Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chronic conditions

In my email to a friend, I asked when do you stop trying to cure a chronic condition. This friend replied back that we both know that at best, I'll be able to manage my eating disorder like I do my allergies and hypothyroidism. That talking and sharing and admitting to myself that I'm tempted are my pills to control the symptoms. 

After almost 7 years of dealing with Ed, I think he's right. 

I searched the web for more info in chronic eating disorders, but there is very little information. I found one site that mentioned hat eating disorders in adults can be chronic and that treatment shouldn't focus on eliminating the illness. He site mentioned how in one case the knowledge that she didn't have to get rid of Ed completely helped to her be symptom free for two years. 

Why isn't there more information on this? Why haven't there been more studies? 

Most of the books and blogs I read talk about cures. They don't call it that, but essentially thats what they are. These authors tell you that recovery is possible, that you can live life completely and totally without Ed. To me, that's the same as a cure - being totally disease free.  

These authors tell us to never give up. To keep fighting Ed. That we can become recoverED, too!!

So what about those of us who have fought Ed for years with no sign of winning the war? We're older, more set in our ways, have more responsibilities - jobs, families, bills. We are highly functional, even when in the throes of the illness. We never have let our bodies become critically ill. Our diagnosis is often ED-NOS.   We have learned to survive in the real world, even though most of our conversations happen inside our heads. Ed has been a helpmate more than a destructive force. 

For years we struggle, feeling ashamed and guilty for not being able to beat Ed. And feel forgotten in all the talk about "recoverED." 

I don't want to be forgotten anymore. I don't want to feel like a failure anymore. 

I am not giving in to Ed. I still will fight like I always have to try to find other ways to cope. I will still take my medicine. But my end goal has to change.

Just because I haven't been able to live completely without Ed and may never be able to, doesn't make me a failure.
It makes me a survivor. 

Is anyone else an adult who has been fighting and/or living Ed for years? What are your thoughts? Do you think it would be easier (you would feel better) if the focus of your treatment was on living with Ed rather than getting rid of him? Do you think that would help you manage the illness better (less slips and relapses)?