Thursday, December 30, 2010

Things I thought I'd never do.

I never thought I'd be able to:

- eat chocolate and deserts without guilt
- not plan all my meals
- relax and spend most of the day vegging around
- party with my friends without stressing about the calories I was taking in (weather through drinks or food)
- eat even though no one else was eating because I was hungry
- go out to eat without knowing exactly what I was having ahead of time

I spent the past 2 days with my friend in town. Her apartment is what used to be my ED's worst nightmare. No "safe foods" in sight, as a matter of fact there was very little food in the house at all. She works, so she eats most of her meals out or orders in. In her apartment there's very little to do aside from watch TV and just veg out. Not much physical activity going on there. But contrary to what I expected I'm enjoying every minute of this visit. We went out last night partying and had a blast. I drank a few mixed drinks and had a great time. We stayed out till 5 in the morning dancing and living it up. After coming home we slept most of the morning, looked at some old photos and watched a few movies. Then we went out to eat and had a coffee.After that I was still hungry and since there was no food in the house I went out and bought some. Just because she wasn't eating doesn't mean I couldn't. I used to be obsessed with comparing myself with other people and always making sure I was eating less then them or at least compensating by getting a lot of physical activity. But not anymore. If I need more fuel, well I'm going to get it weather I'm active that day or not. Right now I'm gearing myself up for another evening of fun. We're going to meet up with some of her friends and hang out. It's just so nice not to have a rigid food or exercise schedule controlling every decision you make. It's so liberating to forget yourself and enjoy the moment; just let loose. I used to always be so afraid of that, because I didn't want to do something I'd later regret. But I'm learning that you only live once and sometimes it's worth it just to forget some of those self-imposed rules and live it up. I believe there needs to be moderation; I believe in eating healthy and living a good lifestyle. But if I feel like sitting around all day and catching up with a friend or eating take our once in a while I should feel free to do so. It's so incredible to think that I believed I'd never be able to enjoy these simple things ever again. I'm so happy that I was wrong and I am living life to the full and loving every minute of it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The trip so far.

The only thing I regret about this post is that I have no pictures to go with it. So much has happened, but unfortunately I don't have a camera to take photographic evidence, so my verbal account will have to be enough.

I spent the 22-23rd travelling between countries. The trip wasn't exactly relaxing, but overall everything went well and I arrived safely.
As soon as I arrived it was time for my first challenge- lunch. It was fish oven baked in olive oil. The amount of oil was almost overwhelming for me, but I refused to think about it too much and I just ate. And amazingly enough I was ok. There were a few thoughts sure enough, but I kept myself busy most of the time doing other things and with time those passed and I was able to fully enjoy myself.

Then came Christmas Eve dinner, the thing I had been fearing most about the entire trip. But even that was surprisingly manageable. On the table we had duck, a Greek salad, a cous-cous salad, roasted green beans in olive oil and classic German red-cabbage. Although all of these foods I was pretty uncomfortable with I managed to eat a well balanced meal WITHOUT ANY GUILT. I even had a glass of wine for desert. It was really lovely.
The following days were pretty much the same - I was faced with "scary foods" and a irregular schedule. But to be honest I'm enjoying every moment of this trip so far. I thought I wouldn't be strong enough, that there would be a lot of panic attacks and awkward situations. I can proudly say that so far so good. People are pretty understanding of my desire to eat healthy and I am also learning to enjoy "treats" such as chocolate, Christmas cookies and other such holiday goodies along with the delicious food that I might not consider 100% healthy. I do worry at time and am unsure of how I will handle certain situation. But the more I stop over-thinking everything and just throw myself into the situation the better things seem to be. It's really great to be able to enjoy life without an ED controlling your every move.

At times I can't help but think back to last years Christmas where all I managed to eat was a bowl of vegetable soup. I didn't even drink anything because I was scarred of the calories. Well those days are done and over now, and it feels so wonderful. It's great to be free!!

Hopefully I can get my camera up and running so I can have some pictures for you all. In the meantime enjoy the rest of the holidays and your family and friends!

Monday, December 20, 2010


I know I've disappeared for a few days. But I needed the break, I needed to get my head straightened out and deal with a few issues.

But I'm back!

So let's see, what's new with me. I've decided to go visit my friends. After a few follow-up conversations they seemed quite realistic with their expectations of me, and I know that I need to challenged myself and get out of my "safe zone". I am apprehensive and nervous, but nothing ventured nothing gained, right?

And yesterday I celebrated my birthday. Nothing HUGE happened, but I had an enjoyable day. I went Christmas shopping in the morning, baked some Christmas cookies in the afternoon and drank champagne and mulled wine in the evening while watching a relaxing movie. There are simple joys that make you just as happy as a big wild party. And it's good to remember that from time to time. Also I realized just how loved and cared about I was, because an amazing amount of people remembered my birthday. I'm terrible at remembering other's birthdays though, it's something I need to work on.

Now I'm caught up in preparations for my upcoming trip. Since I'm travelling in between countries there's travelling arrangements to take care of, not to mention packing and all the other last minute things that add up. But I will be blogging and hopefully will put up some pictures of my trip once I have them.

ED yells at me sometimes that I'm making the wrong choice, that I will end up in a place where I am miserable and unhappy the whole time, that I will gain tons of weight and feel guilty. But you know what, I'm not listening. This is my life and I'm tired of living it in the prison cell of an ED. One thing that finalized my decision to go on this trip was a question I asked myself : "If I didn't have an ED, would I go?" The answer was "Yes!!!" So what's standing in my way? Absolutely nothing. I am free and I'm off to have a great time.

Hope you all are having a wonderful, enjoyable holiday season.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Am I strong enough?

Right now I'm faced with a very difficult decision.

This is somewhat related to my previous post in which I asked what my friends expectations of me were. And the answer was straight to the point - eat whatever we do. Unfortunately their tastes involve a lot of fast food and alcohol. And I don't know what to do.

Honestly thinking about it gave me an anxiety attack that still hasn't finished. I don't know what to do. I want to challenge my ED behaviors and go and enjoy myself, at the same time I'm not sure if I'm strong enough. In the past when I've tried to tackle something overwhelming too fast I ended up falling into a purge cycle that I desperately fought hard to break out of. Yet staying at home isn't good for me right now either.

So what is the right thing to do? I know this is something I have to find the answer to within myself but I was wondering if you have any experiences with this. Have you ever been faced with something that you were sure was impossible, but coped with it ok? On the flip side have you ever tackled too much at once with negative repercussions? I'd really appreciate hearing your experiences with this.

Thanks to everyone in advance.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I am not inferior!

Today someone did something that really hurt me.

As I mentioned in a previous post I was planning on going abroad to visit some friends for New Years. I was REALLY looking forward to this. Usually I try not to anticipate things too much, because I don't like being disappointed. But I really felt like this trip would do me a world of good, because I needed a break. I needed a change of scenery. I wanted to be around my friends, to laugh and have a good time, to forget the problems that await me at home and just enjoy life.
Well, those dreams were somewhat shattered today because I was talking to one of my friends and they told me that they had been discussing my arrival amongst themselves and “they were fine with it, but they don't want someone around who doesn't eat. So...”
Ouch! After hearing that I was stunned. It was a blow below the belt to say the least. For the first few seconds I was stunned and completely caught off guard. Then I realize the implications being made in that comment:
- ED was nothing more then a “stupid diet” I should just get over with
- despite all the progress I had made I still wasn't eating because a) I don't participate in late night eating/drinking binges, b) I still have a hard time with some foods, c) I don't eat fast foods or loads of sweets
- I was not important as a person, because they would be willing to be supportive at least for a short while if I mattered enough to them
It hit me so hard I actually started to cry. I'm just so tired of having to fight with my old mindsets and then have to deal with people's misconceptions of me. I guess I've just taken for granted that everyone is as supportive and understanding as my family and most of my friends. It was shocking reminder that the people that I consider “friends ” can be so ignorant and inconsiderate. But that's life.

I decided to be honest about my limitations. I wrote them an email telling them what I did and didn't feel comfortable with and left the decision as to weather they wanted me there or not up to them. Whatever their reply is at this point I am okay with it. Although in the beginning I was very disappointed now I have accepted the situation as it is. I will find a way to enjoy the New Year where I am. It's better to be in a surrounding where you feel understood and accepted then in a place where you are constantly criticized and judged.

