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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Spilling Our Guts: Anne

Today I stumbled upon this lovely woman. She is wonderfully talented; a well spoken writer named Anne. I have never met her in real life, but I feel close to her just from perusing her blog today. She and I have a lot in common. Wanting recovery, wanting our eating disorders, wanting normalcy, wanting health, wanting our pathology, hating ourselves and simultaneously loving and hating our compulsions. She so graciously agreed to let me share her blog with you. I hope you will read this post in particular (Gained and Lost: Where I’ve Been and Where I’m At) and send her positive thoughts and words of encouragement. She deserves wellness. She deserves real peace. Not the fabricated counterfeit peace (aka numbness) that comes from the Disorder, but real, true peace. And I really really believe that she will have it. Keep going, Anne. I believe in you!
"Here’s to what’s next. Here’s to where we’ve been. And here’s hoping we’ll never go there again."

"I have been school-, friend-, and direction-less for about a year and a half. I have cut myself, purged myself, and death-fantasized myself into the hospital, but it doesn’t stop there. I have stolen my friends’ food and spent plenty of time hiding from the very people who can help me. . . .

So now I’m sitting here, drinking my coffee, and wondering “will people even care that you write this, Anne? You don’t honestly think it’s a good idea to put this all out there for everyone and their brother to know, come on, I mean, really?” Well, the longer I keep it a secret, the longer I can go on with my eating disorder, right? Ha. That’s where it ends, sisters and brothers. I’m telling you a lot of things I’m ashamed about to take a bit of the shame away, or at least that’s the hope. . . ."

Monday, June 17, 2013

Spilling Our Guts: Alyssa

"Through my eating disorder, my second closest relationships
were with a toilet and the mirror.
I tortured myself with every reflective surface."
I met her at CFC. She is a rockstar. If I could imagine how SuperWoman would be in real life, this girl would be it. When I first met her, I was intimidated. I had no idea she was only 19 because she carried herself in a manner that suggested she was closer to my age. She comes off very tough. I would've guessed she was from the Bronx or something, but no, she's from rural Canada and loves horses. She is tough. She is strong. She is loving and SO FUNNY. I can't even tell you how funny she is. Just trust me. I'm laughing now just trying to find the words. She's funny. Ok?? Fun-ny. And she likes turtles. And she's gorgeous. Like intimidatingly-I-wish-I-looked-like-that gorgeous. Maybe I shouldn't say that on here, but it's true. Allyssa, I think you are wonderful. Keep going. Keep fighting. You are stronger than Ed. You are tougher than anything that can happen to you. It's gonna be ok!!!

 "Through recovery we will come out stronger than the rest . . . .
We were placed on this earth to change the world."

I was hurt so many time throughout my life by people I thought cared about me, that I decided to confide in the voice in my head that told me I wasn’t good enough, but could make me perfect (lol ya right). I have always felt that I essentially only had one friend all my life: my eating disorder. Mind you, it’s a horrible friend, one of the ones that you hug, to feel a cold arm return an unwilling hug… yet I kept going back because let’s face it, it was easier to hold on to something that I didn’t want than to let go of it and be convinced that nothing would ever replace it. Realistically I knew I was lying to myself about every part of the relationship but it was much scarier to be alone.
Through my eating disorder, my second closest relationships were with a toilet and the mirror. I tortured myself with every reflective surface. I would stare in the mirror as my heart would begin to crack a little more and my hands began to shake. I was fooled, tainted with an untamed demon inside of me that fed off of unrealistic ideas of perfection which society and the media created within my mind. Every day I prayed that someone would take a moment and try listening to how my voice shook, and that they would actually look at me and see that my eyes would dart away, never making contact. For someone to see that I wasn’t okay. In December I could feel my body beginning to give out on me, but it wasn’t just the physical pain that was hurting me. it was the emotions I was feeling as well. I was tired of crying, yelling, lying, pretending, failing, remembering, needing, being stuck, missing people, feeling worthless, of dreaming of a life I never thought I could have. I just wished I could start over; so I picked up the phone and put myself in treatment. It was the most trying, difficult decision in my life to just drop everything to try and save my future and a life that I felt was incapable of mending.

I’m still in the process of recovering, but I can tell you one thing: it is possible, it is hard, and it is worth it. It’s true when they say that your worst days in recovery are still better than your best days in relapse.
Stay Strong, God is here, Hope is here, and so is LOVE.  Through recovery we will come out stronger than the rest, and much more capable of emotionally connecting with other human beings; we were placed on this earth to change the world. You will see that one day when you reach your break through.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Spilling Our Guts: Kelly

The first time I met Kelly she said, "I think I saw you on the news last night... in New York." I was shocked that my story had reached that far, but also happy that it had. Kelly was like a mascot for recovery. During weight restoration she was a rock star, taking "extras" and "challenges" at every meal. I was and am inspired by her courage. I remember one night at CFC she came out of a family room in tears. She had been on the phone with her family and I thought maybe they had a difficult conversation. When we asked her what was wrong she said, "Nothing, I just hate my fucking eating disorder." And she did. And she does. This girl is an inspiration to me in so many ways. Also we have an awesome inside joke. Penis Shark. HAHAHAHAHA. I love you Kelly!!

 "Could I stay home and live a stable, yet disordered life? Yea… probably. But I am not ok with that. I have big dreams and goals in life and I am just not going to settle to be chronically disordered… I deserve to be fully recovered."

My name is Kelly; I am 22 years old and have been dealing with anorexia since I was 13. I have to admit, I have been putting off writing a post for Camilla’s blog. I have sat down several times to write and share where I am at, but I have froze at the reality of having to reveal what is really going on. BUT I am finally here, writing it, in the hopes that I can help just one person know they are not alone in their process to recovery.

