Top 30 Anorexia blog

I opened my blog email yesterday to something that’s pretty amazing/unexpected/humbling: my blog has been chosen as one of the top 30 anorexia blogs by Feedspot.

I’m still in a little bit of shock. When I set out to blog three and a half years ago, I never imagined it would grow to where I am today. I’m not one to be concerned with numbers in terms of popularity, but knowing that this blog has reached (and hopefully helped) more people than I ever imagined is pretty great. I’m so thankful for each person who has read, commented on, and liked my posts. I love interacting with others and hearing what you think.

I’m so excited to see where this blog will be in another six months, year, two years, etc. I hope to continue regular posting for a long time to come. I truly have found an incredible amount of joy on my little piece of the web.

If you would like to read the other blogs on this list (which I definitely recommend!), the link is here. I also have posted the badge with link on my sidebar.


Treatment update – IOP round 3

I have a whole ton to update on and a couple posts I’ve drafted, but first I want to touch on a difficult subject that came up yesterday. I’m still trying to accept my new normal for the first few weeks of the semester.

I had an absolutely wonderful day at clinical orientation in the children’s hospital. I’m very pumped for it all. I left in a great mood and just felt positive, but then I looked at my phone. I got an email from R that was a little shocking and very upsetting:

K and I talked and we would like you to be at x exchanges before you stop coming to IOP.  We will extend your time in IOP to 2/15.  If you haven’t been able to reach x exchanges by then we will need to look at having you go to a higher level of care like PHP to stabilize. So,  work hard this week to keep moving forward!

Now I want to back up a little bit. In the beginning of January I stepped up care, attending more groups and eating lunch at treatment. I didn’t consider it IOP because I had other appointments while I was there. I quickly realized that being there the whole time IOP is going on still means I’m in IOP. I think it’s been good for me to get out of my dorm and try to work through some of this. The one thing that hasn’t truly improved (okay, I did have half an exchange increase from 2 weeks ago to last week) is my eating and subsequent weight loss. I don’t know that I’ve had this much trouble getting out of restriction before.

IOP is going relatively well. I’ve had a ton of challenges and mostly stepped up to the plate. Last week Monday ended up being the most exchanges I’ve had in months, thanks to increasing for both my meal and snack at IOP. Even though I do love the therapists and some of the activities, I don’t want to be there any longer than I already have been. I’m ready to focus on school instead.

Originally I was supposed to attend full IOP this Thursday and R would let me know on Monday what the plan would be. Unfortunately, that wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I’m not at all happy with this arrangement. I cried and felt generally terrible upon hearing the news.

I decided that yesterday I would allow myself to wallow. I felt all of the negative emotions that came up – guilt/shame, frustration, fear, hopelessness, a little anger, sadness. I didn’t try to push them down. At some points I felt genuinely sorry for myself. It honestly was a bit miserable. As hard as that was, I believe it definitely benefited me. I got out those feelings in a more healthy way. I didn’t focus on acceptance, which may seem a little counterproductive.

Today, I will attempt to end the wallowing, rationalizing, and planning about how I will get myself out of IOP for the next 2.5 weeks. As my best friend said, arguing against it may result in my team feeling I’m not in a good enough place to continue in this level of care. I really can’t have that happen. (side note: any other form of treatment absolutely will not work with my schedule)

Today, I will work on acceptance. I want to go into tomorrow with the best possible attitude. If I’m going to be forced into IOP, I want to actually gain something from the experience. We’ll see how that goes considering how stubborn I can be (and how loud Ed is now).

I am not where I wanted to be by the time spring semester started. I am not where my team wants me. I am (probably) not in a stable enough place to handle everything. I need to change this so I can be in the best possible place to thrive and not just survive.

This is obviously not the update I wanted to make, but it’s where I am. This won’t be where I am going to stay.

Throwback – 2014

I’ve been thinking a lot about how my blog started and what it’s become today. I first began writing over 3 years ago, just after I finished my first treatment experience – partial hospitalization at FV. Last night I ended up diving in and reread all of my posts from 2014. It brought up basically every feeling: pride for how much I was fighting at the time, longing for some relationships that were integral in my life back then, disbelief over the similarities and differences of where I am currently. I decided I want to share some of my favorites from that year in this post.

