Today was a low day. I hesitate even writing this because of what the response might be but I promise you, people that needed to be notified, were notified. I ate french fries last night and my eating disorder has destroyed me ever since. As pathetic as this may sound, I woke up with thoughts of suicide because I broke one of my ‘rules’. I cut my skin as punishment and skipped lunch because of worth. Not because of calories, not because of fear but because today I looked at those around me and allowed ED to convince me that I was not worthy of food. As if it was a prize and not a necessity.
I told my treatment team about what happened and I am trying to look at the bright side. I survived today. I wanted to kill myself but I fought through it. Even though days like this happen, the fact that I ate breakfast and dinner is a big deal. I’m proud of my progress and even though I am struggling, I am so much better than I was last year or even Saturday for that matter.
I can still do this
Hey Hi Hello!
As many of you know, this past year I spent 3 months at Remuda Ranch Treatment Center to treat my Anorexia Nervosa. With every pound I lost, I lost a sense of myself. I never expected Anorexia to take away as much as it did. I was told when I went to college that these were the best years of my life, little did I know that a large majority of my college years would be spent in isolation, counting calories and spending every moment hating myself, truly believing that the only way I could escape this hell was if I lost weight. Remuda Ranch and the Renfrew Center were the places that changed my life. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t receive treatment and I am so thankful that I was given that opportunity.Through their guidance and hard work, I am back at my university and back on track to graduate. I am so incredibly grateful to have my life back and I owe it all to those who have supported me and the treatment I’ve received.
There are millions of men and women who are not as fortunate as I was. 30 million men and women will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder during their lifetime. Only 10% of people who suffer from Eating Disorders get the treatment that they need and 35% of people that receive treatment for eating disorders get treatment at a specialized facility for eating disorders. I have seen where this disease can take you and it is truly heartbreaking knowing that this year, many men and women will die from their Eating Disorder because they did not have the opportunity to seek the correct treatment.
I recently accepted the challenge of participating in a NEDA Walk benefiting the National Eating Disorders Association. NEDA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. The NEDA Walk, which launched during NEDAwareness Week in 2009, is a fundraiser supporting NEDA and a community awareness-raising event. Individuals from across the country will be coordinating a NEDA Walk in their communities throughout the year. The NEDA Walk is a non-competitive community event and was developed so that registrants can participate in whatever capacity they feel is appropriate for them.
Proceeds support critical programs and services that work to eliminate eating disorders and improve prevention, treatment, and research. NEDA helps making treatment accessible to all and with your help, you can make a difference in the life of a person who is suffering. I am asking you to help by supporting my fundraising efforts with a donation. Your tax-deductible gift will make a difference in the lives of many! It is faster and easier than ever to support this great cause you can make your donation online by simply clicking on the link at the bottom of this message.
I have an inner monologue of what I need to write in this blog constantly. I have toyed with the idea of writing a dairy of what a day in the life with an eating disorder is like but have come to the conclusion that it would be very repetitive and depressing to those who take the time to read my confusing thoughts. Once again, I sit in front of my computer with a blank slate of what I should be writing. Here we go.
I hate myself. A very general statement that has an immense impact on my life. The hate that I have is different than it used to be, the days of loathing my personality and my appearance used to just seem simple now is so much more complex. I try to be perfect in all I do, I am insanely controlling but I hide it behind a rehearsed smile to come off as a pleasant person and it truly rocks me that there is something that I need to do and I just can’t. I go to my coping mechanism for my mistakes, starving and purging to tightly compress any emotion and fit it perfectly in a box, naively hoping that as I walk away from feelings they won’t come back and bite me in the ass. Yes, stupidity fits me well.
The one element of my life that I truly wish to change is my inability to talk to people. Not small talk or bland conversation, I have that shit on lock. I am talking about vulnerability. I can write until my fingers fall off in my journal and on my blog but when it comes to face to face, I lack the ability to tell someone how I am feeling. I tense up around people and I become numb to anything and everything going on my life. I can’t say it. I can’t even think about it expressing my emotions. I can write on here that I haven’t eaten in a day, I can type paragraphs about how I spend hours looking in my reflections in tears hoping to God that when I wake up tomorrow I will have the slimmer figure that I so desperately want and I can take you on a journey through my words about my thought process when someone includes words like “bigger” and “fat” in their vocabulary. I can do that without hesitation but I can’t go to someone and say “Hey, I just spent an hour purging”.
I want to purge something besides food. Purging is purposely having a desire of feeling empty and you make yourself feel like there is nothing left. I want to do that with this situation I am in. I want to purge the words I want to speak and not write. I want to purge this fakeness that I can’t shake off. I want it gone and I want to feel empty instead of completely full of self doubt and anger. It’s killing me.
I’m hungry and I want food. I want to stop drinking diet soda and start trying to live. I am so angry at myself and so frustrated and my pathetic attempt to reach out. No, I am not relapsing and this is a lapse, but for once I want to say it with a purpose and not as if my recovery doesn’t matter. I want to be a person who can be happy or sad and show it.
I’m not a crier. I used to be but I pride myself in my ability to not cry in front of others. I know that’s nothing to be proud of but as a person who spent years being bullied for showing my emotions, I had to teach myself how to conceal it and it took a great deal of time. My therapists pointed out to me that I am an extremely emotional person but I’ve wound up my emotions so tightly around food that I come off as completely dead to all emotions. That’s a completely true. Food is my secret weapon in my plan to survive through all the bullshit that is thrown my way.
But I’m slipping. My full proof plan is crumbling and is causing me to fall apart. My eating disorder is smart, a genius actually and peeks its way of controlling my every thought. It knows where I am stronger and attacks the aspects of my life that are vulnerable. Anorexia allowed me to believe that I was fine, better than ever actually. It’s been almost a week since I purged and I felt as though I was finally back on top of things. I praised medication but didn’t think twice about how I was spending my days avoiding food. Looking back on it, of course I was happy, I was starving and numb.
