The problem with “real recovery”

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And we’re back with an eating disorder recovery related post and that is the issue of real recovery. I’ve been in the community on YouTube and the gram for many many years now and yes as a young influential gen z I did #realrecovery in my posts. But now I’m older and wiser and believe the message of real recovery is slightly problematic.

Back in the day it was associated with a minnie maud style, 3000+ calories a day, no exercise recovery. Yes that is probably the most ideal recovery when it comes to putting weight on fast in recovery from anorexia and maybe even for your mental state. Now I find it associated with going “all in”.

But other than the fact that “going all in” isn’t appropriate for all eating disorders or all eating disorder patients as it may cause refeeding syndrome or increasing urges to binge the term real recovery is problematic as it insinuates to many eating disorder patients that there recovery is only worth it if they’re never giving into thoughts, eating to their cravings and hunger ques and not using compensatory behaviours. Considering how perfectionistic anorexia sufferers in particular are this is even more problematic as they are likely to want the perfect recovery and the eating disorder may convince them that it’s all or nothing.

If you give into a behaviour your a failure. Your recovery isn’t real and so why should you bother.

The reality is every recovery is real recovery. Even if you do slip, you do act on thoughts and use behaviours. It’s still recovery, as long as you recognise what your doing and make a real effort to try and change it.

Of course the ideal of recovery is to never use behaviours, but that’s not realistic.

Recovery has ups and downs and often a lifelong process. Often when you recover from an eating disorder the thoughts will become less and less but they’ll always be there in the back of your mind and you’ll always have to keep check on them.

Sometimes you’ll be doing great, sometimes you slip.

Slipping or not making as much progress as other people in the community doesn’t mean your recovery is less real!

Recovery is not linear, not the same for everyone and does not have to be all positive!

“You Look Well”

Hello again readers of my blog. Today I’m writing about the “You look well” or “You look healthy” or any other variation of the two comment that people quite often make.

The comment that many people with eating disorders find triggering, they find to be one their head twists to mean “Your fat” “You’ve gained weight.” or “Your getting a litttle chubby.”

But that is by no means true and not what is meant when loved ones comment these things. The “You look well” comment is meant as a compliment not as anything else your eating disorder may convince you so I urge everyone to see it as a compliment.

I myself got variations of the “You look well” comment on two occasions yesterday and I could have let it really trigger me, especially seeing as that morning I had stepped on the scales to see a ridiculous weight gain in the space of a week. But there’s no need to let it trigger you or set it back in any way. Fight against that voice in your head and think about it rationally and logically.

Looking well is a good thing. It’s a compliment.

Lets put this into context with my case from yesterday. I got the comment from my dad and my aunt. The last time my dad saw me was nearly 2 months ago now. I was borderline underweight in terms of BMI, so underweight in terms of where my body likes to sit. I was majorly stressed about possibly having ovarian cancer, had no appetite and wasn’t feeling all that great. The last time I saw my aunt was nearly 3 months ago now, I was feeling ill with probably endo pain and again slightly stressing over possibly having ovarian cancer and under my body’s natural set point range.

It is a damn good thing that they think I look well! It shows I am healthy, well to some extent healthier than I was back then. And asides from the physical aspect of it, because there is a very minimal physical change in my health in terms of symptoms. We should want to look healthy. And healthy doesn’t necessarily mean skinny. For most of us healthy does mean having a bit of extra body fat and not being at the minimum possible healthy weight for our height.

I feel as though especially as a vegan. I would rather look healthy than not, just to help in some small way to promote the lifestyle rather than turn people away from it.

So fight those eating disorder voices. Because looking well or looking healthy are all good things and in no way means you need to start restricting again!

Mental hunger?

Hello again, back with another eating disorder recovery focused post because since my period ended (so friday) I’ve been crazy mentally hungry but the physical hunger still isn’t where it was before I started feeling sick again.

I feel like if you google mental hunger you get given a series of articles about how to ignore your mental hunger or emotional hunger as it can sometimes be called. It seems as if having mental hunger is sinful. But that’s not true. Mental hunger especially during and after a period of restriction or illness is totally normal and in reality, is just our body’s way of saying it needs food, it needs nourishment to get us out of that caloric deficit we somehow ended up in.

There’s nothing shameful or sinful about it.Which I myself have found myself feeling in the past, like I was greedy for eating despite no physical hunger. Yet what I failed to realise is  Just like physical hunger, it’s something that we should listen to and we should respond adequately, giving our body’s the food it needs. The energy it needs because that’s all food is after all. It’s energy.

Normal people don’t always wait until they’re physically hungry or physically hungry enough. Normal people do respond to mental hunger at times because that’s what being carefree around food and eating as you fancy is. It’s being able to respond to all hunger both mental and physical.

So I encourage everyone experiencing this to embrace it and accept it. Your body wouldn’t want the food if it didn’t need it.

