Thursday, October 22, 2009

Can I Do This?

It's turned out to be a lovely week here in northern Maryland. Yesterday was 77 degrees and sunny, and today is looking to be about the same.

IOP has been going pretty well, but last weekend I admit I had a few slip-ups. I went out to dinner both Friday and Saturday (AND saw "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Fame"--both were pretty good!) with friends. I saw Sasha on Friday, who I hadn't seen since the summer, and my BFF Brooke on Saturday, who I also hadn't seen in awhile.

I ended up being very anxious and nervous and not following my meal plan and supplements very strictly. So yesterday I got weighed and, although I didn't lose weight, I didn't gain. I just maintained. I am glad that I didn't lose, and proud of myself for maintaining a weight higher than I was all summer, but my treatment team is still not pleased. I am probably the most underweight person in my IOP program, and one of the only ones who was allowed to do IOP without PHP first (partial hospitalization program, which is from 7am-7pm every day). My doc said if I don't make adequate progress by next Wed, I may be referred to a higher level of care. My parents aren't too opposed to the idea. Now, I am 21 and therefore no one can FORCE me to go IP or PHP, but they sure can influence me.

So, now I am up to 3 Ensure Pluses a day plus my 3 meals (on the highest meal plan, mind you!) and nighttime snack. In fact, I'm drinking a Vanilla Ensure as we speak. I am going to try really really hard to overcome this.

Since I've been blocking my symptoms for awhile, things seem harder in a way, both physically and emotionally. My ED was a way for me to cope with the world and avoid the stresses of life, and now that I don't have it, life seems somehow utterly lonely. I know it's messed up, because obviously starving oneself isn't healthy by any means, but anorexia became a crutch, it became the one thing I could count on and manipulate and control. In IOP they tell us that giving up your ED really is a grieving process, and I totally agree. Those of you who have never had an ED probably think this is very sick and twisted, but it's true. I confessed to my parents last night that for a long time, I was severely depressed and anorexia became a way to punish myself and numb myself. Even after I realized that XX lbs is NOT a healthy weight, it took a long time for me to try to gain weight again because I truly feel that for a long time, I didn't really care if I lived or died.

Now I realize how awfully selfish that was. I have had a really good life, and I have friends and family who love me intensely. I think depression and EDs are partially an internal and biological thing, but there are also social and situational factors that arise. In talking last night, my mother and I realized that perhaps some of her own body image issues, depression, and anxiety were transferred to me, both biologically and through modeling her behaviors. However, I would never "blame" either of my parents for what I have gone through. Nor do I blame myself. 

I am trying to look at this as simply one chapter in my life, a chapter that is indeed difficult and heartbreaking. I'm not sure why God chose me to endure this. However, as with any book, all I can do is simply turn the page and rewrite the next chapter of my life. This disorder has taken too much time and energy and health from me already, and I must persevere. This can be a building block for a strong and healthy and happy life to come.

Do I still have ED thoughts? YES, of course, sometimes even stronger than when I was in the deep end. Like I said, blocking symptoms makes the urges seem even louder and more intense. However, am I making progress? YES. Yes, I truly am. I am going in less than 2 weeks to Mississippi with my parents to visit my older brother for a week and to attend his winging ceremony (he is becoming a jet pilot in the Marines). Am I nervous to go to events and eat practically every meal out, including fast food? HELL yes. Will I let it knock me down? NO. I refuse. Even though I am depressed and feel isolated and sad at times, I need to remind myself that there is so much to live for. 

God wouldn't have created this body and this soul of mine if he didn't want me to LIVE in it. 

So living is what I must do.


  1. What a beautiful and honest post!
    First of all, I would like to say that I really hope you're gonna make the progress you need. Mentally, but also for your body. I hope this meal plan will do that for you, please give your body what it needs and more!

    Believe me, the thoughts will become less. They will! It's definitely not always easy, but it's so worth it. I recognize a lot of myself a few months ago in you and all I can say is: you will get there girl! I'm proud of your honesty and power and you will beat this ED. And live a healthy life, I'm always there if you ever need me:)

    xxx Julia (Taste of Living)

  2. I was in the same situation when I was 16, and going to PHP at Renfrew in CT. They said I never should have been released from my IP at such a low weight. *sigh* Initially I was on the highest MP for food, plus 3 Ensure Plus. I still barely gained and ended up going back to IP for three weeks. Came back home. They re-did my MP to have me at 4200 a day. At that point in my life, I didn't even want to get better. But I toughed it out and I did what I had to do then. Just as I have done what I need to do now, and continue to do it every single day. We can do this Coco. Stay with me chicky. I know its hard right now, but you will adjust to the new MP. And keep in mind that its not forever. There will come a day when you wake up in the morning, and you won't have to worry about whether or not your bowl of oats has enough calories, or if you ate too many fruits and not enough protein or fat in a given day. One day, you will be free from this. Just endure the circumstances you have right now - learn from them, grow from them and make use of what you attain here so you can better your future and never look back.

  3. You deserve a huge pat on the back for how well you are dealing with this. Yes I have noticed to that as I progress in recovery the ed thoughts sometimes seem to strengthen but what also strengthens is our ability to fight them and realise them for what they are. Just know that what you are doing is the right thing, it will all pay off in the end.
    I know your new plan is probably uncomfortable for you but its not forever, once your doing gaining you`ll be able to relax from it and start to enjoy things more :-), lots to aim for!

  4. I agree so much with the lonely feeling that you're feeling - I have the EXACT same feeling!

    Keep going with the meal plan! You can do it! :)

    Thank you so much for your comment! I really needed to be brought back down to earth, the ED was just telling me 'last time you were admitted through emergency blah blah blah it was feeding tube and drip or I had to try and eat'
    You're very right - there are anorexics in IP at a healthy weight, and I really admire them for being so strong!

  5. coco kepp fighting and be proud of the things you did achieve. i know everything can be so overwhelming when you go out with friends and eating becomes even harder. but i think this feeling will slowly start to fade as we get more comfortable around our friends and more comfortable with ourselves. its as if we need to learn to be ourselves and love ourselves all over again. its a long road but you are on the right road there.
    you have all my support

  6. I know you can do it! Just stay strong, stick with it...things will turn out for the best, Coco.

    Cheering you on! xoxo

  7. I too have been released from IP sooner than other girls, but mainly because all my family was against hospitalization and they was some law's problems. Anyway, I don't know what to say more than what it has already been said, but I know that an extra comment is always welcome :)

    I hope you'll get through this, I know you will.
    Stay strong and remember: Life is meant to be lived.



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