  • My choice
    • This was written right after I finished treatment and I talk about realizing that recovery is in my hands
  • One month
    • a reflection on my treatment experience and how it impacted me
  • Dear Ed,
    • two letters to Ed – one from PHP and the other my first assignment from my new therapist
  • I am a youth leader and I have an eating disorder
    • an overview of telling the youth pastor about my eating disorder. Side note: I completely miss being a youth leader
  • What will you gain when you lose?
    • I believe my first post where I aim to debunk myths about eating disorders/diet culture/etc
  • Recovery milestones
    • some positive steps I made at the time (also I use the word jank 4 times in one paragraph haha)
  • A prayer for my youth girls
    • this was written specifically for my sweet girls, but I feel it can apply to any girl
  • On recovery
    • talking about how I feel about recovery not being this linear thing where it continues to grow easier each day
  • December 2nd
    • this is a day I’m really proud of – 1 year self harm free and the day I signed a divorce from Ed
  • Refeeding…
    • in Fall 2014 I decided it would be a great time to start eating better again on my own, which led to me experiencing refeeding syndrome
  • We survived
    • an end of the year post encouraging everyone who has battled mental illness(es)
  • The happiest place on Earth with an unwelcomed guest
    • my experience at Disney World in summer 2014, in the worst depths of my ED
  • 2015.
    • an honest recollection on my thoughts about making it to 2015

I definitely want to continue revisiting old posts on my own. I think it might be cool to have something similar to this for different time periods. Would anyone be interested in reading them?

The Cracked Pot

I would like to introduce you to my new roommate, Simon. Yes, I named my plant. I really like him so I clearly had to 😊

Simon has a special story to go along with him. It started on Monday when we went during experiential to pick out succulents. I really like the way this type looked and apparently it can also flower. We worked on the second half of the project yesterday.

If you look at the pot he’s in, you’ll notice that it looks cracked. We made them like this to represent ourselves in a way. K read us the following story and then we talked about what our cracks were.

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on the end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots was perfectly made and never leaked. The other pot had a crack in it and by the time the water bearer reached his master’s house it had leaked much of it’s water and was only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.” “Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?” “I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

I love this story and what it can teach us. It allowed me to look at some of my qualities that may be seen as cracks or weaknesses but can actually create goodness in my life and the lives of others. I am very stubborn, which can definitely be a bad thing if you’re my therapist and I really don’t want to do something, but I can also use it to pursue my goals no matter what. My eating disorder and mental health are struggles I never would have wished upon my worst enemy. Without them, I wouldn’t have a story to share, a drive to promote awareness, or a level of compassion and empathy that can only come from someone who has lived through very hard things. Being a perfectionist means I am hyperaware of how I do every little thing and that if it isn’t perfect, I can’t even consider it good. Dr. C often tells me she’s glad I have the detail-oriented traits because it will truly take me far in nursing.

I want to set an intention to embrace these flaws more. I am broken, but beautiful. So are you ❤

What are some of your cracks and how could you embrace them?


TFHR – 1/16/18

Yay its the return of one of my favorite types of posts! It’s hard writing about every detail of my life here, unless you want to read a novel. I like my format because it gives insight on how I’m doing, what I’m struggling with currently, things that may affect me, and the good stuff, too!


  • Lots and lots of thoughts regarding if I am “bad enough” to be in relapse, need to change, etc. That’s a whole long post here
  • Finally things at home are better and I am not the problem. Naturally, eating disorders and mental illness can cause a ton of stress for both the one who has them and people close to them. I feel like for years I have been the person who causes so much conflict in our family. It’s frustrating to feel all of that guilt and shame. Now, I’m not the one causing stress. There are some other things going on, there always is, but it doesn’t stem from me. Maybe this is selfish, but I am so happy to be on good terms with my family.
  • I am taking possibly the best interim course possible. We have a J-term where you take a “fun” class (usually) for 3.5 weeks. This can also be abroad or otherwise off campus. This year, I’m taking psychopathology in film. It’s been great! My prof is the best ever and we basically just watch films all class. Considering everything else that’s happened this month, I’m happy to at least relax in that regard.
  • I wish recovery was easier. There’s a whole ton that I could talk about forever, but I think I’ll save that for another post.


