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Old 09-13-2017, 11:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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When Does it End?


Does it end? When does it end? Is it my fault? How do I get it to go away? I've had an eating disorder for about 5 years now. What started out as anorexia has now evolved into bulimia. I hear this is common for those of the ed world. But it's hard. I feel like my situation is especially hard. When you go from restricting your food as much as you possibly can and then you get into this cycle of over-eating to throwing it up either because you're so full you have to or you feel so guilty you have to, you begin to hate yourself even more than you clearly already do. An anorexic's worst nightmare is gaining weight or "being fat" and with bulimia I gained a lot of weight. That's the worst part. There's a feeling of loss of control with binge eating...something you can't even fathom with anorexia when you're used to controlling your mind to think you're not hungry. It's a viscous downward spiral.

A little over 3 months ago, I went to a treatment center. It was nice to finally hear some things in which I could say "yeah me too" to. But at the same time, I felt it was the biggest waste of time for me. Is it me that is just failing at wanting to be healed? I spent so much time there and I really wasn't getting anything out of it other than to say "yeah me too" a couple times. It just made me even more bitter - from them telling me what to eat, telling me I wasn't fully committed to recovery because I wasn't trying hard enough, and sitting next to people that triggered the hell out of me without trying.

On a complete opposite note, my boyfriend goes to NA. He's been an angel sent from Heaven in my life. He is the best thing that could've ever happened to me. He gets me in a way that nobody else can - not my family, my friends, my coworkers, or anyone else not struggling with addiction. I opened up to him about my eating disorder early on into dating, surprisingly. I'm not quick to vulnerability like that. Recently as we were sitting in his truck I told him I had to tell him something but didn't want him to say anything back. In that moment I let him know that I love him. He gave me his phone in response to me telling him that, to read a note he had written. Nothing in this world has touched me as much as that note. I've never been a crier. But that night, I cried. There were several parts of that note that hit me at my core. I remember him saying he prays for me, that he hates that i'm in this spot, but what really got me was one thing I read. He talked about his grandma and how he was super close with her (one of the many reasons I love him) and how people talked highly of her. He said "I hope people talk about me like that when I'm gone. But they won't." and that wrecked me. How could someone I love SO much say that about themselves? Does he not see what I do? Does he not feel how much I care about him? Does he not understand that I would say h=that x3589? Is that how he feels when I say and do the things I do?

I've seen my mom cry two times in my life. Once when I was 3 years old and her mom died. The other time being when she found out I was throwing up after I ate. That wrecked me too. What does it take to stop? How many people do you have to hurt that you love before you can give it up? How many times do you have to hear your parents fight over how to handle their grown 23 year old daughter's issues?

When does it end? I have a feeling nobody can tell me. Or the answer is when I finally make the decision. But that just makes me want to punch a hole straight through a wall and give them the middle finger. I don't choose this life. I don't choose to look at food differently than everyone else. I don't choose to sometimes be okay with eating carbs and sometimes go completely insane as the thought that I have consumed them. I don't choose to have a mental battle with myself over mealtimes and food options. I don't choose this life and I don't understand how it chose me. Maybe one day it won't anymore.
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Farmer 1594

I can relate to much of your post.

Welcome to this side of the forum.

For me though my ED behavior took many forms over the years, regardless of if I was under or over eating the root cause was the same......not wanting to feel.

I was working on my recovery, in my mid 20s when I was able to cry for the first time.

I had so many emotions stuffed for so long that they fermented and were exploding out of me sideways.....I used food to try and numb out and stuff them some more.

At one point in my life, when I had less choice (I started weird food behaviors by the time I was 4) my ED saved me.

My life changed when I realized that the behavior that once had saved me and kept me safe was making me miserable.

I thought prior to recovery that recovery would be like a light switch flipping on and all would be better. This has not been my experience. Rather it has been about small, sustainable changes with steps forward and back.

I did not have a choice about the creation of my ED. I do have a choice in getting help and support and recovery around it. I did not choose to have an ED, I do choose daily to work my recovery. That is my choice and in my control

What kind of recovery support do you have for you? My recovery support has been varied. Therapy, ED groups, Al-Anon (because while in recovery I met, fell in love and married a problem drinker....it helps me with my food stuff though), working with dietitians, meditation support, body work etc. Though they are different modalities all have helped.

What is one step you can make to assist yourself in recovery today? You already did one by posting here.
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome farmer - you'll find a ton of support here - you are not alone

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Old 09-14-2017, 12:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi Farmer,

I am so sorry for the pain you are going through. I hope it helps to know that you are not alone, and that there is hope in recovering from your ED.

