Wednesday 28th May 2017
(Inpatient Day #21) DAY#7 of FULL PORTIONS
I know where I’m focused on with this post. But it’s just been a really challenging lunch and currently feeling like sh**. So I have to rant this out first, so I don’t drag out the attention to Anorexia’s negative thoughts much longer than it deserves.
Had my usual 2pm blood glucose monitoring done. It’s completely positive for the ‘healthy elf’ in me that they read ‘9.1’ – in comparison to what they were just over a week ago. Anything below ‘3.5’ have to be acted on – the nurses give you a glucose gel medication, or some fruit juice to raise them and have them checked up on. Anything below ‘2.5’ can put you at risk of a coma. I lost count of times during the nights (they have been checked at 2AM and 6AM since my admission) that I’d taken the supplement, sometimes even more terrifyingly to Anorexia – juice/half a slice of unplanned toast. And the one time the paramedics came because of the low pulse of 28 and blood sugar levels combined.
Part of me is proud that for the past 4/5 nights or so on the trot, I’ve not had to take any extra glucose. They’ve been stable. It seems partly laughable that I dread something like my blood sugar levels taken. All because seeing that number so high on the little digital monitor as it counts down ‘5, 4, 3, 2, 1…’ to tell me how much sugar is going through my veins – is a painful reminder to Anorexia of how much I’ve just eaten.
A reminder of the custard sitting silently in my belly. Along with the jacket potato, the cottage cheese (first time had on the Unit – was nice to have full-fat stuff instead of a pesky weighed out portion on some crispbreads), the extra margarine (that seems completely inappropriate when we already have a topping with it), the 5-bean salad and the side salad. The blackcurrants from the frangipane (which I’m thankful for – every time a pudding includes a bit of fruit is little mental chip of relief, as fresh fruit isn’t included on the meal-plan until you get to ‘Stage 3’ of the treatment program. I bloody miss fruit! Genuinely love the stuff, Eating Disorder or not…) And not forgetting the pastry, which was probably sat like a proud sunken shipwreck at the bottom of my stomach.
Yasmin’s little cheerleading healthy-elf at the back of my mind, often found squashed under Anorexia’s fat ar*e, is shaking it’s pom-poms. Is happy for my starved brain healing. Is relieved for a better quality of life in the long-run.
From the education I’ve received about blood sugars through recovery, the importance of keeping them stable can be a case of life or death. It’s so, so important. For anyone. And it all basically comes down to eating ENOUGH and regularly in the first place ….and a healthy, balanced diet (that old boring cliché). I HATE that phrase. It sounds like you’re repeating it out of an old textbook that your teacher left a coffee-ring on 4 years ago.
Low blood sugars results in the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which causes the brain to desperately seek food. You become irritable, sometimes light-headed and actually cortisol will start to make fat stores as a clever precaution in case your blood sugars run out. You may largely crave carbohydrates – which is why not snacking/eating often enough may actually lead you to eventually over-eat, and get caught up in a cycle of guilt and self-hate. I think this craving explains a lot for Bulimia. And DEFINITELY a lot for yo-yo and ‘fad’ dieting…
As I have suffered with phases of Bulimia between strong spells of Anorexia, I know this was certainly one of the ‘physical/biological’ triggers for binging and purging. The psychological triggers are of course a whole other solar system to explore and explain.
On the whole, negative thoughts aside, I can see from reading this the progress I’ve made. (this is the ‘healthy elf’ with the microphone…)
If, just over a week ago, I was struggling and fighting to accept an unplanned half slice of toast in the night by the paramedics, to raise my blood sugar levels, to prevent a potential life-or-death situation… scared to have half a glass of fresh fruit juice instead of a ‘glycogel’ which had more calories, numbers swimming round… and now I was complying with the meal-plan – ‘indulgent’ puddings and all… I’m learning to accept the discomfort of recovery.
“Recovery is a challenge but it’s not as difficult as continuing to live the wrath of an Eating Disorder.”