The day my brain broke

So, if you have me on FB… or follow this blog.. you may have noticed some anxiety filled posts and/or frantic emails/texts asking for hugs… My brain kind of… well broke this week.

I’d like to follow that statement by adding in, I knew even while it was happening that it was just a stumbling block, and never once gave up.. but it is what it is, and there’s no other way to describe what happened to me this week other than…. my brain broke.

Remember a few posts back where I was worried I may be shifting from one extreme to the other (namely from Binge eating disorder… to anorexia?).. turns out I wasn’t very far off the mark.

The further I progressed into “Transition” the worse my anxiety got… I discounted it at first, blaming it on a number of outside factors, I was busy, work stress, stress from dealing with EI, “That time of the month”, I blamed everything BUT transition. I kept telling myself that there was no way eating food could stress me out.. I love food.. and I was enjoying the taste of everything I ate…. but the more food I had to eat… the worse my anxiety got. Still I kept denying it for a while (Apparently I’m stubborn that way LOL).

Last week, my brain and body had had enough. That feeling of “stress” that had been a constant weight on my heart the last few weeks, had morphed into fear. I began to panic whenever I had to cook.. which lead to my delaying the process of making food as long as possible. The first meal to go was lunch… I would eat breakfast with M when he got home from work, or have my shake at work etc… but then I kept being “busy” whenever lunch time came around… maybe I’d snack on some celery or have a tiny bowl of applesauce with fruit…. but the portions were getting smaller and smaller.

And that is when the panic set in. By the time Monday rolled around (which btw for the purposes of my food schedule during transition my week’s begin on Tuesdays… so Monday was the final day of the week of stress) I was having full-blown panic attacks at the thought of eating. I ate breakfast and it instantly felt like a rock sitting in my stomach weighing me down…. It wasn’t a big breakfast.. but  I felt like each bite was adding a pound, and if i kept going… in no time I would be 355 lbs again and all my hard work up to this point would have been for nothing. With that thought floating on repeat in my brain… I wasn’t able to force myself to eat again until supper time… and even then, the only way I was able to eat the small salad that I had made (Lettuce, green and red peppers, cucumber and 1 hard-boiled egg mashed up on top), was to sit beside M while he rubbed my back and prompted me to keep going. While he rubbed my back, I was FB chatting to a friend who has gone through something similar and was leaning on her for support as well.  I was terrified eating that salad… my brain was sure that each bite I took put me that much closer to my starting weight (even though I still could recognize that logically this isn’t even close to true). My heart raced, my skin tingled, my breathing was ragged… I cried through the whole thing… But I ate the salad.

That night, I had nightmare after nightmare, all about food, or being fat. It was like being trapped in a house of horrors… each time a nightmare ended I would wake up, and tell myself that this time would be different.. if I could only just close my eyes, I’d get some actual rest. Of course this never happened, each dream was worse than the last. I woke up exhausted and feeling defeated. I knew I had to eat… I knew it wasn’t healthy to starve myself. Sometimes you can know things until you’re blue in the face, but that doesn’t do a lick of good if you’re too scared to implement it!

So Tuesday came, and by the time I got to group, I had eaten a whole 6 sticks of celery and 4 sticks of cucumber…. I had cried at my desk while eating because I felt like a failure to be putting food in my mouth (I never said panic would make sense). Thankfully no one saw me cry and I snuck off to the washroom to clean up before it was noticeable…. but I wasn’t able to finish the food I’d put into a Tupperware for my breakfast.. I also didn’t have my shake… and to make matters worse, I barely drank any water at all. I got to group feeling light-headed, terrified, anxious and so incredibly angry with myself. I was a failure. Clearly something was wrong… and had been for a while…. and I wasn’t able to fix it. I wasn’t strong enough to just be OK… once again, my anxiety took control and was making my life hell.

