Recovery is tiring.  Exhausting, really.  Between ED stuff, and my job, and trying to juggle everything else, I'm really just drained.

I'm trying hard not to resent my recovery--and the time and energy and money it consumes--but I'm not always successful.  It's hard, in the day-to-day slog of meal-snack-meal-snack-meal-snack, to take pride in my accomplishments (I ate! On my own! With no one watching!).  I resent that I have to eat.  I resent that it takes so damn much effort.  I resent grocery shopping and dishes.  I resent people who get to buy smaller-sized clothes and brag about it.

Yep.  That positive around here.

It's frustrating.  I want to be "over it," like a cold or the flu.  I want to put my illness behind me.  I want to look at a menu without first identifying the lowest-calorie, lowest-fat items.  I want--heaven help me!--to have a stinking clue what size I actually am.

I know the solution isn't "give up," but rather "keep going."  A nap helps provide perspective. So do kittens and friends.  For that matter, blogging about it helps.  Letting these feelings fester isn't good.  I know my support team doesn't like hearing that sometimes I want to pull a three-year-old-style temper tantrum and just say "Screw recovery!!!!"  But pretending that everything is all happy and shiny and unicorns pooping rainbows doesn't help, either.

I have been working hard to stay on the right path. Have I always been successful?  Well, no.  Not always.  Despite having many moments when I'm bloody well sick of anything related to recovery, I have to take a deep breath and ask myself: what are your other options?

I think about this.  Mostly, I don't like the other options and I know it.  In the quiet of the night, as I let the slow thud of my heartbeat lull me to sleep, I forgive myself for such heretical thoughts.  I think: tomorrow is another day.  Tomorrow I will get up and fight the good fight all over again.

And then I do.


M said...

Timely, timely words dear Carrie! I definitely needed to be reminded today to keep doing what needs to be done even when I don't want to. You summed up my mood today so well: I feel like stamping my feet and screaming because it's all too hard and I'm too tired to care any more.

Keep pressing on.

b.l. said...

"It's frustrating.  I want to be "over it," like a cold or the flu.  I want to put my illness behind me."

I've had the same feelings this week, but mine are about bipolar disorder. I am just so tired of taking a cabinet full of medication, exercising, and trying to balance food/sleep every day ... only to have my moods and energy soar and plummet. I am tired of digging at my skin with my fingernails because cutting is a big no-no. And I'm especially tired of the intrusive thoughts of suicide. I want to be done with all of it. I want to be healed. Why isn't wanting it enough to make it happen?

Anonymous said...

The first half of this article hits home with me. It's like I am writing it myself, you always do so well at articulating exactly what is going through your mind. I'm sure blogging helps a lot, as you said it is toxic to let those types of thoughts stew inside you. Keep on track, I like your final words, and tomorrow is a new day, a new day to tackle life all over again.

Anonymous said...

You can do it! Never retreat, never surrender! You are strong and wonderful, and talented... I look forward to every update, because your progress gives me continued hope. Thanks for taking the time and energy to document your journey.

hm said...

Fuck unicorns and rainbows. Put on some dark eyeliner and listen to the Cure till you feel better. Sometimes dark just makes more sense than bright and happy. It's great that you are getting your thoughts and feelings out- keeping them from being secret and turning toxic.

It is a lonely thing trying to eat food by yourself, isn't it? Sometimes when it is particularly hard for me to swallow I call a friend. Sometimes I tell them "I just want company while I eat" but usually I don't even bother mentioning that I'm feeling rageful at food- I just ask them what's up, and get them talking to me. Then I eat while they talk. I think it distracts me from the process somewhat- but it also helps fill a void to have company while I'm trying to shovel tedious shit down my throat. It helps me eat to not feel so lonely.

So lean on your resources- make some calls- get to chatting online- or take your dinner to your folks' house and just sit down next to them and eat. I bet they wouldn't even need an explanation.

Take care of you. It makes so much sense that it's hard right now. Take care of you.

And, hey, if you want, set up a "date" to eat and chat w/me online sometime. We'll bitch about how hateful we feel and how food fucking sucks, but we'll eat every damn bite and give each other e-high fives for being so damn brave and powerful.

Cathy (UK) said...

I'm sorry you're feeling tired and weary Carrie... I must admit that there are many days when I wish I could just have a day off thinking that I have to eat to stay well.

Some days are easy: I desire food and I enjoy eating it. But on other days, especially days when I am anxious, eating becomes a really arduous task.

Feel better soon!

lisa said...

Beautiful Carrie, your outward expression of anger and frustration is the healthiest choice you make, wise young women. I can relate to sometimes wishing the rough painful situations would just STOP! I want to drop kick something. As I let it sometimes painfully pass through me, I find myself feeling some relief, and wham, something better comes along..

