Why can't I do this?

I wrote a post a while ago and had finally admitted I had a problem to my GP. This resulted in an urgent referral to an ED clinic. I realise I was lucky to get this so quickly and have had my first CBT sessions.

The first priority seems to be to get me to a safe weight and I understand the logic of this. However, I am struggling with this as I still have the issue of not wanting to gain weight. I had to discuss why I want to gain weight and realise that this is more about pleasing other people and saving them from worrying. I have been given a meal plan which includes meals and snacks but I can't do this and just end each day feeling like a failure. I eat a bit more at weekends when my husband is around and this is to keep him happy.

I feel like this is Groundhog Day and I'm not getting anywhere but it's my fault because I don't really want to change enough.

I don't know what to do, am I wasting everyone's time? Should I tell my psychologist at my next appointment that I can't do this or wait to see if anything changes?

I guess I just want the opinion of someone who has been there rather than the well intended advice of people who think it's easy to just decide to change and do it.

Sorry for moaning but thanks in advance for any advice you can give.

10 Replies

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  • Hi Kloggy I feel exactly the same it is so hard to let go of our EDs as this is the only way we know. One of the other groups I use BEAT said that we should think of it as a process not a quick result it is going to take time patience and a hell of a lot of effort from us. Keep strong dont let the ED win! Having an ED takes alot of mental strength try and channel that strength into your recovery, its bloody hard and I am not sure I can do it either but reaching out to groups and getting support makes you realise you are not alone - all the best

  • Thank you for your reply, you are right about patience, I guess that's what we both need a lot of right now. It's good to hear from someone who knows what I mean although I wouldn't wish this on anyone. Be kind to yourself and hopefully we can both beat this and become our 'real' selves again.x

  • Sounds like a good plan- i have learnt today take 1 day at a time dont plan to far ahead 👍

  • Only time for a quick reply. I do know from personal experience that the other reason to get your weight up is that when you have a very low weight your brain doesn't work properly. You need to gain some weight in order to allow your brain to function properly, and this in turn helps with how you cope. But I understand that the hardest bit is putting some weight on in the first place! Just keep trying! dont give up with the treatment you are entitled to it just as much as anyone else.

    X

  • Thank you for replying Lulet, it's good to have the opinion of someone who understands. My psychologist told me about an experiment called the Minnesota project where a group of men were deliberately starved for a period of time. When they'd lost a certain amount of weight there was a reaction in their brains which caused them to carry on starving. I guess what you say about the brain functioning better when you gain a bit more weight is the same thing in reverse.Hopefully if I am able to put on some weight things will get easier going forward.

    Take care.x

  • Hi, Lulet99 is right - if you are too low a weight then your brain doesn't function properly.

    Not sure if it helps, but I had three hospitalisations and then, on the third one, discharged myself because I realised that my head was a little further on than other people in the unit. I then went to daycare for about one year. It became important to me to put weight on myself rather than have to resort to another period in hospital. It was a big step and now, ten years later, I'm in a good place.

    The idea that you are not trying hard enough or that you don't want to get better is, I think, part of the ED - it all strengthens your anxiety around food. There are no quick fixes (sorry!) - you just have to keep plugging away at it every day (and as Bextherex said - it is very, very tiring). Some days will be good, some days will be bad. When you have a good day, try and think about what it was that helped you around food on that day (for me it could be as mundane as it being a sunny day and seeing some flowers...!).

    I also used to eat in front of my husband but a really important step was to feed myself - I wasn't doing it for him (much as I love him!) - I was doing it for my own health and so that I could get back to being the girl that he fell in love with. It's a subtle psychological shift - but it is very important.

    Over the years, I've heard people say that something just 'clicked' with them. I was always very skeptical about that but now I think that it is true. Part of it relates to getting up to a certain weight. Paradoxically, you feel better, and less anxious, as you approach a medically defined healthy weight.

    By the way, I was in therapy twice a week for eight years. You're psychologist won't think that you are wasting anyone's time....take it at your own pace.

    Good luck! I'm rooting for you.

  • Hi and thank you for replying. I am glad to hear that you are doing well, you are obviously a strong person. I have many good reasons to get better and people tell me that I too am a strong person. I know it will be a long journey but your encouragement has made me feel a bit more optimistic.

    Thank you and good luck to you. X

  • Hi Kloggy. How are you doing today? When I was in your situation, I was about 15 years old so my parents still had the right to tell me what to do. They had authority over me and I thank God they did, so they could make the decision for me, I was too weak to make. My father asked me: "Which one do you want? Do you want to live or do you want to die?" I cried and said "I want to live." Then he said: "Then you have to eat. Period. Otherwise I will force you to go to the hospital and they will start feeding you with tube." That's when something hit me and I knew I had come to the end of my destruction. I had to start eating. I had to care about my health more than how I wanted to look like. To survive.

    One thing you should know about all EDs, is that their only purpose in life is to destroy and kill its victim. Physically, mentally and emotionally. They are NEVER the right or the good way to lose weight. The damage it does to us is too much. And you will regret it later. It can affect you for the rest of your life. As a result of anorexia I now have arrhythmia and weak bones. It's terrible and I don't wish for it to anyone. (I only had ED for about 4-6 months.)

    Don't get me wrong dear, I'm not here to judge you. I just wanna help and encourage you. The voices will try to fight our minds until we die. But you need to kill those voices. Tell them they are liars. Tell them you look beautiful and good enough in a healthy way, without starving yourself. You need to learn how to love yourself and respect yourself. You need to care about yourself more. You have a great future ahead of you with your husband. So many goals. So many dreams. Don't allow ED to kill them. You are above it, girl! Believe in yourself and you will get there!

    Love, survivor of anorexia/bulimia

  • Thank you for your reply, it is so good to hear from someone who has experienced this and fought back.

    I am a middle aged lady so don't have anyone who can make me do anything but I have a very supportive husband, and I feel guilty about what I am putting him through. He says the same thing, that I need to learn to love myself again and that as my three sons are now grown up and independent this is our time to enjoy.I have faced this battle before, as a teenager and the physical effects then included losing my teeth by age 18 so I know how evil it is but I also know that I was able to eat it then.Thank you for your encouragement, wishing you happiness.x

  • EDs are extremely powerful and taking back your life from them is really hard. You are getting support - and I suggest you are open and honest with the psychologist about how you feel - and your feelings around pleasing others - and be truthful about your struggles with the meal plan they have set - I found the more I was honest - positively or negatively - the more I got out of sessions - I also talked about the problems with the meal plan - and we set more manageable goals - but these had a time scale to be achieved when we'd raise the goal posts - baby steps - but always forward. It is a hard battle you are waging - so take the advice - don't let the ED win.

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