Posted in Anxiety, binge eating disorder, Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder Recovery, mental health, Orthorexia, Recovery, Self-acceptance, Social Media

“Wow, I’m Not the Only One”

I had another rough day yesterday. Good things happened, I snuggled a toddler. I laughed with my co-worker. I went to therapy and I bonded with my sister.

But my overall feelings toward the day were exhaustion and slightly annoyed.

I wanted to write, I also wanted to do pilates. But, I was too tired by the time I got home-after a 13 hour day filled with screaming toddlers and not very nice people.

I was happy to curl up in bed and looked forward to falling asleep to My Little Ponies.

Shit, I left the remote in the bathroom. I was not getting back up to get it.

I covered myself with the blankets and decided to scroll through my phone.

I have a personal Instagram account and a recovery account. The recovery account is always used for good—I follow inspirational badasses that post about body love and all that good stuff.

The personal account I hate admitting—but can be used for evil. I don’t mean it! In fact, one of my goals when I first started recovery was to unfollow anyone who didn’t make me feel good about myself. This involved people that post constant diet/body posts; people that talk badly of themselves or others. And  those people that tend to obsess over making their internet lives seem perfect and flawless—not to call anybody out but you know the ones. They make an identity out of their insta-popularity, and want to see how many likes they can get on a new photo of their flawlessly positioned squat.

More power to those people for all the beautiful selfies—but your posts sometimes make me feel shitty about my humanly cellulite ass so I don’t want to look at them.

Anyway, I was scrolling through my personal account and I saw a photo of my friend working out. (These pictures usually don’t bother me, because the friends I follow aren’t disordered: they don’t crowd their pages with these posts, and they don’t make an identity out of it.)

But last night the photo I was looking at triggered me. Mostly because (and I hate admitting this, too) but she experienced an eating disorder as well, and I felt like she was winning. Winning what? God, I don’t know. Can she really have recovery and work out as much as her instagram shows?

God, it really triggered me. I missed the high I used to get when I was back on a workout binge. The lightness I’d feel as long as I was eating only low cal and “good foods.”

I kept scrolling through her page.

Then I started clicking on some other pages: I saw bodies upon bodies of perfectly sculpted humans. Working out, accomplished, smiling, flexing: shit that I clearly am not in this m moment.

I, on the other hand, was drained, feeling bloated from ice cream (that I wasn’t feeling guilty about till this very moment), feeling full. And feeling ashamed of my “recovery body.”

I texted my boyfriend the words that ED was whispering in my ear “fat, lazy, shame, guilt, over-eater, emotional, girly, embarrassing, failure, ugly”

Luckily, I am recovered enough to hear my own voice, as well. And I texted those emotions, too. 

I, Tasha, felt: pride—that I listened to my body tonight and laid down instead of forcing a workout after a long day.

Relief—that I don’t have any urges and that I don’t remember the last time I body checked because my goal is no longer to manipulate my body.

And anger—towards this instagram that claimed recovery but mostly shows photos of working out and ED’s old list of “good foods.”

That is not what recovery means to me.

I know I gave into ED last night and looked at a lot of glamorous photos of women. 

And I shouldn’t judge whether they are healthy or not.

I know that the part of me getting angry at the damn internet is the part of me that doesn’t love myself. It should not bother me what other people do. Or how other people choose to show recovery.

Maybe I can add more to this article another day, and finish it on a more positive note. But for now, I’ll end it like this. And I do apologize if there’s anyone I offended. But, lord I hope that I can touch someone that stalks those beautiful, flawless people, those flexed abs and happy faces after their killer workout—I hope you read this and take my advice. Stop looking. I don’t really think recovery should be like that, and don’t feel bad if yours isn’t. My recovery is a fucking hot mess. What do I beleive? That there is always something missing on those accounts. Something about their mind, body or life that they don’t want us to see.

By revealing my shitty, embarrasing, not so pretty parts of recovery, it’s the only way I can help other fighters say: “wow, I’m not the only one.”

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Posted in Anxiety, Eating Disorder Recovery, mental health, Recovery, Social Media, Writing

Find Your Voice

Writing is my sanctuary.

But I’ve been really discouraged lately.