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes I feel so angry because the things I want to focus on (friends, school, fun things) are circumvented because I have to focus all my energy on recovery. No one seems to be able to understand why I'm so exhausted every day when it seems like I'm doing "nothing." It's too hard.

But we do the work now so we don't have to later. I keep trying to think towards the days when I won't spend all my energy on getting better-- I'll just feel better.

Susu Paris Chic said...

Today I feel that same tiredness. I have advanced and would like to stop here. But it is not my target weight yet.

Jen said...

Three cheers for blogging.... again!
I thought of two words while I was getting into your post, Carrie:

HALT because your post alluded to the deeper meaning of this useful acronym: If you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired HALT and take care of yourself.

Skype, because it just occurred to me having used this wonderful development to visit with family members on the east coast, that people could have a meal with others simply by setting up a laptop at the table and chatting along in "real" time.

Hang in there, Carrie!!!

KrisB said...

To Carrie and all of you other dear ones who are fighting your disorders, meal after meal, medication after medication, day after day, I salute you! In the biggest way possible, I hope that, in time, you will find peace and ease.

If it makes any difference, you all do something very special for me as you describe your feelings. I am ever so much more grateful for and appreciative of my own mental health and "normality." I read this blog because I have a dear daughter who suffers with serious ED and other mental health issues. I hope for the best for all of you.

Ari J. Brattkus said...

I want to thank you for the smile that will be permanently plastered on my face today as I replay the image of unicorns pooping rainbows all day long!!! Love that!

Thinking of you...

Meggy said...


(Carrie, please delete this if you want. I know it's off-topic, but I thought it might be useful.)

As a fellow person-with-bipolar-disorder, I've found that it's really hard to find smart, useful blogs about BP -- so I've taken to reading wonderful blogs like Carrie's, which are about mental illness, but not necessarily about bipolar. But if you're ever looking for a blog that addresses trying to live a fulfilling life with bipolar disorder, please check out my blog (Carrie and I were both interviewed by Jezebel for the same article about dating and mental illness) at http://www.meggywang.com/. Recent posts have included an essay about the decision to have or not have children while having a major mental illness, as well as the story of how bipolar disorder wound up taking me out of my Ivy League school.

Take care.

& Carrie, yes, keep fighting the good fight. You are amazing; you really are.

Angela Elain Gambrel said...

It does get tiring and sometimes you might want to stop. For me, the period of recovery between the initial strong motivation (Yes, I'm going to do this!) and the every day monotony of maintaining a healthy weight and eating normal (You mean I have to eat every meal and snack? Every day? For the rest of my life? I will never get a break?) is what gets to me, and it is hard feel motivated when that initial high of wanting recovery fades away. It has always been this in-between period that did me in, so I'm fighting it now. I also sometimes feel as if I just want to put this behind me; I'm sick of thinking about and writing about and talking about eating disorders.

But you do care or you wouldn't have written this post. I think it also is finding things to replace the eating disorder; fun and adventures and socializing and every day life so things don't feel so tiring. I know you also are aware of what you stand to lose if you don't keep going, and I know you will keep going. You have so much to offer the world, and so much life ahead of you! You can do it! Perhaps part of this is also seasonal? I know I feel tired and depressed more often in the winter months.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is you can push through these feelings and come out on the other side, where this is all behind you and then you only have to think about the things in your life that matter most to you - your family, your cat, your writing, friends, etc. At some point, the fact that you had anorexia will no longer matter.


Anonymous said...

It is absolutely the in between time that is my biggest struggle. These are the days I want to shake my spouse and say don't you understand why I am so tired. It would be easier if I had a broken arm. The internal daily battle...ugghhh.

But then a few good nights sleep. A few social outings. Etc Etc. And dinner doesn't seem so hard. I have to accept that my maintenance list for health is more than many.

A:) said...

It's tiring and it sucks.

I have gained 23lbs in the past 2.5 years by myself (with a great OP team). I have stalled. I have no fucking interest in gaining the last 7lbs. I am healthy, I look healthy, my clothes fit. I hate this. I hate the ensure and the challenges and STILL gaining weight when I no longer look fucking emaciated. I want it to be over too.

I am afraid to get to my target weight, afraid of what it will bring. And yet I keep going. Why? Stubbornness? Will life really be better? There are no guarantees that recovered life will be better than AN, only that the probability of a better life is somewhat greater.

I keep waiting for life to start and for recovery to get easier. It never does. Why am I doing this? Sometimes I don't know but I keep going. I think I keep thinking of how miserable I was at my lowest weight and how motivated I was to change. I can't let that girl down just because I am scared now.

It's hard :( Hang in there


KL said...

