Monday, March 4, 2013

The End ED will real I felt it

I don’t even know where to start about what happened tonight. You see I went home to my mom’s last night and my timing with meals got terrible. Honestly…meal timing is a complete joke to me and I haven’t been taking it seriously. I figure as long as I am eating, that’s all that really matters. Tonight I found out that was wrong.

You see, I have felt quite fatigued the past few days. Actually almost for the past week. I figured it was just from all the exams and lack of sleep, but despite getting more sleep it continued. I would wake up in the morning, be good for an hour or so, then BAM! I would hit a wall. Add into this the fact that Saturday the scale read x lbs and I start to get a little scared. I mean…the healthy part of me…it knows that is way too low. x lbs and being 5’7.5” puts me at a BMI of x. That’s crazy. It’s lower than I ever imagined I would be, especially outpatient. But yet here I am.

And honestly with this fatigue…I have started to get really scared. I have started to wonder if maybe my body is shutting down. If maybe my attempt to fight isn’t strong enough or soon enough to prevent me from dying. I mean I still have things I need to work on like portions of fats and all that, meal timing, choosing more challenging meals. And I wonder if I am just not fighting strong enough.
You see, the fear of gaining weight became more than the fear of dying. The fear of dying, or having a heart attack, or having a seizure….it didn’t seem real. Until tonight.

Today my meal timing was horrible…a pattern I tend to get into when I go home. The shame of eating overwhelms me and I just can’t bring myself to eat my meal plan in front of people…I want to save it all for night time when I can eat alone and no one can see. NOT a smart plan. Because then what happens is I wake up and don’t eat for 4 hours (b-fast at 1 pm), then wait another 3.5 hours for lunch (4:30 pm), then get in car and drive and don’t eat dinner till 9 pm (another 4.5 hours), then end up cramming in all three of my snacks. I have known how emotionally damaging and physically uncomfortable this is, but I didn’t realize till tonight that it is deadly. You see on drive home I started to literally fall asleep behind wheel. Then got horrid headache that wouldn’t go away. Add in some chest pain…and I was scared it was all gonna end right there. Something was going to happen…heart attack, stroke, something…and it would be lights out. Why? Because I hadn’t fed myself. I hadn’t given my body what is so desperately needs…and with that all of my dreams, all the possibilities for my life…they would end.

You would think this would motivate me to stop and eat, instead I stopped at Starbuck’s and got a green tea to get me back to the dorm. When I got to the dorm I put unpacking before eating, despite desperate texts of my sponsor who knows much better than me. Finally got around to eating dinner when all of a sudden the headache came back full force with uncontrollable dizziness. Then I got really faint. I felt right then I could black out. Who would know? Who would check up on me? What if I hit my head on something and got a concussion? I live alone…no one would know. It was in that moment the fear of dying got real.

I didn’t know what else to do but call my dad and ask if I should go to hospital. My friend already agreed to take me…I just needed the go ahead. But my dad calmed me down and had me go eat something. Go ahead and do a snack…no matter how soon I had just finished dinner. I began my snack eating with a passion and fever I never had before. It was like in that moment food was my only chance of survival. Calories, fat grams, sizes….none of it mattered. Despite it being my most feared snack of bagel and guacamole…and despite me having to add hot cocoa (3 packets) to it to make up cals from earlier….it didn’t matter. I just wanted to not die.

I did feel better and just kept plowing through my remaining snacks. I didn’t care about restricting, I didn’t care about weigh-in, I just didn’t want to die…and food was making me feel a ton better. In this moment….tonight…I realize how sick my body is. I realize food really is medicine. I realized I have a fear greater than weight gain--death.

This is the point an eating disorder will take you too. You won’t be able to brush off headaches…instead a headache will cause you and all those around you to wonder if you will survive the night. It won’t be written off to lack of sleep….but will be deemed a warning that you are going to die. That is what an ED brings you.

It brings you to a point where you are x lbs. Where the fact that scale jumped up to x keeps you from eating and you have a night like I did tonight. But the good thing is it made me realize the desperate state I am in. My body has no reserves. Meal timing has been impressed upon me because my body has literally nothing else to pull from to get me through. Food is the only source of blood sugar regulation it has…which means I have to give it to myself. I got myself here too. My body has no reserves and it is because of what I have done. My body is relying on me now…because I got it to a position homeostasis isn’t even possible. It can’t self-regulate and is depending on me to keep it running.

I have to provide myself regular nutrients. There is no room for error anymore. Skipping portions, not eating at regular times, tearing off bagel pieces…they could all be mis-steps that lead to my death. Sure when I was at a higher weight these were still issues in the ED recovery sense, but now they are a life-or-death matter. That is where anorexia got me. That is where my stubbornness and determination has led. But there is good news.

I am capable of feeding myself normally. It is going to take a lot of trust in others and it is going to take a lot of fight. The trust I have to work on, but the fight…I got that. You see fight is about a lot of determination and stubbornness…two things I have proven I have. In the past, I have used them to drive myself to the state I am in now. To injure myself and slowly propel myself down the path to death, but I can use the same traits and propel myself back to life, to health, to a point where I don’t have to be afraid to die.

So tonight I realized just how sick I am. How sick I never want to be again. I don’t want to have to wonder if a headache means I am going to die in my sleep. Heck..I don’t want to worry about dying. I am 20 years old and have a long life ahead of me, but only if I beat this. Right now my body is at such a weak point, I am its only chance at survival. Food is the only thing it has to rely on to repair itself. Years of malnourishment means it needs a lot of nutrients right now and I have to suck it up and give them to it. My emotions and mind can’t be relied on right now…they are driven by the same malnourishment. Survival must come in. I am at a point where I am sick enough to die….and food and nourishment….recovery and healing….they are my only way to survive. I have to trust my team and my meal is the only way to live.

I also realized I have a fear greater than the scale: death. This is a fear that is way too close to reality for me right now. And why is it such a reality? Because of how low my weight has gotten. Because of the fear of gaining weight that has propelled me to keep losing. So I have to abandon this fear…or more so my avoidance of it. At this point I have to cling to my fear of death and losing my dreams so I can face the fear of the scale that has controlled me for 14 years.

I shared and wrote these things because it’s important for others and myself to see the reality of what eating disorders bring. The fact that they can , will, and desire to kill us. They don’t bring joy, don’t bring hope, don’t bring a future. All they bring is fear and death. They propel us to a point our bodies can’t fight for themselves anymore. They bring people way too young to even need to think about death right to its doorstep. They bring us to the point we can feel the claws of death gripping us. Luckily, for me….I have the strength of a Father that propelled me to eat no matter how scary. To eat no matter the time. To eat and save myself. But sometimes…even death isn’t enough to scare people into doing that…and they die.

So please….no matter how sick or healthy you feel, fight this disorder. I don’t care if where I am seems impossible for you to ever be…because it seemed the same way for me. I promised myself I would never get this sick…and yet here I am. I thought I would be able to stop myself before it got this bad, that bells would go off in my head before anorexia was so close it could take my life. That is not reality.

You can’t stop yourself till you start to fight the demon of ED inside of you. And sometimes it takes feeling the breath of death on your shoulders to do that. But I hope for you all…my experience is enough to push you to fight. You don’t deserve to have to feel this way…I don’t deserve to have to feel this way. So I am going to fight with all I have…because I don’t want to die. And I hope you will join me and fight too. The only end to ED’s path is death, but we can turn around and walk the other direction. We can go back towards life. We might be walking against the wind as we fight for survival, but we are stubborn, determined people and we can do it. Don’t let ED hold you back….fight for your life…because that is what hangs in the balance.  

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