Posted in anorexia, binge eating disorder, Body Image, Bulimia, Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder Recovery, Recovery, Renfrew, Social Media

What Kind Of Eating Disorder Do You Have?

Theres a huge lack of awareness around eating disorders. I do see a shift, however, happening in the media. Celebrating all body types has been a wonderful, much-needed new fad (hopefully one that sticks around).

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Even some professionals lack awareness.

Ideally, all doctors/counselors should be educated on eating disorders, but I understand that they have a heavy caseload: dealing with limitless medical issues.

However, specialist in the field have no excuse, and one should not say they “specialize,” unless they have adequate knowledge and experience.

It takes years to become a specialist and you are directly affecting the lives of those suffering from the mental illness. That is a lot of pressure and I admire the individuals who choose to pursue it.

They know how fragile and complicated eating disorders are. They encourage and challenge, and they put up with a lot. They seem to also be constantly learning from patients and evolving themselves as therapists.

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(To make a shout out, my life has been forever changed by the professionals at both Mount Laurel Renfrew and Ridgewood Renfrew.)


However, there is one person that did not have such a wonderful impact on me. A professional in treatment that was constantly lecturing and not listening to the very crucial things—we as patients—needed to say.

When the other therapists and counselors walked into a session, I felt as though they were sitting with us. This particular woman seemed to sit above us, looking down at her ‘specimen.’

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No matter how educated a person is, they cannot possibly understand the ins and outs of an eating disorder unless they have experienced it themselves OR are open to continuously learning from those directly affected—which she wasn’t.

During one of her spiels, she listed symptoms of our eating disorders. As she said “binge” she pointed to the heaviest girl in the room. I saw my friend’s face fill with embarrassment as she realized the therapist was pointing to her. The therapist then mentioned “resticting,” and her finger went to the tiniest person in the room.

Needless to say, this seemingly innocent action followed my friend out the door, as she cried to me in the parking lot. And I’m sure it followed her into the next day as she chose what to (or to not) eat.

That therapists enhanced her feelings of inadequacy. She also validated the impulse to compare herself to others. And she was unknowingly supporting the restrictive mindset. “You aren’t good enough, unless you restrict. And you’re absolutely worthless, unless you LOOK like you’re restricting.”

I wish I was in charge that day, I would have blindfolded everyone, INCLUDING the therapist. Then I’d have everyone list the complex thoughts we have around food. No one would been able to tell who said what. A body type does not define what kinds of urges you have or the symptoms you use. 

Blind-folded, we would have all admitted to skipping meals because we didn’t think our bodies NEEDED or DESERVED any more food. We would have all agreed that food is the predominant thought in a day. I’m sure all of us have either experienced vigorous exercising, taking laxatives or attempting to throw up because we couldn’t stop thinking about the calories we consumed. And I know none of us feel completely comfortable eating in public–fearing judgment from others.

No eating disorder can escape restrictive behaviors.. We all feel the same self-loathing shame that comes from eating.. And most eating disorders involve purging, which is not  always in the form of vomiting (as we were taught to associate with bulimia).

I am very transparent with my eating disorder. This doesn’t mean I lack embarrassment with all the thoughts and behaviors I share. I am actually highly self-conscious about the things I’ve exposed. But I choose this way of life for a reason. I can’t complain about ignorance, while doing nothing about it.

A common question I get upon revealing that I have/had an eating disorder

(I still have no idea if I consider myself “recovered” or ”in recovery,” that’s a question for another day)977dada99a6acfbc50670fed98b01163

..But everyone wants to know: what kind of eating disorder I have.

People are very kind and always include, “if you don’t mind me asking.”

I absolutely don’t mind discussing anything eating disorder related. If a question is triggering, I would actually like to answer it and let the inquirer know WHY it is so triggering. Or why, perhaps, some others wouldn’t want to talk about it.

I was formally diagnosed by a psychiatrist at 18 years old. I went to him because I wanted to stop binging and purging. He diagnosed me with bulimia. 

It wasn’t until later that I realized I had also experienced “anorexia,” in the years prior to that diagnosis.

My junior year of high school, I started dieting with the intention of getting “bullies” off my back.

I wanted to feel better about myself and I didn’t want them to have a reason to make fun of my body. 

I counted calories, fasted occasionally and weaved out any “unhealthy” foods I read about. This continued for a while–waaaaay before I binged and purged the first time.

My eating habits were viewed as “normal” by most in high school. (To this day, I see other people engaging in these habits. I don’t have all the answers, and I often wonder: do they have an undiagnosed eating disorder or are they simply missing that addictive gene that I unfortunately have?)