I've had all forms of eating disorders from a young age. I'd say that food was my first addiction. Before I got better, the eating disorders that I had never completely went away. They would always come back in a different type eating disorder, or a previous one that I had. I was never in an eating disorders facility but looking back on my life, I personally wish I was. I think a structured treatment just focusing on my eating disorders would've helped me a lot. I'm not sure why recovery centers don't have eating disorder programs.

In my experience, there's an OCD component as well as definitely being too afraid to feel my feelings and deal with life moment to moment. Obsessing about food and everything related to food (weight, nutrition, cooking, etc) was a huge mental escape for me. It's all I ever thought about or talked about for a long time.

What helped me was therapy, mindfulness (still new at that), and a 12 step program. (Out of my experience is my opinion that my eating disorders were no different than my alcoholism).

What helped me most was realizing that my eating disorder was completely out of my control and I had to stop beating myself for not being able to control it. Then I seeked the proper support that could help me. Anxiety and depression were definitely underlying components of my eating disorders.

I just realized that the one eating disorder I had which seemed the least harmful, was the one that nearly killed me. I'll just say it was a close call. I didn't even think that particular eating disorder was real. Eating disorders are serious. They're much more than the stigma of "teenaged girls wanting to be thin." All forms of eating disorders can cause death. So they're no different than alcoholism or drug addiction in that regard.

Also, looking back I see now that knowledge wasn't enough to help me recover. I remember being in my late 20s on an eating disordered forum. The support helped a lot. But I also thought knowledge from websites, books, etc--understanding the eating disorders--would help me recover. The knowledge helped in the beginning to understand what I was up against, but it didn't help me recover. I still remember hearing that one of the girls from our small online support group was found dead at her computer from Bulimia. It caused her heart to stop due to the electrolyte imbalances bulimia causes. We were all so shocked, dumbfounded and saddened. But even after that experience, it wasn't enough to stop our own beasts. I needed support plus treatment and a program. I was in therapy at the time for depression. But I don't think I was able to be very honest with my therapist about my eating disorders, because I wasn't able to be honest with myself.

I know it doesn't feel like it now, but you most definitely can and will get through this with the proper care.

Hugs,
PTF
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Old 09-14-2017, 12:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Edit: I wanted to also say I wasn't implying that an eating disorders treatment center or something was the only way to recover. The 12 steps helped me. But I was just saying that years ago, I personally would've found an eating disorder treatment center helpful, since I wasn't able to be honest in therapy, and my therapy was so very unstructured/unfocused. Just sharing my experience and opinion. :-)
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Old 09-14-2017, 01:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Welcome, Farmer. Goodness so much in your post that I relate too.
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Old 09-14-2017, 03:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My apologies, Farmer. I just reread your post and realized I missed the part about your being in a treatment center.

Have you tried a 12 step program? My recommendation would be to look for an open AA big book program. I didn't do well in OA, because I wasn't one who just overate. I mainly had the other eating disorders. Following a rigid eating plan was so not a good idea for me, and definitely not what my general practitioner doctor wanted for me. Most people in OA are over eaters, but there are some anorexics, bulimics, etc.

I got more out of my AA program, though, and just applying it to food too (whatever you are powerless over it works for). The OA groups around here I found to be way too focused on just the eating plan and not focused enough on the step work. The step work I found to be key.

Good luck. I hope sharing my experience helps you in some way.
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Old 09-14-2017, 04:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Dear farmer1594,

I hear the pain in your post and I can relate as I was a compulsive overeater turned bulimic then back to overeating. I am now blessed with over 11 years of what Overeaters Anonymous calls Abstinence and what I describe as Food Sanity.

I'm glad to hear about your supportive boyfriend. You're both addicts and that's an incredible bond.

12 Step programs aren't the only answer. I too went to an in-patient facility which was helpful. I relapsed but fortunately I eventually asked God (or higher power) for help one more time and that was on Nov 28, 2005. My food isn't perfect; it doesn't have to be. The one absolute I do keep is No Sugar (desserts, candy, etc and no sugar-free substitutes either).

I hope you seek help from some source other than yourself. I've found it true that recovery is an inside job but it can't (for me) be done alone. My disease doesn't want me to recover. My disease lies to me--it says I don't have a disease and that one won't hurt!

Peace and blessings to you.
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Old 09-15-2017, 08:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Dear pathway,

I agree that the Steps are vital to recovery. For a number of years I used my AA program for all my recovery issues (and boy, do I have a few). [smile]

I currently only have an OA sponsor but am open to working with an AA sponsor. In the meantime, I attempt to cultivate friendships with women in AA hoping that I'll meet someone to work with. No luck so far. I admit my part--I don't go to enough varied AA meetings in which to meet longtimers that have what I want.

Food is my first addiction too. My earliest memory of using food is 7 years old. Drinking took over from 13-29 but always I was either on a diet or breaking a diet. So glad that's over. I was 44 when the bulimia stopped and about 48 when I got abstinent.

