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Having been on the receiving end of many of these phrases and been made to feel like it is my burden alone to carry, it is time many of our called Christian favourite pull-out phrases go under the microscope. We tout these out making us feel like we have responded in a caring, Christian manner when in fact we have only added to the isolation and pain. Some of the responses below aren’t even biblical. Like many other sayings, they have come about from home spun, pull yourself up theology. I never want to be on the receiving end of these again, nor do I want to ever find myself saying them to someone in painful, messy, traumatic circumstances. Instead I hope to offer practical help, just turn up with the cleaning gear, the meal, the hug and never ever offer empty phrases or wait to be asked to help out. It also means forgiving those, who in their narrowness and inabilities, didn’t intentionally mean to harm. And hope through grace and maturity will grow to be more caring and embracing of pain in others.

Marilyn R. Gardner

crisis

  1. God will never give you more than you can handle. While some may believe it is theologically correct, depending on your definitions, it is singularly unhelpful to the person who is neck-deep in a crisis, trying to swim against a Tsunami. A wonderful phrase recently came from Support for Special Needs. They suggest changing this from “God will never give you more than you can handle” to “Let me come over and help you do some laundry.” This strikes me as even more theologically correct.
  2. It gets better. Yes, yes it does. But right then, it’s not better. And before it gets better, it may get way worse.
  3. When God shuts a door, he opens a window. Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe he just shuts a door. Maybe there is no window. There was no window for Job. There was a cosmic battle that raged as he sat in distress. There…

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(… or reflections on our anorexia journey)

The uni break went so quick. One minute she is home, next minute gone. lol, well almost. She went back earlier, so excited for the new unit, then realised she was back way too early and desperately homesick this time. She came back home, instead of toughing it out. She said she had a much better chance of not falling into depression or anxiety by coming back home. As always I observe everything she says and does. Sophie’s maturity surprises me to the level she has achieved (within a mere several months), her insight and empathy (so apparently missing) is finally blossoming. Doesn’t mean she was always calm and not hysterical at times, but a definite switch. Before she went back, the aspie side of Sophie was all organised. Doctor appointments made, counselling appt made, new referral appt with ED specialist made, classes sorted, disability needs sorted. She just ploughed through it all. This is the plus side of having aspergers.

The new ED specialist is more of a counsellor but has the insight and understanding of what having an eating disorder in your past means for you presently and how you relate and cope with life. Whilst Sophie has to travel to this centre, I am pleased she has taken this on board as an extra coping and learning tool.

It is also time to start weaning her anti-depressant medication. Five years is a long time to be on the medication, and now is the time to slowly (painfully slowly) wean her off and see how she responds.

For me it’s been a time of great reflection. 5.5 years into this, 5 years from diagnosis, 3.5 years from full weight stabilisation, 1-1.5 years with no anorexia behaviour or thoughts. It’s been an amazing ride, that only those who have been here know how crazy, mixed up, painful, the intense highs and the intense lows. Moving from small picture, every moment, every day stuff to big picture stuff that encompasses months. Being part of a new parent support group too, has been part of this reflection. I have had to think back to the very beginning, remember things I thought I had put away forever. It’s actually been a painful journey for me, but it has honed my thoughts and beliefs about eating disorders and taught me to be far more articulate and to advocate on a higher level.

Thought I would put together a summary – seems a timely thing really.

our anorexia journey

Biggest Mistake
* under estimating how long, painful and soul destroying this journey is
* feeling guilty that I had somehow caused this

Biggest Misunderstanding
* that we could get through this in a couple of months – not years

Biggest Regret
* not demanding more from the health system around us or challenging the wrong beliefs at the time

Biggest Fear
* wondering if at times I could continue to care for her
* her dying before we could turn this around into recovery

Biggest Lesson
* how quickly you go from health to critical and in a hospital bed
* how you can never never negotiate with an eating disorder
* your child is totally separate to the eating disorder behaviour
* comorbid illness are a part of eating disorders and make the struggle to recover harder and can become a part of life afterwards

Biggest Myth
* you don’t have to be skeletal to have anorexia
* relapse is a valid and normal part of recovery not something dangerous, fearful or not normal
* tube feeding is not a shame or psychological issue. Not now. Older women struggle with this and parents have their own hangups about this. The reality is very different for those in their teens who are tubed fed.

