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Eating Disorder Recovery: December 2018 Update

Eating disorders suck.

Recovering from an eating disorder is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’ll probably be the hardest thing I will ever will do. Every few months brings new challenges, much less every year. I was almost 3 full years in recovery this past spring 2018…when the thoughts started hitting me again. Worrying about what I ate, how much I ate, and mostly worrying about my body (ie: my body image started going to shit again). Wow. I thought I was past that. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think I was “recovered”…though the prior summer, for a short time, I did think I was recovered….naive little me…

Slipping…

ANYWAY, realizing I was slipping again was discouraging, so I went back to seeing my eating disorder therapist in addition to seeing my primary therapist, who doesn’t deal with eating disorders. Overall, these past few months have been, like I said, discouraging. It’s not that the therapy hasn’t been helping, because it has. But it hasn’t been quite the short-term timeframe I was originally expecting it to be.

Originally I thought I’d go back to seeing my eating disorder therapist, Lucy, for a few weeks, maybe a few months. Just for a quick tune-up. HA! It’s now December. I’m still seeing Lucy in addition to seeing my primary therapist Barbra. I’m also back to seeing my former outpatient dietician, Laura. What the heck? I was supposed to be doing better! Heck, I was doing so well at 1 point that I even thought I was recovered!

What Happened?

What happened? Life happened. Recovery happened. I’ve known for far too long that recovery isn’t linear. Sometimes though, I manage to forget that. Or I get all into the mindset that “I’m the exception”. Fact is that no one is the exception, not even me.

PCOS Diagnosis

What else happened? I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in October. Something about that turned my slip into an even harder fall. When I received the PCOS diagnosis, something in me thought “Great! We can fix this! I can fix this! My body, my weight, the way my weight distributes (or doesn’t distribute) can be fixed!”…..yeah…no. That’s not really how PCOS works and unfortunately one of the hallmarks of PCOS is weight gain and trouble losing weight. Another hallmark of it is the way weight distributes or in my case, doesn’t distribute. That kills me mentally.

What do I mean about weight distribution?

Well, numbers aside, my weight doesn’t distribute. It sits. It sits right in my front, on my belly. Between PCOS and my Gastroparesis bloating, I walk around looking between 5-7 months pregnant 95% of the time. And there’s very little, if anything, that can be done about it. My doctor gave me the names of some supplements to try to help with insulin resistance, another side-effect of PCOS. But there’s no guarantee that helping the insulin resistance will help my weight re-distribute.

What does that mean?

This means that my psychological battle continues. It means that I have to fight against everything in me that wants to lose weight when my body doesn’t want to lose anymore weight. It means that I have to continue on in my quest for body acceptance and hopefully one day, maybe body love. My recovery continues. I must keep trudging on and fighting my own mind, like I have for years now.

Why am I just now saying something?

You may be wondering why I’m really just now saying anything about this, when I said earlier that this slip has been happening since the spring. Well, if I’m being completely honest, I’ve been ashamed. I’m such a perfectionist, as most people with eating disorders are. I want my recovery to look great, to look “perfect”. But that’s just it, recovery isn’t pretty. It’s not glamorous like many try to portray. Recovery is messy and tragic and full of many tears and celebrations and rising and falling. Recovery is 2 steps forward and 1 step back. But something I know from experience is that secrets keep us sick. So I reached out to Lucy in the spring. I reached out to Laura a couple months ago. I’ve been going to my former treatment center’s alumni support groups since the spring as well. And now I’m making this blog post. Because secrets keep me sick.

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