  • Worried. I am not in the greatest place. It’s crunch time with less than 2 weeks until the semester starts. My treatment team is not at all convinced that I could handle it at this point. I’m so terrified that I won’t be able to do enough before then, or at least not enough to convince them I’m okay.
  • Guilt. This has a lot to do with food – restricting, not exercising, eating fear foods, lying, on and on.
  • Shame. The guilt almost immediately turns into shame. I feel like I’m wrong. I am not worthy. No one should care about me. These thoughts and feeling come and go but are always there in some way.
  • Tired/exhausted. Physically this probably has to do with the ED (although it’s currently giving me so much energy, it’s crazy.). Mentally and emotionally is worse. I’m doing a ton of work with being at iop and trying to fight. Ed is strong. This means I reallky have to step it up if I want to get past this and live my life. Unfortunately, being drained means it’s hard to fight more, leading into a bad cycle.
  • Sad. I’m not entirely sure where all this is coming from, but I think realizing where I am now is contributing to it.
  • Anxious. There are a million and one what ifs going thro ugh my mind constantly. Sometimes that makes it hard to focus on anything but the things that could happen in the future.
  • Depression. Along with this has come hopelessness, or maybe one causes the other. I feel just beaten down and that hasn’t helped.
  • Grateful for: my treatment center, new psych, K and R, health , nursing, IOP even though I don’t want to be there or think I need it, en ouragement, Livvy, my team, a fun class, being pushed (although not in the moment, haha), this break from real classes. I find it better to focus on these things sometimes than always get caught up in what’s wrong.
  • Conflicted. I want to be one foot in, one foot out of the eating disorder. Wht should I give up what’s seemingly making me happy? At the same time, I know that staying in the ED even somewhat is a dangerous spot to be in.


  • My interim course is the absolute best thing ever. I have my amazing prof from last spring. The class is Psychopathology in Film, so we basicallky sit and wattch movies without much homework at all. It’s n ice to have a break.
  • As fun as break as been, it’s also hard. I’ve continued to struggle a ton. I’m trying to turn this around in the best way I can.
  • I switched around meds and it seems to be working without side effects! I’m so thankful for that. The one I was on can cause problems with your liver and is even banned in most countries. I’m happy with the new psychiatrist too.
  • I’ve been practicing yoga everyday and it’s my favorite thing. It calms me and is a way to exercise that isn’t completely terrible to my joints. There are some issues with overdoing it, but that doesn’t take away the love I have for yoga.
  • I’ve talked some about this, but I have the new treatment protocol for interim now. I attend IOP (Yes we’re actually calling it that now) Monday and Thursday with appts with my dietitian Monday and therapist both days. It’s exhausting and frustrating and just hard, but I realize it’s the best. This isn’t how I want to spend my time but I need it.
  • This is in-between thoughts, feelings, and happenings but I’ll put it here. I am so lucky to have good vets. My chinchilla, Milo, has had teeth/mouth issues for well over a month now. It started with drooling, not wanting to eat enough, and losing some weight. We took him to the vet in town and got medicine, but then he stopped eating completely. We now have a vet in GR who did his x-rays and then surgery to file down his back teeth which were very overgrown. After having to syringe feed him for 2 weeks and give lots of medications (not fun, if you were wondering) he is finally on the mend. His surgery was a week and a half ago and he’s made so much progress. It’s crazy how different he is. He’s gained back most of the weight he lost, bounces around the cage constantly, actually finishes his food, and overall is so happy. It was a huge effort from my whole family to get him better, but now he is. It was worth all of the tears and frustration.


  • I hate driving in the winter. Snow is pretty terrible and black ice is way worse, but what’s absolutely killed me is other people’s driving. Some people are ridiculous!! I can’t count how many times people have pulled out in front of me when I was super close to them, or how others will purposely speed up when you have time to make a left. I don’t understand how everyone forgets how to drive that quickly. I’ll be happy when it’s spring and I have to just deal with rain and wind (although it does snow in the spring sometimes because Michigan)
  • Although I’m happy about this new med, there is one possible side effect I’m terrified of: weight gain. Technically this is ED talking anyways, but it is so real. I don’t think I would truly be able to handle it if this happens. I’m convinced I would need to quit it then and there. I just want to be okay since the med does seem to help.
  • One foot in, one foot out has been my pattern for a long time now. I don’t like it one bit. I wish I could push myself and go all the way in with recovery. I’m stuck here instead. It’s uncomfortable. Some days I don’t know where I want to be, but I think that staying here forever isn’t a good option. I really hope I can try to decide which side I want more. My therapist told me that there isn’t actually a happy medium between recovery and eating disorder and that it’s just ED having control over you.
  • I don’t want to go into politics, but my Gog there is a certain human cheeto who’s infuriating. Some things he’s said are just unintelligent, racist/misogynistic, and just mean. Whether you voted for him or not, I think this point has some truth. Even, and especially, his tweets are offensive. He is someone who is affecting others and influencing how people view America, but this is not being done in a positive way.


