Eating Disorder Recovery with Measurable Outcomes discussion

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message 1: by Jessa (last edited Oct 31, 2011 03:55PM) (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) As I am the group leader, I will start!

My name is Jess and I live in Washington state with my husband and our lovely son (also known as dog) Bailey, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I celebrated exactly one whole year in recovery yesterday - a year free from restricting food and fluids :D!!

As for a very brief history...After spending 15 years struggling with an eating disorder, I finally began getting help for my ED in 2010; after a large series of ED health consequences all entered my life all at once, I decided to get help (finally :D yay)! I entered into a day treatment program in January 2010 for almost 3 months and went there for about 12 hours a day. While the day treatment program helped, it did not help enough, so I decided to re-enter treatment and entered into an intensive outpatient program for 7 months. I finally began living a healthy lifestyle and stopped restricting on 10.30.2010 and then graduated from IOP in Feb. 2011 :)!!

As for hobbies...One major hobby I have is beading! I began beading for the first time while in treatment and it really helped with my recovery! I now make and sell jewelry online on Etsy - including a very special inspiring Eating Disorder Awareness & Recovery line - of which I donate 10% to the National Eating Disorders Association :D!! I have met some of the most incredible people through my jewelry, so I am so grateful for having taught myself how to bead! I also love to write and found it an absolute must when it came to recovering. Another thing that I found helpful was painting, which I have to admit I have neglected recently, but it definitely helped a ton!! Other hobbies I enjoy are watching a LOT of movies, reading even more, listening to music and playing video games (I love World of Warcraft lol).

I am soooo excited about this group and cannot wait to find members! Once we finally have some members, I cannot wait to meet each of you and to begin having book reads, contests, daily affirmations and more :D This is going to be a GREAT group - I can feel it!

message 2: by bekah (new)

bekah (epidendrum) | 17 comments My name is bekah and I'm not sure I belong here.

I have only struggled with an eating disorder for the past year, and I've only been in "recovery" for the last eight months or so. It's a funny kind of recovery. I feel bad for saying this, but I'm not really sure that I'm fully committed to recovery.

I...well, I never really qualified as anorexic, which I hate to say but it's true. I weighed too much even at my lightest. I never thought that I looked emaciated or anything, I was just proud that I was so strong. I could do something that no one else could: I could go without food, and that made me special. My parents took that away, and the doctors keep me locked down.

I'm not pro-ana, per se, but I'm not really ready for recovery. I'm sorry if this isn't what you want to hear, but I'm trying to be honest.

I started group therapy today, and it was really hard for me. I feel like I'm the heaviest one in the group, and they're all so upbeat and committed. We had to sign a "contract" that we agreed to the rules of the group and would try our hardest to stop the ED behaviors, and that we would have no contact with other members outside of DBT. The first point really threw me because I don't feel like I can promise that yet. I hate bingeing--been there, done that--and am really trying to stop, but I can't say that I'm ready to give up restricting. That's...part of who I am, I guess. It's my body and I feel like I should be in charge of it, not some doctor who doesn't know me.

I've been having a really rough time lately...I've gained a lot of weight and a lot of people have commented on it. Even when they just say that I look "healthier," it hurts, because then I know that everyone can tell I've gained weight. I've gone up several clothing sizes very quickly, and even though I'm still being blind-weighed, I can only imagine how far the number has crept up.

I'm not dealing with it very well and I don't know who to turn to. I guess what I'm hoping to find here is a group of people who get what I'm talking about. Only one of my close friends has had an eating disorder, but there aren't a lot of parallels between us. I'm not allowed to contact the other girls in Group, so that's out. I don't feel like I can talk to my doctors or my parents because we're so diametrically opposed in our intentions and beliefs. My friends don't understand and frequently say hurtful things without knowing it, even when I try to explain.

Regardless of my state of recovery, I'm really looking for a support group here. I hope that I'll find it.

message 3: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) bekah wrote: "My name is bekah and I'm not sure I belong here.

I have only struggled with an eating disorder for the past year, and I've only been in "recovery" for the last eight months or so. It's a funny ki..."

Hi Bekah!

Well, whether you have struggled with an eating disorder for a week, a year, a decade or any other amount of time, it is still difficult and challenging, so I think it is great that you joined. I think it takes a long time to get to a "fully-committed" mindset with recovery also. I more look at it in terms of how much of you wants to recover. When I first decided to get help, maybe 10% of me wanted to recover, 90% didn't, not at all. Slowly the balance began to shift, so that I wanted to recover, more than I did not, but it was a SLOW process.