Biggest Support
* those I met going through this journey who were travelling it too
* having an amazing, strong, recovery focused team of five professionals

Biggest Surprise
* the inner eating disorder voice in my daughter’s mind. Like getting to know the devil himself.

Biggest Problem
* health professionals who still do not know how to diagnose or treat eating disorders
* the lack of resources (both money and treatment) for parents and sufferers to access to get treatment and recover.
* the different approach, government understanding and health systems in each country that actually hamper treatment when the illness itself is the same regardless of country.

What I did Right
* early detection, early intervention
* standing with her despite the horrors of the illness and behaviour and walking with her to recovery

What Benefits Did We Gain
* obviously my daughter’s life and health but also gaining a deep, close and open relationship with my daughter
* gaining some wonderful new friends who truly understood and still stand by us
* an intimate and highly experienced understanding and knowledge of eating disorders that we can share with others

What Did We Lose
* the years my daughter cannot get back of her normal growing up time with her peers
* friends

Before Anorexia
* my daughter was anxious, highly strung, a perfectionist, a misunderstood kid with her peers
* I thought I had a plan mapped out for some kind of normal existence like every other family raising teenage kids
* I thought I was already a strong mum because of domestic violence.

After Anorexia
* my daughter knows herself so well compared to other kids her age. Whilst this is a plus it is also a negative, as she struggles to find a close friend
* I learned I am stronger than I thought, I learned a deeper side of me, and I learned the dreams I had no longer ‘do it for me’. I search deeper.
* I am still finding who I am now, I no longer want the same dreams. I still struggle to find my way around a kitchen after so many years tied to anorexia cooking and preparation.

The Blog Role
* ended up being far more than I ever thought, and gained me so much privilege to talk to others on all levels in this journey. Thank you!

What would I do Differently
This is very personal. It would be to leave our dysfunctional family domestic violent life instead of waiting til further into recovery. I had planned to leave just before my daughter started down the slippery slope. I thought (wrongly) that staying might have been better for her health. It would have given full FBT a better chance and a safe environment that had no anger, expectations, eggshells etc in it.

Family Based Therapy
That eating disorder recovery is NOT a one-size fits all. Despite the best statistics, FBT (Maudsley, FEAST, FBT types) don’t always work for some families. This is not a point to be guilty about or feel like you have failed. It just is. Means you just go and find what does work for your family and how to care. As long as there is forward progress into recovery then you are going great with whatever you are doing.

Families are not to blame
I will keep saying this shouting it from everywhere. Eating disorders are genetic based. Families do not cause eating disorder and are not to blame for an ED developing.

Overall
My faith took a pounding, became far more realistic and more honest. Like David I adore but I will question and ask.

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feelings and anorexiaThere is a blog doing the rounds at the moment of how it is to feel during an eating disorder, particularly anorexia. It is a haunting read. Many of us, either parents/carers or sufferers relate to every feeling. It highlights where we are or have been. We can shout, YES! we agree with all of that.

But we need to balance out what is the need for validation and the need for truth. Every story about living and surviving, or living and still struggling with an eating disorders needs validation. They are your personal journey, your personal thoughts and feelings. Validation is essential, otherwise it takes away your value as a person. It makes your journey a real one. It also helps those of us who don’t suffer with an ED to understand what is going on in the mind of someone who does. It helps those who suffer to know they are not alone nor in some weird, hateful universe of their own making.

The truth of these feelings though is what is needs to be understood. In the depth of the grip of an eating disorder (particularly anorexia), the mind is totally in the control of the ED. It is manipulated, distorted and controlled. Normal perceptions, thoughts and feelings are not happening. What you think and feel is based solely upon the eating disorder and not based in truth or reality. The ED distorts reality, life, decisions and perceptions so badly that your feelings get mixed into this mess as well. It may seem like truth, that this is all there is and it is real. But once you are on the other side, into recovery or recovered, you can see these feelings were not based on truth. Life is not like that, the people around you are not like that, you are not like that.

All mental health illnesses distort our perceptions and govern our thoughts and feelings. When I am severely depressed I know I think all sorts of weird, paranoid, self-inflicting thoughts. I feel many things but none of them based on the reality around me. It’s when I am back in safer lands that I realise that those feelings were not true nor indicative of what was happening to me or around me. My daughter used to think and feel like this current highlighted blog post, but she will tell you now that she knows those feelings to be just about all false. That it was the anorexia that coloured everything and gave her those dreadful feelings.