I've worked with women with less time than me. Quality is more important than time. On 13 October if I don't do anything stupid between now and then, I'll be blessed with 31 years.

Farmer, hang in there, ok? Reach out for help. Let us know how you're doing.
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Old 09-15-2017, 08:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Ringo123 View Post
Dear pathway,

I agree that the Steps are vital to recovery. For a number of years I used my AA program for all my recovery issues (and boy, do I have a few). [smile]
Hi Ringo!

I hope we hear from Farmer again soon on her thread here.

I'm glad to hear from someone else who was able to use her AA program for all recovery issues (yeah I have a few, too, lol!)

Quote:
I currently only have an OA sponsor but am open to working with an AA sponsor. In the meantime, I attempt to cultivate friendships with women in AA hoping that I'll meet someone to work with. No luck so far. I admit my part--I don't go to enough varied AA meetings in which to meet longtimers that have what I want.
If you ever want an AA big book sponsor from a far, I'm happy to be there for you. :-) I guide women through the steps with the book so they can have their own experience. I do that with all addictions not just alcohol.

Quote:
Food is my first addiction too. My earliest memory of using food is 7 years old. Drinking took over from 13-29 but always I was either on a diet or breaking a diet. So glad that's over. I was 44 when the bulimia stopped and about 48 when I got abstinent.
My mother used to tell me that I never wanted to take my bottle, I only wanted to eat.... It's more painful for me to talk about the havoc food has played in my mind than alcohol has, if that makes sense. Dying from an eating disorder to me seems like a slow painful soul death first. Hmm wait it's like that with alcohol, too. I'm sorry I can't seem to get my thoughts out right this morning. :-( Thank goodness there is RECOVERY and HOPE because many have recovered!!!

Quote:
I've worked with women with less time than me. Quality is more important than time. On 13 October if I don't do anything stupid between now and then, I'll be blessed with 31 years.
I completely agree with you!! I don't care how long a person has. I've met many long timers who were still very sick, and I've met people with short time who were amazingly well. I even know a couple of people still in the steps who are incredibly well already.

Quote:
Farmer, hang in there, ok? Reach out for help. Let us know how you're doing.
Yes, Farmer, please reach out and check in with us!! I apologize if I got a little over eager on your thread here. :-( We care about you and want to hear from you.
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Old 09-18-2017, 06:44 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thank You

All,

Thank you for the words and support. I sometimes forget that those I may not know personally can have the biggest impact. Quite honestly, I almost forgot I had posted here and quickly remembered to sign in and read all of the responses and was just overwhelmed with gratitude.

Some days are better than others, I think that's a given with all aspects of life but especially addiction. One thing I know that helps people like us is open communication. I mentioned my bf earlier at the beginning of this thread, and we were just not connecting at all this week. Yesterday we were able to have an honest and open conversation about what's been going on this week and it was very helpful for both of us. Sometimes we can just see someone's action, have a thought, that leads to a feeling, (or maybe that happens another way for you) and then our head just spirals into some conclusion and that leads us to the "fight or flight" type responses which is why our first thought is our addiction. I was told that fight or flight triggers the limbic brain and the limbic brain is where our addictions live, which is why anxiety leads to addictions. I've loved knowing the science behind addiction to know i'm not crazy and making everything up either.

Although the treatment center may not have been for me, I feel as though there's got to be something that is. I too have tried the 12 step program. I did it through Re:generation at my Church last Fall and it just wasn't my favorite. I didn't love that I was sharing all my problems with a random group of people who didn't get me. That was before the treatment center. If I decide to do another group again, I looked into something like Eating Disorders Anonymous or whatever that may be. I'm just not sure about those? In the meantime, My therapist that I see weekly is insanely helpful with the background as to why things are happening and why i'm thinking certain things. My bf just gets it and gets me and is someone I can talk to. But other than the two of them, there's really not anyone else support-wise. Maybe that's what I need to work on soon.

I work a full-time job and I've never been someone who wanted to admit to hating their job, but that's me. There's so much petty drama on the team and the funny part is they're all older than me too. I work a part-time job on top of that and I really enjoy it. I want to keep it because it's something I look forward too. I know if I just went to the FT job and went home I would go insane. Life is happening but it's okay. It's teaching me things along the way. I used to plan ahead or look in the past and the thing I am working on now is staying present. Holding on day by day now!

Thank you all for your responses throughout the thread. It truly has been helpful.
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Old 09-18-2017, 05:46 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Farmer-

This may not relate to you, but one of the other ways I cope and numb out is to overwork myself.

My recovery took time, effort and my brain and body well rested. That was hard for me when I was overworking myself....and being tired triggers addictive behaviors for me.
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