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Who do I want to read this? Girls that I can potentially help? Friends that can validate me and give me kind, nurturing words of encouragement? People that can tell me they are proud of me?

More than just those people are going to read it. It’s out there in the public. My face, my words. And there are people that I am afraid of reading this.

Idealistically, they would respond with empathy or openness. I want people that don’t necessarily understand “ED” to think:

“Wow, we need to change this”

or  

“she’s really brave.”

And then I think: what a load of shit.  Maybe a better writer would get that sort of reaction.

There’s a voice that says the friends that don’t understand ED would be embarrassed for me.

Or that the mean people from high school would laugh at me.

That voice is obviously ED.

And ED sounds a whole lot like 16 year old Tasha.

There’s a few things I’ve desperately wanted to write about lately.

One is how scary it’s been going day to day without symptom use. Constantly asking myself, “Will this be another victory? Can I get another week under my belt? Am I possibly done with ED forever?”

I want to express how exciting and unreal it felt looking back realizing it had been two weeks without binging, purging or restricting. And suddenly—its been two months.

Or the way I fear slipping up any moment.  Sometimes my fight with ED feels just as hard as day one, even though I have all this recovery behind me.

I want to write about how slow moments can go by when I have urges. Or how grateful I am when I realize I haven’t thought about symptom use all weekend. How grateful I am for the people I surround myself with.

I’ve especially wanted to write about the Holidays to help me get through them.

It’s Thanksgiving break, the biggest food celebration. But also, a very loving, family-oriented holiday.

As a writing prompt, I told myself to sit down and describe what I hoped my life would be like in 5 years. At 30, what would an ED free Thanksgiving look and feel like? That imagery would hopefully inspire me. 

And then my fears crept in. My goddamn 16 year old self, worrying what other people think.

God forbid the people I know see what I want for my future. And God forbid they roll their eyes while reading it. God forbid they judge. And GOD FORBID they laugh.

Suddenly, I’m back in high school:

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When I was at Renfrew, worrying what others thought was a common theme. We all knew that people didn’t judge us quite as harshly as we thought they did. But we needed each other for that reminder.

And as for those who are judging —do we really need their approval? I don’t like mean people. So why do JUDGMENTAL people need to like me?

But ED (or in this case, Tasha) still pops up. She wonders what strangers will think? What my best friend will think? What my boyfriend will think? What his friends will think? (…She gives me a goddamn aneurism. I never want to have a teenager.)

I don’t always have my Renfrew family to help me back to reality. But I do have all the things they have taught me. I just have to remember to take care of myself. REMIND MYSELF.

So, what’s something I worry about?

That I’m a hypocrite because I have trouble eating a cupcake but preach about NON-DIETS.

I have to calm my inner, younger self down and say:

I am not a hypocrite. I DON’T believe in diets.

I have, however, spent 8 years of my life following strict rules about food. 8 years using disordered behaviors in order to control my body. Because of how long I listened to ED, I find it difficult to eat certain things when my life is feeling chaotic. Zeroing in on what I eat tricks me into feeling good and as if I have everything under control.

To someone looking in, it may seem hypocritical to not want the cupcake. But, I still try my best to eat without the labels, and listen to my body rather than my mind.

If they chose to judge me without asking about ED, then they are choosing to remain uneducated.

Sometimes 16 year old me pops in to say: it’s extremely unattractive that you binge and purge. It’s repulsive and it’s embarrassing.

Well, it’s also a real issue in our society. I don’t think others who experience it are any of the above. And those actions stems from restricting, deprivation and not feeling good enough—to the point where we fill ourselves up with anything we can find.

And my voice will hopefully inspire others to find help and love themselves regardless of what assholes think.

Do these worries disappear? No, but my kind self-talk does calm down the impressionable 16 year old that creates those fears.screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-10-27-22-pm

See, I’ve discovered that ED is nothing more than the many voices that have influenced my way of thinking over the years. It’s the misguided opinions of others that we have somehow allowed into our subconscious.

But, I am so much stronger than that young girl who believed those thoughts. And I have to constantly remind myself of that. I have thoughts and beliefs of my own to overshadow theirs.

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But back to my original intent for this article—which I have completely lost tack of now…

Writing is my sanctuary.

