It Begins Again

I swore to myself that this was not going to happen again. I told myself that last time was going to be the last time. Never again was I ever going to return to treatment. Never again was I going to go back to the intensive outpatient program. Never again was I going to be in a place where that was a necessity. Yet, here I am. Starting treatment on Tuesday, the day of my 22nd birthday.

Let me go back a bit to explain how this all happened. In September I started school again, only this time I was committed to do well and succeed. Unfortunately, as the way my life always goes, something happened. I got sick again. I developed a status migraine that stayed every day for 4 months. I was incapacitated. I was in the hospital constantly, I saw doctors, neurologists, and finally in December a doctor in Emergency gave me a miracle drug that worked. The only thing was that all these ER visits traumatized me. Once they almost killed me. My heart rate before I passed out had gotten to the low 40s and my blood pressure had plummeted. Another time, my last visit, I was in so much pain I thought I would tear my head off. They had lost my file even though I was a Level 2U (urgent), basically I wasn’t dying but I needed to be seen immediately and I waited for almost 2.5 hours. The next morning they forgot my medication and when I asked about it they were just like “fuck we forgot”. I still have anxiety attacks thinking about it.

During this time, I was constantly nauseated, my head ready to implode, stomach pains, and sounds killed me, but lights were even worse. I started losing weight. I was stressed, never wanted to eat, and traumatized. The weight loss started in October, the month approaching my one year anniversary of being assaulted and it got worse. I didn’t lose that much, but I lost enough for people to be concerned and offer the intensive outpatient again to make sure I didn’t lose any more weight. I was told that my migraines were perpetuated by malnutrition and not eating. It hit me that I was in a Catch-22; I could be in excruciating pain or I could eat and have my eating disorder reek havoc on my life. It was at this time that I considered doing the day program again.

This semester wasn’t so bad health wise, but I decided that there was no way that I was going to be able to live my life and succeed with this horrible illness dictating my every move. Sure I only had two classes, but I was also dealing with my eating disorder. It was a full time job, which I’m sure many of you know. I had the attention span of a dog in a room with a bone and a squirrel. I could not focus enough to study very well. I didn’t end up doing very well.

I spoke to my doctor in March who spoke to my psychiatrist on my behalf about returning to program this summer. It was agreed that it was a good idea. By this time, I had regained a bit of the weight I lost – some in muscle mass from dancing and the rest not. It was bothering me a lot. I saw it in my waist, but when I started seeing it in my face I freaked out. The rest of my body I could hide, but you can’t hide from your face. Every time I looked in the mirror it was a slap in the face. I hate that feeling. I hate not believing my boyfriend when he tells me I’m beautiful, sexy or fine. None of that rings true to me and therefore my brain classifies it as false – a lie.

Here I am now, determined for this to be the last time this happens. Determined to get better because I have things I want to do with my life. Things I want to excel in. Schools I want to get into. I need to be able to do my best and to concentrate. I need to be well, for myself, my future and for the people around me. It’s time that I kick this eating disorder out of my life. Obviously easier said than done, but I am extremely determined to do my best.

Wish me luck my lovelies. I will keep you all updated. ❤

 

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Stuck in a Revolving Door

My file has been closed at my treatment centre. It’s a strange feeling because I don’t feel like I’m gone. I feel like I’m taking a break. Let me explain.

For the past month and a half I’ve been losing quite a bit of weight. Nothing too extreme and I’m still way above healthy,  but it’s still a problem in my case. I’ve been having migraines for the past 13 or 14 weeks. I’ve honestly gave up keeping track after 11. This migraine has landed me in the hospital several times. The last time I had a scheduled. appointment with my psychiatrist,  she sent me to emergency because I had passed out that morning and I was tachycardic. In emergency, they discovered I had extremely low levels of phosphorous in my blood so they had to replace it slowly or it would be dangerous.

The following Sunday, I ended up in emergency again where they administered a medication that almost stopped my heart. I knew there was a possibility of respiratory arrest, but they said the dose was so small that I should be fine. Well, I wasn’t. It turns out that because of my extremely low intake especially of carbs,  it was a cause of infusion syndrome that can cause the heart to stop. Although I mentioned the eating disorder many times to the doctor, he never asked any questions about it so he didn’t know it was counterindicated.

