Monday, January 9, 2012

Just some more thoughts

There is a common misconception about girls with eating disorders.  I've experienced it myself.  I've noticed that when I've gained weight people tend to think that means I'm doing better.  It's quite the opposite though.  When I've put on weight the eating disordered thoughts are so strong.  I'm more unhappy and it's harder.  Just because someone doesn't look emaciated doesn't mean that they are doing better.  And just because someone has never been "bad enough" to be hospitalized, it doesn't mean they're hurting any less...and eating disorder is a eating disorder...and it's hell for anyone no matter what.

Another thing I've been thinking about is the fine line between obsession and disorder.  In this world there are so many different diets, pills, exercise programs.  Expectations of what women should look like drives many women past being health obsession and maybe even to an eating disorder.'s so easy to cross those lines.  The pressure on women is overwhelming.  It's easy to stand in front of a mirror and pick out all the flaws.  It's easy to start feeling guilty about eating.  It's easy to start weighing yourself every day, count calories, prioritize losing weight above everything else.  Stop the cycle now.  It's true we all need to take care of our bodies...feed them nutritious food and exercise them, but we need to take care of our minds too.  You have to find the beauty in yourself.  This is something I still need to work on, but I'm trying to appreciate my body.

I guess what I'm saying is catch yourself before obsession takes over.  Tell yourself you're beautiful everyday...because you are.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A different story

This is an essay a friend that also has been where I have wrote:

