i’ve relocated!

i’ve relocated!

Hello! I know it’s been a while since I’ve been on here, but I’ve relocated to another site to share the lessons I’ve learned walking the journey of recovery! Check out Body Banter, which is an organization started by one of my friends that helps promote body positivity and advocacy for recovery!

I’m a columnist on her site, so check out my first column on emotional eating here!

Body Banter is really cool, and I think you all could appreciate it. You can follow us on Instagram here or like us on Facebook here!

Hope to see you guys there 🙂

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italia thoughts

italia thoughts

I am in Italy right now (!!!) so I’ll keep this shorter than usual, but I had an important experience today.

First off, let me say that I’ve been a little moody since we got here yesterday, which feels crazy because I’m in Europe– I should be super happy. But jet lag and dehydration has made me irritable, and that’s okay. I feel bad for being short with my mom at times, but she understands why. The important thing is I don’t have to make myself perk up– I’m allowed to be moody. Emotions don’t last forever, and sure enough, I perked up today!

Italy is stunning. I’ve been saving for this trip for a long time and have about $200 of spending money saved up. So, of course, when we went to the shopping district of Rome on the way to the Borghese Gallery (amazing, by the way), I wanted to go into several clothing shops. I found these cute culottes that I loved, and so I wanted to try them on. I got a size that normally fits me, or at least did a couple months ago.

When I went to try them on, they wouldn’t even fit over my thighs, despite being a size I had worn before, and a size that my ED wasn’t happy with.

Of course, this was very triggering. Not only didn’t they fit me, but a specific body part prevented them from fitting me. It would be so easy to zero in on this part of my body and critique it. But I walked out of the dressing room and tried to brush it off. But when I tried to return the culottes to the dressing room attendant, he rudely told me that I was to put them back myself, and for some reason, after walking away, I began to cry. It felt as if his abrupt demeanor was what made me cry, but I knew it was really the underlying feelings I had about my size.

I walked to my mom and told her they didn’t fit, and a tear or two rolled down my cheek. I quickly wiped them away because I’m not one to cry in public places. I felt so horrible, because I wasn’t happy with that size to begin with, and now it didn’t fit me? Was it because I had gotten larger? Was it because the sizes were European? Was it simply the shop I was in?

No answer to any of those questions would make me feel any better. I just felt big, and to my eating disorder, big means bad.

So I let that emotion exist, even while holding back tears. I let myself feel it. And it went away. Just like my moodiness. I rode the wave, I let myself feel bad, then I picked myself back up. And I felt better.

If it weren’t for my recovery, I would be miserable in Rome. It’s because I know how to feel now that I am having the great time that I am, and that I am allowing my emotions to be a part of the trip, not stuffing them down.

i’ve conquered anorexia.

i’ve conquered anorexia.

Today, June 12th, I’ve realized that I have conquered and beaten anorexia. I still have anorexia– it will always be with me– but I have beaten it.

In the past few weeks, I have really been struggling with my body image. Because of this, I have also been working really hard to battle negative thoughts and do a lot of work towards accepting my body. However, sometimes, things get hard, and I want to do the easy thing– restrict. Don’t get me wrong, restricting is difficult and painful, but at times, it feels much easier than putting the real work in to start healing.

At night, I often lay in bed and, after having spent time staring at myself in the mirror and thinking negative thoughts, decide that the next day, I am going to restrict, no matter what it takes. Then, the next morning, I wake up and I think, why on Earth would I want to do that to myself?

I wonder, why would I want to put myself through headaches and fatigue and weakness and low blood sugar and hunger? To lose weight? It’s just not worth it!, I think. Today I realized what this means.

When I was deeply sick, I was willing to go to any extent to be ‘skinny.’ If you had asked me to sign a contract saying that I would have headaches and fatigue and weakness and low blood sugar and extreme hunger and lanugo and blue nails if I could be ‘skinny,’ I would have signed it right away. When you restrict, you are sending your body signals that say ‘I am not worth basic care or consideration,’ and I believed that. I wouldn’t believe I was worthy of anything good unless I was ‘skinny.’