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Sometimes it comes easy and I can bang 3 essays out in a day. And sometimes it takes a week to finish a single thought.

Nontheless, writing really is my calling. I know, not because I’m good at it, but because of the way it makes me feel when I do it.

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I started this article four days ago and a lot has happened between now and then.

Thanksgiving has come and gone. And for the first time in 9 weeks I used symptoms. It wasn’t on Thanksgiving, which I am very proud of.

That one moment of weakness when my ED took over, does not take away from my many moments of strength during the time that’s passed.

Thanksgiving was fucking hard, man, but I did it. That’s just as important to recognize.

So, today I made a conscious effort to go back to my unfinished article.

It so happens that after a slip, I fall hard on my coping skills. I squeeze them tight hoping for release. I use them up until I discover what triggered me—or to figure out how to prevent spiraling.

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And I can’t help but wonder if my choice to stop writing over the last few weeks somehow caused the slip.

Nonetheless, everything happens for a reason. And as angry or guilty as slips can make me feel in recovery—every book and every person reminds me that they happen. And that I will learn what I need from it.

They will happen, until they wont one day.

Just like the saying goes: it is what it is, until it isn’t.

It’s as simple as that.

And since I’ve opened my laptop again: I will follow my fist directive. The one I had prior to the Thanksgiving break.

What do I want in five years?:

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Just kidding, I am going to give it some serious thought.

And keep writing…

Posted in Anxiety, Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder Awareness, Eating Disorder Recovery, mental health, Orthorexia, Recovery, Social Media, treatment

NON-Anonynous 

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Writing is something I have been struggling with a bit lately.

And if I had to blame it on something, it would probably be because my face is now attached to this page.

It was brave removing the anonymous aspect of anonymous blogging. But the more I think about the people who I know finding me, the more I wonder why I did it. First I was excited. Then I immediately wanted to delete the entire account.

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I get those evil butterflies, and chest pains even thinking about people from my past seeing it show up on their news feed. My anxiety sky rockets and ED urges usually follow. Which is why I have to finally face those thoughts and spill it all out on the keyboard.

The point of this blog was two-fold: I wanted to reclaim my love of writing, and I also wanted to use it as a coping mechanism. Journaling had always been therapeutic for me, but blogging turned it into more of a hobby. Its like story telling. I have to write, edit, re-edit, post, and hopefully look back and admire my work. I also thought it was a good way to embrace my passion for eating disorder awareness and recovery.

My blog is for me, but it’s also hopefully a sanctuary for other’s with similar experiences.

I really like exposing my imperfections. Perfect is not reality. We have all been tricked into looking at socail media and feeling that twinge of jealousy. No matter how many instagrams have pulled this shit and posted beautifully “candid” and “sculpted” pictures (Kylie Jenner, I’m looking at you) this is NOT REAL. That’s why I admire recovery accounts. That is why I started my own.

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The idea of my recovery account being found was always a thought in the back of my mind. However, I figured I’d respond with a “pshh, I don’t care, I’m an open book.”

A real tough guy.

After all, I never try to hide my ED. This makes me proud, as well as extremely self-conscious. I know that others can benefit and be inspired by my honesty, but there are some who can judge me. However, ED is a disease of secrecy and the best way to fight it, is to expose it. If someone asks me where I was, I have no problem saying, “I was at Renfrew, a treatment center for my eating disorder.” I also have no problem telling people I have to eat every four hours and I like to take my time during meals. I correct people when they call things “healthy/unhealthy” and try to always take attention away from what myself or others are eating. I openly dislike any sort of judgement pertaining to weight or diet. Hopefully others view this as a nonchalant approach to life—after all, there are far more important things than how we look or what we are putting in our bodies. As much as I wish that was my only motive, I also know I have to say these things to keep ED at bay. He is very sneaky and if I’m not careful a simple conversation about “eating healthy and working out” can lead me to missing the days where I restricted and over-exercised (or lead me to self-loathing and using food as a coping skill). 

Well, someone from work found my blog recently. Which made me start thinking that others have found me, too. This sent me into a panic (so much for tough guy).

