Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A College Update

Being back at school is weird in so many ways, but one of the weirdest parts is that it almost feels like I never left.  Same crew of friends, same set-up in my bedroom, same furniture.  Then my stomach growls at lunchtime and I remember that I eat meals now.  Or I look down and remember that I was skinnier before.

The hardest thing is running into people I haven't seen since January.  Obviously, I am heavier than I was then.   It is noticeable.  So I imagine people gawking, trying to hide their shock/disgust/omg look how fat she got over the summer!  I am fully aware that not everyone is as obsessed with my weight as I am, but still.  It's not like people won't notice.  So that's hard.

It's also a little lonely.  I've spent so many months wrapped up in my own obsessions and insecurities, finally coming to terms with gaining weight and eating well - now, I realize that life has gone on.  I feel like the whole world has been turned upside down, and no one even seems to notice.  No one quite realizes how fucking hard it is to navigate Move-In Weekend with all the restaurant meals and lack of gym time and general unpredictability when all you can think about is food and weight and calories, and you are counting and recounting and recounting.  It was easier when I was restricting because the landscape was simple: eat as little as possible.  All the time.  Endure the obligatory meals out, then make up for it as soon as possible.  But now, I don't know what the end goal is anymore.  I want to maintain my weight.  I want to lose weight.  I want to eat.  I don't.

On a brighter note, my apartment is beautiful.  We have a full kitchen this year, which I think will make staying on track much, much easier.  Last year (my sophomore), the switch from home-eating during the summer to school-eating in the fall threw me for a loop.  I was already teetering on the edge of a pretty big cliff last summer in terms of eating and exercise, and I think the unpredictability of cafeteria food was too much for me and really sent my eating disorder spiraling out of control.

Other things that are stressing me out:
- My new apartment is quite far from the campus fitness center, meaning it will take me about 45 min roundtrip to walk there, plus the workout time.  This is a much larger chunk of time than I have ever had to devote to exercise - the gym at home is literally two minutes from my house.  So I either have to cut down on my workout, or cut down on other things to make time for working out.
- My schedule is still up in the air.  I met with my advisor today about what I need to do to graduate on time (which is hopefully the goal), but I left feeling even more conflicted and confused about which courses I should take now and which ones I should save for next semester.
- I haven't weighed myself since getting here, and I'm worried out about having put on tons and tons of weight in the past three days.  My stomach feels bloated and my rings are tight, so I'm afraid to step on the scale and see the damage.  Logically, I know I'm probably retaining water from all the salty restaurant meals and it isn't real weight, but I'm shaky enough that seeing an elevated number will freak me the hell out.

The ED clinic in College City couldn't fit me in for an appointment for another week and a half, so I'm trying to police myself until then.  Periods of limbo are super hard for me, and I really want to stay on track this week and next until I restart therapy.

Hope everyone stayed safe from Irene!


  1. Glad to hear that you're getting settled in, I know moving is a HUGE hassle and can be pretty anxiety-inducing because it tears up routines.

    If you're having to walk 45 minutes round trip to the gym, that counts as extra exercise time itself, right, so if you do less time at the gym you still break even? Even if you're cutting gym time, you're still expending a lot of energy just to get there. Do you have any option to drive or catch a campus bus over there (especially in winter?). Anyway just a couple of ideas, I try never to push advice but PLEASE be careful about letting those routines consume a bunch of your time, because that won't help you feel less isolated and more integrated with campus and "real life" outside of behaviors that may not be part of an active ED anymore but are still related to it if they're that rigid...

    Really glad to hear that your new apartment is nice and that you're sliding back in with the same crew of friends. It's always super awkward to go back at a different weight than you left at, but I'm sure you're way more aware of it than anyone else. Yes, they may notice, but they probably mainly notice that you look *healthier*. I know that's a bit cliche, but it's true. And now that you're eating meals and such, they'll probably notice your eating habits *less* because they're more normal.

    I hope that the start of classes goes well, hang in there and take care!

  2. Hi Kaylee,

    I've been a silent reader for some time now, with my own arguably inactive blog. I felt the need to comment on this post because I am going through a very similar situation.

    I am starting my last semester of graduate school, during which I will be writing my Master's thesis, tutoring, teaching 5 hours per week, and taking my final elective course on top of everything else in order to graduate this December!

    I took summer courses, during which I was first exploring recovery and experimenting with eating more and gaining a few pounds. I've come to terms with the few pound increase in my weight, and am extremely happy with my much better state of health and appearance as well. However...I don't know "how" to "succeed" in school (in my mind, this equals all A's, and perfection) without resorting to restriction and over-exercise. As it is, I am eating a healthy amount of "real", good, nutritious food, but am actively getting into running again, which was my passion before my ED was at it's worst. While I am much healthier both physically and mentally now, I still DEFINITELY plan my day according to getting in a significant amount of gym time. The way I excelled in grad school last year was to focus ALL of my disordered energy (generated by my ED) on my schoolwork, and nearly got a 4.0. I was so happy with myself, but I was so unhealthy. Without the worry of what to eat next or what meal I had to tackle or how much gym time I needed to get in, in order to eat a healthy amount of food, I was able to to think only about school. Now I have to think about school AND recovery, and as you clearly know, it's HARD. Really hard.

    Just wanted to let you know that I'm experiencing similar feelings and hopefully we can provide a means of support for each other. Nice to "meet" you, by the way :)

    - Alli

  3. Cammy, yeah you are totally right about the exercise and I've actually cut way down on my gym time since being at school. For now, I'm surprisingly okay with it - probably because of all the extra walking and less free time to worry about it. Body image still stucks but I'm working on it. And please don't avoid pushing advice - it's always much appreciated!

    Hi Alli - so nice to meet you too! I'm really glad you've been reading. Your schedule sounds a little insane and I know it's SO hard to balance recovery with real life. I also used to worry that I could only be a good student if I was restricting and stuck to a rigid schedule, which seems crazy now but that's how my mind worked! Good luck to you.