To be completely honest, I’ve had a pretty hard week.
I don’t think my roommates would guess that. To an outsider, I think I look like I’m doing pretty well. My mom knows, though. Moms always know.
I wasn’t quite ready to acknowledge that I was struggling as much as I am, largely because I’ve been able to tell myself I’m doing fine since my weight’s not dropping. Per usual though, my treatment team beat me to it. I saw both my psychiatrist and therapist upon returning home this weekend, and they spoke firmly with me. My therapist threatened to stop seeing me if I don’t make changes. Hearing that kind of woke me up. I hadn’t even been thinking that was a possibility given where I’m at. I’m still medically stable. I’m still eating three meals and my snacks each day. I’m not overdoing the exercise. But I’m not where they want me to be. I’m at a standstill. And as they put it, there’s no point in seeing all of them each week if I’m not making progress.
My mom put it interestingly this morning when she said, “Bridge, you don’t accept ‘average’ in any other areas of your life, not your grades, not your athletic ability..not your performance on anything. When it comes to your recovery, though, you’re perfectly happy staying just where it’s ‘good enough.'”
What she’s referring to, and what my team’s getting on me about, is my weight (big surprise). While I am eating just enough and not over-exercising, I’m eating just enough. The bare minimum. My weight’s not at the point where I’m being pulled out of school, but it’s close. Like, one pound away close. Close enough that Dr. Rock’s convinced if I came in to get weighed before lunch instead of after, I’d be at that “magic number.” My weight’s been below where it’s needed to be for over a month now, and I’ve been out of my weight range for a little over three weeks. I’ve consistently been told, and agreed, that it needs to come back up. Not a lot, but where it was at when I discharged from treatment.
That’s a lot easier said than done.
You know what’s frustrating about all of that? I feel great right here-right where I am, right now.
I’m comfortable in my body. I’m comfortable with what I’m eating. I love where I’m living in Corvallis, my friends, my family, my work, and I’ve gotten into a rhythm with school. I’m not at the point (yet) where those things are being taken away from me. I know that if I challenge the eating disorder, just for those last couple pounds, it’s going to bring up the thoughts and feelings that I’m finally feeling free of. So, I’m very comfortable staying right where I am.
And my therapist told me yesterday that that’s okay. If I want to keep doing what I’m doing, and be (as she said) “almost anorexic,” that’s fine. I won’t continue to see providers and I won’t have a team breathing down my neck about getting back to where I need to be.
I also know that if that happens, it’s only a matter of time before I do start to slide down the slippery slope again, and hit that magic number that I know triggers the landslide into a deep and dark relapse.
I feel like I’m walking a tightrope. I’m very comfortable right now, but if I stay here, I know it’s only a matter of time before I fall. Or, as my mom said (don’t moms always know everything?), it’s like an alcoholic who’s doing “okay” just having one drink a night because they don’t want to endure the pain that would come with giving it up completely. That’s not a very secure future. If it’s a temptation, with the end result potentially being incredibly destructive, why even mess around with it? Especially in the case of alcoholism or anorexia, where it’s biologically based. I should, as the Bible would say, “flee from temptation.”
I know that the consequences of my staying at my current weight is relapse, because I won’t stay there. Almost Anorexic Bridgette will slowly but surely succumb more and more to the eating disorder, developing weaker and weaker bones, completely lose her period and ability to have children, likely die early from heart failure, and most importantly, not experience the true freedom and joy that comes with living. As comfortable as I am right now, I know it’s not the life Jesus wants for me. Heck, that’s not the life I want for me. Almost Anorexic is not the Bridgette that’s going to be able to study abroad, to intern in Colombia, to be a nurse who impacts the lives of children, who is able to jump for joy when the Beavs beat the Ducks in the Civil War.
So, as I write this blog post (which, yes, is also serving as a way for me to process all of this!), I am ready to proclaim that I need to gain that last bit of weight. I need to do it not only for me, but for Jesus.
Goin’ for the #gainz