Many of my close friends and family have apologized for not catching onto my eating disorder at that period in time; acknowledging now, that it was disordered.

None of my thoughts/urges or behaviors were actually labeled as disordered—until I made myself throw up.

“Binging and Purging” are the actions that solidified a problem. Now, suddenly, my so-called dieting was labeled as restricting. Because no one can turn a blind eye to self-induced vomiting.

I learned about the negative side-effects of ‘not eating,’ so I slowly replaced my goal of ‘restricing’ with ‘clean’ eating. All of my therapists supported this mentality shift.

Obviously, they were not specialists.

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For that reason, I understand why none of them were able to point out how helplessly I clung to a restrictive mindset.

I still counted calories, even if my goal wasn’t to eat as little as possible. I occasionally replaced meals with bars and smoothies. I only ate organic and non-gmo foods. I needed the control of knowing every ingredient going into my body. And I exercised much more often to compensate for the increased intake. 

I also lived somewhat of a double life: the foods I ate in secret during a binge and purge episode. And the everyday foods I ate when I was “being good.” I loved myself when I was working out and I loathed myself if I didn’t have the energy for it. My thoughts were so vastly different depending on which version of myself was in control. 

That stage lasted for 3 years (until I entered treatment).

Knowing what I know now, the proper therapist would have explained how I was merely finding loopholes in the ‘anorexic’ and ‘bulimic’ illnesses I learned about. My eating disorder was still in full control.

And since I was not seeing a specialist, no one was catching on to these new, sneaky methods. 

These behaviors are most commonly known as orthorexia.

However, treatment taught me that the diagnosis doesn’t matter. It is an irrelevant, outdated, and often inaccurate category to place us in.

It has taken many years to put an end to the self-induced vomiting. I live with health issues that can make my urges feel unbearable. Things such as acid reflux and a slow digestive track add to the difficulty of keeping down my food. But I can never use those obstacles as an excuse to purge.

I am very proud of my progress. However, without purging, I’m sometimes left sitting with the embarrassment and discomfort of binging. 

Binging has been the last symptom to leave me. And sometimes I feel it’s the most shameful. It’s wrongfully associated with lack of discipline. And I think most of us have heard the VERY ignorant and appalling comment: “I wish I could throw up after eating all that.” 

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Which leaves someone in recovery wondering, “why on earth would I stop myself now that I’ve binged.. even if it does mean i’m going backwards..”

So now, for me, is the most accurate diagnosis binge-eating disorder?

I don’t want another label. Another diagnosis. Yet another phase of my eating disorder.

But the only way out is through. 

Do you see the problem with grouping eating disorders into 3 or 4 various categories?

All eating disorders overlap. There is no prototype. There is no specific code of symptoms that each type of diagnosis engages in. We have ALL been there.

Walk into a treatment center and look around. Most “anorexic” women/men will not show the body type of the actress in “To the Bone.” 

Painstakingly OBVIOUS (as the media portrays it) ^

Tell me, is it really that obvious?..^

(Sidenote: I am not against the movie, To The Bone. I support the idea of spreading awareness, but they DID indulge a pretty bad stereotype during casting).

The diagnosis is irrelevant. Even the symptoms themselves aren’t a priority. Dig up the emotions. Find the solution.

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Posted in anorexia, binge eating disorder, Body Image, Body Positive, Bulimia, Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder Recovery, Orthorexia, Recovery, Self-love, Social Media, Writing

Eating Disorder Declarations

Today I reflected on the disordered declarations I used to make every morning while in my eating disorder.

I would spend hours scrolling through fitness instagrams. Updating myself on the latest health trends, finding exercise gurus to follow, and pinning vegetarian recipes.

I would go to sleep with all this newly-found inspiration on how to be thin and active.

It felt exhilarating to create a flawless routine for myself. Thinking: “this time it will work. If I follow this plan, I will never have another unhealthy craving. And I will never want to stop exercising.”

Oftentimes, I fell short of my goal. My motivation to work out would inevitably dwindle, and I’d eat things that caused severe guilt.

I failed yet again. Somehow all these beautiful women I read about could do it, but I wasn’t good enough to keep up.

My personal eating disorder often included binge/purge cycles that crept in about a week after I implemented my strict diet and exercise regimens. And I aways wondered, with such intense self-loathing, how could I allow myself to get to this point, again? What am I doing wrong?

“I just have to try harder,” I would think, as I scrolled though more Pinterest pages and found new ideas on how to tighten the reigns on myself.

I’d spend a long time reading and pulling tidbits from everywhere: what women ate, how they exercised, how much water they drank, how they kept their motivation.

Another night’s sleep would pass in anticipation that… “tomorrow I’ll be good.” and “this is the last time I’ll have to start over.”

