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ED Recovery

8/17 9:05:08

Question
Hi,
Last spring I developed an eating disorder and dropped almost 20 pounds through extremely restrictive dieting. At the same time, I went vegan, although I didn't make that decision as an intention to lose weight. Over the summer I've gained back about 10 pounds and, quite honestly, I feel rather rotten. I've also started losing my hair, which worries me a lot (I'm deathly scared of it being permanent). I've had a few bingeing and purging episodes lately, although that's only been the past few days. I'm trying to understand why things like hair loss didn't start happening until I started regaining, since I've read that it usually occurs during. I also haven't had my period for about 3-4 months, although I did have it while I had my ED. These problems, in addition to feeling pretty fat from my weight gain, make me feel like everything is going wrong and I'll never get better. I just don't understand why I seem to be having more issues when I'm supposed to be better than when I was supposedly unhealthy. I could really use some help/reassurance--my problems have led me to become somewhat antisocial and irritable. Thanks!


Answer
Hi, Lauren..

I can definitely relate.  Just when you think you've gotten things under control (because is what this is really all about, right?) you feel like everything is starting to fall apart again.  It's as if you can't win no matter what you do.

I totally know that feeling.

Specific medical symptoms from your ED and with regards to your recovery should be addressed by your doctor.  I cannot tell you exactly why you are losing hair now, but your doctor can point you in the right direction.

As for your weight gain, I have seen many former anorexics slide over to bulimia.  You've just replaced one thing with another because your relationship with food is still not normal.

Because you aren't used to the extra weight, you are going to feel fat -- but you're not.  Let me repeat: you are not fat!

When you compound that feeling and then start to see other things not going right in your life, it is pretty easy to get discouraged and lose hope.

I know from personal experience that there are times when we need to go through a transition time to make us better people.  Think of it like the process of turning a piece of coal into a diamond.  Tons of pressure is involved, but not so much that it crushes the potential diamond.  So, you are equipped with the strength and resources to come out of this healthier and better.  Don't give up because we are not given anything more than we can bear.

Take your time being social.  I know it's hard.  Just take baby steps.  And as for irritability, I suggest taking a step back from things, breathing deeply and remembering that you cannot control everything and everyone.  Concentrate your energy on what you can change and on getting better.

You can do this.  I know you've overcome so much already.  Keep up the good work!
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