This afternoon I was SO tempted to restrict. I felt unloved, unwanted and like a failure. I wanted some way to numb emotions welling up inside me. But I realized that denying myself food was not a mature way of coping. What kept running through my head was something someone once told me “People only make you feel as inferior as you let them”. Just because these people don't see how far I've come, and doesn't understand the progress I've made doesn't mean I have to take it out on myself. There are going to be plenty of people in life that are going to knock me down and try to make me feel inferior. But it's up to me as to whether I allow them to affect me or not. And I am NOT going let these people knock me down. I am going to prove them wrong.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The truth behind the "thin".

Going into IP was one of the most memorable events of my entire life. I don't mean this in a good way, but in the fact that I'll never forget it. I met some great people there, and I believe it was what I needed at the time being. There were a lot of things that I didn't agree with, treatment methods that were outdated, but that's not what I'm going to talk about.

The unit I was at was actually a general psychiatric ward, which meant we had a wide range of people with various psychological issues there. One of the most typical questions we were asked by fellow patients after our name and age were "What are you here for?" And the answer to that question was always followed with "Why?".

That question (although pretty inappropriate now that I think about it) struck a chord with me, because at the time I had never stopped to think about this aspect of my illness. It was just something I HAD to do. I didn't know why, I just did. So I set out to find out why. The psychiatrists did little to help in that aspect. Later on I was told that I would probably never discover the reason because it's a complex issue so I might as well not try.

I am not advocating the fact that you should understand your illness and all the reasons behind it perfectly before you try to recover. That's not the point. I've had a specialist tell me that even HE doesn't always know the answers, because this illness is so complex and varies from person to person. But I think discovering some of the reasons that brought you to this point can be helpful in aiding recovery or preventing a relapse.

I had my first driving experience today (on snow - talk about scary). And my instructor made a comment about how petite I was (in reference to my feet not touching the pedals). Anyhow that comment made me happier then it should have, and then I started analyzing why. Why petite? Why not curvy, or womanly, or anything else? I think I figured out the answer to that question, one that is definitely in some small way tied into why this illness had such power over me.

It's hard for me to say this because I don't talk about it, but I was in an abusive relationship. Most of my closest friends don't know this, and I have a hard time telling them. I feel like they wouldn't believe me, or think I'm making a big deal out of nothing. In a way I feel responsible for letting it go on as long as it did, and even letting it happen in the first place. But it happened and it did affect a lot of things - my self esteem, body image and general happiness.

After it ended is when my ED really took off. And I think one of the reasons I craved (and still crave to a certain extent) being petite is because I wanted to be protected. I longed for someone in my life who would stand up for me; someone who would defend me. I had been so hurt that I just wanted someone to protect me. I was tired of the tough" facade I carried around. I wanted to somehow let the people around me know that I had needs, that I wasn't as strong as I pretended to be. And somehow for me the physical tied in behind the mental.

I guess I need to learn to use my voice to communicate what I'm feeling. I'll be the first to admit that this is hard for me. I don't want to be a bother, and I don't want to be seen as "weak" or "needy". What I need to realize is that I am a person just like anyone else. And people need each other. It's ok for me not to be strong 100% of the time. It's ok for me to have issues, everyone does. It doesn't make me less of a person to have needs. We all do and it's ok. It's okay to be human.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday cheer.

I am as relaxed as I could possibly be. Ok, not exactly, but pretty close. I just finished doing yoga, took a hot shower and am currently sitting in my Pjs with my comfy socks on, sipping glow wine tea (almost as good as the real thing, ALMOST) and listening to Christmas music. I feel good! For the first time in a while.

And here are the main perpetrators of my relaxing evening.

Glow wine tea (took the picture super fast, because I didn't want it to cool off)

Cozy socks (paired with my lovely fuchsia PJs - I HATE fuchsia by the way :P)

And my most favorite Christmas album (only because it takes me way back to my childhood)

I'm not going to lie and say the last few days were a walk in the park, because they weren't. But I'm fighting and I am trying my best to climb out of this dark place I found myself in. I've identified the reason for my frustration, which has translated in me wanting to go back to my ED coping mechanism. It's because I feel a lack of direction in my life, a sense of purpose. I am not exactly where I am of my own free will, a series of circumstances forced me here. Some of them were within my control, others weren't. Suffice it to say I don't feel happy living here. I feel lonely and secluded. I was thinking about my birthday and I realized I have no one but my family to celebrate it with. I do love my family a lot, but I need friends too, people I can just let my hair down and relax with. Even my psychologist tells me this. But as much as I reach out to people, it seems I can't find anyone to “click” with.
I do realize that just moping about this situation isn't going to make it any better. So I've made plans to visit some friends living abroad for New Years. That way I have something to look forward to. I am also going to make a list of goals I want to accomplish, and then divide them into what I can and can't accomplish living here. The things I can accomplish I will strive for, with a vengeance. And the rest I will put on the shelf for later, but still look for ways to realize them.

Another thing I have been lacking this year is the Christmas Cheer. Every year I long to feel the same sense of excitement and wonder I did as a kid. You know, that warm fuzzy feeling that just makes you happy. There's no way to describe it, yet I believe everyone has experienced it at some point in their lives. Usually I get at least a taste of it, a moment of happiness that I can cling to for the rest of the year. Even during the worst of my ED (last Christmas) there was Christmas Eve. But so far this year, the little spark is missing. I am (dare I say this out loud) dreading Christmas.

Let my explain why. Right now when I think about Christmas I'm not really thinking of a warm family affair, of feeling loved and “at home”. I'm thinking about the cooking, cleaning, stressful last minute shopping, relatives and all the gossip. To top it off I am feeling a little anxious about all the food involved. If it was just my family, it's a different story. But my relatives won't have the tact to not comment on my food, or constantly badger me about eating more. Actually a traditional Christmas here involves tasting 26 different dishes, and to me that's pretty intimidating. I remember actually eating so much I would make myself sick as a child, just trying to please everyone.
But I'm going of on a tangent here. The point of all this is that I realized why I was feeling so down. It's because I was thinking so much about MYSELF and the work I would have to do. Christmas is actually about giving and love. I firmly believe this.
This could partially be because of my upbringing. My parents are humanitarian aid workers and have been since I was born. We traveled from country to country, wherever they felt they could help the most. Usually us kids played at least small role in their work. Christmas was an especially “active” time for us. Almost all of my childhood memories of the holiday season involved performing or caroling for children in hospitals and orphanages, giving out donated presents for underprivileged children, or visiting old folks and letting them know that someone cared. As I grew up I still took part in these activities, although my role morphed into a more organizational one. But I was still always there to see the smiles on the children's faces, the gratefulness in the eyes of the parents who's dying child's life we had made a little better. These are things the money can never buy, and they bring a satisfaction that is unlike any other.

This was where most of my “Christmas cheer” came from. And I think I know why it's missing now. I'm so introspective at the moment I'm forgetting the whole meaning of Christmas. It sounds cliché but it my case it's true. So that is the first thing on my to-do list. This Christmas I will do some charity work. I'm already looking into what I can do, but nothing is decided yet. I'll let you know once I know for sure. But deep inside I know it's what I need to do to get my “Christmas spark” back. And to be honest I can't wait to get started.

Have you ever done charity work of any kind? If so, how does it affect you emotional well-being?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hold me now.

Hold me now
I'm six feet from the edge
And I'm thinkin
Maybe six feet ain't so far down

That chorus keeps running through my head. Possibly because those words ring strangely true right now. I feel like I'm slipping, falling. I see myself on the edge a cliff. All I see beneath me is blackness. The dark precipice beneath me terrifies me, so I scrape my nails against the rocks; praying, hoping, grasping, clawing, desperately trying to hold on. My facade hasn't crumbled yet, on the outside everything seems fine. I'm eating normally, I'm not over-exercising. Yet the mental battles are getting stronger then ever. Almost every meal brings a barrage of negative voices that refuse to leave no matter how much I try to block them out.
There are small visible signs too. I see them because I am looking for them, but the average person would never notice. I exercised yesterday, but not because I wanted to feel energized and happy. It was for another reason, a wrong reason. I was motivated by the negative image I saw in the mirror. I pushed myself because I felt I needed to. As far as the eating goes the changes are minimal - a little less of this or that. But after every meal I find myself feeling I ate too much, that I should have had less. And sometimes I wonder...... maybe six feet isn't so far down.