I initially felt exposed and embarrassed. There were a million thoughts running through my brain: “OMG everything I write is so stupid. What if she thinks this is pathetic. What if she thinks this is for attention.  I need to reread everything I’ve written. Who else has seen this?”

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I had to mention it as soon as I saw her. Her big smile and kind eyes made me feel so much better. She was so loving and accepting and I honestly feel closer to her, not as a co-worker but as a human being, and as a friend.

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I know not everyone will react this way. Maybe there will be people who make fun of me. But the people who respect my journey—and the people who can even benefit from it make that the exposure all worth while.

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Therefore, I will continue my non-annynomous blogging. Slowly, but surely. My confidence may waver. But I really want to continue this for all the powerful reasons why I created it. And maybe one day, my dream of helping others and ridding ED from society will have started with this single step to expose myself.img_8858

Posted in anorexia, Anxiety, binge eating disorder, Body Positive, Bulimia, Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder Recovery, mental health, Orthorexia, Recovery, Self-acceptance, Self-talk, stress, treatment

Feeling Light

Yesterday I woke up feeling happy.  I literally had zero anxieties. It was strange. My brain didn’t know what to do.

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So here’s a little back story:

I had quite a stressful week. Screen Shot 2016-09-18 at 2.26.57 PM.png

I had gotten violently ill and had to deal with incorporating food back into my life after almost 48 hours of eating and drinking the bare minimum. This is an extremely difficult task for someone with an eating disorder.  Being sick has a psychological effect of wanting to continue to restrict even if the restriction began without your consent. Furthermore, I had to go from Work to Renfrew (16.5 hour days with lots of driving). I made the decision to bail on Renfrew one day which causes me anxiety because I really want to be dependable, but I was putting my mental state first (which typically causes guilt) and I was just too exhausted. I also had to deal with  heightening drama, a boss who put an extra load of work on me, and being taken advantage of by co-workers.

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Thursday I was able to work through it at Renfrew.

At first, I was having a hard time in my therapists office because I did not want my anger to linger. I felt as though I needed a change in attitude before it devoured me.

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I would justify everything as I vented. I’d explain the unfair situation and then say, “But it’s okay because…”

My therapist told me to stop rationalizing it and to trust what I was saying. She told me to get the emotions out without judging them. I rebuttaled:

“I do not want to feed my anger. I don’t like the person I am when I’m going on and on about other people or life being unfair.”

She explained that this was part of the eating disorder. By not talking about it, I am shoving my emotions down and smoothing them over (get it—a direct correlation to what I do with food when I get out of work).

She told me to stick with talking about the reasons why it is unfair.

By removing the judgements (the “buts” and rationalization), I was I able to realize that I can talk about my emotions without being consumed by them. It is therapeutic to spill the emotions out and not just leave them bottled up. I need to either vent to a support or journal in order to recognize why I shouldn’t be treated this way.

Furthermore, it gives me the ability to find a solution. After getting everything out on the table, I can now look at the positives. 

Initially, this situation didn’t seem to have a solution which is probably another reason why I tried to cover my emotions up and “just deal with it.” 

I want to be compliant, I want to be kind, I want to be able to handle what others throw at me. However, I also want to work to the best of my ability. If I am being taken advantage of, it is not unkind to state the facts and express reasons why I have to say no. 

I felt amazing. Venting lifted the world off my shoulders. Being non-judgmental allowed me to forgive myself. And removing the rationalizations eventually gave me solutions.

I continued my day. I was able to be honest with loved ones about my day without crucifying myself for my emotions.

I couldn’t wait for the weekend. I wanted to wake up without any obligations. I wanted sleeeep! 

But a complete worry-free Saturday morning? I have to be honest: when I wake up without any worries, sometimes my brain makes up an irrational one:

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“My boyfriend’s going to break up with me.” “My mom is going to get sick.” “So and so doesn’t like me.” And then I mentally whip out my Renfrew worksheets. “What evidence do I have to support this?” “If this is true, how will I handle it?” It’s a lot of work calming anxieties. 

But I had none. A thought even crossed my mind: “aren’t we worried Rob is going to break up with us…” (ED said)

“No.” I answered.

“Well aren’t you unhappy with your body?” (ED said)

“No, I’m really not. No faking today, I really do like it.” I said.

