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Re: Symptoms
Feb 24, 2007
You sound in pretty bad shape...have you thought of going inpatient? I really should have; at my worst, my symptoms were quite similar to yours, but somehow (I do not know how), I pulled myself out of it and turned things around. But being extremely dizzy and weak and if you have heart palpitations (from your condition, it sounds like you might), you really should consider some sort of intervention. That was actually the point I had to hit before I realized I no longer wanted to live with my ED. I could not function at work, I felt weak all the time, my skin was sallow and flaky. I had chronic severe insomnia--granted, I have always had difficulties sleeping but when the ED was at its worst, it was really bad. I'd be lucky to get 1-2 hours a night, if that; I remember going 3 day stretches without sleep. I felt and looked like hell. I read something about when the body is starving itself, biochemical reactions in the brain change and that can cause sleeplessness. The bad news was that I had to hit rock bottom before I would even contemplate changing my ways; the good news is that I did manage to recover from anorexia and I have been at low normal weight for my height and frame size for 5 years now.

Recovery is not easy, but it is worth it. I came to the point where the thought of having to spend the rest of my life that way--dieting all the time, exercising all the time, just exhausted me and filled me with despair. I realized I'd rather be dead than continue living that way until I did die. I felt I couldn't go on any longer. I remember feeling extremely old, and I was only 23 years old!

Looking back, I probably didn't do it the best way and probably should have been monitored and inpatient because my weight was extremely low, and it was a gradual thing, but I had to cut all exercising (which was a very hard habit to break) and start eating normal meals and not kidding myself that ED meals were actually "meals"--you know the sort of thing; box of frozen veggies equals dinner is not really enough calories to be considered a meal. I had to start eating enough calories to have a surplus at the end of the day. I had to do this with eating small meals frequently at first and having 1-2 protein shakes daily as snacks (not meals).

If you don't go inpatient, your best bet is to work with a dietician, preferably one who has experience working with ED patients. I got very lucky in finding a dietician--the dieticians I worked with saw only ED sufferers and hard core athletes (marathon runners and the like). The dietician who owned the business had recovered from anorexia (that showed me it was actually possible) and the dietician I saw said that while she'd never had a full-blown ED, she'd come close at one point in her life. I felt like they understood where I was coming from. I also had a therapist, though I never did figure out the "why" of the ED, it's not like my life was so horrible other than having an angry controlling father. I had psychiatrists too, and got on meds. In the beginning, I feel the meds helped more than they hurt, but they weren't a miracle by any means either, and luckily, the shrink did not put me on antidepressants notorious for weight gain; most of my antidepressants did not cause weight gain or loss in most people (there are always exceptions). But for example, the doc had asked about putting me on Remeron (this is an antidepressant that causes huge appetite increase & hence weight gain in almost everyone who takes it) and I told him I just wouldn't take it if he prescribed it, so then he put me on Effexor (not recommended as it has horrible withdrawal, as I discovered 5 years later), but I do think the meds helped stabilize my suicidal/self injury urges, plus the doc gave me meds to help me sleep. It really felt so much better to get enough sleep; I think it actually changed the way I was thinking to some extent. Well, you just don't function well on too little sleep.

Also, when you are in recovery, don't give in to the temptation to weigh yourself. I always weighed backwards at the docs and my dietician and I had a pact where I turned in my scale to her and didn't get it back until I was through with the weight gain and had been at a stable weight for over a year and no longer felt it necessary to see her. Knowing your weight just gives the ED too much power especially during recovery when you are gaining. Even now, I only weigh myself once a week and never the morning after a large meal/party.

Recovery is worth it! I'm happy now and I'm even off all meds (except Xanax as needed for anxiety but this is once every 2-3 months, not much at all)! Most of the time, I'm no longer depressed. I have a couple moody days each month but feel these are related to my menstrual cycle (which has since returned) and not really true depression. I actually like the person I am now instead of hating myself. I still get ED thoughts from time to time, but I no longer act on them, that is the key. You can think it, just don't act on it. I still have body image issues, I won't lie, but I'm a healthy person with body image issues, and the truth of it was I never thought I was skinny enough even when I was so skinny I'm lucky I didn't kill myself. So now I may not always be happy with my body but I don't think it is super gross and the fattest ugliest body around either, and other parts of myself I really like. My skin has a healthy glow and is no longer flaky and sallow; my hair is thicker and shinier, I have muscle tone in my arms, I have energy, I'm no longer obsessed with food & exercise every day (I actually have a life). I'm writing again, I started dating after recovery and met my husband, we've bought a house and I've taken up gardening, which I really enjoy.

The best thing about recovery is it makes you feel powerful. An ED is very, very difficult to beat. Once I recovered, I felt like I could do anything! It gave me a huge boost of confidence and self-esteem. You CAN do this! It is possible to beat an ED! :blob_fire

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