child of God, wife, mother, recovering anorexic who longs to see the beauty in herself that she sees in the world around her

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Siren's Song

I have a confession. Recovery right now is steady because people I love deserve a recovered me not because I want recovery. I long for the sweet arms of addiction. She beckons to me like a siren promising that one night would satisfy my lust. I know it isn't true but the voice sings beautifully and I struggle to resist her pull. I just want the outside pain to match the inside pain.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What NOT to Say

In case you ever need to know this, in case you don't already know this, I have some news. I have news of something you should never say to a recovering anorexic ANYONE. "Oh look at you having another donut." Don't say it in an office. Don't say it in front of other people. Don't say it in jest. JUST DON'T SAY IT!

I am grateful that I'm in a stable food place because a year ago those words would have spiraled me. They would have spiraled me whether said about me or said about someone else in my presence. They would have shamed me. This year they frustrate me but are not spiraling me.

Yes, I had a second donut that day. No, I won't allow myself to feel guilty that I had 2 donuts on my sons birthday. The words were not intended to be hurtful. They were intended in a "good for you, go get 'em" kind of way. She doesn't even know my history.

And THAT is why to not say food shaming words to ANYONE. You have no idea if the person you are talking about has had food difficulties. You have no idea if someone else who hears you talk has food issues.

I don't look like I battle an eating disorder, many of us don't. Please be cautious with your words. Even when they are well intentioned they can wound.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

longing to be whole

I dreamed that I was sick again. I dreamed that I was restricting like I used to. The problem is that I haven't been restricting so my body doesn't feel sick. In my dream it was the anorexia that every eating disorder longs for, the one that allows the control and euphoria of restricting while still having the feelings of being healthy. It was the lie that orange always promised, "You can be different. You can restrict and not get sick."

A lie is a lie, but for a moment it was a familiar lie that beckoned to me to try again. It was a lie that reassured me that it could be different. The dream came at a time of body loathing. It was a dream that made the idea of anorexia sound good for a moment. Maybe more than a moment. 

I have had to be extremely vigilant this week to maintain recovery. Illness sounds alluring; stress, a packed schedule, and an upset stomach have made it difficult to battle the allure. And yet I have battled. I have fought to remember where I have come from. I have fought to remember the pain when my family hugged me. I have fought to remember that healthy is entirely better. 

To this point, I can say I've fought well. I have had meals that would have been easy to skip because no one but me would have known. Now to continue fighting for my recovery. How I long to be completely whole. How I long for the day when those thoughts don't creep in. Though I don't know if that day will ever actually arrive, I will continue to fight as I hope for it.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Healing my heart

Once again violence filled my dreams last night. I've allowed myself to become accustomed to pleasant sleep which makes it so much harder when the nightmares return to haunt me. Today I feel sluggish and tired. It doesn't matter that I had enough hours of sleep because it wasn't restful sleep. Today I feel as though I'm walking through jello knee deep.

And yet the violence of my dreams was different and therefore I'm intrigued and curious about their meanings. My thoughts were still filled with assault but it wasn't reliving the assaults of my past. The attackers were unknown to me but every bit as clear and vivid as the dreams of known attackers.

Likewise my reactions were different in these dreams. My feelings were ones that related strength. I wasn't the cowering little girl. I wasn't the terrified teenager. I was me, here and now. I was a woman. A strong woman.

I cannot explain how I could feel so vulnerable in my dreams and yet simultaneously feel power and strength fill my veins. I awoke incredibly disturbed and yet not distraught as used to be the norm. I am healing. I can feel it in my dreams. It is amazing and freeing and not nearly as painful as it was when healing was beginning.

And though I can feel my heart mending, I can also feel the cavern of what remains to be healed. Healing is a process, a journey. One that requires me to show up fully and completely. One that, even now, I still must take one step at a time. It is a journey worth walking. It isn't over by far, but it's no longer in the devastating, soul crushing, pain of the journey new.

Once I was afraid if I let go the dam of unshed tears that I would never stop crying. For a time it did seem that way. And now I realize that the tears do stop and life does continue and healing does come even though it comes slowly.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

NEDA week and comparing my journey

I've wanted to write for a while now.  I've just been so tired and when faced with the option of curling up in bed next to my husband and sleeping or turning on the computer and organizing my thoughts into words....well, comfy bed seems to win more often lately.  Last week was a struggle for me.  I was already struggling a little but NEDA week is hard for me.

