Its beginning again

Since my anorexia with purging in high school I did really well recovering all the way through my first year of college. Yet, moving back in with my parents for the summer set it off again. I kept telling myself I wasn't too bad cause I haven't lost much weight and I still eat something everyday. Yesterday, however, I was so upset at what I ate I actually purged! I am devastated with this behavior and now I am actually scared because if I am starting such extreme behavior I am afraid I really am starting all over again. I don't know what to do....

wow - i so relate to what you're sharing. i've moved back in with my family too, a couple different times, and have noticed a bit of reversion to eating disordered behavior. sometimes, it's real hard to see through the ED muck, when you're in a harmful environment. you may want to take some alone time and think about what it is in your home-life that has created this step backwards. also, remind yourself that you are still strong, even with a slip-up! i'm back home, and i'm always trying to stay healthy in the negative environment that is my home... it's hard! i constantly think about slipping up just once - restricting for just a day, purging just ONE meal... purdy please! but, that's why i felt it was necessary to find some help, and that's why i joined this group.

thankfully, i haven't had a "slip-up" yet in terms of anorexia or bulimia, but i do notice my attitude is just as bad as when i had been severely caught by ED... and that's hard to deal with too - i feel like i'm a step back too.

do you have a hobby that you really enjoy? maybe reading, writing, or something? it may help to turn that way when you're really feeling the urge to purge...

but really, don't beat yourself up about it... it's great that you're noticing something in yourself you're not happy about, and if you keep that at the top of your mind, you can work through it and triumph.

The problem is, I have already started giving in. Every hour I give in is every hour it gains more control. I never did get professional help and don't believe I ever found the root of my issue. Everyday is a really tough struggle because I have one side of myself arguing to cut this behavior out and yet another telling me to continue. I am so confused and especially frustrated with myself that I have even given in this much since I have done so well in the past months.
Writing has helped in the past but having all my thoughts written down makes me paranoid because my mother goes through my things. It actually leaves me worse off than if I had written nothing at all. I read often but that doesn't really get my mind off of anything unfortunately.

Oooooh... I, too, have felt ED urges surge when I enter my parents' house... Like a switch gets flipped. I am triggered to binge. UGH... If this is a toxic environment for you, and it sounds like it is, you need to find a way to get yourself out. Your safety and recovery are far too important to risk... Are you in therapy??

Wishing you well! Take care of you! ♥

Love,

Jen

No unfortunately. I am not and never have been in therapy. I was supposed to go but my parents changed their minds about sending me and pretended it never happened. Sometimes when they do acknowledge it, they threaten me if I start again they will do this or that... I cant even talk to them about it. I am not good at talking to them about my failures or anything important for that matter unless its extremely impersonal. I dont know what to do. I am stuck

Wow, I'm so sorry to hear that things are getting stirred up again!

It's absolutely essential that you get into professional counseling or a group support system. I know that sounds like the typical answer, but it really will help you understand why your eating disorder developed and why it has started up again.

It's very easy for me to feel a relapse coming on when there's a transition of some type like moving, a relationship ending, a transition into a different size clothing, etc. For me, it's easy to view these transitions as "things falling apart" so I look for the eating disorder to help me feel like things are stable again.

Please write more and tell us more about living at home before you went off to college and what it's like now that you're home again.

I always felt distanced from my parents more emotionally and that hasn't changed. I came home and its pretty much the same as it was before I left for college. All they do, both parents, is complain about how fat they are and what diet they are on and how much weight they've gained or lost. I mean, they knew I had a problem cause I talked to them about it, and they are still telling me this? My whole life they have been on diets and its screwed me up so much. Worst of all, my mother has a lap band and when food get stuck she actually induces vomiting. Did I ever have a chance to be normal? Even my younger brother shows some disordered eating. I am just sick of it, I cant seem to escape my own eating disorder and it is just gaining more and more control of me.

Allee,

It's so hard to stop obsessing, particularly when that which we are obsessing over is constantly shoved at us... I'm sorry, dear... Remember that people don't change until and unless they feel they must. Your parents, for whatever reason, don't feel they must. I know it's painful for parents to think about their child's suffering, particularly if they fear being in any way responsible for it, so denial may be helping them to cope right now. And food, I know well, can be a powerful tool of denial... :0/ For your part, you do see the truth. You know it's serious. You want to change. And you CAN!! You DESERVE to be free!! ♥ Therapy is absolutely essential. Your college should have a counseling program available, so that might be a good place to start. Trust me, if you don't deal with these issues now, you'll be dealing with them in the years to come when they have been compounded... I'm 34 and close to recovering. ♥ Don't wait as long as I did... :)

Love to you!!

Jen

Allee, I definitely agree with you that seeing your parents go through their own struggles with weight (and the incessant diet talk/weight talk) gave you a disadvantage for promoting a healthy body image within yourself. It's hard to grow up "normal" when you've got relatives all around you talking about how this weight is "bad" and that weight is "good" and on and on and on. It's frustrating, and it's something I still struggle with in my recovery.

Eating disorders definitely have been influenced by these kinds of conversations, but I don't believe they are solely about weight. There is usually something in our minds telling us to lose weight or throw up meals BECAUSE we are feeling bad about ourselves. Can you relate to this? Have you ever felt that you were good or bad based on weight? Have your parents ever said or done anything that led you to feel a certain way about yourself?