A good therapist will hear your feelings and validate them. They will allow you to identify and explore your feelings.

A better therapist will THEN point out the ED behaviour and teach you to separate yourself from the negative and distorted feelings.

Our whole team based their care of my daughter on this. They called each anorexic thought, feelings and behaviour into the open and pointed out how false and wrong they were. Without taking away my daughter’s need to be heard or validated.

She never felt she had to apologise for her feelings or she was wrong for feeling them. She did learn that the anorexia had given her thoughts and feelings that were not true about herself and life around her. She learnt to counter each negative feeling with a positive one.

When writing our stories, we need to be mindful that we show that these feelings are only for here and now in the grip of the illness. We need to put forward what happens after therapy and into recovery, that our feelings change and we see things for more differently as the ED loses it’s grips. We need to ensure that our stories are not ‘blanket’ approaches, one size fits all. Above all we need to share that hope lives and that the negative, destructiveness of an eating disorder does not last.

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slippery slope of anorexiaWe have been down to visit Sophie – my half semester visit to check she is going ok and to help with homesickness.

When she was home in July, I blogged how she had lost weight. Not in any danger zone, but certainly dropped a size. I hoped this was just her adjusting and her normal body shape and weight sorting itself out.

First impression when we saw Soph two weeks ago – “shit, she lost a lot of weight”. Dropped another size. Now there is NO room for movement in her weight. Loss of weight from here is the start of the slippery slope.

The complication is the trigger weight is not known. We used to know what weight would trigger the brain into full anorexic behaviour and make it difficult to pull Sophie out. Because of height, muscle and body changes during recovery and getting older, we don’t know what weight will start the trigger.

She had a good talk to me (whilst walking around the Victoria Markets). Makes it less intense for her this way. She admitted to having the voice back in her head and having to fight it. She admitted to having fear foods again and balking at eating them (or just not). The voice isn’t just telling her not to eat, but that she is a loner, is weird, no one likes her, she isn’t good at art – the whole sad, sorry and destructive stuff the anorexia does.

What can I say when I am so far away? Basically not a lot, except let her know I am her support and can listen. But I can’t make her eat and my encouragement is all I can give. I can only advise her to see her counsellor (thankfully she has done this twice since we left). What gets me most is that Sophie can see this happening to herself. She doesn’t want it to, doesn’t want to go back into anorexia land. But finds it so hard to fight back and gain back control from the voice. So easy for the anorexia to slip back in.

What made it turn up again? Nothing really. The internal issues she has, have surfaced more and she needs to deal with them. These are the same issues as before but she really has never broken free and forward progress seems to be very slow over time. Maybe the issues she sees are something she cannot solve as they are her character and personality. She misses home, misses my foundation support but also knows she has to stand on her own feet and fight this herself. The weight loss from sickness and not eating as well as she could, is probably the main trigger. Normal life just doesn’t happen in many respects for those in recovery from an ED. You always have to watch your health, stress, eating habits. It can be so easy to start falling down the slope again.

Supporting someone from a distance is tricky. Sophie is paranoid and super sensitive at the moment (all anorexia traits). She asks for advice and then tells me I don’t get it or understand. She dumps her emotions and then hangs up. The ‘fix’ she wants I cannot provide. The answers lie within her but she can’t or won’t face them. Supporting someone in an intensive uni course is also very difficult. The distraction tool box she has is based on her having free time to do some of the activities or take a break. When you are studying full time (5 subjects a semester and art being far more time intensive than essay writing) where do you find time to delve into the distraction box. We talked about this last night but it needs more exploration.

Whever this goes, we do it together. Praying and hoping the slippery slope doesn’t happen.

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From Libero Network

This month we are talking about Mental Barriers, which is interesting because in the last few months my life has been defined by mental barriers. More specifically, my life has been defined by one of my largest mental barriers: not being good enough. Or, I suppose I should say thinking I’m not good enough.

When in recovery this was a struggle – what if I’m not strong enough to recovery? I’m not “disciplined” enough… I’m not strong enough… I’m not “special” like the people who recover. All lies.

Now I am through recovery (and thus have proven wrong all of those previous statements) and yet my barrier remains.

Lauren B - we are capableWhether it’s a new job, a request for help, or an amazing opportunity, my first response is no. Not “No I won’t do it” but rather “No I can’t do it”.

And even though I have an army of people around me cheering me on, with complete confidence in me (the same way I have complete confidence in them), I still cling to this single phrase: I’m not good enough.