The migraine had made me nauseous, I don’t generally have an appetite and I’m always tired. It’s causing a lot of problems with school and I have exams coming up. It’s really hard to study and to get things done. I’ve been incredibly stressed and in general it’s not going very well. I’ve become depressed again and it’s so hard to get out of bed. I’m not exactly trying to lose weight, I’m just not able to eat.  When I step on the scale and see that I’ve lost my reaction is “Seriously? How?”. The issue is that if I gain a pound I freak out. Like this morning. I just wanted to cry; the number scared me.

During my appointment on Friday we were discussing my treatment once we closed my file that evening. I was reoffered a place in the intensive outpatient program I finished exactly a year ago yesterday. The day I closed my file, I was asked if I wanted it reopened. Outpatient wasn’t offered because it generally doesn’t help me and my issue is with eating right now. I told my psychiatrist I wasn’t that sick – that there were sicker people. She told me that I was having a lot of health problems regardless of whether or not I want to admit it. She said that we should stop it before I hit a wall. I didn’t know what to say because I already told her that I knew it was going the wrong way and I couldn’t stop it.

She said the clinic offered an open door policy, if you needed more support all you had to do was call back. I had the option of doing the program now, this summer, or never. It was up to me. She told me to speak it over with my treatment team and my doctor knew how to contact her. I don’t want to miss school again and take a medical leave,  but I also can’t stay sick and in pain. I’m royally screwed regardless of what I choose.

I wasn’t even able to say I final goodbye because I feel like I will be back there soon. I had never wanted to go back again.

But You’re Out of Bed

Most days I wake up not wanting to move. I’ll be so tired I just want to stay in bed and sleep for days. I wish I was able to do that, but I can’t. I am a perfectionist with an Anxiety Disorder. I have anxiety attacks and start to panic if I’m on time to something. If I’m late, all hell breaks loose in my head.

I simply cannot stay in bed all day if I have to work or meet someone because it will destroy me. I have to get up and do whatever it is I have scheduled, regardless of how functional I actually am. It’s as if the way I feel and how I’m doing is based largely on whether or not I’m able to get out of bed. For me, that is the worst indicator ever since staying in bed will never happen. I simply am not able to do it. Even if I am dragging myself and using every spare strength I have, I will do what needs to be done. It can feel like there are knives running through my body, like I’m about to implode or like the world will end with the next step I take; I won’t be able to stay in bed. I have responsibilities, bills, and people depending on me.

I have a friend who told me that I couldn’t be that depressed because, as opposed to her, I was able to get out of bed in the morning. That comment cut through me and to this day hurts me. At the time, I was dragging my very depressed self out of bed so that I could go to her place to check on her to make sure she hadn’t hurt herself in the time I was away. I would stay over to make sure she was safe and one of her comments, no matter how not serious she was, hit me like a bag of bricks.

She was right. I didn’t stay in bed, I was functioning, I got myself to work and back without killing myself and I was able to keep my appointments and pay my bills. I was fine. Others agreed. I had other comments that were telling me that I looked well, I wasn’t in the hospital and I showed up to my appointments so I must not have been as depressed as I said I was. Only, I was as depressed as I said I was. I’m still depressed, but it’s ok because I’m still walking about. It’s as if to validify what I’m telling them I need to stay in bed and miss appointments or end up in the hospital. What they don’t understand is that it hurts me too much to think about skipping work, not going to appointments and cancelling without notice. It is a worse thought than depression or physical pain. That is the equivalence for me. Yet, because of that, I’m viewed as being ok, healthy and managing.

When She Crashes

It has been a long while since I have published something, and there are many different reasons for that. I have been trying to get better and I was hoping that removing myself from the online community would help. In some ways it has, but in others it hasn’t. I really wanted it to be a positive thing, and I still believe that having removed myself from tumblr and limitedly using twitter has helped, yet not having posted here has left a lot unsaid and unprocessed. Unlike my usual posts, this one will be a less focused on one topic.

