Friday, October 29, 2010

Small victories

Today I made a rather meaningful step in my recovery. I ate a pizza dinner with my family with no guilt attached.

I was thinking of making something special for my dad as it is his birthday and (ironically enough) I am the cook of the family. He's been going on forever and ever how he wanted pizza. So pizza it was to be. The question was "Would I be strong enough to eat and enjoy it without guilt?" And I was! I ate more then I planned to because I was hungry, but instead of filling up on salad I ate what I really wanted - more pizza. It was yummy! I forgot how good it was - haven't eaten it for over a year now.

We all sat down to a relaxing family dinner. We ate, talked and laughed. It felt so good to be "normal" just for a minute. To eat and enjoy a meal without thinking about the calories. To let yourself go and just enjoy the moment. I missed that. I missed the feeling that I wasn't the "odd one out". Usually at these kinds of occasions I would hide in my room, or avoid being in the general vicinity of the meal altogether. But no more! It's about time I stop letting food dictate what I do and don't want to do.

So here's to small victories, an enjoyable evening evening, family, friends and a relaxing weekend ahead.

Have you overcome a fear food recently? If so what, and how did you manage to do it?

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I wanted to blog yesterday, but by the end of the day I was so emotionally exhausted that all I wanted to do was sleep. And I slept for a good 9 hours.

I'm not going to lie, yesterday was the worst day I've had in a long time. Everything started off fine. I was a little nervous about my appointment with my psychologist, as I haven't seen her in a while and I was worried it might be awkward.
To be honest though, what I was most worried about was getting weighed. You see, there's been a lot of pressure from the people around me for me to gain weight. My family puts a lot of pressure on this point, and since there hasn't been any really noticeable progress till now, they were starting to "strongly suggest" hospitalization. So yes, anxiety levels were getting up there, but once I got into my psychologist office I was fine. I honestly forgot how nice she was! I know it's her job and all, but I feel like she's genuinely interested in me. Maybe I'm just an unusual case so I'm interesting. Who knows? In any case we had a good conversation and I felt relaxed afterwards.

Then I had a "hallway hit-up" with my GP, who seems to be the most insensitive person on the planet. We have a semi "nonprofessional" relationship because she's my aunts best friend (I only found this out later, after I had been "referred" to her by my aunt). After discussing "my situation" with my aunt they decided to strongly recommend an ED clinic because of my "lack of progress". For one, this doctor hasn't seen me in a month, so she isn't aware of any progress (or lack of it). For two it's horribly unprofessional of her to discuss my personal medical matters with my aunt.

Well I'm rather upset by this to say the least and then I go to get weighed. Beep - the number reads 3 kg heavier then I was last month. Broken down that doesn't sound bad, but for an ED person that saw that number MUCH lower last time it was shocking. Still, I refused to let myself get too rattled and returned home.

That evening my aunt comes in saying she just got off the phone with my aunt, telling her to convince me to go into IP. She starts telling me this in front of a bunch of people, at the most inappropriate time ever. At that point I just had a panic/depression attack. My last hospitalization was one of the worst experiences of my life, mainly because of a lack of professionalism and competence by the staff there , so it triggered a lot of negative emotions for me. That combined with the "big" weight gain I had nearly put me over the edge.
I tried to talk to my family about it, but no one seemed to understand me and my feelings. I cried till I fell asleep and I woke up still depressed. But then I realized that I need to put the past and fears of IP behind me. I need to use my voice and tell my doctor (as difficult as this may be) that the way she is handling my situation is inappropriate. As far as weight gain, I am more then that number. To be honest I've been at this weight for so long that I've almost come to identify with that number. But gained weight = good. I can't start restricting just because that number was higher. I need to listen to the logical part of my brain that tells me
a) I haven't gained all that weight in a week just because I upped my calorie intake.
b) I will not keep gaining forever till I am obese.
c) This weight gain is not "wasted" just because I might go to IP. Relapsing now won't make things better or keep me out of there.

