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Eating Disorders If you or someone close to you is struggling with an eating disorder, reach out here to ask questions or to receive support for recovery.

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Is this technically a problem? - February 12th 2017, 12:00 AM

*Triggering: ED*

Hi all.

So as I mentioned in my last thread I'm going to a program soon for a few different reasons, one of which is ED. I know I asked what to expect but I'm really concerned about how it's going to go. I'm still really worried they are going to make me eat, since I've been restricting the past couple of weeks, but that's not the point of this post.

I was wondering if what I am doing is technically a problem. So I've restricted several different ways over the course of my history. I won't go into detail over past restrictions because I don't know if it's against the TOS [edited] I've actually been irritated the past few nights because they keep making/picking up food they know I specifically like in order to encourage me to eat more. It works sometimes but other nights I still keep my food intake low. However, with what I've been eating the last few nights, even keeping control over what I eat, I've had a "decent" amount of calories. I haven't purged yet even though I've really wanted to because my girlfriend forbids it and I'm with her most of the time.

My question is, will this be a problem at treatment? Is it even restricting if I eat at night? [edited] I really like this method of restricting; it helps me feel really accomplished and good about what I'm doing. I want to be able to at least keep my eating patterns this way even if they make me start ingesting more calories.


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Last edited by Lizzie; February 14th 2017 at 06:31 PM. Reason: PM sent to user
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Re: Is this technically a problem? - February 12th 2017, 12:48 AM

Recovery from an eating disorder and going to treatment for it, among other things, involves not acting on symptoms while there. It is still restricting to go all day without eating and only eating at night.

It will most likely be a problem because I cannot see a treatment center that treats eating disorders (or really any treatment center) allowing a patient to restrict the majority of their intake and only eat one meal, regardless of the caloric content of that meal. It is a liability for them because when you continue restricting this way you can become medically unstable. It is different for every treatment center, but the inpatient ED center I was at would send patients who were not eating and medically unstable to the hospital to be stabilised with an NG tube. That is the point when it becomes out of your control because when you get to that state it is no longer optional.

Mind you, residential treatment centers are typically lower levels of care than inpatient. So I cannot imagine them keeping a resident/patient who is not eating enough and ends up with unstable vitals. A treatment center will not force you to eat, but they will likely not allow you to stay in the program for either not being compliant with the treatment plan or becoming too medically unstable.

Recovery is letting go of the pseudo control the eating disorder makes you feel you have. Your eating disorder is the one in control over you. If you didn't have an eating disorder, would you be restricting like this with food or acting on those other symptoms? Harming your body is not something to feel accomplished about. You deserve to treat yourself well and deserve to be in a good mindset.

In the end, I cannot see any good treatment center allowing you to do this while there. I think something to consider is how much you want to recover from the things you are struggling with and the reasons for doing so because restricting like this could put you being able to stay at the residential center in jeopardy. And you deserve to get the treatment you need to recover from these things.


“There is nothing beautiful about the wreckage of a human being.
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What is beautiful is their strength, their resilience, their fortitude
as they display an ocean of courage when they pick through the
wreckage of their life to build something beautiful brand new,
against every odd that is stacked against them.” — Nikita Gill
   
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Re: Is this technically a problem? - February 12th 2017, 01:25 AM

Thank you for your response, and thank you for being honest and straightforward with me.

I am the one who is initiating going to treatment (considering I'm an adult and treatment tends to be more voluntary if you are an adult unless you are in immediate danger to yourself or someone else). I want to get treatment for the SH and the trauma, but I still feel very strange about my ED. I don't feel like I've gotten "skinny enough" to go to treatment for it but I know deep down I probably need help with it. I'm just really resistant to accepting help for it. I don't want to go somewhere else, though; I want to be able to stay at residential.

I guess I'm restricting more severely because I'm punishing myself for all the compulsive eating I did in the last couple of months and gaining weight. I can't believe I let myself get so fat and I feel horrible about how I look. I hate feeling this way; it makes me want to cry but I don't know what else to do. I still FEEL like I'm reaching a goal and that means something to me. I feel like I have control over food and that makes me happy. I think it does, anyway. It's very complicated inside of me and I don't really know how to sort it out.


