I was driving through my town this afternoon and stopped at a stop light on the square and was greeted by the smell of pasta and garlic. I sat in my car and sniffed as my eyes began to well up with tears. I love the smell of pasta, sauce, garlic and bread it’s amazing and comforting and fun. It reminded me of date nights going out to eat, and gathering with friends, and family. It took me back to a time when I didn’t think twice about food, eating, smells or any other negative, twisted thought that I now have. I sat at the light and cried as I sniffed and wished I could get those times back, I want those times back so much. I want to be able to eat whatever I want and not think, not think about the calories, what it’s cooked in, how much oil, butter or fat is used what’s in the dish that is not mentioned on the menu, how am I going to make these calories up, am I going to purge, use laxatives, over exercise, restrict the next meal or day. As I pushed the pedal and began to drive away the memories faded away and I was left with all of these negative feelings and thoughts of how bad the smells were, how bad the times are and how I’m stuck in this trap and can’t get out. As I sit here and write this I wonder when did it all leave? When did all of this bad creep in and why? Why am I so confused and my mind so chaotic and scrambled all of the time, will I ever be able to enjoy the things I used too, will I ever be “ok” again. I just want to be able to smell the pasta, eat the pasta and enjoy the pasta without any other thoughts, nothing, just silence I want to eat without planning what’s next. I want to sit down and be present with whom ever I’m with, I want to eat and not think about my stomach, my thighs or that I’m not good enough to eat or I’m bad for eating, that food is bad, food is the enemy, food makes me fat, I’m fat, im ugly, I dont deserve anything, I need to starve myself, I need to purge, I need to hurt myself, I wish I were dead. I often wonder what it used to be like when I didn’t have these thoughts but it’s been 17 years of this hell so it’s hard to recall. I keep fighting and pushing and trying new things to “get better” but as the days pass nothing changes. I can’t help but wonder what’s next, is this the best my life is ever going to be? Is this the life I’m stuck with? All I want is to eat the pasta, smell the garlic, enjoy the bread and be ok. Yet all I want to do is, purge, take laxatives, restrict, over exercise and not be ok because that’s my normal and that’s how I feel productive and good enough. I’m good enough for my ED, I’m not letting him down. But in the mean time I’m letting myself, my family, friends, down. I’m letting myself go deeper and deeper until one day it’s too deep and it’s too late to enjoy the pasta. I’m losing everything I worked so hard for, I’m giving up and letting go of hope because it’s scary and unfamiliar. My ED is familiar, it comforts me like bread and pasta comfort others. My empty, starving belly comfort me. I like feeling hungry, I have grown to reach for that feeling to fight for that feeling. I have grown to fight for all the things I hate about myself. I have grown to give up and back away from things that are good, comforting and fun. So I guess I’m not weak, I’m not a failure and I’m not giving up because as a matter of fact I fight everyday to be this terrible, hungry, self obsessed human in a shell fighting to prove I am something. Fighting to prove I don’t have to eat the pasta, I can smell the garlic and bread and look at it but I’m strong because I refuse to eat it or keep it in. I refuse to let those calories bind themselves to my body and cause destruction. I refuse to let go, and not be in control. I refuse to allow myself to be who I used to be. This all makes no sense and this my friends and family is what my head is like all day a big mess of confusion, terror and manipulation. All I wanted to do was enjoy the smell of pasta and garlic……
Far too often we find ourselves lost in a world of make believe and fantasy or should I say Facebook and Instagram. Where everyone’s life is perfect, pictures are flawless, relationships are easy, you have the biggest house and most expensive car. I used to think that those things mattered also but then I got sick, very sick to the point where I was told I was going to die. All of those “perfect” things didn’t matter anymore. What mattered were the people who surrounded me in my worst times, the calls, texts, visits. My sweet dog and my warm purple blanket. If I died no one would care that I lived in a big beautiful home and drove an expensive luxury car. They wouldn’t care how much money I had or what brand of clothing I was wearing all they would care about are the memories we shared. The times we laughed, cried, hugged, or just said a quick hello. I have been reflecting a lot the past week 1/2. I have been struggling a lot and I was very apprehensive to write this blog post due to the repercussions of being another topic of conversation, another let down, and another failure. But after talking to a good friend she reminded me that the only person I need to answer to is God and myself. I know I have been struggling and I know I’m far from perfect but it doesn’t make me any less of a human. My light may be dull and I feel hopeless and lost but at the end of the day all I can do is “do me” I can only be myself. Recovery is really freaking hard, it’s a battle every. single. day. Right now I’m not winning at recovery but I am embracing my life and the people I have in it. I could fall asleep and never wake up and I would be ok with that knowing I tried my hardest. This life is so much more than haves and wants. I’m not going to sit here and bullshit and say I’m doing fantastic, eating all of my meals etc if I want to be me I’m going to be honest and say I’m not eating properly, I’m over exercising and I’m not doing the