Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Did treatment help me recover or would/could i have recovered without treatment? Recovering as an adult without treatment

How did you cope from eating very little to being made to start recovery? As an adult in recovery I made my own choice to recover - but you were very young and that decision was made for you. Did it make your recovery experience harder or easier knowing that it wasn't your choice?

Do you think in patient treatment is the best for a successful recovery? Do you think your stay in hospital benefited you more than it would have done if you and your family had to manage your recovery at home?


First off i think treatment is important that seeking help from a treatment centre should be a first option, however i am aware that not everyone can do that for numerous reasons. But also that not all treatment centres are good... the first treatment i got was just therapy which didnt help at all and second was inpatient in a kids psychiatric unit which didnt help at all and just made me worse and then finally treatment from an actual eating disorder clinic in a different country (So yes, i had to move country to recieve proper treatment) and even then it took a year of inpatient, then outpatient, then inpatient, then outpatient and finally inpatient again before i began to recover. So i can say that even if treatment is recommended and helps, it doesnt automatically make a person recover. Many go in and out of treatment centres and from inpatient to outpatient for many years before actually recovering. .What treatment does is give you the support you might not receive if you didnt get help from a treatment centre, but also you often get to meet a doctor or dietitian which helps as well as they keep track of your weight and make sure that you eat and those things can be hard to do when you are on your own/just with your family. It can be very hard for a family to force you to eat as they dont have the energy to do that or see how much you "suffer" when they force you to eat, but also they might not have the time.

For me, despite being in treatment for roughly 1,5 years (i.e i started therapy at the start of 2010 in Ireland) and it was summer 2011 when i began to want to recover, but then relapsed at the end of 2011 and then didnt begin to recover/fight my fears and ed habits until summer 2012 and that was done on my own. Treatment helped keep me alive and it made me eat and rest, and i can say that without being an inpatient i would not have overcome my exercise addiction... i would not have been able to face my fear of resting and sitting if i wasnt an inpatient, but also it made me eat. My mum couldnt force me to eat, i just resisted so i needed to have staff at treatment force me to eat and rest. But actual recovery and wanting to recover that was MY choice and i did that on my own.

Recovery comes from the inside and just because you go to treatment doesnt mean that you will recover, unfortunatly. HOWEVER going to treatment makes you eat and helps you regain weight if that is what you need as well as maybe therapy being offered, and as you begin to eat and nourish your body it is easier to think straight and feel more energetic and lively and then begin to want recovery. So going to treatment, eating and resting and maybe therapy can help you make the decision to want to recover. .But just because you eat and gain weight doesnt mean that you are free and recovered i.e just because you reach your goal weight and are no longer inpatient doesnt mean you are free from your eating disorder, so treatment shouldnt just stop there instead maybe therapy should be offered instead of inpatient care.

For me, treatment kept me alive until i found the strength, courage and will to want to recover. If i hadnt gone to treatment or made to eat i would most likely have died from suicide or from a heart attack (as i had problems with potassium and electrolytes as i purged and exercised so much despite barely eating).

Recovery without treatment is fully possible as long as you are motivated and keep eating because it does get easier. If you have the motivation within you and keep facing your fears then you dont need treatment necessarily, even if it can be good. But getting help with a meal plan or going to a doctor ever once in a while or therapy can be great help, but motivation to recover comes from the inside and not something that happens just because you are in treatment.

I was forced into treatment, i had no option about that as i was underage and it did help me. If i am honest, i dont think i would have recovered without treatment i didnt have the motivation or strength or courage to want to recover and i needed to be forced to eat and rest until i could find that strength and courage.

How did you feel about having to recover? Were you even aware there was a problem?


I hated treatment, everyday it was awful. But i found it awful because i was being forced to do things that scared me, i mean treatment isnt bad.... i had to eat and rest... thats basically how i spend some of my days now, its just that now i amnt forced to eat and rest, but a choice and i dont have staff watching my every move. But treatment was awful because i didnt want to be there as well as being constantly filled with anxiety, fear and guilt.


I was aware there was a problem, i mean i knew that not eating and purging wasnt exactly normal but at the same time i kept telling myself that i was healthy and happy and there was no problem. As well as my habits being so "normal" that i didnt even register or think about that they werent normal or healthy. And then there was also the fact that i didnt feel underweight and everyone else was so much skinnier or eating less than me or exercising more, so why was i the one in treatment or being told to gain weight when people skinnier than me were out running marathons. 

In a way i knew i was sick but at the same time not really as i could rationalize everything i did and there was always someone worse than me and i told myself "i did eat" and i did sit sometimes, so there was nothing wrong with me... but then i reached the point of "i have had enough of this. I have had enough of being scared of eating, enough of not being able to sit down despite my legs shaking from tiredness and dizziness due to lack of sleep. Tired of the anxiety and fear and not being able to live my life as i was stuck in hospital" and that was an important part of my recovery and wanting to recover. My thoughts were along the line of, Why sit in a hospital being skinny and scared to eat and hating myself  when i could try to gain weight and be out and live life... i mean i hate myself anyway so what does it matter.

I reached the point of "enough is enough" and i cant keep doing this. I was so physically and mentally exhausted. And thought, why not. which was what helped me choose recovery the first time i.e sometime summer 2011, and then again in summer 2012 after my relapse. 