Also, what I learned in treatment is that yes, maybe in some medical dictionaries, you have to be emaciated to qualify as "anorexic", but that doesn't really change that you are. I hope this makes sense. There are times I have been extremely emaciated, yet the time when I was most ill from my eating disorder (heart damage, arthritis, large amounts of hair lost, multiple deficiencies, anemia, are just a few) was last year, when I was in fact not underweight and perhaps even a little chubby. This had happened because of a medication I had been on, I gained an outrageous amount of weight in a short period of time and then even though I lost some of it from the eating disorder, my metabolism was so slow that I never could quite lose it all. Just because you may not fit a certain size guideline in some medical books doesn't change that it destroys your body and your mind and can still kill you. When we would have to discuss what our problems were in treatment, they wanted me to say anorexic (they being the doctors and treatment teams) even though I did not technically meet the weight guidelines, though I met the others. I often would instead say "restrict heavily", but it didn't change the reality of what I was doing to myself. So don't worry if you don't meet those stupid guidelines - it doesn't mean you may not need help or that you may not have been just as ill as someone emaciated.

I understand how you feel about not being ready for recovery. This is really why I had to go back into treatment even after completing day patient - because I wasn't ready either. I think though that the more you surround yourself with people who are trying to recover or who are living in recovery, the more it helps you to entertain the idea and slowly accept it. It IS a long and slow process. My only concern with pro-ed stuff was that I did not want anyone joining who was going to post tips on how to practice in your ED or to encourage people to starve, purge, etc. I think even having a small desire to change is a great start :D!

I was the largest anorexic in my group and it really upset me for a long time, so I can understand how it feels. In my head I kept thinking they didn't believe I had the problem or that they wouldn't think I actually had a problem that was very severe, yet as I began to get to know each person, I found nobody thought that, not at all. Even now, it sometimes bothers me that I don't have the stereotypical body of someone who has had an ED, but it has become a lot easier. It was really hard for me when I gained weight so rapidly from the med and even harder when I couldn't lose it all become of medical problems, but I finally was able to care more about being healthy than I did about the number or size.

I hope that we will all be able to support each other here :) I really can relate to a lot of what you are going through and I know how lonely of a place it can be when you feel that way, so I hope I can offer some support too! Sometimes - because I still have a lot of health problems from my shot immune system and long-term damage to my body - it may take me awhile to respond, but I always read and respond as quickly as I can. Like I said, I really believe, even if you aren't fully committed yet, surrounding yourself with people who are is a good step in the right direction ;) <3

message 4: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn | 17 comments I total1ly understand how you feel about recovery also. I have been struggling with my "ED" for almost 20 years. He is my everything. I want recovery more than anything, but I don't know who I am without ED. I am no where near recovery, but want it. I have spent the past 5 years at the Renfrew Center inpatient and unfortunately, just got out of the hospital last week for another suicide attempt. This disease robs you of a life. I am so glad I have found this group for another recovery outlet. THANK YOU!!

message 5: by Grace (last edited Nov 01, 2011 06:41PM) (new)

Grace Craddock | 13 comments I am 15 years old. I have struggled with Bulimia for over a year now. my sturggle with eating disorders started the summer befor freshman year. i had always be overweight and then decied to change the way i looked. well i took it to far,i started to starve myself. i was terrifed to eat in front of people ( i still feel really self counsious when i do now)i would have problems with starving myself though, i would binge and go compleatly crazy with food, feeling compleatly out of control and then force myself to throw up.i became obsessed with my weight, i still am. i have considered suicied many times. when my parents caught me throwing up almost 2 months ago, they decided to not send me to treatment. they thought they could "cure" me at home. i have thrown up only once since they found scarred of what will happen if they do catch me again. I have gained a few pounds since they found out and it terrifes me. i feel like everyone can tell, like they think i am a failure. hardly anyone knows about my ED only my parents and 2 friends and they dont even understand or know all that has happened. my parents try and act like i dont have a problem most of the time.except when i say that i dont want any sweets or stuff like that, they immediatly assume i am starving myself, when i know if i eat it that i wont be able to stop. i hope you guys can help me in this recovery because, i dont think i can do this alone

message 6: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) Carolyn wrote: "I total1ly understand how you feel about recovery also. I have been struggling with my "ED" for almost 20 years. He is my everything. I want recovery more than anything, but I don't know who I am w..."

Welcome Carolyn! I apologize for the delayed welcome, as I have been really ill. I am so sorry to hear you have struggled with your ED for so long :( it can be such a long and painful journey. I am sorry too to hear about the suicide attempt. I hope you are in a bit of a better place now and safe and okay <3! I can completely relate to not knowing who you are without your ED - I first got mine at the age of 12 and I am now almost 29 and even learning what things I enjoyed and liked or what hobbies were fun or really anything - was such a huge challenge for me! We spend so long defining ourselves by this ED that it is scary to think of ourselves without it. I wish you so much luck in reaching recovery!

message 7: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) Grace wrote: "I am 15 years old. I have struggled with Bulimia for over a year now. my sturggle with eating disorders started the summer befor freshman year. i had always be overweight and then decied to change ..."

