Because the fight gets hard...

I keep waiting for the fight against anorexia to get easier. And though I've managed to stay "well" in the past year and a half, the fight isn't any easier.

And I'm frustrated.

I don't know what else to do. I'm trying to be honest and share my feelings and not cover things up and hide and lie and cheat like I used to. Which is a step forward. I just thought there would be more of these steps by now.

I still hate myself for eating a lot of the time. And I hate myself for listening to Ed's siren call. I want my brain to pick one side or the other and just be done with it. Right now, though, is essentially a prescription to be really really pissed off at myself. I feel constantly in a lose-lose situation.

Staying healthy, playing at this thing we like to call "normal," is exhausting me. I want to hibernate for several days, just pull the covers over my head and rest.

I'm also tired of always having to decide what I'm going to eat, and when, and how much, and whether I want to/should finish all of what's in front of me. I miss having someone else make those decisions for me. I also miss having them actually make my food, although that's half about the eating disorder and half of me not wanting to do the damn dishes.

I am discouraged right now. How much longer do I keep having to plug away without feeling any of the benefits?

I knew the fight wouldn't be simple or quick or easy. I had just hoped it might have been over by now.

And it's not. And I'm tired.

posted under , |


Peregrine said...

Hi Carrie,
I follow your blog religiously from Montreal. Tonight I'm having a really hard time, and when I opened up your page, your first couple of sentences seemed to come from right inside my head. I also am in "recovery" from anorexia, and although I have been progressing (and gaining weight--although i'm stable now) for four years, it hasn't gotten easier. The same patterns of obsession, self-doubt, indecision, guilt etc. repeat themselves every day. The foods have changed, the amounts have changed, and underneath I feel like I'm the same screwed-up, terrified person. Except now I'm not thin enough to have people worry about me.

I'm trying really hard not to binge right now. (I became part of the lucky 3rd of anorexics that develop bulimia in recovery). I'm trying to just breathe. And you are helping so much.

Whatever strength and love I have I am sending to you, and I hope you know that the fight is so, so, so worth it. I have these moments on the metro or in a cafe when I just want to rip off my skin and scream, 'I can't do this. Can't you see what's inside of me? I'm NOT healthy.' But I have other moments when I'm totally calm and anorexia for the moment is buried somewhere in my sockdrawer.

I hope yours disappears into your sockdrawer soon, and that you sleep well.


Anonymous said...

I wish the fight was easy, but in the end, it's worth it. Being alive is more important than several months or years of struggle. I would rather grow old with family by my side and still be terrified of "getting fat" than to die of starvation whilst being emotionally shut off.

I thought that after the boat-load of treatment I've been through that it would be over. I thought I would get some sort of instant gratification. I'm still waiting for that sense of accomplishment to kick in. I absolutely hate that internal struggle: feeling guilty that I ate something and feeling good that I was able to eat something. Sometimes I just want to shut it off.

The thing is, I know that normalcy is there somewhere. I know that at some point in my life, I wasn't scared of eating. It may have been when I was a baby or toddler, but I was perfectly healthy back then. I know that in the future, my body will tell me what I need and what I don't need to keep me healthy. The only way I can get there is to suffer through maintaining a healthy body to restore brain function right now.

Best of luck. <3

samsi77 said...

I realize easier said then done but work on accepting your experience, emotions and thoughts, observing and describing how you are feeling as you did in your blog while refraining from judgment of yourself. You are entitled to be sick and tired of working so hard, you have been fighting for a long time and it gets difficult and there are no reprieves from recovery. Allow the many people around you to love you, support you and be there for you as you have been for them and so many others, recovery is a WE thing.

Anonymous said...

Keep fighting, you're giving me hope. I've never had an ED, at least not diagnosed, though I suspect I deal with feelings by eating compulsively. I have depression and it gets intense, much like you've described. There are times when I feel like I need a priest because I'm exorcising some kind of demons. Knowing that someone else is working and that I'm not alone in feeling like it should just be done already, that's encouraging - I can't explain why, but it is.

ellie said...

