Thursday, 26 March 2009

Balancing Act

Thank you for all the comments and feedback on yesterday's post. I was hesitant to post the reason behind my hospital admission- partly because of sheer embarrassment (me? psychotic?) but also because I feel like such a hypocrite at times, talking about recovery, doling out advice and yet not actively making any significant changes in my own behaviour. I also didn't want to come across as dramatic or be construed as trying some "shock tactic"- but again, I continue to be amazed by how supportive and accepting the blogging community is.

I guess the biggest lesson I've learned over the last week is that as long as you live on the edge, you run the risk of tipping over into dangerous territory. Whether it's something physical or something psychological, as long as one foot stays firmly planted in "eating disorder land", a huge risk is being taken. And it doesn't always have a happy ending.

I don't remember ever feeling as scared as I did last Friday. Nothing was making sense in my brain, nothing looked or felt the same. I was terrified of my thoughts- though didn't even recognise them as MY thoughts. I don't remember the details but having talked at length with the team I am working with, I was definitely unrecognisable as the "ellie" my friends and family know.

As far as behaviours go, I've kind of brushed the diet pill thing under the carpet. They aren't hardcore illegal stimulants and I don't even take half the recommended dose. I've been telling myself it's no big deal. Obviously, it is. Not only because of the effects they are having on my emotional state, but because of what they represent.

Anorexia as my early morning wake-up call. Anorexia boosting my energy levels through the morning. Anorexia making her presence KNOWN. The fear of letting go because I don't know if I am strong enough to face life without some form of crutch, and despite ALL the ups and downs I've had in recovery, there has always been shreds of anorexia spattered across my day-to-day life. I can justify doing certain things for recovery and I can justify giving certain things up. But some things I can't seem to get my head around because it seems like too big a commitment to health/recovery. This is NOT to say that I don't WANT recovery 100%- I want it more than anything. But my fear is that I'll recover 90%- be behaviour free, weight restored, technically "healthy", but the severely depressed/self-destructive/dysfunctional person I seem to become once I "appear" normal will be all that is left. Just without any real justification for getting help/support without something visible wrong. I am terrified that self-harming/overdosing could be a potential coping strategy again. Not because I have those urges, but because I associate those behaviours with times when my eating disorder has been nothing more than a blip on my radar. I guess the two are very connected and expressing/dealing with the same thoughts and feelings, but somehow anorexia feels much safer. Until something like last week's events occur, or some physical crisis.

I feel so unbelievably torn right now. Sitting on the fence and I really can't afford to DO that right now- the fear of staying where I am and yet the fear of embracing change and letting go of anorexic behaviours is heart wrenching. I need to make some sort of commitment- the obvious choice would be recovery. But it's really not that straightforward. It's not as simple as gaining Xlbs, throwing away diet pills, doing my affirmations. I don't even know the way forward right now- REALLY forward, not merely switching directions.

This has been a really long post, and I still can't post pictures thanks to my lame internet connection (it's costing me about $2 per email/blog comment, hence why I have been quieter today!) I'm looking into other options for connections!

BUT, I do have a rather burning question for you lovely people out there ;) Sam and I did an exchange- she sent me the most amazing package, GRANOLA (!!!) and white chocolate macadamia nut Clif bars (so excited to try these) as well as some long-desired flat-out wraps. I have bought some curried chicken salad tomorrow and I need to know: which way do I roll the wrap? Long-ways or side-ways?

10 comments:

Stef said...

Never had a Flat-Out so I can't help you much...You're not a hypocrite at all. I think something that unifies all of us bloggers in this community is that we are great at supporting each other even though we are still struggling with very similar issues. There is no shame in admitting that you need help even though you are capable (and great at) giving help to others. You're in recovery! There is no way you could just recover instantly and never slip up. We're all here for you!

kali said...

ellie,
i said what i had to get out my system yesterday and hope it did not upset you. i also hope you don't think im a bitch or one of those recovered people who think it is simple and like a nike advert. i love you to bits and something holds me to this, my utter belief in you and the will and knowledge you will ROCK.

you were and ARE in recovery. regardless of you actual behaviours you had a more recovery focused thought process. its 2 forward 1 back all the way hun.

that unrecognizable as ellie bit is your ed. is making a harsh appearance to scare the shit out of you and make you embrace it. its desperate. and fuck babe, that is the toughest bit to overcome. so yes you're sat on the fence.

on an emotional level you have sat on this fence a long time and it is a tough choice when you reach decision point.
you have NY, you have all of your beautifully kind blogger friends and EVERYONE who has been in units with you trying to pull you over to the recover side.....
and on the other(the ED side)????

id just like to reassure you that treatment and support doesn't stop when you are bmi 18.6. its the START THEN!

id like to reiterate stef's words... YOU'RE IN RECOVERY! THERE IS NON WAY YOU COULD JUST RECOVER INSTANTLY AND NEVER SLIP UP. WE ARE ALL HERE FOR YOU!

it won't stop if you get a little better babe, it will increase xxxx

Lexi said...

