National Eating Disorders Association

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Confused and Scared

Hello all,
I haven't posted in a while, and it's mostly because I haven't been in a good place at all lately. I've been meeting regularly with my dietitian, therapist, and psychiatrist. Long story short, I've been loosing weight (significantly) and have reverted to a number of my comfortable patterns and behaviours around food. I eat the same thing every day (except supper... my parents make me eat that meal with them).
From a more professional standpoint, my dietitian has been "very concerned" about my direction. She says I am fully in my ED and the small piece of me that does want recovery is being smothered by the ED. She considers me in full relapse now, and she continually tries to remind me that what I believe is not true. She mentioned the other day that I am on the verge of being at an unhealthy weight, but I know my BMI is still within the "normal" range. So I just don't see what she sees.
I have been threatened with being forced into an inpatient program, which I think is a little too extreme. I refuse to go inpatient again willingly, so it would have to be forced somehow...
From a symptom standpoint, I am noticing more dizzy-spells again and extreme exhaustion. I've been averaging about 3-4 hours of sleep per night (which doesn't help), and I realized that I'm loosing my ability to concentrate for long periods of time at work...
My current mindset is such that I lie to my parents about using symptoms so they won't get angry/frustrated with me. I don't want to be controlled by the ED anymore, but I cannot simply give it up. I thought I would be able to stop the behaviours once I reached a "comfortable" weight, but I'm not comfortable... I never am... I need to loose just a little more to be comfortable. Always a little more...
I kinda want recovery, but I'm frightened. My biggest fear is loosing a promising job/career that I enjoy. wtf am I supposed to do? How do I live my life when I want two things that oppose one another?

Hey Yoshi,

Hey Yoshi,
So happy to see you're back because it's definitely been a while. We're here to listen whether you're in a good place or not, so don't let that deter you from sharing your struggles and recovery with us. It sounds like you're really in a rut because you described a number of red flags and symptoms. We all know what you're talking about and empathize but you also say a couple of conflicting things.

Most of us need inpatient to kick-start some kind of recovery plan. Seriously. That's not me being dramatic or preachy--that's just how it seems to go. And no, it's not pleasant and from what you've said you've tried it before and the work you did there was eventually beaten down by disorder behaviors. THAT'S OKAY! There are tons of treatment programs in the world and one of them is a good fit for you, I'm sure of it. However, you know it's only as successful as you want it to be. If you feel like you're being threatened into pursuing treatment and will not go willingly, then that's something you will need to work on with your treatment team.

As far as hiding symptoms from your parents, that's also a big red flag that you're not doing so great. The disorder is about hiding behind something so if you feel like you're not ready to be honest that you're using symptoms you're making your own world more closed off and that's gotta be a lot of stress on you.

Finally, you say you're going to lose your job and career if you pursue recovery, but you also say that your symptoms are being dizzy, exhausted, unable to sleep and unable to concentrate. From an outsider looking in, it sounds like you're at risk of losing your job and career if you don't seek treatment. Imagine how far you could progress if you could go into work every day fresh, able to concentrate and have abundant energy!

It sounds like the real struggle here is making you realize that you are worth recovery and you deserve to recover. We've all been there, we're still fighting it, and it gets better.

I'll be thinking about you. Have you considered calling NEDA to see if there are other resources in your area that you didn't know about?

Thought I was ready...

Thank you for the reply Brook. I haven't called NEDA because I am afraid they will suggest I go into a treatment program, and I will not be able to handle that.

For a couple weeks now, I have been on track and completing (most) of my meal plan. I thought I had this under control. "I CAN do this", but as of last night, my nightmares, anxiety, and fear have hit very hard again. I feel like I've gained a ton of weight from following my meal plan. I feel as if I am taking up too much space. I am very afraid of gaining any more weight, and I look at food as the enemy again.

And even through all those thoughts and beliefs, I have had a couple coworkers comment on how I look this week alone. Now I'm more confused and conflicted than before. Part of my mind says "Wonderful! What I'm doing is still working, but I still need to lose more", while another part of my mind is swearing at myself for trying so hard and getting nowhere.

When will enough be enough? Why can't I just be enough the way I am? Which way am I supposed to go?
I know these are rhetorical questions that cannot be answered by anybody but me, but I just don't know what to do anymore, and I don't know what answer I want.


Right. I get it. It’s the

Right. I get it. It’s the disorder speaking for you. These are disordered thoughts and words. I’m not being critical at all—but this is what we tell ourselves when we’re battling an eating disorder. Deep down you know there is probably not going to be a point where you think, “Okay, great, I’m good with everything about myself” and then you’re magically cured. That’s just not how it goes (but wouldn’t it be rad if it was?!). Ugh.

With regards to your coworkers, forget them. Even if they’re trying to be nice—forget them. When I was super sick, I would believe the good comments and the bad comments. Now that I’m better, I realize I don’t really care what the opinion is from 99% of the people around me. I don’t care what they think about politics because it’s not going to change my view. I don’t care what they think about religion because it’s not going to shift my beliefs. I don’t care what they look like or act because it doesn’t affect me. And I shouldn’t care what they say or think about me but sometimes on my bad days I’ll catch myself internalizing it just a little big BUT then I remind myself about all of these other things and say to myself, “That person’s opinion is of zero value to me.”

Your anxiety, nightmares and fears are also based on the disorder. We all go through it. It’s exhausting to manage and at the same time really scary to let go.
You’re right, you CAN do this even if you’re facing a ton of uncertainty, fear and anxiety. I’m not sure what NEDA will tell you. From what I understand, they’re not directive. They’ll just give you your options. It’s not an ultimatum. You’re not gonna get blocked from the forums or the organization or anything like that. I think there’s even an online chat option so you don’t have to call and speak with someone.
If you’re not ready to seek additional treatment now, give it time. It’s awesome that you’ve been trying to manage your meal plan, but it’s not 100% about the food or the weight. It’s about a bunch of things that get rolled into one and then you have to figure out how to pick each piece apart and get to the root of the problem. And guess what? YOU CAN DO IT! Granted it’s easier with medical professionals but at the end of the day it’s up to you.
I hope you can find a way to manage your current level of recovery and simultaneously quiet the anxiety, depression, fears and dizzy spells. That’s a lot to deal with at once and it’s a lot of ED symptoms to handle. I wish you calming thoughts this weekend and hope that you find an answer within yourself soon.

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