Years later, in an eating disorder treatment facility, one of the first steps I took was deleting all accounts that fueled my desire to be thin and fit. I could not allow myself to look at anything that made me feel as though image was ‘all-important.’ This even meant unfollowing certain friends. I made a conscious effort, which was very difficult, to not indulge in the health/fitness and diet culture. I had to be really serious about it.

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Two years later, I hold true to this. However, I still see fitness models and seemingly flawless women all around me. I do not seek them out, but it is truly unavoidable (especially with social media.)Screen Shot 2017-06-24 at 3.00.55 PM

I do not speak about it, but I overhear conversations pertaining to the subject. How people plan to lose weight. I hear many people confidently boast about their work out routines, and others “ooh-ing and ahh-ing” at their “dedication.”

I know the truth: coming up with ways to change my body is an absolute waste of my energy and time. I am a better person when I am not trying to be like others. I am proud that I want to obsess over the beautiful/unique aspects of myself, and not pick apart my flaws. My core belief is that self-love is all-important.

But that doesn’t change how hard it is to deal with the fitspo pictures that pop up and conversations surrounding food and body.

When ‘Jill’ talks about how many miles she ran today: I hear the remanence of my eating disorder telling me how flabby I’ve become since I stopped putting so much energy into working out.

When my eyes graze the cover of Women’s Health and I see that another actress dropped ten pounds and gained lean muscle, I wonder: why the hell would I give up focusing on what I’m eating everyday.

I noticed today that my declarations, although lessened, have not stopped completely. They are not as loud and intentional, but they do remain in the back of my head. It’s the little voice that says: “maybe I’ll just give up my mac and cheese.” IMG_8912

or “I have to start using my pull-up bar again.” or “no more desserts for the next two weeks.”

I made a couple of these subtle declarations in therapy.

My therapist stopped me. She reminded me that focusing on food is my way of regaining control in some area of my life. And although my eating disorder isn’t as obnoxious as it once was, it’s still successfully convincing me that I have an inadequate body and I need to change.

If that little voice starts to plan anything related to food or fitness, shift my thoughts and start planing other things: such as what do to with my free time. Start imagining the canvas I plan on painting when I get home from work. Or what facial mask I’ll wear while I pick out a color to paint my nails.

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Declarations aren’t quite as bad as I once thought they were.

I can still wake up exhilarated to start or continue something. But, let your declarations be constructive and worthy of your time. Let them be soulful and artistic. 

Look forward to your current life, do not plan on changing yourself.

“I declare that I will use my experiences to write more” …

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.”

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 anorexia, Body Image, Bulimia, Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder Recovery, Orthorexia, Recovery, Self-acceptance, Self-love, Social Media, vision board

The Dreaded “Tagged” Photo

I preach about self-love.

But let me just say–right now I’m having a very hard time accessing that part of my brain.

So, to begin I’ll let you know my rule when taking pictures: either don’t take them at all, or be prepared to take about twenty until I find one I am comfortable with.

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I want to love my body, whole-heartedly, I really do. But, having body dimorphic disorder challenges that ideal constantly. Generally speaking, I am doing a great job working towards my goal though.

I have a meal-plan, guidelines about what to eat and why. And I am learning more and more about intuitive eating. I try to listen to, and not judge, my cravings and hunger cues.

I am damn proud of all that. I like that I am no longer afraid of bagels in the morning. I love that I can have dessert during celebrations. And I absolutely relish the fact that I never read the nutritional facts of ANYTHING I eat anymore. I look at the ceiling when the doctor weighs me. And I am making great strides in ED urges–haven’t had a lapse in a while. I should be a bundle of positivity and righteousness. Everything has been going splendidly, right? I should have my socks and shoes off and be chanting in front of a mirror about peace and self-love.

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ENTER: FACEBOOK.

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Omg. I look disgusting.

I thought about the night that photo was taken. I was so naive. Seriously, how pathetic? My arm looks fat. My checks are so chubby. Ugh.

I mean, maybe others thought I liked nice. People were talking to me a lot. The important part is that I danced and laughed the entire night—

**looks at picture again**

Oh god, no. I don’t want anyone else to see this picture. I hate it so much. Why can’t I be cute in candids.

Why can’t I be cute like I used to be in photos?

…Like I used to…

^Of course, I’m referring to when I was stuck in my eating disorder. Under complete control of ED.

Do you see how quickly ED can be missed?

My mind immediately thought of an old photo… around a fire, someone took an unexpected shot of me laughing—I was doing the same exact face, scrunched nose, huge smile—but ED made me look so much cuter. And “recovery” now makes me look fat.

