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Sorry if this is moany, I'm just having real problems at the moment and I really need to vent and maybe find some perspective and support. I'm new here and I'm really struggling with recovery.
For the past two weeks, I've been trying to follow a meal plan set out by a dietician as an OP. there are set times and foods and weights and everything, so I still can fully control my intake, and its still really low calorie (1200 a day) and I'm not facing any fear foods and can still use diet products. In some ways its been really helpful, especially with getting me into new meal times and things, but I'm still being really restrictive, won't let anyone else make my food, loosing weight etc. and I never make it over 900 cals a day (which is better that always under 600, but not by much I know).
Other things are getting worse too, especially socially. I am more preoccupied with food then ever, I hate being seen in the kitchen, let alone preparing and eating food, especially now my brothers girlfriend has moved in, I feel like everyone is judging me and that I'm just a spectacle to them. I just hide in my room all the time and try to avoid social interactions with people. My Mum's been trying to follow the meal plan with me but I'm just getting angry with her as she refers to opinions I have as "psychological" or part of the "disease", which makes me feel worthless, like I'm nothing to her but a bunch of symptoms. And the three other people in my house don't even bother to attempt regular eating patterns so I just end up comparing myself with what they've been doing and feeling like I don't deserve food as they are not eating. And even seeing someone when I'm supposed to eat can trigger me to just restrict. It's got to the point where I just hate spending time with anyone now for fear of judgement and just want to be left alone.
The thing is, before I started this supposed recovery process, I could still talk to people, still distract myself sometimes and still engage with the world on some level. Now all of that is gone and I don't know why. Isn't it supposed to get better if I try to change? Now I just feel that if I got smaller, people my try and help me more and they my like me again. Right now, all I feel is that no one really sees me and that they would only take me seriously if they could see it on my body, how much it hurts to be like this.
I don't know what to do and how to get past this. It's all just so lonely.
Sorry, I know I sound like a whiny idiot.
please respond. everything is just scary x.
I'm really sorry to hear you're struggling :( I'm not very experienced, and I'm sure others will chip in, but I'll say what I can from what you've said...
Firstly, you are not feeling sociable as you are starving yourself - you probably don't have the energy to socialise and undereating is feeding into this cycle. This is going to sound brutal, but 'cruel to be kind', right? You're not going to recover by eating just 1200cals, but you're not even making that. You have to adopt a whole new mindset and motivate yourself. Think about what you love doing which you haven't been able to do recently, and give yourself REASONS to recover. As you say, you're becoming increasingly antisocial. You will feel FAR more sociable when you're nourishing your body properly.
As for your Mum, well Mums don't always say the right things, but look at it this way... she's getting involved in trying to help you recover, which shows how committed she is to you and your well-being. She loves you and it's painful to her to see you suffering and becoming introverted.
Where are you from? What are your stats? Is IP an option? Your team don't seem to be very good, in my opinion. Have you got any other options?
You are most certainly not worthless, you're trying to fight this and you NEED to embrace the challenge and fight back. You need to grit your teeth and kick hard. The anxiety is going to be tough, but keep reminding yourself about how you are going to have a proper full and happy life once you have recovered.
Stay strong and FIGHT!!! Don't give up or settle for half measures YOU CAN DO IT!!!
*Sending hugs* Take care xxx
Thank you for replying. Im from the U.K., so I've only got the NHS to use really. I'm in a specialist E.D. unit, but from my stats when I went there, my B.M.I. was 16.4) they decided out paitient is best. The thing is, they are really underfunded and understaffed. It took me a year from when I originally saw my G.P. to get an assessment, and I only managed that through multiple complaints to multiple different services. If I waste this opportunity, I might not be able to get it again. However, I only get seen by a psychiatrist once a month, and I have only just started the 9 month waiting list for therapy. My dietician is so lovely (she gave me an extra appointment as I was so upset at the first one, and again when I became so upset I called the unit to try and get seen by someone - she was the only one to call back and I'm seeing her again on Wednesday), but apart from her there's no real support, and she is only temporary and leaves next week. Also, I think I will end up getting one dietician appointment a month too as that's how long it would have been if not for the emergany appointment, which would basically be a month of a 1,200 calorie meal plan that I can't seem to reach. My weights now dropped again and my B.M.I. is 15.2, but there doesn't seem to be anyone to help.
Every bit of food is a battle and I completely realise how redundant this all is, calories, weight, food - it's all completely redundant really, but it's all I have left. If its all I have left, then I just feel redundant too and feel like there's no point in change. I also feel like I need to be smaller in order to get help and support. It's all well and good telling me to eat more, but if I could do that on my own, wouldn't I be doing it already? I need help and feel like no one is giving it to me.
