I feel like shit today.
The hardest part of all of this is accepting that I can’t trust the voice inside my head. That I can’t trust myself.
I’m so afraid of losing control. But I’m also afraid of all the control I have. Somehow, I always seem to get my way. But lately, getting my way is getting in my way.
I’m a manipulator. I manipulate people to get what I want. It’s not intentional–it’s not even me–but it’s the truth.
I ate my way to a (semi) healthy weight so I could go to Northwestern only to crash my weight when I got there. I begged my parents to send me to a treatment center then tricked them into pulling me out three weeks early–against medical advice.
The hardest thing I ever did was seek higher care. The most excruciating time of my life was those three months where I had absolutely no control. And I know it was worth it. But did I screw it all up by coming home early and grabbing the reins? Can I be trusted with my own well-being?
A week before my discharge, I sat in the dietitian’s office bawling about my weight range and how much I despised my body. Disgust hit me every time I stood up, sat down, took a step, or took a breath. I wanted to grab a knife and cut myself out of my skin. I begged her to take a second look at my growth charts, to lower my weight range just three pounds. The three pounds that would lead me to happiness. Hell, I’d even take two pounds! I was desperate. But she wouldn’t budge. She said 3 pounds were just one day’s weight fluctuation, anyway.
“Am I always going to feel this way?” I asked once my tantrum had subsided.
“No,” she replied. “You hit weight maintenance and were out the door. You are running away at a crucial time. I’m not saying you can’t do this outpatient, but you’re making it significantly harder for yourself. You are setting yourself up for failure.”
That really hurt me. Cuz I’m not a failure. And I don’t need anyone insinuating that I am one.
Anyway, I knew I was right, and that I couldn’t stay there any longer. I needed control back over my life and my body. I swore I was ready. I promised mom that when she made shrimp creole, I would have it with rice. I teased my friends with spontaneous trips to Cafe Du Monde, knowing they would never happen. I worked my ass off to convince them I was ready but could barely convince myself. I was planning (as I often do) my relapse. My beautiful, glorious relapse. The relapse that would save my life.
It’s very misleading, the voice in my head. Because I think it’s me. But I know it’s not. I genuinely believed in that moment, as I always do in those moments, that returning to my eating disorder would be best for me. Sometimes I can’t distinguish the healthy me from the sick me.
I took a huge risk leaving treatment early. Cuz I definitely could’ve used the rest of my stay. I had a pit in my stomach as I signed my relapse contract, fearing I was doing the wrong thing but unable to admit it. But since I’ve been home, I’ve done surprisingly well. Thankfully, the healthy me has been pretty aggressive. No matter where I go, the voice is always with me, and if I’m going to struggle, I might as well struggle in the comforts of my own home.
Here’s what scares me about myself. I’m really good at calling the shots, which normally works to my advantage. But sometimes it’s not me manipulating others; it’s my eating disorder manipulating me.
Sometimes I lose weight without realizing it…but when thinking back I realize that I totally restricted my calories.
Sometimes I argue my weight range down a few pounds…But then the (healthy?) voice in the back of my head reminds me that I still haven’t gotten my period and that I have osteoporosis and technically I’m not healthy yet so maybe I’m not doing the right thing?
Today I feel like shit because it just hit me that I may or may not be unconsciously restricting and that makes me feel good and bad and I’m just confused and all I wanna do is hop on a scale and find out what my weight is so at least I’ll know if I’m “ok” or not but I can’t because I know that whatever the number is will upset me and I’m supposed to be following my gut (no pun intended). Today I actually had full blown restriction urges–like major–for the first time in a while and I was just like FUCK!!!! Because I don’t know what to do! I CAN’T restrict and I know that but Jesus Christ it feels so fucking good and it’s so easy to slip into unconsciously and I just wish I could trust myself completely. I’ve been really missing my eating disorder lately but now I’m realizing she’s still there, just keeping a low profile, preying on my in moments of vulnerability, and slipping into the driver’s seat when she thinks I’m not looking.
If I could go back to my eating disorder and be okay, I would do so in a heartbeat. But this process is so fucking hard and I know that if I go back to my eating disorder, there are only two possible outcomes: 1) I go through all this crap again or 2) I die. So unfortunately…restricting is not an option. I’m trying so hard to find other coping skills. And overall I’m doing really well. But on days like these when I really want to restrict I just get so depressed because I know it’s bad for me and I don’t understand how something so bad can feel so good.
I give way too much power to numbers and letters. The other day my nutritionist looked at the scale and uttered a simple, “ok.” It was a very light ok, which could mean many things. And I’ve since been ruminating about which meaning it is. Is it a good ok? Is my weight holding steady? Am I lower than I thought I was? God forbid, am I higher? Am I gonna have to gain more weight? Please god do not make me gain more weight. THIS IS WHY I WANT TO BUY A SCALE! SO I CAN JUST SEE WHERE I AM AND PUT MYSELF OUT OF MY MISERY! JESUS FUCKING CHRIST I JUST WANT TO BE DONE WITH ALL OF THIS!
Ok. Let’s think of all of the good things that have come out of not restricting lately:
I’m connecting with people in a way I haven’t in a very long time. I’m having sleepovers again! Like normal teenage girls! I’m even kissing guys! None of that happens when it’s just me and E.D.
But I still miss her.
I’m sure I always will.
I just wish she would get further away from me. It’s hard when she’s hanging around whispering sweet nothings in my ear.
At this point, there’s not much I can do to eliminate this distress. I guess I just need some validation. Some sort of signal that yes, I am doing the right thing. That I’m feeding my body adequately and that I’m on the right track. I may not be where we ultimately want me to be, but I’ve made progress. Solid, tangible progress that I never imagined possible.
So I’ve got to just bite my nails and grind my teeth and clench my jaw and trust that I’m going to eventually be ok. I may not be able to trust myself yet, but I can at the very least trust my process. And I guess that’s enough.
Ok. Self-compassion. Got it.