More on fatigue

I try to keep this blog positive, even though I don't consider it "inspirational" per se.  There's not enough unicorns pooping rainbows for that.

Well, okay, maybe that does make my blog a little more cheery and happy.

I hate using the blog as sort of a whinge to the world.  For one, I feel I'm wasting everyone's time.  For another, I'm guessing that most of you know all to well the hell of having an eating disorder (or living with someone who does).  You don't need me to sit around and remind you of it.  I like my posts to have some sort of takeaway message--one that goes beyond "Carrie sure is a cranky thing, eh?"

I am, but that's not the point.

Most of the time, I do some serious cognitive reframing and focus on the positive stuff.  If not always happy, at least the how-can-I-grow-flowers-in-the-manure-of-my-life vein.

I'm trying really hard to summon positivity right now, and I just can't do it.

I'm not depressed, just insanely tired.  My body is as hypermetabolic as it's ever been, and it's taking a lot out of me.  Because I'm sleeping more, more of my awake hours are occupied by work. Although I do try to pencil in relaxation time, it feels less restoring than I need it to be.  Which means that, basically, I eat, sleep, and work, in roughly that proportion.

This is the first time I've really done serious refeeding while trying to work full-time, and I'm realizing why it didn't work out so hot previous times.  In a way, catching the uptick in ED behaviors sooner has made it harder because my metabolism at least at a hint of life to it, I have more muscle mass, and more body weight--all of which are driving my metabolism upwards. I'm a walking hot water bottle.

Not fun.

I want a break from the constant onslaught of food.  I want a break from worrying how the hell I'm going to pay the bills.  I want to move into the freezer.

What I really want, though, is a several days long nap.

Adjusting to my new metabolic needs is hard, and I think things will ease up once I get more used to things.  At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

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Anonymous said...

i value your authenticity as i struggle to let people in to my own reality with a.n. i've done a fantastic job attempting to love and light my way through every aspect of some not very nice things in my life. all that's managed to do is keep me isolated and stuck. though vulnerability is difficult, it is real and people can relate to that. however, if i find a unicorn AND find that it shits rainbows i WILL be the first to let you know after collecting a substantial amount of money for said mystical creature.

PJ said...

I think that it is very important for you to make sure that you are writing what you need to write. You do not have a responsibilty to your readers to present the appearance of recovery-perfection at all times. For one thing you don't need that kind of pressure in your life. And for another that would be modelling perfection that none of us can live up to. Part of what makes your blog so valuable (apart from, of course, the amazing insights and invaluable science) is that you show us how to get back up again - how to go on after a slip, and how many slips it takes to make progress.

OrNursGirl said...

I love your blog no matter what you write about. It makes me feel as though I'm not alone in my own ED recovery world (as I myself have had a relapse). Reading whatever you write is like reading what my brain is thinking.

As one ED woman to another can you tell me if you struggle with social outings/friendships? I'm TRYING to become normal with it all but anything that might involve food just freaks me out :(

Jade said...

I know exactly how you feel. I'm going back into a partial hospitalization program right now after being discharged the first time in December. I fought so hard against getting the help again, but I know I've made the right choice. It doesn't make you a failure, it makes you a victim of a serious disease.
I worried about keeping up appearances too. "Oh, but I was healthy! And it was so great!" but the thing is, once I dropped, all I wanted was to drop more and more. And it got out of control again. The fact that you're in recovery doesn't mean you will never have slips. You can have serious slips and times that you WILL NEED extra help. And you know, that doesn't make you a failure. It makes you brave.

hm said...

Wait- Are you getting paid to write this blog??? No??? Then why the hell would you apologize for letting out a good whinge?! Who set the rule that your blog must be positive and always include a take-away message for your readers? That sounds like the voice of perfectionism, beating you up for not doing everything "just right."

Your blog is authentic. And authentic means positive and negative, helpful and needy, up and down. Honey, this is YOUR SPACE. Make like a cat and piss all over it. Don't let your inner voice berate you for pissing on what's yours.

As to the post itself, I am curious about the whole tiredness/hypermetabolism thing. I refed to the point that my metabolism started racing. I was hungry and shaky all day in spite of packing it in. It terrified me. So I pulled back. Started limiting to what felt like more "reasonable" portions. I crashed back to almost my beginning weight in less than a month. Scared the hell out of me and my therapist.

