Monday, 27 May 2013

Day 4: Fighting Back

Today is Day 4 of Operation Freedom
Day 1 went well
I was motivated and determined to kick bulimia's ass
I managed to get through the day without purging
However I didn't manage to eat 3 meals and I mostly ate biscuits
Day 2 went a bit better
Again I managed not to purge and managed to eat a small portion of chicken stir fry
The first meal I've eaten and kept down in a long time
I didn't weigh for the first 2 days but yesterday morning curiosity got the better of me
I felt like I had gained and I wanted to reassure myself that I hadn't put on 10 pounds
Not quite 10 pounds but I did gain almost 4 pounds
4 freakin' pounds
In 2 days?
What the.......?

I bypassed disappointment and upset and went straight to anger
Raging, feel like I'm gonna explode, steam coming out my ears anger
Anger for trying to do the right thing and being slapped in the face
Anger at Mary for wanting me to gain weight
But most of all angry with myself for caring what the scale says
Realistically I know that part of that gain is rehydration but that was of little comfort
I sat down with a cigarette and tried to make sense of the gain
I don't know why but I seem to lose weight when I binge and purge and seem to gain when I eat normally
I tried to talk myself out of it but before I knew it, I was in my car driving to the shop
The feelings I felt reminded of when I relapsed on drugs
I know I shouldn't be doing this but I can't stop myself
As I was driving I kept thinking to myself, 'It's not too late, no damage done yet, I can still turn around and go home'
I had butterflies in my stomach, just like when I used to get drugs
I knew I would regret this but I feel powerless to stop myself
At this point I should've rang someone
I should have reached out and asked for help
But all I could think of was 4 pounds
4
Fucking
Pounds

I kept driving
I was driving like a maniac
Like the raging bulimic that I am
I parked outside the shop
Tried to calm myself down
And walked in trying to look half normal
I got what I needed and started for home
'It's still not too late' I thought to myself
I can still stop this and turn this day around
I got home and started to prepare my first binge
It all felt so wrong
I already felt guilty and I hadn't even taken a bite yet
Even as the pasta was cooking I knew I could still stop
But I felt I was on auto pilot
Bulimia was in charge now
She had taken over and once she starts there is no stopping her

I ate the pasta quickly
I inhaled it
It didn't taste good
I didn't enjoy it
It was a means to the end
I just wanted to feel the relief of it leaving my stomach
Still chewing the last mouthful, I made my way to the bathroom
'It's still not too late' I thought
I don't have to do this
But I did it
And God forgive me, it felt good
Then the guilt hit me
Hit me hard
I couldn't deal with the feelings so I binged and purged again
And again
And again
By this stage I just said 'Fuck it'
I spent the day marching between the kitchen and the bathroom
I have a path worn by now
I used enemas too
I  just wanted to feel empty
I achieved that anyway

So today is Monday
A new day
A fresh start
A chance to wipe the slate clean
To put yesterdays mistakes in the past
I weighed this morning and lost 2 pounds
I feel slightly relieved
Today Operation Freedom is back on track
I could beat myself up for yesterday but what would that achieve
I'll learn from it and move on
Heck if I gave up everytime I hit a hurdle I would never get anywhere
So what have I learned?
I've learned that slips happen
It's part and parcel of addiction and ED's
I've learned not to say 'Fuck it' and let one slip ruin my whole day
I've learned that it's probably not a good idea to weigh everyday
That I need to look at my weight over a period of time and not day to day
I've learned that no matter how I try to get around it, I have to gain weight if I want to recover