I know it is. I know I don't want to go back there. But I'm so tired of struggling. I'm tired of fighting so damn hard. I just want to let go of this facade of normalcy so people know I need help. But I can't because letting go would mean giving up. Letting go means she wins and I've determined to never let her win.

I just need something. I need a reason to keep fighting NOW. The future goals and benefits do have merit, but I need something to keep me going right now, this minute. I need someone to hold me, someone I can lean on...

Maybe this is a test like any other. Maybe it's because I have passed the previous ones, so it's time to move on. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger and I WILL NOT let this kill me.

And so I thank whoever rules our lives and plans our destinies for giving me this opportunity to become even stronger. Even as I struggle to hold back the tears I know someday I will be able to look back and smile. I will be genuinely grateful that I was allowed to go though all this, because it has made me into who I am. And who knows, maybe I'll be able to help others along the way.

Monday, December 6, 2010

People can only help you as much as you let them.

Today I had an epiphany. I love that word, it sounds so high and might but what it really means in my case is that I thought of something obvious :P

I was thinking recently about all the medical professionals I've come in contact with in the past, and what our relationship/interactions were like. I came to the conclusion that they were all fairly nice people (with a few exceptions), but they didn't help me very much. In the past I took that to mean that all medical professionals are there for in ED recovery is to keep you from slipping back too far, or putting you in IP if you need it. But I came to a different conclusion today.

They didn't help me because I didn't LET them help me. Sure, some of them didn't even bother, they treated me like a “case” instead of a person. They didn't have any personal touch whatsoever and when I was around them I felt like a bother. So they offered very little and I in turn was able to accept very little from them. But there were others that offered much more and I was the one to blame for not being willing to receive it. I listened to their advice but was convinced that I knew better, and so I didn't even bother following the assignments they put out for me.

Right now the psychologist I'm seeing is a different story. I'm following more of her suggestions then I have any other professional I have come in contact with. Sure, not all of them are applicable because she has no experience in dealing with patients with EDs, so there are some things she misunderstands or doesn't tackle appropriately. On the other hand she is just a human being, and I don't expect her to be God and have a “magic solution” for my problems. What she has been able to offer me however is a different perspective on myself. She offers insight into how others see me and my situation. She gives me different exercises that help with my self-image, anxiety and other such issues.

The truth is she has helped me more then any other specialist I have come in contact with. This is not because she has the most experience, because she doesn't. I have dealt with psychiatrists that were considered the best ED specialists in the entire country and yet dealing with them didn't benefit me in any way. That's partially because I didn't allow myself to be helped. I didn't allow myself to open up and be honest with them. I refused to let down my front of “I'm in control and I have a handle on my life”. I didn't let them see the real me – the scarred, confused, unhappy girl. I didn't trust that they could help me so I didn't even let myself be helped. On the other side of the coin I wanted them to magically “heal me”, I figured (and in some twisted way this made sense to me at the time) that if they were so “good” at what they did they would somehow telepathically know what I needed and help me. So I relied on their words of assurance and determination to get me though each day. Once I stopped seeing them the “motivation” I had faded, because it was never mine own. I had to be pushed and prodded and encouraged and cheered. I gained a satisfaction of my accomplishments by their praises, not from an internal source. So once they were gone there was little left to keep me from slipping back.

Now I look back and wonder if things would have been different if I had allowed myself to be helped. Maybe I would never have relapsed. Maybe my life would be completely different by now. On the other hand perhaps nothing would have changed. I do believe that life is a school and everything that happens to us happens for a reason; to teach us something or help us to grow. And I have learned a lot through this experience; lessons that I could not have learned any other way. I have learned to celebrate my victories and get up when I fall. I have learned how much inner strength I really have. But I wonder what would have happened had I traveled down the right road the first time.

So give medical professionals a chance if you are like me – a cynical and somewhat “closed” person. On the other side of the coin if you expect them to “heal you” you're setting yourself up for failure as well. They are only humans, they can't read your mind or force you to do anything. You need to determine to fight for yourself, to try to take what they give you and use it to the best of you ability. Everyone has something to offer, we just need to choose to accept it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A good day

So I decided to share with everyone the product of yesterdays "present to me". It was actually amazingly refreshing to do something that I WANT as opposed to what I felt I should do. I really enjoyed myself. And here is what I did:

I carved out the one on the left (the framed wolf on the right I did when I was in IP). In case anyone is wondering I'm not a crocodile fan, but someone gave it to me and I figured, why not? I started it a while back, but because carving out the whole thing is a really time consuming venture, I never finished it. Well I did last night. I turned on some music and just relaxed. I forgot how much I enjoyed arts and crafts. I was actually feeling sick at the time (something has been seriously wrong with my stomach these past few days) and there was a lot on my mind (not exactly positive stuff, if you know what I mean). But by the time I finished I felt very relaxed and well.... good :).

Today was pretty fun as well. I was able to go out and buy winter shoes. We have snow up to our knees and I only got around to buying them now (because I'm crazy like that). But I'm really happy I got these because they are oh so warm and cozy. I would walk around with them in the house if I could, but I'm pretty sure I would get some weird looks.

And I did some really intense exercises today. Wait, before you start telling me to take it easy on myself I will tell you that it was absolutely necessary that I do these exercises today. Not only was it a "must" but this is a form of exercise that I particularly enjoy.

Today I vigorously exercised my "Christmas present wrapping skills".

These babies were followed by about 10-15 more, but I was too lazy to take pictures at the end of it. I wish I could say all the presents were from me, but the truth was I offered to wrap some from my other family members. I just had Christmas in my bones today.

But do you know what I think guaranteed that today was going to be a good day. Right after I opened my eyes I felt an overwhelming sense of thankfulness that I was alive and that I had been granted to opportunity to face a new day. I began to think of all the great things I had in my life - a warm house, a caring family, good food, a comfortable bed. I smiled and said to myself "Today is going to be a good day". And it was!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Early Christmas present.

December is a wonderful time of year. Despite the snow, the cold and the throngs of Christmas shoppers a lot of great things happen - my birthday, Christmas, New Years. There's a lot going on and a lot of fun to be had.

This year I decided to treat myself to an early Christmas/birthday present. I decided that each day I would take the time to allow myself to do something I generally enjoy and savor the experience to the full. This will be "me" time, something I do EVERY day without fail and no matter what is happening around me.

If you're reading this you might be under the impression that I don't ever have any free time. This isn't true. I don't have A LOT of free time, but that's fine with me because I don't like sitting around, twiddling my thumbs and counting the seconds till the next hour.
What I am lacking in however, is undisturbed free time and permission to enjoy that time. Whenever I do something that is just for "me", that isn't work or helpful to someone else in some way, I feel guilty. I immediately start looking around for something "productive" to do.

But guess what, it's ok to be nice to yourself! It's ok to spoil yourself once in a while. You need to realize that you are important - more important then the work that you do, more important then the things you are able to accomplish with your time. For so long I struggled with the feeling that I was only appreciated and liked because of my work ethic. I would push myself so hard in a mad attempt to "earn" others friendship and love. However I'm slowly realizing that people like me who I am, and not what I do.

It's also fairly common for me to take care of others to the neglect of myself and my own needs. I purposely give up on my plans, programs, desires and needs in favor of others. While this in itself can be considered a noble and unselfish gesture, in my case it's not always so positive. I feel "unworthy" of standing up for myself and my needs. I feel like I don't "deserve" some of the things that other people do. I've come to realize this reasoning is WRONG. I am just as important as other people. And if there is something that I need, I shouldn't be afraid to let that be known.

So that's why I'm giving myself this "Christmas present" . It's so I can learn to treat myself well. It's so I can put that ugly voice in my head that tells me I am unworthy, insignificant and undeserving in it's place. I know this is the same voice that used to tell me I'm unworthy of food and rest, that I needed to push myself to the limit and beyond. And last I checked I wasn't listening to that voice any more.

This isn't to say I will become a totally self-obsessed person and refuse to give up my plans in order to help someone else. I will still do this as often as I am able. But when I am honestly not able, I will speak up and say something. This will take practice, as I am used to keeping my feelings inside. But if I want to move forward and make progress I need to accept this present to me.

So Merry Christmas L. Enjoy your present today!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fake it till you make it.

