Taking a swim down de Nile

This week was incredibly difficult. I was very stressed, not sleeping much, and just generally cracking up a bit. I held it all together pretty well, considering. No one freaked out and asked if I was dying, if I was mental, if I needed a vacation in a straight jacket. Except for one teeny tiny, itsy bitsy thing:

I, uh, wasn't eating very well.


I'll preface the next part with: I am getting back on track. I hauled out my old meal plan and have been following that. I want to cut corners. I don't need an extra fruit with that, and if I don't, then I won't have anything to put the peanut butter on. Gee, doesn't that suck.

It's this line of thinking that got me into this pickle in the first place.

There were warning signs, and if I were smart, I would have noticed them. Actually, I was kind of aware of them. I just didn't think they were worth doing anything about. The thoughts were the same old, same old (you're fat, gross, ugly, lazy. You eat crap. You need to exercise more. I think ya'll know the drill). But this time, it was accompanied by a specific plan of action. As in, "Tomorrow I'm going to eat X calories less. The calories that I eat will be a nice, round number* This will feel better."

It sounds like the old "control" issue, and it is, just not in the way that you think. I'm not trying to control my food when I fall deep into the anorexia. I'm trying to control my FEARS of the food. The fears are so intense that I'll develop any number of ways (read: rituals) to decrease those fears, to neutralize them. Which is the exact definition of OCD.

Which is what I see the eating disorder as: another iteration of the OCD.

I knew I was on dangerous ground as the past two weeks progressed. I'm not dumb. I could read the writing on the wall. I had just convinced myself that I could handle this. That I could afford to lose a few pounds.

Denial. I was not so far into denial that I was in Sudan or anything, but still. Definitely swimming.

What I didn't realize was the depth of the waters I had gotten myself into. Not until I started to swim out.

Not denial.

I had grossly underestimated the strength of the eating disorder. You'd think I would have learned, after almost 8 years. You really think I would have learned. But I haven't. At least not well enough. Could this be my last learning experience? Perhaps. Hopefully my last learning experience of this kind, but I don't my last one. I got cocky, I think. I thought I was strong enough to beat him as his own game. And maybe I could have...except once I got close, he would have changed the rules.

Ed is a merciless bastard. He will drown me without a second thought. I will be another body for him, a tally mark on the wall, a statistic. And then he'll move on.

I can get him out of my life, but I can't beat him at his own game. I don't know that it matters, whether or not I can beat him at his own game. Frankly, I don't think I want to play anymore. So he can sit and pout for as long as he wants. I don't need to prove anything to him.

*One of my OCD things is my obsession with the number 5. I had these rules where I could only eat things with "nice" numbers of calories. A 100 calorie yogurt was actually better than a 90 calorie one. Unless I was having 1/2 cup of Fiber One, which was 60 calories, and that with the yogurt would be 150 calories, which was a nice number. I also had to eat a certain amount of fiber each day, and only a tiny bit of salt. There were numbers for each of these- also numbers I deemed "nice," and all of this had to be done within a "nice" number of calories. The calorie amount was actually enough to maintain my weight. But I still ended up malnourished because there was about 2 combinations of foods that I could eat in order to follow all of my rules.

**Now that I write this out, I'm realizing just how whacked this really was.

*** I still have issues with the number 5 and "nice" numbers of calories. Even if I don't add them up, I like those "nice" numbers.

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samsi77 said...

Life and Recovery have many things in common and one major one is they both are ongoing processes and they both involve the process of continuing to learn, apply, increase and apply insight and put into action. Clearly, this semester has been stressful, overwhelming and challenging to say the least and you are excelling. It pleases me to no avail to also hear that you are catching yourself. You are catching yourself in the midst of a slip and now are using your skills and support to get yourself out of the yuck. Don't hesitate to use your lifelines!!!!!!

Katy said...

This is, I think, the definition of recovery--ED is indeed a sneaky bastard, and denial is a comfortable place...for a while. The recovery part is realizing you've been tricked and rather than using that as an excuse to slide back down the rabbit hole, dragging yourself out by whatever means necessary. That takes a lot of strength and guts, and while this experience serves as a reminder that you may need to be warier than you've been, I think it also attests to the solidity of your recovery at a deeper level. Which is awesome.

An interesting thing I've found about the number obsessions, at least for me, is that they REALLY diminish when I'm eating normally. (I had a huge thing about only eating at times on the quarter hour--6:25 was a no-no, but 6:15 or 6:30 was okay...) Granted, I don't have OCD, though I do have some other weird things about symmetry/cleanliness/etc that my therapist refers to as "OCD-like," but those also are less prominent when eating normally...the brain is a fascinating thing!

mary said...

Carrie, stop flirting with him! As you said, you aren't going to play this game anymore. You are so much stronger than him. Now that you've moved far away from where you were can you start to see the predictability of an ED? Yep, it's limited in it's ability to suck you under because you now have life lines at every turn. It's patterns are also the same ole repeats. Same nasty pillow talk, offensive and cruel.
You deserve so much more. Push him out NOW! Go ahead, hit him on the head with your wand. /**** /****
As samsi77 says...use your life lines! I'm here!

Sarah said...

I'm so glad you caught yourself, Carrie. You're amazing.


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About Me

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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Have any questions or comments about this blog? Feel free to email me at carrie@edbites.com

nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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