Monday, 11 May 2009

Out With The Old, and In With...???

I think what has triggered the past few days descent into depression has been the commitment I made to maintaining my weight. My thoughts aren't so wrapped up in what/when I am going to eat and instead of numbing everything out, the old feelings of anger/pain have resurfaced. Having ruled out the option of numbing them out through restricting/exercising, I need to find new ways to face them and deal with them- or at least manage them and ride them out and hope that they dissipate. It may just be my perception of them rather than the fact that they are as horrible as they appear to be.

I pulled out my old DBT manual to get some help with this and flicked to the section on "reducing vulnerability to negative emotions". DBT is becoming a lot more widely used in the treatment of eating disorders and I find a lot of it really helpful- what I struggle with is using/practicing the skills when I am in a 'good' frame of mind because I don't see the point- then when a crisis hits, I don't have the skills to fall back on.

Anyway, the section on stabilising emotions is pretty basic stuff in theory:-
  • Treat physical illness: take care of your body. See a doctor when necessary. Take prescribed medication
  • Balance eating: don't eat too much or too little. Stay away from foods that make you feel overly emotional.
  • Avoid mood-altering drugs: Stay off non-prescribed drugs, including alcohol.
  • Balance sleep: try to get the amount of sleep that helps you feel good. Keep to a sleep program if you are having trouble sleeping.
  • Get exercise: Do some sort of exercise every day- try to build up to 20 minutes of vigorous exercise.
  • Build Mastery: Do one thing a day to make yourself feel competent and in control.
These were NOT written for people with eating disorders so my adaptation of the food/exercise ones are a little different- I am definitely noticing a difference after eating certain foods in terms of energy/mood so that's a learning curve for me, and exercise is something I struggle to do in moderation but it's important for me to remember that too much is no better than too little. Balancing my intake is a work in progress but I am definitely making progress with that. I don't use alcohol or drugs but I am cutting back on my caffeine intake to avoid the energy/mood highs and lows that accompany high levels of caffeine.

On to 'mastery'. NOTHING makes me feel as good as going to bed at night feeling like I have accomplished something during the day. For years that has been very much tied into food/weight/exercise/anorexia, and is probably a huge part of the reason why I have clung to those behaviours. My voluntary job is helping, but that's only a couple of days a week. I struggle to think of things I could possibly be good at or what would be quite as satisfying as losing weight, but I need to keep reminding myself that there is NOTHING to be proud of about destroying my body. I think what's been a painful realisation the last few months is that I don't get satisfaction from that anymore. What has been such a 'purpose' for me for the last 14 years is now just an embarrassment- so I am left with the question of what WILL make me feel like I have accomplished something during the day? What is rewarding/satisfying in a healthy way for me? I think this is something a lot of people with eating disorders probably struggle with in recovery-finding something to replace what their eating disorder gave them. That's different for everyone and it's certainly a whole bunch of things for me, but one of them is definitely the feeling that it's something I am 'good' at. However maladaptive/ineffective a coping skill it WAS, it did originally serve a pupose. Not helping is the fact that I don't have a whole lot else to fall back on except my ability to lose weight. But I don't want to pursue that anymore because 1) it's boring, 2) it's not helping me feel any better anymore and 3) I want more out of life. So yeah...back to original question: how do I find things that make me feel good about myself that aren't about losing weight or exercise?..

I do have some pictures today... I am finding it really helpful to be taking photos- it kind of gives a bit extra motivation to branch out and eat different things. If it stops being helpful, I'll stop taking pictures, but for's all good.

The sun is shining today (YAY!) so I made my usual lunch which I've never posted before because I have it several times a week...

Bed of spinach and alfalfa sprouts topped with a mix of tuna, rice, kidney beans and salsa. Okay, a week late to pass off as a 'Cinco De Mayo' meal, but everything gets to the UK later so it's all good :P

Best snack ever:

Fage with Bare Naked fruit and nut granola. Words can't describe quite how much I LOVE this granola... Thanks again, Sam!

Question: does anyone in real life know about your blog? Both my parents know about it and I know my dad reads occasionally (HI DAD!) but none of the rest of my family do.


Cacti Don't Cry said...


It really is a struggle to find something to "replace" the ED... unfortunately for me, I am a master multi-tasker, so I sort of have to replace it with several things if I want to get it out of my brain! But that's where the problem starts... taking on too many things at once in an attempt to rid oneself of an ED mindset is very likely to send you right back into it. It's probably best to settle on ONE solid thing at a time. Which, of course, doesn't answer the question at all about how to FIND that one thing.

As for "real life" people knowing about my blog... my nutritionist knows about it, but no way am I going to let her read it! That's it... unless you count as a "real life" person. ;)

<3 <3

Meg said...

Bear Naked Fruit & Nut Granola is SO's addicting! Haha! You might also like Cascadian Farms Organic Fruit & Nut Granola too! They're both AWESOME! But I do love the extra chewiness of the Bear Naked, so perfect!