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I got ready and went to Renfrew. Suddenly, in my euphoric moment I realized I didn’t necessarily want to eat. I was feeling afraid of food, like it might ruin my worry-free attitude. Despite the fact that I’ve had no issues with binging and restricing all week.

At Renfrew a memory came up and I went with it…

I was 17 and at the beginning stages of my eating disorder. This particular boy may not remember saying these words; he may not remember the way he looked at me; but 8 years later–the memory was clear as day.

A few friends were gathered around a fire drinking in the woods. I was carefree and laughing, having a great time and feeling good. On the walk out, I jumped on another boy’s back for a ride. The other one was not amused. He seemed offended as he watched my actions unfold throughout the night. Finally, he lashed out. For no obvious reason, he called me superficial. There had been no talk of image or weight during our entire night so I was very confused. He added to this by bitterly saying I was ‘conceited’ and blamed it my body.

(Many people experience their bodies being a spectacle for peers. This boy considered me “thin.” I’d lost weight after being bullied years earlier for being called “fat” by another boy. Don’t you just wish body shaming of all kind would vanish. It clearly has an effect on all ages especially susceptible adolescent minds.)

I was devastated. I shut down. I tried to continue my good time but it was completely forced. I felt really guilty for being happy with my body.screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-2-51-37-pm

My ‘happiness’ had been labeled ‘conceit’ and according to this boy, my ‘carefree’ attitude was only because I was ‘skinny.’

There are no such things as coincidences. I have been working hard on self-acceptance for many years, and this memory popped into my mind for a reason.

I allowed it to resonate and shared the incident with the supports around me.

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I did not manipulate my body to achieve happiness today, but I due to old beliefs, I thought food would ruin my ephoria. I am demeaning myself because being completely content may make others look angrily upon me. Therefore, I can only be content as long as I have an underlying struggle with my weight

I feel uneasy over loving myself.

Is it all because of this one incident? No. But this boy clearly had the same beliefs as ED. And since ED was just beginning to take control of me at that time, that boy validated EDs lies. Lies that were buried deep in my skull until I had the proper education, coping skills and support to dig them up and plant new ones.

Luckily, we had art next and I furiously journaled:

…”you’re only happy because your skinny.” How can this be true? I had cake, cookies, and pizza this week!

I want to exercise to keep this feeling? But I didn’t exercise at all in order to achieve this feeling…

I haven’t restricted so why do I feel guilty for being happy with my body? Do I actually feel guilty that I haven’t been bingeing?

Do I not deserve to feel “skinny?” Because I have an ED? I don’t know if ED even considers this skinny, I’m just at  peace with my body?

I hate the way that boy looked at me–like I don’t deserve to be happy. I don’t know if I’m actually working through anything or making any sense, but I hope that writing this down is freeing myself of it…

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Happiness is not related to thinness, no matter how many people may hold that belief.

ED gave me a high every time I was happy with my body. But that high was fleeting. It was due to over exercising and restriction.

And I’ve proven many times in recovery that I can experience happiness without focusing on my body or the mirror.

Today’s euphoria was not due to manipulating food or exercising. It was the real thing.

It was due to feelings of adequacy. Feelings of pride that I took care of myself this week. Feelings of contentment for life and love from my boyfriend. It was due to appreciating my kindness both for others and for myself. And my new super-power: venting and finding a solution!

…I was confusing feeling “thin” and feeling “light.”

My ED likes to misinterpret “lightness” as a physical sensation. And often tricks me into restricting and exercising in order to feel “light.” That is why it is a fake euphoria.

I know now that feeling light is a mental state. And food does not affect its ability to come and go…

This feeling will inevitably pass, as do all feelings. But, now I can enjoy it as it comes and not fear losing it because of actions or thoughts associated with food or body.

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Being content with oneself is not conceit. It is kindness and we all need to appreciate it when it comes.

Being care-free is a blessing. There are too many worries in life, and when they seem to dissipate for one beautiful Saturday, smile and go about your day, in hopes of it lasting forever. But also knowing, that if it leaves, it will soon return as long as you take care of yourself.