So I am not going to change a thing with my eating regiment this week, although I get hit with thoughts of "this is too much food" at every turn. This is not too much food, this is what my body needs. This is what gaining weight will give me:

- a prettier, healthier body
- more energy
- warmth (for the freezing months ahead)
- permission to exercise
- general health
- reassurance to the people around me that I am making progress in conquering my ED
- the ability to go to University next year

I need to read this list over and over every time I want to restrict. Limiting my food will do nothing but harm me in the end. These thoughts are only thoughts and it's time to start challenging them. It's time for me to start taking my own advice and living it. This is a test- a test of my dedication to recovery, a test of my inner strength, a test of how I handle anxiety and negative emotions. I will pass this test! I am strong enough. I will smile through my tears and forge ahead.

Strength doesn't always roar, sometimes strength is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow, and never, ever, ever give up".

Monday, October 25, 2010

ED lies and body image.

I was looking for some new photos to put up on facebook today when I came to an odd realization - I don't have any recent pictures of me.

"Why?" You might ask. Well I was rather puzzled at this interesting phenomenon myself I had a sudden flashback of myself systematically going through my pictures and deleting them.

This might seem odd to some (ok most) people, but the truth is I did find a few left on the computer and I still didn't put them up. The reason for this is because it is honestly painful for me to look at myself. I am honestly uphalled when I see my body. I look like a 12-13 yr old sickly little girl. It's sad, really sad.

I remember when I first started losing weight, and how thrilling it was for me to see that number go lower. As I developed my eating disorder I assigned myself a "goal weight". Actually I had several. One was one I honestly attempted to reach and the other one was more for show, to advertise how pro-ana I was. It's sickening for me to hear myself say this, but sadly it's true. I never actually really wanted to lose as much as I did. I am now 8 kgs lower then my 1st goal weight and 2 kgs lower then my "ultimate goal".

The sad thing is that my ED always told me that I would like myself better if I was only a "little bit thinner". When I first started loosing weight I dreamed of the day I would reach my ideal. I would take pictures of myself in a bikini and put them up, so everyone could praise me for my "well kept body". I would wear skimpier clothes, because I would finally be confident enough to do so.

That was a total lie.

The skinnier I got, the more self-conscious I got. I pilled on layers of clothes, first to hide the "fat" and after a while just to keep myself warm and to hide the fact that I was so thin from others. I never took pictures in a bikini, actually I've only worn one once in the whole time I've had my eating disorder. And I've never gotten a compliment as to how my body looks. Instead I've been called sick, scary skinny and unattractive.
Me at a healthy weight.

Me (not a recent picture) at a much lower weight (note the scarf that I put on for the sole purpose of hiding my protruding bones)

It's funny though, I didn't learn my lesson 1st time around. I went into IP, regained all my weight and then set out to lose "just 2 kgs". Did I stop? No. Why? Because it was the same little voice that made me look at my stomach in the mirror and say "Just another kg, then you'll be content". Until I reached the point I am at now.

While I was still in the depths of my ED I remember clothes shopping. I went into a clothes store and headed for the kids section. I picked up a pair of short - too big. Next size down - too big. Finally I picked up a size that I thought might fit and went into the dressing room. It was at that moment I finally saw what everyone else had been seeing all along.I looked at myself and saw a virtual skeleton. Bones sticking out everywhere, pale skin, goose bumps all over (though it was the middle of summer) The shorts fit alright, but I hardly filled them out. The size 10-12 years old. I cried as I looked at myself. I wanted to stop this madness, I wanted a way out. I just didn't feel strong enough.

I hope I can remember this lesson. I hope I can keep the image in that mirror forever in my mind. No matter how "fat" I feel or look, I need to remember that the little voice that whispers to me is LYING. When I am thin I am not beautiful. I am ashamed of my body. I am self-conscious. And I am not happy.

