Friday, May 13, 2011


I know that I still have a long path to travel on my road to recovery but I'm so excited about getting there. Before I learned that I have a problem I just assumed that every one thought about food the same way that I did and that my thoughts about food would always be the same. I never questioned that I would have to fight with myself about food ALL the time forever and always.

I knew that I had a bad relationship with food. This is evident in the fact that I use to envy people with eating disorders. The voice in my head would say

look at them! at least they care enough about their bodies 
to actually develop a real problem. They are strong!
You are weak. You don't care enough. 

I know now that this was part of my disorder but I am still so embarrassed by these thoughts. To anyone who has ever suffered or is suffering with an eating disorder I apologize deeply for thinking such things. Please forgive me for being so ignorant.

However, now that I know a life without these destructive and disordered thoughts can exist 

I am Oh So Excited to find my way to that life. 

I can't wait until I can stand up and shoot 

"I was 'THAT Girl' and now I have recovered!"

*Disclaimer: Yes I know that my thoughts given here are in contrast to those given in a previous post (That Girl) but I am only human and therefore can have contradictory thoughts in my head. There were parts of having an eating disorders that I viewed as strong and envied but I also use to see those who suffered as weak; before I learned that eating disorders are a mental illness I wrongly thought they were more like something you caught. Now I view people with an eating disorder as normal everyday people, as unique and individual as every one else. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Drugs. Drugs! Drugs?

About a month ago I found an article documenting abnormal dopamine levels in the brains of people with binge eating disorder and it made a big difference in how I view myself. It helped me to understand that having an eating disorder is not an sign of weakness but is an actual mental illness. There is something wrong in my brain. I am not weak. I have a real medical problem.

Along with needing to know how much damage I have done to my body the other reason I initially went to the doctor was the thought:

if there is something wrong with the dopamine levels 
in my brain then does there exist a drug to fix it? 

This is the first time I have voiced that thought. I went to see a doctor for her medical opinion and not to ask for drugs.

I had my follow up meeting with the doctor today and received good news: I am relatively healthy. My vitamin B levels are a little low but other than that (and a few physiological symptoms) I have not hurt my body too badly.

After reporting this she asked if I wanted to supplement my treatment plan with drugs. (Right now my treatment plan involves counseling and blogging only). After we talked about what I can expect the drugs to help me with and the possible side effects I said YES.

Don't get me wrong there is not a magical drug out there to cure eating disorders. However, this drug will take the edge off of my obsessive thoughts and will therefore allow me focus on setting up healthier eating plans and habits. It will buy me some time to allow my focus to be on getting better and not just on preventing (or minimizing) the next 'incident'.

Part of me feels like I am taking the easy way out. I feel like I am cheating; like it won't count as a 'real' recovery if I don't win every battle via pure bare-knuckle boxing.

What will it say about my mental strength, 
will power and determination if I cheat? 

The only answer I could come up with is "who the f--- cares as long as I recover". 

What are your thoughts about treating eating disorders with drugs? 

Have you used drugs as part of your recovery plan? If so, what was your experience like?

Right now my biggest concern is how or if they will affect my parenting. 
My daughter shouldn't have to (nor will she) pay a price from my recovery.

I would love to hear your stories, warnings and ideas. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sick Enough

I often feel like I'm not sick enough; like things have gotten all blown out of proportion and my disordered relationship with food isn't all that bad. And if it's not that bad then I don't need to recover because there is nothing to recover from.

I was slow to seek help because I never felt like I had a real problem; at my worst I felt like I was failing at having an eating disorder.  I still feel this way:

I am failing at having an eating disorder.  

When I told this to my doctor she actually laughed out loud. Not in a rude way but in a
that-comment-caught-me-off-guard-because-you-can-not-fail-at-having-an-eating-disorder,-the-very-idea-of-that-is-crazy type of way.

I am not anorexic and I do not meet the criteria to be classified as bulimic. I am a prime example of someone with EDNOS (Eating Disorder not Otherwise Specified). A 'catch all' phrase often used to classify those of us who aren't sick enough yet to have a label all our own. I've seen it described as the term for someone who, if left untreated, will most likely develop a more serious eating disorder with a "proper label" but I feel like this label (EDNOS) is true to the wide assortment of symptoms that people can display. It represents the wide spectrum of what disordered eating can be.

Moreover, it allows me to cling to my belief that I'm not that sick, that things have somehow just been blown out of proportion and I'm not really THAT GIRL.

This belief was broken down a little bit when I read on the F.E.A.S.T. website that
  EDNOS symptoms can be more lethal than those associated with 
anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. 

Wow! What a wake up call. This is real. I am lucky that my body has been able to handle the abuse I've handed it. I am lucky that I found help when I did.

I am officially done arguing with myself about whether or not I have a problem. I am officially done feeling like an outsider from the ED world. I do belong in such groups. My opinions on eating disorders matter. I am sick enough.

Please don't misunderstand this post. It's not about comparing and a twisted game of "You're sicker than me". It's about me trying to convince myself that I do have a problem and the voice in my head that's telling me to just stop treatment and return to 'normal' life is wrong.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Today two of the main reasons that I need to recover are front and center:




I will recover so that My MOTHER doesn't find out about my condition from a Doctor after I've become so sick that I need medical intervention. I will recover because she loves me and because I am her daughter she feels my pain whether she knows the cause of it or not. 

