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Eating disorders

It's starting again and I don't know if I can stop it.

62 replies

RLABC · 04/05/2019 07:23

I have a long history of anorexia followed (usually always) by bulimia. I end up at the lowest point then get help and I'm fine for years (averages at about 3-5 years).
I've been healthy for 4 years now.
I live abroad now and everything is good. I have family coming over to visit in 2 weeks time. In February I booked flights to go back to the UK for a short visit at the beginning of April and knowing that I'd eat more whilst there (too many lovely foods that I can't get here) and then only have a few weeks back here before family come and I'd be eating more again due to going out more I decided to just drop a few pounds in advance, to give myself room to eat what I want without ending up too big for the summer (if you see what I mean?).
Anyway, those few pounds turned into 17 in the space of just over 5 weeks.
I couldn't let myself eat as I normally would on my UK trip, just tried to stick to maintenance calories, and have been reducing my caloric intake drastically since I came home. I'm now down to 300-500 calories a day.
I know I don't look good (too many people in the UK told me so), my husband is worried about me and I know I'll get a massive bollocking from my family when they come.
I honestly don't want to get ill again but I just can't bring myself to eat more. Each day I try to reduce my calories even though I feel shit due to the lack of nourishment.
I have no one to talk to about this here and I can't talk to anyone in the UK because I don't want to worry them more. They've been through it with me every time in the past and I should be able to sort this for myself by now. I'm 50 ffs, I should know better! But, on the other hand, I really want to lose a few more pounds.
My BMI is 19 at the moment, ideally I'd like to get that down to 18.5, soon as possible. But I know that's stupid. But I WANT it too much.
I don't really know why I'm posting this, I just don't know what to do. That's a lie. I do know what to do, I just can't at the moment.

OP posts:
RLABC · 04/05/2019 19:04


OP posts:
LilyRose16 · 04/05/2019 19:22

I have absolutely no experience with eating disorders but I saw your post in the active threads. Couldn’t not reply to you Flowers

I have no idea how you are surviving on such few calories, you really must be doing damage to your body. But I guess you already know that. Do you have anyone you can talk to or are you in a position to seek counselling? From what you’ve said, you’ve been here before so you know what you need to do.

It’s easy for someone without an ED to say, but life is worth so much more than weighing out food and depriving your body of essential nutrients. I really hope you make the decision to get some help. Do you have family? I’m sure they will of course want to help you. Sorry you’re going through this.

RLABC · 04/05/2019 20:23

Thank you so much @LilyRose16 for responding. I know what I need to/should do but the ED side of my brain is overriding anything else. I know I'm skinny now and I could turn it around before it's fully taken control but I just can't bring myself to do it. I'm scared because this is the first time it's happened whilst I'm (basically) alone. My husband knows I'm barely eating and is concerned but, here, ED's are not really spoken about/widely recognised so he doesn't really understand. He's seen photo's of how I was in the oadt, knows some of my history but I never really went into the full details with him as I thought it was all behind me. He's supported me so well over the past 2.5 years of cancer treatments, I just don't want to bring another problem to the table.

I've got 10 days until my parents arrive so I've got to try to do something before then.

OP posts:
LilyRose16 · 04/05/2019 21:02

It really sounds awful for you. When you say you can’t bring yourself to do what you need to do, why is it that you can’t bring yourself to do it? Is the environment influencing this? (You’ve mentioned you’re in a place that EDd aren’t really spoken about).

You say your husband has supported you during cancer treatment (sorry to hear that by the way), this is also an illness and I don’t see why he also wouldn’t support you in this time of need. This is a major illness and unfortunately it sounds like something you’ve struggled with for a long time. It can be cured though and there is help out there but you need to be ready for this.

Think about what the alternative is if you don’t get help, being brutally honest, you are really going to waste away over the next 10 days and your parents will probably be really shocked to see you. Do you think they will realise what’s going on when they see you? Your immune system will really be lowered, you will probably start getting ill and more importantly, I can imagine you will start feeling so empty...

