Recovery or Relapse???

Hey there.

I have been battling with severe AN for nearly 5 years now and Ana has completely consumed my life the entire time.

Since January 2012 something in me changed. Ana changed. The voice was no longer telling me to eat less and less and to exercise more and more. Instead the voice was telling me to binge and binge and binge.

Since that point on 1st January 2012 I have been completely out of control with my binge eating and I gained 8 stone in 3-4 months :( In the early days of my weight gain everyone kept telling me I looked so much better for it, and at a BMI of 17-18 I honestly did agree. Now my BMI is up to about 26 and I look hideous. My clothes have gone from a baggy size 4 to a tight size 16. Where my bones used to pertrude out, I now have flab rolls. My face is round, my cheeks are chubby and my stomach has more rolls than a bakery. I am more unhappy than I have ever been before.

Despite my depression and suicidal thoughts (caused by the way I look and feel about my FAT body), I cant seem to stop eating. I would give anything to go back to Ana and return to being tiny, cold, tired and isolated. I know this shouldnt be the case because now I am healthy enough to do sport and socialise, but it's true. Ana was my friend through everything and I feel lost without her.

To all my friends from hospital who are suffering from AN I have to pretend that everything is fine but deep down I am dying inside and I cant cope anymore. I am due to be returning to university in a months time but I cannot go looking the way I do now.

What am I supposed to do? How do I rid myself of this binge eating disorder? How do I lose weight fast without Ana taking over me and resorting back to starvation?

I am scared!

10 Replies

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  • Failure - I really feel for you...I think your choice of name is so sad too. You are NOT a failure, what you are going through now is similar to the recovery process I went through and now I would say I am fully recovered from my anorexia/ binge eating. If I can do it, so can you...

    I suffered from AN about 10 years ago and got sent to a counselor for therapy. Early on in my treatment, I went from restricting what I ate to binging and I hated myself for 'losing control' of my eating. As I gained weight, people would tell me that I was looking better, and I would smile, thank them and tell them I felt better, but inside I felt so ashamed. I felt far worse about my binging than I did about the anorexia, but my counselor just didn't seem to get this - as long as I was gaining weight then she thought everything was OK. However I felt as though I was a thin person trapped inside a fat body that wasn't really mine and I just wanted to break free of it. The crunch came on my birthday - I decided that enough was enough and I needed to get a grip! I gave myself a good talking to and from then on, my binging reduced significantly, although I would still have the odd bad day when I was tired or frustrated. Over time I learned to ask myself what I REALLY wanted when I felt the need to binge - was I tired, thirsty, or did I just need some 'me' time?

    You say you dread going back to Uni looking as you do, but you have a month to do something about it... look on it as a challenge! I used to set myself exercise and nutrition goals eg walking for at least 30 mins every day, making sure I ate my five portions of fruit and veg a day. I found that meeting my daily goals gave me a sense of achievement and made me feel empowered. As the excess weight started to come off, I began to feel better about myself, and then it became an upward spiral - the hardest thing was breaking the binge eating habit in the first place...

    As my best friend reminded me while I was suffering with AN, "if you keep on doing what you've always done, nothing's going to change..." Recovery involves many changes and change is frightening, but you CAN do it...just hang in there x

  • Thanks so much for the advice :) it's so good to hear from someone who knows what I am going through! x

  • Hiya,

    I'm really sorry to read your story. You sound like you're feeling incredibly down on yourself right now. The past few months have seen a serious body-change from what you're used to and, whilst it's a good, healthy weight, the speed at which it's changed is far to quick for your brain to keep up with.

    What has struck me about your situation is how you've flipped from one extreme to another. It just shows how, once we've developed an unhealthy relationship with food, it's so hard to rebuild the balance we need. It sounds to me like your brain switched and suddenly decided that your'e 'allowed' to eat. It's basic human nature that, when we've been denied something for so long, we crave and overdose on it when it's suddenly allowed (I'm having flashbacks of 18th Birthday Parties when we're suddenly 'allowed' to drink alcohol - lol - messy). Of course your loved ones and the healthcare professionals overlook any psychological concerns associated with this behaviour because they're all too relieved that you're recovering physically.

    I guess what I'm saying, in a very long-winded way, is that what you're going through is quite normal given your circumstance. But, if you're not seeing someone already, it's really important you have psychological support. It'd be easy to get overlooked because you're now physically well. My advice would be to seek some specialist ED support so you can regain a healthy and balanced approach to food. You may be able to do this on the NHS but they're crap with referring counsellors / psychologists quickly so a private specialist may be the way to go? I'm sure ABC will have contacts. Do you have lots of support from your loved ones? Do they know how much you're struggling?

    I think a nutritionist may also really benefit your recovery as they can practically re-educate you on finding the right balance with food. The NHS are usually better with these referrals. If you speak to you GP and be quite firm that you'd like to be referred, given your history, you should be able to see someone.

