- Sara Mann
Year Four Lets Do This!
So I haven’t blogged in a few weeks. In the past this is something I would beat myself up over. I would tell myself I’m a failure, I’m bad, I will lose all my readers, no one will care anyway, and feel like a horrible person. Well, something in me has changed, and it’s a good thing. I haven’t blogged, and I don’t necessarily feel good about it, but I don’t feel horrible either. I have allowed myself room to be imperfect with things. When I was anorexic I had to be perfect at everything, and if I failed, I coped with it and the anxiety that came from it with starvation and exercise. Three years, and lots of therapy later, I now am able to be imperfect, and manage the anxiety that comes in a healthy way! It’s great!
So, reasons I haven’t blogged for a few weeks….
Well, there was this thing called Christmas! I had family in town, gifts to buy, people to enjoy, nieces and nephews to love on, so I decided to be more present with all of them and not worry about blogging.
We finally moved into our home! We lived with my parents for a couple of months and then the week of Christmas our kitchen and living room were done “enough” for us to move into our own home! This took a LOT of work. I just didn’t have the time or energy to sit down in front of my computer when I had walls to paint, boxes to unpack, tile to calk…you get the idea!
While the holidays and moving played a large roll in why I haven’t blogged, I think the main reason is I just didn’t have much to say. I shared about a month ago that I had a bit of a relapse. That was hard. Also, the month of December, and into January is an especially hard time for me. I started treatment/recovery in December of 2015. If you count right, that is THREE years ago. THREE. FULL. $&*%$&. YEARS. When I started treatment my team and doctor (at the time), all said that my recovery should take two to three years. By three years I should be back to normal. Well friends, I hit the full three year mark on December 7th of 2018 and guess what???? I’m not fully recovered yet.
This was/is a BIG blow that I had a lot of emotions about that I honestly just needed to sit back and deal with. This process has been loooong and I found myself on new years day feeling frustrated, angry, depressed and hopeless. I worried that I will never recover, that God isn't answering my prayers, that I'm just stuck like this. It’s hard to write when I feel like I have nothing good to say. It’s hard to want to share my journey and help others when I’m feeling like I don’t even believe recovery can happen for myself.
So for the past month I have been working through the disappointment of where I’m at in recovery, the frustration that this is taking so long and through the fear that maybe I’ve messed up my body so much that I’ll simply never fully recover.
There is SO much that I don’t understand and know about recovery. The "not knowing" is SO hard. When I concentrate on every little thing and how long it’s taking me, I become defeated real fast. It’s been important for me this past month to dig a little deeper and check the facts on my recovery in order to not quit and see this thing through.
Here are some facts…
If you google how long it takes to recover from anorexia, most professionals will say three to seven years is the average with some taking longer and a few shorter. (Seriously, google it.) If this is true, I am right at the BEGINNING of the average time it takes to recover, and we all know that my anorexia was very severe and VERY long. The chances of it only taking three years is actually pretty small and oddly enough this gives me peace. This means I’m not failing, or hopeless or “never going to recover.” It simply means that recovery takes a LONG freaking time and that is just the facts. My bet is it will take me another year or two.
Although my recovery has been glacial, had some hiccups and extra health issues, if I zoom out to the big picture, it makes sense. The first year of my recovery I spent re-feeding. I’ve never blogged about the re-feeding process, (I will), but it was slow and it was HELL. I was actually just talking about it with my mom and it made me realize how far I’ve truly come. I was so sick when I went to recover that my body literally rejected food. I would have to lay down for hours after I ate, my body would either immediately purge what I was trying to feed it or give me such bad reflux I felt like I had the flu all the time. I swelled, I was in pain, I would have night sweats, constipation, diarrhea…it was BAD. It took over a year for my body to settle down with re-feeding. Re-feeding is HARD on the body. Year two was my body figuring out my weight. It gained and gained and gained and then stopped. Granted, it gained to a number that I freaking hate and feel disgusting in, but it did eventually stop. At the end of year two we realized that some of my health problems were a bit outside the norm and now that I was re-fed, we can start to work on the damage that extreme exercise, starvation AND re-feeding did to my body. So year three was spent with doctors. Testing. Taking a bazillion pills. Trying to figure out how to get my body healthy again. My body will do all of this while staying at it’s highest weight in order to feel safe. That is a BIG, UGLY, pill to swallow, but I get it. I really do. So now here we are, going into year four. When I have the perspective of why is this taking so long I feel frustrated, but when I look back at the last three years in this way, it all kind of makes sense. I really hurt my body by starving it….the recovery from that is really long and hard.
It ain’t over til’ it’s over! Not one single professional that I work with thinks I’m recovered. Not one. I get nervous and have thoughts that I’m stuck like this and that I’ll never recover from the damage I did to my body. This simply isn’t true. It just takes a really long time. All of my doctors and team members say I’m still just in the middle of recovery, to keep going, I can do this.
Year three actually brought some major wins for me. When December rolled around I became depressed quick. Three years and not yet recovered. DANG IT! Yet when I look back at the past year, I made some MAJOR strides. Some physically, a lot mentally. I found a new doctor that has helped me tremendously. I went from having no energy, swelling badly, not having a cycle, not sleeping, having migraines every night, to in seven months having way more energy, hiking up mountains, swelling, but not as bad, having a cycle (even though that’s a blog for another time), sleeping well and no longer having headaches. It’s easy for me to forget these things when all I concentrate is on my weight, but WOW, those things are a big deal! I never would have been able to have the energy to renovate my new house in the beginning of year three! No way! So while I’m still far from perfect health and weighing my normal amount, I feel at least 60% better in December of 2018 then I did in January of 2018.
In year three I wore a bathing suit in public! I ate out with friends with little anxiety. I became gluten free, (just want to clarify that this was because of testing and doctors orders, not as a diet or way to lose weight) and overcame the pain and mental war that such a restriction brought on. I also have come to a place of acceptance that I never thought I would. I absolutely hate my weight, but I’ve learned to live and enjoy life the best I can despite it while I recover. I’m stronger as a person and I know my worth more then ever. My faith has grown a LOT stronger and honestly, so has my marriage.
I don’t know what year four has in store for me. It’s still easy for me to quickly become discouraged and lose hope that my body will ever get restored back to full health and a normal weight for me, but I have no choice but to continue to move forward and work through everything as it comes. I’m blessed to have my parents close by to encourage and support me. I have a God who is my ultimate healer and I can trust that everything is done in its perfect time. I have a husband who loves me through all the ups and downs and a team that still pushes me to see this through and reminds me of how far I’ve come.
So year FOUR….. LETS DO THIS!
- Sara -
P.S. So in the next couple of weeks or so my husband is going to be writing a blog post for my blog about my eating disorder/recovery 😬! We/I have been asked a LOT of questions in the past about how this has effected him/our relationship, (if he's ok with the weight gain, is our relationship better or worse throughout all this? Did he know I was anorexic? What did he do about it?etc.) He'll be answering a bunch of them in the post, SO, if you have any questions for my hubs about how this process has been for him, comment them below or send me a message! xoxo