I have come to some conclusions.
I am having panic attacks every morning again (those went away for a week or so!) and awful stomach aches again. Those didn’t go away but remained about the same.
The worst thing I can do is binge and purge.
I have to get on a good eating schedule. I can’t do that with any binges or purges or eating too much late at night.
It has become apparent to me that I need to gain weight. But stuffing my face makes me depressed and sometimes purge and most importantly: doesn’t teach me or help me practice any good habits for the future.
Why was I stuffing my face? Because I was scared. Mostly, because I felt guilty for scaring and hurting my family and by eating a whole bunch, it felt like I wasn’t hurting them. I am back to this thing where I feel guilty every time I am hungry.
But wait….isn’t this what I did LAST time I decided to recover? Sending me into a spiral of binge eating, depression, and forgetting the fact that I OWN MY own life?
I am not going to do that again. I made a decision yesterday that I want to get better and I want to live again.
Then I made the decision that I am not going to do that the same way I did last time (which ended up being a physical but not mental recovery). I still had the same messed up relationship with food, it was just different.
This time I need to feel better physically AND mentally. They have to go hand in hand.
That leaves me with: But how do I do that? What do I do right now?
The answer is: Not Much.
I can’t do EVERYTHING today. I just have to take the little steps I need and do the best I can in each moment. The only things I feel I am capable of right now are:
- Pushing over and over to set up all these appointments.
- Not bingeing and purging. This is not a healthy way to get in calories.
- Working REALLY hard on not actively restricting (not doing it on purpose). This means not ignoring my hunger signals. I don’t think I can push myself to eat when I am not hungry, but I can work on not ignoring the signals.
- Choosing to explore medication again. I have eliminated several medications that could help both my nerve problems and anxiety because I feared they would make me gain weight. I am finally seeing that maybe I need them to help me gain weight, and that that isn’t a bad thing. Also, that if the weight gain is too much or I don’t like the drug for other reasons, I don’t have to take it forever. But I think it is such a good sign that I am okay with them helping me have a better appetite (by reducing anxiety and maybe from increased serotonin itself).
More on #4: I think this is the main thing I can do right now. My biggest challenge is having no appetite right now whatsoever. This is a combination of how I don’t really like food much under normal circumstances (I am by no means a foodie), my anxiety, my increased depression in the winter, my stomach aches, and whatever else. I could literally go two days without eating right now and not feel the slightest twinge of needing to.
But I am starting to realize…just because I don’t feel like eating doesn’t mean I shouldn’t. It’s like someone with cancer who is on chemo. Their appetite vanishes. And it’s unpleasant for them to eat. But they still have to. Or their health suffers. This is how I feel about my anxiety and stomach issues. Maybe I need to see it like a medical condition: that I need something to dumb down my anxiety enough that I can eat. And that that is okay.
I had a dietician tell it to me just like that about a year and a half ago. I was too scared to listen to her at the time. She said I might need that for awhile to stay healthy, or I might need it for the rest of my life because my mental illness(es) are so biological. And what does it matter, it’s like taking medicine for anything else. Someone who lost too much weight from hyperthyroidism needs medicine too. I know it’s not all that simple, but part of it IS about my physical health and taking medicine for that. So I think I am ready to take her advice now. And that is a big thing for me.
So one way to help this is to love myself enough to try more medication options.
I have had bad experiences with anti-depressants in the past. They never helped my depression one iota. I DO think they helped with my anxiety and obsessive thoughts though.
The other problem I had with them (besides not helping my depression) is that they made me gain too much weight at times and increased/caused binge-eating behaviors. This caused me to never be able to develop a relationship of trust with my body. That if I just listened to it, it would find it’s happy weight. Because my weight was going up or down all the time because I was switching drugs or taking more drugs (to fix this depression that the drugs weren’t doing anything for).
When I went off them, I lost weight. But I kept controlling things because I didn’t know what I was supposed to look or be like. I finally kind of got that trust back nowadays. I am afraid I will lose the trust again but I have to remember I am a different person now. I can try the drug I want to try. I am an adult now and I can tell the doctor if I don’t like it. I have tools to combat the binge-eating. I also need to remember how much of those side effects were due to hormonal birth control.
- Stop worrying about other people. I would literally rather die than worry about other people anymore, about what THEY want me to do, if what I am doing is wrong. How do I keep my OWN voice? Even in therapy, I feel like I lose my voice.
- I am not going to binge/purge or NOT swim because I feel guilty anymore.
- I am going to remember what I learned last year: that there are two parts of this: eating disorder and bipolar disorder. Okay three parts if you add the comorbid anxiety disorder that affects both of them. They all do a dance together. I have to balance them to stay alive. No one will ever understand that but me.
- I need to stop thinking so much!
It’s MY life.
Tomorrow I am going to follow the pattern of last week, doing the best I can right now. I finally just got an appointment with a new therapist that I think I am going to like (I HOPE!). I have an appointment with my primary care doctor on the 17th, the neurologist on the 15th (wish those were switched), and trying to get one with my hated psychiatrist. I have to just stick with her until I talk to the therapist. I see her on the 17th too, but am going to ask my dad if we can drive to her other office this week so I can see her Friday.
I feel so gross, depressed, out of it today. I NEED to go swim. Why won’t I let myself? I am never torturing myself again after today like this. I am never going to torture myself for someone else. I am so confused right now, my mind is spinning in circles.
Update: I talked to my mom on the phone today and it was a good talk. I told her that I can’t live for anyone else anymore. I have two goals (and two related) and I told her I worried they wouldn’t be good enough for everyone. My goals are to not binge-purge, to gain 5 pounds, to not get any worse, and to work on setting up my new treatment team.
I told her that I am motivated to accomplish these goals, but that I can’t promise that I will ever get beyond those goals. They are still important to me because I will be that much off mentally and physically without the b/p cycle. And I will be 5 pounds better off.
But right now I am unmotivated and unable to think beyond those two things and I don’t know if I ever will be. AND THAT IS OKAY WITH ME. It is okay because if I don’t let it be okay, I won’t even accomplish those little goals. And it is okay because to me, those goals aren’t little. They are pretty monumental and are going to take a lot of hard work.
She said she agreed. She said that is okay. I hate myself for caring that she thinks it’s ok. But I do. And hearing her say that, I actually believed it. And it made me stop worrying about them, thus enabling me to stop panicking today and continue working towards them.
I don’t know what to say when I call my uncle in a couple days. Like I said, I resent that I feel that I have to check in with people. Maybe I should say some similar things to what I have said in this post. Namely, that those are my goals and I can’t promise to go beyond that. That I have set up my treatment team. And that I am working on things and that it is more complicated than he will ever know. Also, that I can’t check in with him all the time and that it is detrimental to think about him worrying about me, but that if he ever IS more worried, he can always talk to me again, rather than going behind my back to all my family.
Okay, sorry so long today. I just had to type. One unrelated treatment goal is to alternate my journal-type blog posts (that really help me) with more positive/other blogs posts (that also help me by getting me excited about life).
Do you have any goals you want to share?
How do you combat worrying about what other people think?! If that is a struggle for you I mean.