I wish there was something more that we could do to help with eating disorders. I know it’s not as easy as just telling someone to ‘just eat’. 😔

RLABC · 04/05/2019 21:15

I know I need to stop calorie counting and stop over exercising. I need to "just eat". I need to stop focusing on my weight. I need to just go back to "normal" thinking around food. But, I can't. If I'm honest, I'm completely in it's grip but, I'm not too far down the road.
Yes, my parents will know as soon as they set eyes on me. Then I'll have them stressing, me being pissed off (because an ED hates to be recognised) us all falling out and then them worry about me when they've gone.
I don't understand why I can't just lose a little bit of weight, be happy about the results and then maintain. It's like I know how to starve and I know how to do relaxed eating, there's just no middle ground with me. It's one extreme or the other.
My husband, bless him, spends most of his 4 days off a month on hospital visits with me as it is. I can't do anything independently because of the language barrier (I can understand more than I can speak but, when it comes to medical issues then my knowledge is lost).

Thank you for responding, it's helped to have someone to share this with Flowers

OP posts:
funthief · 04/05/2019 21:22

I know nothing about eating disorders but I am wishing you well. I hope you can find the strength to stare this down and get back to healthy and happy living.

RLABC · 04/05/2019 21:33

@funthief Thank you Cake (being ironic! Grin)

OP posts:
Babdoc · 04/05/2019 21:35

Please contact the appropriate medical services wherever you are living OP - either GP or psychiatry - and get help before this gets any worse.
Anorexia is often related to control issues - would it help to focus on controlling something different to food, to distract the obsessive thoughts elsewhere? Maybe keep meticulous account sheets of every penny of expenditure instead of calories?
There can be elements of depression and self loathing in anorexia too - a wish to shrink yourself away to nothing, and deny yourself the pleasure of food. You might benefit from some cognitive therapy to work on the negative mindset, and help you to feel deserving of food and treats again.
It sounds like you have had a really rough time, if you’ve had to cope with cancer treatment as well, and I wonder if the fear of being unable to control the cancer has brought the eating disorder back to the fore again?
Please seek professional help. There is no shame in having an ED, and even if it’s not discussed socially in the country where you live, the medical staff will no doubt be aware of it, and experienced with current treatment recommendations. Best wishes that you are able to turn this around, OP, as you have managed to before.

RLABC · 04/05/2019 22:11

would it help to focus on controlling something different to food, to distract the obsessive thoughts elsewhere? Maybe keep meticulous account sheets of every penny of expenditure instead of calories It's funny you should say that @Babdoc because that is something I already do (yes, control issues).
I've had CBT in the past but didn't find it helpful, it just wasn't for me.
I know I'm back in the grip of depression and I (very) often have suicidal thoughts; just over a year ago I tried to overdose on every tablet in the house (and there were a lot because of me stockpiling) and another time I stood on an overpass for almost 2 hours trying to work up the courage to just jump but I couldn't do it as I was scared in case it didn't work and I'd end up paralysed. This I put down to the horrible cancer hormone therapy pills (anastrazole) and I insisted on changing to a better drug (femera) because it was so awful. But, the suicidal thoughts persist, though not as strong.
I'm not as bad as I used to be though, no self harming or laxative abuse. In fact, I think this is the first time I've done it by diet alone (go me!)

OP posts:
RLABC · 04/05/2019 22:12

Sorry, that was a rambling post!

OP posts:
Babdoc · 05/05/2019 08:50

OP, as you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts as well as having a relapse of your ED, it’s even more important to see your doctor, with a view to starting antidepressants. Your family would be devastated if they lost you, and it would be so sad for you to beat cancer, only to then die by your own hand.
You’ve been through so much, OP. You deserve professional help and treatment to let you enjoy the rest of your life in happiness.
Please make an appointment asap. You’ve been very articulate on here, and clearly have insight into your illness- just go and repeat what you’ve told us here, to your GP.
My prayers and best wishes that you access the help you need and deserve, OP. God bless.

funthief · 05/05/2019 09:28

How are you feeling today?

RLABC · 06/05/2019 06:14

@funthief I'm fine, thank you for asking. I couldn't get online yesterday (power cuts are very frequent here), hence my late response.

I've decided to try to stick to a maintenance regime and see how that goes. The thought of putting any weight on is just too scary at the moment but maintaining isn't so.

OP posts:
RLABC · 06/05/2019 06:15

@Babdoc Thank you for your lovely post Flowers

OP posts:
starburst1979 · 06/05/2019 06:33

OP I feel for you as I know what it's like. You need do make that appointment and speak to someone.

