Two years ago, I spoke with HealthyPlace’s, Gary Koplin, on “De-Romanticizing Anorexia.” I was asked to write Surviving ED, an eating disorders recovery blog, after that video post.
I vowed to be completely honest when I started writing this blog.
In some ways, it has been both a painful and rewarding two years.
This is what has happened in the past two years: three separations from my husband, two half-assed attempts at recovery, and one descent into alcoholism and prescription drug abuse. (Sung to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.)
I feel tired just typing it.
In the spring of 2010, I entered a Ohio partial hospitalization program for treatment of my anorexia. I had spent the previous two months fighting with my insurance company over treatment options. First they said they wouldn’t pay for any treatment besides outpatient. Then they directed me to the Ohio clinic. Then they told me, one week before I was to pack my bags and head to Ohio for six weeks, that I could go to any PHP in the country.
To say I was exhausted when I entered the PHP would be an understatement.
The Ohio PHP was different in several ways. First, it provided free housing for patients. The housing was not monitored and you were on your own from evening to the next morning. Second, the entire food part was based on frozen meals. I received no nutritional guidance during my stay.
Worn down and wary, I was not very recovery-minded. I also was difficult because I had been starving myself.
I went home with ten extra pounds and no self esteem.
I had sensed that my marriage was rocky after I returned home. A feeling of pulling back permeated everything my husband did.
I felt anxious that entire summer, and my anxieties were realized when I came home one day from class to find my husband had left.
We reconciled a month later, but that only lasted three months. Two days after Christmas, I came home to find most of his belongings gone. He was on his way to Florida.
I entertained a notion of speeding away on the southbound highway, but turned back before I reached the exit. Frantic and hysterical, I called my psychiatrist.
But nothing could reassure me. Nothing.
I was alone and recovery was up to me.
We made one other perfunctory attempt at reconciliation in the spring of 2011. He left — for the final time — in September 2011.
The day after he left, I picked up a glass of wine and didn’t stop drinking until I was hospitalized four months later.
In some ways, it’s been a hard two years. I have struggled with food and weight and feelings of depression and anxiety. Many times, I thought I would not crawl my way out of the anorexic trap.
But, in some ways, it has been a rewarding two years. I’ve been able to write about my experiences here at HealthyPlace, and I pray that this has been helpful for those with eating disorders.
I finally — finally — gained the weight needed to work on recovery. Before, my mind was muddled and my mood was not stable.
Most days, I know that I will someday be fully recovered. The eating disorder voice will shut up. I will stop looking at my thighs and think that they are wider than a football field. I will not subconsciously count calories in my head. I won’t look at a piece of food as fat just waiting to attach itself to my thighs.
I will look into the mirror and see a beautiful, courageous, caring woman.
I feel honored to write Surviving ED, and pray that all of you don’t only survive your eating disorders, but find a life in which you thrive.