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inanna

I'm starving myself again and I don't know why

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Posted (edited)

I had anorexia in my teens and I'm in my twenties. Now I'm suddenly unable or unwilling to eat normally.

I would consider myself recovered in most ways for about eight years. I'm at a healthy weight. I eat all kinds of food. I don't even know if I think about eating and weight more than most people do. I get weird about food sometimes, especially when I'm stressed. Then I only want to eat my old "safe foods" or nothing at all. But then I reign it in. I have tried to lose weight a couple of times since recovery but I had to abort mission because my mind was just flooded with ED-related thoughts. I still binge eat sometimes, it's a work in progress. Not a bad outcome for ED recovery all things considered.

I have a psychiatrist, she is treating me for bipolar disorder. I just started Wellbutrin a couple of weeks ago. It's an aantidepressant that sometimes supresses appetite. That might have something to do with this. Perhaps more importantly I would say I had a stressful 1-2 weeks. I'll spare you the details but I was isolated and tested (negatively) for coronavirus while travelling domestically; illegally searched by the police who woke me up by unlocking the door to my hotel room from the outside and questioned me for hours about a crime I didn't commit; and finally dealt with an unrelated but life-threathening medical emergency.

I didn't eat much while all of that was going on, but I also don't eat much now, almost a week later. I don't know why I don't make myself do it. I tried to focus on eating more today and I didn't even eat 1/5 of what I would usually eat. It's not great for me to be eating this little. I'm fine physically, but I notice that I think differently. I count calories more. I think about avoiding situations where I would have to eat with others.  I don't want to lie about it but I also don't want to talk about it. I got visibly anxious when a friend invited me over for dinner, and when another asked whether I was eating well with everything that was going on. I feel like they are "onto me" and that bothers me more than it should.

I'm confused. I don't know why I'm doing this. I was doing well for such a long time. I keep telling myself I don't have time for this. Even after such a short time I feel that my world is becoming smaller. I have less energy for the things I want to do. And still, somehow, eating way, way less than my BMR is suddenly non-negotiable. I had none of these issues three weeks ago. If I had any useful coping skills I don't remember them at the moment. Any advice?

Edited by inanna
title and clarification

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Posted (edited)

I would suggest talking with your psychiatrist about this, as soon as you can.....They can best help you if you think your anorexia is returning....if you haven't told your psych doc, I would strongly recommend doing so.

Edited by CrazyRedhead

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I think I will bring it up at our next appointment. I don't really want help to stop doing this anymore, that went fast, but I guess it's relevant to her as my doctor given the medications I'm taking. Thank you 

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EDs are illnesses, that in my understanding, often come about as a way of coping with turmoil, internal or external. like any other MI, it can remit and relapse, particularly when your mind has been shocked by recent unpleasant events. it seems completely understandable to me that stressful circumstances are causing you to go back to old ways of coping, the same way someone who self-harmed as a teen might pick it back up as an adult when under severe stress. i would speculate that the relapse of your ED symptoms might be a way of trying to harness some control in your life as a reaction to several bad events in close succession that were beyond your control.

whether you're concerned at the moment about controlling your symptoms or not, it's important for your doctor to know that they have come back, and it's especially important for her to know that the amount of stress you've been subjected to is wreaking havoc on your brain. ED aside, bipolar can also be quite reactive to stress, and she should know to keep an eye on you for symptoms of that rearing their head. in addition, she might be able to suggest a temporary med change to help you manage the stress. 

it sounds like the last few weeks have really been a nightmare for you. i hope your life is quieter now, and that you're able to take some time to relax and heal.

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echolocation, I think that's a good explanation. It is reassuring to see a reasonable, coherent explanation of why I would do this. I will tell my doctor something about this the next time I see her just so she can keep an eye on it even though I don't want help with it right now. I can even briefly explain what's going on to friends if they are concerned instead of going into full cover-up mode like I used to. It's kind of hard to admit to, but it's not that big of a deal. 

Now it's been a week since I came home. I'm almost physically recovered and the police have backed down since my story checked out. I'm still a bit off-balance to be honest. I went right into starting my masters degree in a fully re-opened university with all new students and faculty while at the same time preparing to give seminars for the first time next week. Guess who's still stressed and relying on their coping mechanisms?

Oh well. I don't see myself doing this in a couple of weeks after I settle into my new routine and things become more stable. It can't be worth it at that point. I feel weak and tired already. Sometimes I wish I could just turn it off. So in a couple of weeks maybe I will want to fight for that space in my mind that is all ED-thoughts right now and repurpose it for something more fun or useful. 

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