These are my harsh words. I feel tempted to erase them. Why would I want to expose such negativity about myself? Especially when I work so hard to show the power of self-love.

Honestly, because it is human to feel this way. It’s human to have moments of insignificance or unworthiness.

But, I also want to share what happens when you face these thoughts and work through them…

I could have easily shut down my laptop. It’s my first instinct. I’m so disgusted with social media sometimes. I could have just said “I hate this stupid photo. Whatever. I just wont look at it again.”

But, what happens when I do that? That image will linger. I’ll be going about my business and I’ll get a twinge of disgust when I look down at my thighs. My body will suddenly be so pronounced, I will feel like the blueberry girl in Willy Wonka. And my urges to eat in order to cope with embarrassment will subconsciously surface. And I’ll binge. Or the pressure to work out will be hovering over me. So I will purge with over-exercising. The point is, without facing these ED thoughts about the picture, he’s going to hang around until I give into his urges.

So I looked at the photo.

I’m laughing, I thought…

YES, and I wish I didn’t crinkle my nose like that. (ED chimed back in).

But, when I crinkle my nose it means I’m admiring the people I’m with. 

And that’s what I was doing. I was soaking it all in. MY cousin had just gotten married to a girl that makes him so happy. It was a magical (Disney themed) wedding. My aunt, uncle and mom had been dancing all night—I have never seen them so happy. Rob was with me. He was getting along with my entire family, and everybody loved him. He was looking at me so adoringly. He loves me. He was slow dancing with me, which does not happen often. I was really enjoying my sister’s company—I felt like we were 15 again. I was seriously, genuinely smiling the entire time. In fact,  there was another candid taken of me that I actually liked. Probably hours in between both photos being taken and I was still making that same adorably happy face. At least I liked one of them.

OKAY! we are making progress. I am saying kind words about myself.

Alright. Now we can close up the computer.

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I still felt like a blueberry. But a cute blueberry, that’s recovering—and I’m going easy on her.

I suddenly realized something.

I opened pinterest and scrolled down to an old folder entitled “vision board.” This was created over two years ago. For those unfamiliar with vision boards, I basically pinned all the photos I wanted for my future. And they were chosen PRE-recovery, so some were quite triggering.

And there it was: the photo I remembered pinning two years ago…

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From my “Vision Board” folder

And I remember why I pinned it, too. These two girls are all dolled up at a party:

“I want to go out with my sister, and my friends. I want to be carefree and happy and positive.”

I scrolled down a little more and saw this picture:

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Another “Vision Board” photo

“I want to be genuinely happy. I want to smile infectiously.”

Well, hell, isn’t that what I’m doing in this photo? The one that triggered all these self-loathing emotions…

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The facebook photo I was tagged in earlier.

Oh, that’s right, I want ALL of those things (happiness, family, friends, laughter) but I really need to look SKINNY while doing so.

But ED has those values, not me. And ED was the one who choose those photos to pin for my future.

Tasha is the quiet voice underneath it all saying–“No, I really just want the happiness.” ED may have inspired that Vision Board folder years ago, but Tasha controls my actions now, and it was really Tasha who got motivated to write this article. Because I know it’s wrong to be mean to a girl who is experiencing pure bliss in perhaps a not-so-flattering photo.

(By the way, you may or may not agree with the way I looked at my tagged photo. It’s very exposing to announce the judgements I have over myself. Especially  when I want to be an example of self love. But the reason why I’ve exposed them is because people tend to judge themselves too harshly. It is human. But I wish it would stop. And if you experience body image issues, social media is a breeding ground for feeling bad about your “so-called” imperfections)

I have to take a deep breath while reflecting on all this.

I really want to love myself.

But It’s still hard to push out ED’s criticism.

However, I know I’ll get there. Because I want it.

I scrolled through instagram for some positive quotes (using social media powers for good instead of evil).screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-8-59-28-amscreen-shot-2016-10-29-at-9-03-45-am

It helped. But then I read an old text from a friend. I saved it because it initially made me cry, and I knew those beautiful words could help me in moments of self-doubt.

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I read it over and over. And then I remembered all the kind things other friends, my boyfriend, parents and supporters from Renfrew had said to me.

I felt better. I shouldn’t call myself a blueberry, that’s not nice. And I wouldn’t do it to anyone else.

I’m Natasha, and I work very hard in recovery. I work very hard to love myself. And screw anyone that looks at a photo and judges me for anything less than what I am. Including you ED.

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And I hope to look at that photo someday soon, free of ED, and admire my geniune laugher and beauty. Because that’s what I would see if this photo was of another beautiful, strong and happy woman.

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