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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

EXONERATION

I haven’t been writing a lot lately. Actually that’s not true. I’ve been writing a ton in my journal, but not much in the blog. First of all, I lost internet access for 2 weeks because I inadvertently broke a rule. Second, I haven’t felt like I have much to say. I think people are getting tired of my blog, or bored. I’M getting bored. Treatment is a lot of the same thing every day, with breakthroughs once in awhile. Digging through layers and years of garbage and lies and suppressed feelings is exhausting and a very slow process. Some days I can’t even tell that I’ve made a dent.

Today I had something click in my head for the first time in a few weeks. In our Self-Esteem group we were discussing thought distortion. My therapist has been working with me on this for a while. Catching distorted thoughts and replacing them with a more reasonable one. An example might be, “I am not worthy of love unless I am perfect.” The distortion would be All-or-Nothing thinking. I’m either perfect and loveable or imperfect and unlovable. There’s no room for error. There’s no middle ground. A more rational thought would be, “I’m not perfect and neither is anyone else. I am loved by [insert names] who have seen me at my worst and are still in my life.” I’ve noticed that I distort my thoughts like this A LOT. My thinking has become habitual, just like many other behaviors (biting fingernails, picking zits, pulling out eyelashes . . . ). How many of you think negative things about yourself on a daily basis? Maybe you don’t even notice you’re doing it. These thoughts are so habitual that I don’t even realize I’m having them unless I make an active, conscious effort to notice what I’m thinking. Since coming here I’ve been shocked with how many times a day I think things like, “fat, ugly, pathetic, worthless, useless, dumb, dorky, socially inept.” Stopping those thoughts and replacing them with new ones is tough. Usually the thoughts I replace them with aren’t even related to the negative thought. I might think, “I’m fat” and replace the thought with, “look how gorgeous the mountains are today.” But doing that is better than doing nothing, because you can’t hold a negative and a positive thought in your mind at the same time. Seriously. Try it.

ANYWAY, I totally got off topic there. My group was discussing thought distortion. We each shared some of our own. One of mine was, “I’m so pathetic. I should be able to eat like a normal person. This is a stupid thing to struggle with. I am stupid.” A lot of the women related to that one. Therapist interjected here and said that he firmly believes that our eating disorders are not our faults. I didn’t understand or agree with that. I’m an adult. I make my own decisions. Then he made the point that often the roots of our eating disorders lie in something that happened in childhood or early teens. We turn to eating disorders before we were even aware what they were. For example if a child is made to feel like they are “bad”, they might be picked on by other children, or called stupid, or ugly. They might carry around that belief for the rest of their lives. When they are older they start to try to cope with ineffective negative behaviors like restriction, purging, etc. I can honestly say with all my heart that of all the many ambitions I had as a child, being anorexic was not one of them. I did not dream of growing up to be a woman who cried when she ate, starved, binged, purged, and exercised her way out of any happiness or good relationship she might have had.

I want to exonerate my little girl. Little 4-year-old Camilla who thought she was ugly. Six-year-old Camilla who was told that she asked too many questions in class. 8-year-old Camilla who wasn’t funny, 11-year-old Camilla whose tummy was “bigger than her boobs,” and 12-year-old Camilla who was groped and teased and called fat. I exonerate her, because she didn’t know her thinking was wrong. She didn’t know it would be addictive. She had NO CLUE that what she was doing was even unhealthy! And by the time she figured it out, I was hooked.

Last night I cried harder than I have in a LONG time. I could barely breathe and it hurt trying to get air into my lungs. I cried for the pain I’ve had, but MOSTLY the pain I’ve caused other people. If we think we only hurt ourselves with addictions, we are delusional. I exonerate my younger self, but I am so angry at my adult self for NOT GETTING HELP WHEN I KNEW I NEEDED IT. This could have been stopped in 2005, but I quit. I didn’t think I was “sick” enough. Let me just clarify for everyone who has thought that or is currently thinking it. ANY AMOUNT OF DISORDERED EATING BEHAVIORS IS “SICK ENOUGH.” PLEASE PLEASE STOP AND GET HELP NOW. PLEASE. Your future self and your children and family and every other relationship you have or will have with sing your praises.