I have just returned from an appointment with my psychiatrist. Needless to say that it didn’t go well because it has landed me here, the land of my inner dark thoughts. My life has changed considerably recently. I finished intensive treatment at the end of November, I was sexually assaulted, I was in out-patient, depressed and limitedly employed, and I started dating someone about a month ago. During this time, I had about a month or so when I can say I was doing better than just surviving. Yet, since October, I have been on a slow decline into a relapse and depression.

Right from the beginning when I saw myself starting to fall, I asked for help. I was in Kardex (What we call our medical appointments in treatment. Basically, we review our files and situation with the program’s head psychiatrist.) and I sat there crying. I told [the 5 of] them that I didn’t know what to do. That I was falling, and fast, and I didn’t know how to catch myself. This was before the assault. Things only got worse afterwards. It was a time when I was not stressed about ending treatment because that’s where I was. I wasn’t asking for more services, because I was at the highest level of care I could get (less inpatient but that was non-issue no). I was simply asking for help because I was at a loss.

I asked over and over, to so many different people. No one was able to help. The answer was always, what kind of help do you need/want?, and every time I told them that I hadn’t a clue. That if I knew what I needed then I wouldn’t be asking because it would be done already, and that telling me to eat was not a solution. No one ever went farther than that. Not my nutritionist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. I’ve come to the point where I no longer know what the point of asking is. I’m just wasting their time.

Then today, I told her that I didn’t want her to be a part of the group of people who tell me that since I’m dating someone and he makes me happy, then everything must be ok. She told me that she would be concerned if, I personally, thought that was the solution. Then the appointment happened and at one point she told me that we needed to set a date for the end of treatment. I knew it was going to happen at some point, but I didn’t know when. She seemed to be insinuating that I was planning on staying forever. What I think she doesn’t understand is thatwas the person that asked my GP to talk to her about my follow up after I left the clinic. She told me that my doctor was going to take care of it while consulting with the psychiatrist at the hospital she works at.

I was sitting there almost shocked. One: by the way she brought it up, and two: that she wasn’t referring me to anyone. She said that when treatment ends at the tertiary clinic, you return to the referring party. But, as I will explain in another post, it is not an option and she said that she wasn’t going to be sending me back, even though she would have liked to. So here I am now, leaving treatment under-medicated (again another post), relapsing and stuck in a sea of no solutions with no psychiatrist to help.

We both agree that the clinic didn’t help me very much. I did learn a lot while in day hospital, but it didn’t stick. She said that it seems as though I’m one of the people that needs to work through other things before treating their eating disorder. I feel like it will basically never end. She told me that once I did that, I knew where to call if I was ready to work on my eating disorder. So, for the moment, that’s it. I was in treatment and started relapsing, now I am ending treatment still in a relapse because their services aren’t helping. This leaves me stranded. Alone, confused and sick.

Sexually Assaulted… Maybe

Indecent assault is defined as, “an offensive sexual act or series of acts exclusive of rape committed against another person without consent.”

Sexual assault is defined as, “a term used to refer to all incidents of unwanted sexual activity, including sexual attacks and sexual touching.”

Rape is defined as, “to force (someone) to have sex by using violence or the threat of violence.”

Honestly, I wanted the Halloween party to be lost in my memory. I didn’t want to think about it or what exactly happened. I didn’t want to be there and I wanted it just to be over. I felt disgusting and guilty for a while. I had anxiety attacks and I didn’t know how to process it. I would say I did something stupid. There were times where I said no and he stopped. I could have said no altogether but I didn’t. It wasn’t his fault, it was mine. I didn’t stop it.

After talking to my psychiatrist, she told me that it isn’t a comfortable situation for any woman to be in. I told her I didn’t sleep with him, but I was sure he didn’t assault me. She asked if it had just left a sour taste in my mouth and I said yes. It wasn’t an assault, it was a misunderstanding. It’s just me that felt bad and who was overreacting.

Him: “This isn’t what I was expecting to happen tonight.”

Me: “You’re too drunk for this.”

Him: “No I’m not. I didn’t drink that much.”

