Resilience.

We had elder prayer for our final bible study last Tuesday. There were five elders from the church who came and prayed over each person individually. They had us write our names and one word/phrase to pray for. Resilience was mine. It is something I hold close and always try to remember when times are tough. I knew that was exactly what I need prayer over right now.

I have always pictured resilience in the same way. This goes back to my Forest View round 1 days. The group leader had a lesson on resilience which featured a picture of a tiny plant growing in a crack in the sidewalk. That’s what I think of, someone who grows out of an impossible situation and is able to overcome it. My phone background has been this photo for over two years now to remind me of my own resilience.blogity

As the elders began praying over me, I realized how different of a meaning resilience could take on. One of them gave the image of a bungee jumper. You would fall and struggle almost to the point of no return. Just before you hit bottom, the Lord will rescue you. I really love this analogy. I can bounce back from even the hardest things in life

Resilience has infinite meanings and is different for each person. I will strive to be resilient each day. A few of my favorite examples/definitions:

  • The capacity to prepare for disruptions, recover from shocks and stresses, and adapt and grow from a disruptive experience.
  • Bending not breaking
  • Bouncing back
  • “When you decide to give up on giving in” – Todd Carmichael
  • The ability to recover quickly from difficulties
  • You fail but keep on going

Ways I can practice resilience:

  • not giving up after having a hard day/week
  • use coping skills when I need them
  • reach out to others
  • listen to my treatment team as they push me forward in my recovery
  • giving myself grace
  • prayer and strength from God
  • leaning on my support people

 

How do you see resilience and practice it in your life?

Well hello there, Ed.

Nope, not referring to some dude I’ve met, a weird uncle, or the older guy at church. This is someone I’ve known for years: my eating disorder. 

This may sound vaguely familiar for those of you who’ve been here since the very beginning. If not, you also may have heard this tactic of naming the eating disorder in the ED community (Jenni Schaeffer books, some treatment centers, etc.) Though I haven’t talked in terms of “Ed” for over 2 years, I did spend the first almost year of treatment doing so.

Forest View was adamant about Ed. We wrote letters to Ed, consistently talked that way in groups. It taught me to separate who I am from my eating disorder for the very first time. If I could see these thoughts weren’t me, that gave me fuel to fight. I needed that. I needed any ounce of motivation and tools to kickstart my recovery.

Naturally, I brought Ed along for the step-down to outpatient therapy. J was supportive of the usage and it helped create progress in discovering who I was beyond my illness. I often would write letters to Ed, sometimes thanking him, others of submission, and sometimes fighting like hell. I wrote up my divorce papers and signed them on December 3, 2014 (one year in recovery from self-harm as well). Whenever the eating disorder voice got loud in session she would respond with “Hello, Ed” to remind me who was really doing the talking.

I’m not sure I would have gotten through those early months had I not used such a drastic change in my view of the disorder.

It ended pretty abruptly when my greatest physical support at the time told me I should stop. She claimed it only was making my eating disorder bigger than it was and giving it more power. Anorexia wasn’t a person and didn’t deserve a name. I listened to her and told J that we no longer were using “Ed.” I trusted this woman so much then and I think that was the main reason I gave in to what she said. I honestly don’t know if that was the right decision or if it was for the right reason, but either way it did happen.

Fast forward to my very first meeting with L. As I later found out, she was a meal support at FV and worked with the “Ed” technique. I hadn’t referred to Ed in over 2 years, so it was a surprise when it came up in our conversation. Even more surprising, I went with it.

I talk and think about Ed every day. One of my assignments, alongside food diaries and thought logs, is to write a short letter to Ed each day. I’ve had many different responses to him. Sometimes I am angry and tell him how much I hate what he does to me. Others it’s the exact opposite with praise for his role in my life. A few days ago I had a very sarcastic passive-aggressive letter which I find hilarious. Lately I have had more positive ones since I am growing more into my behaviors and thoughts.. Regardless, how I feel about my anorexia isn’t as important as recognizing what it does to me.

Sessions with L are definitely a flashback to 2014. L will tell me that it’s Ed talking just as J did. She sees the contrast from my true self. At this point, the healthy part of me rarely gets a word in. It can be pretty surprising at times. I believe these thoughts completely, yet they are Ed thoughts and not mine. I’m thankful

I am giving this faceless disorder a name. I am taking away its power by separating out my voice, the real me. I need to use Ed to distinguish between me and it. I’m so thankful L has brought this back to my recovery.

Welcome to my domain

There is a very exciting change around here! You may have noticed my web address changed. Welcome to revivingemily.blog!