First off, I would like to thank you all SO MUCH for all your encouragement after I put up those pictures. Honestly, it was a really difficult thing for me to do. People could think I was doing it just to "fish" for compliments, but for me it was actually something that I had to almost "force" myself to do. I still almost cringe when I look back at that post and more specifically those pictures.

Let's face it, I've never felt pretty. For as long as I can remember I used to look in the mirror and pick myself apart. I noticed every flaw, every imperfection. I took mental notes of all the things I would change if I could. Actually, there were very few things about myself that I wouldn't change, given the chance.

Maybe not change as much as perfect or modify. I wanted to have so-and-so's lips, so and so's great body, so-and so's complexion. I was/am a chronic comparer. I'm constantly measuring myself up against others. This isn't just confined to looks either. We're talking about personality, abilities, experiences, lives. I guess you could just say I felt a lot of the times I got the raw deal in life. Sure, there are people that have it worse then me, but it seemed like so many other people had it so much better. Or they have/don't have something that would make my life almost perfect.

I have a friend though, who taught me something very important along these lines. When I first met her I thought she was the most confident person on the planet. Actually, her confidence bordered on being cocky or conceited. It seemed like nothing and no one could make her feel inferior. I really admired this trait in her. And I wasn't the only one. It seemed every where she went she was surrounded by people; people eager to get to know her and spend time with her. Of course, there were also those individuals who were jealous; the ones who called her proud and self-obsessed. But in reality she was none of these things. She was simply comfortable with who she was and didn't want to change anything about herself. She was perfectly content. Or so I thought....

I remember one day in particular that changed my perception of her dramatically. We had known each other for about 3 months and we were getting ready to go out together. She was standing in front of the mirror, trying to decide what to wear. She looked at her reflection and shook her head sadly. "Nothing looks right on me today. I wish I had better ...." I looked at her, nothing less then shocked. Had I heard correctly? Was the queen of "if you don't like me, deal with it" actually insecure about the way she looked? I was so intrigued that I decided to ask her - "So you actually don't like....? I thought you liked every part of your body." She laughed. "No way! There are plenty of things I would change if I could. But I can't. So what's the use in moaning about what you don't have, instead of accentuating and appreciating what you DO have." I was still baffled "I thought you were confident about the way you looked." "I am" she replied "confidence doesn't mean thinking you're perfect. The secret is not thinking about your imperfections. Then other people don't notice them either."

I was thinking about this friend recently and wishing I could be more like her. But a lot of time has passed since we've seen each other (she lives on another continent) and I developed an ED. Anyone that has an ED knows that it is NOT a confidence booster. As a matter of fact it knocks down any little self-confidence you may have left and locks you in an unending cycle of striving for contentment with yourself and your body. The sad thing is you are NEVER good enough. The thinner you are, the thinner you have to be. Then you get TOO THIN and you know you don't look good, but you feel like you can't do anything to change that. And it's an unending cycle.

I decided that it's time to turn over a new leaf. It's time for me to become a content and confident person. This will not be an overnight process and thinking about it at the moment makes me feel overwhelmed, like it's a goal thats too big and too bold. But in reality I KNOW I have it in me to change. It will take many small steps taken over a long period of time. There will be times I will be tempted to give up because this goes against my very nature. But I'll just have to "fake it till I make it". My friend didn't feel confident 100% of the time, but sure made me believe it. And that's what I'm going to do. From now on I will do all in my power to not let any self-depreciating comments come out of my mouth, regardless of how I do/don't feel that day. That goes for negating compliments as well - something I also have a tendency to do. Not only that, I will look in the mirror every morning and say something positive about myself - "I like ...." If I can't think of anything (and I have days like this) I will simply say "I am beautiful because I am me, and God doesn't make junk". It won't be easy and it'll take a lot of inner strength and will power, but I believe I have it in me.

I was already tempted with plenty of negative thoughts today. I went for my weekly appointment with my psychologist and during the course of the conversation she said "You're face really filled out since I first met you. Your bones don't stick out like they used to, and you have dimples when you smile." Ouch, that was a difficult compliment for me to take. My mind automatically transformed it into "You're getting fat. You're going to be a chubby little fluff-ball by the time this is over". But I fought those thoughts and decided to focus on the next part of the compliment (the one ED tried desperately to block out) "You look so much prettier now then you did then. You have a classic beauty about you." ED tried to distort even that by telling me that classic meant common, that there was nothing unique about me anymore. How stupid is that! It actually make me incredulously amused at how the negative side of my brain can translate literally ANYTHING into something negative. So guess what, I'm just going to shut down and not listen to it any more. I look like a healthy (NOT fat) woman, not someone from a concentration camp. And that is a good thing. Inside me I KNOW I look better now then I did then. So I'm going to force myself to believe it, even if my mind does argue with that fact.

I think I have my goals set out for me. It's not going to be easy, but it will be so worth it. I hope someday my attitude will be so different in regards to myself that I will be literally unrecognizable to some people I knew from the past. I want people to ask me what happened; how am I so different. And I don't want to just act different, but be different.

That day is coming, but for now I will just "fake it till I make it".

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I am so over...

I am so over :

- looking in the mirror and calling myself a fat pig
- feeling faint and weak from hunger, but being unable to eat
- crying while I work out because I'm so exhausted or in pain
- having panic attacks just THINKING about chocolate
- being so cold I can't feel my fingers (even if it's only 10 C)
- walking around food stores analyzing the nutritional value of "healthy foods" even though i don't intend to buy any of them
- smelling food instead of tasting it
- letting my day to day choices revolve around my eating/exercise regime
- dreading waking up in the morning
- feeling fat all the time
- having a constant dialog of negativity in my head
- feeling ashamed
- feeling "different", alone and left out
- hiding
- not embracing who I am
- not embracing the fact that I am beautiful just the way I am
- not being alive, full of life and happy

Ana, I'm so over you!

Today I took pictures of myself. And for once I was able to look at myself without feeling disgusting or ugly. As a matter of fact I felt rather pretty (although the photos don't show it too well). I still cling to the fact that I am un-photogenic and I look terrible in photos, but I decided to put one up.

Why? Because it's like my signature, my personal touch. People might read this blog and recognize me. And I don't care. I am PROUD of this blog, proud of fighting for recovery. I am not ashamed for trying, or even for failing at times. What I would be ashamed of is never trying at all. When I was anorexic I wanted so much to be anonymous. I wanted nothing more to be invisible, unnoticeable. I didn't want people to see I had a problem, because I was terrified of change. But I'm not afraid anymore. As I said before I am no longer hiding. I am no longer the anonymous girl in the shadows. I am ME - a dance lover, a European, a bubbly, out going person, a bookworm, a oldest sister, a secret writer, a future university student, a good cook, a good organizer, a people-lover and a girl reco
vering from an ED. There are many things that make me what I am, and I embrace them and pray each day that I will let the experiences and things I go and have gone though through make me a stronger, better person.

This is me :

(and no, I don't ALWAYS wear hats, only in winter time :P)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Let it snow.... not!


I'm going to start this post off with a little rant, and then I'll move on to them important stuff.

I woke up to this view from my bedroom window:

I like snow... in theory. I like the concept of drinking warm tea with the soothing sounds of Christmas music in the background while looking out the window at the lazily drifting snowflakes. Unfortunately, I forget the extreme cold, the pain of the ice-crystals whipping at your face, and the hours needed to be spent shoveling snow. I had to buy something at the shop today and a walk that normally takes 10 minutes tops took 20. I felt like I got a good work out, because walking through knee deep snow drifts was NOT EASY. By the time I got back my fingers were so cold they were in pain and swollen. Not my idea of fun. I love me a white Christmas, but why can't it just snow during Christmas?

Not to mention I have driving classes to attend. Now why I decided to take up driving lessons in the beginning of winter is beyond me. But that's ok, I'll finish my psychoanalysis in my free time.

Today I gave ED something to complain about. My stomach was feeling kind of weird all afternoon. Came time for dinner, I whipped up something small, rather bland and simple - just the thing to take care of my stomach discomfort. But something still wasn't right. "Was it hunger?" I wondered inwardly. I seemed to be craving something sweet. So I drank half a cup of juice. Nope, still not right. After a few moments deliberation I took 1/2 a banana out of the fridge, topped it with 2 tbs full-fat yogurt and dumped a few almonds. And I ate it - the first "desert" I've had in over 2 years. As I was eating I inwardly wondered how I was going to react;physically and mentally. Honestly afterwards I felt even worse. Something in my stomach was really weirding out. Of course along came ED with her "advice" - "Next time drink tea if you feel hungry. You overate, that's why you feel so gross". But instead of beating myself up (like I used to) and trying to think of ways I could do "penance" for my sins, I IGNORED the nagging voice in my head. I know all to well the feeling I get when I'm stuffed, and this was NOT it. In about 30 minutes I felt better, all my stomach discomfort had passed and I felt alive and full of energy. As a matter of fact I still do. To me this is further proof that my ED is full of ****. It really is. And sometimes doing whats right for your body may not feel "right" immediately - but it is in the long run.