Our friends and family want US. They DO NOT want an Eating Disorder disguised as us. It’s a parasite. It can’t live outside of you. And luckily you can KILL this parasite. It’s hard, it sucks sometimes, it can feel long and lonely, but I believe it’s possible. If I didn’t believe that, trust me I would NOT still be here. There would be a huge Camilla-shaped hole in one of the walls and some crazy, homeless, emaciated woman living at the gym. And probably dying at the gym.

Unacceptable.
Frank, today I REALLY hate you.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sarah

Dear Readers,
My baby sister had a bone graft on Thursday  and is now in the ER with pneumonia. They thought she was doing ok, but she keeps getting worse. She’s in so much pain already. I’m very afraid. Please pray for her, or send positive energy her way. Her name is Sarah Jean.
Thanks and love,
Camilla

Sunday, January 27, 2013

1/20/13: Fasting?


This weekend was my first 24 hour pass. It was so fun! Dad and I went to the Springville Art Museum (which is totally legit), then I got my hairs cut. All of them. My hair is now to my collarbone which is great because I got all the nasty damaged stuff removed (a metaphor???). Then we went to the BYU men’s volleyball game where they won and we danced like idiots. AND I saw a friend there who I haven’t seen since 2008, so that was awesome! After that we went to dinner, then a movie, the dessert, then home where I got to sleep in a queen sized bed with big comfy blankets. It was too comfortable I think because I slept 3 hours total. Today is my Grandmother’s 82nd birthday! This morning we went to church with her, and then made breakfast and played Uno until it was time for me to come back to CFC. It was a fairly chill 24 hours and I think I did really well.
So this morning I went to church. I haven’t been to a “real” church meeting since I got here, so I was really excited about it. The first speaker spoke about her mission to Madagascar and how there was so much poverty and people went hungry. She talked about how lucky we are to have enough food, and then she started talking about fasting. (Yes, I finally get to go to church and they talk about not eating. I can’t make these things up.) She talked about how fasting gives our spiritual side a chance to show it’s stuff. A way for us to put off our “natural man” and focus on prayer and meditation. She called the body a “human suit” and said that often we pay more attention to that then we do to our spirits. The next speaker stood and spoke on fasting as well. He said that fasting once in a while is actually proven to be good for health, and encouraged the congregation to fast for a full 24 hours with real intent. Then he said,
“Fasting is a sacrifice. Who here enjoys being hungry or going without food?”
I wanted to raise my hand. I just looked over at my dad and we kind of laughed. My Grandmother grabbed my hand and said, “I’m giving you strength.” The speaker continued by saying that going 24 hours without food or drink is a way for us to focus on our spirits and not our bodies. He talked about how the “natural man” is driven to body obsession, and fasting is a way to strengthen and care for our spirits.
I thought that was an interesting comment.
Anorexia is a body obsession; an obsession to be perfect or accepted in the eyes of the world. For me, fasting fed that obsession (because I obviously was not doing it right); it gave me an excuse to not eat for 24 hours, and also triggered more eating disordered behaviors. After all, I don’t want to eat most of the time. I prefer feeling hungry. It makes me feel important and powerful. NOT eating serves my “natural man” much more than it serves my spirit and God. At the same time I know fasting works, because I’ve felt the effects of it in my life. I don’t know how fasting will fit into my life in the future. I know I can’t do it right now. I fast in my heart. I eat to show God I care about myself and the body he has given me. I eat to strengthen my spirit. I hope that is acceptable to Him.

Friday, January 25, 2013

I'm Camilla, Will You Be My Fwend??

