The Irish Mammy is a well documented species. The lesser know Irish Granny is an even more fascinating one. It could just be a trait of getting older but the irish Granny is not one to beat around the bush. Talking about how I felt my body had decided to recover and my brain was really not comfortable with it and there for could not take credit for my progress this was what I was greeted with ( lol at the fact my family now think of me as having 2 separate identities…). Not to mention that this conversation occourred in the cafe of a well known irish mental hospital. What is life?
I spoke about extreme hunger in my last post and how it has been vital to reaching near weight restoration. But today is one of those days the change is just too much. Body image is at rock bottom and fighting the urges both to restrict and binge is exhausting. And I guess I am struggling with the knowledge that I am now no longer distinguishable as being slim but yet my eating disorder still occupies most of my thoughts. Like what is on the outside dose not match how I feel inside. And any one watching me will now think I’m just greedy for the amount I am eating, and it’s getting harder to tell my self “you need this food” as I no longer see my self as ill.
This article is fascinating https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hunger-artist/201011/starvation-study-shows-recovery-anorexia-is-possible-only-regaining-weight. But what I have feel is that now I’ve gained weight and the anorexic rituals and OCD tendencies have lessened, my ADHD, hyperactivity, Low mood and depressive tendencies have worsened and I haven’t yet lost the constant constant inner monologue. I guess that it’s just bringing to the fore the fact that my mental health isn’t great and many my anorexia was a coping mechanism for the dealing with them.
I just ate 5 bowls of cereal. Not just cereal but piled-as-high-as-my-bowl-will-permit-oats-granola-musli-and-honey-poured-on-top-cereal. Oh I forgot there was an apple somewhere in there as we’ll but to be honest it was kind of lost in the massive carbathon that was my breakfast. What is scary is that this is a regular occourrence. Sometimes in the morning AND evening.
If you haven’t experienced extreme hunger before I cannot explain how distressing it is/was. This fabulous lady describes it brilliantly here http://everythingeatingdisordered.tumblr.com/post/75096643327/extreme-hunger-in-recovery-from-a-restrictive. It struck me to day that I would possibly not be at this stage in my recovery and most certainly wouldn’t be nearly weight restored without it. Don’t get me wrong it was not fun My life for a few weeks there was eating, sleeping and crying over the fact that all I was doing was eating and sleeping. There was the bloating and stomach pain and the water retention that was so bad I couldn’t put my runners on and I couldn’t bend my legs. I tried to ignore the hunger and would take my sleeping tablet and go to bed only to be told by my family the next morning that I had been up eating porridge and watching gossip girl with my sister at 2am. I even had a bite to eat with my brother at 3am one morning after he had been out and I have NO RECOLLECTION OF THIS. I tried everything to stop this eating during the day time. My anorexia was screaming at me but my body just kept eating. Sure for the first few days I embraced it and the ed noise was gone but a week in I was sitting with my nutritionist bawling my eyes out convinced I was becoming a binge eater.
We actually went through my diet and meal plan and for the first time we calculated the calories ( during my disorder it was not so much about total calories so much as restricting my self to ” negative calorie” vegetables and sugar free jelly and as common to most eating disorder suffers, over a period of time became terrified of carbs, even my beloved beet root was to calorific). I was shocked to discover what I thought was excessive was actually below my BMR and with my restriction in the previous weeks my body was rebelling. I tried to get back on my meal plan and increase my calories.
It didn’t work. I was eating more than ever and all my body craved was oats. Porridge, muesli, oatcakes, I was inhaling it. I joked it was karma for restricting them for so long. But inside I was in chaos. It was like being two people at once my body was like a feral animal frantically scavenging for anything and everything I could get my hands on but my brain was still firmly disordered and rejecting recovery. Even now nearly 2 months later I am terrified this is never going to stop, that I’m going to keep eating upwards of 6,000 calories daily and keep gaining and gaining. I have no idea what my set point is as I can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t restricting/compensating for my intake. It is starting to calm down and happen maybe once every 48 hours, I’m staring to feel some satiety after them and I’m now craving things such as mince, quinoa, nuts, chocolate and eggs which is a bit of a relief and I’m hoping that this means the weight gain will taper off soon as protein and fats are vital for the restoration of the brain, the last organ to be restored ( I can now do things like read entire articles in magazines without having to re read each line like a gazillion times #winning….).
It’s got to the point where I’m looking at what my family are eating and thinking ” how the hell are you satisfied after one bowl of cereal?!?!?!?!” And I feel totally out of control. But then I’m living a little more normally each day. And I’m genuinely belly laughing on a daily basis, multiple times a day. So is it that my eating disorder that has lost control and my body that is giving me life back? I baffled and it’s exhausting. I just long for normality and this feels so abnormal. If you haven’t discovered youreatopia.com this is what I’m coming to terms with
However I think that by finding a little bit of happiness every day is how you achieve a joyful life. I mean no one wakes up 365 days a year feeling like TODAY IS LIKE THE BEST.DAY.EVER. ( even Rebeccca Black must struggle to be that chipper on a rainy Tuesday morning in January …). but living in a state of joy is more living with the knowledge that there will be moment in your day that make you smile, rolling with the punches and, dare I say it, being mindful and present in the moment.
My eating disorder stripped me of all that. It had got to the stage, and I’m embarrassed to even admit this aloud but I was genuinely just living for the day to end. Moreover I was living for that moment when I could step on the scales each morning to see if the numbers had gone down even .01. Not that it mattered if it had gone down. If I had to the It would mean I forced myself replicate EXACTLY the same rigorous clean eating/restriction/over exercising routine. If I hadn’t well obviously a more strict routine needed to be implemented. But then again reaching the end of the day being able to have been as stricter than the previous was a moment of happiness. So I had various moments of happiness but all were attached to how carefully I had followed my illness.
So I guess what I’m left questioning is how do I find happiness that will match the intensity of the “Hunger High”?
Today’s happiness is courtesy of Penny’s. 3 euros and it can be used afterwards to hold anything and look puuuurty at the same time. #recessionwin
The feel, the feels, oh so many feels….
I have always been known as being a bit of slow processor when it comes the world of emotions. I have always ( in the words of Hermionie Granger) “the emotional range of a tea spoon”. So the most striking thing that has happened since this recovery process begun has been the stress of not knowing what I’m going to feel next and also not trusting my emotional reaction to be what it always has been/how I expect it to be.
The role of nutrition in this is and has been vital, but these outbursts for me are terrifying. There was such safety and calm in the anorexia mind fog and know it’s like one minutiae I’m sobbing that I have extreme hunger ( that’s a whole other post right there….seriously why dose nobody talk about it???!!?!) and have eaten the everything including the fridge and the next I’m giggly as my sister and I are walking along the bypass boxing the air in an attempt to tone our waists. I’ve been hit multiple times by the realisation I have lost my first love to this illness. 6 months later.
My consultants senior registrar said to me at the start of this process that I had starved my self in order to block out negative experiences, feelings and emotions. And that in order to experience the positives times in life that I had to learn other mechanism to cope and gradually with refeeding I would start to feel a lot more intensely. As with so many things I have been warned about I poo pooed it. And as with so many aspects of this process it hit me hard and left me wondering will I ever be at normal levels again.
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