Truth be told, if I really dissect it (my favourite thing to do!) I think the phrase is more “What if I’m not good enough?”

At its core, I think this barrier is more about fear than anything else. Yes insecurity comes into play, and yes pessimism does, too; but mostly I think it’s about fear. The fear of not being good enough, the fear of letting people down, the fear of not measuring up – of failing.

It’s amazing the power fear will take if you let it – it can completely handicap you and keep you from moving forward, keep you stuck standing in one place while you hesitate to even take one step forward for fear you mess it up.

This is not living. This is not thriving. And this is not justified.

The truth is we are capable of far more than we give ourselves credit for.

And any voice that tells us otherwise (whether it comes from within us, or from the outside) is a lie.

Sure, there are some thing I cannot do – for example, I probably couldn’t become a successful accountant – why? Because I work in words, not numbers, and the thought of money sends me into a panic attack. But here’s the thing: I don’t really want to become a successful accountant. Why? Because I work in words, not numbers, and the thought of money sends me into a panic attack. I hope you are getting my point?

I believe we are all created with passions and desires that relate directly to our abilities. If you are passionate about something and feel the desire to do it, then this means you are also equipped to do it. Sure there may be some training along the way, and a few mistakes and trips (of course!) but you will still be able to do it. You will be capable.

The same can be said for recovery – anyone can recover. There is nothing “special” about those who do it. We are not the “chosen few” – if anything, we are the few who chose it.

When you really want something, and you are driven towards it, and you have your eyes, heart, and mind set on the goal, you will succeed. Maybe “success” won’t look exactly how you thought in the beginning, but you still will succeed.

But calling yourself “not good enough” or assuming failure can be a self-fulfilling prophecy – so don’t let it be. Fear is the enemy of progress; but fear of this type cannot exist unless we bring it into existence.

And so even though I know it’s easier said than done, this month I encourage you to start breaking down your mental barriers – whatever they are – and for those of you who struggle with not being good enough, with self-doubt, with fear, I want you to know you’re not alone. I want you to know I am with you. And, most importantly, I want you to know that like any other mental barrier, it is something within us that can be broken down. It doesn’t have to control you and it certainly doesn’t have to define you.

So that job? That big opportunity? That goal? That thought of entering into recovery? DO IT – because you can, and as soon as you embrace this truth, you will.

Much love,
Lauren Bersaglio

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Libero Network

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Eating Disorder Recovery: Overcoming Denial of Your Past

Boy facing fearsIndividuals with an eating disorder or disordered eating are often unaware of the source of their pain. In order to begin the recovery process, they first must discover the wellspring of pain from the past. Denial is a significant detour in that quest.

There are two kinds of denial. The first is your own denial of what has happened to you. This may take the form of doubting that what you remember ever took place. Because the abuse has been denied, it may take on an unreal quality when remembered. Almost as if it happened to someone else. If the abuse is remembered, it is often seen through the prism that “explains” why the abuse was not really abuse after all.

Denial enters through self-talk. These are the messages repeated over and over to ourselves as we try to deal with the pain and our relationship with food. Thoughts of “nobody’s home is perfect” or “it could have been worse” or “it wasn’t that bad” or “there’s nothing I can do about it now” allow you to minimize the damage. “I should be strong enough to deal with this on my own” or “everyone turns to food when they’re down” increases frustration at the inability to bring the eating disorder or disordered eating under control.

But denial, this minimization of the pain, is merely a coping mechanism to keep the pain at bay. Denial is the ticket that allows you to transform life-altering pain into that limbo state of “not that bad.” If it is “not that bad,” you believe you can find the strength to go on.

The other form of denial comes from the person or people who hurt you. They may deny that the abuse ever took place or that there was not anything wrong with it if it did. He or she may accept that the event or events happened but deny responsibility or minimize the damage. This can happen regardless of the nature of the abuse. Whether the piece was a single, specific event, or a pattern of hurtful behavior carried over out a number of years, this person may refuse to accept the ramifications of his or her actions.

This person may even attempt to make you feel responsible for the abuse itself or responsible for your “version” of the events. They may deny the damage by calling into question your natural response to the damage.  It is to his or her benefit that denial goes both ways—their denial of the event and your denial of the damage done. They may resist acknowledging your eating disorder or the place food now has in your life, because acknowledgment means recognizing the abuse or pattern of hurtful behavior behind it.