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been really struggling with some things. Here's something I wrote a week or so ago. Thanks to everyone who has been asking if I'm ok!
January 19, 2013
There are so many things to learn from children. This is not some deep insightful thing I’m just discovering, I’m pretty sure a lot of people know that. I think babies can’t talk because if they could they’d tell us all the things we’ve forgotten about Heaven and the mysteries of the universe. I think we come into this world self assured, confident, intuitive, loving, forgiving, etc. We know we deserve love, we ask for what we need in the only way we know how, we don’t apologize for our needs, or for wanting to be held, loved, or heard. Basically we know that we’re the shiz. Until we don’t. We go out into the world and it ruins us. Or at least trips us up a little bit. When I was a child I was awesome. And if you had asked me I would have told you that.
My family jokes that I would go up to ANYONE and say, “I’m Camilla, will you be my fwend?” (I had some trouble with “r’s”) I also had no problem telling strangers that my favorite of the ten commandments was, “Thou shalt not commit adultewy.” I ate what I wanted and stopped when I was full. I talked to anyone who would listen; and even some who wouldn’t. I had a million interests and hobbies and I was GREAT at all of them. I could lose a race and still tell you I was the fastest. I “played soccer” when I was 2 (On a team. We had jerseys), but would sit down and cry if I didn’t have the ball (which was most of the time). Despite that I was convinced that I was a VITAL member of the team.
I used to believe the world was a lot friendlier when I was a child, and had changed as I got older. But when I see little children wave and smile and talk to anyone and everyone, I realize that it might be me who changed. Somewhere along the road someone told me I wasn’t good enough. It planted an idea in my head that was reinforced over the years. I wasn’t the best. Some people ran faster, or played the piano better, or were funnier, or more stylish. I learned that making a lame joke will get you ridicule, a bad haircut is basically social death, and that no amount of charm can compensate for acne.
 “You are not good enough and you never will be because the standard will always be changing and will always be just out of reach.You Suck.” --Satan (I think that’s a direct quote.)
I let these things beat me down. I forgot I’m a daughter of God and started viewing everything as a competition in which I was either the best or I was nothing. I became cynical and afraid. I wanted to disappear.
I want to undo that.
Anyway
Have you noticed how babies walk like they’re not quite sure where the ground is? They don’t ever look at their feet, they look to see where they are going and have faith that the ground is there somewhere and their feet will hit it at the proper time. When did we stop looking up when we walk? I know the majority of the time I look down when I walk. I don’t look around me very often. I take steps toward something I want and instead of looking up to see the wonderful life I’m living, I focus on the ugly dirty cement beneath my feet. I don’t look forward to my future, I ruminate on the past and resent the present fact that I’m not sure what my destination looks like, or when I’m going to get there. The future feels so far away that it’s not even worth looking toward.
I want to be more like my toddler self: I was wobbly, but I stuck my belly and my bum out like I was the best thing to walk the earth. I STRUTTED toward my destination with confidence and a big, excited smile on my face. I knew I would be comforted if I fell, and had no doubt that if I kept moving I’d get somewhere pretty cool.
I really want to take on my life with that attitude. I want to stare down the world and Satan and say, as Moses did, “Who art thou? For behold, I am a [daughter] of God.” (Moses 1:13) I have things to do and to look forward to. “Anorexic Camilla” is NOT who God sent me here to be.
“We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.” --Nelson Mandela
(I have to admit, I often write things like this when I don’t yet believe them. But I WANT to believe them, and I think I will someday.)


Monday, January 14, 2013

A Slight Irritation That’s Barely Worth Mentioning.

*This is from Saturday January 12, 2013*

It's about 4:00 pm and I have the major grumpies.

I’d never realized before, but snacks here are messed up. The reason I never realized this is because I’m not usually in tune with my hunger, and I’ve never been hungry after finishing a snack. Until TODAY. I finished my little bag of animal crackers and was still feeling very hungry, so I went to get an “extra.” This is what was available to me: various ice cream bars and sandwiches, candy bars, end of list. I looked in a little mini fridge where they keep leftovers and saw some scones left over from breakfast. I asked if I could have half of one, and was told, “No, those leftovers are for the Care Techs.” I explained that I was still really hungry, but didn’t want any candy and was still told no.

Ok.