 

I’m Not Selfish, I’m Mentally Ill

Hello all,

Today I want to make a blog post about well the title says it all really. I feel it’s a common belief from the none mentally ill population that people are selfish, when infact maybe even unknowingly are suffering from a mental illness. Ive heard many a person say suicide is selfish. But they don’t give any thought into how a person who has reahced that level of depression is feeling. Yes it may come across as selfish but to a person with a mental illness. Suicide or any action isn’t for selfish reasons it’s because they can’t see any other way.

Lets just take an example from today that happened to me. Today I was mant to be going to the races and for lunch for my grandads birthday but this moring I couldn’t handle it. I thought about it. I really did think about trying to go. Trying to challenge myself so hard and I thought about ths not for me. But because I didn’t want to let anyone down. I didnt want to be a disapointment as per ususal. But I looed at some sample menues and decided I couldn’t handle it. I mean the fact that they were sample menus would mean a level of uncertainty in not knowing what I could have. What if there was nothing I liked? Nothing atleast half safe? On top of that there wuld be the calorie issue. This 3 course meal would lead to too many calories. Too many unknown calories. Again that uncertainty. Would I get the nutrition I’m after? Probably not. And it’s not just the food it’s the being around people and food all day. It all seemed too much.

And yes I felt guilty for maing the decision not to go and I still feel guilty just not as so now I’ve had some time to think and calm down a bit. I know my mum and brother think Im selfish for sure. Both saying I’m wasting money… And oay my brothers 9, he can be forgiven. But my mum. She knows I’m mentally ill. I would hope she’d be more understanding. Apparently not.

But whatever people think I’m not selfish. Im mentally ill and yes sometimes that may make me come across to others as me being selfish and rude but that is the way things are at this moment in time. The best thing I can do is to work towards getting better and maybe one day I’ll be able to go out to eat even where there’s uncertainty as to the menu, calories and atmosphere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Real Recovery?

I’m writing this post today as I feel there is a misconception as to what so called “real recovery” is on social media sites such as instagram.

On instagram real recovery seems to be classed as following the minnie maud guidelines, always listening to hunger cues and cravings and being positive at all times.

THAT IS NOT REAL RECOVERY.

Real recovery is doing the best you can on any given day. Fighting your eating disorder one meal or snack at a time. Some days it may be listening to hunger cues and cravings and others it may be restricting because you really can’t do anything else. And THAT IS OKAY. That is fine so long as you pick yourself back up the next day, the next meal even.

What I’m saying is that recovery isn’t all glamorous it isn’t all positive. And you can struggle and be in “real recovery” you can be negative when in “real recovery.” So long as when you are struggling you pick yourself back up and never give up.

Real recovery is continuing to fight even though your heads a mess and the world seems to be turning against you. That is what real recovery is.

Was I lying to myself all along?

I pretended I was recovered, said I was recovered. But now, falling into a relapse and not knowing what to do I realise I never was recovered.

Even at my most recovered, even when I was happy. I still had those eating disordred thoughts. I still wouldnt touch pick and mix because god knows how many calories I’d be consuming. I still would have never dared to eat a pint of Ben and Jerrys. Thats atleast 1000 calories in icecream. Why would anyone who doesn’t want to get fat do that? 

Or atleast thats how my eating disorder feels about things and always has done. I’ve now realised I’m never going to get out of this rut alone. And alone I am. I have one friend who I’m not really sure is a friend anymore. It’s a one sided relationship. If she needs me I’m always there, I always offer my support. But when I need her… she’s never there.

To add that to a family who seems like they couldn’t care less with the one exception of my mum when I’m “too skinny.” Why would I recover? What good reason is there for it?

I’m not worth happiness because no one likes me, if no one likes me I must be a horrible person. And to add to that if mum only cares when I’m too skinny I must stay too skinny and get even skinnier because I have a desperate craving for love. To just be cared for just for once. For someone to hold me close and tell me it’ll all be okay. For people to notice how much I’m hurting on the inside…

Whats ridiculous is I know my thoughts are irrational, or atleast part of me does most of the time. I know 3800 calories across the week won’t have made me gain weight… but when I feel the fat on me… it’s hard to believe the rational part of my head. Problem is I bloat really easily and that makes everything about 1000x worse. I have ribs just about showing on my left side but then lower down I look pregnant. And my hips are huge. Like naturally, the bone, I want to get rid of it completley. I hate my figure.

I hate my womanly figure. And I’m not saying that because I have gender dysphora, because I identify as male. I don’t identify as male. Nor do I identify as female all the time. But thats not what this is about.

It’s about feeling alone. Not being accepted. And yes my sexuality and gender identity do not help these matters, but they are not the main issue. I had no gender identity issues when my eating disorder started, and sexuality wise, well it depends upon when my eating disorder started.  Was it at 7 when I first thought I was fat? Or 10 when I started skipping lunches, stopped having seconds of school dinners on fridays. Maybe it was  at 13 when I drank two bottles of water for lunch to fill me up because I got bullied for being fat? Or maybe it was when I was 15? When I actually started losing noticable amounts of weight.