Yeah I guess in seventh grade is when I started paying attention to my weight Nd started attempting dieting. I think it's when I started feeling bad about my body. It started getting serious when I started getting a few c's in classes and my parents got on my back about all my grades. And they would pick on my flaws aliterate and express them infront of family members. My weight just adds to me feeling bad about myself. If I loose weight I feel good and accomplished but if I gain I feel like a failure.

And that's the ED talking. ;0) Losing and gaining weight simply do NOT equate to one's success or failure. They do NOT... It's possible to be skinny and miserable, and fat and happy. And vice versa. Weight simply does not equal happiness. Success. Love. The trick is to find a healthier measure of success. I know the weight is easily identified as a measure of success in our society, and if one believes everything we see in the media, it would be easy to think that happiness hinges upon the size of one's hips. Jean size can't buy love. What kind of PERSON do you want to be? What kind of person ARE you? How can we measure THAT? What are your goals? Passions? Dreams? These are the things that define you. Not the number that flashes across a metal box. That number doesn't tell me ANYthing about Allee. ♥

Thinking of you!

Love,

Jen

Allee, I know what you mean about getting picked on by your parents and them never being happy with what you're doing. It sounds like you have taken all that anger, pain, and sadness and have morphed it into unhappiness with your body. It is something that a lot of women do, and it's what I have done, too. It's kind of strange though, I mean, if we are treated poorly by family members and already unhappy, why would we do something that hurts us even more?

A lot of people who have eating disorders struggle with feelings of worth, not feeling accomplished, never feeling like parents are proud of them, or maybe they were bullied or teased a lot.

Dealing with calories, dieting, weight, exercising, starving, or throwing up is much easier than dealing with emotions, facing those people who hurt us, or having to deal with painful memories. Starving or throwing up are initially coping mechanisms that we turn to to help us get through a rough period-- it's distraction from the real issues, a moment where we can break away from the stress, or maybe it makes us feel good about ourselves for a minute. Unfortunately, those little highs we get from the eating disorder behavior can be very addicting, and that's when it becomes hard to stop.

It's really essential that you ask for help before things progress. Do you have an aunt or a trusted friend, someone outside the family you can turn to for help? If not, perhaps consider a local support group, your local newspaper should list emotional/health support groups, or you can do a search online. I think being around people who are going through the same thing would be greatly beneficial!!

Strangely, I don't feel there is anyone I can confide in. Im distanced from all of my family, at least emotionally. My boyfriend, though very supportive, doesn't understand why and thinks its some easy fix though I have gone through this twice already. And all my close friends...they don't say anything, they think it wasn't a big deal. After I was ill the first time they said they knew but just didn't say anything..

Maybe a support group would be a good idea. I am not sure though. I had a friend in high school who was also anorexic. Multiple times we would try to get better but in a way I think it egged us on to do just the opposite, you know what I mean? It almost turned into a sick contest.

I know I definitely want to go see a counselor at my school when I go back. THat way my parents don't have to know about this, but that is two months away.... and who knows how much more this will take control in two months.

I am just so lost and confused right now

Allee,

I don't know where you live, but there could be some support groups available. Searching on-line is a great suggestion! I attend EDA meeting here. There are a number of other groups out and about. They're harder to find than Alanon meetings, for example, but they're out there if you look. :)

Keep writing!

Love,

Jen

I honestly have no idea how to find these groups. I've looked before but all I keep finding is random informational sites on eating disorders. Are there any specific support groups available in multiple areas that you know about?

http://www.anad.org/getHelp/findsupportgroup/

I attend an ANAD group which has people suffering from anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. Some of the people who attend have had more than one diagnosis at one point or another, too. Attending my first meeting was scary, but it helped me feel not so alone. I was able to share my story with people who understood or had similar stories, and it just made the whole recovery process so much easier.

I understand your concern about the "sick contest." Even when the intention is recovery, we have to keep that other voice in check. It's important to be honest about how you are feeling. Being in a support group will help you build relationships on trust and honesty. And there are going to be moments where you feel triggered, but these people know exactly what that is like and will be able to help support you when you need it.

Thank you so much for the support and information! I checked anad, however, and it looks there isn't one that is too close to me. The closest one has a lot of recommendations for the individual before you get there and I cant afford it. Oh well. Thank you though :)

You could try EDA... The website is: http://www.eatingdisordersanonymous.org/meetings.html#top

I hope there's something in your area... ♥

Love,

Jen

allee...I have just finished reading this string, and I want to offer you my support. Jen and Heather have given you very wise and supportive advice. I can only echo their words, and encourage you to keep searching for a support group. If you are enrolled for the next semester in your college, I would think you could have access to the counseling services even during the summer. Perhaps you could check on that?
Also, if there are any eating disorder treatment centers, or professionals who specialize in eating disorders in your region, they may offer public support groups. It would be worth a try. You might want to try 'googling' Eating disorder support groups (your area), and see what pops up!
Also, the NEDA hotline can tell you about any support groups in your area (1-800-931-2237).
Good luck, and please keep writing!! Jan ♥

Thank you Jen for the EDA advice. I did find a couple in my area and I want to try them out. And thank you so much for talking to me and helping me get through rough times