So I just hide, fight myself over whether to eat an apple. I've managed to make it so that I can still to my entire meal plan and still be under 900 calories, but if I'm left to my own devices, I often skip parts of it as I'm so scared people in my house my notice me eating and then be reminded of me and my illness.
It just gets worse everyday and I don't know how to challenge it. It's all so pointless, so ridiculous, but what does that make me. I just want to stop existing entirely so this can just be done with, I just want to disappear like I was never there to begin with. I've never felt like this before and I don't know where to go or what to do to get any help.
Sorry is this is self pitying, it's not meant to be - I just need some advice and support.
You are having a very hard time right now and feel lost. I understand and wish that it was easier to get the help you need. Instead of waiting for someone to help and save you why not try to save yourself? Keep pushing ahead and adding calories and journal your feelings and find what is driving your disorder. Right now you feel so bad because you are so malnourished. Once you are more nourished you be able to see things more rationally and feel a lot better. There is no reason you have to wait for someone to give you permission to recover. Whether you get help or not you have to make the decision to live instead of die. You are not your disorder you have to challenge the voice in your head that tells you lies about your body and tells you not to eat. That is the disorder not you. This not about what anyone else will think if you eat or don't eat this about whether or not you live or die. I hope you get the help you need I really do, in the meantime you can find plenty of support on these boards. Look up some of Hedgren's posts for some very helpful information. Good luck.
I feel like I'm at an all time low mentally (but also physically - hit my lowest ever weight today - not good) but in some ways I think this is making me stronger. I am finally begining to see that I'm not my disorder and I am begining to recognise the voice telling me not to eat, and how ridiculous that is. I mean, I weight out salad leaves and blueberries and all these completely redundant things. I don't even know why anymore - what difference does it make if I eat extra leaves? It is all so pointless and I realise that it's all about control. But now it's making me feel pointless and quite frankly, really depressed. I don't see the point in leading a live based on meaningless figures and numbers. I'm 22 years old, I need to get out of this.
So I've made a decision. It's really scary and kept me up half the night. I don't know if it's the right thing to do, so basically I'm looking for some reassurance. I'm seeing my dietician tomorrow and right now my meal plan is:
B- 40g cereal with 150ml unsweetened soy milk, fruit and 150g low fat yogurt
L- 2 slices of bread, 30g hummus/peanut butter/portion of meat etc) with soup or salad or some other veg
S- Fruit and 150g low fat yogurt
D- Meal with 1/3 protein, 1/3 carb and 1/3 veg with 150ml of juice
S- 200ml unsweetened soy milk
I have been using that as a guide, but not challeneging any of my behavious, and was told it should be around 1,200 calories, causing me to feel restrictive anyway. I think I'm going to tell her that I need to be pushed and I need to make changes. I can't keep living this redundant life. I'm a post graduate student, I have a life and a future to plan for and achieve. I need to move faster than this and be challeneged. I need to stop weighing eveything, counting every calorie, weighing myself every day, and I need to be pushed to eat unsafe foods. So I need to lose some of this control and I want a serious weight gain meal plan, but I want it to not be detrimental to my health. I need a low G.I. in my diet (well founded b/p fears) and don't want too much saturated fat (but I know I need some fats), but I do need to change and lose my needs to control. I need to be able to have toast and meat and peanut butter and jam and food that I don't have to prepare myself. And to do this, I need a higher calorie meal plan, but I can't know how many calories it should be. I'm going to let my Mum prepare foods for me (at least one meal a day) which I know is ok because she followed the meal plan. She is also going to hide my food scales and I am going to take the batteries out of my (secret) scales. I am going to delete my bastard of a calorie counting app on my phone. I'm going on holiday to Spain on Friday. I don't want to ruin it by restricting to a meal plan. I need to be pushed and push myself. If I don't, I just sink into my own disorder further - they perfect themselves as they go on. And I'm looking for a private therapist.
However, I don't want to just do too much too fast and go backwards. Does this all seem like it's too much? Like this could just push my disorder to fight harder to win? And what should I do about exercise. I've cut down so much already (from 4 hours cardio classes a day to yoga 3 days a week and lots of walking), do I need to cut back more? I'm getting weaker and even yoga and walking are getting harder. Or should I try do some resistance training or what?
Is this the right thing to do? It terrifies me and I can feel my disorder fighting me take it back. What does everyone think?
edit: this is all thanks to the advice both on here and on other threads. I want to feel like I can try and challenege myself and embrace foods like others on here are, and you're right, it has to come from me not the permission of others. I need to do this myself, no one else can do this for me. Seeing how people are challeneging themselves and realising that there is support pushes me to achieve myself and give me something to be proud of. So thank you all x.
Scrunchy, I'm sorry you feel so alone and scared. It is good that you have a team of specialist help, but - and I'm not trying to be mean to you here - until you can eat your 1,200 meal plan without cheating, or 'getting away' with 900, you won't make any progress at all. Surviving on 900 calories is NOT recovery, it is active, full-blown anorexia.