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Re: Is this technically a problem? - February 12th 2017, 01:41 AM

The thing with when you become medically unstable is it can become involuntary. They may give you the option to go to the hospital voluntarily or they will go the involuntary route similarly to when someone is suicidal. It is really not enjoyable.

Believe me when I say I understand where you are coming from. I do completely believe that to be able to treat the trauma, self harm, and other issues you also need to address the ED too. If you don't, the ED could likely cause you to spiral right back where you are because it went untreated. Which could lead to going back to treatment. I say that from personal experience.

I understand wanting to feel "skinny enough" to receive treatment. Something that I know to be true is that eating disorders are not so black and white. The disorder comes in many shapes and sizes. I also understand using the eating disorder as a form of punishment. You say you are going to treatment for SH too. Eating disorder behaviors can be considered self harm. Which, it sounds like you are using it in that way.

It's not fun not having a good body image, but if you go this route with losing weight you will never be happy with yourself. The weight loss will never be enough. The goal will keep inching away while you continue to reach for it. I know most eating disorder plans focus on self acceptance and body positivity. That is something that could be beneficial.

I really think you should address your eating disorder while in residential. You don't know how to handle it by yourself, but that is why there are professionals to help you out with it. And as I mentioned, not starting to deal with your eating disorder now will only require it to be dealt with at a later date which may require more treatment stays. And while there's no shame in needing more treatment, I know it can be stressful with insurance and other costs.


“There is nothing beautiful about the wreckage of a human being.
There is nothing pretty about damage, about pain, about heartache.
What is beautiful is their strength, their resilience, their fortitude
as they display an ocean of courage when they pick through the
wreckage of their life to build something beautiful brand new,
against every odd that is stacked against them.” — Nikita Gill
   
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Re: Is this technically a problem? - February 12th 2017, 02:11 AM

I don't think I would ever choose the involuntary route for treatment. I've been put in hospitals involuntarily before for self-harm behaviors and it's not fun. I don't want to have to experience a feeding tube. I think if they gave me that choice I would probably choose to start eating more, though I would hate it very much. I'd feel I was "tricked" into having to eat more. However, I'm worried because I know myself and I know I'm stubborn and I'm scared I won't give in to the need to eat more until it got to that point.

This place is big on treating co-occuring disorders. They specialize in treatment for substance abuse and eating disorders (I don't have a problem with substances but they also treat mood and anxiety disorders, which I do have) and they talk about how different disorders can also occur together. I'm sure if I don't treat it my ED will continue to be a problem. I just know I'm thinking of "playing along" so they don't force me to do much and then go back to engaging in my behaviors when I get out of treatment. I know that's a bad mindset to walk into it with but I think I may be sicker than I think I am when it comes to ED and that's what I cling to: being able to get away with it.

I just know I'm technically overweight for my height and I didn't want to walk into a program with a bunch of really slender participants who have been dealing with Anorexia. I'd feel really self-conscious, or like they wouldn't think I was "sick enough" to receive treatment there because I'm overweight. I know they have groups there on body image and I'm sure they'll place me in one.

I don't "hate" my body, per se. I acknowledge that I am actually a relatively healthy woman. My body is fully functioning for the most part, minus an ankle injury that makes walking and some forms of exercise difficult. In reality I have very few health problems, and I am grateful for that and hope it continues to be that way for many years. I know, too, that plenty of other people find me attractive. On dating sites and apps I get a lot of matches and I've met a lot of people and hit it off, so I'm not unattractive. I just..I don't know. I just don't like what I see. I think I probably see myself as fatter than I am but I don't like what I see. I want to change it.

I guess I'm not serious enough about it. I feel there will come SOME point where it's enough. That point may be when I'm dangerously thin but I believe I'll be able to stop at some point. Is that not true?


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Re: Is this technically a problem? - February 12th 2017, 03:21 AM

Frankly, no one can force you to recover. You have to make that decision for yourself. People can beg and plea, but you need to want to do it.

In my experience with NG tubes, when you get to the point of needing one they do not typically give you the choice to simply start eating. It is usually not safe enough to do so. It might feel like a trick and being in hell, honestly, but they aren't trying to trick you. They are trying to help you recover. One thing you can ask yourself is "do I want to be back at this point where I need a high level of care again? How many times am I willing to go to treatment and 'play along' before making the decision to do it?"