In the real world my snack choices would not be limited to ice cream and candy bars. Ice cream generally makes my stomach ache, and I don’t always want candy. That’s not an eating disorder thing, that’s a normal, adult-listening-to-what-my-body-needs thing. 

I wasn’t asking anyone to go to the store or make me something extravagant. I don’t think I was asking for anything outrageous. .  . So here I am. I’m still hungry. On a scale of 1-10 (1 being starving to death and 10 being I’m-going-to-die-full) it’s probably a 3. I’m uncomfortably hungry. And by the time dinner gets here I’m sure I’ll be at least a 2. That makes me nervous because when I get THAT hungry I start feeling those “feast or famine” feelings. When that happens I eat too fast, and then I think I eat too much, and I feel overly full. And then I want to purge or exercise . . . I’d prefer to avoid those feelings whenever possible.
You know, sometimes a gal just wants some carrots. Or half a scone.

*Also, I looked in the fridge this morning (MONDAY) and ALL the scones are still there.*

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Smooth, Dad. Real Smooth.

Quote of the day:
"The Packers lost, I'm going to the bathroom to cry. Or just stick my head in the toilet." 
-My Dad. 
It took him a second to figure out why I was giving him a weird look.
Sometimes you just have to laugh.

Friday, January 11, 2013

In Which Camilla is FINALLY Honest.

At the risk of disappointing family, friends and loved ones (including you, dear reader), I have to come clean about something. I have been a liar. I have deceived many. I have lived in shame. I have hated myself for being untruthful. I have physically injured myself and not been able to tell anyone. I have been exercising “illegally.”

Lest you misunderstand me, illegal exercise is not publically exercising in the nude, or running away after grand larceny, or running from the cops, or exercising on a stolen treadmill. Oh no. Illegal exercise is any exercise done outside of designated CFC classes (yoga, RIMBA, and strength training.) My preferred method is jumping jacks in the bathroom. 


The funny thing about illegal exercise is it really doesn’t do much. My measly 1200 jumping jacks morning and night has done nothing to change my weight. It didn’t slow my weight gain, and it’s not making me lose weight now. That’s not why I was doing it. I didn’t realize how compulsive my exercising was before I got here. It literally tugs at me. If I don’t do it I feel sad and depressed and anxious throughout the day. It YELLS at me, “you are lazy, fat, unmotivated, slothful, and pathetic. This is how people become obese. Ugly. Lazy. Couch potato.” It keeps me up at night. This compulsion is far more powerful than my compulsion to restrict, which is really saying something. I use exercise to cope. To numb. After I got divorced I continued to exercise daily. The day I found out Lindsey (my best friend) passed away, I immediately went to the gym for hours. I stayed until it closed, and even then I didn’t want to go home. I have not gone this long without “real” exercise since 2005, when I got in my car accident. Everyday I want to cry. Every day my muscles twitch. Every day Frank screams at me for not exercising, and I usually give in. 


BUT NOT ANYMORE.


I was honest with my therapist and dietician about my struggle. Then I told my roommates and other girls on the unit. I asked to be put on “line of sight” when I shower or use the bathroom in my bedroom. I need help, and I’m getting it. I’m not going to pretend it feels good because it doesn’t. But you know what else didn’t feel good? Dreading every morning and evening because I had to do my exercise, and I had to figure out how to do it in secret. Dreading it because my feet and knees hurt. My rib hurt. My chest hurt. My shoulders hurt. None of those things stopped me. I walked around looking like an old arthritic grandmother for weeks because I was hurting so badly, but I just kept going. 


Exercise is as much a part of my eating disorder as restricting or purging--maybe even more so. Unlike restricting or purging, I exercised every day. At least 4 hours; 2 hours on my “rest day.” And exercise has been the most difficult thing to give up. Since being honest, I’m not approved for exercise classes for two weeks. During this time I’m going to give myself a chance to really TRY not exercising, and just see what happens. After all, I know how to lose weight. I know how to over-exercise. That’s not difficult for me. But what if I try NO exercise and I’m still ok? My entire belief about exercise would change radically. Even though it’s hard, it’s worth it to me, because if I can live a life free of compulsive exercise, I’ll have so much more time in the day to do things I actually want to do! Like talk to people! Read a book (not just the back cover or first chapter--the whole stinking book), learn to breakdance, do stand up comedy, write an essay for NPR. . .  


