We had a blizzard yesterday. The snow got so high I couldn’t open my front door. We got almost 2 feet of snow. Due to the storm, treatment was canceled last night. We did have it tonight. I have only 2 weeks left before I transition to outpatient. I’m excited and nervous. Next week was supposed to be my last week, but my therapist felt I could benefit from an extra week and my insurance approved it. I’m relieved to have an extra week, but also look forward to transitioning because of all the extra time I’ll have. I have gotten a lot out of this program, but going every night has been a little exhausting. With the end of the semester coming, I look forward to having the extra study time. I need it.
The other morning after weighing my head was so loud I didn’t want to eat breakfast. My mind was telling me all sorts of things like I don’t deserve food, I am unworthy of food, I’m too lazy and fat for food, etc. I just wanted the voices to stop. I drew out what the scale was telling me, with myself in the corner with my hands over my ears trying not to listen. The brown background signifies the overall mental confusion in my head that morning.
The other night I had an ice cream sandwich. I immediately felt the urge to cut. I felt like I deserved to be punished for eating the ice cream sandwich. I felt like I had done something reprehensible and needed to atone for it.
Luckily, I was able to distract myself long enough to keep myself from cutting (partly by doing this picture).
I know I’m probably going to get a lot of hate for this, but there it is.
Why, you ask, do I hate fat people? Well, technically I don’t hate them, they just make me acutely uncomfortable. When I am around fat people, you see, it is a blaring reminder to me that I am in fact very fat. All I can think about is how fat I am. I don’t know why they have this effect on me, but they do. I can think of nothing else when they’re around except how fat I am.
I bring this up because there is a new lady in treatment who is fat. I don’t say that to be demeaning, it’s just a description of her body. But I am severely uncomfortable around her, and that makes me feel like a bad person. I feel like a hypocrite. Like a complete ass.
Several weeks back, in art therapy, I drew my eating disorder. It had a butterfly coming off the front, hanging down in front of my face, that signified all the beautiful lies my eating disorder tells me. Last week in art therapy, I made this big butterfly out of clay (about a foot across) and last night I painted it. I used some of my favorite colors, blue and pink and pearl. I painted it gold so it would be flashy and pretty. I wanted it to look like something I would want. I wanted it to truly represent the desires that I have to reach out for that butterfly. To embrace it. To look only at what my eating disorder claims it can offer me.
This morning, I took it outside and I smashed it. I actually used that knife sharpener that’s in the picture because I wanted to stab it, but not with something sharp like a knife. That seemed dangerous. So I stabbed it repeatedly with the knife sharpener. I found it strangely satisfying to watch the pieces of the wings crumble and break apart. It felt somehow freeing. Like, “No, I’m not going to listen to your lies anymore! I’m going to live according to my values, and my values don’t align with the lies you were feeding me.” I feel like if I can stop looking at the butterfly, I can see the eating disorder for the hideous monster that it really is. Goodbye, butterfly.
In experiential group last night, we made collages of what our lives look like just surviving and what they look like thriving. The left half is surviving and the right is thriving. I put a woman punching a punching bag because living with my eating disorder feels like I’m always in a fight for survival. I put “Keep calm OR carry on” because I feel like I can do one or the other, but not both at the same time. I put “To the brink” because I feel like I’m always at the brink when I’m in survival mode. I put “everything easier” (it originally said “everything Easter” but I altered it) because my eating disorder promises it’ll make everything easier. I put “the master” because my eating disorder is literally my master when I’m in that surviving mode. It says “wake me when it’s over” because I just don’t deal with anything, I let my eating disorder deal with it for me. It says “comfort first” because living in survival mode means taking the comfortable route instead of the brave route or the right route. I put “look good” and “you can lose weight while enjoying this” because those are both lies my eating disorder tells me. I put “frizzled” and “whipped” because that’s how I feel all the time in survival mode. It says “Now what?!?” because the rules are ALWAYS changing with an eating disorder. I put And for our next trick” because the eating disorder is always trying to trick me. And finally, there is a woman standing on a scaled with the words “what’s your number?” because the mood for that day, the rules for that day, are always set by what the number says on the scale that morning.
On the thriving side, it says “do more than one thing and do them well” because I want to be able to do more than maintain my eating disorder, and I want to have the focus, health, and cognitive skills to do them well. It says “fear of nothing” because I want to get to a state where I’m not living in fear of food, calories, not exercising, the rules in my head, the judgments of others, etc. It says “the best stories” because I feel like only after I’m thriving can I start to accumulate my life’s best stories. I put “Burn bright. Burn true.” because I want to radiate who I truly am as a person, and be genuine and authentic, not isolate, not lie, not hide. I put “love” because it’s my most import value and I want it to be my guiding passion. I put “no regrets” because I’m tired of living in constant regret. It says “feel good” because I want to feel good about myself, I want to feel good physically, and I want to feel good about who I am as a person. It says “a great finish” because regardless of how I started out life or how I’ve spent the last 31 years, I can have a great finish. I put “experience more” because once I am thriving I can truly experience life, not just get through it. I put “stronger” because I am getting stronger every day and want to continue to do so every day after. I put a picture of a lady with two small children because I want to start a family. I put a picture of someone celebrating their birthday with cake and friends because I want to be able to do that. I put “start every day full of life” because I think it’s a great motto to have. And finally, I put a woman doing a handstand because she looked carefree and I want to be carefree.
