Recovery is possible...keep fighting

Posted , 2 users are following.

Hello all,

I am 27 and have suffered with an eating disorder since the age of 11. So a very long time. During this time I have been hospitalised 3 times, have suffered with a long absence with my period, osteopenia, heart arrythmias and so on.

The last couple of years have been an amazing journey, where I have been fortunate to work with two excellent dietitians and a fantastic therapist. Today I had a review with my current dietitian as to how things were going, as we have now been meeting for a while. Around a month and a half ago, I hit my target weight band, and have continued to maintain since then.

I am learning to deal with being this weight (a common weight band is aroun 2kg) and coming to terms with my body. I have had to buy new clothes over the last year, and throw out the old ones, and because of this, I treated myself to lots of new stuff. This is helping me feel positive about myself.

Over the last two years, I have come from living off liquid, to introducing meals and snacks across the day, and meals with carbs. Although I calorie count, this helps me stay in control and manage to push myself. I have never felt so in control in my life. I feel so much less stressed and able to make decisions. I catasrophise less now too.

I have met with my entire treatment team over the past couple of weeks and they have all confidently said how proud of me they are and how well I am doing.

I am not recovered, I still have some way to go, but I will recover. I am no longer suffering with anorexia nervosa, but am in recovery.

I wanted to write this, as I know there are a lot of people here in a lot of pain, and you can do it. 

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  • Posted

    Hi

    What an inspirational story. It is so nice to hear that as a sufferer for so long you have turned your life around. This has given me real inspiration to keep going with my recovery.

    I'm 29 and have suffered with anerexia since I was 14 years old.

    I wouldn't say I'm severely anerexic and for years i have been at the same weight . I am 7.12 stone and 5"6) so BMI is still low.

    I have a husband who adores me and we are hoping to start a family next year.

    I know I need to push myself more than ever now but I just can't find the strength to over come the hurdle of the uncomfortable feelings I have to face

    I always feel full and when I am constipated I punish myself with exercise or limit food intake. My GP keeps prescribing me laxatives but I don't want to take them as I'm determined to feel like a normal person again. Hope fully with your help and reassurance I can get through this. I to am starting to chalenege more foods, larger portions and I can't tell you how emotional it has been.

    I do stick to safe foods alot and I want to push myself to have a Week away from these to challenge my unhelpful thoughts that I will get fat by doing so.

    What helped you at times when you were really low?

    Be great to keep in touch during our recovery together. My husband is so supportive but doesn't understand from an pysical point of view.

    Speak soon

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    • Posted

      Dear Sam,

      Thank you for your message. I am glad to hear this was inspiring for you.

      It's great to hear you have a supportive family, mine are too and this helps so much to be surrounded by people who care.

      It sounds the most unhelpful thing, but the bottom line is you have to gain weight to reach your target weight band for your height. Underweight and your body will live with heightened anxiety, a natural response to danger. You will also experience other physical symptoms even if they aren't as severe as they have been. It is also important to gain and learn to maintain because anorexia will always want to be just a little bit less and just a little bit under. This means living a very rigid life, where you are guided by your calorie plan to a t. Recovery is about fighting that instinct. It's about knowing you can eat a cake and that you won't gain weight if you eat slightly more on one day. I'm not there yet, but every day I am fighting and trying new things. I eat pasta now, I didn't a year ago. My advice would be to try and get a therapist for as you gain weight because your body will change and people need support at that time as you reach your target, more than anything.

      Other thing is if you want kids, you are putting them and you at risk by being at a low weight. You will also gain weight anyway as you go through pregnancy.

      I wish you well and feel free to message me.

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    • Posted

      OMG. Yes you are so right. I have had several therpaists in the past. I was admitted to Oxford health which is one of the best in the area. I know what the will all say but it's up to me to take on the challenge

      Deep down I know weight gain is the answer and this is the only thing i havnt tried to make my symptoms better.

      It's the guilt after I eat something i feel I shudnt and being so ridid about the time I eat and how my meal is prepared.

      It's such a sad life to live. I dont have many friends and really want to build up more.of a social life as I think this is the best support I can have.

      I've stopped weighing food this week and stopped ordering skinny versions of lattes in my local cafe which is a star buy I'm worried as soon as the pounds creep on il go back to the same diet rules

      Xx

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  • Posted

    Did you suffer with bloating and constipation? Are you able to offer me some reassuring words that nothing bad will happen and it's all part of the recovery process.

    I punish myself for not getting food out of my body and my moof is controlled to whether I have been to the bathroom.or not

    It's a new week and I'm determined to make this one a good one

    Xx

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    • Posted

      Dear Sam,

      Thank you for your message. Yes, it’s a new week, so definitely worth using that as a positive motivation to keep going.

      Hmmm, I’m not one to encourage calorie counting, but I have actually found it useful in my recovery as it makes me feel in control and feel that I can push myself and know I’m not going to eat over. It can take quite a while for people to regain their hunger regulation and so, yes, without some rigidity it can be hard not to lose control, because your body is still trying to figure out what this is all about.

       

      There are some good portion guides around too, which might be more useful.

      Regarding piling on the pounds, this is only going to happen if your input is more than your output, and as we discussed, that needs to be the case at the moment in order for you to gain weight. But once your body is at its target weight, you should be looking at balance between input and output. Remember that 85% of your calorific intake literally goes to keeping you functioning, only 15% is activity determined. That means unless this bit is imbalanced, you won’t pile on the pounds.

      It’s good to hear you recognise that weight gain will help, that’s one of the most important steps. Many people are in denial that they can recover and be well under weight. Psychologically, they will never be, because they will experience enormous mood swings and will struggle to keep their anxiety at bay, meaning that when something negative happens, it is very easy to quickly fall off the wagon. Someone with more stable moods will still have the same challenge, but won’t react with such extreme behaviours. A great example was just last night when my flatmates decided to kick off about the most ridiculous thing, being accusatory and quite frankly rude over something totally unfounded. The old me would have self-harmed, taken laxatives, restricted and even done excessive exercise afterwards to attack myself. I had to fight these urges yesterday, but I am strong enough to turn them down and was actually really pleased with how I handled this, although I still have to face it all when I get home, so let’s watch this space…

       

      Physically you can’t recover properly below healthy, because your weight will fluctuate a lot more than if at target, causing greater anxiety. So keep telling yourself that you need to gain weight in order to recover.

       

      On your second query, yes the body takes a while to sort itself out. You have been abusing it for a long time, so care and nurture will come as a huge shock. Certain foods it won’t know what to do with, and others it has got used to using as energy it will find difficult to process. But it won’t last forever. You will find that the new weight gathers around your midrife at first and in other places, and that is extremely painful to manage, but again persevere. Mine is starting to level out at last. You have to keep going, otherwise nothing gets a chance to recover and you are in a catch 22 cycle.

      Digestive movements will play a part, again as your body recovers. Really try to use natural means to work your bowels, because other than laxatives being really dangerous and them not causing weight loss (true fact…they DO NOT), but you won’t be doing yourself any favours by not letting it recover on its own and it means you will get to the point that you have to take them to sort things.

      Bloating tends to have a lot more to do with what you are eating and drinking. I bloat when I drink tea, and eat pulses, but it isn’t weight gain. I wouldn’t swap these out of my diet either. With …make sure you are getting plenty of fibre. I find bananas amazingly helpful smile

      Have you spoken with your doctor about some mood stabilisers, this might help. You also might (if you're allowed) want to think about exercise as this can make a world of difference.

      Hope this helps. Keep fighting

      Kat

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