31 May 2010

The rollercoaster ride of anorexia rehab

Twists and turns. Ups and downs. Mood swings from being so depressed I can barely speak to feeling so restless I can hardly sit still. The inability to settle down long enough to read a book or magazine article. Thoughts flooding me until I feel so overwhelmed I wanted to run and hide.

My wild mind still isn't used to all this. Every day I have to fight to get out of bed, eat the freaking food and deal with both my raging emotions and physical pain. It feels like I'm going through puberty all over again.

I have learned many things in the past two weeks. I don't like confrontation. I am ultra-sensitive right now. I often can't even handle too many things at once (people talking and the radio on during meals makes my skin crawl at times.) I struggle to talk with strangers. I have a strong desire to flee, and I suspect that desire kicks in when anything threatens my eating disorder thoughts. My soul still has a death grip on anorexia nervosa. I don't want to let go and yet know I must in order to live.

But the worst thing I have discovered is that my feelings about recovery are ambivalent at best. I keep waiting for the recovery magic to kick in. I want the optimism I felt when I first started this process (i.e. before my two-week long fight with my insurance company, which caused me to lose both more pounds and motivation.)

I want to scream from the rooftop - I want to live, I really want to live! I want to embrace recovery as I once embraced starving. I want to channel all that energy into getting better and getting my life back.

The best I can manage is at this moment I want to live.

I have discovered at least one good thing about myself. I might hate almost every minute of this, I might want to run away and hide, I might be ambivalent about recovery and I might still want to stay thin, but I stayed. I stayed and went through it, and I suppose I will continue until ... well, either the insurance kicks me out or it's time for me to come home.

This has to be the hardest, most excruciating thing I've ever attempted in my life. I have done many things in my life and overcame many obstacles, and my friends and family tell me I am a very strong person and I will get through this too.

But right now I feel like I'm on one hell of a rollercoaster and I don't know where it's going next. I feel like I am being tossed and turned upside down.

I often feel so lost ... I often feel so alone. I don't know who I am or where I'm going. Forget taking it one day at a time. Sometimes I can only handle one minute at a time.

Starving was easy. Recovery is hard. That is all I can say.


brokenwords said...

Yes, this all rings so very true for me. This is how it feels. And it doesn't feel very good. I have felt all the same thing, and months into my most recent recovery attempt I'm still feeling these things. It's a long, hard road. It's been my experience is that it takes a long time for recovery to feel good. There does come a time when it's easier, it won't always been this hard. The body changes are so hard. The emotional changes are even harder. Giving up not feeling for feeling so bad is awful. But in slow shifts and whispers, that does eventually change. It takes a tremendous amount of courage, perseverence and commitment. Keep doing what you are doing, and don't give up even when you desperately want to, and you will get there. And one day, one day maybe far away, it will be worth it.

Sensory Overload said...

Angela-you clearly have fight in you. Even if ambivalence is what's strong right now, your resolve and dedication to stay speaks loudly.

Take each moment and allow it to be whatever it is for you. The moments that feel good or are tolerable may build up enough that the ride you feel you are on now will start to go in a direction that feels better.

I appreciate how candid you are about your experience. I value your courage and am inspired by it.

Be gentle with you.

Hoping you see and feel the strength that you have.

Sending you light and thoughts your way.


Pen said...

You are so right. Starving is easy. Recovery is HARD! I felt exactly like you sitting at the table having meals and with people talking, laughing, having fun! I wanted to SCREAM! I felt so sick. I thought "this is not camp! Where are you people from? Thinking this is fun." UGH! If it's any comfort I will soon be in treatment again and having to deal with all that. Just remember and I know it's hard to believe but it does get better. Just make it STICK when you are on your own! And I too, always say, it's not one day at a time, but one Minute in this battle! Hang in there!

Zena said...

Recovery from an Eating disorder is one of the most difficult, it not thee most difficult thing you will ever do, but when you are strong in your Recovery the pride you feel for what you have accomplished is overwhelming, I know you dont have any children, but I like to make the connection between natural child birth and Recovery from AN. When you are in labor it feels as if its the hardest and scariest thing you could ever do, it hurts like hell and its terrifying because you feel like you have no control over your body, but when its over and you have that beautiful baby in your arms you (almost) forget about the pain, the pain was all worth it, and you would never think of not going through that painto get the end result, your child. Recovery is kinda like giving birth, Its horriably scary, extremely painful, and while you are in the midst of it the pain feels like it will never end and again you feel like you have no control over your body, but when you reach that end result (REcovered) you wouldnt change it for the world...in both cases you are bringing new life into the world, in childbirth you bring a bbay into the world and in recovery you bring your own (albeit) different but your own life back into the world, and once you have done it, the pain is just a memory and you wouldnt change it for the world...like havinga child there are ups and downs, life for sure is a roller coaster, the same holds true for Recovery, but in the end when you have what you have worked so hard for you are left with 2 things, a new life and the pride of knowing YOU are the one who made it happen..

Stay strong Angela, the pain will lessen, there is no time time table, but I promise you, one day it will get easier...and yes like havinga baby it gets worse before it gets better...but ahhhh sweet relief when the you real that final goal..LIFE!!

Love, Tara

Anonymous said...

Keep screaming all those things from the rooftop--scream them to ED! Sometimes, the only thing you can do is focus on you and recovery in the moment. And, from that moment, you move to the next one.
Keep on fighting hard in your program--I'm in an IOP program right now and every minute is a challenge, but a good one!

Silly Girl said...

Recovery is hard. And wanting to live is a big step. I admire your spirit and will to keep going. Just know, I am in your corner with prayers and good vibes. Take care of yourself!

Angela said...

Recovery is that excruciating climb up a steep mountain, and getting to the top is so very painful. All the symptoms that come with recovery are tough to deal with, and it is difficult most of the time to find the positive. You are learning things about yourself though, and trying hard to gain new coping skills. The ambivalence is hard to deal with, and finding the motivation when being thin seems so seductive is to put it mildly, a bitch. Wanting to live is the best motivation though if you can keep that mantra in your mind. The only way out is through, and I believe that is true. Just keep on fighting and taking those small steps everyday toward recovery. I'm right there with you, fighting for life!