I may want to run away. I will stay. I can use my skills. 
I may cry. I will accept it. I can let my emotions come without judgment. 

I may struggle (a ton). I will use this as an opportunity to learn. I can give myself grace. 

I may not finish. I will celebrate each bite. I can ask for help. 

I may need a supplement. I will drink it. I can remind myself it doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. 

I may panic and need a break. I will check in with my needs. I can take a few moments to just breathe. 

I may freak the F out. I will try to stay grounded. I can use mindfulness. 
I may not do well. I will put in my best effort with where I am today. I can stop it from becoming a pattern. 

I may feel like a failure. I will focus on the positives. I can be kind to myself no matter what.  

I may be stuck in my head. I will work to stay present. I can use conversation to pull myself out. 

I may have overbearing Ed thoughts. I will try my hardest to fight them. I can reframe thoughts out loud to K.

I may want to give up. I will accept the challenge. I can give it my all. 

This is not meant to be easy. I am having lunch with K because I’m not ready to do it with IOP group yet. No matter the outcome, it is still progress in my recovery. I don’t have to be perfect, even though I’ve always felt supplementing or not finishing means I am a failure. My goal is to work towards being able to eat with the girls in a week. I know K is one of the best people to support me in getting there. This is a positive step. I will get to my goal if I trust the process and do what I can. 

My grieving process

This has been in the back of my mind for a while now. I always wish I could talk about it, but whenever I do nothing comes up. This leads to guilt and shame which then causes me to not want to mention it again. I am choosing to write about this because it is time to not fear what I am feeling or not feeling.

My grandpa passed away this past June. I was one week into residential.

I knew, leaving for treatment, that this would be a possibility. My grandpa was sick for a long while. He nearly died from pneumonia 3 years ago, went to a rehab unit in a nursing home, then lived in senior apartments for just about 2 years. We were lucky to have that extra time with him. He started getting sicker in 2017 and ended up moving into the nursing home then. In some ways, I think he gave up hope once his independence was gone. I visited him at least once a week, even when I was in school. I remember hating it sometimes. I just wanted to relax, not spend 2 hours at his apartment or the nursing home watching him sleep. Now, I’m glad I had that time.

I was in session with my therapist when the house manager knocked on the door. She went outside to talk to her. I didn’t even have to hear the words “That was your dad. Your grandpa passed away this morning” to know what happened. I broke down and cried for a while. The girls and staff all were wonderful and took care of me that week. Every single staff member was made aware so that I was met with constant support. I needed that. God knew exactly where I should be when it happened. I was unable to fly home for the funeral, and I’m not (completely) ashamed to say that was the best decision too. Instead, my dad skyped me so I could watch it. He started the video when he was in a room with all of my family, which was harder to watch than the actual funeral. I was allowed a little bit of time after it ended. I cried for a bit, but then went back to the group, where I received more support.

I still have some guilt and shame from wanting to be away from my family, but now even my parents agree it was for the best. When I heard my mom say that, I was so thankful. It was like she released this cloud hanging over me.

Ever since then, the guilt and shame have multiplied. Unlike my mom, I don’t think about him all of the time. We have his cat living with us now and I don’t even correlate him with my grandpa. It doesn’t feel like he died, just that he’s completely gone. My mom has reacted much differently than me. She cries all of the time. The holidays were extremely different without him there. Almost every day he is brought up. It is her dad, so that makes more sense. She’s also been one to show her emotions relatively strongly. Sometimes I get so annoyed. I just want her to stop. I want a break from hearing about it. Does this make me a terrible person?

I have not cried at all since the funeral. I am void of feelings. There is just nothing when someone brings him up. I feel numb. It’s like he didn’t exist. Nothing phases me. It’s actually made it hard to even support my mom. 

I don’t get it. Why don’t I feel something, anything? Am I just abnormal? Cold? Wrong? I know that grieving is different for everyone with multiple stages, I just have a hard time accepting where I’m at. 

I’m not sure where to go from here. Should I work through my non-feelings? That seems almost ridiculous and definitely unnecessary. I do need to come out of this shame train (residential term). I know it only feeds into the eating disorder and depression. 

It feels good to put this out there. Talking about it means that I can (hopefully) make some change soon. It’s a step to being ready for that. 

