Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"our secrets keep us sick"

We hear this phrase so much in recovery, and even though we have heard it a bazillion times - it never stops being true. And it never lessens the importance of what those five words actually mean. I think sometimes in recovery, at least for me, when I hear things too much - I can sometimes forget just how important and crucial they are.

Last week pushed me, once again, to my breaking point. And by the weekend - I was done. Finished. No more recovery for this girl! A feeling that is all too familiar to me. But as the weekend went by, and as this week has gone by - the "healthy" jenn has been trying to push through all the static in my head, pleading for me to not give up. But all I wanted to do was forget about recovery. I wanted to give up and retreat back into my "safe" world of the eating disorder. Now, the "rational" jenn understands that the ed is not safe - but... when I am feeling out of control and pushed past my limits - it does feel safe. At least it does to me. It's a place to escape the painful feelings and that's all I wanted to do.

I was also contemplating deleting my posts from last week and possibly even deleting my entire blog. Why? Because then I wouldn't have to be held accountable. I could be "alone" with the illness and not have anyone judging my behaviors or feelings. I have been avoiding everyone on my treatment team for the past few months so... what would it hurt to just completely avoid everyone? Sometimes, I regret the fact that so many people know about my illness and my struggles. I feel more pressure to be perfect and be a better "recovery bound" jenn. I feel like people are more aware of what I am and am not doing and so I feel like when I relapse (cause it happens a lot) that I am letting people down, that people are thinking that I am weak, and wondering why this girl can't get her life together already!

Sometimes I wish I could go back to the time when people didn't know about the ed, or they had their suspicions but nothing was confirmed because I would deny, deny, deny!! Or I would insist that "I am fine, I know what I am doing, I have everything under control! It's not that big of a deal!" But I realize that it's the illness that wants those times back. Not me.

And what would avoiding do? What would happen if I wasn't being held accountable? - The answer is: I would slowly start sliding backwards, and further away from recovery like I have been. And these past few days the "healthy" jenn has been trying to remind me over and over that "our secrets keep us sick!" So I put the posts from last week back up (because even though I am embarrassed by the fact that they were pure hysteria & ed controlled... that was how I was feeling at the time (and honestly, I still am feeling a lot of those things now). I have also decided to continue blogging because I need a place where I can unload my mind and try to get those ed thoughts out of my head! When the ed thoughts are consuming so much of my mind - there is not much room for anything else.

And I do love the support and encouragement from everyone. I do! And even though sometimes I don't want to hear things that are said - I need to hear them. Because recovery isn't sugar-coated. Recovery is honest, painful, and real. The only way to heal is to get to, and work through those painful feelings that helped cause the illness in the first place. It's not fun. But it's necessary. Treatment is not fun. But it's necessary. Being called out & challenged on your thoughts, behaviors, and actions is not fun - but it's necessary!

One thing my therapist (well...ex therapist now...) would say to me was that "you aren't going to always want recovery. And that's okay - because those feelings are a part of the process, and it's natural to go through moments where you aren't sure if you want recovery or not - But just because you don't want it doesn't mean that you stop fighting for it. And those times when you feel like you don't want recovery are those crucial times when you need to fight the hardest and surround yourself with lots of support. This will be the hardest thing you will ever do because it's lived with you since you were 14 years old and therefore, it's firmly ingrained in your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs - so if you can beat this disease, Jenn - you can get through anything!" I want to believe this and sometimes I do. Sometimes I feel like I can conquer and rise above the eating disorder. But other times (like now) I feel completely crushed by it. It's a cycle. A mentally, physically, emotionally, & spiritually exhausting cycle.

The water retention, muscle and joint pain, and swelling finally went down over the weekend. I pretty much slept and did nothing else. I was kind of a emotion-less zombie - if you want to know the truth. Then on Monday morning, it was back to work and the ed once again had me convinced that (this is the ed talking by the way) "I was fine and all that I had needed was some sleep. Not food - just sleep." And then as the days have gone by this week - the "healthy" jenn has been trying to push through again and remind me that my body will continue to break down until I start to treat it right.

I don't know why I thought my new job would help me or save me from my current relapse when I was still doing the same damn behaviors - I was just now adding 8 hours of stressful work each day on top of barely eating, exercising too much, drinking too much caffeine (yes, you read that right. I am drinking caffeine again to get me through the day at work), and not getting enough sleep..... magical thinking maybe?

Am I feeling better? Am I pumped up and energized to start kicking the ed's butt again? No, not really. But - I am not going to give up, I am not going to stop writing, and I am not going to keep my "secrets" to myself. At least I am going to try not to.

My mom (and all of you!) have reminded me that I need to put my recovery first - no matter how tired I am of fighting. And I need to make the commitment to start seeing my treatment team again regularly - (I will keep my same doctors, but I need to find a new therapist... and a new dietitian that I feel will help me better than the one I have now) and I need to not run away from them when I am struggling. Because the longer I avoid them, the further away from recovery I get.

Living with an eating disorder is not living. No matter how much the ed tries to convince you otherwise You are a (slowly dying) walking zombie when you are in the throes of the eating disorder - and that is no way to live!

And I don't just want to survive this... I want to thrive!


  1. I could never judge you on a relapse, it's part of growing. Just don't give up, do your best to live each day to the fullest, even if it's having to sleep the entire weekend, to get yourself ready for the up coming week of stress. We all fall but as long as we get up and keep doing our best (even if at the time it don't seem like it's the best cuz we're so worn out). You're smart, you're strong, and you're not letting the fall back or relapse hold you down, I can see your still working on fighting it. You've got a lot of people who are rooting for you and are here to help encourage and support you. I hope this week is a better week.

  2. I hope you know that you are phenomenal. That you are fantastic. That your words are so true. And that I am grateful for the truth you give.

    Thank you,

  3. Jenn! I am so proud of you! I know what it's like to want to give up and not do it anymore. I went through that 3 weeks ago, but was reminded that it wasn't "me". I quit everything and didn't want to fight anymore. It really is easier said than done, most things in life are. I love you girly! Be happy!

  4. This is a very brave post Jenn. You spoke from the heart and I hope you will keep this post up and read it back again and again. Well said.

    Sarah x

  5. It sounds like you are really battling through a difficult time but you are having some important realizations! But remember, all the realizations in the world will not help you unless you put them into practice! I know it is hard, but I hope you are able to eat more this week (and yes, I am aware that it is dumb to tell an anorexic to "just eat"). I just want you to get yourself out of the danger zone so you have a chance to mover forward with your recovery and your LIFE!

    You can do it!

    No more Rockstar...;)

  6. That's my girl! Welcome back Jenn. Now lets kick some ED BUTT! :D I love ya.