Sometimes I forget how much I love defying my ED. I forget the thrilling freedom that comes from ignoring that voice in your head. Challenging myself to new and different things gives me such a rush; like a crazy roller-coaster ride. I'm scared, terrified at first, but it's always so worth it. And I love the fact that every time I do, I am taking one step closer to total and complete recovery.

Have you done anything to defy your ED recently?

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Re-feeding has to be one of the most frustrating/confusing/mentally agonizing process I've ever had to go through. I've experienced in twice - once in IP and once at home. There were different factors in both these situations and ones that were similar. They are things I have come to accept as facts when it comes to re-feeding.

- Re-feeding is uncomfortable physically. I personally experienced a lot of pain and bloating for the first 2 months of the process. It isn't pleasant and it really makes you want to quit. But if you stick it out for just a little longer eventually things get better and the unpleasant symptoms go away.

- Re-feeding is anxiety provoking. You are constantly hit by thoughts like: "Am I eating too much?" "Is this binge eating?" "Will I gain 100 kgs from this one bite of food?" Although these thoughts seem very real at the moment, I know from experience that they are usually unfounded and pretty illogical. So I just sit them out and try to not let them influence my actions in a detrimental way.

- You will never feel you did everything 100% right with re-feeding. If you are working with a dietitian or in IP and have a set meal plan you will always feel the people in charge are doing something wrong, that the laws of nutrition magically apply to everyone else - just not you. If you are working on your own it's even harder. You CONSTANTLY second guess yourself and get hit with a lot of guilt.

I am currently working through re-feeding myself. I don't have the money at the moment to consult a dietitian, so I'm doing the best I can on my own. It's hard, and there are days I wonder if everything I do is going to back-fire on me some day. I used to struggle with a lot of guilt. This is mainly because in IP I was FORCED to eat. It was that or a feeding tube. So I could sort of justify it in my head and say "Well, I'd have to eat anyways, I might as well get it over with". Also, I knew I couldn't leave till I reached a certain weight. So I ate, while mentally rebelling against it the whole time.

Now things are different. The process is definitely slower, but I feel it's more long lasting. I feel the need to gain weight and eat properly not because I am FORCED to, but because I WANT to. It's a personal choice. This makes is harder for my ED thoughts to cope with, but it is better in the long run because I am pushing myself harder to overcome these thoughts as opposed to just pushing them aside. I am learning to ENJOY food and the process of eating. It's odd that something so basic has to be practically re-learned from scratch, but that's just how it is. And I've accepted that.

I've also accepted the fact that I can't be perfect at recovery/re-feeding, just as I can't be perfect at other aspects of my life. There are some days I eat too little, or have the wrong "balance" of foods.Other days I eat too much, or eat something that affects my body in a negative way. But that's ok. I never promised anyone perfection, I only promised I would do my best. And I am doing my best.

Something that has really helped me was the concept of intuitive eating. I've mentioned this before, but it really did open my eyes to the fact that my body generally knows what it needs more then my mind does. Sure, I still have to do my part to make sure it's balanced (as in if all I'm craving all day is veggies it's probably a good idea for me to eat something else). But it's so liberating to be able to say "I feel like eating a ....(fill in the blank with pretty much anything)" and just eat it without it being a big deal. And I know it's ok because it's what my body wanted and generally my body wants something for a reason. It's really a comforting knowledge.

Of course I think the concept of intuitive eating needs to be applied only to a certain extent during re-feeding. I personally need to force myself to eat sometimes, even if I don't feel like it, just so I can gain. If I were to "listen to my body 100%" I probably wouldn't eat that extra little bit of food. They say ideally you should stop eating when you are 80% full. I stop at 100%. I eat things I don't particularly feel like eating, because I know it's necessary for me right now.

And I struggle with this. I feel like I'm somehow "betraying" my body by forcing it into eating. I fear I will develop unhealthy habits which will make me keep gaining weight my whole life. And this is what I struggle most with at the moment.

Any personal experiences/thoughts you can share on my dilemma?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

In the spirit of the holiday's

I love the holiday season. The lights, the decorations, the music. Everything around me seems to hug me in a warm fuzzy blanket of Christmas cheer. But there are some things in particular that warm me like a cup of mulled wine (never had it before? I highly recommend it :D). Like this song for instance:

"Don't Save It All For Christmas Day"

Don't get so busy that you miss
Giving just a little kiss
To the ones you love
Don't even wait a little while
To give them a little smile
A little is enough

How many people are crying
People are dying...
How many people are asking for love

Don't save it all for Christmas Day
Find a way
To give a little love everyday
Don't save it all for Christmas Day
Find your way
Cause holidays have come and gone
But love lives on
If you give on

How could you wait another minute
A hug is warmer when you're in it
And Baby that's a fact
And saying "I love you's" always better
Seasons, reasons, they don't matter
So don't hold back
How many people in this world
So needful in this world
How many people are praying for love

Don't save it all for Christmas Day
Find a way
To give a little love everyday
Don't save it all for Christmas Day
Find your way
Cause holidays have come and gone
But love lives on
If you give on

Let all the children know
Everywhere that they go
Their whole life long
Let them know love

Don't save it all for Christmas Day
Find a way
To give a little love everyday
Don't save it all for Christmas Day
Find your way
Cause holidays have come and gone
But love lives on
If you give on

Listening to that song today got me thinking. I am the happiest when I am making others happy. I am the happiest when I am completely unconcerned with myself and my own wants and feelings and focused on others. It's so liberating to be free from thinking about yourself and psychoanalyzing your own thoughts and emotions. It's so nice to reach out and make someone else feel loved and special.

I guess this post could tie into Thanksgiving as well (although I'm not American so I don't celebrate it). Most people say they are most thankful for the people around them – their family and friends. But when was the last time you showed these people how grateful you are for them? When was the last time you told them how much they mean to you? When was the last time you gave a family member a hug? When was the last time you showed your love in a tangible way?

Let's challenge ourselves during this season to show the people around us how much they mean to us. Let's reach out with arms of love and appreciation to the ones who make our lives special. Let's share some Christmas cheer and make others know that they are noticed, loved and important. Let's tell them how much worse our lives would be if they weren't in them. I guarantee that by doing so you will feel much better yourself. Because there is something magical about love; whenever you give it away, it always comes back to you.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Painful truths.

I have a confession to make. I'm not a stranger to blogging. As a matter of fact I used to have a pro-ana blog. The fact that I used to be part of such a immature, dangerous community makes me sick and ashamed. Another thing that makes me very sad is that on that blog I had 22 followers. On this blog I have 7. I just think it's so twisted how many more people are interested in staying "sick" then in getting better. I know recovery is a personal choice, but it's just so sad to see the facts. In any case, I haven't been on that blog in a year.

That's right, I haven't closed my pro-ana blog. But wait, before you make assumptions or judgments listen to my reasons for keeping it open. If I was ever tempted to go back to my old ways I wanted to have a realistic picture of what life with an ED was like. After a while in recovery I tend to forget the horrors of life with anorexia. I tell myself "It wasn't really THAT bad. Sure I was lacking in energy, and spent most of my time in seclusion, and was scarred to death of food. But other then that there wasn't all that much to hate about it". But there IS. I wanted to be able to go back and read the nitty gritty, painful, disgusting details of my past life and remember clearly why I didn't want to go back there. At the same time, I needed to be strong enough to be sure it would give me a shock treatment without triggering me.
Well today was that day. I logged in and read a few of the posts from around this time last year. I would be lying if I said they didn't trigger me a little. But they were a brutal eye opener to just how miserable and pointless my life with an eating disorder was. It made me wonder how I could ever think I was "happy" living like that in the first place. The truth in my case was that I was miserable, but I felt that recovery meant even more misery and pain. I am so thankful I am proving every day that that is wrong.

