Friends and family do their best to understand what things are like for me, but no one can truly understand. Realistically, I wouldn’t even want them knowing all of the irrational thoughts that go through my mind on a regular basis. I know my parents would be disappointed in me if I stayed in a psychically and emotionally abusive relationship, however, I have been in one for the past 5 years with an @sshole named ED, that I can’t seem to get rid of.
When I informed family/friends that I was struggling and had gotten in the habit of hiding food, they were unsurprisingly, not pleased. I understood their disappointment, but they were making it seem like going against treatment was a path that I wanted to be taking. Realistically, this is part of the process and if I was crushing it every day with happiness, then I wouldn’t have an eating disorder. I might not have been completing all my meals and snacks, but I am still here fighting. I should get some credit for that, right?
The feeling of shame that has resulted from hiding food is not something I enjoy, however, nor is the discomfort and guilt that comes with being extremely full. Defending my actions to outsiders doesn’t do justice and if people understood what it was like then they would be surprised that I waited so long to start hiding my food!
So, what is so hard about gaining/restoring weight? Let’s just say the words “eating disorder” and “weight” do not go well together. Throughout my relationship with ED, I have heard individuals make comments how they wish they could be as strict as me with food or even look as thin as I do. The comment I love the most are about people wishing they had to be forced to gain weight. For those that don’t realize, these statements are similar to telling an alcoholic that you wish you could drink as much as them...FYI just because an alcoholic continues to drink, that doesn’t mean it brings them happiness or that they didn’t wish they could stay away from picking up a bottle, it means they are sick.
I would do anything….
-to see myself like others do (aka not have a distorted body image)
-to know if tomorrow is going to be ok or totally awful
-to be able to eat a cheeseburger without thinking about it the remainder of the day
-to look in the mirror without thinking that the cheeseburger made me gain 5 lbs.
-to have my outside support system be able to fully understand
-to never believe that there is an easier way out than recovering
-in a hospital for 8 hours, 5 days a week
-scared of 100 calories, yet having to eat as much as 1,000 in one sitting
-uncomfortably full to the point where you might/or actually do throw up(unintentionally).
-expected to eat 1 ½ later regardless of the guilt and discomfort that you already have
Imagine not being…
-a normal college student
-fully trusted by others
-able to even trust yourself
-able to use the bathroom around a meal/snack without feeling like people might think you are actually purging
-able to fall asleep because you are already getting anxiety about what tomorrow will bring (ex. the things you will be able to eat, the things you won’t, and the things you will be able to hide)
-able to plan your future (ex. Not knowing how long treatment will be, if I will get better/worse, if treatment will be something I need to do next semester, etc)
-able to easily adjust back to normal eating environments with people
After having a rough week and no longer being able to pick my foods (as a consequence of throwing away part of my breakfast), I was close to giving up and discharging from partial against staff recommendations. With the help of my peers and family, I was able to come to the conclusion that I was not going to quit treatment when people were deliberately telling me I wasn’t ready. On top of that, I thought about the people reading my blogs that encourage, support, or look up to me, and I was not about to disappoint anyone, especially myself. The good thing about hitting rock bottom is that you can only go up, and that’s exactly what I have done. I am proud to say that I have gotten out of the habit of hiding foods (majority of the time), and I can say the feeling is much better than being disappointed, guilty, and anxious. The discomfort of being full is still there, but I have learned to accept it and power through it reminding myself that it is temporary.