best. I’m also not looking for sympathy or for someone who is not in my daily circle to ride in and “save the day” I just want to be me, I want to do the best I can, take my struggles and live with them, be thankful for my circle of friends and family and take it day by day. I’m not looking for a miracle, maybe I’ll never recover from anorexia and maybe I’ll die from it but at the end of the day, at the end of my life I know I lived in truth and grace. No ones life is perfect and if you think it is, open your eyes. Some people hide in there darkness, some people use it as a lesson in life. I don’t know what’s the right or wrong way to live but I used to hide in my struggles and it got me to the same place as everyone else so I figured I should drop the act and just be honest which is a whole lot easier than living a lie. Anorexia is the worst thing to ever happen to me. I hate it, I hate the daily struggle of my thoughts, I hate the daily struggle of meals, exercise, purging, laxatives etc. It’s a huge part of my life unfortunately but it’s just that a part of my life. I feel lost without it and I feel sad with it. I didn’t choose to have it but I can choose to deal with it. I’m not going to lie I really just want to give up. I’m so terribly tired of the ups and downs. My weight goes up then goes down, my mood goes up then down, my health goes up then down. It’s a rollercoaster on a daily basis, an hourly basis. Every meal time stares me in the face and I have to choose what to do next. Every mile on the treadmill or track I have to choose what to do next. Everyday I wake up I have to choose what to do next, it’s hard, really hard. I like to keep to myself a lot I have a few people I consider friends who I just adore (you know who you are) and I have family who are there for me and have never given up on me (you know who you are). I’m not doing this to hurt anyone, to cause pain or trouble. I didn’t ask to have anorexia, I didn’t wake up one day and it just appeared. Like I said I don’t know what God has in store for me, but whatever it is I’m ok with it, I’m at peace with my life and the people in it. Life’s a journey and mine is just alittle different then what you see on Facebook and Instagram. It’s not perfect and it wouldn’t be mine if it was. I may not like anorexia but I like who it’s taught me to be. I like that I am able to embrace the bad and the good, to really appreciate what I have and be thankful and blessed for even the smallest things like my purple blanket that I have had for years and my rock I got from my Drs son. Those things are so insignificant to most but they are what matter to me. Moral of the story is “You do you” if you want to eat an entire cake, do it and do it with a smile and savor every bite. If you want to work everyday 70 plus hours a week, do it and embrace it and enjoy it. Do what makes you happy, embrace your days and love with grace, because at the end of your life you answer to one person and that person loves you no mater what you have, had, did, do…that is person is God.
“You do you”
“Everything will be ok in the end, if it’s not ok, it’s not the end”
The famous purple blanket (this blanket has been through over 10 years of life with me) holes and all.
Last year at this time I was in residential treatment in Indiana at a center called Selah House for my eating disorder (anorexia, purging, laxative abuse), the days and weeks leading up to being admitted into treatment were days and weeks I could never forget even though I’d like to. I was so weak from malnutrition I couldn’t walk and my husband had to push me in a wheel chair, carry me up our stairs to go to bed every night, I slept on the bathroom floor in pain from taking so many laxatives and vomited and went to the bathroom all night, I hadn’t slept in days/weeks, I ate but when I ate it was very little or baby food and I made myself throw it up (purge) and I was just a very sick woman who’s body was shutting down and was told I was going to die. I was getting blood draws 2-3 times a week, therapy twice a week and seeing my dietician once a week. I had no energy, I couldn’t work so I had to take time off (again) and I was pretty much home bed bound or when I was admitted to the hospital, hospital bed bound. It was a living hell, every single day I wanted to die, I prayed for God to please take me away from my living hell, save me from myself, help me. I sat alone during the day with thoughts racing over and over about food, weight, laxatives. I hurt all over, I cried a lot, I wanted to be dead. I would sit in the shower with the water running over my cold, bony body and just cry. Fast forward to today the yearly Cleveland NEDA ( National Eating Disorder Awareness) walk. I’m not at all going to share a picture of perfect, miraculous recovery but I will share a life of fight, struggle, hope and determination. I walked in the NEDA walk today, and you know what even better than that, I woke up at 5am and I was able to run 6 miles before going to the walk. I wake up everyday and I am able to run anywhere from 6-9 miles. I’m able to sleep in my own bed, walk up my stairs, brush my hair, and get dressed. It’s little things that we take for granted that I have a huge appreciation for because for so long I couldnt do those things. My days are not perfect, I’m by far perfect I have days/moments where I have racing thoughts, I restrict something because it’s a fear food or I freak out, for example today when it was 10:45am not technically breakfast (I eat at 8) and not technically lunch (I eat from 12-1:30). My husband wanted to get brunch and I had a meltdown panic attack in Dunkin’ Donuts getting coffee because it wasn’t an appropriate time to eat, it wasn’t my time, EDs time. Luckily my husband is understanding and we went home and I ate at my “regular” time but it’s things like that, that show I’m still not “cured”or perfect and