At first I was so excited about this session. I have been doing good the past few days....not perfect...but as close to it as I have been ever. I have been getting full portion fats despite them being increase and have been eating full portions without tearing (minus the episode on Wednesday). I was so nervous to weigh-in and face reality....
Well wanna know what reality was....I didn't gain anything. All of this fear....all these thoughts of ballooning and nothing. I had a brief moment of freedom....like chains fell off. I can eat more fat and it doesn't do anything....what?! You mean all this time I have lived in fear of this thing and its actually fine to have it. And I mean a lot of it....like more exchanges of it that I have ever had in treatment. Yes...that was my reality.
But then it was time to do the hard work and set goals for this upcoming week (well actually just till Wed because that's my next appointment). My nutritionist and I talked about a lot of things first before we got down to it. I asked her if she ever had an ED patient actually gain outpatient and she told me she has, but they all were super motivated. We talked about how I still need to find my motivation ....lasting motivation. Not motivation out of fear of the hospital, death, or anything fear-based which lasts about a week and then fizzles. And not generic motivation that's worked for others but not for me (ie having kids, feeling beautiful, etc). I need a motivation all my own and I need to carry it with me and remember it....gonna throw around some ideas this weekend, but I think my motivation really is going to be to inspire others (will write more about this later).
Then we finally got down to the nitty gritty. And my nutritionist went crazy. She has decided not to significantly change my meal plan as I still struggled a bit this past week to fully meet some exchanges (didn't realize portions were wrong because I've been doing them wrong for so long). But she decided to get my focus off of my meal plan it was time to hit my Freedom Foods hard to set my attention on that. This has worked really well in the past, because I have so much anxiety around those that my meal plan seems easy. So she grabbed my Freedom Food list and circled what she wanted me to do instead of letting me choose like has been the case in the past.
I was blown away, but realized this is what I need. I need her to just force me to do the uncomfortable (we talked and agreed about this too), but damn this is scary. When I got back to my room after having b-fast I had a bunch of questions in my mind I wanted to ask her, mostly about what some of the fear foods counted as, but I also surprised myself with a few questions.
One was how I can get over my fear of certain fruits. I mean they are fruits for crying out loud....how can I preach recovery when I can't even accept all fruits. I mean I know it's just part of the numbers game in my head and that all fruits are fine for me, but I just can't accept that. I meant to suggest doing a certain number of the scary ones per week, but accidentally typed per day....and my nutritionist now has me doing two of the scary ones a day.
I also asked about exchanges I knew were wrong in my head, but was hoping she would tell me were alright for right now, but thanks to me being in a place where mentally my team thinks I can and desire to face my fears....I don't get to count them the semi-safe way.
My mind took off. Hell no she couldn't do this to me. I would just pretend I didn't see the e-mail. This weekend I would just do my own thing since I don't have to send food diaries anyway. I would just do some of the Freedom Foods. All of these ideas swarmed into my mind. So I shot my nutritionist yet another e-mail (yes I annoy her a lot.....probably too much but oh well) explaining all my fears and how I just couldn't face them.
She then reminded me of some things I had told her in our session just a few hours before (before ED invaded my brain). In Renfrew, I was never allowed to count fat exchanges in my meals so I couldn't do it now...they have to be addable. Also at Renfrew there was an amazing therapist who would tell us if you aren't feeling anxious yet then you aren't doing something right.....you are skimping your meal plan somehow. She was so right with that too, because if you are really fighting this ED it will fight back and its favorite weapon is fear. She also reminded me of my motivation and that I had said with God I am strong enough.
That's when it hit me. I need to seriously commit to treatment. I need to stop trying to manipulate people into compromising. I am in outpatient TREATMENT which means it shouldn't be any different than inpatient or residential. What my professional treatment team says needs to go. I need to stop trying to get them to meet me where I am comfortable and instead need to start getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. That means accepting the challenges of my team and letting myself feel whatever is the consequence of those actions.
You see I have said I am "recovering" but really I am realizing I am still so much in my disorder. I am not in my full blow anorexia, but I am not in recovery either. I am in this weird in-between. It's come from pushing myself enough to feel a comfortable level of anxiety, but not completely giving into recovery. Whether that has come through getting my nutritionist to compromise (which we agreed today she would no longer do as I have proven that if she gives me an inch I take a mile), or not meeting my full meal plan, or tearing bagels, or making excuses to be more active....I have found ways to decrease my anxiety.
But what's my motivation? I want to be an inspiration to others. To my readers now, but also in future in my work. I want to be able to share my story (a passion God has laid on my heart...not sure if it will be through writing, or becoming a speaker....not sure) and let others know recovery is hard as hell, but its possible. That is doesn't matter how many times you have been to treatment, you can recover. But that means I need to start showing it. I need to stop talking about what the best thing is to do, and need to start actually doing it and letting you all know the honest feelings I am having.
So I responded to the e-mail yet again and said exactly this: "You are right. At Renfrew what nutritionist says goes....I need to commit. I need to focus on the end goal here....I can blog all about this victory too....and let people know its okay to do what seems completely wrong and anxiety provoking. I also tell everyone to listen to their dietitiain and follow their plan....so you are saying to do this and that its my plan....so I will. I need to be an example now, which means I have to do it. Actions speak louder than words. "
So that is what I plan to do. Starting right now, right here, I am committing I am committing to you all to be a true example of recovery. To stop being afraid of failure and even of success and just do it. I am committing to do what is hard, what my brain says I can't, and let you all know how I get through and the honesty of how I am feeling. I am committing to you all and to myself to stop living in comfortable anxiety and instead begin learning how to get comfortable with anxiety. I am committing to stopping all the talk and instead turning it to action.
For me in treatment this means accepting my nutritionist goals and not asking for changes. It means not accepting my meal plan per se, but following it no matter what. Not treating it as suggestions, but as a contract. It means doing all the Freedom Foods I have planned, sticking to my exercise contract, and not restricting portions no matter what. It means doing anything other than my ED or other self-destructive behaviors to cope. It means crying, screaming, whatever.....just letting myself feel and not running behind ED for protection. It means running to hide behind God who is so much bigger than my ED and such a better shield.
Now I am off to do my first challenge. A turkey burger I got my nutritionist agree last semester to count as protein and 2 fat exchanges, but she told me (thanks to me asking through e-mail) that now it is only protein. I tried desperately to get her to change back to doing it the comfortable way, but she wants me to push through. That is her ruling and it will stand. So I will commit to treatment. This is the beginning of my commitment....I hope you will join me.