how much happier I looked physically and in spirit and it made me sad because that is all I want, I am just very fearful of what it takes to get there….

…the awkward body shape before the weight redistributes, the emotions that gaining weight could invoke (I have a lot of issues with family and weight gain…comments from when I was a child that made me feel inadequate or unacceptable, etc), and the remarks people will make along that way that typically send me into a tailspin…

Of course the phase of the Buddha belly and strange looking limbs is pretty temporary, but it still sends me in reverse anytime I make progress.  So last night while laying in bed, and  crying (literally crying which is happening more lately but pretty odd for me) about how I don’t know if I can do this, Ryan asked me what it would take for a change to occur?  Would it have to be a major medical issue?  Death?  Would he have to leave and walk out the door for me to realize everything I was doing isn’t worth it?

A very scary, but valid question.

…I have to backtrack a bit and tell you about our final day of vacation…

We stayed one evening off the ship in Genoa, Italy, so we were not rushed around after disembarkation to get to our plane.  As we explored the city and enjoyed the sites, we reminisced about the past that was really quite spectacular before all the hospitalizations and crazy food rituals.  We also talked about the future and the picture-perfect Weaber life.

He has so many goals for us and really wants to go back to school next spring in order to start making them happen, but he is terrified to leave me for such an extended period of time.  He knows my history and even on night shift I tend to perform poorly on the recovery front.

“I might have to stay at my parents when I go back to school,” he said in a very small voice.

A few days earlier I told him I knew I made him put off continuing his education for a while and that I no longer wanted to be the reason he wasn’t enrolled, so he needed to go back regardless of my condition.

“I don’t think I could give school my everything when I came home to something that reminded me so much of a patient everyday….it is too preoccupying and I would worry constantly.”

I really don’t blame him for these thoughts and actually, I have been quite blessed to have someone stand by my side through these past three years of hell. 

He assured me it would only be a temporary move until he finished his studies, but that if I didn’t make a change soon, demonstrate my journey was going in an upward trend, him moving out would have to become reality.

That is the LAST thing I want.

Some of my other underlying causes of why I punish myself have to do with abandonment (I will absolutely save that topic for another post) and Ryan has really been the only person in my life to demonstrate that he unconditionally wants me for me, so why am I engaging in behaviors that push him so far away?

I have explored and discussed my beliefs of why I am the way I am in my relationship in past entries, but would him physically leaving be the only thing to inspire me to get better?

I hate to think so, but that could be my rock bottom.

I pray to God I don’t need to get there in order to do the right things, but this has been running through my mind for a week, and I am scared.

Question: If you have been through recovery or a rough time, did it take a “rock-bottom” experience to make you change your ways?

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21 thoughts on “Rock-Bottom?

  1. Hi there,

    I have been following your blog. I was anorexic for 18 years, an average of 75lb for many many years. One day I decided I wanted to recover and the road to recovery was VERY hard, harder than the anorexia itself. For me it took 3 years of looking 9 months pregnant with a Buddha belly to recover. I would cry every single day, as my belly would get bigger by the week, and I had to start wearing pants with elastic waist. I wore those pants for 3 years. I think if you really want to recover, you may have to go thru that ordeal. However there are lots of rewards in it. During these 3 years I had to reconsider what was important to me as a child of God. Lots of meditation and breakthroughs. I did come out at the other side eventually, and one day my body finally figured things out, my metabolism kicked in finally and the buddha belly melted quickly. That is, after 3 years of eating lots and lots of food and only seeing myself ballooning like a goose being fed for Christmas. It was like a miracle. Feel free to email me if you’d like more details on my own recovery. (I was married at the time, too. Our relationship ended, but curiously the anorexia is not what not caused the end of it. Coming out on the other side of the the recovery is what did.)

    F

    • thank you so much for sharing your story. it is very encouraging to know that you had such a positive experience post recovery. it sounds like you really found out who YOU were, and I am hoping some day I can feel that way too 🙂 I might take you up on the offer for an e-mail. your support would be much appreciated!

      • Sure! The thing is, you have to really want to recover, because choosing that road means you will (temporarily) lose everything that ever mattered to you. It’s about jumping off the diving board without knowing what recovery will look like for you. That takes faith, for sure. But that is the battle of your life and 100% worth it. You will be happy at the end of it.

        Much love,
        F

  2. I am about to start OP therapy next week. The thing that made me make the choice to actually do it stemmed from my boyfriend and I discussing marriage and I realised that whilst I am like this, with such a low opinion of myself and obsessed with weight and everything else I know he probably won’t propose as the whole day will be focused on us andi want to be confident and believe what he says about me. So yeah a rock bottom realisation that it may still be a possibility to have children but if it’s to happen I have to stop this life, that the rest can’t happen unless I recover. It’s hard and at times I regret it almost but nothing will stop me focusing on the future I want and what I want with Ben

    • you are so brave for taking that step! i am glad to see you have your priorities straight and are on the right path. you deserve a life better than one with ed and you are absolutely right that you do not want a wedding day plagued by thoughts of food, calories and weight. you can do it!!!

