I just wanted to share with you how I am trying to help myself in my recovery process. I have had disordered eating since I was 14 years old and I am now 42, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa binge/purge subtype 2 years ago and finally I was referred for treatment a few months ago.
Adult Eating Disorder Recovery
Someone who has been suffering for a long period and continues to suffer with an Eating Disorder (ED), alike myself will undoubtedly be able to relate. However, I do hope that this can be meaningful to other adults in recovery from an ED.
Over the past decade, living with severe restrictive Anorexia Nervosa, I have been a slave to the scales to a greater or lesser extent. I developed Anorexia in my mid to late twenties and prior to this I was a healthy young woman who could eat normally, do little exercise and maintain a normal and healthy weight with little idea and even less concern on the specific number. I knew my weight stayed reasonably stable without me doing anything to influence it, from my body shape and clothes size.
Anorexia needs isolation to grow — a bumper of space distance that keeps people and responsibilities away so that it can plant seeds and cover my brain. In the early stages, it kind of hibernates in my brain, as it works at changing the physical body. Once weight is being lost and its process is underway, the isolation becomes more automatic. People stay away because we don't think we need them. Also, they have been pushed, or are possibly intimidated. Disgusted. Saddened. Perhaps we don't even seem to exist anymore, or matter. Anorexia is the veil.
Definition: Aware|ness : knowledge or perception of a situation or fact. Synonyms: consciousness · recognition · realization · cognisance
It would be wonderful if at the precise moment we decided to embark on our full-fledged, wholehearted effort to recover from anorexia, all progress was in a positive direction and we would jump or even, leap, our way into wellness, leaving our ED far, far behind in a matter of weeks. Sadly, this is not the case. Recovery is not linear and for every success, there is somewhat of a setback, as we question, deliberate or lose faith in the process. This has been my experience and it has taken me a long time to realize that ‘two steps forward, one step back’ is a realistic portrait of the real-life recovery process.
I have had severe Anorexia Nervosa (restrictive, ‘Athletica’ subtype) for the past 10 years. Over the past decade, I have been under various Eating Disorder (ED) services to help guide me to recovery from this illness.
I have had multiple inpatient admissions to eating disorder units; painful processes of months on an eating disorder ward, guided to follow a set ‘meal plan’ and encouraged to rest, with the aim set for a rate of 1kg weight gain each week (whereas as an outpatient the expected rate of gain tends to be 0.5kg a week). If you gained too slowly the meal was plan was adjusted upwards slightly and likewise, if you gained too fast (not something I was familiar with) you might have some food denied.
I was nervous about our family trip to Barcelona for many reasons. Not because of the thought of a long, international journey with two excited and inpatient children or even because our knowledge of Spanish was rusty at best; I was nervous because of the food.
I am a long-term sufferer of an Eating Disorder (ED), spanning now for about 20 years. For the first 10 years, I knew something was wrong with me but I was lost in a crisis due to a dieting hobby with my Mom and a failed relationship. I made a commitment to never need anyone and I truly lived up to that for many, many, MANY years. I did however, need my ED and we thrived together – we were so intertwined, we were committed to being buddies for life, we spent all our time together (literally!), yet, we also hid our relationship very well. We learnt how to isolate ourselves, to explain our disappearance from social life, to not have friends, to turn family away, to avoid food, and to navigate comments.
If you have had previously or have disordered eating then it is likely that your metabolism has been affected at various points as a result, impacting on the body’s ability to lose or gain weight and to function at an optimal level.
So what is the ‘metabolism’ and how is it affected by nutritional intake and weight. More importantly, how is the metabolism affected by an Eating Disorder (ED) and what impact does this have on recovery?