I’m going to be in a really cool person without Frank. That’s pretty rad.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Struggle


      I’ve been on Family Style for a couple weeks now, and I’m still struggling with restricting. Not as badly as before, but still not great. I’m supposed to take 2-3  sides with every meal, and I’ve been taking 1-2. Usually one. And it’s not because I’m not hungry. Sometimes things don’t look good to me, but usually it’s because Frank has this new rule:
If you take more than one side you are gross and fat.”
I feel like a failure. There are already people in my life who are sure I’m going to relapse and never recover.
“I don’t see you ever getting fully better. Anytime something hard happens, you’ll relapse.”  
“Why waste money on treatment when you’re obviously chronic.”
     I don’t want them to be right, but what if they are? I feel so much pressure to recover because people are contributing to my treatment; but what if that pressure is doing more harm than good? It’s simultaneously motivational and overwhelming. Focusing on recovery is difficult (not impossible, but difficult) when the pressure feels overwhelming. My mind is so often preoccupied with all the people I’ll let down if I fail.
                Anyway. . .
     Right now I’m working on two specific goals: 1) Planning a life without Frank. 2) Connecting to God.
     Having a life without Frank becomes more real as I get closer to discharge. I’m afraid of having to leave too soon--the other day I was told my discharge date would be January 18th. Luckily my dad, Kamiakin Jr. High, and Walquist Elementary contributed some funds and I’ll be able to stay at least a week longer than that! But the situation got me thinking: if I had to, could I do this? Am I ready? I think I could do it right now if I had to. I would have to make it work. Relapse is no longer an option. Frank is not an option. Coping with ANYTHING using my eating disorder IS NOT AN OPTION. Leaving so soon would be a difficult and abrupt transition; right now I’m blessed to have constant support and people watching me, guiding me, letting me know when I’m slipping, and encouraging me to improve. These are professionals who know what to look for and call me on my BS. I’m afraid to leave the safety of the Center. I know I have to eventually, I would just like to feel more confident when that times comes. I’ll get there. Maybe even sooner than I think.
     In my post-Frank life I’m going to cope in healthy ways: reading, playing the piano, going on walks, playing with the dogs, sleeping, taking a bath, calling a friend, writing in my journal, perusing antique stores. . . Life without Frank includes friends and family time, hobbies, trying new things, eating at restaurants I’ve never tried, taking classes (hello, Hip-Hip and Sushi-making!), maybe going back to school, finding a job I love, meeting new people, and I’m sure many other epic things I haven’t thought of yet. I have to keep telling myself that Frank will never provide joy--only short-lived, counterfeit “comfort.” True joy is found LIVING, not just existing.
       Regarding my second goal, I’ve felt distant from God for a while. I have been praying, reading my scriptures, and taking the sacrament every week, but I don’t feel much of anything. Recently In spirituality group we talked about how we view God, our relationship with Him, and how we view ourselves. We even took a little test to ascertain different facets of our faith. I was disappointed in my results. My faith in God’s character and my relationship with Him was not great. But I guess I already knew that. I know there is a God. I know it. I know he gives me life and sustains me day to day, but I don’t feel Him as a loving, kind, patient, attentive Father. More as a judging Being with impossible expectations who looks down on me with shame and disappointment.
     An idea was presented that how we view God mirrors our view of our parents. I adore my parents. I know they are there. They support me and take care of me. They think I’m smart, beautiful and capable; I guess that’s why I assume they are constantly disappointed in what I’ve become. A smart, beautiful, capable woman should not be nearly 30, unemployed, unmarried, and in a rehab facility. I think my parents are disappointed in me; I think that God is disappointed in me. I also struggle with trusting that my parents listen and understand when I talk about things that are difficult for me. I can’t say for certain whether they do or not, after all I’m not them. But to me it seems like not. (Dad and Mom, please know I love you and this is not an invitation to tell me I’m wrong--I know that I might be wrong, this is merely my perception.) I am often interrupted with suggestions of how to “fix” whatever I’m talking about. Or they might be distracted by something and not really paying attention. Neither of those things are bad, everyone does those things. But sometimes I just want to talk and have someone listen and validate that I have feelings and frustrations. Likewise I have a hard time believing that God listens to or even hears my prayers. I don’t feel much when I pray. I can count on one hand the times that I’ve really felt God’s spirit and presence while I’m praying. I feel it other times. For example, in the temple I KNOW who I am: a Daughter of God. No one could feel so comfortable in a building as stunningly gorgeous as the Temple unless it was their Parent’s House. And I believe it is God’s house.
     I’m not sure how to work on these issues any more than I am right now. I make goals and plans for my post-Frank life. I think about God frequently throughout the day. I pray . . . At the suggestion of a girl here, I’ve started praying every time I go to the bathroom. That might seem sacrilegious; but it keeps me in consistent contact with God. Sometimes you just have to keep plugging along. This is a trial of my faith and of my patience. I struggle with both of those. I know God is there; I am trying to believe others when they tell me He loves me and hears me.
     So there it is, my people: my two goals. I will probably be working on these for a while. I’m hoping this will process will make me the most patient person in the world. But if not, that’s ok too. Just keep swimming. And remember,
“Goals are stars to steer by, not sticks to beat ourselves with.”
Boom. Wisdom.