So the responsibility for the abuse itself and the resulting eating disorder could be shoved back at you, increasing stress surrounding your eating disorder or pattern with you, escalating its progression. As this escalates, it becomes easier to focus your attention solely on its progress, diverting attention from the root cause.

The desire to go back and rewrite your past is seductive, especially if your past was one of the abuse and pain. Denial allows you to do just that. Denial takes the pages of your past and alters them according to “if onlys,” or it substitutes blank pages for the pain that is really there.

A familiar proverb assures us that those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. You can also be said that those who deny the events of their own history are doomed to relive them. To deny abuse is to perpetuate it. The only way to stop the chain of abuse is to stop denying the truth of that abuse.

Each of us is the product of our experiences, and not one of us is immune to the pain they have cost us. We may not be able to control what happened to us, but we can control who we become as a result of those past events.

First, however, we need to look at those experiences honestly. The light of reality can seem harsh and bright to those who have been hiding from the truth. Clarity and detail spring forth from the light of truth.

 

http://www.caringonline.com/our-blog/overcoming-denial-of-your-past/

Excerpts taken from Gregory L. Jantz, Hope, Help & Healing From Eating Disorders: A Whole-Person Approach To Treatment of Anorexia, Bulimia, and Disordered Eating, WaterBrook 2010.

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Yes it is still some people’s wish to have a bit of anorexia. Means they don’t have to diet. Means they are slim enough to fit all their clothes. Means they have some control and willpower. This groups doesn’t include the pro-ana or pro-mia people. These are so called ‘normal’ people. I have had several people, who in cosy confidence, have said to me “I still would like to be just a bit anorexic”. They have seen the battle I have had with my daughter, they know the story.

I came across this today from Tumblr – So you want to become anorexic. I have written about this myself too – the pain, the reality, the health problems, the life destroyed. But I like this one. It is hard hitting, yes, but oh so true. I remember the things she speaks of so clearly. Those in the grip of the anorexia don’t ‘see’ the destruction of the body but it is felt, despite the fact their anorexic mind refuses to acknowledge the reality. They simply cannot respond positivetly or ‘not do’ the behaviours that are destroying them. How could you possibly ever wish to ‘want’ to be anorexic.

And whilst you are wishing to be ‘just slightly’ anorexic (which you can’t be, it’s all or nothing), you will drag everyone else into the vortex with you.

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So…you think starving is a good way to lose weight, do you? I think you’ve read too many fairy tales. Well, this isn’t one. Neither are eating disorders. They are sheer & total HELL. But, since you want one, I’ll go ahead & prep you for it. I’ll let you know exactly what will happen to you. If this doesn’t make you realize how completely stupid running out there & trying to develop anorexia is, then I wish you the best of luck in killing yourself. Because that’s all you’ll be doing.

The completely ironic part about people trying to lose weight by starving is that half the time it does not work. I bet you think you’ll wind up insanely thin & gorgeous, right? Wrong. You won’t be gorgeous .One thing’s for certain. Insane is a definite part of the package. Your mind won’t be yours anymore. Kiss it goodbye, I hope you didn’t enjoy it.

The less you eat, the lower your metabolism goes. You might starve & starve & barely lose anything…or you might be extra lucky…you might starve & starve & gain weight. Your body might just shut itself down & the weight go nowhere. & even though you aren’t losing, you’ll still be HOOKED. You still won’t be able to stop. By the time your body shuts off from malnutrition, you’ll be too far in it to *snap* think “Oh…this isn’t working…I think I’ll eat again.” No…you’ll be desperate & eat less & less & work out more and more. Eventually, you won’t be ABLE to work out. Your muscles will eventually stop cooperating. Then you’ll panic & try & eat even less to compensate for not being able to work your ass off (simply a figure of speech, since you’re not losing any weight, of course). By then you can’t eat less though. You’re barely eating enough to stay alive as it is. & you can’t stop. It isn’t working & you still can’t stop. & whether its working or not, you won’t see the truth. You’ll never actually know what you look like. Nope…no matter what you’ll think you must weigh at least four hundred pounds. This is true if you weigh 150 or if you weigh 70. You will be fat. Insane is the proper term for it, isn’t it? Yes, you might just be one of the lucky ones, one of the ones that doesn’t lose weight. But don’t sit there & think that means you won’t be sick. Not true…not true at all. Your skin & hair will be dry, your teeth sore, your period gone, your bones aching, your muscles cramping…well, no need to go on. You still want this, of course. After all, you won’t be like that. You won’t be one of the failures. You’ll be successful; you’ll be thin & perfect. Beautiful.