Hi Carrie,

I*'ve been reading your blog for a while, and wanted to comment on this post because it really resonated with me as I am in a similar situation.

I try and think of it like this: I had anorexia for X years, can I expect a full recovery in X - 10 years? No. it's impossible. I've heard it takes longer to recover than you spend in the ED- not sure of the truth in that, but recovery is definitely a long and slow process... Pay attention to the little positives. Yes you are hating yourself for eating, BUT you are pushing through those thoughts and making healthy choices, despite how hard it is. I hope that the more I push through those thoughts, the easier the push will become until there isn't any resistance...patience, perseverance, determination. You have it all. You'll get there. I really admire you for how far you've come, and how hard you are fighting xxx

Anonymous said...

Do you think the recent changes/upheaval in your life could be triggering the increased feelings about dealing with your eating disorder? Life transitions are typical stressors for people to develop eating disorders and/or relapse, as I'm sure you know. I agree with others who say to try stepping back, allowing yourself to have the feelings, observe the feelings, process them/the issues, utilize your support team, and keep on. As other folks in the blogosphere say, "onward!" and "when you're going through hell, keep going." I mean, what's the choice? If you stop here, you're stuck in the purgatory of feeling shitty still, but if you can have faith that, eventually, sticking with it may someday feel a little better ... and even if it doesn't, you are physically able to support yourself, set and meet goals, engage in a life without hospitals (which, when you remember, can be a demeaning and de-personalizing experience that leaves you with the identity of "sick" and "patient" and not much more). I know that you have become "more" as a person and have the resilience to push through the doubt and the "hard." I suspect you'll feel better about yourself/notice improved self-respect and -esteem for do doing, as well. Hang in there.

mary said...

That damn ED's taken enough from too many. Reserve your hatred for the dictator ED and be mad at it, not yourself.
Do honor your feelings, all of them, but also work on changing the focus of your thoughts. As simplistic as it sounds an ED must be starved of attention.
You are working hard at building a new life, again. You deserve a medal of courage and bravery for all the adventures you've taken on. Your battle cat does too.;) Worry is a waste of time. (I know we all do it but we need to see it clearly)
Just for as if you are worth the fuel break and don't be afraid to enjoy it. Love yourself well. It's your most important weapon. You are the one who will be most affected by your choice in this. I'm sorry it's so hard for you right now.
With you in spirit!/*

Lisa said...

I'd just like to add my own bit of empathy and support. It's hard when you look okay, but the ED is still part of your everyday life. Feeling like you have two brains is exhausting.

I don't know if it helps, but reading blogs like yours make me feel a little less tired.

Mary R said...

You have no idea what a relief it is for me to know that I'm not the only one who is sick and tired of things not getting easier! I'm so frustrated right now about how my recovery has seemed to plateau. Part of me blames myself, I wonder if I'm subconsciously causing this stagnation. The other part of me feels betrayed by my doctors and my family. I feel like everyone told me how much happier I would be when I was "healthy" and how things would be easier once I gained some weight. NOT TRUE!! Though I'm physically much more stable, my mental state is lagging several steps behind- I still obsess about food and weight, I still isolate, the only difference is now I'm not thin. I feel like it would be more rewarding to let myself give into my anorexic temptation because at least I would see results!

I don't know if this will help you at all, but I hope that knowing that there are others who are feeling the same way as you might comfort you. I've discovered your blog recently, and I can really identify with your struggles. You seem to have really great insight and you are a remarkable writer. I wish you all the best, and I truly hope you can find something or someone to help you through these difficult times!


Kyla said...

I relate to this post SO much. While I have maintained a healthy weight mostly for three years, it is such a daily struggle, and I thought it'd be easier by now. I don't have any pearls of wisdom, just know that you're not alone. I find comfort in listening to the stories of those who have recovered and have made it past this part.