I used to drink loads of chocolate milk to boost my calorie intake when I was trying to gain weight. Wasnt eating so I wasnt cheating (funny how the brain works)

I've been out of the cycle for a few years now but I still struggle to eat more than 1 meal per day and never eat more than 800 cals per day. My body just doesn't allow it

Good luck x

oatmilk4breakfast · 06/05/2019 06:47

Hello. I couldn’t not respond when saw your post in active threads. Hope you’re feeling ok today. You said you’re in the grip of AN again but not too far down the road. What helped you last time? If it was professional help could you imitate it? Sometimes mentally wearing a different hat and saying right now I am going to be this professional and set a plan for this person who needs help can give you the distance you need? Make a good plan then don’t think too much more about it - just follow it. Incorporate all the foods that you do like to eat. And then as soon as you’re able get yourself to the real professionals - there’s no shame in this / it’s an illness. Good luck 💐

DGV · 14/08/2019 09:38

Just updating. I'm now down to a BMI of 16.7 and still can't bring myself to maintain or gain.
I went to my doctor last Friday (just to get a repeat prescription) and I was thinking about asking for some hell but, when I got there it was a different doctor and she didn't speak English. Obviously I didn't mention the ED.
I may try again next week, maybe my doctor was just on leave that day.

DGV · 20/08/2019 22:48

BMI is 16.4 today Sad

DGV · 30/08/2019 20:54

I bit the bullet a few days ago and made an appointment with a psychiatrist at our local hospital for next week. I was notified today that that doctor wouldn't be available for my appointment and the only other one is booked up until October.

BMI today is 15.9

2018SoFarSoGreat · 30/08/2019 21:07

oh DGV I am so sorry to see your updates. Any way to go back to the UK for treatment if thre is no way to get help before then? You won't make it to October at this rate. Please, get help.

Your poor husband, your poor family, poor you. You have done it before - you know you can stop this. With help. Please reach out.

DGV · 31/08/2019 06:45

@2018SoFarSoGreat thank you for taking the time to respond, I update this thread to keep myself a little bit accountable. Well, that's the idea anyway Hmm
I can't go back to the UK as I've nowhere to stay and as I've been an expat for so long I don't think I'd be entitled to or deserve any free treatment there. Paying isn't an option and I know that any treatment will take a long time.
Of course the ED is loving the fact that I can't see anyone for so long Sad

flapjackfairy · 31/08/2019 06:54

Ok did you go back to the GP. You must seek help !
What did happen when your family visited ? And your husband must be worried sick . Sending a huge hug xxx

thesunwillout · 31/08/2019 07:04

DGV, I've just read your thread, and I'm sad that you're so ill.
I don't know what to say really, if you came back to the UK you might at least be able to see a gp for free, but like you said there's always a wait for treatment or further help.

I don't know what has helped you in the past, to get back on an upswing.
Can you try and remember what you did, or how you began to eat more again?
Nutritional value of some foods, or even those protein shakes?
Could you try milkshake type smoothie, banana chocolate?
I love almonds and cashews, do you like nuts?


DGV · 01/09/2019 20:47

No, I didn't go back to the GP as I had no idea when she'd return to work. To be honest I was relieved, I don't know if I'd have had the courage (or want) to confess, at the time.
Firstly, thank you Flowers

Last time my parents were here (May) I got a lot of comments about my weight loss (all negative) but I was able to hide (mostly) the physical signs with clothing and I made an effort to eat in front of them, sometimes. The beauty is, they stay in a rented apartment about 10 minutes away (in a resort) so I don't have to be with them 24/7. It's easy to decline meals as I can say that I ate earlier / will be eating later, etc.

As for my husband, well he was clueless about ED's, up until about a month ago. He works such long hours that we hardly ever get any time together and hadn't eaten together for so many months. Again, sooo easy to say I've already eaten. Of course he noticed the weight loss but I'd reassured him that it was being done healthily. I'm a bit Confused that he accepted that, to be honest but, it made life so much easier for me. It's different now, he's on my case so, tensions are rising Angry

@thesunwillout, thank you for responding so kindly Flowers

The last time I was ill in the UK I had a choice; be sectioned or go to an ED day patient unit daily (as I refused point blank to be admitted to hospital) so, I went along for 6-7 months. Daily meals + snacks, therapy, group work etc. I don't know if that is an option here but if it is, I'm really not sure I want to do it. The hospital is an hour away. The road is treacherous. I've got too much to do at home that means I need to be here. I can't spare the time for it.

I'd love all those foods you mentioned (and more!) but can't eat them. I'm living on watermelon, lager and cigarettes Blush

DGV · 01/09/2019 20:49

My dad is coming out to stay with us (in our house) in 10 days time, for almost 4 weeks. That's going to be really tough on me Sad

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