 It is a week that makes me think I was never really THAT sick.  I hear the stories of people who nearly died and I think well, I didn't nearly die.  Until my husband speaks that strange kind of logic that says, "Um, you did almost die.  You were intending to commit suicide."  And I think about so many of my friends who have spent time in in-patient care and think but I wasn't sick enough for in-patient.  I hear how someone restricted to x amount of calories and the competitive voice of orange reminds me that I was x amount of calories more than that person.

My brain, or rather my disease, argues with everything its got to say I wasn't ever really sick. I don't have the physical scars that some have. I knew how to take care of my self inflicted burns and cuts so that they wouldn't scar and people wouldn't have reason to think I was sick.  My body doesn't carry evidence of the hell it has been through so I try to downplay that it really has been through hell.

Isn't that the battle of the eating disorder though?  There is ALWAYS going to be someone out there who is sicker than you, which will always play through your head to insist you aren't sick because you aren't as sick as ______.  As long as the comparison game continues in my mind, I will never be free from the belief that I wasn't sick enough.  And I've come to realize that as long as I compete mentally to have been sick enough to validate my illness, NEDA week will always be difficult for me.

It's great to educate.  I went to a meeting of about 50 women the other day and this group of women were having a biggest loser competition.  They were standing on the scale before breakfast and giving out prizes for the most % lost. I wanted to grab the mic and tell them that in a group that big, I would be shocked if they didn't have at least one woman who has struggled with some variation of an eating disorder.  I wanted to educate them about NEDA.  I love the purpose of the week.  And I also, for my own recovery, avoided the computer radically last week.

For this time in life, my recovery depends on me not comparing my journey to someone else's journey. For this season of my recovery, I will focus on choosing the next right thing and worry less about comparing my illness to someone else's illness.  Recovering together is amazing, it is great to have friends who just know and understand.  Recovering together is not however meant to be a comparison.  Comparison is a trap, and not one I can afford to get caught in.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A picture of recovery

These kinds of decisions are what keep me recovering. It may seem small but I chose the waffle because it's what I wanted. The voices in my head told me to avoid the waffle and have my peanut butter and jelly on an apple instead. I was able to push past the guilt of eating frozen waffles and enjoy (mostly) my breakfast that my brain tried to convince me wasn't safe. Staying consistent with the healthy choice in these situations is what keeps propelling me forward in recovery instead of letting the tiny choices prime me for relapse.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Open Letter to the Boy who Accepted No

Dear Boy,

I remember it well. We were young, the night wasn't.  Hand holding had led to kissing, which had led to making out which had led to clothes flying in moments of passion.  I remember your hot breath in my ear asking if it was time to think about protection and I groaned more than said my yes.  We jumped into your truck, me with only a blanket to cover me and drove to K-Mart around the corner for condoms. I really really really liked you.  You were going to be my "first", at least my first that was a choice.

We drove to a secluded park and picked back up right where we had left off with the hot and heavy. Suddenly the words that neither of us wanted to hear came out of my mouth, "No. I can't do this.  Not tonight." That was what I said out loud.  In my head though, my only reason was because I was drunk.  I was so afraid I would be that stereotype party girl who would have sex while I was wasted and that I wouldn't remember it. I wanted to remember the first time I did this with a boy that I liked and really wanted to be with.

I was afraid to tell you that the reason was because I was drunk.  I was afraid you wouldn't like me anymore or that you would think that I only wanted to do it because I was drunk.  So I just said no.  And you stopped.  I don't know if you respected me enough to listen to my no or respected yourself enough to not become a rapist, but either way I have just this week realized how much that meant to me.

Thank you.  You didn't have to stop.  I was drunk and naked in your car.  I couldn't have fought you off and honestly wouldn't have tried.  I had said yes before I said no so you could have said that I had consented.  You could have continued and said it was my own fault for bringing you that far.  I would have spent my life believing that I was at fault and most of the world would have agreed.

But you didn't.  You did the honorable thing.  You accepted the no from a drunk girl who had moments earlier been ready to go. That night, I didn't realize what a gift you had given me.  I couldn't realize it then.  It took years for that to sink in.  I thank you, from the bottom of my heart I thank you for stopping when I said no.  Especially since I said yes first, thank you for letting my no mean no.