Running from the Urges

What do you do when you have the urge to use a symptom? When suddenly, you feel like you must cut or you will die? When purging seems like the only option? When isolating for a week sounds like the only thing that will keep you safe?

You have to run. Run to a coping skill. Run to a loved one. Run to your recovery.

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Managing New Symptoms

Drained But Not Depleted

Just when you conquer one type of symptom, another one seems to arrive. Either that or a whole new disorder itself.

Life is so wearying sometimes. I am tired of vaulting between not eating and over eating and getting rid of food. All of it is just too much.

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Being a Strong Leader with Mental Illness

Winston Churchill's grave

Winston Churchill’s grave

The idea of being a leader has always haunted me. If I was one, did it mean that I was too loud or bossy? Instead of seeing this as a positive trait, I feared how people would perceive me.

At the same time, my father lauded the values of strength and leadership. In fact, some of his greatest work has been starting youth programs that encourage teenagers to work in teams and practice servant leadership. His example gave me some hope, but I never believed that I was worthy of leading others.

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Recovery in the Media: #62. Wintergirls

Wintergirls

Although potentially triggering, this book is a powerful depiction of an eating disorder and how it devastates lives.

62. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Few books have impacted me quite as much as Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. From the first sentence to the ending, the novel related to my eating disorder and life so much. At parts, I could not tell if I was more triggered or inspired. That was how powerful and realistic it was. Because of that, I debated blogging about it for several months. Would it be more helpful or hindering? That was the main worry that I had. However, my decision was to highlight it on Media Monday while cautioning that some might be triggered by it. On the whole, however, this is another amazing book by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Synopsis: Lia is shocked to learn that her ex-best friend Cassie has just died. Both high schoolers, the girls recently cut off communication with each other after helping to fuel each other’s eating disorders. This news haunts Lia, who is secretly still deep in anorexia. At times, the ghost of Cassie almost seems to be following the living girl, convincing her that life is not worthwhile. Thus, Lia decides to find out the truth about the puzzling death of her friend despite the pain it will cause.

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Feelings of Disgust with Self With Eating Disorders and PTSD

Rose

Here is a rose that I pass each day.

Although I am loving my time in Oxford, the pressure to be independent and produce quality school work is stressful. Plus there is anxiety about maybe finding romance, what other people about me, figuring out my future, how to save money, not wanting to go back home, hoping people like me. . .the list could go on and on.

Thus, my eating disorder is manifesting itself in new ways. Binging has crept in a few times, and I am ashamed to say that I responded by using another symptom. Anorexia is a terrible disorder that is physically, mentally, and emotionally utterly draining. However, compulsive over-eating and bulimia have so much disgust and shame attached to them. Just thinking about those symptoms makes me feel dirty much less doing them.

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10 Reasons Eating Disorders are not Glamorous

Eating disorders are not glamorous!

Eating disorders are not glamorous!

Ever since reading Anne of Green Gables as a child, I have thought of fainting as romantic. Wouldn’t it be nice to drop to the ground in a graceful motion or into the arms of someone who suddenly realizes your beauty? Perhaps this fantasy shows my disordered thinking, but I have always wanted to pass out someday.

Thus, the news that my blood glucose or sugar is so low that I could faint both frightened and elated me. Now I know that my dizziness the past few days is not just in my head. In all honesty, part of me is crumple down, unconscious. Maybe people would realize the pain inside or at least notice my existence. Who knows? A knight in shining (or at least campus security) might appear magically to help me back to my feet. This moment could be the beginning of something beautiful.

Then I bring myself back to reality. Knowing my luck, I would fall over in a deserted place and hit my head on something hard, causing a large, ugly gash. No one would come across me for hours, and then it would be a bewildered professor who would call an ambulance. Thus, I would awaken in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm and no handsome knight to be seen.

Here is the main point: Eating disorders and their physical complications are not glamorous.

 

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Going to See My Hero, Demi Lovato

Posing with Demi's guitar

Posing with Demi’s guitar

On Tuesday, my wonderful friend Taylor took me to the Demi Lovato Neon Lights Tour. It was honestly one of the best experiences of my life. Although noise bothers me, my overwhelmed senses and ringing ears were worth seeing one of my heroes.

Overall, the concert was amazing. My friend won backstage passes. We went around to see the people who worked behind the scenes. My group of people became the first ever to take a picture with Demi’s guitar. Not only was that exciting, it also brought me so much hope. All of the people we met were so kind and friendly. Instead of judging us or acting like we were a problem, they welcomed us in like long-lost friends or family. Plus, the fact that the event was first of all a somber and clean tour made Demi even cooler. She really inspired me as did her choice of people to work with every day.

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Ten Tips for Eating in Public

Mario eating food

Tips to eating in public

One of my biggest fears is eating in public.  People often scoff at this anxiety, but it continues to haunt me.  What will others think about my weight?  Will they judge my food intake?  How are they talking about me and my meal to others?

When I voice these fears, friends attempt to calm them with reassurances.  “No one judges you,” they claim while I see a girl eying another’s dress.  “But you are so skinny!” They lament but quickly grip about their own weight.  The contradictions confuse me even more.  Why is it that food, weight, and appearance hold so much power over us?

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Recovery in the Media: #17. Life Without Ed

Life Without Ed

Without triggering readers, “Life Without Ed” tells an honest story of pain and hope during recovery.

17. Life Without Ed by Jenni Schaefer

Many books that I have read about recovery end up triggering me.  However, Life Without Ed tells Jenni Schaefer’s honest life story without triggering details.  Composed of short tales, this book has helped me to understand my eating disorder.  Even better, it gives hope of recovery despite the painful struggle.  When my mother first suggested I read this book, I was wary.  But I found it to be very helpful once I started so I wanted to share it with you.

Synopsis: A singer with many dreams, Jenni Schaefer found that her eating disorder began to consume her life.  In this book, she tells of different struggles, triumphs, and discoveries concerning her illness.  In it, Schaefer likens her eating disorder to a boyfriend and names him “Ed.”  Slowly, she begins to break off her abusive relationship with Ed and find herself.

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