Since the age of 14 I have been in treatment 13 times, yes you read that right… 13. To say I am mortified by that fact could be the understatement of the century. I am lucky, my insurance is terrific, and my parent even more terrific, in continuing to support me both financially and emotionally to keep getting help. But at the same time, treatment has been both a blessing and a curse. I admit my first 3 times in treatment were a joke…. I had no desire to recover at all. Even being in a world-renowned program, I clowned around and took nothing seriously. I was being given treatment that thousands of other people would kill to get, but I didn’t care… I loved my disease, I loved being sick, I was not about to give that up. Along with not using the treatment given, I proceeded to learn new tricks of the trade. New ways to engage in my eating disorder, new ways to become the “best” anorexic. So when I was discharged from these facilities recovery, school, friends, LIFE wasn’t on my mind… getting worse then all the other patients was. I can look back and see now how messed up this whole thought process was… but treatment, hospitals, and eating disorder friends became my new world and I didn’t have any desire to get out. Why would I? Treatment was an escape… Sure it had its down falls but I didn’t have to go to school, I made friends instantaneously, I was away from my home environment. The stress, the bullying, the pressure from my family… I was in a little eating disorder bubble.

The years passed by, 15..16…17…18…19…I had some wake up calls during that time, an ICU stint, a fainting spell in the mall.. these seemed to give me some motivation to recover… but those motivators faded and I just wanted to be back with my eating disorder and back in the safety and comfort of a treatment facility. By the time I was 17 I became a pro at treatment… ask me any question about any residential facility in the United States and I could get you an answer. Instead of spending my time with friends, going to parties, having boyfriends I was sitting at home starving, exercising, and researching treatment centers while comparing myself with every other eating disorder “friend” I had on facebook… feeling angry if they got worse then me… if they got hospitalized before me. I was addicted to both my eating disorder and to treatment.
I attempted to go away to college when I was 18…. While it was an epic fail leading to another hospitalization and residential treatment stint, it also opened my eyes to another world… I saw that maybe there was another kind of life worth fighting for. While this didn’t totally turn me around, it certainly helped me approach treatment differently. I started to work in therapy and talking about the distorted thinking I had around both my addiction to treatment and ED… but I still wasn’t ready to give it up.
Time went on, I tried to venture out into “normal” life… getting a job, going to community college but I was still tied to my eating disorder. I could function for some period of time, hell I even looked pretty good and was relatively healthy…but I was still so into my eating disorder. One of the most difficult places to be in the recovery process is when you are still so sick mentally, but you don’t look sick. There is no longer a visual “excuse” to why life is so hard, why you can’t go out with friends, why you can’t just live. “What’s the point of trying to stay healthy if I’m still so controlled?”. “I’m lonely, I have no friends, I don’t like living at home… get me out NOW.” Back to ED I would run.
From 2011- 2012 I spent 3 months in a residential facility that was a very different experience from times past. I didn’t feel accepted there, it didn’t feel safe or good to be there and it totally changed my view on treatment… I NEVER wanted to go back. While it’s terrible that I had to have that experience, I am glad I did. The luster of treatment was finally taken away… but the comfort of ED wasn’t. I came home and began relapsing again but I decided I had to just live with it… I had to accept I would be a “chronic anorexic” and do the best I could with what I had. I started working a lot and going to school while still using my disorder. I was half in life, half in ED. Looking back I have no idea how I did it… I was on autopilot with this idea that this was just how I was going to have to live… was I happy? No. But I whole-heartedly believed that this was the best it would get. Going away to treatment was no longer even a thought in my brain… I vowed when I left my last place I would die before I went back to a residential center.
Well, that time came… I truly feared for my life this past November. My therapist, doctor, and dietician dropped me from their care… telling me it was unethical to treat me if I was just going to go on as a self- pronounced “chronic anorexic.” Lots of tears, thinking, and processing later I realized I had to go back, for the first time I really went in treatment ready to work…. Not for the escape. I went to Center for Change- where I met Camilla, who I adore!! And I kicked my butt- I hate to brag but I was basically the “star” patient. I went above and beyond what my treatment team expected of me and cheered the other girls on along the way. It felt so real…I felt like I had it… I had recovery… I was really going to beat this disease!
I left CFC 4 months ago and came back to my home environment, back to the same school, same job, same house I was on my death bed at just months prior. My extreme motivation for recovery started to fade. I began to dabble in behaviors here and there… counting calories, cutting out certain foods, loosing a couple of pounds… next thing you know I’m back in it. Not to the extreme I have been in the past, thankfully, but I see the road I am heading down and I’m not ok with it. I can’t believe I am even admitting it, especially out loud to people who have seen me in such a positive state, but… it is the truth. However, there is a major difference. I am taking action now. I am not waiting till things get worse and I am in a full -blown relapse to make a change. I have been working hard to keep myself stable… not falling into more behaviors, and been working with my family and treatment team to figure out a better plan for me. The bottom line is I can’t be home and I need more support… it is the only way I can actually get a life of my own.
Things are in the works for me to get more help, no I am not going back to typical ED residential, but going somewhere that is really going to help me learn to LIVE in recovery and not just survive… which is what I have been doing for so many years. Could I stay home and live a stable, yet disordered life? Yea… probably. But I am not ok with that. I have big dreams and goals in life and I am just not going to settle to be chronically disordered… I deserve to be fully recovered, as does EVERYONE else. I can’t sit here and say I am 100% certain full recovery is possible.. .I have never experienced it… But I am not going to give up on that hope…. And I hope no one else gives up on that either.