Up until a few months ago I was doing so well in my recovery. I kind of stopped writing about it because I had nothing to say. However, I’m sure based on the title of this post, you can guess what this is about. I’ve had it written for weeks now, but wasn’t ready to post it.
At the start of May I started taking my anxiety meds. The first few weeks of them were really hard. Now they are great and are working wonders!! But to start with it triggered a manic-depressive episode, I was tired all the time, and couldn’t eat much because of the nausea. The first week I lost quite a bit of weight which I didn’t realize until they weighed me at my appointment the next time. By that time I’d gotten used to feeling hungry, liked that I’d lost weight and finally felt like I had control over something. I was back to my “normal.” I’ve spent so much of my life sick that this is familiar. I also know it sounds like the logical thing to do would be to stop taking the meds. However, they are the reason my depression, OCD and anxiety are manageable.
This last semester was rough. Life came and hit me hard, and I handled it pretty well for a long time. When I realized my anxiety was out of control I did something to help it. However, at that point I had felt like I had no control over anything for months. Then they triggered the manic episode and about a week later a serious depression. We talked about a possible bipolar diagnosis (which still isn’t completely ruled out). What I ate became something I could control because there was nothing I could do about my emotions/mood anymore. All the tools and coping skills I had learned before weren’t doing anything.
It’s scary how quickly I slipped into old patterns. Within a week I was snapping at people who told me to eat. I got mean – which didn’t happen last time and is very unlike me. I’ve been talking to my friends about it. They knew what was going on and how much I was losing. I was open about talking about it and asking for help until it actually came time to eat. Then the eating disorder totally came over me and I had no problem yelling at anyone who was in my way. They’d tell me they were concerned. You see, everyone around me now knows about it, so when I lose weight or am acting weird it’s the first thing they ask me about. Especially with how quickly I was dropping weight, it was no secret what was going on.
The difference between this time and last time is that it’s not so much about body image, or at least it didn’t start that way. When I was younger I didn’t want to be the “fat girl” again so I restricted. Eventually it became more about control. This time it’s the complete opposite. It started as control and turned into being seriously body image related. At first, I could see that I was getting thinner, but it hit the point that I can’t see it anymore. I don’t feel any smaller than I did 25 pounds ago. I’m back in my pre-treatment clothes but I still can’t see the loss.
I knew from the start I was relapsing. I knew what would happen if I kept going, and I even told people if I continued at the rate I was I’d be back in treatment by the end of the summer (which is still a veeery real possibility). I’ve been putting it off for so long because I haven’t decided if I want recovery right now.
I know how illogical that seems because why wouldn’t you want to be healthy? However, it’s not that easy. I know it frustrates the hell out of everyone, and I really, truly do feel bad about that. Eventually it’ll just click, and I’ll get back on track just like I have before.
I’d say overall this relapse is worse than when I went to treatment the first time. I weigh less than I did last time. Not only that, I run a lot and weigh myself an absurd number of times a day. I have very strict food rules that I will not break from. I may “binge” (aka eat a normal sized meal) once a week or so, but on those days I run more and eat less the next day to get back to where I started. I learned it’s easier that way because I can keep my cravings under control more. But the biggest difference between this time and before is that before I was 100% ready for recovery. I’d say this time I’m more like 50-60% ready.
Everyone disagrees with my choice of what to do next, but I’m going to be out of town for a bit, so it isn’t until I get back to Manhattan that I’ll start outpatient. My friends here don’t trust me to do outpatient because they aren’t sure I can do it on my own. They may be right, but I want to try it first. However, it’s gotten to the point that I’ve been seriously thinking about whether or not another trip to Denver is what I need to get back on track. Regardless, whether I want to or not, I have no choice but to get better because the alternative is not an option. And I know it stresses people out, but I have to do this on my time this time, or I’ll end up here again.
Until next time….