I understand your apprehension about recovery. That is very valid. I have struggled with being 90% recovered and having severe self hate, HOWEVER, when I was 90% recovered, I was able to DEAL with that self hate in a much more productive and positive. I had the strength to beat the feelings of self hate. Just a little input for ya.

The flat outs - I usually roll them short ways (if that makes any sense). I take the end that has the shortest width and roll that forward.

Hope this helps,
Love always,
Lexi

helensjourney said...

Don't feel embarrassed. There's a lot of people out there that can help. I wish I could help you more, I will try to as much as I can.

Sam said...

I understand that you feel hypocritical, but I don't think that anyone in the community thinks you are one. It is so easy to support other people with EDs and not do the same for yourself. It's something that I think we all struggle with.
Also, I know the feeling of WANTING to recover so bad, like you would give anything for it. But, it is hard to actually do it. I am struck by your words, "As long as one food stays firmly planted in ED land, a huge risk is being taken." This is so true. And there is no such thing as part of an ED--and ED is an ED and no matter the severity, any ED is a risk. Any part of your body, even the smallest bit of your pinky toe that crosses into ED land is too much.
Thank you again for your honest about why you were in the hospital.
I know that anorexia feels safe, but it's not safe in the least. Unfournately, we have to face discomfort with recovery. But there is no doubt in mt mind that you can make the steps to do it. I know you feel on the fence, but you are in it to win it, and you have more support than ever. Also, I think you will find that the depression/dysfunctional parts of your life will imporive as your behavior imporves and health improves.
I am so glad you enjoy the package. The Arnold thins keep well in the freezer--like English muffins. I fold the Flat Outs from one round end to the other (if that makes sense).
Take care.

Elle said...

I don't think you are a hypocrite in the slightest. We all struggle and it takes a lot of courage to be open about the hard times in our recovery - it's much easier to tout our successes than rehash the low points. I know what you mean about having a foot in each world - half longing for recovery, half longing to cling to the routine of the eating disorder. It's such a tough spot to be in, and I really admire your candor in talking about it. It's sometimes much easier to encourage others than it is to encourage ourselves, but I think one thing that is really great about this blogging community is that the more we tell other girls to be strong, to resist the ED, the more we begin to believe it ourselves and take our own advice to heart. It just takes time. Take care of yourself and keep on fighting.

Katie said...

"But my fear is that I'll recover 90%- be behaviour free, weight restored, technically "healthy", but the severely depressed/self-destructive/dysfunctional person I seem to become once I "appear" normal will be all that is left. Just without any real justification for getting help/support without something visible wrong"
This is the main reason that my attempts at recovery haven't worked up until now as well, I could apply that sentence to myself word for word. The thing I'm trying to hold on to this time though is that I have no chance at all of recovering from the anxiety and depression while I'm starving myself instead of learning and practising healthy ways to cope. The anorexia might numb all the other problems but it doesn't cure them, they are still going to be there every time I try to recover, and they won't go away for good until I work through them rather than going back to restricting the second I start feeling sad or scared in recovery. While you've been an adult, have you ever had a period of more than a few months at a healthy weight? Because I know that I see my history as *proof* that I go to pieces without the eating disorder, when in reality I don't think I've ever given myself a chance for things to settle down before I've resorted back to the eating disorder again. You are always going to feel chaotic and depressed at the start of recovery, it's natural after pushing everything down for so long - but you can't know that that would last, that you would just be incurably depressed for the rest of your life. It might last six months or a year or five years - but there is every chance that it would pass, and you (we, even) will never find out if that's true if you stay on the fence.
I don't even know if that will even make sense to anyone but me :P I just wanted to try putting what's been floating round my head lately about this problem into words.
I hope you are having a good friday :)

Cacti Don't Cry said...

I don't think you're a hypocrite at all... self-care is HARD, so it's obviously easier to support others than it is to do what you need to do for yourself. It's also my big fear that if I just let go, I'll be exactly the same inside, just a bigger person on the outside. The idea of which is pretty unbearable! But there's really no way to know if that's TRUE without trying it, is there?

aussirish said...

hi hun,
i can really relate to the fear of reaching ahealthy weight and then pplthinking your ok so you no longer get help but you secretly still struggle with ed behaviors and thoughts-but i know rationally thats the ed making me fear that...it doesnt happen. recovery takes years and as long as you keep working on it,you will reach that point!
your doing fantastic hun
much love
xxxx

Sarah said...

Don't sell yourself short--ANY steps towards fighting your ED, however small, are steps nonetheless. There is a reason recovery is labeled a "process" rather than a static state; it is all about moving forward, falling back, and then picking yourself up and going forward again. You ARE in recovery because you recognize that your ED is NOT what you want for your life, and while it takes time and hard work to completely break free, that is a HUGE accomplishment. You are such a brave, strong, WONDERFUL person, and I have learned tons from reading your thoughts...please know that you are incredibly inspirational and the furthest thing from a hypocrite. Anything as genuine as what you write can't be hypocritical, and I have complete faith that with every day you are moving closer to taking on the challenges that you face. Take care of yourself, and have a wonderful start to the weekend!