Where to begin- it’s been a while since my last post. During that time, things have been quite a whirlwind. It seems every time I was ready to post again, some new wrinkle would occur and I didn’t know where to begin. Between a mix of work, training, and trying to be a good friend, each has presented challenges.
I don’t know if I mentioned this in my last post, but recently I realized a few things. First, I am letting my eating disorder win. It has a regained a strong hold in my life, one that I had not realized. It is forcing me to barely sleep, put exercise before friends, think constantly about food, and not allow me to be happy unless I have worked out. I, alone, could not see this though.
It was brought to my attention that I was a pretty damn crappy friend. And I am a liar. But I didn’t see it. To me, I would just tell little “fibs” and validate them to myself as “oh, it’s ok, I have an eating disorder, I have an excuse, it’s not my fault” and that “it’s the eating disorder telling the lies, not me”. What I didn’t realize was that these lies actually hurt the people who cared about me! This brought to my attention what these lies were: telling my friends I don’t like certain foods, that I’d already eaten, that I got caught up doing other things when I really working out that made me late for something, or bailing on a team workout so I could do some exercise on my own. While I thought these wouldn’t have an impact, they did.
For the first time in a long, long time, I actually have friends… who really care about me. I’ve been a little transient since college, and thus haven’t developed a close group of friends like I do now. Even in college, my best friends, amazing people, but they never really understood my eating disorder, nor did I expect them to. I could tell them, “sure, I’m doing really well!” and be totally lying. So to be told now that things I had been doing and the life I had been living for years were hurting others was honestly, a brutal reality.
It wasn’t until 3 weeks ago this really hit home. Friends and I went out for pizza, and while I did great eating the pizza, I was avoiding the crusts, saying I didn’t like them. The next day, I talked to J about this and she asked me straight up if this was true, and I had to tell her, it wasn’t… and in fact I had lied to her face so that my eating disorder could win and I wouldn’t have to eat the food. Then, the next Wednesday, I was late to a 4th of July party that I said I would be on time to, but of course, was late because I “had” to workout. That night, after the party, J and Felipe called me and said they needed to talk to me, immediately. They came over, told me straight up the impact I was having on everyone and myself, and that it was going to be hard to continue to be friends with someone like that. Through some tears and conversations, they wouldn’t leave until I promised to get help.
Friday morning, I was in the therapists office and let her know evvverryyyttthhhiinnnggg that had been going on. From food to friends to family to exercise to sleep to body weight and medical issues. Also all my habits and behaviors. It was in doing this that I realized the incredible number of things in my life that this eating disorder affects. We met again the following Monday and furthered on the same discussion. We arranged an appointment for the following Monday, and this time she suggested that Felipe and Jessica come as well. She also reached out my nutritionist/dietician and got a lot of feedback from her as well.
When that meeting came, Jess and Felipe expressed their concerns about what had been going and validated everything. It was at this point that my therapist really got serious. She said based on what she has heard from my friends and what my dietician had told her, as well as my weight, my behaviors, my emotions, my look, and everything I had told her, that she wanted me to go back to an inpatient facility.
I at first laughed, like, yeah right, like that’s possible at all. Then I saw that she wasn’t really suggesting it, that she was serious about it and already had information on where she wanted me to go. I looked at my friends expecting them to be surprised to, but instead they just quietly nodded in agreement. I couldn’t believe they all thought this. I don’t look that bad! I don’t feel like I’m sick enough or thin enough to be there.
I went out to my car and through a couple tears and deep thoughts, began to realize the possibility. I called both my parents and their responses were, “please please go.” Apparently they had been saying this and advocating it for a while now, I just didn’t want to hear it I guess.
So I accepted it. After a process of getting admitted, I fly out to Denver, Colorado, on Monday, where I will be entering the Eating Recovery Center for the next… however long it takes. I’m going to have to take time off work which is really hard, but I have a fantastic boss who listened when I sprung this on him at 4:30 on Friday afternoon and supported me 100%. I had to get in on Monday, and not later in the week. If I didn’t, I would have lost all my momentum to get better and probably gotten worse. Already, I’ve noticed myself doing behaviors that I had been trying to eliminate–I guess to let myself be a sick as possible so it actually looks like I should be there. Sick right?
I know this is long, boring, and most people probably stopped reading a long time ago and I don’t blame you. But here are the benefits I am going to get out of going back to treatment, fully committed this time to conquering this F-ing eating disorder for good:
- I’ll get my relationships back–with family, friends, and with exercise and foodMy heart will get stronger (literally) and I’ll no longer be at a risk for failure. As I’ve mentioned before, I currently can’t get it really elevated
My testosterone will increase and I’ll be able to build muscle, etc. etc.
I’ll actually have time in my life to do other things besides, work, exercise, and cook
I’ll be a better employee
I’ll be able to think more clearly, learn better, and absorb more information, which will improve both my social and professional lives
I will be a better friend. I will be honest, caring, and someone to be counted on. This will take time to prove to my friends again, but I have no doubt that someday I will be able to do this. To those friends reading this whom I have lied to or hurt, I am sorry. I am really sorry. From here on out, I am going to be the friend I’ve always wanted to be.
And there are so many more.
I will also have a support team to come back to, something that was missed last time I was in treatment. Not only do I have a fantastic support group of friends, I have a therapist, and nutritionist waiting who have gone through this entire thing with me. I also have my friend and triathlon coach who can help me reintroduce exercise in a healthy, non-compulsive or obligatory fashion, and monitor me. And help me learn to enjoy exercise, not make it something that I’m a failure if I don’t do.
When I do come back, I will look different. All I ask is that you please don’t judge me, but help support me in my fight to be the real, honest, sociable, caring, fun Chuck, that I want to be. Not “eating disorder Chuck”
Thank you all for reading. I don’t know much about inside the clinic, so this may be my last post for a while. I almost hope that I don’t have internet access, as that’s another thing prevents me from the sleep I need and more.
Be good to yourselves and hug the ones you love. I ask for your support, whether you read or not, and hope you don’t judge me any differently.
Thanks y’all! I’ll be back soon. And if you’re in Denver, pay me a visit!