  3. My rock bottom was last year after I had been in the hospital for like 10 days, then coming home and continuing in a downward spiral. I remember lying on my bedroom floor with my dad next to me, he had just caught me exercising. We just sat there crying together…I’d never seen him cry before. It was awful. He couldn’t help me, only I could help myself. I went IP a few days later. I know it saved my life. I am still fighting off ED but I am in such a better place. I REALLY pray for you Cj that you don’t have to hit rock bottom. But you just have to play it out in your mind, is it worth it? Play the “so what” game with ED. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried it, but it helps….just keep replaying all your goals in your head, tell ED forget you, I’m worth it….cause you are girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • thank you so much for the encouragement hun, and sharing your story with me. i am glad to hear you are doing better and it is truly inspiring considering i feel like i can relate to your struggle so much. YOU are worth it!! xxoxo

  4. I was anorexic and my rock bottom was losing my menstrual cycle and even with estrogen my menstrual cycle wouldn’t start. I was going to have to go to many doctor appointments and try different options but they said if i would just gain weight I would be fine. My dad lost his job a week later and I couldn’t make my dad pay for all the medical bills without health insurance so I decided that I would have to gain weight. Gaining weight was ok at first because it was my choice, I still felt like I was in control. After a while it got to a point where I was healthy and happy. Out of no where though something changed inside of me and i started binging and purging. I ended up gaining more weight and haven’t been happy since, I just feel out of control. I have lost some of the weight and was eating really healthy, but this week was terrible. My boyfriend doesn’t understand it and I think he is tired of dealing with it so I feel like I need to make a change because I’m scared of him leaving. My boyfriend (I think you actually might know him from high school, Doug Weaver) is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict and he turned his life around and now he is a counselor for addicts. He understands that it is hard but he doesn’t understand why I can’t do it. I think it’s important to take a step back and realize what is really important and in the long run my health and relationship is more important than my ED. good luck with everything! 🙂

    • I do know Doug and truly admire his courage in overcoming his addiction. Any eating disorder definitely falls into the addiction category and I am sure he will be there with you every step of the way. It might just bring up difficult memories of behaviors for him, even though the symptoms arent exactly the same. I know you can overcome the binging and purging. You beat anorexia and you can beat this too. if you ever need anything feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I absolutely know where you are coming from. stay strong!

  5. Oh, man. This is rough, CJ. I think you really REALLY need to step back and think. If you do not take this next step toward recovery, you really could be sending Ryan the signal that your ED is more important than him. Do you know how much that would hurt him – and hurt YOU?!?!? He’s the best thing that ever happened to you! Believe me, when I was REALLY struggling, there was a point that I thought it may mean the end of my marriage. But I realized, the one thing I could do that would prove my love and dedication to Eric would be to stop whining and complaining, take a deep breath, and dive into recovery. It was hard. It was so miserable. But you know what? Eric and I have never been closer. And to make things better, I’M a healthier person. I’m not quite at my goal weight, but I’m close, and you know what? I’m still me. I am not Anorexic thin, I am Athletic. I am not a people-pleaser, I’m genuinely happy. I’m not a loner, I am social. Please CJ, do not ruin your life, and ruin Ryan’s too. If you are tough enough and strong enough to last this long, you are tough enough and strong enough to FIGHT. And every battle you win, the closer you are to that strong, athletic, happy CJ.

  6. It took rock bottom for me. I reached my lowest point (on every level: emotionally, physically, and mentally). I looked maybe 5 pounds heavier than you in the pictures you recently posted of yourself. And girl, if you think even 5 pounds is going to make you look “fat” from the point you’re at right now, please. I gained about 35 since then and I still wear the same shirts, and only went up 2 pant sizes. I’m still one of the thinnest people out of my friends, but what’s noticeably different is that you no longer see bones or those disgusting arm veins or dried skin that makes you look like an 80 year old prune!

    I’ve heard you say so many times that you’re so sick and tired of being sick and tired. Well, when I was, I MEANT it! And that means that I gave up my awful exercise routine COMPLETELY. I gave into eating whatever the heck I wanted because I ACCEPTED the fact that I needed to gain X amount of weight to get my period back, to look like a normal woman in her 20s, and to rid myself of thoughts that are constantly centered on food.

    I realized I was living in a really dark, unhappy, scary place that was getting worse, not better. It drained me and it hurt me to realize I was letting my life pass like this while others seemed enjoy every minute! You know what? Gaining weight was actually part of the fun. At such a low weight, you really CAN eat whatever you want all the time because it takes a while for it to layer on! lol. And it’s true: you think so much more rationally when you’re physically more healthy.