God Carrie, I am SO THERE today. Only in a slightly differnt way. I was a crazy hard-core puker for a long time. I worked through it. I made my life better and full and amazing. For me to digest a meal was an amazing triumph and I did it. Again and again and again I did it. YAY ME!

So now it's 16 years later and I have every thing I ever wanted (house, hubby, kids, good job and awesome friends). Perfect. I quit paying attention to food. I figured that as long as I was digesting I was a success. Now I find myself in the unenviable position of needing to loose weight. Honest to god, some days it's all I can do not to slit my wrist.

My body has functioned beautifully for the past 16 years. It's given me beautiful children. It's functioned appropriately-no small feat given the hell I put it through. Now I just feel betrayed.

I'm working with professionals to eat right and exercise in the right ways. But frankly, i'm pissed. I'm pissed that after working so hard to not worry about weight and body and food, now I have to again.

I honestly don't know where to go with these feelings. I'm glad that I found this blog. I'm glad that there is a lot here to read. I'm going to go have lunch now. I'm going to go eat and not hurt myself.

Briony said...

Thank you so much for this post! It's always good to know I'm not the only way. I think I feel like this at least once every day- when the thought of yet *another* cereal bar or banana seems too much, or when I can't bear having to fight myself over portion sizes anymore. But like you said, the other options are worse. Because however much I wish it otherwise, my body needs food. And I think I'm far enough into recovery now to notice all the things I would lose if I chose the wrong path. When it gets really bad, I can look at every meal and snack as another step towards the time when I have my old energy back. It doesn't make it fun, but it makes it possible.

HikerRD said...

Tantrum like a 3 year old--how bad would that be?
And great that you can accept that it stinks (on some level), write about it, and then pick yourself up and move forward.I love radical acceptance...

Anonymous said...

SO true. Yes recovery is hard, but we have to believe with all our hearts that it really is the only thing worth fighting for.

Stay strong!


Anonymous said...

courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

I saw that in my therapist's office.

KL said...

I've got to tell you. I posted on here yesterday when I was feeling frustrated and sad (ok and a little angry too). I went home and got a good night's sleep. I feel 1000 time better. I'm not sure if it was my writing about it or the rest or what. But something certainly shifted. I'm grateful that I found this blog.

Cait said...

I’ve been wrestling with this feeling too, after a hard week at work. The work stress only exacerbates my anxiety over the weight gain and calories and that, on top of preparing meals, doing dishes, and grocery shopping like a fiend, and keeping myself motivated despite the negativity, is just… exhausting. I wish I could just be “over it” too, that I could be normal and exercise like everyone else, eat like everyone else, and devote this massive amount of energy to something else! But these hard weeks make me realize how far from normal I really am, because normal people just don’t fight this battle with food. So what’s the alternative? To just keep pushing and hope tomorrow will be better…

Thank you for writing this - at least I know I'm not alone!

Anonymous said...

Carrie did you just read my mind!
Frustration and downright misery at having to be so conscious about our daily food routine. I wander if it would really ever be possible to be beyond this point. But things are possible, I believe that and hope is an ever giving thing! But, sometimes it is just Shitty and thank you for being honest about that. I feel it today I want to hide away but NO the disorder needs to be kept at bay. Here's sending you patient and less frustrating vibes ~~~~~~~~~~> R xxx

Anonymous said...

Oh I had to write something on the tantrum of a 3 yr. old. I have one of those ... she's great, cute, strong, wilful, self possessed, fearless, funny, contemplative, exciting, gentle, caring, wonderful and amazing ... so if you want to tantrum like a three old go for it ... because I believe you'll embody much of those amazing attributes above. Few toddlers/children tantrum for no reason, few do it because they are spoiled, most do it because they are misunderstood, scared, or if their world (which is kind of small and black and white) is being attacked. Being locked into our ED;s is very like that of a child and the world with an ED is scary and frustrating.
So, I think it speaks ten fold you respond thus. I like it! Bless you Carrie

JT said...

Your blog is very inspirational. After months of reading your blog I've created my own. This blog has helped me realize that typing out all your feelings and experiences is uplifting. At times, yes it does get tiring but I know if we've put with ED all these years we can keep up a strong fight and knock him out! Keep your head up!!


Cammy said...

I'm way late to this, just getting caught up on blogs after being on trip. Just wanted to chime in that NOTHING is worse than feeling like you have to be all rainbows and ponies and sunshine when you're having a hard time. Really hate to hear that the ED thoughts have been dragging you down and making things hard, but keep hanging in there, remember the only way out is through...and never feel like you have to stay alone in it! Reaching out is one of the best self-care methods out there. Blogging is great, and tons of people care about you. You know where to find me if you ever need to chat, vent, talk SciNerd to distract yourself from other stresses, etc. <3

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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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