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I don't know what I really want from this post. I just need to express myself, I guess.

Life changes are happening. I'm searching for job, actually socializing, applying to my next stage of schooling, and all without my T now - which is the reason for this post. I'm stretching myself thin every day because of my current anemia; basically, I'm fighting exhaustion at every turn, and exhaustion always makes staying positive much more of a challenge for me with an ED history. So, I'm at a point of having two challenges: (1) What does recovery from ED mean and (2) how can I do it alone?

For challenge 1, I just keep hearing that even though I am doing well physically and even mentally, I am holding onto the ED because I still "hear" its thoughts. I don't act on them, but I do believe them. And, I am too exhausted to challenge them, so I just let them pass without action but also without a push for something to replace them. (I am then told that this is an excuse, that I'm just holding onto the thoughts for some reason.) It's just hard to know what recovery means, what "getting rid of the ED" actually entails once you are at a point of not acting on ED thoughts. No one seems to be able to answer this for me no matter how much I ask and my T finally admitted that I may never actually get rid of the thoughts, just quiet them more and more over years (she used to say that being free of the ED was possible, but perhaps she has seen how it is more of an instinct for me at this point). I just don't know what else they - my T, my family - mean when they say to get rid of the ED for good. Pretend like I don't hear its voice? Hide what I'm thinking so that I'm more alone with it? I don't have time to challenge my thoughts 24/7, so I just don't know what they are trying to communicate at this point.

For challenge 2, with my life changing, my schedule is crazy. I am running around all day every day and can't see my T. It's been 1 month now. She used to let me e-mail whenever I felt like emptying my mind, but I e-mailed her finally to say that I will not send any more e-mails until I know if I can actually be her client or not (I never know if it is client or patient because neither really captures the relationship appropriately). She used to work weekends, but that stopped 1 year ago, and I can't meet her schedule now. So, I'm really just alone with my thoughts. I don't actually have a friend that I am open with, and the one who is closest to being that kind of friend has a schedule that again doesn't match mine. I talk to my mom, and she says I've been in therapy so long I should be able to do this by myself and for myself now. She says that my T fighting the ED for me doesn't get rid of the ED - except I'm the one fighting every day as I choose to not act on the thoughts. I can't really afford my T, so we were only meeting twice per month, but now it's not even that and I don't feel e-mailing her is appropriate without paying her for appointments. I know cognitively that I have the tools and I can't rationally afford to see her, but I also know that seeing her keeps me on the right track, keeps me moving forward. She pushes me and encourages me in ways I don't get outside her office. I don't like being dependent on her for that or even missing her as much as I do - I wish she would know how much I missed her, how important she is to me even though she is so professionally distant, but then I realize how terrifying that dependency really is when I know our relationship is temporary and situational. I can't see anyone else because I have met with so many people who are just awful - literally abusive in one prior situation. Some do nothing, some use me for their problems, some result in negative outcomes, and one has emotionally beaten me - yet I returned and paid for that abuse for over one year before realizing it. Most don't know about or want to deal with EDs (it's more terrifying than suicidal ideation to a T because it is more deadly statistically), so they will treat everything else but refer me out for that issue - which is idiotic because you can't isolate the manifestation of the thoughts from the thoughts. I just hate feeling so alone and so dependent on that relationship I had built with my T - even though it took 2 years to trust her after the T abuse situation and I still struggle to fully disclose everything or even be myself or know what to say in her presence.

Well, that's just what's on my mind. Sorry for rambling, but I couldn't stand holding it all in.
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I too am struggling with your challenge #1. I have a therapy session today with my ED therapist and that is on my list to discuss with her. What does recovery from this look like? I am at a much different place now than I was before I went to the hospital. I actually eat three meals a day. And I understand that I have to eat to be able to take care of my family. But I still compulsively count calories and do not eat everything on my meal plans. And I do weigh myself and allow myself calories based on what the scale says. I've lived this way for almost 49 years and can't see it really changing. If I don't obsess about the calories I overeat and get obese. So I do wonder what recovery from the ED really looks like.