Sadly, all plans have a downfall and mine slapped me in the face. As much as I try to avoid it, you need food to survive and lately whenever I am around food every emotion that I have so perfectly pushed away comes flooding back. It’s like being water boarded with feelings. I ate breakfast and within ten minutes I was sobbing in the middle of class. Today I ordered food and had a full panic attack that even Xanax couldn’t mask. One of the only aspects of my life that I had such pride in was openly falling apart. You know those people that everyone stares at for acting weird, that was me.
I’m humiliated. I’m confused. I’m depressed. I’m feeling for the first time in awhile and it absolutely sucks.
Growing up, I never understand why I liked the feeling of pain. I couldn’t comprehend why as a child instead of asking for a hug I would spend hours banging rocks against my arms trying to break the bones so somebody could see the pain and acknowledge me. My first suicide attempt was when I was in the 4th grade and my self harm began years before that. I was a kid who truly believed that I had nothing to offer this world and to this day, I criticize the way I looked and acted as a child because the idea that I was something beautiful and innocent at any point in my life is hard for me to accept. I have struggled with depression my whole life and throughout extensive therapy, I have learned that I have struggled with disordered eating since I was a child and within the past five years it has turned into a very serious eating disorder that almost took my life. I am a sick person and honestly, I am terrified of where this illness is going to take me. I want to speak up and tell somebody how I am feeling but every time I open my mouth, the fear of not taking my feelings seriously silences me and forces me to carry this illness a lot on my own.
I get a lot of bullshit responses when I tell people how I am feeling. “You have to try harder” “You are doing nothing to help yourself” “You need to get over it” “Sarah, you just need to put yourself out there”. When those things are said it completely minimizes how I am feeling because those phrases or phrases like that come off as this is just something I need to snap out of and it makes me feel as though it is all my fault. Almost as if I woke up one day and was like “I really think I want to struggle with not trying to kill myself every time I see a recent picture of me. That would be swell.” I don’t want this and I am trying. This is not a funk or me feeling sad and sorry for myself, this is a mental illness.
People put depression in the same category of sadness. Which is fair, the word depression seems to be a pretty solid synonym for sad. But sadness is an emotion that we all feel, sometimes for a specific reason and then we have our gloomy days. Sadness isn’t something that is always temporary, each of us will have unpleasant moments were our body’s natural response is to feel depressed. Sadness is a normal, healthy emotion that everyone will experience and just like any emotion, it will pass.
Depression, on the other hand, is so much more than feeling that passes. It stems from a normal emotion and through the chemical makeup in our brains that normal emotion is processed abnormally and becomes out of control. It’s not something that is occasional either. Depression is spending every night for years crying yourself to sleep, and it’s a hopelessness that weighs so heavily on you that you can feel like the best thing you can do to benefit the world is to not be in it. Depression is having a self hatred that causes you to not accept the love other’s give you and feel angry that they are even wasting their time on a person like you. Having this disorder isn’t just a feeling that passes, it’s a being that lives inside of you.
I am sick, I haven’t given up and I would appreciate to be listened to. If I could just get over it, I would.
I wish I could put into words what my anxiety feels like. I have noticed over the years when I explain anxiety to those who don’t have it regularly it just comes off as a fear and nothing less. It’s so much more than that. I am afraid of lizards, they freak me out and I prefer not to be around them. I am not paralyzed by it. I don’t avoid walking outdoors because of my fear of those disgusting slivery satans and I don’t have to stop my life at the thought of them. Fear is something on the outside but my anxiety is an uncomfortable mix of negative emotions that is directed towards myself. Anger, sadness, self hatred, disappointment, and disgust feel as if they are little bugs crawling throughout my bug, suffocating me and leaving me completely paralyzed. The world becomes dull, and any noise feels is extremely loud and startling. It took me three hours to drive back to greensboro today. I had to stop because my anxiety was so bad and try to convince myself that driving over a bridge or into a telephone pole wasn’t a good idea.
I just spent time with my family last night and there is something about them that is extremely triggering. Actually no, it’s not something. It’s the scale, it’s the laxatives, it’s the weight lose chart my mother has hanging on the walls, it’s singling me . I know they love me and they don’t want me to relapse but when I am around them especially I feel like I need to restrict and purge everything. I was brought up to be this perfect daughter who never did anything wrong but when I am around them it becomes more and more clear that I will never fit into the roles that they want for me and the roles that the people I love want from me. So I restrict myself to fit into this perfect sarah box and hope that with every pound I lose, the shame of who I am will melt away like the fat I want so leave my body so badly.
Earlier today, I looked in the mirror and just sobbed and I just want somebody to realize why I want my body to reflect who I am and my distortions tell me that with the body I have now, I show no importance, I look and feel unlovable and am so ashamed that people have to look at me. When I cry over feeling fat, it’s not just about the weight. My body to me seems like a reflection of who I am and it’s reflecting an ugly, pathetic girl who is a disappointment to everyone she knows. I hate myself and I don’t understand how people can’t see my flaws in the same way I do. It’s so clear.
And who wants a person like me in their life? I’m such a fucking burden to everyone and I hate it. I just want to be a good person who my friends and family are proud of, instead the conversation is “have you eaten” or “you just have to get over it” which hearing those things makes me feel so shameful. Nobody should have to worry about me like that. I have a handful of incredibly loving and caring people who are there for me and when they ask me if I am ok I just smile and say yes when in reality I just want to sit and just explain what this is or what this feels like. Because it goes so much deeper than what most people might think.
And that’s all I have to say.