I’ve noticed an unfortunate trend in myself the last several days. I’ve been thinking to myself, I have 3 more weeks of program, then I can stop following the meal plan. Or. I have 3 more weeks of program, then I can go back to restricting, but I won’t binge and purge anymore. And I’m perfectly ok with thinking these thoughts. I justify them. I tell myself how much better I’m doing now than I was 7 weeks ago and that this means it’s ok to “restrict a little” when I finish the program. After all, I mostly wanted to stop the constant binging and purging, and I’ve gone 2 whole weeks without doing that. I could probably go the rest of my lifetime, right? I will never again slip up, even if I stop following my meal plan, even if I go back to restricting, I’m sure I can keep those behaviors at bay now.
Also, the last couple of days, I have been contemplating halving my meal plan. If it says 3 proteins, I’ll eat 1 and a half. If it says 2 starches, I’ll eat 1. I haven’t done it, but I’m justifying in my head why it would be ok. And I have a feeling the longer I continue to justify it, the more likely I will be to actually do it, even while still in the program. Besides, it’s not like they care if I restrict. I’m fat, so it’s not a problem for me. This is the vibe I get from my therapist. Just like I can’t have a problem with exercise. She knows I workout at least twice a day, and she commended me for it. Thanks. She didn’t bother to ask what my motivation for working out is, whether it’s compulsive, whether it’s increased since I stopped purging, I can’t have problems with exercise or restriction because I don’t fit into a certain mold. Well, fine, my eating disorder loves that, and uses that to justify all sorts of things.
So yes, I am having a problem with justifying. I know it’s going to get me into trouble. The problem is, I sort of want that.
A few weeks back in art therapy, I drew my eating disorder. One main feature of my eating disorder was the butterfly it dangles in front of my face, which represents the beautiful lies my eating disorder tells me. The promises it makes me. The things that make me want to keep my eating disorder around. Today, my head was LOUD with those lies. I couldn’t get past them and ate only an apple for breakfast and carrots for lunch.
Tonight, at treatment, I struggled through dinner, but I was able to finish. However, after, my therapist could tell I was really having a hard time so she pulled me into her office to talk for a few minutes before art therapy. She reminded me of the reasons I had given her that I wanted to recover and some other things and it really helped me to refocus.
When I got to art therapy, I decided I was tired of the beautiful lies my eating disorder tells. I’m sick of getting caught up in them. I hate how easily I get pulled into their web of deceit. So, in response, I made a large clay butterfly. When it dries, I want to paint it so it looks pretty, to represent how alluring the lies are. Then, I want to take it outside and smash it with a hammer!!
A large part of me still wants to not eat, to not follow my meal plan, but I’m going to try tomorrow to follow it. I went grocery shopping on the way home from treatment because I didn’t have what I needed in order to follow my meal plan, so to set myself up for my success, I went grocery shopping and filled in the blanks of my pantry. I may hate fighting this on so many levels, but I’m going to beat this. I may be emotionally and mentally exhausted, but I’m going to keep trudging.
This morning a friend sent me a story about a woman who lived on just apples for months and how she has recovered and is doing well now. She meant so well with sending it to me, but really all it did was just trigger me. All I’ve thought of all day is living on just apples. I’ve thought about finishing my time in treatment so that I can go and live on apples. It was all I thought of all through groups tonight. Apples. You could do it, you know. You could live on just apples. Do it. Prove people wrong. Show them you can live on just apples. Show people you don’t really need to follow the meal plan like they say. You could be good at this. You used to be a good anorexic, you could be again. Go back to anorexia. You miss it. It misses you. You need it. Anorexia is better than bulimia. Anorexia is better than following a meal plan. You don’t need food anyway. It’s all a lie to get you to eat. They want you fat.
My head is so loud right now. Around and around the thoughts are going. Chasing each other. I wish I knew how to quiet them without restricting or purging. I don’t, though, and that’s a problem. I am so overwhelmed right now. I just want to never eat again. I just want to prove I can do it. That I can be the first human to not need food.
My team gave me a lofty goal to go one week behavior-free. No restricting, no binging and purging. I haven’t done great in the no restricting department. However, I have achieved a personal goal: I went all weekend without binging and purging! That’s a first for me! Yes, it’s only 3 days, but that’s 3 days that I was binging and purging in before and now I’ve managed to NOT binge and purge for all three of those days! It might sound small, but it feels HUGE! It’s actually been a week and 2 days since I binged and purged last! Yes, I’m still struggling with restriction, but for a bulimic to go over a week without binging and purging, that’s a big deal!!
Now to just work on following my meal plan. I meet with the RD today. I am going to ask for a lesser meal plan, I think mine is too much food. I have no idea whether she’ll comply, but I’m going to ask either way. I have to meet with her because I’m still having to boost consistently at dinners and my therapist told me to meet with her to see if she can help. I don’t see how she can, but I’ll ask anyway.