Contentment will not come with a number on a scale. Contentment will not come with fitting into this or that size. Contentment comes with accepting that you are unique and beautiful in your own way. When you come to see that, that's when you will be happy.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

All about me :)

Alright, right now I'm actually having a bit of an food-related anxiety thing going on, but I'm not going to talk about that. I'm going to refuse to think about anything food related right now and talk about me (because I'm a little self centered like that :P)

Ok so without further ado, here are some facts about me:

- I come from a BIG family (5 brothers and 1 sister) and I am the oldest
- I have traveled to over 10 countries and lived in 5.
- I speak 3 languages (2 fluently, one conversationally) and I aspire to learn spanish
- Although I am not from the US or England and I have never visited any of those countries I speak English better then my "native language"(none of my parents are from England or the US either :P)
- I am a work-a-holic, I love being busy and running around doing this that and the other
- I LOVE dancing, it's the one thing that makes me amazingly happy (need to start again)
- I love sports - was offered a place on a professional female soccer league at one point, but I turned that down
- I love running :)
- I am a clean/organizational freak
- I am not an extremely "girly girl". I like looking attractive and wearing clothes that flatter me and all that, and (this is going to sound horribly cliche) I like being treated like a lady. But I'm not fussy and demanding, I can't shop for hours and I don't wear makeup every time I go out.
- I was practicing kung-fu at one point (yah I'm tough and hard-core like that)
- I am very loyal to my friends. I would cross hell or high water to help any one of them. But I'm not the type of person that considers a person I just meet a "friend"
- I'm not a "pet person". If I could have a pet I would want a snake or a falcon or something like that (I actually had a falcon as a pet for a while). Someday though, I want to have a big dog.
- I HATE cats. I cannot stand the creatures. But one day I saw this little animal with a collar on it that said "Please take me home. Winter is coming." And I just couldn't say no. He is the cutest! Turns out I have a double standard on this point.

(He's a kitten by the way, even though he doesn't look that way in the pics)

Ok, that's enough for now. Someday when I finally find a decent photo of myself to put up, I will.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Personal accountability.

It's time to face the facts.

I've been afraid of really jumping into recovery with both feet. I've been slowly, cautiously putting one foot down, then the other. I've been making two steps forward, one back; and doing this lovely little dance with my ED. I haven't in ANY way been toying with the thought of going back to my old ways, but now I've developed "new ways" that I find it very hard to stray from.

I'm not sure if I've said this but I've stopped counting calories. While this is definitely a big step for me to have taken, I didn't have anyone monitoring my intake. Recently someone suggested switching up the foods I eat a bit and I FREAKED out. I got angry, defensive. "What's wrong with the way I eat!" I said passionately "I eat HEALTHY foods." "Yes, but those aren't the foods that are going to help you gain weight". "Of course they are" I thought to myself "This is way more then I was eating before." True, it is way more. But when I sat down to count up the calories I came to this surprising realization. Regardless of how much food I thought I was eating, I was only really eating 1600-1800 cal. A number like that is maintenance only for my body. And I realized the only one responsible for my eating was me. The only one responsible for my recovery was me. Why do I cheat myself by thinking that this is ok, that I can stay at this place forever. Sure, I eat much more diverse foods then I did before, but that doesn't make me normal. I still have "safe" and "unsafe" foods, I will not eat certain foods because of their fat content. So who am I kidding here? Myself.

Do I want to recover? YES I DO!!! Do I want to recover even though it means weight gain? YES I DO!! So why don't I just get on with it already. Why don't I help myself? What am I waiting for. It's sad that people have to be talking about a hospital to help me gain weight when I haven't done everything I possibly can. I think it's about high time to start.

Yesterday I ate about 2000 calories, today it will be 2100. I will try to increase that number till I reach 2400. I've eaten yellow cheese today(major fear food) and tomorrow it will be gnnocchi (bigger fear food). And it's not going to stop there. I will keep challenging myself to more and bigger things, because that's the only way for me to win.

