What a weekend! It was filled with errands, sleep, and taking my god-daughters to a movie and shopping. We had assignments by our T. to complete and haven’t been as productive as we would have liked; nevertheless, we did do some journaling, which was part of our instruction. Another assignment was to let Tina, one of our members, make chocolate chip cookies. We came close, even got the ingredients together. That was as far as we made it with that. We left the ingredients out so Tina can make the cookies for tomorrow. We didn’t get a work out in on Saturday, so being behind a day in calories meant we had to put the cookies off until we could safely get an extra work out in.
We’ve been thinking about how we ended our previous blog. The topic of the lengths we will go to to get better came up and is rather pertinent considering the lapse that has happened since leaving treatment. What are we willing to give up in order to get better?
The question firsts needs to be asked do we want to get better. The answer is yes, especially with the dissociation. Not meaning that we want to get rid of our members. But there are times when we are switching constantly and it gives me a raging, intolerable headache. The switching and shifting is disconcerting, confusing, and most of all, unsettling. There is every reason in the world to want to get better. But the food issues come in. Most anorexics agree, even the ones on the road to recovery, that there is a sliver inside somewhere that starving oneself creates a sense of safety. Getting attention, having people who formerly didn’t notice you start to care, and being sick is a plus in having this disorder. Growing up, the only time we got attention from the birth mother was when we were sick. The only time we get attention now is when we are sick.
Back to the point: what are we willing to give up, what lengths will we go to to get better? Certain areas of our life have to be explored and let go before we can even get close to wanting to let go of the eating disorder. I don’t think it even possible to let go of the E.D. until some exploration is done into the reason we dissociate and the trauma we’ve gone through and blocked off.
For some of us, food is dirty and equated to abuse. Eating most things is reminiscent to the sexual abuse. Starving ourselves makes us clean and pure inside. One of our assignments is to find ways to feel clean about ourselves without depriving ourselves of food. Much thought has gone into this. There are three ways we use to cleanse us. Starvation, over exercise, and showers. We shower and scrub like we’ve just been victimized. The skin is red and raw.
I’ve no idea of any other avenues to avail that will produce the same cleansing effect, because it has become like a chemical release inside. It’s like the release of endorphins. What else could give us that rush? Shopping, cooking, playing with the dogs, cleaning the house, watching a movie? Cleaning the house might help, but I can’t think of anything else to make me feel clean about myself so that I don’t want to starve or exercise or damage myself in any other way.
If members could let go of their secrets and share their memories with each other then perhaps we might not feel so dirty inside that emptiness is the only answer. Towards the end in res. tx. it got easier to access memories, but I don’t know how to do that without res. tx. Sure, I have a therapist, but there’s a missing link. Yes, I trust my therapist. The alters agree that they do as well; so, why can’t we access the memories like we did before.
What comes first: giving up the memories or giving up the anorexia? The anorexia makes me feel clean, but so would dealing with the memories that tainted me to begin with. I remember towards the end of residential treatment after dealing with a painful memory that my weight wasn’t as important as it had been. Processing the memories and feelings were more helpful. That feeling didn’t last long, but if I kept at it and worked with the trauma it might make the anorexia less important. I wouldn’t need it for safety.
But I can’t force alters to give up their memories and secrets. They know I’m scared witless. I don’t know how to cross that bridge. I say I’m ready to deal with it. I stuck with the painful feelings in treatment during session and didn’t run from it, but I don’t know how to access the memories and feelings now that I’m in the real world. I’m quite confused.
I would go to any length possible to get ready of the dirty, shamed feelings. It takes starving myself and exercising for at least 60 minutes everyday to feel clean. I have to be empty, weightless and hollow to be clean, pure and
unpolluted. I would give it up yesterday if I only knew how. Anorexia is necessary in making myself feel that I’m not degraded, trashy, and worthless. I’m so done feeling that way; I just don’t know how to give it up.
I know I shouldn’t have this episode because it sabotages my chances of recovery, but I purchased an episode of a t.v. show named “Intervention” and downloaded it to my iPod. It is about a woman named Emily who was anorexic, at least at the time. I identified with what she said about not eating and then exercising and showering and feeling empty and clean after that. She said it was the best feeling in the world, and I totally agree with her.
Anorexia is going to be very difficult to give up. I have to find something that will give me that same pure, clean, and spotless feeling. I just don’t know what it is or where to find it. I also wish my members would be more forthcoming in sharing their trauma experiences. Without that, I don’t know if we’ll ever make it past the tight rope of death that we walk every day.