I’ve spent over two years now sharing my thoughts here on my little piece of the internet. It’s brought so much good to my life and I hope others as well. I want to continue to blog as long as I can.

In the next month or so (once school dies down, only 3 more weeks weeks) I am planning many posts including: days in the life of ___, recovery, general life, my faith, and those in a more informative context. I also am finally going to talk about my struggles with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Pectus Excavatum. Those illnesses have both shaped my life in positive and negative ways.

Here’s to new adventures adventures in my official domain!!

My Thanksgiving plan & how things went.

No, this doesn’t have anything to do with where I will be physically, what I’m wearing, etc. Having an eating disorder means lots of worry over holidays.

I am going to do my best to take care of myself which requires plans and back-up plans. I will get through tomorrow.

Have set food/exchanges for the meal. L and I worked together yesterday to figure out exactly how much and what I will have at dinner. One of the biggest stressors for me is going into any food situation without any ideas. Realistically I know this isn’t something I can always do; however, this is where I am today. Meal planning is what kept my anxieties down the most in residential and it’s exactly what I need to get through Thanksgiving. I will already have all I need on my plate before I have time to worry about portion sizes.

DBT skills. This is another residential trick I’m pulling out. I need distraction and a way to get through the ED thoughts. Because we have family around, it’s important for these skills I use to be discreet. My go-to use anywhere currently is my makeshift stress ball from CFD. It’s simple, basically rice inside of 2 balloon layers. That thing works magic! The consistency allows me to change the shape and squeeze it in my palm. We made our own during residential, but I actually took this one from the house as well because it’s perfect for me. There’s a very good chance this will be the skill I use at the dinner table. If not, I have travel size thinking putty. I can play with it in one hand while having the other free to eat. Outside of mealtime I have a few options to choose from. I absolutely love using my kinetic sand. There’s something incredibly peaceful about making shapes, writing words, or just feeling the texture. My lentils are another tactile one that instantly brings calm. I doubt I’ll use my large thinking putty but it’s another option. My biggest struggle will be actually pulling out my skills instead of wallowing.

Escape route. I am so thankful we have family over instead of going to a relative’s house. For one, this means I’m more comfortable. More importantly though, it gives me escape routes and places to hide it out. First and foremost is my room. The second I become too overwhelmed, I can head in and breathe a little. My mom will call this “antisocial” but given the circumstances I’m hoping she’ll get it. I most likely won’t close my door or anything, but just getting away from everyone else will be much needed. I can come in and play sims, blog, homework, love on Milo, etc.

Support. I love my mom and she is wonderful, but right now I can’t really go to her for support. For one, I’ve been lying and keeping my real status away from her. She thinks I am doing well and I really can’t hurt her. Given thi, I am turning to texting as a way of reaching out. I have my people (including my person <3) who will always be there. Heck, I am their text support too.

Prayer/asking the Lord for help. I cannot get through tomorrow alone and I shouldn’t have to. He wants to carry me as one of the hardest days of the year goes on. This is a valley for sure, but I’ve got to stay strong in Him.


I had these hopes going into the day that simply didn’t happen. My day brought restricting, tears, isolating, and being the worst person as I let my mom down. I feel like a failure, I really do. What I’m trying to learn, though, is that I cannot fail if I really tried. Eating anything is better than not eating. L is drilling this into my brain.

While I could sit and list off all of the things I couldn’t do, I will instead focus on the parts of my plan that did work out.

My biggest victory was in taking care of my needs via my escape routes. I was having a really hard time being with all of my family. It’s overwhelming even if I’m just sitting in the room where they’re all talking. I stuck it out for the half hour before dinner by distracting myself with my computer and TV in the background. After we ate I went straight to my room. I got some much needed chinchilla therapy and calmed down some. That wasn’t enough because my grandma and others would come in, so I left for my parents’ bedroom. I was able to close the door and just sit on my phone. I watched a few videos and drowned out the noise outside. I know that sticking it out with everyone would have made it all 10x more miserable. I am glad I could recognize that.

I used my skills! My stress rice balloon didn’t really leave my hand the whole night. I was constantly playing with it to get my focus on anything other than the disordered thoughts running through my head.

I may not have come close to completing my set meal plan, but it did help simply to use it as a starting point. I put all of the exchanges on my plate so that I could see exactly what I needed. There was little chance that I would finish it all to begin with, so I didn’t feel quite as bad when I didn’t. Regardless of the percentage I did eat, planning ahead of time helped. I ate more than I would have otherwise.

