Something lately I have been thinking about. When I developed anorexia it was not some overnight switch that just flicked and suddenly I had anorexia nervosa. I began a diet after my freshmen semester in college because I had picked up 35+ pounds in a matter of 2-3 months because I had never in my life been exposed to food in bags, boxes, pre-cooked/frozen meal, and had never even owned a microwave. Convenience food paired with alcohol paired with 99% of my friends being male landed me a tremendous weight gain. At the time, I was living and enjoying life and eating obvious a lot non-stop. I don’t even remember gaining the weight. What I do remember is calling home to my mom to inform her my dryer had shrunk my clothes(a dryer is another thing I never owned until college). I really convinced myself that it did. However, upon meeting my mom for birthday shopping and trying on the size jeans I knew I wore, I realized I had jumped up a good 3-4 sizes in jeans as well. My parents and brothers commented on how much weight I had packed on. Being a shy and self conscious person my whole life, people’s words REALLY take a toll on my mood, thoughts and reflection. So after first semester I dieted and exercised. I dropped weight easily but along with it I dropped out on social events, eating at the cafeteria, and eventually eating around anybody. I began spending my mornings and evenings running and at the gym. I spent other hours studying absolutely obsessively to keep a running 4.0. I focused on the size of my jeans, the fit of my clothes, and what the scale read every single morning. Dehydrated nights of drinking left a lower number, and those drunk nights where you wake up parched as hell yielded a higher number. However the number with all my exercising, lifting and cheerleading never ever went below 114. So I fixated on this number.


The point is, when I developed my eating disorder I developed a new way of life. My entire life changed with anorexia. Every thought, action, preoccupation developed slowly into this bubble of control and isolation where I felt safe and never ever let my guards down. “Trust nobody, and eat nothing. Stay away from people because they will mock your fatness and stare. The only stress relief is running. The only control is starving. The only sanity is control over the scale.” I developed this into a reality I really truly thought was real. But it is all the disease. I accept what I developed my life into, and undoing the life change is another life change in itself. I developed some incredibly bad habits I need to accept, but CHANGE. I developed a fear of trusting people in general, anyone, and until I accept myself and people as generally good beings, my ability to be social will be filled with preoccupation on saying the wrong thing, feeling fat, and pondering what I ate before or will eat after the social event. I still get stuck in time management of social situations- Like hanging out with the guy I am talking to. I predetermine the time frame of the activity which makes me predetermine what I eat, when I will leave, and what I will do afterwards. When it works out, I feel relief when I walk through my door because it is ‘safe’ there when I am on my own. I never in my life have enjoyed being with or around myself. I AM a people person at heart and I need to figure out how to re-develop this ability. Social situations need to be anything but preplanned and determined. I need to live in to moment and not planning the next moment. In bed before I fall asleep I catch myself thinking about the next day, how I will stay busy, how food will go, and the what-if’s of whether or not I step on the scale. I have a lot of satisfaction and security in the fact that I can maintain my weight, and I can lose weight. This is single handedly the most powerful feeling I have in life- sad as it sounds, and it is hard as hell to break. My life, ME, I am SO much more than a functioning individual who can lose weight and have will power. I do not want any of that shit in my life. I want to be known for being charismatic, fun loving, funny, quirky, and the person who bring excitement and entertainment to a room. That’s who I really am and I accept I am not finished until I am again that person.

 I never understood, realized or ACCEPTED that so many things I think and do are diseased and wrong. They all developed as I developed an eating disorder. I have lived in what I thought was normal, what I convinced myself I didn’t have a problem with and what never has crossed my mind as wrong for close to 6 years now. Changing that is making me re-embark in life. I need to re-develop myself, my attitude, my food, my meals, my weight, and un-develop the never ending list of disordered thoughts and habits I have. For so long, there was no question about what I would do, how I would act, where I would go, and what I would eat. Now, all of that is up for question. What am I doing today? Where am I going? Who am I hanging out with? Who will I care for today? What and when AM I eating, and not what am I not eating or avoiding. Recovery is face-first into the real world, and it is scary, but I keep waking up alive everyday. I keep going to bed full of food, and forcing myself to accept it. I look at the scale and accept going up in weight is good. I also make myself think about a lot besides myself. Anorexia is so damned selfish I am always worrying about my recovery rather than recovering. When I get caught up on food, what I will eat or freaking out about what I did eat, then I realign those thoughts. Getting caught up in the food part of recovery is ridiculous and selfish. There is SO much more I could be actively doing. You scared? Go to church. Anxious? Call your mom. Need accountability? Then make promises to people who mean the world to you and will not break. Worried? And this is the worst because I over-worry about firkin everything, then I try to locate my mind and consume it in a puzzle book, or scrabble on the computer. I re-occupies myself until I have something else to tend to. If it comes down to it and I am panicking over recovery I read the bible. Even if you aren’t religious the bible offers so much encouragement and determination. Take for example:

            “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid…for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

Read it, reread it, but the point is to BELIEVE it. whether or not you even believe in God or that he exists, believe the quote. We were put here for success, growth and the help others and enrich the lives of other people. You will not be failed but you need to not be afraid and second guessing of everything you do. Everything is possible with acceptance. I know I hound this word, but it is SO true.

 Once upon a time, actually a few months ago, Katie from http://themilkfreeway.wordpress.com/ left me this comment, which I printed out with an attached cute picture and I read it every morning:

 I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time Mal. Maybe this advice from my previous therapist will help. She told me that a person’s gut reaction in recovery is to fight with the eating disordered thoughts – but that is actually counterproductive, because it just makes them louder. Like screaming at a toddler having a tantrum. Eating disordered thoughts have no logic to them and they don’t respond to argument. The way I deal with them, as my therapist suggested, is to tell myself that they are symptoms of a mental illness, nothing to do with reality. Then I ignore them. I know it sounds too simple but really, labelling them as ‘disordered’ takes all the power out of them. It takes practice but it’s the single most helpful thing I’ve learned in recovery this time around, after 13 years of eating disorder. It’s so hard I know, but remind yourself that EVERYONE with an eating disorder has EXACTLY the same thoughts about being greedy, out of control, scared etc – but you wouldn’t tell anyone else that they were right about being weak, would you? You would tell them that’s just their illness talking. It’s the same for you. None of this is true, it’s not your fault and you are doing great. Hang in there ❤

Get it? so the jest of this….accept recovery and keep on truckin…if you don’t then you dwelling in your problems and disorders and living WITH them, not getting past them and actively changing them. it is one this to say you want to change, you say you will change, but it is another to CHANGE, to actually do it- not just consider it and think about it, even write about it. The proof is in the pudding.