I am going to put a few posts from my blog here. They will probably be triggering for some people, so if you are easily triggered please don't read on. But if you want a look at the painful reality of living with an ED, this is the truth in it's truest, rawest form.

Why is it that the things that make me happy also are the things that make me sad?

I think the title of the post says it all. I just don't understand why that has to be. It's not fair, really. What makes me happy? Sitting in the kitchen on a cold wintry day, drinking a cup of tea, talking with friends and eating warm cookies used to make me happy. Not so anymore. Those cookies started a binge session that just finished recently. Ugh, not fair. Sleeping made me happy, now it's an escape from reality, and when i wake up i just want to eat. My birthday used to be something i look forward to, now it's just something i dread. I feel like life's little joys have been snatched away from me, and i don't know how to find them again. And I feel like something's missing. I try to fill the void with alcohol, people and occasionally food, but it's not working. What is happy? What is fun? Some days I don't remember anymore.

The balancing act.

The more i think about it, the more i realize that my life is one, great big balancing act. Everything I do, everything I say all has to be thoroughly thought out and planned. Not one day can I just jump out of bed and be ready for the day. There are a bunch of little procedures and rituals i have to go through. Every day i need to know what I'm doing and why. I need to have my work, my eating, my work out - everything planned to a tee. Why? Because I'm balancing. There are days I try to throw all my caution to the wind and just live like i used to - spur of the moment. That resolution lasts short term, but in the long run i end up running back to my center of gravity - my plans, rituals and habits. Without them, I'm lost, out of balance, falling....

Today I'm falling, hopefully i can stop myself before i got too far.

Why do i even bother posting? Who really gives a damn? If i were reading this I would think "Why can't this little girl get a life and stop whinnying". But i know why. It's because this is my god damned life. All of this, it's who and what i am. And i can't get away from it no matter how i tried.

Threw up blood today. That's supposed to be bad, right? Well i don't care. None of my meals were watched, no one asked. I binged and purged 3 f-ing times. That's what happens when I don't plan my meals. I'm probably having a weigh in tomorrow. I know i gained, but not since the last weigh in. They'll be pissed. 

I wish i could get over myself and gain weight. I wish everyone didn't have to hate me because I'm thin. I wish i could just leave all this behind and move on to live a happy life. But that's all a big pipe dream. 

Why do i fight so hard to maintain my weight? Why does the thought of weighing in 1 kilo heavier terrify and depress me? Why do i want this life? 

I don't know, I really don't know.

This morning i weighed in lighter then the day before, even after my whole buffet lunch. I thought i ate a lot, but i felt like everyone was looking at my plate when i was serving myself food. I would pick up food and then stop and put it back. I felt guilty with every bite. I cut up my food in little tiny pieces like those movie portrayed anorexics. I tried to purge in the bathroom. I'm so fucked up.

I am SO thankful that I am free of that life. I am free to enjoy the things that make me happy once again. I do not live by a set of rules and regulations. I can enjoy the moment and savor it to the full. Most importantly I am knowledgeable of the fact that there is so much more to life then an ED. And I am out to take advantage of all there is.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Leave the past behind.

As I read more and more stories of people that have recovered/are recovering from an eating disorder I noticed a certain trend. Usually the ED was “set off” by a particular experience or a series of negative experiences. These rage from bullying/teasing at school, being “dumped” by a best friend or boyfriend, to losing a loved one, physical or emotional abuse, abandonment, rape etc. Sometimes the ED developed as a “coping mechanism”, just something to numb the pain and take away the memories. Other times it was a result of low self worth or a struggle to be accepted and liked by those around. There is a good chance that you also have a past experience that made you walk down the dangerous, deadly path of an ED

I'm here to tell you that you are not the only one. As a matter of fact “we” (as people recovering from an eating disorder) are not the only ones. I dare say that almost everyone on earth has experienced difficult and painful situations in their lives. Some people might have had it better then you, but I guarantee that a whole lot of other people had it worse.
But we can separate these types of people into two groups – the ones that let go of the past and reached out to the future, and the ones who let the past consume and affect them for the rest of their lives. Many individual belonging in the first group achieved extraordinary things during their livetimes and went on to claim a title in the halls of fame. But I dare say that no one from the second group is able to say the same, or at least not to the extent that they could have.

Has life treaded you unfairly? Think of Nelson Mandela. A man fighting for freedom from racial segregation. A noble cause by anyone's standard. He was sentenced to 27 years in prison. Think of that when you feel like you have “wasted” too much of your life on an ED. Mandela spent 18 years at Robben Island, a prison where racial segregation was more prevalent then ever. Were you mistreated in the past? Because of his skin color Mandela was allowed less food then white prisoners. He was allowed one visitor and one letter every six months. If letters came they were often delayed or made unreadable by prison sensors.

Mandela's prison cell:

He could have allowed himself to be overcome by bitterness at such mistreatment, yet he rose to greatness. He led his party to achieve multi-racial democracy and became a president who firmly believed in and propagated reconciliation. During his lifetime he received more then 250 awards, including a Nobel Peace Prize.

You think life dealt you a rough blow because of the way you look? Tired of feeling left-out and unpopular? Do feel completely shut off from the world? Well imagine you actually were in the most literal sense of the word. You can't talk to anyone, not because no one understands you, but because you can't speak. You can't see anyone, because you are blind. You can't enjoy music, normal conversations. Your life is one dark tunnel. Hellen Keller had a life like that. In addition to her physical disabilities she had a protruding left eye (which is why all her photographs from her youth are done in profile).

Talk about feeling different and feeling ostracized and left out.

She had every “right” to lose herself in the dark tunnel of depression, but she didn't. She rose to greatness by becoming a world-famous speaker and writer. She founded the HKI organization, an organization devoted to research in vision, health and nutrition. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. She is remembered for her outspoken opposition to war, and her campaigning for women's suffrage, workers' rights, and socialism.

I'm not giving these examples to minimize your struggles or the blows life has dealt you in any way. I'm simply posting them because they spoke to me. They made me realize that EVERYONE is faced with difficulties, some with seemigly insurmountable hardships. But they rise to greatness; sometimes inspite of their problems, and sometimes because of them. We have a choice to do the same. We can continue to live in the past and let it affect us, or we can let it go.

"Letting go" means different things for different people. For some it means re-establishing contact with someone who has hurt us in the past, and forgiving them. For others it means distancing themselves from situations and people who influence them in a negative way. It means letting go of someone you loved but that wasn't right for you. It means realizing that, although something horribly wrong happened to you, it's up to YOU to decide how you deal with it. Sometimes it means acknowledging that something negative has happened, instead of constanly trying to forget. Leaving the past behind is harder then it seems. But only then can the true healing begin.

Let's not let the past hold us back any more from reaching out full potential. We are all destined to change the world in our own, small way. There is so much potential inside you. Don't let your ED, the past, or anything else hold you back.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Q & A

I was tagged by Kathy so I think it's time for some Q & A time.

1. How did you come up with the name of your blog?
It was kind of a "recovery inspired" title. The way I see it recovery is tough and painful, but it's 100% worth it. Some days you have to "smile through your tears" and keep on going even when you don't have the strength left in you. But in the end it'll all be worth it.

2. What was the last thing that you ate?
Polenta with a fried egg and some carrot sticks (simple " I don't have time to make a big elaborate meal" kind of food.)

3. What's your favourite colour?
Green or blue. I really couldn't pick a favorite between the two. Their both such awesome, soothing, rich colors.

4. What's your favourite spice/herb?
Judging by the spices I use most in my cooking they would have to be basil and garlic powder. When I run out of those spices I notice IMMEDIATELY. And fresh basil in a mozzarella, tomato salad drizzled with olive oil and a balsamic vinegar reduction is to die for :P

5. Dark or Milk Chocolate?
Milk chocolate, but I haven't had dark chocolate in a while so my tastes might have changed (mental note to self - try some dark chocolate.)

6. Where abouts in the world have you travelled? If you haven't travelled, where would you like to go?
So far I've been to: Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, Hungry, Germany, Italy, France, Croatia and the Philippines

In the future I hope to visit Africa (anywhere but South Africa), Venice and some place in South America

7. How many languages can you speak? Name them.
English, Polish, Czech and the minimum basics of Spanish (so it really shouldn't count)

8. Cardio or strength training? Why?

Cardio!!!! I get such a high off the adrenalin it's incredible. All my problems and stress are instantly left behind and I feel a million times better afterwards.

