My Recovery Journey: I Am Stuck

I feel so stuck.

I have functioned with an eating disorder for a long time and I don’t understand why it all fell off a cliff in the summer of last year to the point where I’m unable to work and barely able to socialise. In some ways it might be a blessing in disguise in that previously, as it didn’t meet all the criteria for a specific disorder I was unable to access treatment, but now I am getting the most intensive support I’ve had since I was a teenager. I am grateful for that.

My first couple of weeks in DSP felt manageable, mainly because my portions were (and still are) very small and I didn’t gain any weight. That is starting to change now – I’ve had a slight increase to my meal plan and an increase in my weight. My next kg milestone also simultaneously takes me into a new BMI bracket, the thought of which is making me feel sick with anxiety. I don’t know how to do this. I can’t do this. I don’t understand how to live in a body bigger than the one I’m in now. I don’t understand how to increase my intake. I don’t understand how to stop exercising. I’m so, so stuck.

In many ways I’m already huge steps further ahead than I was just a month ago. I hadn’t used a knife and fork for almost six months. I was afraid of hot food. I was afraid of wet food. I could only eat out of a bowl, but not a plate. I had to meet a certain step goal every day and would walk for hours no matter the weather or time of day. I don’t do that anymore. I won’t walk if it’s raining out and I don’t go every day. I go to programme and I drink milk and I eat hot food and I use cutlery and crockery like a normal person. These are all big achievements and I’m not minimising that.

In fairness, because of all the bank holidays I’ve not started any key work yet and won’t be starting actual therapy until my weight is higher. And I guess I can’t be expected to just go in every day and get on with it if I’m not doing any actual work on my mental health, so maybe I’ll see these anxieties reduce now that we are past the festive season and back to business as usual.

I am right at the beginning of this journey and I always knew it would be hard, but for some reason I thought it wouldn’t be this hard. I’ve done this before and come out the other side, so why does it feel so impossible? This time around I fell a lot faster and I fell a lot further, which probably has impacted how deeply entrenched it has become.

I feel short changed in many ways. I already have to contend with having bipolar disorder which although doesn’t impact my life on a daily basis, does bring its own anxieties and difficulties. I am a good person and I have dedicated the last 10 years of my life to helping people, through work, volunteering, writing, fundraising. It feels unfair that I have been lumped with one of the most evil illnesses I can imagine and have to deal with the fact that I’ll be vulnerable to it for the rest of my life. I let my guard down before after being well for a couple of years and it saw it’s window and pulled the rug out from under me in the blink of an eye.

I know this is going to get harder before it gets easier, but I’m struggling to believe that it will ever get easier this time. And I also struggle to believe that I am not going to be one of those people who will relapse over and over for the rest of my life, because nothing about the last 17 years has shown me that isn’t the case.

I would always describe myself as a natural optimist, a glass half full kind of person, and I do still believe that is still part of who I am. But I feel like that part of me is locked away and I don’t have the key to access it right now. I’m not somebody I recognise anymore; I’m not who I want to be.

I always like to try and put a positive spin on any posts I write no matter the topic, but I did always say that above all else I wanted to be honest.

And honestly? I am scared, I am lost, and I am stuck.

10 comments

  1. That was a tough read Cara, I’m sorry it is so difficult for you and I can totally empathise with the sense of unfairness that you feel. Being in that place of not being able to see the future being any different or better is really, really hard. I don’t doubt that you will get there, there is definitely better ahead for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hear you. Recovery can be utterly horrendous at times, and I think right now you’re in the thick of it. In a weird way though, I think that’s how you know you’re doing the real work behind it. It wouldn’t be recovery if it was easy. Just know that even though you may not feel like a rock star right now, we’re all immensely proud of you for the strides you’ve made and continue to make. And remember that all the little moments added up are what truly matters and make your journey. They may not be glamorous, but every time you look fear in the face and do it anyway, that’s a new turning point.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Cara. Having been through recovery for addictions to alcohol and hash, I feel your pain. All I can say is you’re making the same mistake I tended to make. I was constantly projecting, trying to look into and predict the future. My therapist emphasised I had to keep it in the day. A day at a time. An hour at a time. I have many years sobriety but really I have only one day sober. Today. Try to do the next right thing. You can deal with tomorrow tomorrow. Keep on keepin on

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing I love how real and honest your posts are. You’ve managed the first step in recovery and that’s amazing try not to think to far ahead as you will learn coping strategies as you go through but this is the first hurdle and your doing well. Even though the past can teach us lessons try not to think back to much you are a different person from when you first went through this. Remember the signs from when you relapsed and find strategies that you can put in place to prevent you from going back.

    Liked by 1 person

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