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My one year mark... and fear.


amberlyn
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So I was diagnosed with anorexia in Dec 2008. After inpatient and outpatient care, I realized/was informed that I have been dealing with this since 1999. Not surprising to me at all, but still scary.

December 11, 2009 was my one year of being in recovery. In a year's time period, I have gone from 95 lbs to 125 lbs, at 5'8". I still have some work to do but I've come a long way in a year.

Sometimes I still get the urges to act out my eating disorder. Part of why it's not as bad anymore is because I've been working on my self-esteem issues, so I'm starting to slooooowly care about myself more. I know that it's a day-to-day thing that I'm going to have to deal with all of my life. It's so much harder than most people realize. It's not like other addictions where you tend to have to keep yourself away from things. Anorexia is something that you have to take yourself to. You have force yourself to eat .. and then force yourself to keep it down, or not go burn off the calories. (This is in no way saying that I believe eating disorders are harder to deal with than other addictions... just different. I sympathize with those that have to deal with drug or alcohol addictions each and every day.)

I promised my boyfriend that I would try my hardest to always take care of myself, and I have upheld that promise to the best of my ability. I'm just scared that one day I'm going to end up like I was last year. I wasn't with my boyfriend at that time, so he didn't have to go through everything with me. He never took me to the ER for dehydration, he didn't watch me stumbling around the house because I had no balance, he didn't have to fear trying to wake me up because of a possible heart attack ... he didn't get the phone calls while I was in inpatient, crying & screaming, wanting to leave because "recovery is impossible anyway!" I don't want that to ever happen again because I don't want him to go through all of that. But from my extensive knowledge of eating disorders (I had a strange, 'unexplainable' fascination with EDs in middle & high school ... now I know why), I know that it will more than likely happen again. Most ED patients go through cycles, and usually don't visit a hospital just once and then "they're all better." And that scares me.

But who knows? ... Maybe I'll defy the odds...

Edited by amberlyn
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You should be very proud of yourself for 1 year of recovery! Good for you! It's a tough thing you are doing and you have actually gone a whole year of healing and taking care of yourself. I can see that you may have fears of going there again, it was a traumatic things to live and I'm sure your mind goes back there because it marked you.

But from my perspective I see a strong girl, one who had the courage to address what once seemed like the impossible a year ago. You now have a support system in place, your are working on the right issues and you know what the condition is about. The difficulty is always keeping our anxieties in check and to remain optimistic....

Whatever you have been doing appears to have worked for you, so keep on keeping on :)

Best of wishes on this important birthday!

Symora

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It is wonderful that you have worked so hard to overcome your ED . You are on your way to recovery, and this is awesome .

I know from first hand experience that ED's are not something you can get wel over night. The longer you have an ED the more ingrained it becomes within you and a part of you. This is why is is so difficult to overcome them.

I suffered both Anorexia and Bulimia for 9 yrs of my life at one time. DId the inpatient thing as well . I had 3% body fat left on me on the inside and out. I was placed in a wheelchair. Medical staff thought I was going to die . Scary thing was that I never felt ill. That is the hold Anorexia has .

Oh , yes, how can I forget the trips to the ER? It was so bad I could not make sense when trying to talk. PLus the horrid muscle cramps , from taking and abusing laxatives .

Horrible , scary , terrible , years. I was so disgustingly thin , and it was ugly .

I never ever want to ever go through that again. I was also constanly cold. Air would go right to my bones , which were protruding out in places already , making me freeze .

Now, presently , I overcame my ED , because at 92 LBS with nearly none existent periods, I became pregnant, 16yrs ago. I chose life , and put on weight.

Yes, the weight came on easy, because of all those yrs of starving myself. At least my baby was healthy, and he became my focus. I dropped the ED.

I am heavy now. ANd you know what? I am still me. The same person regardless of how much I weigh. That was the biggest lesson I learned.

I lost teeth because of the ED, I struggle with stomach ulcers to this day because of the ED. THe ED took a toll on my health , that can't be taken back.

You mentioned you are 5'8 and 125lbs. IMO, that is still thin , I hope you continue to to work on the ED, and not let it control you. Your so m uch more then how much a scale says .

I honestly and truely believe that you can make it through this , and overcome the hold the ED has . Therapy and support will also encourage you on the road to recovery.

Congradulations for making it this far in recovery. I understand what and how difficult this is for you.

mscat

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MScat,

Thank you so much for your story. A lot of times, the biggest help is knowing that you're not alone. ;) I think that's why I always got something out of group therapy in outpatient. (I was the only person in inpatient that was there for ED ... I was in the psych ward of the hospital so I did all therapy with the other addicts.) I definitely know what it's like to have health problems thanks to ED that can never be taken away. 10 years of anorexia will do that to you - especially when it takes 9 of them to even realize that's what you're doing to yourself.

You're right, 125 is still thin. My ideal healthy weight (according to my doctor) is 130-140. I'm very small framed so 130 is healthy for me, even though most people say I should be 135. But 125 is MUCH closer to my healthy weight than 95! And you're right in that I am more than just a number on a scale. Actually, my boyfriend has banned scales from the house and since I finally am slowly learning to love myself, I'm not as worried about numbers.