Rather than my usual bubbly self, I was pleasant and tried to smile and enjoy my last group with a friend who is moving to Sask this week.. We even had the personal trainer this week who is like a cheer leader on speed! She’s so peppy and happy and her classes normally charge me up and get me so hyper.. her enthusiasm is contagious…. but this week, I was just too afraid to be my normal self. I knew that the scale would be waiting for me in the other room…. I knew that there was a high chance there would be a gain…. I knew all of this, and I sat through a class and did my best to make it through without screaming.

Weigh in was stressful too… new person… she was SUPER nice….. but at this point, all things were scaring me.. so YAY stranger and she is now going to see how fat I am, and on top of that it was BIA week (where they break down your weight so you can see how much is water weight, how much is fat etc etc)…. My blood pressure was through the roof (surprise surprise)… and after weeks of it being picture perfect, this just added to my feeling of resentment towards my body. I felt like it was failing me BIG TIME…. Really it was ME who was failing it… but that’s a whole other can of worms.

When it came right down to it, I hadn’t gained or lost… and already just seeing the scale stay the same, some of the strain I felt on my soul lifted… I still had to tell the doc about my broken brain… but at least I wasn’t fatter!

My doctor was amazing! She is so kind and rather than make me feel like it was just in my brain and was nothing to worry about… or that I should just try harder.. she immediately took it seriously and got me help.  We’ve decided that it was transition itself that triggered this level of panic… each week or so changing, adding more and more food, was too much for me to handle. My brain likes stability and routine… when my food changed every week, and in some cases felt like it was doubling…. I felt like I was slipping back into binge eating (which I clearly wasn’t… but after 12 weeks of drinking and no food at all…. it makes it hard to remember what’s what)… and in an effort to stop the bingeing…. I stopped eating LOL. So as a result she pulled me from shakes completely. I am back on the 1200 calorie a day diet which I had been put on leading up to the shakes, and it’s something my body knows and is used to… As soon as she did that already I felt like the elephant got off my chest and I could breathe again. Still anxious… but not terrified…. then she got me to book a one on one with the behaviorist which I go to next Thurs.. we’ll see how that goes, and see if we can come up with a plan of action to help stop this in the future. My one on one with the nutritionist is on Sept 4th, and that’s when I’ll be getting a tailored meal plan going forward… until then, I am on my 1200 calorie a day diet and no more changes.

Since all that happened… I have been adding more and more food back into my diet, and trying to relax while I eat. I’m back to where I should be, and managing to stay within my 1200 calories a day… though I do confess to still feeling slight anxiety after eating… I can’t stop myself from analyzing what I ate, why I ate it, was it enough, was it not enough, did I do it right?  yadda yadda…. it’s exhausting.. but at least food is going into my belly! LOL

And with that, I bid you all a good night. I’m off to drink some more water and have a slice of banana bread for dessert. I think… I’m still hungry, so……. food is good…. we’ll see. I did eat supper though! And grilled cheese was amazing. It’s something I’ve been craving since I went on shakes and I finally caved in and had it… OH MY GOD SO GOOD…

If you stuck with me this far *High 5* You rock! Thanks for being there <3

Comments 8

  • I know how hard you’ve worked. How much you’ve given up. The giant strides you’ve made. You’re amazing, inspirational, awesome, and truth be told, magnificently spectacular. You. So. Rock. Your friends; Your true friends are standing with you and holding you up. Your support network is rock steady, lady. WE BELIEVE IN YOU! You will not fail because you’ve already got this in your pocket. Go ahead, take a look. See it? It says, Ms. Successful! Keep reaching for the stars & keep lacing up them skates, Roller Skating Woman. You’re going places and your willpower & roller skates are going to take you there. Chin up little buckaroo. You are the little engine that could, can, & will. And don’t you forget it! Peace, Love, & Happiness ????

  • Wow! Wow! and Wow! You have been through so much Shannon…..and yet, you just keep on going, doing all the right things, getting help when you need it! I have so much respect for you, I don’t know if you could possibly realize just how much! I don’t know what else I could possibly say to you except that I wish I had even 25% of the courage that you have. Just keep being you Shannon! You are a star! <3 <3 <3

  • You are amazing!!! So very proud of what you have and continue to accomplish. And now roller skating……..

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