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Hunger after AN recovery

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Hunger after AN recovery

Postby niva » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:04 am

Hi there :)

I am writing from a place of recovery, as in I am not only physically recovered, but also mentally (which I never thought was possible!). I had AN for 8 years and now it has been around that long since I have been physically recovered, though maybe closer to 5 or 6 for complete mental recovery? Anyways, I'm writing because I'm wondering if anybody else can relate to not being able to tolerate low blood sugars after having starved in the past. I'm not sure if I will find people at a similar place in recovery as seeking support is usually not something recovered people do (compared to those who are still recovering). Perhaps to be more inclusive I'll leave this an open question of:

What happens to you psychologically when your blood sugars are low/when you are hungry?

When I first got ill with AN I got a high from low blood sugars. Walking on weak legs that nobody else knew about made me feel strong, etc, etc. The 'honeymoon faze', if you will.

Years later, when I physically relapsed and got even more ill, I was always in a state of tormented numbness, silent despair; being conscious was torture, and I couldn't sleep; I just wanted to die, but I 'wasn't allowed'.

When I was recovering low blood sugars made eating harder, made the AN voices in my head more compelling. I didn't have normal hunger or fullness cues. I was years before I could taste food again (instead of detaching and eating like a robot like the hospital taught me to do).

Now when I'm hungry eating something is all that matters. I need to eat and I have no fear of calorie-dense foods, will likely go for them first to 'rescue' my blood sugar levels. I usually have some kind of food or liquid calories with me when I'm out and about, just in case. I don't have problems with binging or with my weight.

When people who don't have a history of disordered eating get hungry they can wait an extra hour or two or three for food if they need, and they can still think straight, might get a little irritable or tired or something.

I go into a dissociative state of numbness and shock. I stare, my face goes numb, I can barely think or move, I can't even fake small talk. I just shut down. It's not a medical thing, because my fasting blood sugar tests (which I really, really hate having to do!) always have normal results. It's more like a trauma response. I read a book once describing somebody's father who had been starved during the holocaust, how even decades later, if supper was just half an hour late, he'd end up eating with tears streaming down his face. I am not somebody who cries a lot, but I know what that is like, having uncontrollable tears of grief and relief once food is in my mouth, years after having recovered (hence why I bring food with me, to prevent that degree of shutdown whenever possible!). Sometimes I have dreams about not being able to eat and it blows my mind that my life used to be like that. I remember having nightmares about eating when I was sick with AN.. How times have changed!
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