Gaining Back My Life said...

Carrie, I know exactly how you felt - until 2 days ago. Take a peek at my blog to see what the lovely voice of ed did for me.

Anonymous said...

I wish there was a way to make this easier for you, and everyone else who was dealt a bad hand with these illnesses. Please know I'm pulling for you.

Crimson Wife said...

{{{{hugs}}}} It really *DOES* get easier over time. There will be ups & downs of course but at least for me the longer it's been since I broke free of the unhealthy behavior, the more determined I am not to relapse into it.

I do agree with the PP who said that life transitions are really tough for those of us in recovery. They're stressful even for people with no history of ED and that much more so with the temptation to cope via unhealthy behaviors.

I wish I had the answer to making it all go away forever but I can offer hope that it won't be an all-consuming battle for the rest of your life.

Kim said...

Hi, Carrie. Like other people who have posted here, I have to say your blog gives me so much support and positive energy. Even if you're tired and struggling, that just makes me realize I'm not alone. Recovery SUCKS sometimes. As a praise-driven person, I think I thought recovery would be this cinematic event with people honoring my achievement. I thought I would just wake up one day and it would be over. There would be angels singing, or a parade in my honor (with trumpets!), or SOMETHING. The truth is it's very anti-climactic. It's mundane. It's boring. It's just life. Nothing much has changed since my weight went up. I'm still ME. There are the same battles in my head, there is the same anxiety. But I feel a little more free every time I say "no" to the eating disorder. Anorexia helped me live life for a long time and in a weird way, I'm grateful for that. But I don't NEED it anymore. It's totally strange to make decisions without it. There is nobody cheering me on. Only I know the struggles on a daily basis. Nobody claps when I eat my snacks. There is no social support for those of us who eat chocolate chip cookies on a regular basis. It's very ... blah. But, I have to believe it's worth it. Like someone else said, don't be too hard on yourself for having bad days. You're allowed to be pissed or frustrated or exhausted. If you fight it, telling yourself that you should feel so much better, it's the same self-abuse cycle we all know too well. Anyway, I'm thinking of you! Give your kitty a kiss :)

A said...

It's hard. . .It's agonizing.

It hurts and it feels awful I am there with you right now

But remember the altnerative? What you have and can do now that you cuoldn't do with AN? It's a trade off and you made your decision for a reason <3


Lauren said...

This post -- and its comments -- couldn't have come at a better time for me. Monday was one of those excruciatingly tough days: My disordered self had won a match of tug-of-war against my healthy self. I felt empty, numb and hollow, hopeless, powerless and just plain tired. A good friend helped me snap out of it, and I'm back on the other side today, but those hours of despair reminded me: I'm lucky -- to have life and strength and support to get through the dark days. And thanks to everyone here for reminding me I'm not alone in this. Your company, in spirit, is some of the best therapy I've ever had.

Carrie Arnold said...


I'm amazed.

Thank you all- seriously. I will write more when I have the time. I'm currently at work.

Laura Collins said...


And I dare say everyone reading your powerful truths and ups and downs does have a sense, if only an inkling, of how hard it is and how worth it YOU are and the struggle IS.

MUCH caring,

IrishUp said...

It is hard.
And I am sorry you are feeling tired.
I am manifesting for the universe to send you some interrim peace and regeneration.

The hard makes the good stuff really really good. I promise!

Ai Lu said...

I am late with this one, but I wanted to jump in and give you my support, too, from someone who still experiences these moments herself. It DOES get easier, but you're right that being recovered is not a prize in itself. There are still all of the other parts of life to be dealt with, the things that you (me too) may have been able to push aside during the eating disorder. But it will get easier. It will. And meanwhile, you are doing so many worthwhile things with your life, paving the way for a future where you can say "I beat this monster!"
Ai Lu

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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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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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