very much in recovery. Today I walked with my supportive husband, wonderful, sweet friend/dietician, and best friend ( and everyone who couldn’t be there but we’re there in spirit) I was able to be present, I was able to enjoy myself I was able to let go of self doubt for a few hours and stand with some of the most important people in my life who have stood by me for so long loving and supporting me through the good and bad. I can’t even begin to express how much it meant to me to not only be at the walk this year but to be with a group of people who love me for me and push me to be better than I have ever been. They have all seen me at my worst and never gave up on me. Today was not only a day to celebrate me and how far I have come but to celebrate my friends and family the ones who never gave up on me. I know how hard it’s been for me so I can only imagine how hard it’s been for them watching me and wishing they could do something to make it all stop. I walked today not for myself but for them, I walked for the people who couldn’t walk and I walked to prove to myself that I can do this, I deserve to do this, and I do have a chance. Today may have seemed like a regular day but reflecting back on it to me it was so much more. I got to be with the lights in my life the ones who never gave up on me today is a day that I will cherish and when I’m having a bad day I can look back and remember this day and tell myself I can do this, I have the best support in the world a group of people friends and family who love me and want the best for me. On days I can’t love myself I will forever love them!
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…I pray with all of my heart that that statement is true. Just before I sat down to write this I was standing at the kitchen counter with tears in my eyes, doubt in my heart and overtaken by my negative emotions all while trying my hardest to scoop the tuna onto my salad. My thoughts running wild as they have been all week ( I don’t need protein, it’s too many calories, I’m just getting fatter, I should skip lunch, etc) this week and part of last have been extremely exhausting and difficult. Things that once were easy have become hard, thoughts that once were positive are now negative, things that brought me joy are now a burden. It’s scary how quickly things change and not for the better. Last week I started restricting again not alot but obviously enough to mess my mind and body up. My eating disorder told me I didn’t need protein at lunch so I took that away, It told me I didn’t need carbs so I took that away. I started listening to the voice that for so long has controlled my life and left me in my own living hell. I started to loose passion in my running (which if you know me at all you know that’s been a HUGE motivator for me and all I have ever wanted to get back into the past three years that I have been really sick). My ED voice told me I HAD to run everyday, I HAD to go to the gym twice a day and I HAD to do 12 plus miles everyday on top of my everyday walking which equaled about 3 1/2 hours working out everyday. I noticed all of this happening and luckily I caught on and intervened but it’s still not over. I’m left with the lingering consequences that come with disobeying my eating disorder. I took a full day off Tuesday, no running, no gym no extra walking and no weight lifting or swimming. I ate all of my meals as they should be and my body starting to feel deprived it needed extra and I was able to eat alittle extra. Let me tell you it doesn’t feel good. Just a few days of back sliding has led my body to revert back to not trusting me. My body is once again holding onto water, my stomach is super bloated and I look 6 months pregnant and my mood and thoughts are depressed, negative and sad. If I could hide in a corner and cry all day thats what id do. One of my biggest triggers is my bloated stomach and the past two days it’s been the worst since April when I was in the hospital, I don’t even want to leave the house and the thought of being seen in public horrifies me. My body is like a babies it’s growing and changing and I have that big bloated baby belly that parents think is so cute, well at 33 years old it’s not so cute. I feel like I could blow up, it hurts, I have bad acid reflux and it just feels terrible. I hate how I look and I just want to hide. This battle is so much more than the food. It’s so much deeper than weight. It’s a daily battle, literally every single waking hour my mind is consumed with racing thoughts, (that’s many hours considering I wake up at 5am everyday). Everyday I have to challenge myself and decide if I want to do this today, if I want to continue this fight or if I give up. I tried last week to have the best of both worlds. Last Sunday I ran 9 miles (wahoo!! ) and last Tuesday- Sunday I also restricted which led to this weeks consequences. So everyday I need to ask myself what’s most important, what do I want in life, and I have a choice to push through being uncomfortable or give up what I have worked so hard for. As I sit here thinking about it, it’s so freaking hard, do I want to do this NO I hate this, I hate how I feel and how I look and how my clothes fit and how my belly is so huge. But, yes there is a but do I like what my ED does for me, tries to kill me, takes away running, walking, thinking, happiness and so much more. I need to find my why again. I need to let myself feel sad and mad but not at myself at my ED. I didn’t do this my anorexia did, my eating disorder did. I know I need to be kind to myself but sometimes that’s easier said than done. It’s almost a new month so I vowed to make changes for myself not my Anorexia, I vow to do what Cyndi wants to do not what ED tells me to do. I will continue to try and push through and fight but never for a second think it’s over, or it’s easy. Never take anything for granted.