And it's not so much the weight gain itself that upsets me, it's what the weight gain stands for
When you define yourself by your ability to lose weight, then any gain is like a failure
It feels like I'm losing control
At this weight I feel protected
It's hard to explain but I feel safe
Gaining weight means I'm exposed
Vulnerable
It means that I'm normal
Average
Just another girl
Being small sets me apart form people
I was doing some reading last night about procrastination and it said that a lot of the time people are more afraid of success than they are of failure
The thinking being that if I succeed then more will be expected of me
That's exactly how I feel
If I gain weight and try to recover then people will have expectations of me to do more
And what if I'm not able to do more?
What if I try to recover and fall flat on my face?
It's safer and more comfortable to be in a place where I'm 'sick' and people don't expect much from me
People leave me alone
The thought of getting a job terrifies me
The thought of going to college scares the shit out of me
The only thing that I am an expert on is addiction and ED's
If I was a contestant on Mastermind, they would be my specialist subjects

These are things that I really need to work on
Self confidence
Self worth
Self esteem
Believing in myself
I guess this is why taking baby steps works
You set yourself small and manageable goals
When you meet your goal, you feel good and it gives you the confidence to make a slightly bigger goal

So today I'm fighting back
My ED got so angry with me for gaining
But she is angry because she is afraid
She can see I mean business and she is worried that she is getting weaker
I often think that recovering from an ED is like trying to tame a wild animal
You can manage it and tame it
But there is always the possibility that it will bite you
My ED tried to bite me yesterday
And yes she did take a chunk out of me but today my bite is healing and I feel strong again
I know only too well that this process is often 2 steps forward and 1 step back
The trick is to pick myself up, dust myself off and keep going
Keep fighting
Keep trusting
Keep believing
And most importantly keep hoping

If you are struggling today, try to remember this
We are not perfect
And recovery is not about perfection
If you are looking for that you will be bitterly disappointed
It's about positive changes
Growing
Finding freedom from this cruel illness
It's a trial and error process
We find out the hard way what helps us and what hinders us
Slips and relapses happen
It's how we deal with them that counts
We can lie down and hold up our white flag
Or we draw a line and move on
Acknowledge the slip
Learn from it
And continue to fight
I could beat myself up over yesterday
But what would that achieve?
Absolutely nothing

So remember we can fight back
We can take control of our lives
Sometimes it feels impossible
But I believe it is possible
It has to be
It just has to be

'God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference'

See, I am drinking the Ensures!

32 comments:

  1. Many a day of my recovery has been spent eating biscuits. You are the first person I have admitted this to, so thank you for giving me this courage!! I am so incredibly proud of you for not purging, I know how difficult it can be to fight urges, but remember that they will always pass, even if it feels like they will last forever.

    I am just as proud of you eating chicken stir-fry! Is this a safe food for you? I'm still too scared to try anything like that. You should be so pleased with yourself. Forget the 4 pounds. It is nothing. Negligible. It is most probably water weight which is always what happens with re-feeding. It is not 'true weight' and it is most definitely not fat. 4 pounds, just a number, try not to dwell on it. With recovery comes weight gain, and I know how terribly hard this is to accept, but you can do it. And ironically, the more weight you gain, the easier it is to think rationally and the easier it is to accept weight gain as necessary. You are so tiny!! All this anger you feel about weight gain is your ED talking. Use this anger and turn it around, use the anger as a positive energy to fight back against your ED, to fight for your life! With recovery also come blips, and I am so incredibly proud of you for starting afresh today. The fight in you is inspirational.

    I know exactly what you mean when you say you feel safe at the weight you are at, and feel exposed and vulnerable. The thing is, the more weight you lose, the more vulnerable and frail you will become. This is just another of anorexia's paradoxes.

    Taking small steps, bite-sized chunks (excuse the pun) I believe is the only way forward in recovery. Too much too soon is just a recipe for setbacks.

    Your ED should be afraid. Should be terrified. Should be trembling in its boots because I know just how strong you are, and how ferociously you will fight back. You are stronger than any animal that the ED is and can bite harder than any ED fangs can.

    I love the serenity prayer. I wrote it out myself in calligraphy style with different colours around it. I can send you a copy if you like?

    You have no idea how much I'm bursting with pride for you right now! You are incredible Ruby! Such an inspiration! Sending so much love to you! Xx

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    1. Sorry, I replied to your comment just below the next comment, don't know how it ended up there x

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  2. I love you, Ruby.