Hi Grace,

Love your name - that is my sister's name! Welcome to the club! My parents also decided not to get me help :( I actually originally got my ED when I was going through a chubby phase and my mom began to limit the amount of food I could eat to an unsafe amount, bordering on starving in the end. Naturally, she didn't really want me to see a therapist of any kind. I know that must be scary, to not be able to get hep. Sometimes parents make mistakes too and when they don't know how to cope, they try to hide from the problem. My dad turned to drugs and destroyed our family because I got an ED, so I really get this. I hope that there are other resources you can find, such as helpful books, groups like this, etc. or maybe a school guidance counselor? It's easiest if you get help as soon as you can, because the more years you go on with the ED, the harder it is to leave it :( but I think you will be able to do this! Hang in there and don't lose hope!!

message 8: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) Meagan wrote: "^ I've been in the same boat.

I'm going to be 24 years old this week, and I've had an eating disorder since I was extremely young (raised by a mother who was very, very, very, very into dieting)..."

Hi Meagan,

Welcome! Wow, I have never really met anyone else whose mother so heavily influenced them in getting their ED! Thanks for sharing! I didn't even realize I was chubby or have body problems when my mom started starving me and even though I try not to blame her, it's VERY hard. I am so sorry that your mom affected you so heavily and in such a painful way. I think it is great that you are in recovery - how long has it been? I think it's important to celebrate that :) every month I get myself something little to celebrate it. I also think it is great that you avoid diets, calories, etc to stay away from triggers - I do the same! I actually don't even know my weight and haven't for a year and a half now because it is so triggering. I also had to cut my mother out of my life a couple of years ago. Again, thanks for sharing your story and for being in this group and I look forward to seeing you on here!

message 9: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) Meagan wrote: "^ Eating disorders run in my family. I've been in recovery for almost 2 going on 3 years since my mother passed away from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (uncurable lung disease).

I celebrate by ..."

Wow that is so exciting - congratulations!!! I think that is so awesome too :D I don't know a lot about that sort of software, but it sounds pretty interesting! (I do LOVE video games though - so getting a new video game would be awesome haha - though I more play MMOs now). Congrats on your success :D

message 10: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) Charlotte wrote: "Hi there, Im Charlotte and I live in Gillingham, Kent, England. I am 21 years old and since the age of 18 I have suffered with both Anorexia and Bulimia. My bulimia put me into hospital twice with ..."

Hi Charlotte, Welcome! I can see how this would be a great outlet with just getting out of day treatment :) I found getting out of day treatment to be extremely stressful and difficult, so I hope we can help make the transition easier!! I think it's good you are aware of the self-harm stuff getting worse, as sometimes we replace one type of self-harm (ED) with another (cutting, etc) and the more aware you are of it, the more you can replace them with good things that won't hurt you physically or emotionally. It takes time though, baby steps! I think it is great that you are getting help and making some progress and I am excited to see you around on here!

message 11: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn | 17 comments Hi Charlotte,
I suffer from self harm also and severe OCD. Sometimes I question what came first the anorexia or the OCD...oh well. Both rob me of a normal life. It's hard because no "magic pill" can help either disease. Just constant daily therapy.Luckily, I haven't self harmed in a few months. Good luck.

message 12: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) I hope perhaps it will help to hear this, but for a LONG time, my OCD was really bad. There were some things that were so absurd, I am kind of embarrassed to even speak about it. I had the typical things of course, but also some things that were just so weird.

For example, I HAD to have all volume controls on odd numbers - if someone put it on even anyway, not knowing of my problem - I could go into a full blown panic attack. I would sometimes have to do things over and over until it felt just right and then I could finally stop. I was also a complete freak about things being clean - I would stand on stools to wash the sprinkler fixtures in the ceiling - it really was crazy. I also couldn't see balled up paper, particularly straw wrappers, or it would make me feel panicked. Again, I know how crazy it probably sounds, but that's just how it was and my eating disorder heavily exacerbated it. I also grew up in a home with a mother who had severe OCD - she would sit and measure an exact inch between her clothes hangers, ruler and everything and would spend hours lining up boxes in the pantry by size order. I don't doubt I picked up some of the OCD stuff from her.

That being said, once my eating disorder started getting better, so did my OCD. I would say my OCD is at least 75% better than it was and I am not on any medications for it (only on meds for ADD). I am hoping it will give you some comfort or hope to know that it did get SO much better. I can now keep things on an even number - though I still prefer odd - and when I get in that "do it until it's just right" cycle, I can almost always stop myself or ask for help in stopping. The paper thing? More or less over that as well. I even broke away from the obsessive cleaning, though, I have to admit I kind of miss that one right about now, because my apartment is a mess lol!

So I hope you guys can have more hope knowing that at least one person who struggled with OCD improved drastically after ending her ED habits <3!

message 13: by bekah (new)

bekah (epidendrum) | 17 comments Studies show that there is a strong correlation between eating disorders and OCD.