A very important event, occurrence, challenge in my life has effected a few years and now the rest of my life in a good but bad and almost deathly way. In my life, I faced some challenges. Looking back at them, there was one that stuck out. It was the period in my life where I was at my lowest, literally. Lowest in mind set meaning I saw no future, I saw no tomorrow and lowest in weight. Then end of the best summer I ever had was coming to an end, but the last week of the summer of 2007, I was diagnosed with an illness that only I could cure, that is if I wanted to be cured.
In the summer of 2007 I went on vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with my best friend and her family. That means I would be going to the beach every day which then means I will be in a bathing suit. Now when you put a girls mind to that thought, they want to look good and fit in a bathing suit. I was always in good shape because I was always active on a sports team. But there was always the thought in my head, I have to be just five pounds thinner, then I’d really be in shape. It was about time to take action, I had a goal and I wanted to reach it. I reached that goal not only once but about six more times in the few months I had before the vacation. At the time, I thought I looked incredible, I was toned and fit. The truth I was far from healthy, if anything I was near death. I went to Myrtle Beach, continued the routine I had been doing to lose those five more pounds, had a blast, got back and was told I need to go to the doctor. From that doctor’s appointment on, I was now “ill” and I was going to have this “illness” for the rest of my life. Not many people know much about this disease or see it as important because it seems to be accepted in society, but the truth is it is one of the most deadly diseases. The doctor diagnosed me with the illness Anorexia Nervosa.
The definition of Anorexia Nervosa is defined as an eating disorder that involves self-imposed starvation or by over exercising, which evolves from a distorted self-image, and an intense fear of being overweight. I was at the doctor’s office in complete denial, I was not starving myself, I could exercise and eat what I want, I don’t need someone telling me what my lifestyle should be like and telling me that I need to gain back all the weight that I lost. I worked hard to lose those pounds, and I didn’t finish my goal yet, I wanted to lose just another five pounds. I was not going to give into this person telling me what to do; he doesn’t know what’s best for me. The sad thing is, he actually did know what was best for me and I just did not want to believe it. After that appointment, everything became a game to me. They told me to gain weight, I did just the opposite. I eventually got at too low of weight that I was endangering my life, I was then hospitalized. That was just the beginning.
I was admitted into Vassar Brothers hospital for a week. At that point I had reached my lowest weight and had a deadly slow heart rate when I slept. During that week I did nothing but try every which way to hide the food they were giving me to eat and find some way to exercise. Within a week at Vassar Brothers Hospital, they knew that they could not help me, so they sent me over to Long Island Jewish Medical Center Eating Disorder Program. While a client there, I was in complete denial. Every little thing at and about LIJ I hated. Every time that I heard the elevator ding, I had a great amount of anxiety come over me because I knew that it meant lunch time was an elevator ride away. Every night that the nurses said I had to go back to my room, I would try to find a way to burn off all the food I ate. It came to be that almost day I got in trouble for doing something that wasn’t allowed, whether it is exercising hiding food or saying something that could trigger someone else in the room. I was there for about two months, gained enough weight to be discharged. I was able to go home and go back to school, but before I left I learned enough tricks to lose all the weight I gained.
I went back to my normal life, went to my high school and attended classes, did my homework, hid food I was supposed to be eating and over exercised. It became noticed by my parents that I was relapsing. They took action and put me into another rehab for eating disorders. This one was called The Renfrew Center. I was there for four months. While there, it took me awhile to gain the weight because I did not want to let go of the disease. I had control of it and did not want to give up that control. I never got to control anything in my life before I was told what to do and how to do it. I was fascinated by the concept that I had control and could do what I want and how I want to do it. I would go to the rehab center for the day, have group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy, and eat meals that I would never think about touching because I was terrified that they would make me gain a ton of weight. When I took a look at those meals, I calculated the calories in it and how I could get rid of them. The thing is, I was getting tired of this game. I was drained of having everyone push something that I was fighting against them. I did not want that, I was on my own team, it was 100 against 1. There was no way that I could win, and no way that I was correct and everyone else was wrong. At this point in time, I was becoming to agreement that I had a problem and that only I could solve it. I still had some horrible days where I would refuse to eat meals or hide some of the food that I was supposed to eat, but I also had the days where I let myself eat what I wanted to and what I was told to eat and I had no guilty feeling.
Over time, I eventually gained weight but still had the fear of becoming fat and having a distorted body image. On May 1, 2008 I was released from the rehab and could go back to school and my normal life. This time I was not left out in the cold and just put back into the world without a support team in place. I was set up with a nutritionist and therapist. For a year after being released, I went to see them regularly. I had long fights with them of not wanting to reach the weight they wanted me at, the “goal weight.” I thought that once I reached that, I was cured and the battle was over. I thought the weight they wanted me at was a “fat” weight. It really was only one pound heavier than I was before I lost all this weight but the fear of fat always seemed to stop me from stepping on the scale and looking at the results on the scale. It took me a long time to reach that weight but I had to become comfortable with that weight and being that weight otherwise I would have relapsed just like before. With each pound I gained, I also gained courage and strength. With this, I also gained back my hope and saw more than just today, I saw a tomorrow.
Anorexia Nervosa is just like alcoholism and a drug addiction. It is an addiction to the feeling of hunger and an empty stomach. It’s an addiction to the control. Those who are often
linked to this “illness” of addiction is because a personality trait of those people all contain the trait of addiction. For a lot of people, after they have one addiction under control, they will often seek out something else and become addicted to or on. With that being said, an addict can never say they are fully recovered. The person who has the addiction is always in recovery for the rest of their lives. I personally face thoughts of bad body image and in today’s society; there is always something about losing weight, which can be a trigger. I can say that I am a recovering anorexic because inside the disease will never go away. It is the way that I deal and act with those thoughts and triggers.
Without my family and friends, I would not have been able to face anorexia and overcome it. If it had not been for my best friend, the anorexia would have taken full control of my life and killed me. Dealing with this disease I have learned so much. One thing I learned from it is how to handle stuff in the real world, how to handle stress, and how to handle triggers. At first, I was scared for people to find out what I went through because I do not want sympathy from others. I speak out about my experience with anorexia nervosa for one reason alone, to help others. I went through pain and suffering, but I would not take it back if my experience and knowledge now about the disease and how to fight it can help one person. With that, I learned things happen for a reason and I now know why I was faced with anorexia nervosa.

I am thankful she let me have this and that we all got to hear her story.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Trying to figure it out

I started this blog, said a lot of the things I needed to say, and now I'm wondering where to go from here.  There is so much in my heart, but I'm having trouble finding the right words to say and how to express what this journey has felt like, what all it's been about, or how I got here.  A lot of the mothers following this blog have been asking questions about if there were certain things that influenced me and helped guide me into my self-destructive spiral.  The answer is yes.  I cannot say how other children will react to certain things, or see certain things, but I can share some of the feelings I experienced that negatively influenced my life.

First...I will say that a small part of why I went through what I went through was simply because of what I loved to do.  My passion in life was ballet.  No, I will say it again and again, ballet did not cause my eating disorder...and at some points I believe it kept me healthy longer because I knew if I didn't take care of myself, I wouldn't be able to fulfill my dreams.  But being involved in a field that focused so much on outer appearance was not good for me.  It's not like that for everyone, but I do believe getting close to achieving my goal of becoming a professional ballet dancer, wanting to look perfect and be perfect helped push me over the edge I had been flirting with for so long.

