Community Magazine

Slippery Slope Or Not

By Survivingana @survivingana

slippery slope of anorexiaWe have been down to visit Sophie – my half semester visit to check she is going ok and to help with homesickness.

When she was home in July, I blogged how she had lost weight. Not in any danger zone, but certainly dropped a size. I hoped this was just her adjusting and her normal body shape and weight sorting itself out.

First impression when we saw Soph two weeks ago – “shit, she lost a lot of weight”. Dropped another size. Now there is NO room for movement in her weight. Loss of weight from here is the start of the slippery slope.

The complication is the trigger weight is not known. We used to know what weight would trigger the brain into full anorexic behavior and make it difficult to pull Sophie out. Because of height, muscle and body changes during recovery and getting older, we don’t know what weight will start the trigger.

She had a good talk to me (whilst walking around the Victoria Markets). Makes it less intense for her this way. She admitted to having the voice back in her head and having to fight it. She admitted to having fear foods again and balking at eating them (or just not). The voice isn’t just telling her not to eat, but that she is a loner, is weird, no one likes her, she isn’t good at art – the whole sad, sorry and destructive stuff the anorexia does.

What can I say when I am so far away? Basically not a lot, except let her know I am her support and can listen. But I can’t make her eat and my encouragement is all I can give. I can only advise her to see her counselor (thankfully she has done this twice since we left). What gets me most is that Sophie can see this happening to herself. She doesn’t want it to, doesn’t want to go back into anorexia land. But finds it so hard to fight back and gain back control from the voice. So easy for the anorexia to slip back in.

What made it turn up again? Nothing really. The internal issues she has, have surfaced more and she needs to deal with them. These are the same issues as before but she really has never broken free and forward progress seems to be very slow over time. Maybe the issues she sees are something she cannot solve as they are her character and personality. She misses home, misses my foundation support but also knows she has to stand on her own feet and fight this herself. The weight loss from sickness and not eating as well as she could, is probably the main trigger. Normal life just doesn’t happen in many respects for those in recovery from an ED. You always have to watch your health, stress, eating habits. It can be so easy to start falling down the slope again.

Supporting someone from a distance is tricky. Sophie is paranoid and super sensitive at the moment (all anorexia traits). She asks for advice and then tells me I don’t get it or understand. She dumps her emotions and then hangs up. The ‘fix’ she wants I cannot provide. The answers lie within her but she can’t or won’t face them. Supporting someone in an intensive uni course is also very difficult. The distraction tool box she has is based on her having free time to do some of the activities or take a break. When you are studying full time (5 subjects a semester and art being far more time intensive than essay writing) where do you find time to delve into the distraction box. We talked about this last night but it needs more exploration.

Whever this goes, we do it together. Praying and hoping the slippery slope doesn’t happen.


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