I am not very proud of Thanksgiving. I wish things would have gone better. My emotional state was terrible and consisted of many crying spells over not being at CFD. ED thoughts were on loudspeaker. As much as I really don’t want to, I am giving myself some grace. I did what I could. The day is over and now it’s time to keep going.

I knew this was coming…

I met with S today, most likely for the last time. At first it didn’t seem that way. I was honest about how I’m doing and began a writing assignment. She had me write what has changed, pros/cons of my behaviors now, why I feel it’s happened, and how/if I wanted to change it. I’ll share a little bit of this but not all since it may be triggering and I definitely want to avoid that here.

  • what’s changed: restricting more, lying, fear foods, eating the same few things, increased ED thoughts, isolation. On and on and on.
  • pros: feel better emotionally, I feel more in control, these behaviors will make me like my body more
  • cons: doing worse in school, no energy, hurting my family/friends, where I’m going scares me

While I was working through that, S read my food diaries and meal thought logs. I glanced over a few times and her face killed me. That’s when I knew for sure what would happen but didn’t want to believe it.

I only got through half of my answers before she spoke the dreaded words: “you need more help than I can give you.” Her schedule is basically full up until we leave for winter break. I would probably see her once until the 2nd week of January. As of now, this doesn’t mean IOP, PHP, inpatient, or residential, but I need to see a new therapist. Specifically she is recommending/telling me I need once a week or more.

I tried to argue and make excuses. I still want so badly to get out of it. Of course she doesn’t buy any of the ED’s bullshit though. Basically I had 2 choices: go get the extra help now or be forced to go inpatient within a month (at the rate I’m going). God I didn’t want to hear that. I cried a little as I realized this was what I’ve come to. I’m supposed to be doing better. I know this is chronic and relapse happens but all I wanted is a good semester/year.

Once I left her office I couldn’t hold myself together. She’s been there for over a year. I hate change, especially when it means leaving someone I know works into the unknown of a new therapist. I’m terrified of what lies ahead. Part of me, the very sick part, sees this as proof that I am doing “well” in the eating disorder. It finds a twisted satisfaction.

Part of me wanted to lie to S, tell her I called and got an appointment when I didn’t. Maybe I would just skip therapy altogether. The thing is I have hope. S told me that maybe this is God’s way of providing me with someone who will help me exactly how I need. The real me is holding on to that.

So reluctantly, I called. I’ll be going to the same practice where my old dietitian was. They specialize in eating disorders and offer all types of outpatient treatment. I talked to the director and have an appointment set up with my new therapist, R, on Dec 1st. This is two weeks out and in the meantime I will attend group therapy on Tuesdays. I have fears on both fronts: Will I be the largest one there? What if I hate my new therapist? Will it even help? What if I can’t do this at all?

I am sick. This is something I need if I want any chance of getting back on track before I hit rock bottom. I am too sick to see S anymore. I cannot do this without more help. I am going to be okay, I hope.

Giving Thanks – Nov 10-14

Playing catch-up from a very busy/long week. The rest will be done soon

Today I am thankful for: MY CAR.

A year ago, when I was having a bad day or an anxious day or a day where I just wanted to get away from school, I couldn’t. I only was able to come home when my parents drove nearly an hour each way to get me. I went to 2 ED support group meetings total last year, and it was only when a sweet lady from FV picked me up. I was dependent on everyone else. While I appreciate every ride I’ve had, I hated feeling like a burden.

Last year I wasn’t ready for the responsibility and blessing of a car. I can only imagine how bad that would have been. God knew, even when I didn’t, even when I was so desperate for freedom. With the waiting has come growth. This year has prepared me and allowed for many of my fears to be lifted.

I drive more than the average on-campus student (I know because 95% of the cars in the parking lot never move while mine is gone). I probably drive more miles too. Those miles take me to places that comfort my soul, give me love, build me up, and provide the items I need/want.

Without my car and without driving, I would miss out on things I value most and ones that make me happy. A small list: spending time with my family, church, bible study, FV support group, all sorts of store runs. I am so grateful to have these opportunities and blessings.


Today I am thankful for: ENCOURAGEMENT.

Today, and every day, I receive prayers, physical support, professional help, etc. I’m not sure that I could ever make it without these people who truly care. The list is a long one.

L has been amazing with encouragement. I felt like I had a terrible week following my meal plan and fighting ED thoughts. I was so convinced she would be disappointed in me. Her reaction was the opposite. She was proud for all of the successes I did have. Every time I would say something negative, she countered it with a more positive view. She pushes me to go towards recovery but isn’t expecting me to be perfect. We talk each session about goals I can set for the next week and try not to focus on what I couldn’t do. She believes in me and is becoming one of my biggest cheerleaders. Fun fact she actually was in cheer 🙂

L was definitely the best example of encouragement today, but I can never forget those who are there every day. My mom, Livvy, Lily, the women at bible study, people at church, S, and Lauren have a special place in my recovery and life too. I have c a constant stream of support coming in different ways from these lovely people. I could write an entire post (or more) on all of this, but for now I’ll leave it here: I couldn’t have a better team of supports that impact my life in all sorts of ways.