Ana you are a sly little bitch. Yes you've left me alone for the time being, but you threaten me with what will happen if I ever leave this place I am in now. You tell me about the horrible panic attacks, the sleepless nights, the overwhelming pain and nausea. But you are a LIAR. You always have been. You threats are all in my mind. As far as the physical pain I am going through and will be for some time - everything worth something costs something. So from now on I will defy you at every opportunity. I will not stick to the bounds you set for me. I will do what I want to do, and what is good for my body. So FUCK OFF.

It's my life. It's my body. It's time for ME to take control.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I'm torn about writing tonight. I'm tired, my stomach hurts, and I want nothing more then to take a hot shower and curl up in bed with a good book. But I have so much on my mind, and I'm hoping that maybe writing will help me clear my thoughts and enable me to make some sense of what exactly is going on in my head.

I've been running around like crazy since the beginning of this week. A part of me loves the constant action, the added stress and the fact that I'm perpetually doing something. But it's also one of my best coping mechanisms. It's my classic “running away” maneuver. I make myself busy with so many other things that I don't have time to deal with the issues that are really bothering me. And there is something bothering me.
The problem is that I don't know what's wrong. I feel scared of the future. Not the future in general, but mainly relating to my ED recovery. I know that recovery means health and a happiness and all sorts of good, wonderful things. The concept of being free of any food issues is indescribably appealing to me. Yet at the same time the specific steps are scaring me. I don't want to see my psychologist, I don't want to get weighed. I just want to be left alone. I want everything to be fine. I've felt great these past few days – energetic, without food or body issues. I know deep inside I'm not better, but I feel better. It's like I had a long-term illness but suddenly all the symptoms disappeared. I FEEL better, so I get annoyed when people talk about me being sick. I am still sick, but I don't want to be. I want to be gaining weight and keep up my current lifestyle. I just want to be free to move on with my life.

Every day I tell myself I will push myself harder. Some days I do, others I don't. But for the most part I am happy, something I could never say when in the depths of my ED. So why does that have to change? Why can't I just be happy.

Tomorrow I am scheduling an appointment with my therapist because it's the right thing to do. I'm dreading it with all my heart. But enough is enough. It's time to move on. It's time for me to start taking my own advice and just stick to what I'm doing, to keep traveling the road I started on. I'm just tired, so tired....

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I know!

Do you ever have the feeling that you just intuitively “know” something? Obviously this doesn't count if we're talking about obvious facts here. Usually I get this feeling in regards to people and their moods and feelings, situations or important things that are about to happen in the future. Call it intuition, call it a hunch, call it being a sensitive person – whatever you want to call it, it happens to me. For instance, I will see two people who met only minutes before and I just see them together. There's no reason, no noticeable “chemistry” between them, it's something I just know. Sure enough a few months later they're dating. Or a friend is acting odd, not in a bad way, just not like their usual selves. I usually “know” the reason why. And along with knowing comes this feeling of certainty. There's no logical explanation for anything, it's something that just happens to me.The sad thing is I rarely get these “intuitive hints” in regards to myself.

But finally it's happened to me. For the longest time I've felt lost in a sense. I felt like my life had no direction, no purpose, no clear goal. And it translated into my ED. In the back of my mind I expected to die from medical consequences related to my eating disorder. I stopped making plans and dreams because what was the point? Then after spending some time in IP, I slowly started trying to plan my life again. But I just couldn't find anything worth living, worth fighting for. Yes I had friends and family who loved me, but I just didn't feel any driving, motivating force behind staying in recovery. I slipped back, and then I got scarred. I realized I wanted my life to be more then just my eating disorder. I didn't know what was in my future yet, but I decided that I wanted to find out. So I reached out for help, and it's the best decision I could have made. Although I still have been battling with finding a reason for my life, or rather, a direction and a goal, up until just recently. But now I have found it.