I can SO relate to feeling embarrassed around food. I can remember having to ask my mother to leave the kitchen as I couldn't make meals in front of her, or eating with my hands over my mouth so people wouldn't see... it was sheer madness, all down to my starved brain not functioning properly.
Honey, you need more food. This site recommends 2,500+ calories a day for an adult female taller than 4' 11" to recover and repair a starved body. Please try to get up to 1,200 as a first step, and be prepared to increase.
As to what your Mum says, Mums rarely say the right thing (I am one, and I get it wrong with my eldest (age 9) quite a lot!!), but their hearts are in the right place!! and as for others in your house not eating, you can trust me on this one, they are eating a h*** of a lot more than you are!! try to increase, and always be as honest as you can with your recovery team. We are all here to help and support you as much as we can too. I'm from the UK. I know all about the NHS, and I can honestly say I've had more help from here than I got in 27 years of mainly do-it-yourself recovery, with my GP weighing me once a month or so... (like, what's the point of THAT?)
dansmum, thank you for understanding. How do you think my plan from my last post sounds atm.? I don't really understand how quickly I should be increasing my calories and how quickly I should force myself to change my attitudes by taking matters out of my own hands. My dietician seemed to suggest it should be slow, but slow is just allowing this to continue. What are you're experiences of that? Is it bad to do too much at once, or is just removing all the safety and taking all the opportunities to restrict or indulge in disordered behaviours way make me stronger in the long run? Are the risks of relapse higher that way?And would I endanger my body by increasing too fast?
Also, is there any way to manage the disordered social aspects of eating in the mean time? Because I can't seem to break the shame and guilt around others and food and it often triggers me. Any tips or hints would be great.
Sorry this is a lot in one post. I just feel like I'm going backwards not forwards and I'm realising that I want to find more meaning in life than just my body and the need to control it. I'm an active feminist for heaven's sake!
But this is the bit that proves you ARE moving forwards!!
It is difficult knowing how fast to do things. If you look up 'custardcream' you'll see that she got pretty frustrated with her 1,200 In-Patient plan and got it changed. I think the NHS starts low because of staffing issues - they don't have the staff to support people properly in changing their life style, so they go too slowly sometimes. I don't think it would be dangerous to up your intake, but I wouldn't jump from 900 to 2,500 overnihgt - maybe in 200 calorie increments, increasing twice a week maybe? that way you'd get to 2,500 in about 4 weeks. I just rememebr finding an anorexia book that had a meal plan of 1,000-1,100 for starting recovery, and used it for about 3 months - kidding myself, and everyone around me, that I was recovering, when actually I was still losing weight on that amount.
Your plan looks good as a START. If you can regulate the times you eat, and get into a pattern, then start adding extras onto that plan. Do you have a set target weight? I know the UK usually use BMI 19-20 (as per Royal College of Psychiatry), and certainly the biggest danger in relapsing is when you stop gaining too soon - believe me, I've done it countless times, hence still being stuck in this stupid disease after 28 years...
eating with others is something I'm not great at, but - i know this is daft - having the radio on helps. For me, the sound of everyone chewing is hard to tolerate, so music, or a chat show take the focus off hearing us all eat, and give my brain something else to think about... (stop me if I'm sounding too mad!!)
And for the feminist in you, I remember an old book by Susie Orbach called 'Fat is a feminist issue' or something like that - maybe worth a look!!
I'm intending to start this all tomorrow. One good thing about the meal plan I'm on right now is that it has got me to eat more regularly. I've been cheating it because I've been counting calories and worrying about every little detail of it, but I figure if I give up on counting then I'm sure to increase what I take in, and can try and involve myself in some family meals. I'm thinking a goal weight of 130lb or above (so my B.M.I. is over 21), does that sound about right?
It just I feel like if I'm counting calories then I cut back because things just seem too much. But if I don't count them, is there a danger I will increase too quickly and end up damaging myself physically, or mentally? What should I do?
Dietician tomorrow, I guess I'll ask her. This whole plan starts tomorrow and I'm so scared it's ridiculous. I couldn't sleep last night as my disorder was terrifying me so much telling me that I wouldn't be worth anything if I changed and that I just need to reach my goal first. This all seems so solid as I'm writting it as it's not just empty thoughts but down in words. I've also told my mum. I'm so scared.
Thanks though dansmum. I really do realise just how far I've got left to go but your support is really helping. Also, I literally brought that book today in fact, how ridiculous is that?!?
Is this the right thing to do?
Also, what should I do about exercise?
Fantastic!! So, yes, ask the dietician today, and usually people are told no exercise until a higher BMI (17.5 to 19 seems to be the range most doctors go for - mine said 17.5, most say more). Glad you've told your Mum!