    I hope your fear of gaining weight to look like a regular 24 year old doesn’t make you lose Ryan…. that is just ridiculous to even type! EAT. There are more important things in your life right now, CJ!

  7. CJ. I’ve been wanting to comment FOREVER, and can no longer hold myself back. I’m only saying this because I care about you and think/know that you are awesome…

    You can not do this on your own. You can not do this with just your family and even with an “outpatient” team. You need inpatient hospitalization.

    You are at a point where this is so beyond what you can do at home. You need the support of a hospital program for many reasons. One being that the refeeding process is dangerous. You need daily labs to monitor your phosphorus levels while they work to increase your calories.

    Please connect with your treatment team so that they can guide you in the right direction.

    xo

    • I so concur…you know I do c.j. And it is totally b/c I care and we know better than your starved brain right now. I hope that your peers at the ‘healthy living summit’ who are truly committed to health are upfront and honest with you and can influence you to get the care that you so need! Xox

  8. Oh CJ, I am so sorry these thoughts and the tears are occurring right now, but sometimes we just need to release the emotions we face while trying to recover. It is definitely the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. I can completely relate to worrying about regaining the weight. But, what is worse than “looking awkward”, which I assure you, no one will notice, when you could potentially lose so much more you have been blessed with in life. I know of this young lady, in her late twenties, who got fired from her job because people complained about her looks and her illness, it can definitely change your life for the worse. Having a rock bottom, is sadly what it takes for a lot of people to change. Including myself. I know I hit my rock bottom when I was taken to the hospital 3 times in one month and then came out to seeing my whole family in tears, it broke my heart and I realized I had to make a change. Now I’m “stuck” in this semi-recovered state, and I don’t know what more it will take me to make some more changes. You are so worth this recovery and can overcome it! You are beautiful and smart and you can change for the better, imagine how blessed and wonderful your life will be without ED in your life. Stay strong love! p.s. sorry for the super duper long comment!

    • oh my gosh never apologize for your comments. your words express so much care and i truly appreciate that. i hope you remember the emotion behind them and can apply them to yourself because you are also worth it my dear!!!

  9. Hi, I follow your blog, but haven’t commented before. I have been in and out of treatment centers for the last 10 years. Until recently, every time I went in, I thought I had hit “rock-bottom” and that “this is it,” only to find myself relapsing a few months later.

    The last time, though, something was different. Just a little. I didn’t hit a rock-bottom. Instead, I hit a point where I finally realized that I did not want to live like this anymore. I didn’t want to be a slave to the harsh thoughts in my head. Moreover, I finally realized that I did not want to die, and I actually believed I might, despite me not being at a physical rock-bottom. Something inside of me clicked. I began to think that maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t a goner. Maybe I have a purpose. I began to believe that God (even thought I still struggle with the idea of a higher power) would not have let me live this long if I didn’t still have a reason to be here.

    I still struggle daily, and until the last few weeks, was on a downward spiral. However, there are things I want to do, like REALLY want to do, and a part of me is finally believing that I will not be able to do them if I keep down this path. I have been able to work with my dietitian to go slowly and get “back on track.” Yes, it’s painful to hear “Your weight’s going in the right direction.” Of course it sucks and ED hates it…but I figure I’ve listened to that long enough.

    So, in answer to your question, no, I do not think you have to hit rock bottom to get better. You don’t have to lose everything and you don’t have to be completely miserable or suicidal to get better. You get to create your life – to decide what you allow in your life and what you don’t. My therapist had me read a book, “Illusions – The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah” by Richard Bach, and it has helped me so much. You absolutely can get better without having devastating consequences!

    I wish I had some magical words for you, but I don’t. All I can say is, “Never settle and never give up on yourself.” Sending you a hug (in a friendly blogger way, not the creepy “a stranger just hugged me” way).

    • Thank you so much for your encouraging words and I so do not think you are a creepy stranger haha I LOVE blog friends, and definitely blog hugs!
      I will have to try and get my hands on that book. it sounds like it could be a great help to me. thanks for sharing your experience hun.

  10. I have to post a comment on this post….
    What makes you think you are not at “rock bottom” now?
    To recap: your vacation photos are um, scary visual proof of your illness (if there was any lingering doubt), your difficulty with so much as an extra 100 or 200 calories in a day seems to turn into something panic-worthy, you are in denial about the severity of your current state, and if you continue your current path of, “recovery” you will likely see the inside of s hospital sooner rather than later.
    So, yeah.
    What makes you think you are not there now?
    Do something different now before its too late. You need to be in an inpatient facility, and the longer you put it off the more you will strain the existing supportive people who are trying to help yet ultimatly are enabling your illness.
    Its time to grow up, take responsibility for your own future, and make some scary decisions towards living the life you want to have.

  11. I am in the exact same place re: wanting to be healthy, but fearing gaining weight and fearing the process of gaining weight. Makes me feel less crazy. Thanks.

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