I ask because this is my second attempt at recovery from my Ed. The first time even though I had ED I was generally well in myself, apart from thinning hair problems and sleep problems - but I had energy to get on with things. When I was almost weight restored I relapsed back down to my pre - recovery weight due to I believe just not being mentally "restored", I wasn't prepared or expecting that side of recovery, I was so busy concentrating on refeeding and getting weight restored that I neglected the physcological side. This time round, thanks mainly to this blog and more further reading I am more prepared and determined this time to do it "properly". The thing is its so much harder this time as I feel so sick and unwell. This saps my spirit somewhat as I thought recovery was when you began to feel better, not worse! And I have a stack of health problems to cope with too which I didn't have before. It would be nice to know if others have experienced problems too and whether or not they lasted post-recovery. Such a lot is written about how to recover but very little when it comes to physical effects of ED.
I would be so grateful for any advice given. Thank you xxx
First off, i am so glad that you are choosing to recover and to focus on both the physical and mental side of recovery! Its not easy, but it is worth it.
And recovery DOES get easier over time... and recovery does make life better even if life wont always be positive and wonderful, it will at least be better than if you went through the same situations but having to deal with your eating disorder as well. Even if recovery does make life easier there will still be tough times and recovery definitely isn't always easy, there will be times you wonder why you are even trying when things seem to feel worse with the anxiety, guilt or just hormonal imbalance or other problems, but over time many of those problems can get better.
When you have an eating disorder you end up breaking down your body when you aren't eating properly and that has consequences. And of course the longer you are sick the more damage you do to your body... and its damage you don't always see until its too late. I was told when i was in recovery that i was in a risk for osteoporosis because i had eaten so little, however with proper nutrition i was able to reverse that and now i have strong and healthy bones. I also had electrolyte imbalance where i was at a risk for a heart attack because i had so little potassium as well as purging so often, but once i began eating regularly and not purging that was able to fix itself.
But then there are other problems such as constant heart burn, slight incontinence, hip, back and knee problems from over exercising which still affect me today. Not to mention all the hormonal imbalance i had... mood swings, irritation, extreme tiredness, couldn't always trust my bodies signals and my period was irregular for a very long time (i.e 1 year +) where i would either get it once every 2 months or 2 times in a month, and that was rather difficult to deal with. But that's better now and also my hormones are more under control now as well!
During recovery i had other problems such as lots of bloating, indigestion, rumination syndrome (i.e food would automatically come back up without even trying and this lasted quite a long time to be honest but over time it stopped when i didn't purge anymore),thin hair and even swelling... at one time when i was in inpatient care my feet began to swell like crazy... I'm pretty sure the pictures are on another hard drive but it was crazy. I was accused of exercising or doing something wrong, but i think it was just something in my diet and the warm weather at the time and the lack of movement i was doing so the doctor wanted me to start doing leg movements and walking to get rid of the water but instead i just had to try to keep my legs elevated and over time the swelling passed... but i was rather swelled and bloated in recovery - which eventually passed.
I know it can seem awful when you are eating better and trying to face fears and really recover and you just end up with bloating pain, more tiredness, maybe hair that still falls out or indigestion issues but SOME problems do get better over time. With regular eating and the right nutrition then digestion problems and nutrient deficiency problems can get better, even if it doesn't automatically get better. Other problems are more long lasting and unfortunately that's just the way it is.... you have to remember that an eating disorder breaks down your body... inner damage is done and some damage is irreversible, but at times when that gets you down you have to remember that if you stay sick the damage will be worse. Instead by recovering and feeding your body right and taking care of your body maybe you can stop the damage from getting worse and in some cases the problems can go away/get better as well.
You have to remember all the positives about recovery and why you want to recover, and also remember that if you are stuck with long lasting consequences (i sure am) then that's just a reminder of why you don't want to go back and why taking care of your body is so important!! Give recovery time, it does take longer for things to get better than you think but in a years time you will look back and realise how far you have come and how things have gotten much better - hopefully!