Is this relapse? Plus treatment lately and a new plan of action

*I will do my best, as always, to keep anything I believe is triggering out of this post; however, I want to put a warning for the general behaviors and thought patterns that will be mentioned. There are no numbers or specifics ahead*

So.. I don’t want to be writing this post, but then again does anyone? Is it everyone’s dream to slip back into something that’s nearly taken everything from them multiple times?

I don’t see this as so bad.. but I have been in denial before. The signs are there, but I haven’t been able to admit it yet. Instead I’ll write about it here.

  • The number of exchanges I’ve had is making K and R concerned. It’s below a percentage of my CFD mealplan that’s just not okay with them.
  • It’s scarier to eat the amount of food I normally do and the maximum has been lowered. This goes along with the above.
  • Other than when I’m at home (and even then, truly) I eat the same things over and over. I actually at the same protein for 4 meals in a row this weekend/yesterday… so that’s a pretty good explanation of where I’m at.
  • The possibility of a higher level of care has been mentioned more than once. I hate that. Bring on the guilt/shame…
  • I am hungry. I know this sounds weird to determine how well I’m doing, but I haven’t had hunger unless I’ve restricted since this summer.
  • Going along with the hunger, I feel full much faster than before. This has to do with the amount of food my body is used to which is much smaller than before.
  • Some physical symptoms have returned or worsened: feeling cold, hair falling out, dry skin, dizziness, headaches, weakness. I also have a hard time with concentration and thinking in general.
  • I’ve always loved yoga, BUT it may be getting out of hand at this point. The intensity has increased as well as the amount. My team isn’t happy about it and I see Dr. C this week so I’ll know of any changes then.
  • My weight is down. This is not an indication for everyone. For me, it is. Once my weight gets to a certain range, I end up in treatment. Note: this weight range is well above underweight, just proof that you don’t need to be a low BMI to be sick enough for a higher level of care. If it continues I know somehow I won’t make it outpatient. Still, I have a certain “healthy” goal for myself, so I’m stuck and Ed is enjoying this decline.
  • Many (most?) of my waking hours are controlled by ED thoughts. They’re in the background always. R once told me you can have close to 12 hours of disordered thoughts per day and I would say I’m getting there.
  • Rigidity is getting worse. I have to do things exactly the same to feel in control. This extends to everything from specific exchanges per day to amount of exercise.
  • The last time I ate out was on Thanksgiving and I felt like I was going to die just by going there. I was intent on skipping church 2 weeks ago because my parents wanted to do lunch out. I faked sick until they finally decided against going.
  • Once again, I am staying in my room more and more, I haven’t even gone to the library to study or something just to be somewhere else. I also have skipped all floor dinners and eat alone too. I was already pretty isolated before but it just gets worse when I’m more into the ED.
  • Rationalizing is my current superpower. It’s okay I skipped X because it’s close to X meal. This was just one bad day. A little weight loss is fine. I can find an excuse for anything and everything.
  • Spending time at home brings lying, manipulation, and lots of sneaking around. I don’t want my parents to know what’s going on. The idea of having to eat more there is terrifying, so instead I find ways around that.

I don’t know exactly what to do right now, but something does need to change. My future is on the line now. It isn’t like Fall 2015 where I could take off a semester for treatment. I’ve not yet come to terms with all of this. What I do know (and don’t want to admit) is that this is relapse. It isn’t just “not doing well” or “struggling some.” It’s time for me to get back to a stable point where I can start spring semester in the best health possible.


I’ve had 2 very hard days of treatment. Thursday was a little bit of a wake up call. R had some no BS words for me. On my red, yellow, green, and in between scale, she believes I am now firmly planted in the red. This means full relapse. I do have one category after red, which is when treatment becomes necessary and nonnegotiable. She also said I cannot stay here, especially with the real semester starting so soon. After this we talked about what my options are currently. I ended up deciding to step up groups on the two days each week I am already there. I don’t fully want this or believe I fully need it, but I’m agreeing because waiting will only make things worse. Spring semester is coming fast. I have to be stable. The only real goal she gave was to increase by 1 exchange until Monday and then add another exchange. That didn’t really happen..

Yesterday was rough. I knew it would be going in. I had no doubt that there would be difficult conversations and possible ultimatums. I wanted to tell myself this wouldn’t happen, though. I wanted to prove to my team that I didn’t need the extra support. That didn’t work one bit.