I will recover so that if My DAUGHTER ever finds out about my condition it will be in the past tense: Mommy had an eating disorder but she recovered. I am so proud of her and the relationship she has with food. She eats when she's hungry; it doesn't matter if you offer her cookies, cake, candy or ice cream, if she's not hungry she'll say no thank you. She says 'no thank you' without regard for her weight or for what other people will think of her if she says yes. This is a control that I can only dream of. 

Whatever your relationship with your mother is I hope you are all finding motivation to stay on your path to recovery today. 

Happy Mothers Day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Who is 'That Girl'?

Most people have some sort of assumption about what type of person has an eating disorder. I think it's partly a way to protect ourselves. There is a 'them' and an 'us'. We are not like 'them'; this makes us feel safe and to some degree lucky. We can sympathies with, support and love them but they are not like us.

As a member of society my heart hurts for 'those' girls. We see eating disorders portrayed in television and movies. We hear reports about actresses who suffer from them. The terminology has become part of everyday conversations and facebook status updates. Before I found out that I am 'that girl' this is what I thought about her:

A person with an eating disorder is weak and stupid. She would have to be in order to continually harm her body that way. She has an unbelievably low self-esteem. She is one of those girls who is continually (and often annoyingly) looking for praise and complements. When she gets them she often argues or disagrees with them. She is fragile, pathetic, insecure and selfish.

I'm embarrassed and ashamed to think about how wrong I was.

This is not how I would describe myself.

This is no longer how I would describe any one with an eating disorder.

This is what is keeping me silent. 
I have no idea what my loved ones preconceptions about eating disorders are and I can't bare to think that they might be as wrong as I was. I can't bare to think that they might feel this way about me. Or even worse they might not believe that I have a problem because I do not fit their preconceived notions of who 'that girl' should be.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blindsided by the Down Slide

I read a great blog post the other day about how the game of Chutes & Ladders is like recovery: sometimes we slide downward but never back to the same place we started at.

In the game of recovery I was blindsided by a slide today and I don't know why. I was doing so good. I thought I was doing everything right. So how did I end up on a square with a chute on it?

Now I'm left feeling sick and the food so desperately wants to come out. I don't understand why people want me to keep all this food inside. Yes I know it's wrong to binge but once the food is in there how can you ask me to keep it inside? It's too much! my body needs help dealing with it.

I've eaten so much I feel sick to my stomach and if that's not enough the thought of how much and what I ate makes me down right nauseous.


I don't know what to do. I want to recover! but I also really want to get this gross awful food out of me!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dear Self. You are not hungry please stop eating!

but on a positive note I am not eating food I'm allergic to


I was driving home from yet another out of town business meeting yesterday, which created the perfect situation for an 'incident'. I was alone (no one could judge me and I could hide all evidence), I was bored and I was tempted. There was nothing preventing me from stopping at any number of convenience stores and eating everything. As a matter of fact, so the store clerk didn't think I was a pig, I could stop at many stores and just buy slightly too much at each (a 'trick' that I have used in the past to save face). As the epic battle between relapse and recovery ragged on in my head I managed to drive past every single store! and the thing that distracted me enough to keep driving was thinking about the Tea Party song Temptation.

You can listen to it here: Temptation

With the exception of one line ('Shaking as her sex takes hold')  this song perfectly describes my disorder.

What makes recovery so hard is that temptation is right in front of me all the time. Recognizing that 'temptation will never let me down' is helping prepare me for battles. Temptation wont change. It will always be there. So instead I must change. I must be ready to fight temptation at any given moment.

Seriously though, look at these lyrics, this is my life, this is my battle:

Driven by restrained desire
I want what I need

I've lost all control

Drowning in a sea of rage
I taste the embrace
Helpless as it steals my soul
I've lost all control

It never lets me down
One foot in the ground

We exist in a world where the fear of
Iillusion is real
And we cling to the past to deny and confuse the ideal

Destined by a fate so cruel
And drugged to delight
Laughing as these lies unfold
I've lost all control

You satisfy my soul

*NOTE: The above is not the entire lyrics of the song. They are just the lyrics that I found most relevant to me. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Chips For Breakfast

I was out of town for a few days last week for some business meetings and I was lucky enough to have friends who let me stay with them. Staying with friends however means that you're not allowed to be on 'just' a business trip. On Friday morning, after a few hours sleep, I woke up slightly hungover. Due to poor planing, being allergic to dairy and the fact that it was not at my house left me with literally nothing to eat for breakfast, which is the most important meal of the day (especially if you're trying not to get or stay fat).

Given that I was running very short on time, my only option was to stop at the grocery store beside the train station on the way to my meeting. A perfect recipe for failure!

I was hungry, hung over and in a hurry - Not the best time to be making good food choices.

I found myself in the chip aisle, with blackberries and a sesame snap already in my basket, staring 63-ish grams of tasty uncontrollable chip consumption in the face (and once I've eaten a whole bag of chips, what's to keep me from eat . . . . . . . and into the downward spiral I go). To make it worse, have you ever read the contents on a bag of chips? It is really hard to find ones without dairy. But like I said, I was hungry, hung over and in a hurry, my self control was at an all time low!

Then I surprised myself by walking by the 'late night cheeseburger' flavoured doritos and putting down the 'cheddar cheese & sour cream' flavoured baked chips (yes I actually picked them up and held them in my hand). I picked up the (completely dairy free) ketchup flavoured baked chips and ate them in moderation on the train ride. I knew they would all be gone before the day was over but I took great comfort in the fact that I was not allergic to them (i.e. eating them would not cause me physical pain) and the entire large bag contained a comparable amount of fat to a single serve bag of regular chips.

Today I won despite setting myself up for failure.

I am proud of myself!