8 comments:

  1. Hi Izzy. So I recently got my period back again (after 2 years of being healthy). I never really had a proper period before I got sick and am only just starting now that I've been put on the pill (I'm nearly 19 and I have something called polysistic ovaries where basically my body doesn't naturally produce enough estrogen on its own). Anyway, I'm really struggling with this. I feel bloated and heavy which I know is normal but unfortunately, I also feel very nauseas and hungry at the same time. I have cravings that change as soon as I've eaten something. Eg at first it's chocolate so I have a little chocolate then it cereal so I take a handful of that, then it nuts. Etc. and while I'm eating all these little amounts of different foods, it all adds up. And I feel even more nauseas. And then I'm full and I feel gross and huge. So now I don't really want to have dinner because I feel so sick and I've also basically eaten dinner by snacking so much to fill these cravings (I'd say I eat around 500-700 calories when I snack like this). Anyway, please help! Thank you and sorry for the awful topic

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    1. These feelings might be "unusual and abnormal" for you as you havent had your period but these are all normal feelings and due to all the hormonal changes in your body. When i had my period (since i began on the pill last year i dont have my period anymore) i could have days where i just snacked the whole day and didnt eat proper meals but that wasnt helpful at all... instead it was better to eat normal and regular meals and then just eat those extra snacks as well and not compensate by just eating snacks but no proper food.

      Remember that feeling full isnt a bad thing, its ok to feel full and unfortunatly when you have your period you are usually more bloated either beforehand or during and you dont always feel your "best", but you learn to be ok with that. You learn to 1) Give your body more rest when you are on your period as you can feel more tired and 2) eat the cravings if you have them but dont skip on normal meals (But be ok with food changes if they happen as well i.e somedays you might be too nauseous to eat and other days you eat everything in the house because you cant seem to feel full). You learn to understand how your body behaves during your period, over time.

      I would do what you feel best with eating as it can be so different but if you feel its a mental compensation i.e you feel guilty then dont eat less/skip dinner, but if its an actual nauseous "i cant eat" feeling then maybe eat a little less or later on. It will get easier to deal with all the hormonal changes that happen during your menstrual cycle :) Just remember 1) the bloating goes away 2) your body uses more energy during your period so you will most likely feel more hungry 3) you will have lots of cravings, and its ok to follow those cravings! 4) You might feel more tired so allow yourself to be tired and do less if that is the case :)

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    2. p.s super tired when answering this so i dont even know if i have answered so well, hahaha. but just comment if you need more advie!

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  2. Hi Izzy. I just wonder: since you went vegan, have you noticed any benefits of cutting out dairy products? :)

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  3. Thanks for writing and sharing this, it was very interesting, especially your perspective on whether you receive treatment or not.
    I saw an item in a news programme last night about a new "treatment" they are trialing for anorexia. They actually stated that anorexia was a serious mental illness, which in itself was good because it shows that it is finally getting the recognition it needs. The treatment consisted of electro magnetic therapy - the same which they use to treat depression in some people. Electro impulses were sent to the area of the brain that dealt with behaviours during which time the patient viewed images of food. when the electro impulses were finished she was again shown the pictures of food. The results won`t be known for a couple of months and this is just a trial but the doctors are hoping that it will help those with anorexia by changing ingrained thoughts and behaviours towards food. Its encouraging that anorexia is being taken seriously as a mental health issue and steps are being made to find ways of treating it. I look forward to hearing more about the progress of this therapy in the coming months.
    You went through so much at such a young age and it was so good that you yourself chose to recover in the end, that really must have taken a lot of courage. Thankyou for sharing your story.

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  4. This post was interesting. I was already an adult when I finally recovered, and I often wondered what would have happened if I had received treatment earlier or been forced into treatment at some point. Perhaps it wouldn't have taken me ten years to finally say "enough is enough". I'm glad to hear that, despite how awful the experience felt at the time (and I remember the misery of those posts), ultimately you feel it was worth it and a positive force for your recovery. Your attitude might help others get past their own fears of seeking treatment; yes, it is scary, but in the end you are thankful you had that sort of intervention. Not everyone gets out alive, and accepting help is one way to seek survival.

    I'm curious about your experience with competition within your treatment facility, and about the phenomenon of institutionalization. I have some friends and acquaintances who became addicted to treatment, so to speak (mostly the safety and comfort of being "inside", as well as an attachment to the victim mentality/being cared for and cared about). They seem to thrive on getting repeatedly sent back to treatment. This is in addiction treatment, but I know it is even more prevalent in ED patients. Did you ever struggle with this? What do you think were the major reasons you did not fall into this trap?

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  5. I really wish I could obtain treatment as I am now struggling so much on my own. Perhaps now is the time to go back to my doctor and say as much. I don`t know, everything has become so complicated and my original choice to recover is no longer as simple. I know I am in the middle of a relapse but I can`t stop it. Somehow I have to turn my thoughts back around but they won`t budge. Maybe some kind of intervention will provide the support I need and I will get my motivation back again. I have to try. Your post about treatment gives me hope that I do still have a chance even if it doesn't come solely from me.

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    1. Good luck, Carol. X
      You can get there in the end.

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