First, I met with R for lunch and therapy. I barely had the right amount of exchanges for the meal and had to many Ed thoughts to finish. In IOP I would have been given a supplement. Here, she couldn’t force me but reminded me of that fact anyways. She was concerned with my exercise. Her emphasis on weight is that it’s not the only thing they are considering. I know this logically, I just don’t believe it. Unfortunately, she will also be contacting Dr. C so she’s in the loop about my treatment plan and struggles. The message she tried to instill in me was needing to trust my treatment team. I absolutely agree here, especially with K. Why would I ever listen to someone if all I see if them lying? I’ve got to work through these Ed thoughts that tell me otherwise.

K and I met right after. I really liked a metaphor she used. If you imagine a raft in a river, it will continue floating down the river unless you do something about it. You can paddle slowly and stay in place, or work really hard to swim up the river. Recovery is like that. Without the hard work, you aren’t going to make it. She was not happy with my weight or the way that I keep rationalizing/arguing that it’s okay. I was pretty surprised to hear that, in her opinion, if I drop much more I could be put inpatient (or residential). My immediate reaction was huge disbelief. I still don’t get that at all, especially if it were inpatient. Like I’ve heard (and hated) before, my healthy weight for my body probably doesn’t fall here. It’s a bad sign if the only way I can maintain it is by doing what I am now. Another interesting point she made about weight is that she would never want me to continue gaining. Sometimes that’s all I have believed about dietitian’s goals for me. I need to bring up my exchanges, and even though it isn’t much I feel hopeless/fearful/disgusted about the increase. Like I’ve heard a lot lately, she ended with reminding me that I cannot survive here, at least not for long.

After both appointments I joined back into the group one of my favorite activity therapists I have ever met was running.  I’ll call her K-AT here to distinguish between her and my dietitian. She’s known me for even longer than R, ever since my first FV days. The other two girls left the room for about five minutes, and she took that opportunity to have a little heart-to-heart. The first thing she did was ask me what I am doing here. I knew exactly what she meant. Honestly, I don’t really know. It seems like It’s been getting worse for a long time but also all at once. She fully believes in me and said that I can turn this around, I have it within me, and I need to remember that I am going to be a nurse. She reminded me that I am a child of God and so loved, needed, a masterpiece, and fearfully and wonderfully made.Another thing I really appreciated was that she challenged my thoughts about treatment being a waste if I just ended back here again. Despite all of the encouragement, I felt like she was almost disappointed. It was a look that I saw before, right when I decided to go to residential. I don’t think she truly is judging me or anything. My guess is that’s just her concern shining through. Our conversation started the tears. I haven’t cried in therapy since summer when my grandpa died. It feels raw and vulnerable and a little scary. I’m very thankful I was able to spend that little chunk of time with her. I know that she will also be the best person for me to have lunch with Thursday.

My new plan:

  • Monday and Thursdays will be my treatment days
  • This Thursday I have lunch with K-AT, a group where a girl I was in IOP this summer is coming to talk about her strength in recovery, therapy with R, then group therapy and art.
  • Monday is lunch with K, therapy with R, then joining in for all groups of the day. I told her yesterday to make me supplement if I don’t finish, since that would happen if I did it in group lunch. That was the brave thing to say and I have a feeling it may happen..
  • Next Thursday is my first group lunch (not excited/totally freaked out) and the full day of IOP minus therapy
  • Up until the semester starts, I’ll continue with this schedule. After that, I have Thursday’s free. It may be a full treatment day, but nothing has been talked about yet.
  • Basically I’m doing IOP two days a week without calling it IOP and being pulled out for therapy/dietitian. This means no switching to the IOP dietitian though hallelujah!!

If you made it all the way to here you deserve a medal. It feels really good to write that all out and kinda process it here while doing so. I’ll be sure to update on how everything goes and just overall progress too. This feels different than every time before, so I don’t know what all will happen.

Do I REALLY have an eating disorder?

This may seem like a pretty strange question, considering a large part of my blog is to talk about my experience of living with an ED, among other things. You may also guess that this post could only refer to that period before I ever entered treatment. While I’ll be talking about that experience too, the major focus here is about what types of thoughts I’ve had throughout these years. That includes now, over 3 years post-diagnosis.