Sometimes you have to go through hard times to get to the good times. Oh how I wish this process were easier, how I wish the negative thoughts would go away, the body image would become positive and peoples comments didn’t wear on me for so long and so hard. Today has been one of those days I wish I could ball up like a sheet of paper and throw it in a fire and watch it just disappear. Sometimes I wish I could just fall into a ball pit and lay there and not move, feel weightless without a care or thought in the world. Luckily on days like today I am blessed and thankful to have some pretty amazing support people in my life. Without a second thought they drop what they are doing, change plans, send positivity and remind me what’s important and who I really am. To those people thank you, thank you for caring about me and loving me when I can’t love myself.
Today I was overwhelmed with comparisons, negative thoughts, restrictive thoughts, recovery thoughts, over exercise thoughts, rest day thoughts, tired thoughts, cloudy thoughts, should I eat, can I eat, what should I eat, when can I eat, when should I, should I exercise, what should I do, how long should I go, did I go long enough, people are looking at me, judging me, laughing at me, I’m fat, I’m ugly, I’m worthless, I can’t do this anymore, I don’t want to do this anymore, how can I do this, why am I doing this, I’m chunky, I’m fat, I’m undeserving, I feel guilty, I feel pain…. all of these thoughts all day long. I feel like my brain was on over drive today and it just wouldn’t stop. I know days like this will come and go but in the trenches of it, it feels like I’ll be caught in my head for an eternity with the thoughts just churning and churning over and over. I prayed all day today over and over I talked to God a lot. I went to the gym, I went for a walk nothing seemed to help until I reached out to a dear, sweet friend. She reminded me of all the love and positive thoughts and comments people have written to me. She reminded me that some people are just mean and that “chunky” is a kind of soup not person. One word or phrase doesn’t define me. I define me, God created me to be the best version of myself to honor him and serve him. How can I honor God if I’m not taking care of and honoring myself. God sacrificed himself for me, so I owe it to him to be the best me I can be. On days like today it’s great to have people who love me and that I know will always be there for me even at my worst but especially at my best. It’s days like today that push me and motivate me even more to prove to myself and everyone that I CAN do this and that I’m going to keep fighting and pushing forward. It’s days like today that used to defeat me and bring me down even more but I refuse to let days like today break me. On days like today I’m going to fight harder, push harder, feel uncomfortable, confront my bad body image and negative thoughts and remember all of the people rooting for me, loving me and walking with me. Days like today are a reminder of good days to come if I just push through and remember I AM loved, I AM worthy and I DO belong.