I know how you feel. I also have OCD, and it's less full-blown right now then it used to be, when I was starving. It WILL get better, I promise. Meds don't help as much as they're supposed to--I've been on all different kinds, and some of them don't work worth beans. Some of them have nasty side effects, too. It'll get easier.

For me it was counting. Especially my steps. Don't step on the cracks, or you have to go back and start over. Hug the wall and don't be conspicuous. Symmetry--everything had to be even and symmetrical, like if I did something with my right hand I had to do it with my left. Everything I ate had to be exactly measured. I would unconsciously finger my left wrist until I had a ring of bruises. This also enmeshed with the self-harm, if that's a problem for you--cutting is very compulsive.

I have an anxiety disorder. Not so much panic attacks--although I've had a few--as generally severe anxiety about anything social. I have a lot of trouble talking on the phone to people I don't know well, for example. I am incapable of public speaking. It's not rational, but I can't help it. It's just part of who I am.

I have a really good friend...I'll call her Emma...who's gone through a lot of this herself. She's in recovery from bulimia, for the first part. She also has panic attacks, frequently and without's painful to watch, especially the one time that she had an episode in school. We also found out recently that she has a seizure disorder, which overlaps sometimes with the panic attacks, if that makes sense. Despite all of this, she handles everything really well.

message 14: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) bekah wrote: "Studies show that there is a strong correlation between eating disorders and OCD.

I know how you feel. I also have OCD, and it's less full-blown right now then it used to be, when I was starving...."

I am so glad it is getting better for you too Bekah!!!

I still struggle badly with the symmetry thing. I particularly struggle with my OCD when making jewelry, because I want things to be just so...precise, makes for high quality items, but it takes me WAY longer than it should. It's really hard for me to try and not sit there obsessing over it. Still though, like I said, there have been HUGE improvements since nourishing my brain and body and overall I find it much more tolerable now.

I am having severe anxiety today and I am not sure why. I need to go out and run errands ASAP, but I keep sitting here with my whole body tense and feel anxious about going out, I don't even know why. I used to have REALLY severe anxiety, I would never even leave the house. Then when I finally did, while on vacation, I got mauled by a dog and had to have multiple reconstructive surgeries to my face after losing half of each lip from it. For some reason, that actually made me less anxious in some ways, because I realized no matter how much I try to control things, thinking it will keep me safe, there is no way to protect yourself from every possible thing out there, so why live in fear all of the time ya know? That isn't living. So my anxiety has improved, for the most part. Though because of it, I do struggle a lot from PTSD at times and that has been hard. It will be five years on Dec. 23rd since it happened. I also notice that my ADD meds make me feel anxious, but if I don't take them, I cannot think clearly or even really put full sentences together - my brain goes in so many places all at once that it feels terrible - so I guess the side effects of increased anxiety are worth it.

Thanks for mentioning the anxiety's just nice to know I am not alone I guess. I feel so anxious today that it's just drowning me and I got almost no sleep and laid up all night, anxious as could be, with no real reason for it. I keep obsessively worrying about things lately, especially financial stuff, and it's just all-consuming and I don't want to replace Ana with some crazed worry monster, both will drive me insane! Well, I am going to log off and try and push through this anxiety and get all of my errands done. I hope I can do it - I know I must and that just makes it that much harder - sigh :(

message 15: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) I am really struggling today. Not just with food, but with living. I keep crying and having the most severe anxiety that I have had in at least a year. I went on the ED Anonymous board and talked some and it helped, but I am now sobbing again. I am pretty sure it's both because of the anniversary of my dog mauling in a few weeks and because of the seasons finally changing. I have seasonal affective disorder -SAD- and SAD makes me very, well, sad. And the anxiety, especially of leaving the house gets very severe when it happens. I hate it and feel so completely out of control. I want to go out, but it's like my body just won't let me move. It's going to make work tough this week, and I work on Tues/Wed/Thurs. In the past, every winter I would get so severely depressed and I would cope with my ED, but now that I don't have my ED, it's really hard to cope. At least last year, even though I didn't have my ED, I was in IOP, so I still had support. I just am scared at the idea of doing this on my own, without treatment and without my ED. I am going to start using my light box tomorrow now that the gloomy Seattle weather is finally here to stay and I hope it will help. Supposedly Melatonin at night also helps, so I will try that. I hope I can get over this, because I am really struggling :(

message 16: by Renee (last edited Nov 17, 2011 12:48AM) (new)