I’ll start at the beginning. Denial was the main factor in the feelings back then. When I switched therapists for the first time, I was sent to someone who “specialized” in eating disorders (which is a whole story for another day). I consistently referred to it as “eating issues” like I was simply not able to eat sometimes. That made sense in my head because I could realize some things I did weren’t the most normal, but they weren’t that abnormal. One day, my psychiatrist handed me a pamphlet for Forest View. He said that he would recommend looking into their eating disorder program and thought treatment there would be a good option for me. I stared at that thing and gave him a very interesting look, I’m sure. How was it possible that I may have an eating disorder? I promptly shoved the brochure in a drawer once I got home and tried to forget the conversation even happened. Slowly, “eating disorder” was brought up more – in therapy and subsequent psych appointments as well as by my parents. Everyone seemed to be in agreement except for me. Fast forward about a month when my mom was frustrated enough to call FV and set up an assessment. This began my first time in treatment.

The next period of acceptance came upon entering into PHP. My very first meeting with the psychiatrist there brought my new diagnosis: anorexia nervosa. He said it in such a way that took me by surprise. I don’t even know this guy and hadn’t spent more than 20 minutes when he decides to drop that on me? I was confused, frustrated, terrified, and in such disbelief. Mind you, I already had my first introduction into the ED program at this point. I don’t remember much of that first day anymore, but one thing will stay with me probably for the rest of my life. My case manager had us all go around and introduce ourselves and state what disorder we were struggling with. This was about an hour after talking to the psychiatrist, so the idea of my diagnosis hadn’t even sunk in yet. When it was my turn, I said my name but immediately froze after that. I couldn’t do it. Admitting meant something was wrong and that I was actually sick. I hated that idea. She didn’t let me skip the second part of our introduction. Instead, she talked about how the first step to recovery is recognizing you had a problem. Finally, in the smallest voice possible, I did it: “I have anorexia.”

Much of my denial is still spent on believing I’m not sick enough. This time, it isn’t about having an eating disorder in the first place. Instead, I cannot believe that I’m ever bad enough to go to treatment again. I don’t get worried that easily, most of the time not until it’s too late. By then I have absolutely no chance of turning things around on my own. Note: while I’m struggling with the idea of where I’m at now, I have begun to see that it isn’t entirely okay.

The other side of not believing I have an eating disorder isn’t exactly denial. It feels much different. I cannot count how many times over the past year these thoughts have come into my head. It often is triggered from a therapy appointment, check up with Dr. C, completing food logs, or even writing a blog post. I get this strong feeling I can’t quite explain, but it leads to the thought that I can’t have an eating disorder. This is more than not being sick enough. I start to believe that I have a choice here, and if I just choose to change, then I’ll be normal. This also leads me to think that I made this all up; I’m just over dramatic; this is all some big lie. When this comes around, it basically goes against the reality that I’m facing. It doesn’t make sense logically, not in the least bit. If I really were some imposter, wouldn’t a treatment provider somewhere along the line have noticed? In those moments (or longer), it’s as if nothing in the world could convince me otherwise. This is something that comes and goes pretty randomly. When it is there, I question who I am and how terrible I must be to spend all of this time and money on some diagnosis I don’t have. It’s like I’m invalidating myself. What I’ve come to realize, however, is that this is not me. In some convoluted way, Ed uses it to his advantage. I feel anxious and tons of guilt/shame every time, which fuels the fire. It’s almost as if I have to prove that I actually am sick. Obviously (in Ed’s world) that means more behaviors. This cycle tends to be short thankfully, but I would say it occurs at minimum once a month.

It’s an odd thing to be so convinced that you don’t have a disorder when every single sign points to it. Both before and after, I don’t think all of the therapists in the world could truly prove to me that I do have an eating disorder. Today, I know that’s what this is and I’m getting a little closer to recognizing I’m not in a good place. This could easily change. Next week, or month, or day, or ten minutes from now I may be once again filled with disbelief. When that happens I need to ground myself in the present and remember what I’m fighting against, so I can know what I’m fighting for.


2018: intention, goals, and word of the year.

2017 was a pretty rough year. Much of the focus (and problem) has been my eating disorder. I’ve spent around four months in treatment: IOP, a few month break, residential, PHP, and IOP again. Now, I’m struggling again. Amidst the hard things, growth has come too. I’ll talk more about this in a post soon. I want to make 2018 different and the best/healthiest year yet.