He didn’t rape me. I didn’t have sex with him. He tried. The first time he did, I was pinned against a wall and I told him no. For a split second I panicked. He was strong, I had nowhere to go. I was stuck against a wall and he was a little drunk. It could have gone badly if he didn’t listen. In my head I was thinking that, as a woman, I had a right to say no. I also assumed that if I said no, it would stop. No means no. Thankfully he stopped.

It was freezing outside and he unbuttoned my shirt. I just stared up at the sky thinking that this wasn’t sexual assault. All I wanted to do was go inside. I wanted it to be over and I really didn’t want to be there. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to do with my hands or anything really. All I could think of was to kiss him. It’s my fault. I kissed him instead of stopping it. I instigated him; teased him. He didn’t know. He tried to put his hand up my skirt again and I told him, “No, not today.”

He wanted to go up to one of the cottages and I told him I would rather go inside; that I was cold and that there were people up there. He asked where I wanted to go and I said I didn’t know, that I didn’t want to go up to the cottage.

Him: “Come on. Let’s go somewhere more private.”

Me: “There are people sleeping in all three cottages.”

Him: “Come on, there are some rooms there.”

Me: “Some other time. I am really cold. Let’s go back inside.”

Him: “Come on…”

Stupid me, I followed him up to the cottage. There were people there and I really wasn’t comfortable and I told him so. I said I didn’t want to stay and that we should go back. We left and we got to my dad’s car. I had driven up there. He said we should go into the car. I told him, “No, I don’t want to”. That it was my father’s car and that it was locked. He told me to unlock it, and I said that the keys were inside and I wasn’t going to. He backed me up against the car. He tried to push up my skirt again. I pushed him away, put my knee in-between us to keep him off of me.

Me: “I said NO.”

Him: “I wasn’t going to do anything.”

Me: “That’s fine but I said no.”

He was mad. I felt horrible. I overreacted. I put my leg down and told him that it was ok and I gave him a kiss. I tried to explain that I really couldn’t. I asked him if he knew I was sick. He said he did and he asked if that meant I couldn’t do anything. I told him that wasn’t exactly it. That because of all the meds I was on, I didn’t have a sex drive, so I really wasn’t into it.

Him: “You could have fooled me.”

Me: “Seriously, let’s go back inside.”

Him: “What you don’t think I could rock your world?”

Me: “I’m sure you could, but not today.”

He pushed me down on the trunk and started kissing me. I just felt disgusting. At this point, I just wanted it to be over. I didn’t have anything else to say. I felt disgusting and I just wanted to go inside. I also felt bad because I was pretty much cock-blocking him. He wanted to sleep with me and I said no. He was doing everything and I wasn’t reciprocating. I thought that if maybe he “got off”, then it would stop. I started feeling him up and giving him a hand job. See, he can’t be assaulting me. I’m touching him too. Maybe this will help. I just want to go inside.

He turned me around and started simulating sex… “Dry sex” I guess would be the term. I was embarrassed. I kept asking myself what I was doing? What was he doing? I really wanted to escape. I wanted to go inside and have this be over. I was humiliated and couldn’t move. I was pinned again. All I kept thinking in my head was that this wasn’t sexual assault. He couldn’t be sexually assaulting me. I touched him too. I must have consented. I didn’t say no to everything. I didn’t stop it. It was my fault. I did something stupid. Someone started calling out his name saying that his brother was sick.

Him: “Let’s go somewhere.”

Me: “Where?”

Him: “Anywhere.”

Me: “You’re brother’s sick. Let’s go inside.”

I got up and just started walking to the main cottage. I felt disgusting. When I got inside I got changed into my sweats and sweatshirt. He looked really mad. I felt horrible. I didn’t give him what he wanted and now he was mad at me. I don’t like angering people. He sat on the couch and I cuddled up against him to sleep. He kept trying to touch me and I would move away or reposition myself so he couldn’t. I didn’t want him to be mad so I started feeling him up again. I just felt ridiculous and felt even more disgusting so I stopped.

He didn’t talk to me the next morning, other than saying goodbye and I still haven’t heard from him.

