I dropped into your thread last night and I found this beautiful, stunning message from Crush. All I can say is: wow.
Crush, I want to thank you so much for writing that. I feel myself on the verge of relapse, and what you wrote touched me deeply. I threw out my measuring tape today. I'm not sure what I'm going to do next, but I want you to know how much this message meant to me. Thank you. <3First I should let you know that this is my first ever post on this forum, though I have been a reader of this site for over two years now. I almost never participate in online discussions because they are generally not worth my time, no matter how much fun a good old-fashioned internet fight might be . But you, TinaJefferson, are very much worth my time. You are deep in the trenches fighting an extremely difficult but extraordinarily worthwhile fight, and I just wanted to offer you my heartfelt support and some advice based on my own experiences.
Iím sure you donít want to hear this right now, but the absolute last thing you should be doing at this point is focusing on weight loss. You are attempting to break out of a powerful cycle in which you have been deeply entrenched for the past several months and with which you have struggled on some level for many years. Your body and mind have taken a severe beating, and more than anything else they need love, nourishment, and time to heal. A diet geared towards weight loss will not help you to achieve these goals and will potentially only aggravate your tendencies to binge and purge. Iím sure getting down to 160 pounds felt amazing and seemed to indicate that you finally had everything under control, but it obviously did not cure you of your problems or else you would not be where you are today. You do not have a weight problem; you have an eating disorder, and hitting a particular number on the scale is not the ultimate defining factor in determining success or failure in conquering this issue.
I firmly believe that for most people the most important thing you can do to stop binging is to stop restricting. A diet geared towards weight loss is inherently restrictive. Fasting is most definitely restrictive. The urge to binge is both physiological and psychological, and restrictive behavior ignites that urge on both levels. Physiologically, you are making yourself really freaking hungry. If you donít eat enough food all day or week or month or year (and purging what you do eat is the same as not eating enough), then of course your body will be crying out for you to EAT ALL THE THINGS. You are not bad, weak, or unworthy for giving in to a basic bodily need. Psychologically, however, you feel like a terrible person, a failure at life.
Restricting food often seems like a solution to ease this psychological pain, but it leads to even more issues. Firstly, promising yourself that you will restrict at some point in the future (tomorrow, next month, etc.) often tricks you in to giving yourself permission to continue to binge right now. You eat one thing off-plan and then tell yourself that you might as well keep on eating because you can make up for it by restricting/purging later. Or you tell yourself you have to keep eating right now because starting tomorrow (next weekend, next month) youíre going to be perfect and never eat like this again. Restricting both allows and forces you to see your eating behaviors in black and white, good and bad, with no gray areas. You can never be simply good enough. You must either be eating perfectly or be completely out of control.
To choose not to restrict is not the same thing as choosing to eat uncontrollably. It means giving yourself permission to eat enough food every day to nourish yourself because you are worthy of that nourishment. You donít need to binge because you can eat as much as you want at each meal today, tomorrow, and forever; there is simply no need to cram everything in right now and then punish yourself for it later or to obsess about food. So please take the focus off of your weight and stop trying to diet. Easier said than done, I know. But if you ever want to be able to lose weight in a sane and healthy manner, or even just live day to day without the pain and destruction of a warzone in your mind, then you need to address your disordered habits head on and just let go of your weight for now.
Your weight does not define who you are as a person. Being thin will not make everybody love you or fix all your problems, just as being fat will not make everybody reject you or keep you from improving your life in other ways. As a human being, you are inherently valuable and worthy of love, kindness, and attention, both from yourself and from others. The fact that you weigh more than you would like or that you have spent years of your life struggling with a vicious eating disorder does not in any way detract from your value as a person. Beaten down and bruised as you may be from your experiences, you are still here fighting, and that is a true sign of strength. I know that you can overcome this. You may always struggle with certain thoughts or behaviors on some level, but it will get much, much easier and it will no longer consume you. Ah, freedomÖ
On a final note, I noticed that you discuss feelings of isolation. Escaping this isolation is extremely important to your recovery. As youíve probably noticed, eating disorders both fuel and are fueled by isolation. If you are alone with your eating disorder, then you are more easily able to engage in disordered behaviors without fearing the interference or judgment of others. This might lead you to choose to be alone rather than have anyone get between you and a binge or see you after you feel fat an bloated, and in this way eating disorders can push you to isolate yourself. On the other hand, when you feel alone and have no one to talk to, you might choose to soothe yourself by binging, in which case isolation is pushing you towards disordered eating behaviors. It is a vicious cycle, one from which you absolutely must escape. It might be extremely difficult at first, but you need to find ways to open your life and really connect with people who will have a positive influence on you. How many people in your life know what youíre going through? Can you reach out to any of them and rely on them more for support? If not, or if you need even more support or even just more friends to keep you focused on living instead of on eating/not eating, how can you find people to fill these roles in your life? What, if anything, is stopping you from finding this support?
Anyhow, I know all this is extremely long-winded, but when I read your journal I just saw so much pain. I hope something in this novel that Iíve written will resonate with you or even just make today a little better. Best of luck to you!