Well, since you’re going to win, why don’t I tell you about your prize, hmm?? It’s quite nice. You will be skinny. You will be sickly thin. Your ribs will stand out & your hipbones will be sharp. You won’t see it. You’ll look in the mirror & see fat. You’ll see rolls. You’ll look at girls who weight fifty pounds more than you & wonder why you can’t be as thin as they are. You’ll look in the mirror everyday & swear that you’ve gained at least ten pounds. Other people will see you shrink but you won’t get to watch. You’ll never see the truth. Others will though. You’ll be sickly skinny…but you won’t be pretty. & they’ll all see that. You won’t though…you’ll be too busy staring at your ass & wondering when you turned into your fat Aunt Bertha. You will not be attractive. You won’t. You’ll have huge dark circles. Your skin will be pasty pale & have a lovely gray tint to it. Makeup will NOT help this. It won’t, so don’t think it will. Don’t even bother to attempt it. You’ll be wasting your time; time that could be better spent doing your usual pastime, staring into the pantry to watch the food. Of course, people might not notice that you’re gray. They could be too busy staring at the dark black, blue, & purple spots you’re covered in. Everything you do will result in a bruise. Everything.

Do you have pretty hair? You won’t anymore. It will be straw dry & dull. It will not shine. Think conditioner will help? It won’t. It won’t & there’s no sense in trying it. It might soften your hair for a while (after you use half the bottle, of course) but it won’t make your hair look any better. Buy a ponytail holder. You’ll need it. You’ll probably be wearing it all the time. You’ll also need some hair dye. I sincerely hope your hair isn’t a nice color….because it won’t be soon. Yes…the color of your hair will fade out. You might even get grays. But gray is a nice color, isn’t it? I rather like it. I think the grayish brown color where my natural red and blonde highlights used to be adds a bit of…oh…dignity to my look.

Speaking of hair, do you like facial hair? I hope so. You’ll have it. I have some lovely sideburns. Quite gorgeous. Actually, I have sexy hair everywhere. Fuzz, fuzz, fuzz. It’s hot. All the guys love it and all the girls I know ask how to get some. They’re jealous, you know. I tell them how I got it, starving. They never attempt it…I know why though. Its not because they’re smart & healthy…no, no. Its because they’re weak. Not strong like me. Of course, my muscles are deteriorating as we speak & I can no longer use even my five pound weights but I’m still strong, aren’t I? Yes…because I don’t eat. & that’s true strength, isn’t it? Denying yourself the basic fuel you need for life. Yup…strong & smart.

I bet you’re one of those girls will the enviable natural nails. Those shiny ones that are so long people sometimes think they’re fake? Cut them. Go ahead & cut them off now. They’ll only break soon anyway.

Kiss your newly gray hair goodbye too. It’ll be falling out about now. You get to clean the drain about 6 times during your shower, just so the water will go down.

Also, you’ll need to find a way to throw away your tampons to make it look as if you’ve been using them. Remember to tell your mom to buy you tampons once a month. Can’t have her knowing you lost your period. & you will. I hope you’re not having sex because you’ll never know if you’re pregnant or not. I guess you can just take a test every few weeks. & yes…you can still get pregnant. I hope you don’t love the baby though, because chances are you’ll lose it. It would probably be for the best if you did though because of the nice birth defects caused by eating disorders. So, you might get to live with the knowledge that your child died or had to go through life with a terrible disability because of you…but it was worth it for thinness. A small price to pay for perfection, even though you’re not the one paying it. Who needs their full mental capabilities anyway? I hope your kid doesn’t. But that might not be a problem. You might never have children. You might become infertile. Oh well…pregnancy makes you fat anyway.

Since you’re one of the special ones, one of the anorexic ones, I’ll bet you enjoy ice water. Pour it out. Drink plain water, warm diet coke. It hurts too badly to drink iced drinks. You’re taking sensitive teeth to a new level. Forget those special toothpastes though. They don’t work when your teeth are slowly dying from vitamin deficiencies. Never liked those teeth anyway. Dentures are nice.