I kept kissing him, I touched him, I didn’t say no to everything. To him I consented. It’s not his fault and I know that. He doesn’t know how I felt or how I reacted. He was drunk so if anything, I was the one that assaulted him right? After thinking about it for a while and talking to some girls from treatment (without telling them everything that happened; only saying that he didn’t assault me) they made me realize that it wasn’t my fault either. It was neither of our faults. He didn’t know and I didn’t tell him. I didn’t ask for it and I wanted to disappear and not be there. I felt disgusting afterwards, but that wasn’t my fault. It’s just the way it was.

I’ve been avoiding putting a label on it because I don’t like to say that he assaulted me. It was a bad situation. I didn’t have sex with him so it wasn’t rape. Maybe it was an indecent assault, maybe it was a sexual assault, I don’t know. All I know is how my body and mind are reacting to it. I saw a picture of him a few days ago and I started to panic. I was afraid of seeing him. His words popped into my head. The feelings and disgust almost slapped me in the face. I tried to erase the images, the thoughts, his words. My body and mind are reacting to it as if it was a sexual assault. Was it? I don’t know. I just want to forget about it. It wasn’t his fault. I was stupid and didn’t stop it altogether when I wasn’t pinned. I touched him so it couldn’t be a sexual assault.

I’m disgusting. I feel dirty and wrong. I’m embarrassed by what happened and I can’t tell anyone everything. They’ll think I’m pathetic. I just wanted to get out of there. I wanted it to be over and I tried to please him so that it would stop. I did something stupid.

Farewell Tumblr?

*** December 2012 ***

In therapy, we started talking about Tumblr and all the social networking that I do within the eating disorder community. At one point the question about tumblr and recovery came up.

Does the joy and pride I take in my Tumblr, as well as all the positive connections I’ve made within the eating disorder community, hold me back from recovery?

That’s an interesting question. Although during the session, I have to say that I had the hardest time comprehending and processing exactly what he was trying to get at, but this is what ended up in my head when I left. To be honest, I’ve never thought about it before. I’ve always thought of my tumblr as a place I could escape to. A place that I could put every single thing that passed through my head. A place where I wouldn’t be judged and so that I could try to make sense of it all, and as time went on Tumblr made me feel less alone.

*** Today ***

Here I am, almost a full year later and I am still asking myself the same question. While in treatment I continued to keep up posting on my Tumblr. As the weeks went on, I posted less and less until I stopped for days at a time. Now as I scroll through my dashboard, I see posts that I used to like; posts that I used to relate to. I look at them now and I don’t feel as strongly as I used to about “not being skinny enough” or “No. I can’t. I don’t trust people anymore.” I don’t enjoy reblogging pictures of emaciated bodies or drawings anymore because I don’t idolize them. They aren’t things I want to go back to, nor are they things that I hope to achieve again. I don’t like reblogging pictures of self harm or scars because they aren’t beautiful to me anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they are disgusting or that they should be hidden because they are unsightly. It’s more the symbol that they represent. For me, when my scars were fresh they were a reminder. It was comforting for me to see the scars on my wrist; it calmed me down. I still have vivid images of self harming myself in my head, but I’m trying more and more to ignore it as much as I can.

I don’t feel as connected as I did with the sayings, texts and pictures of depressing things. I almost feel bad when I reblog them. I feel like I’m lying; like I’m not being true to myself. I used Tumblr as my way to express my true feelings. I never lied on it. It was an open book to see the horror and pain that was going on in my mind. Now I hesitate before reblogging. I ask myself if this is truly what I want to post, if it is something that I really feel, and more often then not it’s not. I have been keeping up with my blog mostly so that I don’t let my followers down. I have been running strengthtodance since 2010. Over the past 3.25 years, I have accumulated 22,845 posts and 845 followers. I am far from ‘Tumblr famous,’ but I simultaneously liked and felt bad that all those people could relate to me.

I don’t know how long I will keep Tumbling on it. Maybe for a few more months, maybe for less. I am not going to get rid of it because it does hold my story. All the ups and downs of the past 3 years of my life. It helped me through the darkest nights and has brought so many wonderful people into my life. I have met the most kind and strong women I have ever known there (and on Twitter).