Let me say one thing, BMI is a load of BS. It cannot very accurately determine a person's health, worth, or ideal body weight. Something they always talk about where I was in treatment at was the body's set point weight. It's the natural weight your body likes to be at. It will be different than everyone else's. I am glad you currently relatively healthy. That is a really good thing. But believe me when I say continuing in this manner will make your health deteriorate. Certain things are not completely reversible either. I could list every single health risk that eating disorders cause, but it would not ultimately make much of a difference. I know when I was very stubborn with my eating disorder I did not care about the health consequences.

In all the people I have met and personally, it is not just so simple to 'stop'. It is never enough. If you get dangerously thin, you will still probably not like the way you look. It is hard to stop once you start going down that slippery slope. You really do keep rolling once you slip, too. And you can definitely be able to recognize that you are healthy and that other people find you attractive, but does that change the way you feel about yourself at all? Probably not much, if at all. What's important is you liking or at least accepting your body the way it is. Going this path to liking yourself will not work because the motivation is usually self-hatred or extreme dislike.

And if it's any sort of comfort, it is not all thin people that are in treatment. There are people who have all kinds of body shapes. One body shape is not any more deserving of treatment than another. I often told myself I was not 'sick enough' to need treatment for my eating disorder because I wasn't this or that. That frame of mind doesn't help you or help your team help you. If I learned anything since I was 13 it's that the people trying to help me cannot read my mind. If I want help, I have to help them help me. They need to know the extent of what is going on to help you.

Even still, as I said, no one can force you to recover. But I do know that letting an eating disorder stay around is a miserable existence. And letting it stay sometimes, in a way, cancelled out some of the progress I made with things regarding my mood/psychotic disorder and trauma. I might have made leaps and bounds, but my eating disorder was ultimately tied to my mood and trauma still. In allowing the eating disorder to stay I allowed the mood and trauma symptoms back in, too.


“There is nothing beautiful about the wreckage of a human being.
There is nothing pretty about damage, about pain, about heartache.
What is beautiful is their strength, their resilience, their fortitude
as they display an ocean of courage when they pick through the
wreckage of their life to build something beautiful brand new,
against every odd that is stacked against them.” — Nikita Gill
   
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Re: Is this technically a problem? - February 12th 2017, 03:36 AM

This would be my first time doing ED treatment, which is why I am scared. I'm scared for many reasons. I'm scared because I don't know what to expect. I'm scared because I don't want to let go yet. I'm scared I'm not "sick enough," like I said. I'm scared because this has always been the one thing I can hide and I'm afraid of really letting go of it. My official diagnosis is EDNOS because I have symptoms from several types of eating disorders. I'm afraid they're not going to be able to treat me because of that. Even though I'm restricting right now I'm not solidly in the Anorexia camp and I'm not solidly in the Bulimia camp either. I compulsively eat but I don't binge eat so I'm not in the Binge Eating Disorder either. I feel like they won't be able to help me because I don't know how they'll pull from all of those programs to treat me.

Back to the hiding thing: my weight has fluctuated a lot over the years. My psych meds make me heavier than I might be without them and that really makes me unhappy. Since I was 12 I've either vacillated between too thin (when I was restricting and exercising a lot, which was the only time my disorder *almost* got noticed) or too overweight. No one looks at the overweight girl and thinks she has an eating disorder. It made purging and compulsive eating easy to get away with. When I started restricting last year was the only time it got noticed for real, and that's because I live with my girlfriend and she started paying attention to my eating habits. I saw a dietician but I took none of her suggestions because I was stubborn. The only thing that stopped the downward spiral was a huge depressive episode. When I'm depressed I eat more, so I gained all the weight back. Now I've been losing it again through restricting.

Yeah, I'm at the point where I don't really care about health consequences. There are already some minor ones- I have dizzy spells throughout the day and my BP and heart rate are lower. I don't feel those are serious enough, though, and I don't know at what point I will think health consequences are serious enough.

I hear what you're saying about the motivation not being right. I agree it's probably not best if it's self-hatred or extreme dislike. Part of me is wondering if I'm just using this as a more "acceptable" form of self-harm, too. But it's motivation to do SOMETHING, and I haven't had motivation for anything in so long that it's a welcome relief, no matter the cause. I've been depressed for a long time and I finally feel like my ED is starting to lift me out of it. I at least feel more positive than I did before, so that's something, right?