Today I am thankful for: NOAH.

This little boy made my day 1000% better than I imagined it would be. Weekends are rough most of the time. I was somewhat dreading parts of today to begin with. I had decided to mope in our recliner and play Sims/watch TV. His family came over and he was quickly attached to me. He crawled up on my lap and cuddled while playing a game on my phone. It was one of the best parts of my entire week. Knowing that a tiny human truly loves me is heartwarming. He doesn’t care what size I am, that I have scars, or suffer from mental illness. He looks up to me anyways and sees me as an amazing person.

Today a three year old made me love myself a tiny bit more. He allowed me to be joyful and laugh. He took me out of my dark shell. Noah was everything I needed. I can’t wait to spend more time with him and neither can he 🙂


Today I am thankful for: MY CONVERSATION WITH LIVVY LOU.

This was a rough day. It involved lots of eating struggles, feeling like death, a panic attack from misophonia, parents yelling at me, a brief consideration/want to go inpatient for a few days, crying through a meal, missing treatment, driving home in a terrible emotional state, and skipping church for feeling too broken/messed up to be there. When I finally got back to my dorm, Olivia agreed that I could call her and talk. It was the best 2 hours, 18 minutes, and 3 seconds I could ask for.

I started off extremely freaked out and upset. There were so many feelings and I felt like my entire life was just screwed. I maybe could use treatment, didn’t want it too much, it wouldn’t work out. I didn’t and still don’t know what to do, so I asked her that approximately 2000 times. No answer there but that’s okay. I will figure it out.

Some of her greatest skills include being an amazing listener, peeing positivity, being a voice of reason. She used them all today.

Once I had finally calmed down some, we began talking about anything and everything. It was great to get my mind off the crappies in my life. Who doesn’t want to talk about native american stories or recite biology notes?

We don’t talk on the phone very often or at all really, so it was truly special to do so again. I’ll always be thankful for my person/bff/twin/Livvy Lou.


Today I am thankful for: SMOOTHIES.

Weird? Maybe, but smoothies are my favorite. It can be really hard getting in the exchanges my body needs. I love that I can add multiple types of exchanges to get what I need in a meal. They also taste amazing (especially the berry kind). I’m glad I got on my smoothie kick at residential and haven’t looked back since.

I woke up sick and I had little energy to even go to the dining hall, so my smoothie was a saving grace. It included most of what I needed for the meal, so I only had to add a few things. It was great for my throat that’s still hurting too.

When I need to fuel my body and other food is hard, I can sometimes make a smoothie so I can avoid an ensure. Anything that provides nourishment without being in a tiny bottle of chemicals is absolutely wonderful.

The “T” word

“Am I going to be able to offer you the support that you need, or should we look at other treatment options, IOP, PHP…?”

Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting that one when I met with L last week. I actually haven’t wanted to bring this up on the blog, but it’s been eating at me all week so here we are.

Anyone who knows me or has read here for a while can pretty easily guess my response: “I can’t do it because of school. I don’t need it. I’m not there yet.” Naturally, I made excuses. Were they truly valid? Yes and no. It is important that I complete my classes this semester and next since I need to get into nursing for next fall. I can’t just go off to treatment and have another last year. If it really got to that point, where it was life or death and I was too sick to function, I would go.

School is pretty darn valid. I’m not so sure about the other half of my argument. Last year at this time I was barely functioning. I have little memory of the entire month before I left for residential. I was so sick and stuck in anorexia. It wasn’t just that I needed more support. No, I needed a complete overhaul, accountability, 24/7 support, a variety of health professionals weekly. Sitting in PHP groups half the day or being stuck inpatient wasn’t going to cut it. Residential made sense, complete sense.

Looking at the present I just don’t meet these criteria. I could certainly use more support: therapy every week for starters. I wouldn’t be able to justify the time and money required to do PHP or IOP. I’m not eating enough but I am eating. Yoga is my form of exercise which is used in a (mostly) healthy way. I do not need a more intensive outpatient approach.

Selfishly, unrealistically, I want to get back in treatment. What I would give to have another week with the staff at CFD. What I would give to be around people like me. What I would do to get away from this new story of hell I am experiencing currently.  But I can’t, and that’s it.