It is a really sad realization that you are truly alone in your head with the thoughts. T can teach you ways to challenge those thoughts and can be there to hear you during therapy but most hours of the week you are alone with yourself and your thoughts.

Challenge #2

Your longing for your T will diminish as your new life as a graduate student begins. New people will come into your life that help fill some of the roll that your T filled. I've been through the ending before. It is hard and I found it easier when I could taper off before the true end. I do understand the issue with seeing T's that are not able to handle the ED. It truly sucks and if I had it to do over again I think I would have made some different choices before I started this latest round of therapy. I do wonder for you if moving on to a therapy that is not focused on the ED might be helpful. Finding a therapist to help you handle the changes that are happening in your life might have very little to actually do with the ED. Like you said you are able to challenge the thoughts on your own and choose not to act on them. Your new school may have counseling available on campus that would be part of your student services. It probably wouldn't be ED focused but might be really helpful for getting you out into life. (a little more dating, maybe some new friendships Wink.

The stage of life your at is both exciting and scary. I can remember being there. I'm thinking of you sweetie.

Hi Jillann. Thanks for your reply. It helped to get me to think (which is a lot of what this rambling is).

With the ED, I eat variety and maintain a stable, healthy weight that is much higher than I would have ever been okay with. I monitor my intake on my own and do know about how many calories I eat - though I am not afraid to go out to eat or to try samples at a farmer's market (normal things that were once terrifying). Of course, my mom always sees me as too small or too restrictive. I just have that interfering negative thought process that channels into feeling "fat," and nothing seems to shake that. It is like a record that repeatedly plays in my head and interferes with my life as much as background music in the hairdresser might draw your attention - sometimes it is all-consuming and sometimes it just is a noisier version of silence. I agree with you, intuitive eating is just not going to be a reality in my life. I don't listen to/know hunger/fullness cues, and I wouldn't trust myself to know them. But, the part of recovery that is just getting to me is whether I am always going to be sharing my thoughts with a demon or whether these thoughts can ever really leave me alone. It is hard to be crying on the inside but putting on a show of strength because people either don't know what you are going through or - for those who know - consider you weak or choosing the eating disorder or simply not fighting hard enough because you have those thoughts. I'm angry at the eating disorder, something my T always wanted, but I am not angry enough - according to my T, my mother, and, by default, myself. What it did to me is horrible, but it is also a crutch and hard to actually hate. I don't even have the energy to hate it - I'm really medically messed up right now, which makes everything harder.

As for my T, I don't need her to stay on the right track, but I need her to more easily stay on the healthy path and to more rapidly move forward instead of accepting this stasis. Unfortunately, I'm between schools, so I don't have a school psychology office at my disposal, not that I would ever trust confidentiality in a school counseling center (making that out of the picture for me; I have trust issues and have had that trust broken too often to risk my status in such an important environment). I know non-ED therapists can be helpful, but with my T, we didn't focus on the ED. We just understood that the ED was a behavior to monitor, not the subject of therapy. The ED exists for other reasons outside of the diagnosis. Unfortunately, non-ED T's won't work for me for two reasons: (1) I am triggered in a situation where the T doesn't understand the ED for a variety of reasons - the ED can be more readily secretive or can "show off" without anyone there to recognize the issue; the T thinks everything IS about weight, which is the worst I've heard; or the T treats me like a label. I've had it all and it is just a dangerous situation. I'm better off on my own without a T than with a non-ED T, because I put my guards down with a T to focus on the real issues instead of monitoring the ED. I also can't work with a non-ED T because there is not a single non-ED T on my insurance (I won't pay $125 for a T without ED knowledge) who will work with me. My history is too terrifying for anyone to touch. I was lucky my T never gave up on me. I did try to find a new T, and literally everyone either triggered the ED from their ignorance or was afraid to meet me.

What you ended with is what I really need: friends. I need to more than kind of trust one person in my life, but I have no clue how to get to that point. It's hard to learn what friendship is when you had the capacity for friendship taken away from you during middle school, but I hope I'll eventually figure it out.

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