I realized now that, because I have these values ingrained in me, like the value of physical sanity, that if I were to restrict nowadays, it would look very different from when I restricted before. Because I know all of this nutritional information and all of these skills that I learned in treatment that I am unable to simply unlearn, I would restrict with a burden upon my back.

If I were to restrict today, I would fail at it. I would fail at anorexia, because my values are too strong to allow me to succeed.

It’s in this that I know I have beaten anorexia.

Don’t get me wrong– I’m not recovered. I still have ED thoughts and still struggle with emotional eating often, but I know that I am not going to relapse. And that’s really big.

things are changing

things are changing

Things are changing lately and they’re changing for the better.

I may not always realize it, but I’m always working hard. These past few weeks have been a real body image struggle. I’ve been thinking only of my food and the way it (supposedly) affects my body as well as the ways I wish my body were different.

But within this, within all the pain, I’ve been working very hard to change that thought pattern. I want to like my body. This may seem obvious– who doesn’t? But I want to like my body now. I want to like it the way it is. I’m tired of trying to change it. Don’t get me wrong, if it changes, I’m okay with that, but I’m not going to put myself through hell to get there.

Maybe it’s body dysmorphia– maybe my body’s not as big as I think it is. But maybe, just maybe, I’m willing to accept my body and its “bigness.” Maybe I’m willing to be a “big girl” and maybe I’m realizing that that says nothing about who I am. Maybe I like my body the way it is. Maybe being skinny isn’t my life’s purpose. Maybe it’s not yours either.


 

On a different note, things have been changing outside of my brain as well.

I finished sophomore year this past week and am now a junior in high school; I’m going to 2 different concerts in this next week that I can’t wait for, and, arguably most importantly, I am going on a pilgrimage to Nova Scotia in 11 days. I’m going to make a post about what that means to me in the coming days, but I just wanted to let y’all know that things can and will be okay.

my mirror of erised

my mirror of erised

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry comes across a mirror in Hogwarts in which he sees himself and his family. He brings his friend, Ron, to see the mirror, and Ron sees himself as the ‘best’ of his brothers, being Head Boy. Harry and the reader learn that this mirror is named the ‘Mirror of Erised,’ and that it shows you your greatest desire, but does not show you truth or knowledge.

Whenever I reread the Sorcerer’s Stone as I am doing now, I am always curious about two things: 1) what purpose does the Mirror of Erised serve in the grand scheme of the Harry Potter series? and, more importantly, 2) what would I see in the Mirror of Erised?

I’ve decided to answer that second question completely honestly today.

My first thought when I considered what I may see in the Mirror was that I would see myself looking thin. Isn’t that sad? That the thing I want most in this world would be to change myself. But I don’t think that’s true.

One thing I’ve realized lately is that a lot of my body image struggles are rooted in something deeper than my worries about health or the size of my body. Really, when I worry about being ‘too big,’ I am actually worrying that my size is going to prevent me from making friends or prevent other from accepting me, and in this, what I am really worrying about is that I am not worth accepting because of who I am.

So, I think what I might really see in the Mirror of Erised might not be what I actually see, but the feeling associated with it. I think what I would see in the Mirror of Erised might be me, just the way I am, and I would feel okay about it. That’s what I want most in the world– not to change myself, but to be exactly me.

I encourage you to think about what you’d see in the Mirror of Erised as well. What do you want most in this world?

 

journal excerpt 01

journal excerpt 01

The thing about anorexia is that it’s easy at first. You get excited about it; you wish time would move faster so that you could see your skinnier future self.

Another thing to know about anorexia is that it’s evil. It’s pure evil. It preys on vulnerable people and tells them that it can help with those voice that tell them they’re not good enough. Except, by that point, anorexia’s already in– it is those voices.

