National Eating Disorders Association

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I really need help..

Hey guys...
I am a 47 year old anorexic woman. I had anorexia in my teens, which I had to be hospitalized for. I am normal height and I got down to a very low weight. At age 17, I got help and started recovery. I was under the assumption that I had fully recovered because I was able to eat intuitively throughout most of my adult life. But there were a few periods where I fell back into anorexic behavior, so my trajectory should not be too surprising.
2 years ago I got out of an abusive marriage. Like many people who suffer from eating disorders, I have experienced trauma. My parents were alcoholics, I was sexually and verbally abused and I have endured 3 divorces, not to mention the 6 divorces my mother went through while I was growing up. Stability was in limited supply and, put mildly, I have been through hell.
So, after the domestic violence incident in 2019, I spiraled back down into anorexia. Unfortunately, I cannot seem to find my way back out of it. I have a daughter, so I worry what influence this might have on her. I am currently receiving counseling but can't seem to stop. I count calories obsessively, overexercise, cut up my food, consume caffeine all day... you guys know how it goes. But I am angry at myself because, while I know that what I am doing is harmful and desperately want to stop...I just can't seem to.
I need help. This is impacting my ability to function. The only part of my life that seems to be thriving is my family life (for which I am grateful), but I wonder what affect this is having on them?
Incidentally, I am a very thin (but not dangerously underweight) woman, so no one outside of my family or therapist would suspect I struggle with this. Truth be told, I am of two minds. On an emotional level, being thin is satisfying. Note the word FEEL. It makes me FEEL attractive and FEEL like my life is in control. However, I KNOW (logically) that the feelings of control are an illusion, I KNOW that I am probably more attractive when my skin has color and I'm healthy and I KNOW that this is destroying me from the inside out. So, if I know this, why can't I stop?! This obsessive cycle comes at the cost of hurting my family, not to mention MYSELF. I always feel cold, I've lost so much hair, I am unable to sleep or concentrate and I'm destroying my body from the inside out. No one should feel happy when they see their ribs and chest bones! This is really difficult. I want to have my life back. I miss eating food and feeling FREE and happy.

Welcome Djinniboo

Welcome to the forums! It's great that you have the courage to share your story! We did have to slight edit your post to remove weight which can be triggering for others. This violates our community guidelines, You can review them here. If you feel like you need to reach out to someone, NEDA is here for you. the NEDA Helpline and online chat is here for you. You can call 800-931- 2237 or chat,  to discuss support options. Helpline phone hours are Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm ET, Friday 11am-5pm ET. Helpline chat hours are Monday-Thursday 9am-9pm ET, Friday 9am-5pm ET. We hope you find the support you are looking for and keep posting!    

Hi djinniboo,

Welcome to the forums and congratulations on so many years that were anorexia-free.
Once, I heard a therapist saying that full recovery from eating disorders is possible. Like we all can recover from a cold or a broken leg. However, we can experience a cold or break another leg later in our life.

Anorexia seems to be back to your life but it may be just a lapse. You already overcame it once and I am sure you will overcome it again.

You are getting treatment, you are fed up of the illness, what is that you are still afraid of doing in order to get your life back?

If you are fearful of eating or not working out, do it now. The more you challenge your ED, the sooner you will be able to get rid of it. I know it is not easy. I perfectly get it. I am 41 and have had all types of eating disorders. I have been fine sometimes and I have relapsed others. But each relapse has come with a lot of learnings.

I know that the older I get, my body can tolerate less the side effects of my ED. I know that an ED can steal the joy of my life. I know that an ED can make me so depressed to feel like wanting to die.

So, start challening your ED, NOW. Don't leave it for tomorrow. We have it always in our back pocket. We use it when life gets hard. But our experience has shown us that it is not the way out.

I send you a big hug. Keep fighting!