I started this blog with the intent to write about my journey through recovering from an eating disorder. Turns out I am proud to say that my 1 year in recovery happened this month.
I left The Emily Program with the tools to help me combat my disordered eating behaviors, and excessive over exercising. I felt good. I felt like I had all the answers to what was troubling me deep down inside. I spread food and body acceptance every chance I got. I even requested to get a ground breaking, life changing documentary to come to our city from Australia. Embrace if you haven’t seen it you should check it out. (trigger warning; There is a scene where a woman is in the depths of her eating disorder)
The event turnout was remarkable, 150 plus women and some men showed up to share their distraught with our current societal standards on how a woman should look.
Let me rewind a bit, back to before the movie premier. October I had experienced first hand the possibility of losing someone to suicide. We were close and I valued her so much. I couldn’t fathom losing her. She was in the ICU for days. I went almost every day I prayed that she would make it through this.
To be honest this shook me to my core. I was still seeing my therapist in outpatient treatment. I went in the following day after the news and He looked at me with the most concerned face.
“you look absolutely broken.” He said while he grabbed the box of tissues on his desk and handed them to me.
I tried to hold back the tears like I always do.
“I’m not handling this well.” I said
” well that I can clearly see.” he leaned forward. “do you want to talk about how you are feeling inside? it’s okay to cry here Molly you don’t have to put on a show.”
I kept trying to swallow the tears which had started to build up with such an unbearable force I could feel it in my throat, it was starting to become too hard to swallow. Before I could hold on anymore as single tears began to break free from my attempt to hold them in, it was almost as if someone turned the faucet on high I began to weep. the salty warm tears covered my face and dripped onto my pants. I tried to wipe them away as fast as they came but I couldn’t keep up anymore.
It was a little easier for me to talk now that I wasn’t trying to hold back the great waterfall of tears.
“I am scared. I am scared I am going to lose her. I’m also scared of the feeling I have about the situation, I am not mad at her at all in fact I understand. and that’s what scares me most is I could see me lying there in the ICU. ”
It was then that my therapist and I both agreed that I should try to take some sort of an antidepressant. I started off on Lexapro. at first, I felt amazing. I felt like the world was beautiful and there was so much love around me. But that soon faded and I was so tired I could barely get out of bed for work in the morning. My days turned into constant thoughts of wanting to be back in bed. I had no desire to do anything.
This then leads to another med change. Zoloft; this was supposed to help with the fatigue and give me a great amount of energy, while still helping with my anxiety.
They were right, I had gained my energy back. I felt amazing. until I didn’t and these horrible thoughts kept racing through my head. Thoughts that I should be dead. Thoughts that I was not worthy of love from myself or others. Thoughts that others were against me. I stopped the meds cold turkey I couldn’t handle it anymore.
The first couple days I felt amazing. But I crashed so hard. I started losing interest in people, things I loved doing. my confidence diminished substantially. All I wanted to do was hide in my house, the littlest of things seemed too big and hard. I couldn’t wake up in time for work. I was chronically late. at work, I was able to focus only on the paperwork anything that wasn’t face to face I could do, which wasn’t good for the job I have. In which I manage a caseload of 10 clients and visit their homes once a week for 90 minutes.
I quickly went back on the Zoloft and started to feel a little better within the first 3 days. But then it hit again but so much harder this time. I would find myself crying at my desk at work. I had completely lost interest in my favorite things. Working out, seeing friends, hikes, walking my dog. I felt like everyone hated me, I felt like I was the biggest burden on earth. I pushed everyone away for fear that they would leave me.
I suddenly found myself in the lowest of lows, I kept having urges to hurt myself. I had visions of my suicide. I made a plan in my head, on how I would do it. I started giving things away, mostly my clothes since I couldn’t even imagine getting dressed anymore it seemed too hard. My dreams were so vivid I would wake up afraid or unable to tell if what happened in my dreams really happened. I couldn’t sleep. my appetite got less and less. It was all I could do to just get to work and attempt some kind of productive day.
I had lost all hope, I felt like I was backed up against the wall and I wasn’t sure how much more I could take. I finally made the decision to tell my Doctor about all these thoughts and how I was feeling. I was so scared.
She sent me to the ER where I was taken in and admitted for 4 days. It was in there that they changed my meds again. This time Wellbutrin. They were leery of putting me on it since I had a history with bulimia and if one were to purge while on this drug they will experience seizures.
At this stage in my recovery, I feel that I am strong enough to not engage in behaviors. Plus the added fear of having seizures as a result of such behavior.
To pick back up where I had started with this whole post, Although I started out as a recovery from an eating disorder blog. I feel like I am in a good place with my recovery. The Emily program really did give me the proper tools to deal with behaviors. But what I have quickly become to notice is that although helpful with eating disorder recovery, The Emily program did a lot of digging around inside of my soul. They stirred up a lot of sleeping giants. They unleashed a beast, even though I truly do believe that is helpful in itself I also strongly believe that they should have had the proper set up in order to receive those demons.
What I mean by that is, When we poke and pry and dig inside of someone’s soul we must also be ready to receive and support whatever comes out. For me, my underlying issues were clinical depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It was good to know what my underlying issues were and realizing that my old coping mechanisms were not helpful in the long run.
The Emily Program is not set up to help you through these underlying issues, as much as they want to, they can’t because their focus is to help you overcome the behaviors in which you were engaged to help cope with these issues.
so in closing, I just want all of you to know how strong you are. and how much our souls can take. We can hit absolute rock bottom and still find the courage to pull ourselves out of it. The first step is the hardest, actually verbally stating that you need help. but after that, it becomes a lot easier. I promise.