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Restriction became a part of my life 25 years ago. Since then it was always there for me. Day or night I could rely on it by turning to it whenever I needed. It didn’t matter what was the cause, stress, anxiety, shame, guilt, sadness, anger, self-conscious, or anything that I really had no idea how to deal with, my restriction came to my side and helped me through it all.
My restriction lied to me and made me feel untrue things about myself and the world around me. It seemed like it was playing a game with me. How much can you restrict today? You restricted at breakfast yesterday so today I want you to restrict at breakfast and lunch. You do not deserve to have a full meal, you will feel much better afterward, I promise. Those were some of the thoughts that would go through my mind on a daily basis.
Read more: My Anorexia Destroyed Me
By turning to my eating disorder for everything, I began to create fear foods that led me to create a list of foods I can eat (those that were acceptable) and foods I cannot eat (those that were never allowed). My list became very small. Not only was I to restrict per day or per meal, I also had to only eat from that acceptable list, which did not contain a lot of food.
I have been struggling with my eating Disorder for 25 years.
I have always had a problem with food. I do not like it, I do not crave it, I am not hungry. I had pieces of time during those 25 years that I ate things on my do not list on a regular basis. I refer to those times I was in remission.
The rest say 75% of the time I was full blown in behaviors. During my time of being symptomatic, I learned how to lie and deceive those around me and myself of everything around my food intake. The only thing in life I have been able to lie about. Funny thing is I told so many lies that I started to believe them, and they became part of my daily dialogue.
Numerous people in my past had questioned my eating habits and appearance and showed concern for a potential problem. Yet, I was able to convince them that I just have a fast metabolism and I am a very active person. Those two were true and I also was restricting all the time.
As I began to become entrenched within the illness, I used to challenge myself to see how far I could go. I got a thrill from the light-headiness, nausea, the chills, and the lack of concentration, the ability to control everything I put into my body, the hair falling out and the irrational emotions.
It became days, which turned to weeks, which turned to months, which turned to years, which brought me to June 1st, 2017. This day was the first time I had ever been medically diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. I had reached out to my family doctor in March of the same year and came clean. Something happened to me at the beginning of the year. I was at the lowest weight I had been in a very long time, I had no energy, my nerves were shot, my anxiety was through the roof and I hated everything about myself.
Read more: Eating Disorders and Communication
I had to ask myself if I want to live or die. I knew that this time around I was headed in a very dangerous road and my symptoms were more prominent than they had ever been. I had to make that decision. I chose life.
Life is the choice I took. Why? I am not quite sure, but I am sure one day I will find out. I was put on a waiting list for an Intensive Program at Credit Valley Hospital, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. I was on the list for 4 months. That time passed so slowly. It was hard because I had the mojo to want help and I did not want it to pass.
I knew I couldn’t do this anymore, I knew that I was 37 and sick; I knew that I chose life. I knew that I could not do this on my own. I succumbed to my illness and ripped apart everything I thought I knew of myself and become a vulnerable patient to a care team that I hoped would change my life.
Read more: Life is too Short to Count your Fruit Loops
I was tired of trying to be perfect. I was tired of my best friend restriction, which was controlling everything I did. I needed a separation from my best friend. I needed to end the era of love-hate we had for each other. I finally got the call to begin treatment in the Eating Disorder Intensive Program. It entailed Monday to Friday, 9 to 6 every day at the hospital for 8 weeks.
Those 8 weeks contained, meal planning, eating all meals with the team, weekly weigh in, Education, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. We also had a nutrition group and life worth living. During those initial 8 weeks, I was ripped to the core and challenged daily with fear foods and phobic situations.
Each day presented itself with a challenge and a learned objective. These 8 weeks were just the beginning. It was all about refeeding. Even though we touched base on the psychological attachments one has with Anorexia, more of this stuff came with the Transition Group that followed for 5 months. The objective of the transition was to work on core beliefs and more of Dialectical Behavior Therapy. This part of the program gave me more time during the day as it was only for half day.
I completed both programs for about a month and a half ago, and currently engaged in the recovery process. I thought that doing that I would have been cured. I had no idea that this illness was so mu0-7ch part of me as if they were my veins. I have only touched the surface of my illness and have a wide range of emotions felt daily. I am currently symptomatic and am struggling to keep my head above water.
The moment I was done with the treatment, I was good for the first few weeks then I had caught up with my best friend and have begun to allow her to raise hell in my life. I am constantly fighting with myself daily, very similar to the angel-devil shoulder comparison. The fight is to eat or not to eat? Be worthy or unworthy? You are nothing, you do not deserve food.
The Eating Disorder illness is very hard to beat. It takes every second of every day to ensure I stay recovery focused because one secret heard from my best friend will create a strong need for more.