26 January 2014

Where do we go from here?

So, today it is 2 years, 5 months, and 24 days since I started treatment at my current eating disorders service. That's 904 days scattered with therapy, dietician appointments, meal plans, blood tests, weigh-ins and apparently that's around 21,816 hours filled up fighting anorexia. 

In that time I've eaten, I've cried, I've lost weight, I gained LOTS of weight and in the words of my dietician I 'have worked really hard' to beat my eating disorder. I've switched therapists, banned my family from ever coming to another FT session. I've let people into my life, my recovery journey. I've pushed others - some very unhelpful people - away. I've regained nuggets of life, I'm rebuilding my career, I hope I've helped others' in recovery and I'm getting to know ME again. 

But REALLY where am I now? Where do I go from here? How can I keep going? How can I fully recover and be FREE of this? They were the big questions at my review last week and honestly?

I have no idea.

Recently it's been said I've slipped into a 'false sense of recovery' with life ticking along, with tough days and challenges yes, but generally plodding on.

My team have concerns this is dangerous place for me, because it leaves anorexia unchallenged on a day-to-day basis. I get caught up in a whirlwind of life going well, but it exposes me to the dangers of crashing if something goes even slightly wrong. 

I never wanted to be the skeletal wreak of a woman I was 2 years ago, it scared the hell out of me, I knew it wasn't right to look the way I did. Nine hundred days ago my body was shutting down, my health deteriorating by the day and I was terrifying my loved ones with the worst case scenario if I didn't take action.

That's why I have worked bloody hard to get to the weight I am, to be healthier, fitter. Some people NEVER get to here, halting at a much lower BMI. But this is the block now. I am really struggling to move from here. I can't bear to gain more weight, in fact I dread it. To lay it straight - I am 'borderline healthy', constantly fluctuating above and below the healthy range. And I don't seem to move from here. I can't see I need to. 

No, I am not menstruating, which I am constantly reminded is dangerous being a 28 year-old woman who wants children. Although my bones are okay at the moment. My bloods are pretty much there, but not quite. 

Food? It's safe. controlled and way too over-analysed. I've been empowered by Ms. F to be able to set my own meal plan, and don't feel trapped by my options but I'm not kidding myself either. I too often make 'No Big Deal' switches and happy to go off-plan if it means eating fewer calories. I still feel like I eat too much and get overwhelmed with guilt if I DARE eat too much 'junk', I'll eat out, sometimes and I still won't let people cook for me. This needs work, I know. 

I won't even get into the psychological progress; there is a hell of a lot of untangling still required. All I would say is through the amazing work of Mrs W. I'm so much more 'aware' of my illness, I have the tools to cope with and manage anorexia. With Dr B. I am getting to the roots of the problem, but it's taking time.

So, like I say, where do I go from here? Well, 

I am moving from weekly to monthly dietician appointments with Ms F. 
I will continue to set my own meal plans and fill out food diaries. 
I will be weighed monthly (like I have been for the last six months) 
I will continue having weekly therapy sessions with Dr. B.

I guess the POA is about weaning me off services. They believe 'I know what I need to do' and although it does confuse me, that they think I am 'fine' now, food wise and I no longer need to restore weight, I know they want to prove that I CAN DO THIS myself. I know what to do, I just need to do it. They're right, being propped up by services and supported can do more harm than good sometimes. 

But guess what? I still have anorexia.

I also only have 1 year, 1 month, 18 days until my self-set deadline for discharge. That's just 414 days to prove I can beat anorexia. 


  1. A self imposed deadline for discharge? Sounds like an anorexic thought. Progress, not perfection. I know you've heard it before but thought I'd drop it back in. It sounds like you have achieved a hell of a lot and it's taken an extraordinary amount of effort but you're in a place where you can see there is still as much to be done and that must be really scary. Hope you allow yourself to continue. You have my permission, do you have yours?

  2. I don't know who you are, so I can't give or take permission!

    But as for dealine. Not anorexic, it's my 30th birthday and I do not want this to drag into the next decade of my life. It's also something my team are keen I achieve, can't waste years of their time and throw away my life forever.

  3. This sounds confusing, that you say your team think you're fine food wise, but your body is still not back to full health (bloods, not menstruating) and fluctuating up and down around 'healthy' which might not be fully healthy for you individually. Obviously YOU know, and your team know what is right for you. You clearly have worked incredibly hard to get to where you are. I guess it's just about making sure you and your team are all on the same page, and yes, making those leaps you do need to make. A year is a long time, a lot can change through therapy, especially in these later stages, where you're able to think straight because you are feeding your body (and brain) properly. You can do it Sarah.

  4. What happens if you don't beat anorexia by your deadline? Do you just give up? :/

  5. Just be careful that by treading water at "borderline healthy" you don't slip backwards. You posted a photo on instagram from Christmas day, where you look very fragile and so many of the photos you publish of your food don't look substantial to nourish a human body properly. Please don't let anorexia tell you that you are eating properly if your weight is dipping around the healthy level. Push forward and nourish your body properly. I hope I haven't hurt or offended you by what I've said. Best of luck. You can do this & be free. X

  6. Sarah - Noway, It's just a goal I have in mind that I'd like to be strong enough and recovered enough not to rely on EDU services to live my life - there's no giving up involved

    and Anon - You haven't offended me, or hurt me, I do my own thing and eat my way. I am not 'fragile' but I know I can't stay boarderline and be fully recovered - work in progress.

  7. I sense you frustration with this evil voice in your head, because that's all it is, a voice. Yet we listen and religiously follow it's demands...or at least those not in recovery do. I am so envious of you. You have done the hardest part, gaining weight. I just can't seem to be able to. I constantly question whether my mental health 'outside' if Ana are related to my lw. I'm so scared that when I gain I will still suffer from these horrid feelings. Sorry gone on a tangent here! I wanted to say Well Done. Do not give in. Keep going and notice what huge progress you have made and all the amaZing things you have in your life and all the things you are able to do and the role model you are to us

  8. Oh good!!! So glad to hear that. I follow you on Twitter as everythingED by the way just in case you see me tweeting you from time to time. Keep on fighting.