After a tortuous weekend for Emily, on Monday she made the decision to stop restricting with our help. She said she really didn't have a choice because there is so much that she wants to do with her life and she can't do it if she isn't healthy. I was surprised by how quickly she was able to shift her thinking because on Sunday I was thinking she was going to end up back in the hospital because she couldn't eat anything and was an emotional and mental wreck.
On Sunday afternoon, after a dreadful morning, I was desperately trying to think of something to distract her from her pain and a friend offered to take us kayaking. She really wanted to go but I was concerned that she was too weak to manage it safely. We checked her heart rate, which seemed okay, but I said she had to eat something in order to go. She managed to get some fruit and yogurt down and I brought some snacks. She kayaked for about 20 minutes and came back to shore, she wouldn't admit it to me but I think she was exhausted. While I was out on the water she ate some more food, then asked to go swimming. Together we swam a couple of hundred meters, the water was 24c degrees, which is very warm for us, which made it tolerable for Emily. That night she ate several pieces of sushi. It took her a long time and she ate it while watching TV, but she ate the entire package, which was the most I had seen her eat all week.
Monday morning she surprised me by getting up early to say good bye to me because I was going back to work. She seemed 'lighter' mentally. Monday afternoon when we talked on the phone, I commented that she seemed a little less stressed and that's when she told me she had made her decision. when I got home, she presented me with a list of menu items that she finds easier to eat and a grocery list.
Tuesday we met with the team, she told them her decision and we discussed strategy for the next week which included upping her medication to help reduce her anxiety over eating, refeeding at 1200 calories a day and working up to 1800, no exercise or driving the car for a couple of weeks. Her vital signs are all good, her weight is still within a healthy range. We dusted off the magic plate and she re-started her slow climb up recovery mountain.
The refeeding has had it ups and downs this week but it has been more up than down. By Thursday she was ready to spend time with some friends, and she spent Friday studying for a math exam that is coming up on Tuesday. She says she is seeing a friend today, which I hope she does and tomorrow we have plans to attend a fundraiser for a wildlife animal sanctuary that she has a great interest in. I see my role, in addition to refeeding, requiring me to throw interesting and fun 'life' activities into her path to keep her connected to her motivation to be healthy. I even told her she can use the 'I need to be distracted' card to manipulate me into taking her just about anywhere she wants to go.
For the most part, I have been feeling very calm and strong and steady throughout this latest episode, which I know is because of my yoga practice, especially the meditation. I meditate on the qualities of a beautiful tree in my yard every morning. It helps me to stay rooted, grounded, consistent, protective, accepting, nourished and open and flexible to whatever the wind blows through my life. That's not to say that I haven't had moments of sheer terror that the E.D. would destroy Emily, and moments of regret for not seeing it sooner, and moments of self-pity for having to do all the work related to refeeding. But they are just moments that I allow to come and then let go. I know I can make the choice to let them go or hang on to them. A year ago, when all this started for me, I didn't know how to let them go and they consumed me. It turns out that the E.D. has been a powerful catalyst for some extraordinary changes in our lives. I am not grateful for the E.D. but I am grateful for the positive changes.