    You're so very strong, and I will always admire you for having gone through so much and standing so tall.

    Thank you for your words... you're an inspiration to me-- you're an inspiration to us all.

    Stay strong, stay beautiful.

    You can do this, baby. You're a fighter.

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    1. I love you too sweetie

      Your words mean so much, thank you

      Sending you such a big hug x

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  3. Thank you so much for your kind words
    You know, I think we are in similar position
    Embarking on recovery
    Today I feel ok about the gain
    I'm coming around to the idea that it has to happen
    And it's never going to be easy
    I don't feel very strong
    Part of it is stubborness that I don't want my ED to win

    Yes, anorexia is full of paradoxes
    The same in addiction too
    We have to let go in order to gain control
    I use my ED to ease my anxiety but it ends up causing me more anxiety

    I chose chicken stirfry as I felt it was manageable
    I didn't have any rice though
    So I guess yes it is a safe food

    I love the Serenity Prayer too
    And yes I would love a copy of your calligraphy!
    That would be amazing
    I could put it up in my room and it would help so much

    You inspire me every single day too and I love following your journey in to recovery

    Much much love to you x

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    1. Just realised sorry I wrote such a long comment on your blog! It was more like an essay or something, I'm so sorry! I just feel I can relate to you and empathise with you so very much.

      It does sound like we are in a similar position, which is nice to not feel so alone, but my heart goes out to you for this because I can guess some of the horrendous things you are feeling.

      You will never feel strong to begin with, because your ED is fighting back, making you feel weak. But believe me, you are strong for even contemplating to fight back, let alone actually fighting. You are so so strong!

      I know stir-fry is very low in calories. Rice terrifies me though. Can you eat rice?

      I'll send you the Serenity Prayer. I have another one too, about peace, which I'll send to you :)

      Thank you for being so amazing! Loads of love x

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    2. No need to apologise at all
      I love getting your comments long or short

      No I can't eat rice at the moment
      I used to binge on it quite a lot so it's not something I feel I can keep down yet

      Yes, it's a nice feeling to know that someone knows exactly what I'm going through
      Although I would not wish this on anyone

      Thank you, I'll look forward to that
      I think your idea to keep a recovery book is amazing
      It's such a mile stone in your life and it's lovely to be able to document that and have it to look back on

      Keep fighting sweetheart

      We can do this

      All my love x

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  4. Hey, you know what biscuits are? Nourishment. Your body desperately needs nourishment, and that means biscuits are good. Also, remember the real Ruby you mentioned a few posts back? That is what makes you special, not your addictions.

    I know, "easy for you to say." I have never dealt with ED behaviors to the extreme that you do every day, but that might also help me see things from a different angle. Each and every time you choose not to obey the ED impulses is a victory. Every time. Even if you weigh and binge and purge the next day. Weren't you doing that already? Don't sell yourself short. Do you know Emily Anonymous at Bulimia Girl? She keeps a behavior calendar of sorts... Maybe you could make yourself a calendar and write down things like "Today I didn't purge the chicken stir-fry" or "Today I socialized at a book release" and the things that you do or are that give you an identity outside the eating disorder.

    Take care.

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  5. *Let other people who know and love you help with what makes you you, what makes you special. They will be able to see the good in you more easily than you can.

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  6. Hey Tempest,

    Thanks for your suggestions
    Yes, I do know Emily's blog and she really does a lot of practical things to help herself
    I do keep food monitoring records but keeping a not of my behaviours could really help and it can't hurt
    I'm trying to do the exact opposite of what my ED wants
    It's a simple way to do things
    If it wants me to weigh, I don't weigh etc

    I appreciate your suggestions Tempest

    Take care of you too x

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  7. You know, in social psych there is what's called the "scarcity principle." When people think they won't have access to something the need becomes greater. It's also that way when you're conditioning yourself out of a behavior. Often times there's a burst of behavior before extinction. So you are very right. Part of the process. :) I'm sonptoyd you're getting back in the horse! Life isn't perfect and if you mess up in a day the day isn't over. Life isn't over. You can do it!