I want to be a registered dietitian. Then , after a few years of experience, I want to work with people recovering from ED's. I want to be able to help them because I can relate in the way that few other people can. There's just something different about having “book knowledge” of ED's and actually having lived through and recovered from one and being able to draw from personal experience. In addition to that I want to be able to offer my services pro-bono for those who can't afford it, or who's insurances don't include this type of thing. This is something I KNOW I am supposed to do. The feeling is so strong, so unshakable, it can't be wrong. And finally I have a definite reason that keeps me going.

This is a big, bold dream, but I want to throw myself into achieving it. There is some paper work being processed that will enable me to pursue further education, and I can't do anything to influence that. But I know that I need to make some money so I can pay for my studies. I also want to read up as much as I can so I have at least of a bit of a working knowledge as to my subject . And most importantly I need to kick this sicknesses ass so I can do all this without any delays or complications. The last point is one of the hardest but it is doable none the less. Everything is possible if you try hard enough. I firmly believe that. Now all I have to do is remind myself of my goals day in and day out. There's no excuse for a “bad day”. I want every day to be a step towards full health and the realization of my dream.

Do you have a dream or vision for your life that keeps you motivated?

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination

Tough times never last, but tough people do.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


It's been far too long since I last posted.

Nothing bad has been happening with me, despite what my last post has implied. I was having a really rough day as well as feeling hurt and misunderstood by the people around me. The past is the past though, that day is done and over and I am faced with new prospects and challenges.

I realized that somewhere down the line in my life I lost the ability to dream. I made plans and schedules- actually to the point I was compulsive about it. But I never thought about what I really wanted to do, what I wanted to accomplish. I guess in a sense I was scared. I'm a realist (in every sense of the word) and I'm not the type of person that sees the world through rose colored glasses. This isn't to say that I always see the glass as "half empty" (though I have been guilty of that on some occasions as well). But every time people would use the phrases "Dream big." or "Shoot for the stars", I would just smile and shake my head. Sure, that type of thing might be for other people, but not for me.
But why not? Why don't I have the right to dream just like other people? Why do I bind myself to what I think I can "realistically" accomplish. Who decided what is realistic for me anyways? I did, and basing it on the way I see myself, that's not exactly an accurate gauge.

A quote that's been really going through my head recently is "If the possibility of failure was removed, what would you attempt to achieve?" Because that is at the core of what has discouraged me from attempting something "big" - fear of failure. With my perfectionist tendencies I want to be the best, and if I can't be the best then I might as well not try at all. But without failing sometimes, how can we succeed? Without making mistakes how can we learn what does work? And I realized something. I can go through life "playing it safe", doing what I know I can do. Or I can expand my horizons and do something that I want, that I REALLY want, even if it seems unlikely at this point. I need to have something to motivate and push me in life - not just because of my recovery from this ED. I need it so I have a reason, a passion, a driving force. People that meet me say I'm a passionate person, and when I want something I get it done. For some time this hasn't been true, because I've had nothing to drive me. But I do now. I'm dreaming big and shooting for the stars. And we just have to wait and see what happens.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I need a hug :(

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Treating myself with respect.

This is an odd, new concept I've been playing with recently. I realize that all too often I ignore what my body needs in favor of whats convenient. Example: most people are hungry - they eat. I stop and think "Do I really NEED to eat? I mean, it's so inconvenient to go and make myself something. I'll wait another 30 minutes or so till I'm finished this." Or if I'm tired I just drink something caffeinated as opposed to taking a nap. Ok caffeine is helpful sometimes, because there are times you can't just stop and take a nap, but that's besides the point. The point is that I'm used to doing what I want as opposed to doing what I should.

Anyhow for the past few days I've had a nasty toothache. As horribly incovenient (not to mention painful) as it is it's forced me to do two very important things.

