I am a Recovering Anorexic

  1. I have been in solid recovery for six months now and recently went back to work. The transition from staying at home with my kids to going back to work has made recovery more difficult on its own...but I am also finding somethings at work that are triggering.

    I work night shift in a GREAT ICU and love it. It is the best job I have ever had as a RN and I feel so incredibly blessed to be working there. However, this is the first time that I have been working while also giving 110% to recovery. I was not expecting so many triggers surrounding work and I am having trouble not going back to my ED.

    Any advise on what to do when:
    1. You find out there are others you work with who also stuggle with anorexia or other ED's. It makes it easier to relapse when there is someone else who looks healthly and is successful...and also does not really eat at work.
    2. Running is a HUGE downfall of mine. There are several people on my unit who run together and I really want to start doing it with them.
    3. Your nights and days start getting jumbled and it makes it easier to convince yourself that you met your calorie requirements when you really didn't.
    4. A 12-hour shift can be non-stop. Although I know it only takes a minute to grab something...it is easy to justify that I am too busy.

    I don't want to get back into my ED. Any suggestions?
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    About TX_ICU_RN

    Joined: Feb '08; Posts: 120; Likes: 117
    Specialty: 7 year(s) of experience in ICU, Pedi, Education


  3. by   deeDawntee
    Congratulations on doing such a great job and for being so clear on the issues you are facing. It speaks volumes regarding the depth of your insight.

    Do you have a support group or a therapist that you currently see? Specifically I am speaking of people who know you. That may be the best place to manage the issues of which you speak.

    Personally, I struggle with bulimia, so am not a great resource for anorexia. But I have an ongoing support system that I lean on when needed.

    Good luck! It sounds normal that you would have triggers with a change. Be sure to be very self-forgiving and don't expect perfection while negotiating changes in your routine. Sending good wishes,heartbeat:heartbeat
  4. by   ukstudent
    people that eat normally don't understand how easy it is to just not eat.:uhoh21:
  5. by   Tweety
    Thanks for sharing. I hope you find some support here, and continue your recovery while at work. It sounds like you're seeing seeing through your rationalizations with a clear head. Best wishes.
  6. by   ElvishDNP
    Good to see that you have identified your triggers. Sometimes that's harder than admitting your problem, at least it has been for me. Hang in there. :icon_hug:
  7. by   Twitchi
    You are a very strong person. I know this because you had the ability to come forth and admit your problem and then share it with a bunch of strangers. Plus you sought help and you are now seeking additional help. Just take it all one day at a time.
  8. by   HM2VikingRN
    As a foodie I have the other problem...:<<.

    Wishing you the best in recovery...
    Last edit by HM2VikingRN on Apr 30, '08
  9. by   TX_ICU_RN
    Thanks for all of the support!! Eating disorders are so difficult to deal with anyway...and it makes it even harder that people that you should just eat, quit eating so much, and/or quit purging. I wish it was that simple! I have been with a fantastic therapist for almost a year and am continuing to see her frequently right now. I had been at the point where I was going to quit seeing my nutritionist, but we decided that now would not be the best time.

    I am trying to keep my sight focused on the logical side of me that was able to write the original post. For some reason, I thought going back to work would make dealing with my ED easier..not harder. I think I forgot how fast a 12-hour shift goes by and just how many seemingly valid excuses for not eating present during that time.

    One day at a time...one meal at a time. What else can we do?
  10. by   Blackcat99
    The problem with working at my job is that we are "always too busy to take a lunch break." However, I am a "food addict" and my recovery from food addiction comes first before "any job." I always take my lunch break because my recovery is more important than any job I will ever have. Best of luck to you. Take care of yourself first!!!! Your recovery must come first or you will lose it!!!
  11. by   ok2bme
    I can relate. I used to binge and purge (Ipecac)..now I just binge. Secretive eating, hiding food, isolation, inadequate hygeine..I just couldn't take it anymore and I started therapy two months ago. I'm glad that you sought help too. Give yourself credit for identifying the potential triggers associated with work! I really don't have advice, I am just starting treatment. Just know you are not alone, you have people rooting for you, and are being prayed for. :icon_hug:
  12. by   RiderRN
    OMG, I'm recovering from bulemia... In my recovery I have found it easier to not eat than to deal with food drama. Especially while at work. It's so easy to forgot your own needs when you are focused on everyone else's. I've gone through 13 hours at work, peeing 1 time, eating minimally and drinking less than 16 oz of water. I'm not at all proud of this, infact I'm terrified that I'm doing this to my body. My hospital has strict rules about food and drinks at the nurses station making it difficult to leave the floor for any reason. I get 1- 15 minute break a day, and 1 - 30 minute lunch break. Let's face it, that's not enough time to take care of 13 hours of bodily maintenance! I too struggle with not eating/drinking enough while at work. How does anyone deal?????? Please help!!!!
  13. by   almostfearless
    What I found that helps takes a lot of guts if you can do it- I know a lot of people with ED get extremely private with it, but what helped me is sabotaging my ED by telling my friends that I have one. They watch out for me, and if I havn't eaten anything they keep me accountable.
  14. by   Journey_On
    I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying the ICU! It takes great courage to share your struggles with people. I had an ED when I was in high school, and while I recovered for the most part, I still have some days where I struggle with the thoughts and also making sure I exercise regularly.

    I have to make sure I eat 3 meals a day. I am personally too afraid of skipping meals and making my metabolism slow down.

    My instructors have always encouraged us to take our breaks and lunch breaks. I hear it is often easy to go without taking them, but you do need those breaks after running around and being on your feet all day. You would not want your blood sugar going low. When I go without food for a long time, I get impatient and jittery, and that is not good for my patients. I believe I will do myself and my patients a favor when I get the nourishment and energy I need to provide the best care for my patients. When I am impatient, it makes me careless and do stuff quickly - potential to make mistakes. That would be my rationales for making sure I take my lunch break, but that is just me, though.

    I wish you the best! Feel free to PM me anytime.
    Last edit by Journey_On on Jun 13, '08