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Posted in Anxiety, Eating Disorder Recovery, Recovery, Renfrew, treatment

Joys/Worries of Unexpected Progress

I continued a recent instagram post ( Just_Do_Today ) due to the unexpected progress I have steadily been experiencing.

I was weighed last night at Renfrew. My therapist kindly covered the numbers because last week I told her I don’t like looking. “Please move your hand. I don’t want to be afraid of the scale anymore.”
I briefly looked and stepped off. I was surprised. I was disappointed.
But 5 minutes before this weigh in, I was completely content with my body. So why would I allow a meaningless number to change that now?

Fuck you ED. I now knew the godforsaken number and felt as though I had taken back control.
Did I love the number? No. But I’m not afraid of it anymore.

It’s my dad’s bday today and he wants to go to a buffet for dinner (ED thrives in these places).

Knowing this, my mom asked if I wanted to bail. But these are the little things ED takes away from me–an evening with my family, sitting around laughing and bonding. Since I don’t have the funds to buy an extravagant present he deserves, I really want him to be surrounded by his family in his favorite restaurant. He would appreciate that.  ED,  you are losing your grip on me. I am taking my life back. Food does not control me. I control my life.

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This morning I woke up with nagging anxiety. I grabbed my journal and asked myself the questions that my therapist suggested when these fears come up.

“Do I have plausible evidence to support this worry?”

Answering this usually lessens the fear’s intensity. I realize how unlikely it is to happen. Instead, the feeling is being triggered by something similar happening to someone else, or old insecurities playing out in my brain.

But sometimes I have a hard time disputing that I’m experiencing a “gut feeling”…(although, 9 times out of 10 these fears are simply caused by anxiety)

That’s when I ask:

“What would I do if the worst case scenario actually happened?”

I wrote about the strong woman I am, and how hard I fought to become her. I’ve worked too hard and too long to crumble under an undesirable circumstance. I can do one of two things: work to prevent it–and if that is impossible, repeat to myself that “Everything happens for a reason.”

From waking up with worry lines, I was now driving to work with a mile wide smile. As I realized this, I turned the music up and sang  a little bit louder. I  touched the rosaries hanging in my car (I am not a very religious person, but this action has always represented my gratitude for the current situation and trying to have complete serenity for my future).

I haven’t always gone to my journal when I should. Especially when my irrational worries arise. I can’t ignore the little twinge inside me that tells me it’s the right thing to do. However,  I’d convince myself that another coping skill will suffice. This”easy way out” sort of thinking usually leads to symptom use because I’m not dealing with my emotions. Then ED will slither his way into the rest of my day. The importance of picking the right coping mechanism was something I specifically remember learning at Renfrew! At that time, I’d never dream of ignoring the twinge that told me the right coping skill to use–I was so thankful for it! And since then I have lost sight of it’s importance.

I wondered why it is so much easier to do “the right thing” while I’m in Renfrew.

It has now been two full weeks without symptom use.

I have used the proper coping skills when I needed them. I have tackled planned and unplanned challenges (two big ones listed above in my Instagram post). I have been practicing very kind self-talk.

Finally, I’ve managed to take back control of situations ED has been hopelessly controlling before entering back into treatment.

Last night at the buffet, I repeated “slipping up is not an option” over and over again to myself. Regrettably, this is a line that hasn’t always worked in the past. But, last night I took it very seriously.

Why do I feel so much stronger in treatment? Is it truly because I’m surrounded by women that think and feel and fight the way I do? Is it the accountability of having to check in multiple times a week? Is it because I am forced to make myself a priority on these days.

I still worry about messing up. And I worry about discharge day. But, I have to take it one breath, one moment, one meal at a time.

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At Mt. Laurel Renfrew, surrounded by some of the most amazing people I have ever met 🙂 (don’t know how they would feel about being posted, so it’s just happy and healthy me)
Posted in Anxiety, Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder Recovery, Pro-recovery, Recovery, Self-acceptance, Self-love, Strength

Finding Strength in Breakdowns

I spent last night drowning in self-pity. I was angry, embarrassed and ashamed of my eating disorder. I called it “disgusting.” Why did this have to happen to me; why is it still happening!?

That’s crap. I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself.

