Recovering Once Again a Long First Update
Monday, April 20, 2009 | A General Update story Well this being my first journal entry on this forum and seeing that I just wrote one yesterday for another group, on another health site. I thought I'd share it with all of my new or future friends here.
As far as an update goes this is a very long one. As most of you on this forum are new to me and don't know anything about me. I'm almost 8 months into recovery from my latest battle with Anorexia. I didn't slip quite as far as usual and I only lost a little more then 48% of my total body mass, instead of the usual 50+%. But it was getting very scary indeed late last summer. I know that most people of average or above weight, who neither have an eating disorder, nor have ever had such a dangerous, or potentially life threatening drop in weight, and even I still wonder how I keep surviving what many of my friends have died from over the last 18 years in particular. And I alway's hope, and pray that this time it will never return, but considering that the 4 out of 5 times that I've battled back from the most seriously drastic of these weight loses, I've battled alone while not as an in-patient, nor even in any kind of group or support program for eating disorders.
No one should have to face this alone, and I'm not saying that I haven't received help, support and encouragement from all of you on any of these forums. And I'm not saying that I haven't received any benefit from the knowledge that I've gleaned from the several times that I've been in any out-patient eating disorder program's or group's. I know all the facts and BMI stats and set point data figures. It's just that each time except the very first time, no one seemed to care if I lived or died, unless I rocked the boat so violently and screamed and shouted or nearly died of drowning. As far as the ED specialist's were concerned. Even at Canada's premier eating disorder programs at the Toronto General Hospital where back in the early 90's it was the only place in town that had any kind of specialized treatment programs. It usually took a year or more for me to even get an appointment back then, and they usually had no openings when I really needed something more like re-feeding, or trying to get off the ipecac or laxatives I'd abused since a child.
They (the specialists) still don't get it. They don't get that for some of us, that have a serious and sometimes lifelong or (life-shortening) eating disorder. There is a need to get to the root of what started the problem in the first place. And wrapping it up in a cute candy coated plastic package, and trying to ignore the more dangerous and not so pretty problems out of the need to deliver a homoginized expeditious and watered down easier to swallow slick and streamlined package. Does Not Work for some of us who keep falling through the cracks of a flawed system. it's definitely not something that can be dealt with in a group setting. Whatever that is still lacking in some if not most of us, they aren't prepared to discuss in a room full of other people, with a potential for being triggered. A lot of us don't survive their very first episode, or their 2nd, or 3rd, or 4th, even with intervention measures, and if the eating disorder doesn't kill us, quite often suicidality will.
Despite what my own nay-sayers think, say or deny ever happened. I nearly died during both my 1st 4 year battle as a teenager, and my 2nd 1-1/2 year battle at 41-42 years old. Now I'm nearly 59 years old, and no one would give me any kind of betting odd's that 46 years later, I'd still be alive let alone still able to make a come back and be in recovery once again.
Recovery never ends it seems, until you're dead. And if I'm not hyper-vigilant, strong willed, mad as hell and very carefully aware of avoiding any pitfalls (lifes' stressor's), which inevitably pop up. I'm really only one meal, or one-day-at-a-time away from a terrible death, which I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy. Because it only takes that first purge, or that first day with no food, that can kick us into high gear, and my own run-away train wreck of escalating addiction to the high, that is always lurking at the next skipped meal. Each and every day, at each and every meal only a heartbeat away.
As much as I hate to admit it. Things haven't changed much over the past 18 years for me, as far as the availability of treatment options are concerned. Except that I now have a voice, and I'm much more actively reaching out for help the help that I feel I need and this time I've been reaching out from the earliest stages, only to be told eventually that my disordered eating was far too complex an issue, to receive any further help from any of my local hospitals' eating disorder's group treatment programs.
I did garner one benefit. One little bit of hope, for a better outcome at sometime in the future. Back almost a year ago last May. From the same local eating disorder specialist who rejected taking me on as a patient ten years ago, because I wasn't a good fit to be in any of her mostly adolescent female patient's group treatments back then, and I'm still not a good fit, as far as sex and age goes now. That bit of hope, that at first was yanked back by my frontline psychiatrist, as being something that he didn't think I'd be able to handle, until I practically had to beg for it, after assuring him that I felt that I was ready for it. And that was only a referal to be put on a 2 year waiting list for in-patient PTSD treatment at a well-known (in Canada) private hospital.
That's the much shorter list then what's available for males with eating disorders that don't have semi-private or private health insurance coverage. Why you might ask? Because if there was only one serious enough male client that required such an inpatient intervention, then they would have to absorb the costs of an upgrade to a private room or a vacant semi-private bed or God Forbid three empty beds in a ward room. I've alway's had to fight for anything in my life, and I'm still in a fighting mood, and I'll never give up trying to get what any adolescent female client, has the right to get. I'm just possibly worse off, and certainly have endured much more damage to tissue, muscle and bone density over a much longer length of time, and at a much more detrimental level to my overall mental health by alway's being the odd man out all the time and being made to feel that it's all my own fault for being the wrong age and gender.