How do you like to sit? Oh…you like your legs crossed? Hmm…too bad. Can’t do that anymore. Your legs will fall asleep all the way up to your hips. Painfully asleep. This isn’t like what you’re used to, that tingly feeling. This hurts. A word of advice. After uncrossing them, just sit there. Don’t try moving them or hitting them to wake them up. Bad idea…very painful. Don’t stand up either, unless you enjoy collapsing.

Fainting is common too. & don’t think this is something you can hide. Whenever you pass out dead in the living room in front of your mom or brother they’ll wonder why…and unless they’re complete idiots they’ll probably know why…especially if you’re 30 pounds underweight. Get ready for nagging. Eat this, eat that, why are you doing this to yourself??

You could always go to your room to escape though. Then you can lie in bed & bite your lip until it bleeds…why would you want to do that, do you ask? Because of the leg cramps, of course…oh! I must’ve forgotten to mention those! Oooh…the cramps are nice. Your muscles are balled into excruciating knots. You’ll double over to massage the knots out and…what? There are no knots. There IS no rubbing the knots out because there are no knots. It just feels like it. There’s nothing you can do. You just get to lie there & try not to scream. & trust me…you’ll want to. Of course, you could always rub your legs anyway…it might make you feel better to pretend there’s something you can do to help them. But you might not be thinking about your legs…you might be distracted by the headaches. Take some aspirin…oooh…or don’t. Your tummy’s too empty; it’ll only make you throw up everywhere.

It’s worth it right? Anything’s worth it, even your hair, nails, bones, muscles, possible children, your family’s heart, everything. Sacrifice it all, throw it all away. You’re thin now, that’s what counts, even though you don’t know it.

You’ll probably get chest pains. Maybe heart flutters. This is scary too, because you never wanted to die, you just wanted to be thin. But remember, you can’t tell. Telling is forbidden & asking for help is weak.

Do you have problems with depression? You do now. The less you eat the more depressed you become. Partially from vitamin deficiencies, partially from your lovely eating disorder. Do you have problems with insomnia? That’s right, you’ve got that now too. You’re exhausted beyond belief but you still can’t fall asleep…& when you do you can’t stay asleep. Who needs sleep though?? Not you. Staying awake burns more calories anyway.

Do you do well in school? You don’t now. You can’t concentrate. Your mind won’t function, & the only thing you can actually think about is food anyway. Your grades will fall. Want to recover? You’ll probably have to leave school. How does repeating a grade sound?

Do you like going out with friends? You won’t for long. You’ll be afraid someone might notice how obese you are. You can’t leave the house now without hiding under tons of clothes…you’re terrified someone might see your repulsive body. You’ll become more nervous too. Jittery. You’ll also have difficulty talking. Oh…have you never had a stuttering problem? Well, you do now. You also forget what you wanted to say alot. Goodbye memory. And you can’t go out with friends anyway, so I guess it’s a good thing you no longer enjoy it. If you go out with friends they might want to eat! Maybe they’ll want to go to a restaurant or the movies. How can you explain that you don’t want any popcorn? How can you find an excuse for sitting there at the table sipping Diet Dr. Pepper or nibbling a salad & water while everyone else has cheeseburgers?? You can’t. & they might make you eat. You can’t do that…no. But why do they want you to eat? Is it because they care? No. Its because they WANT you to be fat!! How dare they?? They’re jealous…that’s it, they’re jealous. Soon you’ll realize something. Everyone wants you to be fat. Your parents, your siblings, teachers, friends. The world is against you & they all want you to spiral into morbid obesity. Get away from them. All of them. They don’t understand & they’re plotting your downfall. You can’t have that, you can’t lose this. Every time someone urges you to eat or recover “for your health” you know the truth. They hate you & want you to be fat. Push them away. Push away all the people who love you. That’s the only way you’ll ever be thin.

But one day this will be over. One day you will either die or recover. Death is easier. First you’ll have to admit you need help (that is, on the chance that you haven’t been forced into recovery…recovery that will not work until you cooperate). This is one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. Maybe you’ll tell your mom. She might be wonderfully supportive, she might’ve already known. Or maybe she won’t think you have a real problem. Then you’re on your own. Maybe you’ll tell your doctor. & if you tell your mom, she’ll take you to a doctor. Then its better. You’re safe now, they’ll help you. They’ll understand. Wrong. A degree is not an insurance against ignorance. & speaking of insurance, it only pays so much on mental health problems. And ED treatment costs are outrageous. So, even if you find a doctor that knows his ass from a hole in the ground you might not be able to get help. You might not be able to afford it.