I like that DBT idea - it seems to be a good way to cope with all of the stress that comes with maintaining your weight, and that whole stage of recovery in general. It is pretty hard to find that balance when you're trying so hard to maintain and NOT restrict...because we only really know the 'unhealthy' way to maintain/lose weight, and losing is something we cannot do all over again, ya know? I'm praying for you in hopes that you'll find a great plan that works for you! Maybe you'll find that doing volunteer work a few more days out of the week will do you well, or just helping out around the neighborhood. I always try to look for a hobby. I love painting! So if you like artwork, maybe you should give it a's very stress relieving and it keeps me busy for hours on end...I've developed such a passion for it.

I hope you have a lovely Monday!


p.s. yeah, the Kashi GoLean Rolls are REALLY hard to chew haha! But I'm not sure why I love em' - it takes me a while to finish one, and they keep me full :)

Telstaar said...

You know what miss Ellie?? I'm sooo looking forward to you trialling all sorts of things as you discover what things you like and don't like and what surprises are in store for you. I think this next phase is gonna be a good interesting one for you!

Will be here cheering you on and dusting off scraped knees. You're not alone! Love telly xo

Anonymous said...

hi girlie,
so you know how you feel like a lot of old emotions are re-surfacing and you dont know how to deal with them..this is a big part of recovery and now that your aware of them and know you need to face them ,thats a big step! so many of our ed behaviors are there to numb our pain and let us forget about the real things we need to deal with, the emotions we ignore and block when you take food/ed behavoirs/thoughts out of the equation...youve got feelings and emotions that you need to learn how to deal with. Its not an easy process..more like a transition, but recognizing the feeling and accepting it always helped for me. then dealing wth it the best way i can is what i try to do...and i always try to stay away from any ed related issues to cover up the emotions.Its not easy, but you can do it hun, you just need to find a way to deal with everyting that suits u!

lovin the yummy eats :)

have a great monday!

much love

ElleMigliore said...

First, thank you very much for the sweet and encouraging comments in my friday post!! I still am blown away by how supportive everyone on this site is!!

I can relate to those feelings resurfacing.. but like Lauryn above me said, I agree that we use ED to numb all of them in order to put them in the back closet and not deal with it! The fact that they are coming up could be yourself's way of saying that you are strong enough to tackle those issues!

Great idea with the DBT!! I think it will work! It's all about balance... easier said than done though :)

Great pictures!! I love that you have been photographing your eats! I'm such a sucker for pics! haha

Have a great Monday!!

Anonymous said...

I struggle with replacing the eating disorder too - I actually have a lot of dormant hobbies and interests which I COULD fill the gaps with, but I tend to get rather overwhelmed by them. I end up sitting on my bedroom floor with my paints or my flute thinking, now what?!
All my family know that I have a blog but I think it's only my aunt and cousin who read it.
I hope the weather keeps this up, it's always easier to be positive when the sun is shining :)

Anonymous said...

My husband knows about my blog, but I have not told my mom, dad, or sister.
And I won't tell them.
Sorry, to me, it's just that simple. I have a wall up a million miles deep between my family and I.
Is that the Fruit and Nut Granola I bought you?

Sheena said...

Hey sweets~

I also have trouble finding healthy hobbies to replace my ED> I mean I will walk away from the TV, a book, knitting, or whatever to binge. I have missed the last exciting ten minutes of my fave shows because I started a binge. SO I am still figuring this out.

As for my blog, both my parents know (my mom reads occasionally), my sister knows, my best friend in Texas knows, my boyfriend knows (he occasionally glances at it), a college friend knows, and two of my cousins have found it so they know. And I don't mind at all.

Take Car sweetie

Telstaar said...

Oh I was going to say, I only let two people I know in "real life" read my blog, one of them wasn't allowed to comment or mention it to me until recently, the other knows everything ANYWAY... but that's partly why my blog is closed so that I can be careful about who reads it etc. I need to be ME on my blog but everyone's blog has a different purpose I think...

Anonymous said...

wow ellie...what deep're's time you find other ways to deal with the stress and emotions. that's def a HUGE part of recovery. for me it will always be my faith and religion. but another I find really helps is putting your thoughts and concerns on other people's problems instead...when you help others, care for others, volunteer, etc, you start forgetting about your own problems as you suddenly realize they're quite minor compared to others. good luck in your quest, ellie! I'm excited for this new chapter in your life.
oh, and most ppl know about my blog, and my parents do, too, though I just tell them abt it but didn't share the url...

Stef said...

As hard as it is for you to be struggling with depression these days, I think it's a GREAT THING that you're feeling those things because your overall health is getting better! I know that ED is the "easier" way to deal with difficult feelings, but I'm so proud of you for not taking the easy way out! Good for you for practicing the DBT stuff, the more you work at it the better because when you're in a rough situation you'll be able to fall back on those skills automatically! NOBODY in my "real life" knows about my blog, and I'm trying to keep it that way lol!

emilydh211 said...

My parents know about my blog...but I dont think that they read it and a couple of other friends know about it, but I have not really told them how to find it, because I dont really want them to read it!