    I have to just say (I know, I'm STILL going on)...that I'm saddened by your choice of name. You're not a failure - you sound like you're doing incredibly well given how psychologically challenging this must all be for you. Keep going - recovery is the slow process of us gaining control over our ED. What you're going through now is just another step towards your recovery and nothing to be afraid of. The right balance will come once you brain has caught up with your body and you'll naturally find a more manageable weight to maintain. Please don't panic.

    I hope this helps a little,

    xxx

  • Thanks so much for your advice. I really appreciate it :) I have had several psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, counsellors throughout my history of AN but none since I gained the weight and started binging. It's so frustrating because now that I am a "healthy" weight the mental health services have completely disregarded me :( I am now no longer seen as a priority case and I get ignored. The waiting list for CBT is 4 months. I've also seen my GP to ask to be referred to a nutritionist or dietician but there is a 3 month waiting list. It looks like I will have to beg my parents to pay for private services :( x

  • I find it difficult to say I am replying to 'failure' because this is one thing you cannot be, you are asking for help and you express that you are scared. Failures do not have this understanding, they just settle for it.

    I really feel so many emotions from reading your blog. I am recovering from AN but there have been times during my recovery that I have used bulemia. At this time I was sent to counselling, it was there that I learned the reasons why I used such behaviours to cope and initially I used this because I had starved myself for too long and my body was craving different food groups, they tasted good but because I had so many emotions inside of me that I was not identifying/trying to solve I resolved to binging, this would give brief relief from the bursting emotions however, I would feel hunger again. I would eat, this then turned into a whole day of binging and purging then far too regular, I remember the dread but felt I could not stop myself and was completely out of control.

    My therapy taught me to learn about portion sizes because this had been distroyed and I was unable to realise when I was full. It did mean measuring but thankfully I know now how much to put on my plate. I tried to keep things safe (with what foods I actually bought) no binging foods until I knew I could trust myself. After eating would need to leave the house for a walk maybe to ensure that I could keep what I had ate and any feelings for binging had subsided. This also ment I had started exercising, giving me the 'feel good' factor and helping with my urges to binge. Keep to a meal plan but remember not to restrict too much because this will only lead down the path of urges to binge. I was once told the key was eating 5-6 times a day (3 meals and 3 snacks) this will keep hunger at bay leaving you in control of what you are eating. You can do this, you can beat this.

    I hope some of this is helpful because not having the control is horrendous, you can gain the control just as much will power needed, but this is the price we pay on our roads to recovery but it IS worth it. love x

  • Thanks so much for your advice :) I have taken into account what you said about portion sizes and keeping busy after meal times. I also agree with eating smaller amounts 5-6 times a day rather than 3 big meals. It curbs my hunger and satisfies the habit of eating regularly so I am not tempted to overeat at other times of the day. :)

    Keep going with your recovery, Angelus! I'm sure you will get there in the end xxx

  • Please don't call yourself "Failure" you are being so strong facing up to this and working your way daily through the mine field that is disordered eating. Some days the chaos is so great just breathing is a victory in its self.

    Although I have no personal experience of AN I can fully sympathize with the panic you feel now as your eating habits spiral off into new and terrifying loops and your body changes beyond recognition. Please don't give up. A lot of what you are going through is your body and mind trying to stabilize and learn new routines and thought patterns. I know how hard it is but try to be kind to yourself - you will get through this.x

  • Thanks for your support :) x

  • Know just how you feel - I started with AN and then in first year uni developed bulimia - my weight mirrored yours and I swung back and forwards - from size 10 - 16/18 on a yo yo basis as one thing replaced the other - I too know the shame I felt - particularly about the binging.

    I would also recommend counselling/nutritional support - also a meal plan - I found it good to get a dietician to set me a meal plan - I stuck this to my fridge door and bought food once a week - or less - just to cover what my meal plan outlined. I also found it helpful to plan activities after every meal - sticking to meal times as set by my plan - and phoning /visiting friends just to chat if I felt the "urge".

    My binging actually stopped completely - and overnight - when I became a Christian - unfortunately the AN is still a problem - although not as bad as it was.

    Hope you find the help you need.

  • Thanks so much for your advice. I really appreciate it :) it is so nice to hear from someone who has gone through the same thing!

    I have had several psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, counsellors throughout my history of AN but none since I gained the weight and started binging. It's so frustrating because now that I am a "healthy" weight the mental health services have completely disregarded me :( I am now no longer seen as a priority case and I get ignored. The waiting list for CBT is 4 months. I've also seen my GP to ask to be referred to a nutritionist or dietician but there is a 3 month waiting list. It looks like I will have to beg my parents to pay for private services.

    I currently have a meal plan that has been drafted by my doctor, however I feel that it is waaaaay too much!!! I am trying to lose weight yet I still feel everyone is trying to make me fat. It might just be my anorexic cognitions and behaviours overruling me, but I believe that i need to eat next to nothing to lose the weight. So hard to judge these things!!! x

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