*Trigger Warning: Discussion surrounding anorexia and a brief reference to suicide.
It’s been a long time. I’ve been M.I.A. – from this blog, from the bipolar support group I started and from life in general. But most painfully, I’ve been an absent wife, mother and daughter. A walking corpse. . . . barely… . . . . walking. Each day more difficult than the previous. Each day the act of finally aligning my exterior with its interior sounding like the perfect solution for all parties involved.
The reason? F-ing bipolar!
But this time, bipolar brought with it a close friend: anorexia. Apparently “more than 14 percent of patients with bipolar disorder also suffer from an eating disorder, and these individuals are likely to have a more severe course of illness.” This is according to a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
Fighting these two illnesses requires a boatload of energy, of which each illness depletes on its own. It feels as if there is no up, no down and no starting over point. Although logically I know how I got here – I have no idea where I am.
Together — me, my psychiatrist and my husband — have decided it’s ideal for me to go into residential treatment. At least short-term to stabilize my mood. Local eating disorder treatment is lacking. Well, generally speaking, sufficient mental health treatment is lacking. But I won’t go on that rant now.
So we’re looking into options. My psychiatrist hopes that stabilizing my mood, which has been mixed, will move anorexia to the background again. That may sound strange, but it makes sense when you understand how anorexia works in me. The obsessive thinking is always there, running in the background like an app on a mobile device. It’s just that it was triggered a few months ago. And wrangling it back into its cage has proved harder than expected.
I know some believe in full recovery from eating disorders, but I fail to see how that is possible. I’m not trying to be negative, just realistic. I view anorexia similar to the way I view my bipolar and alcoholism. There is no cure. It’s yet another lifelong disorder I must manage.
This has been a long time coming. I have been ill for some time, as my absence suggests. And I couldn’t figure out a way to blog here on The Sunny Shadow without addressing that fact, of which I was not ready to do. Transparency is important to me and I’m horrible at fake anyhow, just ask my husband. Admittedly, I’ve been in quite a bit of denial surrounding the severity of both my bipolar and anorexia. So avoidance seemed like the best option. I only just recently acknowledged my anorexia and I’ve been battling it for years. I wish I would have taken my therapist’s and psychiatrist’s advice ten years ago and got the help I needed for it back then. Then I wouldn’t have teenage daughters seeing their mother literally waste away before their eyes. Hopefully the silver-lining here will be my daughters seeing their mother overcome, and them knowing they can too.
If it were not for my husband I likely would not even be present to write this. He has exhausted himself with worry, taking care of me and our family.
I’ve realized something as I’ve gone through this. For some reason, I thought this wouldn’t happen to me. I thought that it was a one time thing. You know, my initial destructive manic episode when I was undiagnosed. Sure, it can happen to others, but not me. I have shit under control! — Wow, talk about a grandiose mentality. Well I’m here, so I’m going to tell you… those basic self-care steps you keep hearing over and over again are not suggestions. They are requirements for people with bipolar to stay healthy. I thought the “rules” didn’t apply to me and that I could get away with less sleep, less food, less less less… But see here’s the thing, mental illness lies to us. It tells us that we’re not as sick as we actually are, or that we’re not even sick at all!
I liked the idea of The Sunny Shadow becoming a “resource” of sorts, rather than a personal blog. But you know, it is what it is. This is real life and this is where I am. This is really how bipolar is affecting me right now. It’s not allowing me to do as I wish. It has broken me, but in a good way. Bipolar and anorexia have exhausted my energy to further deny their existence. I’ve reached a rock bottom similar to when I was in active addiction. I realize that I’m hella sick and am willing to do whatever my psychiatrist and husband think is best. Even if I don’t like it, and I have a feeling I’m not going to. But I believe in the results. I know the biggest growth spurts are the most painful. And seeing as how I love me some self-growth, I am looking forward to the person I will be when I make it to the other side of this. But even more, I’m looking forward to being the wife and mother my family deserves and craves.
I plan on keeping you posted. In the meantime, peruse my Mental Health Resources page.
Thanks for your support, understanding and patience while I get healthy again. ((( Big Hugs♥ )))