I’m not saying it’s not okay to fall apart. Everyone has hardships, and crying about how difficult it is does not make someone a weak person. The difference here is that I was questioning my life and judging an uncontrollable illness. Of course I do not want an eating disorder, but no one knows what cross they will bear. It’s ok to cry when life gets rough, but I was only focusing on the bad. 

I was angry. And I’m torn about that emotion because everyone tells me I should feel angry sometimes, but why? Feeling anger is a slippery slope. In this case, like many others, it assigns blame. “Poor me” because of what so and so did. In this case, my ED. And who was I blaming for having an ED? Life? So I was angry at life? That’s not okay.

Today I woke up, initially embarrassed for having fell apart to my boyfriend. What if I lose Rob over this? I started to panic. Then I remembered my dream last night:

I was dating someone named Kevin, but had been calling him Rob for the duration of our relationship lol. He never corrected me because he thought it was cute (weird) but even dream ME knew it was because I’m only in love with one person and it’s Rob.Believe it or not that’s what made me realize I need to stop drowning in self-pity and pointing fingers at life for what it dealt me. I needed tough love.


What if I lose Rob… What if this….What if… What if… What if…

What if—nothing!

What do I have right now in this moment? I have a wonderful boyfriend that loves me. I have my family. I have the experience of treatment behind me. I have overcome mountains and tackled many fears I had about life. I am thankful to continue down this road with the knowledge I need when things get hard. I have my emotions and the ability to express them: laughter, adoration, gratitude, pride, generosity, compassion, love.

(Below is a tattoo I got– my grandmother’s handwriting to remind me of what I have)


What about the emotion of Anger? I only need anger to show me when I am being treated unfairly. But, that’s a very specific purpose. It takes two seconds to make that sort of realization. And then I can let go of the anger. 

Without anger, I could not recognize that a co-worker acts the way I acted last night every single day. She self-pities and what-ifs and convinces me how hard she has it. I really believe that surrounding myself with someone with these beliefs had an effect on my psychology.

I started questioning if she was right about life. I didn’t know how to react to her opinions.. 

“I should feel bad for her. I’m a bad person because I judge her sometimes. I want to yell “cut it out, it could be worse!” … Does that make me apathetic? Maybe I would be just as ungrateful in her situation. I wasn’t dealt her hand in life. What if these things happen to me and what if I can’t handle it. Is something going to happen to me now…

STOP. Rre-evaluate this situation:

Anyone can drown in self-pity.

Let’s take someone else, perhaps with a similar situation (there are many people who have gone through hardships in life). And yet they wake up everyday and manage to smile. You would never know all the things they go through. They genuinely ask others how their days are going. They appreciate the big things: like what family they may have left, a roof over their heads. They take notice to the small things: like the beauty outside, the laugher of others. They may cry and breakdown, even get angry sometimes, but they always pull it back together. Empathizing is okay, but pitying someone is not. A strong person will appreciate compassion, but will never ask for pity.

And so, if my co-worker is asking for pity I have every right to walk away from the situation. She is reminding me of old fears about life. But I don’t like the person I am when allowing those anxieties back in! I don’t want to be afraid of life! And, I need to gently remind myself, that does not take away from my compassion as a person, but merely adds to my strength as a fighter.


Today, I gave myself a pep talk when I woke up. I know my situation isn’t as bad as I made it seem last night. But I had built up a lot of very real emotions inside me: frustration, confusion and (fleeting) hopelessness (have faith, always find your way back to it in lost moments). Therefore, I forgive myself for the breakdown. Today, I have to go to work and face the person that is angry at life and I don’t want to. I cannot just walk away from her (I’ve tried).


 I made the realization that perhaps she influenced my way of thinking because it reminds me of old habits and anxieties.

I don’t want to have any pent-up anger, and I really don’t want to be surrounded by that way of thinking especially if I am clearly affected by it.

I don’t want someone talking about life as if it such a bad place. (I have to live here too!) I am grateful for it, and anyone can be, even those with hardships.

I am a stronger person after last night. And in choosing strength, I have to let go of badmouthing life and myself. I will not be embarrassed or ashamed for how I acted last night—I am human. But, I can commit to change. I am stronger today. And I am grateful for everything I have in this moment.