Thanks again, for sharing & for the support. I know that I have a long journey ahead of me but I also know that I will never being doing it alone. :)

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amberlyn - first of all well done!!

im proud you have come this far, as im sure your family is too.

try not to worry too much, you have will power. and i think that is one of the most important things. you actually want to get better, and where theres a will there is a way (:

you have probably heard it all before, but if you feel you eating disorder is comming back round for the attack, speak to someone. speak to your boyfriend or family, let them know every step your taking. maybe you just need reassuring that it will be okay - i know its not the same but its what i needed when i was addicted to self harm.

Also dont be afraid to cry, or just scream. you need to let out your emotions then do it. its better than harming your body, and there is nothing wrong with it.

On a last note, if you do relapse then dont think your alone. im sure thousands of people do it everyyear, and there is support for you. it doesnt mean your weak, your strong for trying in the first place. just keep trying. il be thinking of you love, message me if you need me (: take care of yourself.

helen.

x

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Amberlyn,

Congratulations on your year of recovery from anorexia. As a former anorexic myself, I know how hard it is to recover. I had a severe bout with anorexia many years ago (low weight 80, healthy weight 115), before there was really any treatment for the disorder, but I recovered fully. By that I mean that I now have an accurate body image, eat normally to my appetite (no calorie counting or anything like that) and normal weight fluctuations do not affect my self-esteem.

I thought it might help you to have a bit of a perspective from someone who has experienced a full recovery from anorexia. First of all, I think it is a misconception that full recovery is impossible--you hear this a lot in recovery circles of all types but I don't buy it. I am, if anything, more comfortable with food than most women I know. It's true that there are some aftereffects that will never go away--battle scars if you will. I'm basically the osteoporosis poster child with my small bones, white skin and history of starvation during adolescence and young adulthood.

But today I'm...well, just fine and I think you can be, too. It isn't an overnight job because the real work is in becoming comfortable inside your own skin. It's not so much about food or weight as it is about liking yourself and feeling that you are in control of your life and your choices. It's not easy by any means, but I truly believe that anyone who has the guts to confront the food part of it has the guts to do the inside work as well.

I wish you all the best and again, Congrats!!!

ML

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Mona Lisa,

It means a lot that you're here to support me through this. I don't know many other people that have dealt with this ... I did the outpatient group therapy and whatnot, and I met some awesome people in there, but am no longer in contact with any of them. I also have a couple of friends dealing with ED but I seem to be moving along faster than they are in recovery. (I, of course, know that to his own & that there's no proper time frame on recovery... I'm just observing that I'm more of a support for them than they are for me. I hope that makes sense)

I've actually never heard anyone talk about recovery the way that you have. I can definitely see where you're coming from and hope to, one day, be able to love myself as much as you love yourself. Of course it's not about food! Haha - too bad everyone else doesn't understand that. Anyway, thanks again!

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It is always the underlying issues that prevent recovery from an ED . When I was inpatient, we had always ended up tryingto discuss what was going on for us on the inside during group therapy. We had to really do rethinking and talk about those issues . Much of it was about family problems and how we felt about ourselves and our own bodies. We kept journals too.

You can overcome your anorexia , and be at a healthy weight. I know when i was in the grip of the ED all I could do is think about food, and when I could Binge and purge ... I was starving myself as well as the bulimia. These were not good times, I did not realise how the ED was taking over my life .

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Well, I'm doing pretty well lately. Had a rough night last week, but I think stress played into that. I felt like I didn't eat enough for someone, so I felt like I needed to punish myself for that. Luckily, I held strong and was able to push through. I kept telling myself that "I'd rather him be mad & me take care of myself, than not take care of myself to please him." And I did. I found later that he wasn't even mad at me - he had his own issues going on.

It's been getting a little bit harder lately. Seems like things keep pointing back to remind me of ED. The other day, I had a guy ask how much I weighed. I thought he was stupid & inappropriate but because of the way he worded it, I felt compelled to answer him.

Him: "So how much do you weigh? Like, 110?"

Me: "No, actually I weigh 125."

Him: "Really?? You don't look it!"

[Later on in the night...]

Him: "I still don't believe you. You can't weigh 125!"

I think he was trying to give me a compliment (since people assume that women always want to be told how skinny they are) ... but he actually made things worse. I talked to a friend about it later and told him how scared I was. I didn't WANT to look 110 ... I look scarily unhealthy at 110. He reminded me, though, that many people are horrible judges of weight, especially since everyone carries it differently.

It was good to get that out ;) Been struggling a bit, but still doing well.

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Amberlyn,

I hear you! Most people have no clue and you just can't let it mess with your head. Why it is that some folks think it's ok to ask a slender woman how much she weighs is beyond me, but it happens all the time (nobody would ever ask a heavy woman the same question).

A few years ago I was going through a divorce and, what with all the emotional turmoil, lost about 7-8 pounds which is a lot on my small frame. I didn't look well but I wasn't anorexic, just upset. I was astonished by the number of people who would actually try to "confront" me thinking that I was developing anorexia (people who had no idea about my history). Their naivete blew my mind.

Then, there were some women who thought I looked GREAT and wanted to know my "secret"! It was a bit amusing to answer "I'm in the middle of a divorce, but I can't say I recommend that as a weight loss program."

The point is--and I know you get this intellectually, but I'm going to put it right out there--people's comments about your weight are rude and they mean absolutely nothing. The only appropriate thing to do is to ignore them.

ML

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Thanks Mona Lisa. And you're right. Commentary is unnecessary. I do understand that most people have no idea about my situation so they, for some ungodly reason, think it's okay to ask such questions. I just ignore them because they're ignorant. :)

And Rose, thanks. Hope your week has gone well and that you have an awesome weekend!

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