I don't want to delay progress in other areas. I'm just really scared to let go. I don't know if I can do it.


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Re: Is this technically a problem? - February 12th 2017, 04:14 AM

Here's a secret, you're eating disorder might tell you this but there there's no such thing as "sick enough". No one in their right mind would deny treatment to someone with early stage cancer over someone with a later stage. Eating disorders are no different. All people with eating disorders deserve treatment. A lot of people tend to fit more into the EDNOS diagnosis. That doesn't make it any less severe or less deserving of treatment, though.

I am positive that this treatment center is equipped to handle people with EDNOS diagnoses. They knows things are not always black and white with eating disorders. I'm sure they are equipped to handle people who do not fit into the cookie cutter diagnoses.

Eating disorders are definitely easy to hide when you do not fit society's view of 'sick' with it. There's a lot of stigma with eating disorders, definitely. But treatment centers, in regards to staff, are typically safe places where the stigma is not there. There might be with other patients (I've met some real gems), but the staff are trained to handle the work they do.

Heart rate and blood pressure are actually one of the more serious problems involving eating disorders. I met some good people who ultimately lost the battle to their eating disorder because it caused their heart to continually waste away and eventually fail. Some of those people looked perfectly healthy or were considered 'overweight' by BMI. Another reason I call it BS. Your heart is a muscle though and when you lose weight through restricting, you are losing muscle mass.

I found my eating disorder motivating, too. That motivation only went towards eating disorder related things, though. And it can make you briefly feel better, but if it did anything after that period of feeling better it was kick me right back down where I was or even lower. It's a constant roller coaster of briefly feeling better before being kicked back into the gutter by the very thing that promised you things you desired.

I know how scary it is to let go. And you can definitely do it! Saying you can't or don't know if you can is the eating disorders way of getting you to run back to it. That you can't do this or that, so you might as well let it stay around. Or that maybe you will do when you are "this sick". I think being open and honest with the treatment team you get is important. Because focusing on everything else and ignoring the eating disorder does create the possibility to draw out progress that could have been made if it had been addressed.


“There is nothing beautiful about the wreckage of a human being.
There is nothing pretty about damage, about pain, about heartache.
What is beautiful is their strength, their resilience, their fortitude
as they display an ocean of courage when they pick through the
wreckage of their life to build something beautiful brand new,
against every odd that is stacked against them.” — Nikita Gill
   
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Re: Is this technically a problem? - February 12th 2017, 08:43 PM

I guess I just wanted to be a lot thinner before I went into treatment. I'm guessing I'll probably lose weight in treatment anyway because they'll probably have healthier foods and they offer yoga and other forms of exercise so I'll be acting healthier. However, even the promise of that isn't enough. I like doing it *my* way, you know? I'd feel like I'm giving the control over to them and their program and then how am I supposed to keep it up later on? What if I don't want to? Does that mean I'd fail again? Am I a failure for going into treatment?

My plan was to get really, really thin so that if I messed up and compulsively overate again I might gain weight back but I wouldn't be fat again. That's what I really want. I'm afraid I won't be able to do that if I go to this place and give in to their program. I'm glad you think they can handle EDNOS. I'm just afraid because I don't know which part to treat first- restricting, purging, or overeating? Probably restricting since that's what I'm doing now I guess. I just imagine walking into their cafeteria and having them place a tray of food in front of me and being forced to eat it when these days I only eat once a day, and only a little bit a day at that. I don't *want* to eat three times a day, three full meals a day (because they'll probably make me eat the whole thing). That seems like so much food, so much fattening food. And I'm really scared of that.

I can't tell whether I care or not that I might die from ED. I'm not suicidal or anything but I just feel like I'll never get to that point so it won't happen. I don't think my heart will fail. If it did I feel like since I'm with people all the time someone would catch it at least. I don't know. Maybe I'm being too optimistic?

Yeah, the motivation is only for food. I think I haven't been kicked back into the gutter yet. I guess I'm constantly reasoning with myself about food though, and I constant have to ask people whether certain foods will make me fat. I worry a lot about that. My girlfriend always says they won't but I wonder if she's lying just to get me to eat.

I appreciate you believing in me; that means a lot. However, I still feel to weak to fight it. I still feel too weak to be encouraged and that's really hard.


Love joins
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