Right now, anorexia is trying to take power over me. But I must keep fighting. Anorexia is telling me that my body size and shape means I’m unloveable and that I must change it. But that’s true. Nobody deserves to be ostracized because of their body. And I won’t take it– I am definitely not going to take it from the disease that ruined my life.

I know it’s much more appealing to restrict. There’s glory in restricting. There’s false hope in restricting. There’s instant gratification in restricting. But there’s also a lot of sadness in restricting. When you restrict, you honor the belief that you have to change yourself to be accepted. You honor the belief that looks are more important to basic human needs.

I don’t know how, but I’m gonna win this fight.

I RESPECT my body and what it does for me. When I restrict, I am NOT respecting my body. I am HARMING it. I am giving into the eating disorder.

Eating does not make me weak. It makes me brave. Brave enough to nourish myself even though I am terrified of the effects. And that’s a lot.

When I eat, I am embracing recovery. It’s true that I overeat at times, and I emotionally eat sometimes, too. However that does NOT mean I do not deserve to have access to food. Everyone deserves to eat.

I refuse to deny myself of basic needs to fuel and satisfy my disease.

back to basics.

back to basics.

Today I admitted I need help once again.

Today I cried in the dressing room with while trying on an outfit to wear for my first date ever about how much I hate my body. Then I cried in the car ride home about how much I hate my body. Then I cried some more.

I’ll be honest; over the last year and a half, I’ve gained a lot of weight– about half of my lowest body weight. That’s tough. That’s tough for someone without an eating disorder, nonetheless someone in recovery from one.

I am a recovering anorexic. I used to do all the things people with anorexia do in textbooks– hide food, cut it into small pieces, restrict it, sometimes binge and purge it, et cetera. I used this as a way of controlling my depression. I believed fully that if my body changed, I wouldn’t be depressed anymore. I believed my problems would be fixed if I could just shed 10 more pounds. I lost a lot of weight. I ended up in the hospital. I ended up wishing I was dead.

I entered recovery and blossomed. I learned so many new things about food and the way my body reacts to it. I learned that there are no good foods or bad foods, but that all food is just food. I learned that all food is acceptable in moderation. I learned that calorie-counting and dieting are harmful to the body and mental health. I learned that dieting simply doesn’t work. I learned that it is my responsibility to nourish myself. I learned that I was allowed to eat what I want, when I want.

I have gained weight for a lot of reasons. I entered puberty and recovery and began new medication all around the same time. I don’t know if I’m still gaining weight or not; I shouldn’t need to, because it’s not something I should be controlling. But I’m overweight, and sometimes my weight limits me from feeling healthy and able. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I feel that sometimes.

Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve really struggled with my body image. I’ve made plans to restrict several times but just can’t bring myself to carry it out for a number of reasons. One is that I don’t want to succumb to the evils of my disorder. Another is that I hate starving. One more is that I’m addicted to food.

I am addicted to food. I am very reliant on and attached to food to bring me satisfaction throughout the day and often turn to food as stress relief. A nice bag of gummy candy is exactly what I need after a hard day, and that’s fine, but it’s what I need after every hard day, and it’s what I need after every hard day. I’m constantly worried I won’t have enough food to eat, and so I pack large, often excessive amounts of food whenever I’m going out somewhere like school.

I don’t treat my body’s needs with respect. I often eat on a schedule, but not my internal one. Some of this can be added up to the fact that I’m a high school student and can’t eat whenever I want. Some of it can be added up to the fact that I feel like I need food to get by at times.

I feel so much shame around all of this. When I see someone that I perceive to be overweight, I think horrible things and I call these people pigs to myself, saying that they have no self control and that they’re weak. The reason I say this is because I’m imposing beliefs I have about myself onto others to feel better. It doesn’t work. That’s why I feel so shameful. My eating disorder makes me a horrible person.

But I have finally found and separated the voice of my binge/addiction eating disorder from the voice of me, Isabella. ED is the one saying “I need this food to make it through the day” or “I need this food to be happy or satisfied.”

I am seeking help, so all will be well. I just wanted to share this with you all.

Thanks for reading as always.