Wednesday.

All I can think of right now is that I am lonely.
I'm trying really hard, though. I'm working the program. I'm doing my best. I can honestly say I'm doing everything I can to make this work.
But tonight, I'm lonely.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I'm Getting MARRIED!

This post has nothing to do with recovery, but it needs to be written.

As you may or may not know, Frank hates the Packers. I think he's afraid of Clay Matthews. I don't blame him, the man's arms are bigger than my waist. By about 10 inches. Not kidding.

I'm in love with Clay. *sigh*
I'm pretty sure we should get married. Here are my top 15 reasons:
  1. I make a mean burger
  2. I'm 6th generation Packer fan (born in Fond du Lac, WI. Yes, that's a real place).
  3. I have thick pretty hair.
  4. Your mom would love me
  5. I make the best pie in the world
  6. I have excellent table manners
  7. You are very good looking
  8. I have great teeth
  9. You are single
  10. I am single
  11. I love watching football
  12. I would totally bake for your team.
  13. You need to eat, and I need to cook.
  14. My breath is always great and I have impeccable hygeine
  15. You could beat up my ex husband (I don't want you to, but you COULD. And I like that.)
This has nothing to do with anything, but I love the movie Shawshank Redemption and I think it's important that you do too because it's a really great movie. Made better with a buttered toast and hot chocolate.  

ALSO . .























That's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Can I Get a Flush??

Yesterday was New Years Day and I had a pass with my daddy-o. 7 whole hours of normalcy, it was wonderful. We went to his house to watch the Rose Bowl . . . well he watched the rose bowl, I took a shower and shaved (WOO HOO!), looked through my grandma’s estate sale clothes (1980’s windbreaker, bonjour!) and downloaded some pictures on Dad’s computer.

ANYWAY

Right before we left for dinner my dad asked, 
“Umm. . . did you want to flush the toilet?”
Why yes, yes I do.

I was so embarrassed. I forget to flush sometimes because we’re not allowed to do that ourselves at CFC. That delightful little situation spawned the fun albeit somewhat gross question, “Where Has Camilla Forgotten to Flush her Toilet?” I know for sure I did it when we all went to Comedy Sports for our Recreational Outing. After I came out of the stall my friend went in and said, “Camilla I have something funny to tell you when I come out.” When she came out she said, “you know you’re with CFC when you forget to flush.”