    I've been to college, on my way out, and I'm still scared. Some of the people I look up to most tell me they hope they never grow up though, so maybe it's okay. Expectations are just things we often assume exist. There are some, but often times the people that matter just want us to do our best, be our best, and be happy.

    Oh, remember to drink water! You gotta consume fluids to push fluids and to get your metabolism going. Water is so very important. I can't rant and rave enough about it haha. It's just a great thing! That will help the scale not be so scary.


    Ruby dear you are loved and your are in my thoughts and prayers.

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    1. Thanks Eve, it means a lot

      I have to keep going
      Keep fighting
      I didn't come through the horrors of heroin addiction only for my ED to kill me

      Yes, I have to remind myself to drink water

      Love to you x

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  8. Slips will come, don't worry. I feel myself not slipping, but not trying very hard either. Just at a stalemate. But I really don't have the money to see a therapist at home, though I'm not sure what that would help with. I'm just blah lately. Probably because I'm bored. I'm just focused on training and finding ways to kill time, and hopefully a job. Keep up with Operation Freedom, just move forward, no looking back. In the words of Granny Violet from Downton Abbey, "Once you milk the cow, there's no way to suck the cream back up"

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    1. He he, I love that saying!
      And I love Downton Abbey, can't wait until it's back on

      Hang in there lovely, you're doing a great job x

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  9. As long as you don't give up, you will never fail. Stay strong - you can do this. Xo

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    1. Thanks Piggy

      By the way, I saw the picture of your hair, I love it! x

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  10. Sundays are always hard, aren't they? Maybe you could start coming up with a list of challenges for Sunday, to break the routine. Things like not weighing on Sundays, or spending some time around others. I know it's not that easy, but maybe it could help.

    And you're right; a great deal of that 4lbs was water weight. That's why you dropped half of it in a day. Not only does your body need to be rehydrated, but I'd dare say your digestive system is fairly empty. It takes 2-3 days for food to be fully digested (aka, pooped out), so it makes sense that your body needs a little waste-weight.

    Sending you so much love little soldier. I'm so proud of you for drinking the Ensures. You can beat this bitch! <3 xx

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    1. Yes Bella, Sunday is the hardest day for me, always has been for different reasons
      I do need a plan to get through that day
      Get out of the house
      Do something
      Anything to distract myself

      Thanks for your support, you are a star

      Sending love right back atcha x

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  11. sry hun, just needed a break from blogger. I second bella. i think everything she said in the commnt abovemakes total sense. I am thinking of you and believe i you! so much!


    xxxxxx

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    1. You're right to take a break if that's what you need Loulou
      I hope it helped you some

      Thinking of you too and hope you are ok
      I see you posted today so I'm going to check it out now

      Stay well x

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  12. Congrats on teh day without purging!
    You're right, the weight was probably just retained water. I know how it feels to be bloated when you're coming off a b/p spree, and you've been on one much longer than I. I'm just reminding you that the weight and bloat does go away after a few days. I was so surprised to be losing weight but I almost reached my UGW eating 2000 calories a day. (for about two weeks though. So not that long...)
    Anyway, it seems like you're doing well and that you won't be losing Mary! Yaaaayyy!
    Keep it up! :D

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  13. Thanks Emily
    Yes, I definitely panicked
    I know that if I ride it out then my weight will level off
    It's just hard to get through the first few days
    It's good to know that you could eat 2000cal a day and still maintain a weight you were happy with
    And yay! I won't lose Mary x

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  14. Ruby, you are truly an inspiration to me. I have been feeling so defeated the past few days, and completely ready to give up. But reading this post put the fire back in me to fight. I give up on myself so easily, but I have so much faith in you and it helps me find a little hope for me. We slip sometimes, in all aspects of our lives, but it doesn't mean we failed. You are stronger than this disease and you are on your way to beating it. Do not give up. You are beautiful, and the only thing that could make you more so would be good health. Keep trucking through and know that there are many people here to support you :)
    Thank you again and always for sharing your battle - I don't know that I'd be as ready to recover if it were not for you <3