I'm not going to tag anybody but I will ask you all what's your favorite form of exercise and why.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dear Body.

Dear Body.

There is so much I should tell you, so many things I should say. But first and foremost I want to say I'm sorry. I'm sorry for ignoring you for so long, for treating you horribly and then expecting you to perform at peak levels. I'm sorry for the days I pushed you beyond your limits, for the days you screamed at me to let you rest but I only pushed you harder. I'm sorry for all the numerous times I denied you what was rightfully yours - the fuel you need to function. I'm sorry for all the hatred, all the abuse.

Most of all I'm sorry for not seeing you as you really are - perfect and beautiful in your own way. I tried so hard to fit you into the mold of what I considered beautiful. When I looked at you in the mirror I did so with hatred and rage because you weren't what I wanted you to be. My feelings were utterly unfounded and hurtful, but I was blinded by my own vision of perfection. I was so caught up in trying to make you "better" that I didn't realize how good you already were. And for that, I am sorry.

You ARE beautiful, you are unique. I know there are some days I still question your requests. I wonder if they are valid or if you are just being greedy or glutenous. But I am slowly coming to realize that there are no unreasonable demands you make. Everything you ask me for is for the purpose of bringing you back to your original state - full of health, energy and vitality. I have no right to limit you in any way.

I understand it must be hard for you too. After being robbed of nourishment for so long you must be utterly disoriented to have it back. You don't completely trust me, and you have every reason not to. I know in times past I have given you just enough to make you believe things were back to normal, before abusing and hurting you once again. But I PROMISE with all my heart that this will not happen again. I'm tired of constantly fighting with you, constantly telling you what I think is best for you. From now on I'm going to give you what you need to function and peak performance. From now on I will no longer degrade you and tell you how much I hate you. I will learn to love and accept you for what you are, even if it differs from my vision of "perfection."
And thank you. Thank you for not letting me down, for not giving up on me. You are a wonderful vehicle that enables me to accomplish what I want to in life. Without you I would be unable to perform the simplest day to day tasks. You make me happy! I realized that for the first time today when I was running. There was none of the usual fatigue or tiredness, because I had given you the fuel you needed and you were functioning as you were intended to. I felt like I could fly! Thank you for that.

You are beautiful, unique and special and I truly believe that with all my heart. Some days my mind argues with those facts, but that is simply my ED. Ignore it please, as I do, and forgive me for all the ways I have mistreated you in the past.

I look forward to having a long, healthy relationship with you once again.

With love,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

La vita e bella

I wanted to take a moment to thank all the people who read/comment on my blog. I love hearing your thoughts and feedback, and it seems like the support comes when I need it most. It really means a lot to me to know I am heard and understood, because I'm not able to talk about a lot of these things to the people around me. So thank you all!

In other random news I started a driving course. I figure it's one of the things that will come in handy some time in life, and I have a bit of free time on my hands, so I figured might as well learn. So far the theory is easy for me to remember, we'll see when I actually get in a car. I'm terrified of being one of these freaky woman drivers that everyone makes fun of. No use worrying in advance though.
Something really cool happened when I was walking home from the driving school. It was already dark (the joy's of winter) and I had to stop by a supermarket to do some grocery shopping. I'm not sure if it was the Christmas display in the supermarket, or the cold weather, but I got a sudden rush of the Christmas spirit. And I started singing. For me this is something really unusual. I haven't sung in.... maybe a year or two. But I just felt like singing carols, so I sung Christmas carols all the way home. And it felt so good. For those few moments the world and all it's problems were forgotten and I was happy.
Moments like these remind me why I'm fighting an ED. They remind me that life is beautiful and we need to savor the moments that make us smile. Life is just to short to be spent abusing yourself. So let's all try a little self-love, shall we? Let's each do something today that makes us happy. It can be something spontaneous and simple like singing while walking down the street (and looking like a complete freak to everyone that passes and loving every minute of it). It can be taking a few moments to do something that you really enjoy but that you "don't have time for". It can be treating yourself to a hot shower, a warm cup of tea or even (and your ED will HATE you for this :P) a piece of chocolate. Whatever you do, savor that feeling of happiness and let it warm you from the inside. And don't let the little problems of day to day life steal that spark away from you. Remember - La vita e bella - life is beautiful!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hurtful misconceptions.

I think one of the hardest things about having an eating disorder is constantly being judged. Eating disorders are fairly well known, ask almost anybody what an “anorexic” or “bulimic” is and they will usually give you some kind of definition. The problem is that the information that is available is either a) inaccurate
b) incomplete
c) the perfect breeding ground for misconceptions
In some ways I almost wish having an eating disorder was as well known as having depersonalization disorder or something of the sort. Why? Because then the people that could help you would know how and the people that didn't wouldn't try. At least they wouldn't be able to add their 2 cents worth when discussing your situation. There are people that are helpfull and supportive once they discover you have an ED, and everyone is well meaning to be sure. There are just some common misconceptions that can make recovering or even just being understood difficult.

Here are some misconceptions that I have personally been faced with:

(when I refer to eating disorders I generally mean anorexia, though I'm sure some examples could be applied to other eating disorders as well)

" If you are a recovering anorexic, as long as you're gaining weight, you're fine."

This one strikes a particular chord with me because I find myself faced with it a lot these days. And it's upsetting. Why? Well becasue it focuses on an aspect that, although important, is only really a "symptom" of having an eating disorder. I could have just as easily switched from anorexia to bulimia or a binge eating disorder. I would be gaining weight then, but still in the throes of an eating disorder. I've watched this happen to people who were in IP, and that's where it started. No one realized it though, because no ont was looking.
It hurts me when instead of asking how I'm feeling/doing in terms of recovery people ask me "How's your weight?" My weight does is not a definition of my emotional or mental well being! I want to be cared about on a deeper level then just a sheer medical one. ED's are so much more then just food and eating and I wish there was some way to help people see that.

"Only girls have eating disorders."

Bullshit! Sorry for the language, but I think the situation warrents it. Although this is not personally offensive I still think it's very wrong and hurtful. I imagine it makes the male sufferes of eating disorders feel like their some kind of freaks, because they have a "woman's illness". Anorexia is a MENTAL disorder, it is not gender spesific. There was a guy in the psych ward I was in that was constantly harrased because of this and I felt so bad for him. (To clarify in this ward there were patients with mixed mental disorders – ranging from depression to alcohol addiction to autizm). Some boys/men suffer for years because they feel too ashaimed to admit their problem to their families and ask for help. All becasue of this misconception.

"Eating disorders and just ways to lose weight. They're something like a very extreme diet"

Another misconception that makes me angry. This is not a game we play. Eating disorders are not diets. Dieting may set off an eating disorder, but it morphs into something far more complicated and far worse. It's not something we can just "stop" and eat normally. And it's NOT something you should actively strive for achieving. It's not like going on the Atkins or South Beach diet. This is something that will completely consume your life till in litteraly becomes your life. And when that isn't enough it takes what's left of your "life" away from you, because all ED's end in death.

"People develop eating disorders because they want to be thin."

Again, not true. We may have started out down the path because we wanted to lose weight, but even this is not always the case. Some suffers never want to lose weight. All they long for is that sense of control over something, or a coping/numbing mechanism. As I mentioned before even for those who start off "just wanting to lose weight" it develops into something far more complex. Personally I started extreme dieting to lose weight. But when my ED really developed was when I was faced with some very painful situations and I didn't know how to cope. Anorexia gave me the sense of control I was craving and it spiralled downhill from there.

I'm sure there are many more examples like this, but these are the ones I'm most commonly faced with. And as much as I hate to say this they do affect me. People that think like this turn ED's into some sort of a self-obsession, where you're willing to do ANYTHING for self-betterment. It's something you should just “snap out of ” and “grow up already”. But it's so much more then that. This is so hard to explain to anyone who hasn't experienced it, but it often has to be done. Recovery without the support of the people around you is very, very hard. And in order to support your efforts they have to understand at least a little bit about your struggles. My own family has told me that I just need to “start gaining” because I look “ugly and no guy will find me attractive”. I cried after that discussion. Not because what they were saying, but because of the way they oversimplified my illness. I wanted to shout at them “ You think I would starve myself like this to look good for someone? You think I would exercise till I cry and nearly faint from exhaustion because I'm vain? You think I enjoyed watching everyone eat a delicious meal while I sit there sipping water and hoping no one will notice?” But I can't blame them, it's just a misconception. All I can do is patiently try to explain how things really are best I can, and weather they understand or choose to accept what I say is their choice. I will continue to fight my battles and celebrate my victories because I know how much effort goes into each fight. And I hope that some day they will understand and be able to celebrate with me.