It is impossible to tell a kid what to love and be passionate about, but I do wish I would have chosen something less about having a "perfect" body and "perfect" skill.  It was what I loved, but for me it became part of my downfall.

Another even bigger and most influential part of my problem was that I felt that in my own personal life, perfection was demanded of me.  I will first say that I know my parents raised me with love in their hearts and taught me in a way they believed was good and best.  I do not blame them.  I have siblings that took away different experiences than me with the same way I was raised and with the same family....but...the simple fact is that I felt nothing I did was good enough.  Minor flaws were huge deals.  I was controlled and the expectations set for me were so high I felt I could and would never achieve them.  I felt worthless when I made the tiniest mistake.  I learned to hate myself. 

I wish I would have felt loved despite my imperfections.  I wish I would have been told that it was okay to make mistakes and to love myself not only if I was "righteous" enough, but always.  I hated myself, so i punished myself.  Not only manifesting itself through an eating disorder, but through depression and my long battle with cutting.  My parents, or religion, or anything or one else simply telling me that God loved me was not enough when I knew that I constantly let down this God, myself, and my parents.  In some twisted way, for reasons unknown, I felt that although I could not be good enough for anyone else...if I could make my body the way I needed it to be that I would be happy.  I could prove to myself that I had self-control, that I was beautiful and worth something.  I don't know if that makes sense...or how to turn my experiences and thoughts growing up into advice for mothers, but take away from it what you can.

Feelings of lack of control and worthlessness are two big influences in eating disorders.

Girls who have lived with eating disorders and are reading this... You don't have to... but would you mind writing some of the feelings and influences you had in your life that helped put you on that path?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Truth

These films are old, so I'm sure a lot of you have seen them before.  They are still very powerful.  I have 8 nieces and may have my own little girl one day.  I want them to know what true beauty is.  And I want every parent to know and see what their children are up against in this world. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

letting you know

It is a common misconception that only "skinny" people have eating disorders.  When i was in treatment there was a compulsive over eater that was considered clinically obese.  She was suffering just as much as i was.  There were girls that suffered with bulimia that were considered average weight.  No matter what weight you are, you can still have an eating disorder.  I wish people were more educated about the signs and syptoms of eating disorders so girls can get the help they need before it becomes so bad.

I thank Jenna for telling her story.  Someone may never gets to the point where they need to be hospitalized, but this struggle still hurts no matter what the degree is.  I hope you and I both can find peace and accept our bodies.

To be truthful and honest...I'm not doing so well.  I feel the monster is getting stronger and my head is barely above the water.  It's so hard not to cave in.

But in times like these i need to remember what i lost because my eating disorder.  I lost my dream and lifetime goal...and i literally lost months of my life.  Months i have no recollection of.  I lost my youth.  My childhood and teenage years were not happy ones.  I need to remember my promise that i'd never go back to that dark place.

To answer Angela's question.  I've found it better not to say anything regarding weight to someone in recovery.  When people would say to me "you look so healthy now", all i could hear in my head was that everyone noticed that i had gained weight.  People who struggle with eating disorders have a way of twisting anything you say about weight into something negative.
So there you have it.  It's a tricky thing.

overcoming ed thoughts

When people say that girls(or boys) with eating disorders see a different person in the mirror than others see, they're right.  People tell me i'm beautiful and thin, but when i look in the mirror, i see every flaw, every inch of fat that's on me.  It stays on my mind CONSTANTLY.  What is a struggle for me and a lot of people like me is needing valadation from others.  We will feed off the compliments....I need the compliments to feel good about myself.  I need constant reassurance that i'm beautiful and thin.  And when I don't get that from people i feel like that is proof that i'm not.

I see how this is not logical at all and i know it has to change.  I need to stop this way of thinking and stop needing other people to tell me i'm worth something. 

I know all this in my head, but it's so hard to change the way i've been thinking for so long.
But it has to stop.  I don't want to always need to ask others if i look like i've gained weight, if i'm pretty, if i'm skinny, if i'm good enough, or any other type of question like that.  I want to stop wasting my time thinking about my flaws and instead think about ways to improve whats on the inside, because that is what should matter most. 

I want to know that i'm worth something without having to hear it from another person.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I invite all those you have a story to be told to tell it.  I want to hear your thoughts and insights.  Maybe we all can help eachother in this struggle