Who knows really? I guess it’s open to interpretation.

All I know is that I never did really recover. I had no therapy so it’s no wonder really. And now here I am, stuck in a rut. Drowning.

The Madness of an Eating Disorder. (Weight Loss)

So, I’ve lost more weight, which puts me at a total 15lb loss from my highest weight! WOWZA!

I wasn’t even trying…

I don’t really know what to feel about it to be honest, I feel fatter than I did when I was at my highest weight and no ones mentioned that I’ve lost weight, it’s been relatively steady weight loss though and apart from my oblivious family I only really see one of the people now who I saw when I was at my highest and lets not talk about her, that’s for another post.

My eating disorder thoughts are getting stronger and where I’m at my nan’s all week I know I can’t weigh myself because if I gain I will freak. And I will gain cause she makes me eat more than I am comfortable with/when I am not hungry.

It’s like the more I lose the more I’m scared of gaining, the more I’m scared of being fat because I am fat, I already have too much fat at any weight…. I will never not have too much fat until I’m skin and bones and even then…

I look fatter than when I was at my highest weight, or that’s what I see in the mirror… The more I lose the worse the thoughts are getting and the more guilty I feel about eating even though deep down somewhere I know I probably need it.

I’m just not happy where I am right now and I am so exhausted from fighting the thoughts. Part of me is thinking I haven’t actually lost weight and it’s the scales that are broken… Maybe I have gained and I’m deceiving myself…

The Inner Fight For Recovery.

Recovery from an eating disorder really is a fight. The battle within to overcome that demon inside and discovering happyness. 

After struggling for a few weeks, I realised… time to pick myself back before I end up physically sick as well as mentally. I actuall ate lunch yesturday. Thing is I had 2600 calories and all I feel is overwhelming guilt. Overwhelming guilt because of the out of control, fat. obease pig I will become.

My dad rescued three of the easter eggs yeturday. I ate one; that alone triggered me into giving thr large eggs to my brothers. I can’t be associated with chocolate. It can’t be mine. I’m too fat… too out of control. The fear chocolate creates is immense. Each time I take a bite I can’t stop… especially when it’s my chocolate. In my room.  I ate three cream eggs earlier and I know my calorie count isn’t drastically over but…. THREE CREAM EGGS! This is why chocolate scares me because I am out of control when it’s near.  I am so exhausted and so stressed sometimes reaching for that chocolate is the only solution. This is where my irrational fear of it stems from. The binge that often occurs when it’s around. 

Maybe the reason my mind is still so disordered is because I never took full responsibility for my recovery and I never recived the correct help. Since reaching a more healthy weight any time I was under my calorie goal it was justified in my mind with “Oh it’s only one day”. This attitude is not a good one, nor is it healthy. It’s the attitude that lets the disorder in. The excuse that invited it back.

1900 one day, you want to get lower and lower and lower. The lower you get, the sicker you get. The skinnier you get, the skinnier you want to be. You aim become lowest possible intake, skinniest possible body. The untimate goal is to be empty. 0 calories, 0lb but in reality you know you’ll be dead then. It doesn’t seem to bother you however. You think your the exception. At 20lb you’ll still be fat. When in the depths of an eating disorder the idea of death never occurs to you. It’s just never ending. Each goal is nevrer enough, upon reaching each goal you set another and another and another until eventually uou are so lost that you don’t even recognise yourself anymore.

This is why I need to be strict with myself. However much I am going to hate it and however much my eating disorder will scream at me and hate me for it. I will never recover calorie counting and justifying being low on calories “just once” or skipping lunch “just once” It never is “just once”. That “just once” excuse end up being for days, weeks, months on end. The “just once” excuse can soon send everything spiriling out of control.

This whole being strict thing is unfortunatly easier said than done. I want to feel free. Eat what I want when I want. But either my ED rejects that or it gets entangles with it and I end up restricting. I hate feeling like I have to eat because “I’m low on calories” almost as much as I hate eating when I’ve had “plenty of calories”. With my eating disorder negotiation is near impossible. If I eat one cream egg I may aswell eat the rest because I’ve failed now. It’s not even like I have to gain, this in itself causes more problems. Previously being over 2000 calories was not as much the end of the world as it is now becuase I HAD TO GAIN and I used that excuse to help me through the initial stage of recovery. 

So yes. I need to be prepared for a long, hard journey ahead. The journey to recovery. The fight for my life back. Freedom from my eating disorder. I have acknowledge the problem and take action or I’ll be stuck in ED hell for life. Recovery is possible. Not easy but possible. And as Toby Mac sings. When you fall, you get back up again.