What is the most hurtful/upsetting misconception regarding ED's that you've been faced with?

Monday, November 15, 2010

What recovery means to me


- freedom from the constant, oppressing all encompassing fear; the fear that I will be forced to eat something I am uncomfortable with (basically anything), fear of binging, fear of gaining weight, fear of the inner demon inside of me

- freedom to dream, to have hopes and make plans for the future (without assuming I am going to die in a few years)

- freedom to do what I like, go where I please, spend time with the people I enjoy being with and do what I love without other demands on my time (2-3 hours of exercise)

- freedom to look in the mirror and say with confidence (that I may or may not yet completely feel, but that is growing by the day) "I am beautiful because I am me, and God doesn't make junk"

- freedom to treat myself and my body well

- freedom from the self-depreciating thoughts that used to run through my head like a mantra


- strength to wake up and face another day

- strength to smile when I look in the mirror

- strength to ignore the destructive thoughts that run through my head

- strength to wait out anxiety and other negative emotions instead of using harmful coping mechanisms

- strength to fight when I feel I have already given it all I could

- strength to pick myself up when I fall, and try again


- peace in knowing I am doing the right thing

- peace in knowing that there are people around me who love and support me

- peace in acceptance with the way I am

- peace in putting the past behind me and not letting it affect the way I view/treat myself


- the hope that things will get better and easier from here on out

- hope that full recovery is possible and achievable, not just for others but for me

- hope that I can reach out and help others

- hope that I can offer to those that feel that recovery is impossible and that they are destined for a life of imprisonment and pain

- hope, that even though there are rainclouds, there is always a sun shining behind them


- fighting the thoughts that have been with me for so long they have almost become second nature

- fighting the urge to go back to the "comfort" and "security" of my old ways

- fighting some days just to get out of bed, or to take one bite

- fighting the ignorance and prejudice that people with ED's (myself included) are often treated with

- fighting, even during the days I feel it's not worth the effort


- the physical pain that often comes with eating

- the emotional pain that comes from being able to experience emotions

- the pain the comes from not having an ED to numb it for you

- the pain that comes through people judging you for what you have let yourself become


- the promise of having a normal, fulfilling life

- the promise of never being so bound in an ED again

- the promise of high self esteem and a deep respect for myself

- the promise of a future dream career

- the promise of a future family of my own

- the promise of never, ever even considering the option of relapse

- the promise of true, lasting happiness

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Be part of the solution.

Just wanted to let you all know that I made it through the very rough patch I've been having these past few days and hopefully the worst is behind me. The breakthrough came about a few night ago after dinner. I was sitting there, basically letting my ED thoughts run wild and feeling sorry for myself. And then I said “Enough!” Enough of letting my mind be overrun by these thoughts. Enough making up excuses as to why I'm doing poorly. This is my battle and no one is going to fight it for me. I have to get up, brush off the dust, wipe away the tears and fight for myself.

Unfortunately as much as I would love to say that things have been easy from that time on, they honestly haven't. Today I faced one of my biggest triggers. I'm not triggered by magazines, weight loss stories and comments half as much as I am triggered by this.
As a prelude I think I should mention that I am a very sensitive person. You won't know this when you first meet me, and you might never figure it out if you know me only as an acquaintance. But all my good friends know that I am a very caring, concerned individual. If someone close to me is in pain and hurting (physically or emotionally) it affects me in a very big way. If there is even a SLIGHT possibility that it's my fault I take the blame, and feel horribly guilty. If it's not in any way related to me I try my best to help, but usually end up feeling helpless and sad that I can't do more. Yes I realize I can't take the world's pain on my shoulders, but that's just the way I am.
So in regards to that my biggest trigger is someone in my family. They have battled with severe depression in the past, and although the worst is over, it still crops up every now and then. The way this person copes with their depression is particularly triggering for me – they don't eat for days on end and they “lash” out at anyone in their path. This is hard for me to be around because I usually assume it was my fault, that I somehow contributed to the way they were feeling or didn't do what I could to prevent it. Their hostile attitude towards everyone during this time does little to reassure me. To top it off my way of dealing with negative emotions is also to stop eating, so seeing them engage in this behavior justifies it in my mind.
Today I was faced with this person and their depression ALL DAY. Not only that, but it escalated into a very confrontational situation at lunch. ( I should also probably mention that I am an extremely non-confrontational person). I looked at the food in front of me and wanted to cry. The last thing I felt like doing was putting it in my mouth. All the tension and negative emotions in the air were just too much for me to cope with.
But then I realized that I could not change the situation by not eating. I am not responsible for the way this person acts. But I am responsible for myself. A trigger is not an excuse to give up. I cannot change the world, I cannot make the situation magically change into what I want it to be. Yes maybe this person is someone I look up to a great deal, and their behavior isn't what it should be. But is that a good enough reason for me to resort to the same methods of coping? No.

What I'm trying to say here is you are responsible for yourself. This can relate to recovery, to the way you deal with problems or the way you cope with difficult situations that cross your path. You are NOT responsible for what happens around you but you ARE responsible for the way you REACT to what happens around you. You may not be able to change the world, but you can change yourself and if you are strong enough to do so, you will be making your personal world a better place.

I've decided that I don't want to be part of the problem. I am going to be part of the solution. I am going to be strong enough to not allow things that others say and do affect me. I'm going to be the stable one in the family, the one people can lean on and share their burdens without worrying that I will crumble under them. Because I have choice – to fight or to surrender; to win or to lose. I choose to win.

(…and sorry Ana, but you lose.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tired of always being strong.

I am all for positivity in recovery. I hate moping and dumping my problems on other people. I like to be the one that always has everything under control, that deals with her problems in an effective discreet manner. As one of my friends told me a while back “Either you are an incredibly positive person, or I'm really insensitive because I NEVER see you in a bad mood.” I like having that reputation. But there are some days I wish I had someone close that understands me, I wish I had someone I could just “dump” all my feelings and emotions on and not feel guilty about it. I wish I had someone near me who would hold me and tell me that everything was going to be OK. This isn't to say that I'm not surrounded by wonderful people. But there's no one near me that will understand me and what I'm going through right now without judging me, or trying to “help”. All I need right now is someone to listen to me.

And what am I going through right now? I'm not sure myself. I think is has to do with my weigh in yesterday. Well, not only my weigh in, but the reflection that stares back at me from my mirror every morning. I've started gaining at a rather rapid pace, and my body is changing. The weight is conglomerating around my stomach; and although this is normal and to be expected it's still hard. It's hard for me to wake up in the morning and say “Look how much nicer you look with a bit more weight on you.” I know this is a stage and that it will even out in the end. But in the back of my mind there is the worry “What if this doesn't even out?” I feel so ugly right now, like some kind of mutated alien and I just want it to stop. I want the voices, the negative emotions, to disappear. I want to feel happy I'm recovering, I want to feel positive and full of life and vigor.

I won't give up, I can't give up. But for the first time in a long time I feel weak. I feel like someone just knocked the wind out of me, and I'm struggling to breathe. Now every bite I take is accompanied by my ED's voice shouting at how it's making me FAT. I'm tempted to skip meals, to downsize my portions, to placate the voice in my head.
I WILL not do any of these things, because it's not worth it. They will only temporarily make me happy, and then I will feel the need to do more, to restrict more and ultimately to hurt myself more. I DO NOT need to listen to the voice in my head. I just need to wait them out till they pass.

I just need some support right now. I need someone to tell me that this will pass, that it won't be this way forever. I need someone to remind me that I'm doing the right thing, and I need to keep doing the right thing.

I'm sorry for the whiny tone of this post. I hope tomorrow will be a better day, that the voices will fade and I will be happy again. Tomorrow is a new day and with it comes a promise of new and better things.

I will be strong. I will hold on just a little bit longer, because I believe. I believe that there is a better way to live. I believe the pain and discomfort I feel is temporary and that it will pass. And I believe that I can overcome this ED. And I believe I will never regret my choice to do so.

This song is giving me strength right now:

Please keep me in your thoughts, and cross your fingers I will get through this.