Ironically, the days leading up to the infamous Fourth have been anything but independent. I hate to be the downer, but I haven't been feeling like myself lately - thus my lack in posting.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about the way things used to be. Reading through my old journal and seeing the occasional photo of myself from when I was sick. It frightens me how bad I looked. I had taken pictures before I went inpatient in 2008, of when I came home and when I ultimately relapsed. In 2006, when I was at Pratt and I realized I'd lost weight - I took those same kind of photos. I sent them to my mom, asking her if I was OK. She called me within the hour, in tears, begging me to talk to the administration and see about getting myself help. Turns out I didn't even have to. My suitemates had already spoken to the RA, and he talked to them first. This quest to be free from my eating disorder has been a really long one. And it's had many, many set backs. I think about it sometimes and wonder what I did wrong, what I could have done better to not have relapsed so many times. Maybe I just wasn't ready those other times. Maybe I just didn't have the ability to take that leap of faith, or the confidence in myself. I don't know. People often ask me how I got myself to recover on my own, from the shell of life that I had come to know. I don't think there really is a "how". Only a "why". I did it for my family, because I knew I couldn't make my parents bury me at 19. I told myself that I had to get better, repeatedly day in and day out. I have an obsessive-compulsive personality, and once I get it into my head that I am going to do something - I damn well do it and I do it well. It's a bit of a dangerous mindset to have, and I'm quite sure that's why each relapse was always worse than the one before. Its one of the things I need to work on therapy - allowing myself room to breathe.
Anyways. I think that even if who I was, and where I was last year frightens me, its good to look back. It keeps me in check and it reminds me that I need to stay strong as I possibly can right now. Because there have been so many time when I thought I was better, and I truly wasn't. When I went to community college in September 2007, I was up to a fairly decent weight after the '06 slip-back. Thought I'd do perfectly fine at school. :sigh: So many times I thought I would be okay, that I was free from my ED. Apparently, I wasn't.
When I came home in April 2008 (if you look *really* good - I still have the hospital bracelet on my wrist lol - certain friends of mine were incredibly anxious to see healthy me). After seeing this picture, a great deal of my friends and family have asked me why in hell I relapsed again because I "looked so great." I wish I had the answer to that question, but I still don't know. I don't think I ever will.
About six weeks later, I dropped to my all-time low. This was actually taken after the first five pounds gained back.
I never realized how bad I got. How quickly I could slip. When I came home from inpatient last year, I thought I was going to be free, that I'd never have to look back. Its funny how that happens - always when you think you're safe. I remember how incredibly proud of myself I was - gaining that first five pounds. I thought it was the biggest deal in the world. My mom looked at me that morning and was just like "Five pounds is a drop in the bucket for you right now." I didn't appreciate it at the time, I got very upset. But looking back now, I can see why she said that. It's really frustrating and frightening for me to look back at that time. When I came home from inpatient last spring, I honestly believed it was going to be the last time I ever put myself through it again. I thought I was going to be okay, that I would be able to hold on. It frightens me to think back at that because, well....it didn't hold true. And because of that, I question myself now. It's a huge part of why I still count calories, even though it drives me NUTS. I have a very, very hard time trusting myself and I wish that I could feel more secure in my ability to nourish myself appropriately on a day-to-day basis. But the history I have...I've never maintained a weight above X pounds for more than maybe two, three weeks before. So I guess its a good thing in a way, for now. I really, really hope one of these days I feel secure enough in myself that I can just eat, without needing to measure to make sure my portions are big enough, or counting calories to make sure what I want to eat is sufficient. I suppose that no longer counting how many grams of protein/fat/carbohydrate I'm getting in each meal or snack is a big step foward in and of itself. It's been quite freeing to be able to just sit down and say to myself "Breakfast has to be 800 calories and this is what I want."
And today, what I wanted was a bowl of this goodness:
Kashi Autumn Wheat with vanilla chai, sliced banana, dried cherries and two tablespoons of Simply Jif natural peanut butter. Nuked it up in the microwave since it was a bit chilly in the house this morning. I wonder if my need to heat almost everything up is an ED thing? Hm. Oh well. Also had a glorious cup of fresh coffee with Cinnamon Bun coffee creamer. looove that stuff. For real, if you haven't tried it - you should.
Please don't take this post the wrong way. I am not sliding back, or reminescing the "old" days. I just think its important to remember what we've grown from. I think its important, at least for me, to realize that no matter how much better we think we are sometimes, no matter how much we tell ourselves that we don't have to worry about relapse - that possibility is always there. And I know for a fact, the longer one has had anorexia, the easier it is to slip back without even meaning to. In my mind, freedom from anorexia no longer means not caring about the calories I eat or how much I weigh because I have learned that when I do not care, that is when the eating disorder seems to step back in. Maybe it won't be like that forever, but I think that for a long time, freedom from ED means that you are able to eat and maintain a healthy weight without guilt, and it means caring enough about yourself to keep it that way.
The Ebb and Flow
3 months ago