Renee (renz) | 3 comments wow ive only just found this group,sumthing like this is wat we need so big thanks! as im only new still working out all of it ill try 1st here.. ive struggled with both eating disorders for the last 24 years my life has been hospitals n yes ive been through the bedrest,tubefed,nurse watch,and much more.ive had my twin girls taken off me into foster care when they were nearly 1 n the last i saw them was when they were 6,they are now nearly 17 next month,ive tried recovery but with honesty i dont think ive ever been 100 percent in committing to recovery,though id give anything to be fully recoverd! but with me too i cant imagine my life without ana or ed,maybe i will recover 1day,maybe my time is limited,but there have been so many times ive tried taking my life,how many times ive woken from life support,scars on my wrists or serious life threatning complications from both eating disorders...i have good days along with the bad as i suffer bipolar,skiztopenia,depression n chronic lung disease which remain fairly stable with daily mindset is of that a 16 year old as far as im concernd i just stopped growing inside when i was 16 the main part of my life severly affected by ed...but i also look back, n look at where i am today,a loving n understanding partner for the last 8 years n 3 other beautiful children aged 9 10 n 13 i love being a mum, n i do my best,they understand mummy gets sick now n then but i am blessed that so far my ed has not affected them,but theres still that road ahead! i pray that i can recover but i honestly dont know how to live without ana...just hate struggling everyday!

message 17: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) Renee wrote: "wow ive only just found this group,sumthing like this is wat we need so big thanks! as im only new still working out all of it ill try 1st here.. ive struggled with both eating disorders for the l..."

Welcome Renee!! I am so glad you are here and joining us and I hope you will be able to get some help from the group. If you could please, could you please remove the weights from your post? In this group (as you are prob familiar with from treatment), we don't talk about any numbers at all - whether it be sizes, calories, weight or anything of that sort. Most people (myself included, even after a year of recovery) find it extremely triggering, so the goal is to do what we can to avoid triggering each other. It sounds like you have had a very long journey, but it's never too late to make a recovery and travel a new, unexplored path! Thank you for joining :)!!

message 18: by Renee (new)

Renee (renz) | 3 comments oh yes sorry bout the numbers i completeley forgot,but definatley yes numbers are a trigger..thank u :) can i ask what most talk about? i just want to make sure i dont write anything the wrong way,its been an emotinal last couple days for me but am looking at a future and have decided i want to try recovery but im absolutley petrified but theres actually for once a big part of me wants to :)

message 19: by Carolyn (last edited Nov 17, 2011 05:51AM) (new)

Carolyn | 17 comments Jessica wrote: "I am really struggling today. Not just with food, but with living. I keep crying and having the most severe anxiety that I have had in at least a year. I went on the ED Anonymous board and talked s..."

I am so sorry your struggling Jessica. I actually know how you feel because my parents live in Seattle and I used to live there too. So, the weather can be very debilitating at times. I also know how it feels to not want to leave your house...that feeling of almost being "trapped in fear." This is all too familiar with me because I experience it on a daily basis. I'm not working now because my treatment team felt that teaching was just too stressful for me right now. So, I had to leave my 4th grade class in September and fully commit to therapy. But it is so hard being home and not out in the work world. I feel helpless and useless at times. Moreover, on days I am struggling I literally can't bring myself to even walk my dogs or go on simple errands. My team says to not get down on myself on those days and that it just takes time, but I am baffled that for 10 years I was an independent working woman who literally was on the go non stop, and now, I am struggling to just step out the door. What a difference a year makes. So, what I'm trying to get at're not alone!!!

message 20: by bekah (new)

bekah (epidendrum) | 17 comments Charlotte wrote: "Im totally struggling today :( Ive chewed and spit, Ive purged four times, and all I can think is "how can I eat less calories tomorrow." I thought I was getting better, my discharge date is next w..."

As hard as this may be to believe, I know where you're coming from, I'm in a similar place. My weight is going up and down and up and down so fast so much that I don't have any clothes that fit at all. I try to follow the meal plan, but it's so hard. ED centers have never felt safe to me. It feels like I'm trapped, and since I'm a minor, there's absolutely no control over it. I know what it feels like to be sure they're making you fat, I feel the same parents drive me an hour and a half each way to get there every week, and I cry the whole way home. It's so hard. As for cutting, I'm totally a hypocrite, but don't do it. You'll regret it, I swear. I have ugly, ropy scars on my arms, and any time I wear shorts, people can see the words I carved into my leg. I feel so hypocritical saying this, but it's not worth it. As much relief as it will bring you, it'll make you hate yourself even more. You'll never lose the reminders it'll leave. Please don't. Please please please. I'm not being fair to you asking this, I know, and I wouldn't blame you if you don't take me seriously, considering where I'm coming from, but I'm praying for you and I will do everything I can to help you through this. We're here for you, just let us know what you need. We love you and we need you as much as you need us. Please don't leave us.

message 21: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) I apologize I have kind of been missing recently - been dealing with a lot of health issues.

I did start using my light box again (it's a small blue light technology one that I managed to find for only $99 on sale last year) and it is helping SO tremendously! I have been getting many more errands done and getting out of the house more. My husband immediately noticed a drastic change. In this Seattle-area, it can be so depressing when you see the sun so little in the fall and winter, but this does seem to combat it to some degree, so I am thankful.

I am so sorry to read so many people have been struggling :( I hope you are all in a better place now.

