Saturday, February 2, 2013

Back to Basics

My consult with New Therapist Candidate is looming, and I've been trying to pin down which of my Issues need the most attention. There's no possible way I can fit my whole psychological/medical/personal history into fifty minutes, and I'm planning to pare everything down to the bare essentials for this first session. But that, of course, is way easier said than done.

The eye, pain, and depression have dominated my thoughts for the past six months or so, and I'm tempted to go into the consultation focusing on just those. But of course, the eating disorder was the whole reason I started therapy, and the eating disorder is what led to all the other problems in the first place.

I haven't been writing about ED stuff as much lately because things are pretty much status quo—eating a relatively reasonable amount, maintaining my weight, not obsessing too much. BUT now I wonder if maybe that's not good enough anymore. Maybe the only reason I'm feeling less rigid and more chill about food is because I'm not really challenging myself much. Although no one would look at my diet right now and say OMG GIRL'Z ANOREXIC, my intake is not exactly liberal, and I eat very nearly the exact same thing every day. And certainly no one would look at my body and say GIRL EAT A SANDWICH, but I am still hovering right around the bare minimum healthy weight as set by my last two treatment teams.

I think the Chub Drug may have lulled me into a semi-false sense of security, as I gained XX pounds on it without changing my intake AT ALL from what is was before, when I was maintaining that lower  (objectively underweight) number. So it seems like I should be super healthy right now, judging my weight alone, but the truth is that without the drug boost, my weight would probably still be too low.

The whole reason I committed myself to recovery this time around was to deal with the mounting health issues that seemed totally inexplicable except for the fact that I was under-eating and underweight. I'm certainly eating better now compared with last spring, when things were pretty much at their worst, but even I can see that my eating is not completely normal. I don't want to stall out just when I was starting to make real progress, you know?

So...I'm not going to officially commit just yet, but I am seriously contemplating another calorie increase, even knowing that it will probably mess with my head and kick the anorexic mindset back into full gear. I can't let myself forget that the eating disorder set this whole train wreck in motion, and I can't let up until the eating disorder is history.


  1. You have my vote on a calorie increase! I've told you my story before and I remain convinced that my increase in calories and drastic broadening of my diet cured me of what had been diagnosed an autoimmune problem.

    Based on what you have written in this post, it appears you're starting to realize that just because your weight is out of the danger zone doesn't mean it's high enough for your body to resume normal functioning (treatment teams often choose goal weights on the low end so as to not scare patients). I actually had my worst "autoimmune" symptoms when I was at a seemingly healthy BMI of 22. I think the key is that as long as you are restricting/restraining your eating (either in terms of calories, types of food, the time you allow yourself to eat, etc.), you will never know what your body's natural set point is. Furthermore, some research is apparently suggesting that those recovering from anorexia may have to overshoot their set point in order to reset all their hormones and have a complete return to normalcy.

    I found that I initially gained weight rapidly when I finally removed all restraints - this was terrifying, especially because for the first months I was consuming 6,000+ calories a day. However, the weight gain slowly tapered off and when I was last weighed at the doctors (before getting pregnant), I was surprised to see that I was only about ten pounds heavier than when I stopped restricting. Keep in mind that I also completely stopped exercising (and that included lifting weights, walking, yoga, etc.).

    Anyway, without going on and on, congrats on contemplating another calories increase (I'd encourage you to go a step further - i.e., not to recover in such a calculated way) - don't " let up until the eating disorder is history" :-)

    1. I actually thought about your story when I wrote this and was hoping you'd chime in, so thanks! Restoring health is definitely my top priority right now, and it's very inspiring to hear how wonderfully you recovered from all your physical issues. Thanks for commenting and I will be sure to keep you posted!

  2. It's so nice for me to hear you see/realize this!

  3. As you mention, I know this is some difficult stuff to contemplate, but I am so very proud of you for recognizing that even though things are "fine" now, they can get even better. I say go for it all the way! Would it help to touch base with your D about it also? I know you had gone to less frequent appointments, but would it help to just check in a bit about this as well and see what the ways are that you might be able to keep moving forward around variety and an increase? I am so thrilled for you where you're at, in saying "I want more than this and I'm going to do it." Kudos to you, this is awesome! And good luck with the new T!!!

    1. thanks Alie! I may consider checking in with J at some point, just because I do feel like my perspective is a little skewed in the food/weight departments... Probably will wait and see how things go with New T this week, and I'll ask what she thinks about the dietary piece.