And yet, while limiting and losing weight, I had energy. I worked out daily. Could hardly find my pulse, but was able to keep on moving. After some arm twisting and the realization of what I was doing to myself, I began eating full meal plan portions again a little over a week ago, and suddenly I am absolutely collapsing. SO... FREAKING... EXHAUSTED. Shaky. Tired. Sleepy. Feel like I got hit by a truck and having a ridiculously hard time getting things done. I've been pissed off, b/c it feels like food RUINS EVERYTHING- and I feel worse packing it in than I did when I was limiting.

So I am reading what you're going through and thinking, maybe that's me too. Maybe this is normal when in hypermetabolic state, to feel so fucking tired you could stab someone in the eye... except that you'd actually only have the energy to weakly wave the knife from your bed while glaring ferociously... for 5 whole seconds... before your head slumped back down and you dropped the damn knife like you're arm was made out of spaghetti.

The body has GOT to stop feeling like this at some point, right??? I've seen my kids go through growth spurts as babies and even older where they're frantically ravenous all day and then sleep for 12-14 nights. The body gets what it needs, and then it passes- and lo and behold, they're another inch taller and they need new jeans. But it does pass. They eat and sleep normally again.

What's happening w/us can't be that much different. We need to trust out bodies- they're frantically taking what they need (food, sleep) in an effort to reach some goal. Once the body gets what it needs, it will chill out. It's got to. That just seems like the natural course of things.

So wait it out, keep packing it in, and sleep all kinds of extra. And while doing so, go ahead and bitch, piss, and whinge if it makes you feel better. You're not the Mother Teresa of blogging. You don't always need to be giving. Nobody wrote that rule and attached it to your blog. Well- nobody but you. ;)

hm said...

ha ha ha- I meant that my kids would sleep for 12-14 hours a night. Not for 12-14 nights. WTF-ever.

Katie said...

Ugh, I feel for you Carrie! It seems unfair that recovery can make you feel so awful both physically and mentally. You've been through this before though, you know it will pass eventually. I know that's not much consolation at the moment, but it's another one of those annoying short term pain, long term gain (lol, pun not intended) situations. And you can bitch all you want, it's your blog!

Kelly said...

Your post did have a take away message for me, for what it's worth. I was having hot flashes and extreme fatigue last week, and I should have chalked that up to me eating more.

I should have realized what was going on, being that I've been through the whole inpatient process and the night sweats/constant desire to enjoy endless coma-like sleep. But your post connected some dots for me. I've been undereating again (partially due to circumstance) and now I know to anticipate that again soon. (Argh).

Having an eating disorder and recovering from one is goddamn exhausting. It's okay to say that out loud.

Claire said...

Positive affirmations don't work for me, it just feels false saying them to myself, especially when I'm feeling low and crappy about myself. I saw an article about why this is so for some other people too:

Instead, I do a bit of 'disengaging' as you described so well yesterday and saying 'so what?' to my negative thoughts, as well as the other methods you covered in that same post - you described it so well!

Another method I use is to visualise myself as a child and imagine I'm saying those things to her, and how I would treat her instead. Or visualise myself watching myself criticise myself on a television and analysing whether that is a fair critique/judgement or not. Then watching all that on *another* tv and analysing myself (no.2) analysing myself (no.1), and so on and so on. That is a technique I've only just heard of, it's something I'm trying to grasp myself!

Anonymous said...

recovery is hard work. I'm sorry that this time is tough, but the beauty of having a blog is that you can be honest. You can also look back on the good times and know that they can be recaptured. Keep going. Keep believing.

ShyAnon said...

Hi from an anon :)

I don't know how to say this so I don't sound rude, but this post makes you more human in my eyes. I had always wondered how you managed to keep the positivity and the activism up if you were still struggling! It really is admirable.

Also, a question: when you mean that you're hot all the time, do you mean that like in body temperature? Like everyone around you is fine but you feel like hugging the air conditioning while in tank tops and shorts? That has happened to me since starting to recover. I feel too hot all the time while everyone else is fine. They are all like in jackets while I sweat :( I hate it. I feel like I'm eating too much and if I weren't, I would be cold and fresh.

So, was something like that what you meant? Do you get hot more easily than others?

wendy said...


I agree with all the others that you don't need to put on a false happy message and or tidbits for each post.
As you see, all the others are appreciative of your honesty.
And reaching out for support.
Is there a way to cut back till you get some energy back and normalize your physiology?
Hugs to you

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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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