Carolyn I know exactly what you mean! Before I decided to finally get help for my eating disorder, I was working full-time in accounting at a CPA firm. Once I started getting help, I couldn't handle working at all or even going outside some days. Recovering means going through so many painful things emotionally and at times physically and it can really make it hard to actually LIVE. I know it is worth it in the end, but it has made me a much different person and I feel often like I can handle so little compared to the much capable person I was before. The thing I remind myself though is that it is because I am LEARNING how to handle these things in a healthy way, rather than running to my ED and that just takes time. Eventually, once I have fully learned to cope in healthy ways, I will be even more capable and stronger than I ever was when I had my ED!! So will you!!

Charlotte, I hope you are better today. Recovery is so hard, I know :( hang in there! The refeeding process definitely does cause weight gain, but things do settle and balance back out (so much of it is just bloating, etc). My nutritionist used to say to think of my body almost like a camel - because I deprived my body for so long, my body is scared to let go of the food and fluids I am now giving it and so it is storing it and storing it and eventually, when it trusts me, it can let some of it go and that was definitely true. I think the biggest thing I heard the most in treatment that I wish I would have listened to was TRUST THE PROCESS! They know what they are doing and as hard as it is to surrender decision-making to them, they will do what is best for you <3 hang in there and try and do anything you can to avoid self-harm. As Bekah said, the scars aren't worth it - neither the scars it leaves on the outside or the scars it leaves on the inside!

Bekah thank you so much for being so supportive to everyone <3 I hope you are doing okay, you are incredible!

message 22: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) Grrr... I was looking at old photos today. Big mistake. It's so hard to see what I looked like and know what I look like now. I am still chubby from that stupid med and I feel like I will never again get to be normal sized and definitely not slim. I see the photos and just's so easy to forget what it took to get to that size just see the photos and want so badly to look like that again, the desire is so strong...yet I completely forget the consequences of it. It hurts though. It's hard to let go completely.

message 23: by bekah (new)

bekah (epidendrum) | 17 comments Jessica wrote: "Grrr... I was looking at old photos today. Big mistake. It's so hard to see what I looked like and know what I look like now. I am still chubby from that stupid med and I feel like I will never aga..."

I have all these old photos--many of which are up around the house, thanks to my parents--of what I looked like pre-ED. Which scares me to death because I never want to look like that again, and I'm scared that's where I'm going to end up. My face in particular looks so totally actually has a shape. (Round is not a shape.)

Just the other day, a friend of mine emailed me a photo (totally innocently) of us a couple of years ago. I look like a balloon, I'm not exaggerating. I was an awkward kid to begin with, and I was out of shape...add in thrift-store clothes, braces, girl who says the wrong things and laughs too loud...has habits that would be "cute" if she was was not pretty. I hate those photos.

message 24: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn | 17 comments Photos are the absolute worst. So triggering for me. Whether they were in the throws of my ED or before when I was, "healthy," a photo can literally turn my day into a tailspin. I become obsessed with the photo and body check every inch of myself against that photo. I try to stay away from them at the moment...

message 25: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) I hate that photos can cause so much pain :( what is particularly depressing is I was looking at our wedding and honeymoon photos :( it's not like photos I can just get rid of, because they mean so much, but it hurts. It hurts a lot :(

message 26: by Grace (last edited Nov 20, 2011 06:57PM) (new)

Grace Craddock | 13 comments Photos hurt alot for me too. I can hardly look at any pictures of myself. you know how it seems every middle school has a few just really ugly girls? Well i was one of them, i was fat, had the dorkyest glasses ever because my parents would only pay for cheap frames, and my hair was always tangaly and greasy even though i would wash it every night. i also seemed to own the uglist most unflattering cloths ever. I hate admitting it, but one night i got so upset over the photos i cut myself out of evey photo from the time i was 10 till i was 13. I still have a lot of photos that i cant stand to look at.

message 27: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) Grace wrote: "Photos hurt alot for me too. I can hardly look at any pictures of myself. you know how it seems every middle school has a few just really ugly girls? Well i was one of them, i was fat, had the dork..."

Aw, I am so sorry :(! I went through a very bad phase myself around 12, which was when my mom started starving me and I had looked so bad. I think even those without body image issues go through an awkward phase and it sucks :( I am sorry though, that sounds like it must have been so emotionally painful *hugs*

message 28: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) bekah wrote: "Freaks unite!"
Haha <3 I love this group! I remember for so much of my life feeling so alone in how messed up my mind was about my body and weight and looks and then when I was in treatment, there were these people who knew exactly how I felt and it was so incredible to realize I wasn't alone. After treatment though, which ended at the very end of Feb 2011, I slowly started feeling very alone in those thoughts again. This group is the first time in nearly a year where I felt comforted again by the fact that I WASN'T alone - so thank you guys!!! <3

message 29: by Grace (new)

Grace Craddock | 13 comments Thank you Jessica and Bekah.

message 30: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn | 17 comments This group is awesome!

message 31: by bekah (last edited Nov 21, 2011 03:49PM) (new)

bekah (epidendrum) | 17 comments Okay, I know this isn't what the thread is for, but I need to vent about something and I don't know a better place. I think you guys will understand.