Thank you again to all of my sweet, caring, amazing friends and family. I love you with my whole heart and I’ll keep fighting for not only myself but for you as well 💜
So yesterday marked 2 months, 2 MONTHS that I have been engaging in recovery from Anorexia. Many of my friends and all of my family know my struggles and where I was and where I am now. It’s been a very long road full of ups and downs. This past relapse lasted about 3 1/2 years and boy was it brutal. It nearly cost me my life more than I can count on one hand due to my heart slowing down, low potassium to the point I could not walk, talk and so much more. The things that I can remember flash through my mind daily. I remember laying in my bed upstairs alone while my husband was away on a business trip so weak and sick I couldn’t walk, I remember taking so many laxatives that I started vomiting them up and crying while hanging over the toilet. I remember wearing little girls clothes because all of mine were too big and feeling shameful for being who I was. There’s so much I remember but so much I don’t. The past two months are just a glimpse of what my life is going to be like, it’s all new to me. It’s like I’m being born again: my body is growing and changing it’s still fighting me on a daily basis holding onto water, holding on to food, and clinging to everything I put in it in fear it will be the last time. It’s something I have had to accept and deal with, it’s hard, I hate it and I pray it gets easier everyday… which it does! I’m learning new things, I’m able to read again and actually retain what I read, I can walk up stairs without almost passing out, I can walk my dog, I can sleep through the night for the first time in 3 years and in my bed not on the bathroom floor. There are so many things, so so many I wish I could share I want the world to know so it doesn’t happen to them. I hate anorexia, it has taken so much from me and I would not wish this on my worst enemy. I pray to god someone reads my blog that is struggling and finds hope. I still have no idea how I’m doing this, why or what has changed but I don’t question it and I refuse to over think it in case I happen to think too much and start over analyzing it. Right now I can honestly say my life is good, it’s not perfect no ones is but it’s good. I love running it’s my passion and being able to wake up every morning at 5:00am and get ready to head out on the road is the best feeling in the world. Although some days I’d rather sleep in ( I do take Fridays off) I know as soon as my feet hit the pavement all of my worries, my thoughts, my pain, my sadness go away and I’m filled with love, joy, happiness and unstoppable power. My legs carry me for miles, I pray as I run, I talk to God and ask him to fill my body with strength and hope. I pray that he continues to carry me through all of my troubles, insecurities and doubt. I pray I can continue to go in a positive direction and prove to myself and all of my friends and family that I can do this! 2 months…. 2 full months I can’t believe I’m here sharing my story in a positive way. I never thought I’d be here in this spot doing well and having hope for the future. I was planning my funeral just a few short months ago, I was preparing my husband, family and friends for my passing because I had given up all hopes of getting better. Something changed, something good I don’t know what it was, maybe everyone’s prayers but I do believe it takes an army. Life is so short and so unpredictable, I don’t know what tomorrow brings but for right now in this moment I’m clinging to my faith, hope and love that surrounds me. This 2 month anniversary is not just for me it’s for everyone who’s been praying, thinking and sending love my way. I wouldn’t be where I am without all of you my sweet friends and family. Let’s see what’s next…..💜
So yesterday I was reminded just how ignorant the world can be. I have been trying this “recovery” thing by myself (no doctors, nutritionists, therapy etc) for 2 months today! 2 whole months of no restricting, no purging, and no laxatives, 2 freaking long months. That’s not a very long time considering I have been anorexic for 17 years. Yes I have had ups and downs but more downs than ups in the the last 3 years. With that being said, the past two months have been the best in terms of living my life, doing things, going places, having fun, enjoying things, feeling emotions, eating with family, sleeping through the night and my biggest accomplishment I’m able to run again and I signed up for my first half marathon. I joined the rec-center with my husband and we go swimming everyday and I’m really embracing life and doing things I love.
It’s funny how one comment from someone can really affect you. Yesterday I was called “chunky” I write this in quotes because im pretty freaking sure I’m not chunky. I’m not even at my ideal weight yet. Yes, I have gained weight… obviously, that would be part of what recovery is about. Perhaps I look “chunky” because the last time this person saw me I was in the low 70’s with my weight and probably hadn’t eaten in 5 days and if I had eaten it most definitely was purged through forced vomiting and laxatives. Little does this person know I was making myself vomit up to 5 times a day including just drinking water, I was taking hundreds yes HUNDREDS of laxatives EVERY night. I was forced to be in a wheel chair and ended up in the hospital on bed rest and on a tube feed. People can be so ignorant and inconsiderate of others feelings. What you say DOES very much effect me and every other person. Words do hurt, comments hurt, snarky looks hurt. It all hurts really bad. I’m so pissed because I have been working really really hard to get my life back and now the past 24 hours have been consumed with this comment. I know I have the power to ignore it but that’s easier said than done. Little does this person know I bust my ass everyday trying to eat healthy nutritious foods to fuel my body so I can run and go swimming and do the things I love. It’s a challenge every single day, every single meal. We can’t comment on the positives like wow last year you were in a wheelchair and in residential treatment and on tube feeds and this year your running 5-6 miles a day and swimming and eating 3 meals a day, wow your really doing great. No we must comment with an ignorant uneducated (about anorexia) comment. The world would be so much better off if people would think before they speak. Your words hurt, they really do… thank you for renting space in my head, making me doubt my recovery and bringing negativity into my life. I’m going to continue to do what I’m doing and fighting for my life, I refuse to let someone make me feel like I’m not good enough, pretty enough or skinny enough because I’m not 70 pounds anymore. I refuse to let this give my eating disorder power to consume me. I will show you just what this “chunky” woman can do!