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    1. I'm so glad Anna that you found a bit of hope
      I know that our struggle is similar and I do believe that if I can do it (Queen fuck up over here) then anyone can do it
      I have faith in you Anna
      You are stronger than you know

      Keep fighting
      Don't ever give up x

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  15. Yay Ruby! Keep up the fight, your life is worth it! I have been having protein shakes this past week because I know I need them in my diet right now. They are not the best thing but they are the best for me right now.
    Remeber we are fighting for our lives, let's enjoy our 30's since our 20's were not a party.

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    1. Yes, totally Josie!
      Let's not let this thing steal another 10 years
      I just refuse to let that happen

      That's great taking the protein shakes
      Do what ever you need to do to stay well x

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  16. It's been a long time since I've commented. Hope you are well dear Ruby :) Just keep remembering that you don't need a new day to start again. Every minute has an end... every moment is an opportunity to change direction. Wish I could get this through to me lol! You are such a wonderful fighter. Much love xx

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    1. So good to hear from you Destiny
      I hope everything is ok with you
      Keep in touch x

      Delete
  17. I feel your anger and hurt, I really do, all I can say is it is not the easy days in recovery that count in the long run- it is the hard ones. You have never failed, yes you had a wobble but you knew it wasn't right, you felt guilt- that shows there is a large part of you that wants to get away- that part is your achievement.

    As for the weighing- I really think it would be a good idea to decrease it to only a few times each week. When I was in my first hospital we kept a chart week to week and every month we assessed the trends. Perhaps this would be helpful for you as it would give you a wider perspective?

    The bit I empathise with most is the scenario of 'what else am I good at?' I feel that every day. I have never been an adult without anorexia, I have never felt the need to seek any other avenue of success. People make you put on weight then leave you at your most vulnerable without helping you 'find yourself'. It's a recipe for relapse. All I can say is you will only truly find your true self by closing the door on ED. It's a leap of faith, I know.

    Also you're the first person who also speaks of the 'fear of success not failure' since someone once said it to me. It made perfect sense I have never forgotten it. I am afraid I can't provide any answers on that one because I'm struggling just the same as you. I guess it's akin to a top athlete- they enjoy the winning and being top of the game but they know it has to end, you cant be best for ever, you have to keep upping the ante or get out of the race.

    Stay strong, much love xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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    1. Yes Katie, I think weighing too much is a problem for me
      I let those numbers rule my life
      I may stop but it is hard

      And yes, my ED has been like my job these past years
      I've been to the university of ED's
      I need to find something else to throw myself in to
      Something to take up my time and energy

      Keep fighting Katie, we can do this x

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  18. That much gain in that short a space of time is most definitely food weight in your gut and water retention.

    IT IS NOT 'REAL' WEIGHT. IT IS NOT FAT.

    I've read about the phase of weight restoration when your body goes through a stage of FUCKING MASSIVE water retention. Like you've never experienced before. It's caused by your body doing all the repair work it couldn't because it was simply trying to keep you alive. Expect it, be prepared as you can for the massive mindfuck and invest in nice, stretchy comfy clothes. Lol, be a chav and live in tracksuits until you're out the other side of it.

    Fuck I wish I could remember the recovery blog I found it on :(

    Recovery is about learning how to fight dirtier than your Ed so you can have a life and not a slow death.

    Do those ensures taste OK? I'm considering getting my tongue re-pierced and don't want to get stuck living on apple sauce and iceblocks until it heals again :( That shit gets BORING!

    Love you so much Ruby. Kia kaha, gorgeous phoenix!

    <3

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  19. I think it was Peri because I did feel really bloated
    It messed me up though
    I know that my body will take time to adjust to food again
    I just need to ride it out

    I get the vanilla flavoured Ensures as I think that's the nicest flavour
    And they're quite easy to drink
    There are other flavours too

    Love you too Peri x

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Thank you for leaving some love x