I've almost alway's had to be my own best counsel, my own best friend, and my own system of checks and balances, as far as my eating disorder was concerned. What has not killed me has truly made me stronger, but one of these days it just may not be enough to keep me going physically.
I'm very proud that I've been consistently able to recover on my own, to find the strength with-in-me, to do all the difficult work that recovery neccessitates of me.
I just wish it wasn't so damn difficult to get any kind of treatment, for something that there is so much awareness of in this day and age. The first time that I was waiting for an in-patient referal. I joined every local or regional Body Image Awareness Programs, that in the 90's were spreading the word through their local health departments and school systems. No one wanted to know why I cared so much, or even asked me why I was a founding member in these organizations. I didn't have a voice, nor would I have been able to voice my opinion if anyone had asked. I was still heavily over medicated and both numb and mute.
It's only been since I became more pro-active in my own treatment (meds-wise) about July 2001, and started to emerge from the foggy mist of mind numbing stupidity that I'd been in for the 10 previous years. Then still it took a long time(6 years) to come to the realization that people might want to hear what I had to say. Let me tell you that after 16 years of near silence, I'm still amazed with just how much I still have to say to anyone that'll listen.
So for me to be able to say: That I love myself, That I'm proud of myself, and that. No. You haven't heard the last of me. That is a very big accomplishment for a person like me, who couldn't even think clearly enough to make it past the 9th grade on two failed attempts because I didn't have the cognitive abilities during that first episode of Anorexia / Bulimia. Afterall starting from a stocky little kid at 13 who weighed 160 lbs and was only 5'2" and having at 12 years old first spent almost a year putting on those extra pounds to reach a weight that I hoped and prayed would help me escape from my sexual abuser's and when that didn't help my escape and I was even more desperate to escape my predicament. I only wanted to disappear enough to become invisible enough, to shrink into nothingness to escape the abuse, and I nearly did escape my life.
So by 17 years old having gone through a growth spurt of 8 inches, but now weighing a mere 73 pounds, having shed 54% of my previous weight in those 4 junior high and high school years. And the school refusing to let me even onto school property to finish my exams without being accompanied, for fear of me getting hurt, and them being liable., because I had already missed 123 days off sick that last year, and if I didn't write those exams for a 2 year junior matriculation degree I thought what would happen to me later in life I'd end up with a grade 8 education, just like my dad and be doomed to a life of industrial or factory work. And my family physician was barely able to faintly feel a pulse or get a blood pressure, and would not certify me fit to return to school until the last 2 weeks, (after passing out so many times at or on my way to school) and I begged and pleaded with him that I'd stop abusing ipecac and laxatives, stop all purging and start eating regular meals and take the yicky supplements and vitamins that he gave free to me, and that I later found out he'd paid for out of his own pocket. He told me I didn't have long to live if I didn't gain at least 10 pounds before my next appointment in two weeks, or else he would have to put me in a hospital and tube feed me, and have to tell my mother, just why I was so sick and skeletal, (with my mother sitting in the waiting room to write a post dated check to pay for my visit and certificate). I'd tell you why the threat of telling my mother was such a motivating factor to start me on my way to my first recovery, but that's a whole other story in itself from a much younger age that I'll share on a different forum soon.
So I cheated to demonstrate a weight gain, which in of itself is another story, and because I could no longer keep even the smallest of meals down, with such a shrunken stomach and for the most part I was on ordered bed rest for a ficticious flu bug that I didn't have and having lost all gag reflexes by 15 years old which is why I started the ipecac use back then & because after many scary purging episodes, using ipecac by the pint bottle size. Purging either came instantaneously without resorting to ipecac any longer or just the smell of it caused spasmodic expulsions as bad as if I'd used it.
So after getting the bums rush out of the school system without ever writing a single exam that year and having only just overcome dyslexia that last year, and there I was practically illiterate and sent out into the world to either sink or swim.
At first I had no choice but to learn to swim against the current and very nearly drowned. And I've gathered much of lifes' knowledge in the past 42 years (since high school) by osmosis but it never came easy, and it nearly cost me the ultimate price of my life many, many times.
But I'm still standing strong and I'm still determined to fight, and I'm mad as hell, after so much wasted time and thousands of wasted pounds of flesh. I now know more then I ever imagined possible and (who know's) maybe some day, somehow, I'll achieve some recognition, for a job well done, and maybe then I'll feel that I've finally done something right for a change.