I'm involved with a high school youth group at my local church, and every Spring Break, a select group goes on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. They build a feeding center in the dumps where people live so that children can have at least one meal a day; they play with the kids, they construct a church, they minister. It's amazing and it's a great opportunity. My brother went on this trip the past year (he's now a junior) and it totally changed his life, opened his eyes. I've been looking forward to this chance since seventh grade. For two years, my parents have been telling me that it's going to happen, that I can go when I'm a freshman. So I've been waiting for this for ages--it's not only a chance to travel with a group of friends to someplace I've never been, but it makes me feel like I can make a difference, you know? A third-world country...sometimes we need a wake-up call. I want to help. I need to help. I can't just do nothing.

Well, today, when my mom came to my school to supervise my consumption of lunch (as she does every day, I swear to God), she very casually informed me that I wouldn't be going on the trip.

Did I mention that this has been in my plans for TWO YEARS?

A lot of people I know are going, and they know that I'm supposed to go, too. What am I supposed to say to them when they ask? "Oh, sorry, I can't...I have an eating disorder." "No, my parents are afraid I'll starve myself while I'm gone." "Actually, the doctor couldn't find a way to pack enough calories into me to satisfy them."

I feel shattered. Seriously, I'm crying.

I've been having a bad day all around, really. I just got home from the gym, and I was really slow today. I was on the elliptical as usual for 45 minutes (5 days a week, which is all I'm allowed), and I made it an entire mile less than I usually do. In the same amount of time. I feel like a failure. God, I feel so fat ugly weak stupid.

Maybe you think I sound like a whiny teenager. Maybe you think that I have a point. Maybe you don't care. I don't know what you guys think, and I don't know what your reactions will be to this post. But I want you to know that I'm being brutally honest here, and I don't know who else I can talk to about this, because nobody really gets it. I hope you guys understand.

I'm sorry to heap all of this on everyone at once. But I just need to tell someone.

I need to know that somebody is listening.

message 32: by Grace (new)

Grace Craddock | 13 comments I'm listening. I'm so sorry that you cant go on the trip. Maybe you could try and talk to your parents about how important this is to you. Is it also possible that they could get someone they trust like the preacher or another adult just to watch you while your down there. if they could get someone to wathce you then maybe they'll let you go down there. because they will feel better. im sorry again thay you can't go. i hope your parents end up letting you go down there!

message 33: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) I am so so sorry that I have not been on here and I am so late responding to so many things :( I have been dealing with some stuff that has been all consuming. I will better explain tomorrow. Until then, lots of <3 and health!!!

message 34: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) bekah wrote: "Okay, I know this isn't what the thread is for, but I need to vent about something and I don't know a better place. I think you guys will understand.

I'm involved with a high school youth group a..."

Bekah hon, I am so sorry to respond so late to you!

I have been sick, again and then yesterday had a traumatic experience and sobbed until I slept for 17 hours, because I was so distraught, so I apologize for the delay <3

I do NOT think you are whiny, at all! I have a lot of family members who do missionary projects, which it sounds like this is or is similar and they are life changing, so I understand why you wanted to go so badly. I REALLY do and I think at any age, when you count on doing something and plan for it extensively and then have it fall through, it is so crushing! I think there are some things you can do to maybe ease the blow? First, I would use it as motivation! Just think, if in order for you to attend you must be eating and healthy, that gives you reason for this entire next year to get healthy and to eat and take care of your body and nourish it so that NEXT YEAR you can go on the trip!! Sometimes we need something to motivate us into doing something!

For example, I was planning to get a 3rd reconstructive surgery on my face last year. I had planned to have the surgery in November and had already had time approved off from the ED treatment center for recovering. I was excited to get this 3rd surgery done, because it was going to fix extensive nerve damage in my face and reduce awful pain. When I saw my surgeon, he refused. He said I had to be eating and drinking fluids (fully following meal plan AND drinking fluids - which I struggle with due to the full feeling) for at least 30 days or he would not do the surgery. He said I would not heal well otherwise. I was CRUSHED. I cried. I was angry that the treatment center told him I was still restricting and yelled at one of the people there. I was livid. In the end, this is the catalyst that finally fueled my desire to get well. I finally started following these things. Did I get the surgery in November? Nope, I had to wait until the end of Feb., which I was not happy about (since it means I cannot talk or laugh for a month and Valentine's and my birthday are in Feb, so I was pissed). In the end, I am glad that I had to miss out on something from my ED because it made me really want to get better, finally! I REALLY STRONGLY BELIEVE this could fuel you into full recovery, I'm serious!