There is my friend Farah from Egypt. She is my soulmate on the other side of the world. She asked me for my BBM pin all those years ago and we have been friends since. For a solid two years, we spoke everyday. We supported each other and I found a special place in my heart for her. I hope that one day I get to meet her. She has completely changed my life.

I have also met a girl named Tai from the States and I adore this woman. She is fresh and honest (and has the cutest accent!). She has helped me through freakouts and through some rough patches. I love having Skype dates with her because she reminds me that there is hope and a life outside of my eating disorder.

I have met others like Jenn from the States. She is a beautiful and kind dancer. I have met Elise from my part of the world, who is fighting a battle, but who is still down to earth. There is Jessa who has answered pretty much any question I’ve ever had including those about therapist-client relationships, as well as walking me through why restricting would never get me anywhere. She did that by simply asking questions to show me that I already knew the answer. There is the lovely Maia, Lexi, Bea P, Cassie, Morgan, and Melissa. These and a countless number of girls have influenced my life for the better and have supported me through my darkest times. You all are wonderful people.

So now the question that remains is: will I continue to use Tumblr? Is it healthy for me to stay attached to that world? I know that both of these answers are no. I am just not at the point where I’m ready to say goodbye to it. I will be one day though.

Treatment Has Come and Gone

Wow, it’s been a while. I haven’t written an actual post since August. It’s as if I could have done an entire intensive outpatient program since then. Oh wait, I did.

12 weeks have come and gone. I have learned so much and met so many wonderful people. I have changed a great deal also. In all honesty, treatment was a whirlwind of all sorts of emotions and difficulties.

I started off in the less intensive program that only includes lunch and two snacks. After not having binged in 9 months, I was extremely discouraged when I started again. It was also during the first week that I discovered I was diagnosed with bulimia non-purging sub-type. The binges continued to become more frequent and the nutritionist asked if it was because I felt like I was eating too much. It turns out that played a part too. In addition, I wasn’t eating when I got home or on weekends so I was always hungry. During my second week I spoke to the doctor and requested to be put in day hospital which is a step higher in terms of support. It includes one activity and supper. There was no place when I asked, but the next Friday they offered me a place. My binges decreased significantly. I was having 9-10 days between binges and they were smaller. (I have since stopped bingeing!!!)

Around my fourth week I started having restrictive thoughts. I wanted the smaller plate, the smaller glass, the smallest piece of cheese or the smallest fruit. At one point it got ridiculous. My anxiety increased significantly. At the end of my sixth week I started restricting. I didn’t even try to follow my meal plan and I was even afraid of eating an apple. I was so disappointed in myself. After that weekend, it started going downhill. I was restricting like crazy on weekends and my anxiety was increasing continuously. My OCD came back too. It got to the point where I left in a panic because I couldn’t find enough forks of the same kind to set the table.

My nurse told me to take my PRN one night because I couldn’t function. I froze at the meal (as I did frequently after that). When I finished, I couldn’t move and I started crying. I spoke to him and he told me to make sure I spoke to the psychiatrist the next day. When I spoke to her she prescribed me another medication in addition to all the ones I’m currently taking. That weekend, I got into a situation with a guy friend of mine that I didn’t want to be in and it only increased my anxiety even more. I felt disgusting and horrible. I didn’t want to be there and all I wanted was for it to be over.

I was getting worse and she doubled the dose of my new medication. I started becoming depressed again. I wasn’t sure what was happening. The last few weeks were really hard. My eating was not going well what so ever. The doctors and I agreed that I should finish treatment in day hospital. My last week went a little better, but it still took me forever to eat and I was always afraid.

On my last day, the girls gave me a gift. We usually give a journal with messages in it to people who finish the program, but in addition to that they got me a box with all the inside jokes and memories we had. There were even some people from inpatient who wrote in it, as well as the nurses and nutritionists. I was really touched.

I tried to accept the compliments even though it’s still really hard. Everyone said that I was helpful and caring. They loved that I gave them hugs and that I would listen to them. I feel bad accepting those compliments because they are just things that I do. I smile because I want to give hope to someone who doesn’t feel like smiling at all. I want to help as much as I can so that the girls can see that it’s worth the fight to get rid of this demon that lives inside us. It’s just the way I am, so I don’t like to be thanked for it.

