National Eating Disorders Association

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RightHereWithYou
I'm Not Sure How to Start

I was hesitant to come here and talk about my experience with anorexia. But I feel if I don't find some sort of outlet I'll only get worse. I won't really be talking numbers as I don't want to trigger anyone as I know that is one of my own triggers.

In the past few months or more I've reached a weight I thought I'd be ecstatic to reach, and in some way I am but at the same time it's very scary. I though it would feel just great, but it's really a mix of feelings. I acknowledge I hate the way I look but somehow I only want to lose more. The thought of losing more terrified me a little less than gaining but terrors me nonetheless.

I've struggled with anorexia for 9 years, at some times it's been much worse than others. At some points, like two years ago I felt I had overcome. I was at a healthy weight. I exercised for pleasure and not to punish myself and I felt for the most part I enjoyed my look.

But then I started losing weight. At first it was accidental but as I kept losing I wanted to lose more or maybe just maintain what I had already lost. In some ways it was unconscious but in other times I realized I was trying to lose.

I kept losing but eventually got to a point where I didn't understand how I got so low. I felt I wasn't eating any differently. Really I just wasn't admitting I was wrapped back in my eating disorder. I had continued working out regularly and gained some muscle but I didn't see how that would affect my weight that much.

It wasn't until my fiance and I decided I needed to gain weight that I truly understood that I didn't want to. It was so easy to say it but when it came to actually doing it I just couldn't bear it. And now I feel more lost than I ever have. I never had control over my anorexia but at least I felt it was something I was actively a part of. But now it's as if I'm not the one doing it. I want to get better. But I'm not allowing myself to.

I battled with bulimia for a year until I got a cavity from throwing up so much. But I feel as if there's nothing that has scared me enough to wake me up to the fact that anorexia could kill me. I cry as I watch documentaries about those who suffer, far worse than me. But still I long to be in their place.

I'm so afraid. Afraid of gaining but so afraid of becoming someone I won't even recognize. But I just don't know if I can pull myself out this time. I'm truly lost in this void screaming at myself to stop but I just can't.

karenc
Same

I agree with alot of what you're saying and feeling. Mostly the bit about being scared to gain weight. Just feel very self-conscious in general.

RightHereWithYou
It's So Difficult

I really want to get better but when I let go and try to eat normal I feel so much fear and shame. I'm vegetarian (trying to go vegan) and I usually eat pretty healthy foods but I worry that if I'm not careful I could border on orthorexia, something I used to struggle with which I don't want to relive.

I'm sorry you relate to those feelings. I know it's really awful to deal with being self conscious and having the fear of gaining. I hope that you are able to overcome this and see that your body and yourself are worth loving. I know it sounds hypocritical of me, considering I can't take my own advice. But you do have the power inside of you to rise above this pain. Even when it doesn't feel like it.

evee13
Thank you for sharing, from a fellow vegetarian/going vegan:

Hi, I wanted to let you know how much your story resonated with me, and to thank you for sharing. I am also struggling with finding a balance in recovering from anorexia as a nearly lifelong vegetarian (also actively trying to go vegan), and this is my first time ever speaking about it on a forum.

I just recently have acknowledged my need for recovery from my anorexia that has persisted for also about ten years, with extended periods of bulimia during times of coping or higher-than-normal stress. I am worried about orthorexia too, for the same reasons that you mentioned. I too had felt like I had recovered for a period of time, just to find that when my weight started to drop and other life stressors picked up, old habits started to reform and I found myself spiraling.

My main encouragement right now has been an app focused on meal logging and one's feelings associated with eating that meal, without the specifics of calorie counting, and a second app not eating related, but rather focused on forming smaller day to day habits, such as drinking a glass of water in the morning, taking vitamins, or stretching for a minute a day. Both apps do rely on consistent logging to hold oneself accountable. Of course apps aren't for everyone, but so far the reminders to log a mindful meal have been helpful as a place to start, and checking off a minor accomplishment such as drinking a glass of water has often felt like a major achievement at times when everything else feels like a struggle.

I'm so sorry that you have been battling for so long and that you are feeling lost in this struggle right now. We have reached safer grounds before, and even though they feel very far away sometimes during our struggles, I am hopeful that we will get back to that safe place of recovery once again.

karenc
Don't become vegan

Unless it's a social choice. If your doing it to loose weight, you may get really ill. You could knock out key vitamins and minerals. What would Oprah say?

RightHereWithYou
It's More Of A Social Thing

I'm pretty hard on myself about not using my vegetarianism or hopefully one day veganism to aid in my weight loss. I wouldn't feel right about it. I've made it a point to not see that part of my diet as the driving force of my disorder. I care a lot about the choice I've made and as easy as it would be to see it as a tool I really try to separate the two.

s.boewer
Sorry

I'm sorry you are suffering with anorexia so much right now. It sounds to me like you need an intervention of sorts. Do you see a therapist that you can turn to for advice, or a dietitian to help you make sure you are getting enough of the nutrition your body needs? You are right to be worried and that anorexia is deadly. Eating disorders have the highest death rates among all mental disorders, so this is nothing to play around with. It sounds like you have a supportive husband, can he help you find a support system to help you get through this period of weight loss? I am recovered from anorexia/restrictive eating and, although I was never so thin that I needed hospitalization, I understand what you are going through. It really does feel like the anorexia takes control but stopping or gaining weight is so scary it overrides the fears around becoming too thin. I slowly ate more and used my therapist to help me with the anxiety that my new meal plan was causing me. I am also involved in 12-step groups so I had the support of a sponsor who helped me work through the steps around food issues. Bottom line, I made a choice to start eating a healthy meal plan and stuck to it in spite of being terrorized by the idea of gaining. You might need in-patient care because you aren't able to turn things around on your own it sounds like. I hope you will reach out to a therapist or look into treatment soon. Take care...

RightHereWithYou
Thank You For Your Advice

I appreciate what you're saying. I really would like some form of treatment or therapy. It would really help I think. The hardest part is not having the money to afford it. I am unsure of how much it would cost or if I could find a free thing to participate in. I looked for a support group in the area/surrounding area but unfortunately I couldn't find anything.

I try to keep track of my nutrition as far as vitamins and protein and I do take a multi everyday especially since I'm vegetarian. Perhaps my first step could be to see my regular doctor and get my blood work done. A year ago I had it done and I was getting what I needed but I worry that maybe things have changed. I feel sometimes keeping track of your nutrition through apps isn't quite as accurate and blood work is definitely needed. And from there they can give me some options for treatment. I really do appreciate your response. I am glad to hear that something worked for you and that you were able to recover. Things like that do give me hope for myself.

s.boewer
Good idea

Going to your primary care doctor sounds like a good idea for starters. Do you have insurance that will cover a counselor? That's too bad you didn't have any luck with support groups, but great that you tried. Restricting is so hard to stop on your own, without support for the real issues driving the unhealthy coping. It might help to start writing in a daily journal to track your moods and feelings. Maybe a pattern will emerge that helps you understand what i really going on. Your doctor might have some ideas, and at least you can have a physical, and blood work, to check on your health. I hope you can use insurance to get counseling and that somehow you are able to eat more food, and stop the momentum your ED has right now. Take care:)