As you recover, your school might have to know. Your teachers will not understand. Students might find out. They won’t understand either. Their comments will hurt, you’ll want to scream when they ask why you don’t just eat. They might call you fat just for fun. Someone might start to admire you & try to become anorexic too…but then, you’ve been there. You wanted to be anorexic once & you never realized how stupid you were. You know it now, but it’s too late. Its too late & you have to fight this or die…& fighting it is the hardest thing you’ve ever done. You’ll put food in your mouth, that disgusting, terrible food & panic & want to cry. Maybe you will cry. Maybe you’ll freak & spit it back out. Maybe you’ll refuse to eat & get a lovely feeding tube. Triggers are everywhere & you want to kill yourself more with each bite you swallow. Maybe you will kill yourself. Maybe you’ll fight & fight & enter recovery only to die while in recovery or even afterwards from complications caused by your years of having an eating disorder.

After fighting for the longest time, maybe you will get out. Maybe, after numerous slip ups & times that where so hard you thought you’d die, you recover. It takes a while. Even after you’ve eaten right for months & months your body still isn’t the same. You start to wonder if it will ever be the same again. It might, but you won’t. No. This will always be a part of you, it will never go away. Years later it will still be with you, you will still have those moments. Sometimes you’ll pass a mirror & suddenly be 200 pounds larger. You’ll panic & shake your head, trying to clear the image away. Something will happen in your life, maybe you’ll lose your job. Something will happen to take away your control & you’ll try to gain it back through starving. You will NEVER be the same. You’ll see an article on a someone with an eating disorder & you’ll start to cry, remembering that terrible pain. I’m not talking about the physical pain. That’s the only pain I described, because it’s the only part that’s describable. There are no words for the mental anguish. It can never be described. It’s unimaginable. You’ll never feel another pain like that, another pain so filled with self loathing, vulnerability, terror, rage, desolation…

WHY do you want this?? WHY?!? I know, even after reading this, that you’re still sitting there, wanting this. Why? What is it you want?? Is it beauty? Do you honestly think you won’t be like this?? Do you honestly think malnutrition won’t steal your looks? Is it glamour? READ THIS. Show me the glamour. Is it control?? Let me tell you, you’ll NEVER be more out of control than you are when you have an eating disorder. You don’t control what you put in your mouth. Hell, you don’t even control your thoughts. You have NO control. None.

Do you honestly think that you’ll be able to do this & not wind up this way? Do you think you are the one person on earth who can control this, who can just stop??? Do you think that maybe you can just do this, get thin, & stop?? WRONG! It doesn’t work that way. Do you WANT to die? Do you want to be a martyr or something? Do you think this is beautiful? I bet you think its some sort of tragic beauty. Its not. There’s nothing beautiful about it. Do you want some attention? Buy a new eyeliner, dance naked in the streets. Needing attention is a natural thing but there are a hell of alot better ways to get it.

Do you want to look at your family’s faces & know that you’re killing them too? Imagine watching your child killing themselves, imagine your helplessness, imagine KNOWING that they’re dying & KNOWING that there’s NOTHING that you can do. Imagine fearing the day you’ll come home to find them dead from this. Just sit there & try to think about it. Of course, while you’re starving yourself you won’t see that anguish. You won’t be able to. You can’t see anything, you’re too self absorbed. You’re too busy thinking about your weight, about food. You’ll see it when you recover though & you’ll hate yourself for doing that to the ones you love. You’ll wish there was something you could do to erase it but there is nothing. You just have to live with it…& living with it is hard. Especially when you think of how many times your anger came out on them, how many times you got nasty when they were only trying to save your life. You’ll hate yourself.

But do you know what? Self-hatred is the least of your worries now. Because you’ve likely just signed your own death warrant…& you likely don’t even care…yet. But you will. You will care. You will care & you will cry & rage & swear you’d give anything to take it all back. But it’s too late, because by the time you’re in deep enough to care, you’re already dying. Its too late to snap out of it now, no matter how much you want to.

This is the reality of anorexia. It is nothing like the powerful articles you read on how so & so overcame it. It is nothing like the beauty you see when you look at that thin model. It is nothing like that beautiful popular girl who naturally weighs 80lbs. It is nothing like anything you’ve ever lived before & you will never be the same

This will not make you happy.

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