1. Become more aware of my body. Because I don't want to cause myself more pain then I absolutely have to I started planning my meals ahead of time so I have something soft and "mushy" to eat. I normally have a general "plan" but more often then not I end up changing it and resorting to my old "favorites" because it's convenient. I've started writing down what I eat and how I feel after eating it according to a general hunger scale. Because of this not only am I learning to pay more attention to what my body needs, but I learned something very interesting things about my diet such as that I eat oats EVER SINGLE DAY for breakfast. While this isn't wrong and oatmeal is healthy (not to mention yummy :P) it's become a food rut for me. Which brings me to my next point.

2. I'm breaking out of food ruts. I can't eat anything slightly crunchy and so I'm having to become creative with my mushes. And although most of my food hasn't been so tasty recently I am learning more about what I do and don't like and am trying new things. Tomorrow for instance, I am NOT having oats (gasp) and am in fact going to be eating..... rice cereal with apple. Don't know if I'll like it, but I'll never know till I try.

I realized how I feel like I need a physical excuse such as pain to allow myself to treat my body with respect. Otherwise I feel like I'm just being whimpy or lazy. But there's nothing wrong with listening to your body. What is wrong is treating yourself like crap and pushing yourself to the limits until you simply can't go on anymore. It's a habit I've developed over time that I'm sure is very detrimental to my health and happiness. I DESERVE respect. Anything (my ED) or anyone that has told or tells me otherwise is wrong, no matter how convincing they sound. It's ok to have boundaries. It's ok to be human. It's ok to need rest, food and relaxation from time to time. I pride myself on my work ethic but work isn't everything. Life is meant to be enjoyed and I'm going to enjoy it to the full by learning to respect myself and my body. It's about time.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I am allowed to enjoy life!

My new revelation for the day: I am allowed to eat whatever I want.

So basic, so simple - yet today was the first time I put it into practice.

Here's the story : I was wondering what I wanted to eat for dinner. I opened the fridge and saw some yellow cheese. "MMMM, that would taste lovely over toast, wouldn't it?" I started imagining it, the way the cheese would melt in my mouth, the lovely contrast it would have with the tomato sauce and basil. And then it hit me, why don't I just eat it. Yes it's a "fear food". And... So that's what I did, I made myself a lovely little cheese toast. And I truly enjoyed every bite. I'm not a fan of the stuff when it's not toasted, because it seems rather bland on its own. But in this toast it was AMAZING. Since it was so yummy, I had another toast. And then it hit me. Who told me I wasn't allowed to eat cheese before? What was it that stopped me at simply wishing I could eat it and not eat it. My own stupid routine and rules. Well it's time to break those rules and learn to eat the things I like in moderation. Broken down that means eating a piece of chocolate as opposed to the whole bar. It means a scoop of ice-cream instead of the tub. It means a toast with cheese instead of five. Eating what you like is HEALTHY and NORMAL. I feel like slapping myself for not letting this concept sink in sooner.

Food is good, it is meant to be enjoyed.For so long I looked at enjoying food as a weakness. That's messed up, I know, but it's the truth. The fact that I wouldn't let myself enjoy food made me somehow "higher" then all these other people. In my mind I was better then all these simple people that would freak out and get all exited over ice-cream. But guess what - life is about enjoying simple joys. It's about smiling when the sun warms your face. It's about singing out loud when you feel like it. It's about dancing on the spot when you have music blaring on your headphones. It's about laughing with your three year old siblings. It's about curling up in bed with a good book and letting yourself relax. It's about having deep philosophical conversations with friends over a glass of port. It's those little moments that make life worth living.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Back to the beginning.