During treatment I learned to open up and share my story. I’m less afraid of talking about the abuse and hardships I endured growing up. When I presented my life in pictures, it was probably the hardest thing I had to do there. They saw how small I used to be. I felt like everyone would think I was even fatter now that they knew how small I was. I told them about some abusive situations I was in, and about people who were important in my life. It was hard to do and I cried a lot, but everyone supported me.

The program has helped me so much and I highly recommend reaching out for more support if you need it. I’ve learned that I need to take my place in this life. To ask for what I need and want. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. No one knows what you’re thinking unless you say it. Use your voice that you’ve hidden deep inside. I promise you will never regret asking for help.

This vs That

*Please Note: I wrote this right after lunch group and I was incredibly anxious and confused. It may not make much sense, and if anyone finds it offensive (even if it isn’t personally) please tell me. I will take it down.*

There are an endless amount of differences found in eating disordered individuals as well as in the terminology used around them. For example, underweight vs undernourished, or dieting to lose weight vs eating disordered weight loss. There is a distinct difference, but neither are mutually exclusive.

After lunch group today, we were talking about how one of the fears around gaining weight is that the eating disordered mentality will still there. In my case, my BMI is well within normal and higher than 20 (the weight that my clinic allows you to start maintaining weight). Does that mean my body is nourished? No. Does it mean my anorexic thoughts just magically disappeared? Not even a little. My weight gain wasn’t from meal plans, healthy eating, or well meaning on my part at all. It was from bingeing. I’m told that it was my body telling me I couldn’t sustain my anorexic behaviours, forcing my eating disorder to switch towards bulimic tendencies. It wanted less side effects* and as most bulimics do eventually (since any form of purging is ineffective in the long term), I gained weight. I was far from well nourished; I was barely nourished. To this day my body remains so undernourished that I’m developing symptoms, to almost the same severity, that I had when I was underweight. I’m a perfect example of how you don’t need to be underweight to be undernourished, as opposed to what most people believe.

*I do not under any circumstance believe that bulimia is a ‘better for you’ eating disorder. It is just as deadly as anorexia, but for different reasons. My purging did not include self-induced vomiting so those symptoms weren’t present. BULIMIA IS JUST AS BAD AN EATING DISORDER AS ANOREXIA, EDNOS and BED.*

Then, there is the notion of dieting to lose weight and eating disordered weight loss. The first can most definitely result in the latter, faster than you would think, but there is a distinct difference. You can live most of your life with disordered eating — yo-yo dieting, gaining and losing — and you may never develop a full blown eating disorder. The distinction is in the fear. Once following the diet turns into the fear of eating, the disorder begins. With diets, people cheat. They eat a little thing here and there that they shouldn’t, they will still go out in public even if they gained a pound, and most importantly the diet comes to an end, even if a new one starts. Don’t get me wrong, dieting isn’t healthy, it doesn’t work, and a lot of the time it results in disordered eating. However, I find the distinction clearly lies in fear. Fear of eating, fear of gaining weight, fear of going out, fear of looking in the mirror, and fear of losing control. Above all else, there is hate, and it’s hate of the worst kind. Hating your body, your habits, your disorder, and yourself. Eating disorders are a living hell. It’s not a diet, it’s not a lifestyle; it’s a disorder. A disorder that takes over every aspect of your life. The only question you need to ask yourself when it comes to eating disorders is, “Is this is how I want to live the rest of my life?” I can honestly say I have yet to meet someone whose answer to that question is yes. No matter how sick, no matter how severe the disorder, it doesn’t even matter if the person has even started recovery, the answer to that question is always no. No one wants to live this way.

“In her presence, I was reminded again of why I was an anoretic: fear. Of my needs for food, for sleep, for touch, for simple conversation, for human contact, for love. I was an anoretic because I was afraid of being human. Implicit in human contact is the exposure of the self, the interaction of the selves. The self I’d had, once upon a time, was too much. Now there was no self at all. I was a blank.”
Marya Hornbacher