Ew.
So here it is, a list of the places I’ve been on passes or Rec Therapy Outings, AKA
“Where in the World Has Camilla Forgotten to Flush her Toilet?”
1)  Miracle Bowl
2)  Yogurtland
3)  The Chocolate
4)  Provo Town Center Cinema
5)  The dollar theater
6)  Water Garden Cinemas
7)  Mimi’s CafĂ©
8)  Orange Leaf
9)  Ross
10)   Old Navy
11)   Savers
12)   Chili’s
13)   Walmart
14)   Target
15)   University Mall
16)   Farr’s
17)   Provo Library
18)   Maria Bonita’s
19)   Holiday Gas Station
20)   Gardner Village
21)   Momentum Rock Climbing
22)   Color Me Mine
23) Seasons Spa
24) Aveda Remedez
25) Aveda School

That’s all I can think of right now. . . A combination of our Rec Therapy outings and my passes. If anyone was at any of those places and there was an unflushed toilet, I apologize. I guess the lesson here is that when it comes to toilet etiquette there are 3 kinds of people: people who flush their toilets, small children, and people recovering from an Eating Disorder.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

WE LOVE MRS. GREEN'S CLASS!

Last night we had our regular weekend outing, and when we got home I noticed a large package behind the front desk addressed to me and all the girls on the RTC unit! We opened the box together and were so excited to find body spray, loofahs, bath gel, lotion, nail stickers, scarves, hats, socks, temporary tattoos, little bibles, t-shirts, chapsticks . . . it was like a second Christmas! We were all talking, laughing, and sitting on the floor passing things around.

This wonderful surprise was brought to us by Mrs. Brandi Green’s Junior High Special Ed Health Class! I received over a hundred cards from these sweet students that definitely uplifted me and made me smile. I passed them around so everyone on the unit could read the kind words of encouragement from her sweet students. All the women here asked if they could write letters to the students to say thank you, it was so much fun.
We loved the t-shirts so much we all wore them to bed last night... except me, I’m wearing mine right now. :) WE LOVE WAHLQUIST JUNIOR HIGH!!
I want to share some of the awesome messages I received from the students:
  • “Being beautiful doesn’t mean you have to be skinny.”
  • “I hope you live out the rest of your lives happily, healthily, and with lots of baking!”
  • “Get Well. Send Cookies.”
  • “Get well, keep making them cookies!!”
  • “I think you are cute without being skinny. I hope you like my picture. Everyone was drawing trees or presents but I wanted to draw you a picture of the true meaning of Christmas.”
  • “You are worth the money. Get Well!”
  • “Can we have some cookies please? I love cake.”
  • “It sucks that you have to have anorexia. I wish I could take it for you.”
  • “I think all food is good.”
  • “The world is amazing that they will pay for some things and not others.”
  • “If treatment is not fun, turn it into a game.”
  • “Get out of that place and make more cookies!”
. . . And these made me laugh. I sensed a theme . . .
  • “I hope you can laugh. I hope you eat a cupcake. I hope you make it through. My favorite color is green. I love you.”
  • “Your treats look like they taste so good. You should have one.”
  • “Eat a cookie. Drink some milk. You’ll feel better.”
  • “Will you eat some Christmas food for me?”
  • “Will you eat a cookie for me? You have to get better.”
  • “Get better for me and eat some food for me.”
  • “Eat a cupcake for me!”
  • “Anorexia sucks. I’m amazed you are alive. Eat.”
  • “You bake those cookies and EAT them. You’re like my mom. She shakes and bakes.”
  • “Don’t care what people think, just eat calories don’t be scared of what it has in it. Just eat it.
  • "Put a little weight on, like I said.”
I hope the students get to read this post. If you are reading it, I hope you know how much your kindness was appreciated and how touched the women and I were by your generosity and thoughtfulness. I really hope that someday in the not-so-distant future I can bake a big batch of cookies and send them as a thank you. And I’d also love to meet all of you!! From your letters I gathered that a couple of you are struggling with your own trials; I hope you can have the strength and courage to persevere and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
 I really don’t know how to adequately express my gratitude without sounding completely cheesy or insincere. I hope you just trust me when I say that I’m grateful to the moon and back and that I love all of you even though I haven’t met you. You. Are. WONDERFUL.  
Love, Camilla