Goals for the year:

  • No treatment!!! I have spent the past 4 years in at least one form of a higher level of care. It’s hard not to feel like a failure when I think of this. I don’t want my life to revolve around my eating disorder in this way again. However, I want to promise myself and my team that if treatment becomes necessary I will go.
  • Thrive in nursing school – both semesters. I have so much to look forward to with school this year. Spring is pregnant women, infants, children, and adolescents. I’m especially excited for this semester because my top choice is to work at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital in the NICU or pediatrics. I also have labor and delivery on my list. Overall I thing it will be a great time. Fall will be young, middle, and older adults. We’ll be doing med-surg. This should be interesting while working in the ICU. Overall, I have a ton to learn and work more towards my dream.
  • Start to develop a healthier and relationship with and view of my body/self. This is a tall order considering I can’t remember a time when I felt too positive here. I want to make this more open-ended because even a small step matters. I know that recovery will help to grow here.
  • Isolate less. Whenever anxiety, stress, depression, and the ED are stronger I tend to isolate. I spend so much time in my room that I get nervous to venture outside. I want to tart doing things with others again.
  • Blogging much more – at least once per week. I feel good when I blog. It fills me up, whether it’s another TFHR, awareness post, or really anything. This is my favorite creative outlet. Being intentional about my time and penciling this in is important to me.
  • Try to keep more on top of anxiety/stress. This is one challenging task while I’m going through school. I have to take more time to use skills and thought stopping. If I can manage this, I know it can decrease my ED at least a little.
  • Get through this target/focus of EMDR. I feel pretty hopeless about this at times. 3 months sometimes seems like too long. I have to extend myself grace here and put my all into this. I have to believe I deserve freedom.
  • Take more pictures. I haven’t picked up my DSLR in a year, maybe more. The motivation jusst isn’t there, yet I do truly miss it. I know that I’ll fall back in love with it again.
  • Increase me and decrease Ed. Stop being one foot in and one foot out. Become intentional about recovery and make it a priority. How much I’m struggling determines nearly everything in my life. The ED has power over me. If it continues I will end back in treatment. I may never be able to finish nursing. Recovery will save me.
  • Less “blah” time on social media. I tend to spend a lot of time scrolling through social media. I sometimes get a little lost in it. This isn’t the healthiest considering some things people post. Instead, I could read a book, blog, play sims, etc. I want to fill my time with these instead.
  • Journal more. Journaling also benefits me greatly. I love to get out my thoughts and feelings on paper. This is also a really great way to remember events and look at both my growth and struggle.
  • Take it one day at a time. I tend to be future and past focused. This keeps me distracted from the here and now. I can’t keep worrying about the future to the point of stunting my own growth. I think I could decrease my anxiety this way too.
  • Smaller, specific goals:
    • eat my meal plan to the best I am able
    • have more meals in the dining hall
    • attend floor dinners – at least 2/month
    • reach out more to friends
    • set study/school time and fun time as well
    • go out with friends more often – at least 3/month to start off
    • Be honest in therapy, dietitian appointments, visits with Dr. C, and meetings with my psychiatrist
    • check in with my goals and intentions at least once a month
    • use my DBT skills
    • continue attending groups, biweekly therapy, and weekly dietitian appointments for as long as I need
    • eat at least 5 times a day
    • come up with more goals as necessary 🙂

Intention for the year: work on not allowing numbers to control me anymore. I set this 2 weeks ago in group. I definitely am controlled by a variety of numbers currently. My grades determine how I view myself. Weight (estimated mostly or accidentally saw at an appointment) shows how bad or good I’m doing. Amount of calories burned and time spent exercising show how close I am to my goals. Exchanges met show my progress. This will be a pretty huge shift in my thinking and behavior. It won’t be easy at all. Changing something that has significantly impacted my life for years is radical. I’m ready. Numbers are just numbers. They don’t prove if you’re a good or bad person. It doesn’t even completely show how I’m doing in recovery. They don’t really matter.

Word of the year: WORTHY. I also chose this 2 weeks ago. For years, my word has been resilient. I’ve tried to live that to the best of my abilities, although that hasn’t been simple or easy. I wanted to change it up (I’ll certainly still focus on resilience, though). Worthy extends to many areas of my life. For so long, I’ve never viewed myself as important enough to matter. I feel too inadequate. Deep down, I don’t fully believe I am worth of recovery. I’m not worthy enough to go through EMDR. People shouldn’t care about me. I need to change this all. It will be hard work. I’m ready, or at least I’ll try to convince myself that until I believe it 🙂

Do you have any goals or intentions for the new year? I would love to hear them!