I know I haven't blogged in a while. No real reason for it, just felt like taking a break. But now I feel like writing about an experience that's been taking place over the past week.
I had the opportunity to go back to the place where my ED started and developed. To clarify, at the beginning of my recovery I moved to another country. As much as I hated the thought initially and still struggle with it from time to time I now know it was the best thing that could have possibly happened to me. Living in a place where my ED and I have so much “history” together makes everything all that much harder. But I really wanted to go back – to see my old friends and just get away from the routine a bit. I was worried though how I would react to being in a place where all I have are ED memories of restricting, starving and purging. Every room has a memory, every place has a behavior. Scary as it was during this trip I learned several important things.
Let's start with the good – I faced some HUGE challenges while I was there and did rather well I think :P. I ate at a party – without binging or seriously restricting. That was freaky. Last time I was at a party I had starved myself all day so I ended up binging, purging and spending the rest of the evening crying over what I had done. I was soooo scared history would repeat itself. But I looked at the plates of snacks, had a few that looked appetizing, ate dinner and that's all there was to it. No binging, no need to hide in my room so my impulses wouldn't take over and make me devour everything in sight. No guilt attached either. It was great.

Second challenge – Chinese fast food. God, I hate that stuff. I went out with a friend and she was dying to have some. I ordered a small soup, but she then insisted on ordering a whole plate of greasy fried noodles. Was I pissed? You bet! I didn't want to eat there and I certainly didn't want to eat that. But guess what? I did it. I sat there and talked to her and ate some of the food. Didn't eat it all – I wasn't hungry enough and I also didn't like the food (very very bland). Her sweet and sour chicken was a million times better. I felt guilty afterwards but I refused to restrict and ate later on in the day. It was a good reminder to me that fears are just that -fears- and I can overcome them.

I had some major triggers while I was there too. I felt the urge to restrict from the second I walked into those surroundings. Most of the time I didn't give in, but I sure as hell was tempted. My hunger disappeared almost instantly and I felt drawn. Drawn to that scale in the bathroom, drawn to eat just a fruit instead of a meal, drawn to cope with my emotions and stress by depriving myself. I did not weigh while I was there, I did not exercise. I had only one small slip up. But it was hard, so hard.
I saw some friends from IP there. Though I was happy to see them, it didn't make things any easier. One of them only left the hospital 2 months ago and she's already lost 10 kg. I saw her and the first thing that went to my head was “Oh my God!” She was pale, skin tightly drawn over her cheekbones, layers of makeup trying to cover the utter lack of color in her skin. Through her clothes I saw every bone and I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry because she is happy in what she does. I want to cry because I know she won't stop. I want to cry because she studies 10 hours a day and works another 6. I want to cry because I know she is unhappy, but she doesn't know it yet. She was telling me about how cold and tired she was, how she has a potential relationship in sight but can't stand the thought of getting intimate because she knows the guy will tell her to gain weight and she doesn't want to. Most of all I wanted to cry because I saw in her an image of myself. I saw who I used to be, and still am in some ways. And it scared me. What if I don't beat this thing? Will I go back to my illusion of security while my whole life slips away? Will I truly believe that that is the only way I can live and be happy?

The other friend was better. She's also binging and purging, but she seems not to be falling as fast. I know she longs for a way out. She wants to believe it is possible, but she's lost hope. I want to be an example to her. I want to show her “Look, I did it. You can to. ” She realizes that she is numb, her life means nothing to her. And though it hurt me to hear her say it at least I know she wants help. And that means there is still hope. If I can only find a way to reach her, to empower her with the same motivation that I have, maybe she'll find the light in her life again. All I can do for now is hope and pray that she will not give in, that she will find the strength within herself to fight and that she will find people along the way to help her.

But what I learned most of all through this past week is that I am not as strong as I thought I am. I still have such a long ways to go. Those thoughts, although quieted, are still there. They wait for a moment of weakness, a moment of struggle, a moment where I lose focus. And they call me, they draw me. I am not invincible and I mustn't underestimate what lies in front of me. I need to keep fighting, I need to keep moving forward. If I don't I will slip back. And that is the most terrifying thing for me.

Do any of you have a triggering place where you ED thoughts become especially strong?