Also, in the meantime, I think since giving back truly IS a huge part of recovery and life changing, I think you should see what you can do locally for now. Anything helps! Me making jewelry and selling it online has been eye-opening for me. I am able to not only donate to NEDA from it, but I also have met SO many girls and women struggling with an ED who were inspired and wore the jewelry as a badge of courage and a reminder to stay in recovery and that feeling was better than ANYTHING Ana ever gave me! You just need to find your niche. Maybe work at a homeless shelter or a food bank - there are so many ways to help out locally that can give you that feeling.

Hopefully this didn't all just sound like a bunch of mumble jumble that was totally useless. I know you can do this and I think this may end up being what finally gets you well <3 xoxo

message 35: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) Charlotte wrote: "I don't think I can be bothered with this anymore. when I dont eat Im in trouble, when I do eat Im in trouble, if I dont relapse thats worrying, if I do relapse then my mum hates me. Whats the poin..."

I am so sorry Charlotte! I understand where you are coming from. I originally got an eating disorder when at 12 I was a bit chubby, so my mom started withholding food from me...I was only allowed one piece of fruit a day in the end...then when I became emaciated and had to be hospitalized, she was angry with ME. Even though she did it. Then it's like nothing I ate was enough. By then it didn't matter, since Ana set up residence in my head. I could never, EVER please my mother. I finally stopped speaking to her and sometimes receive a text from her calling me fat, etc. or other horrid things. I just had to separate myself from caring about what she thought. What matters is what you think. Do what you know is right in your heart and that's all that matters. I know it's easier said than done when you have some crazy person breathing down your neck, watching your every move, but sometimes it's all you can do to stay sane! Try your best to eat your meal plan, to not take part in ED activities, and take care of yourself and F*** everyone else <3

message 36: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) I am really letting these POS trolls on Goodreads upset me. Just because I said someone should use a spoiler tag, he and his friends all started attacking me. One actually wrote on the thread: "That was a disgusting tattoo in her avatar. I should have flagged it. It kind of made me queasy." Obviously you guys know what the tattoo means to me and it really hurt my feelings, a lot. My husband thinks it is ridiculous I care and told me not to look at the thread anymore. I am going to try not to. They all are just going on and on making fun of me :( I even deleted my posts in hope they would leave me alone. I stopped responding to them though hours ago and am just trying to move on and hope they will just stop already :(...I know it's petty that I care, but it still upsets me, I am not really sure why :(

message 37: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn | 17 comments Who are these POS trolls? Explain to me...sound like these people need to get a life.

message 38: by bekah (new)

bekah (epidendrum) | 17 comments I would like to know which thread this was on so that I could shame them, if possible. That sounds like a very satisfying thing to do.

Maybe a little immature, though.

message 39: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn | 17 comments Me too...impulsive but fun nevertheless ;)

message 40: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) Aw, you guys are sweet <3 don't worry about it - I just want it to blow over and if people start fighting back it will just start it all over again. Screw them :D!

message 41: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) I am so struggling these past 10 days or so. I have severe gluten intolerance and an allergy to dairy (it seems to be the proteins primarily that cause the reaction). While every so often having it for a special occasion is acceptable, I recently started eating it again every day. Now I keep swelling up huge, getting covered in hives and have a big, puffy red face and am itchy all over and my tummy hurts and my head hurts and I feel severely malnourished, I am not sure why...anyway, I am really upset with myself for doing this. It was getting to where I was just not feeling up to making meals, so it was easier to just get quick and easy meals, which always have gluten and/or dairy in them :( my husband is NOT happy with me about this.

So I am going to recommit to eating dairy and gluten-free to take care of my body and I am announcing it here because you guys can hold me accountable <3 sometimes that is the only thing that makes that sort of stuff doable. I hate having food intolerance/allergies when trying to recover - it just makes it that much harder - and I miss food actually tasting good :( ugh. Anyway, here's to starting over and hopefully feeling a LOT better.

(the same goes with hydration - I thought I may have to go to the hospital again for an IV because it got so bad...I think it would be the 33rd time for dehydration - but I am getting better and trying hard. And it's worth noting this is due to being super busy and my ADD, and NOT my ED.)

message 42: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) Oh and I changed my picture, but I am still the Jessica with the tattoos hehe <3 just in case it's confusing (I get SO confused sometimes when people change their photos).

message 43: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) Spent the night in the hospital. I hate my health problems :(

message 44: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn | 17 comments What happened?

message 45: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) Ovarian cyst ruptured :( also some dehydration and other small things. I went in initially because of the ovarian pain though. I wish my body would be like...reliably healthy, just sometimes ;P

message 46: by Jessa (last edited Dec 14, 2011 04:49PM) (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) Here is a pic of what it is that happened ( ) severed a nerve and caused a lot of overall damage as you can see. I warn you do not look though if you have a weak stomach or are easily grossed out. I post this ONLY because I think it will give you an idea of where I am coming from and what I have been through. Thank God it does not look like this now and my surgeon did a phenomenal job in the 3 reconstructive surgeries I have had so far (as you can prob tell from my current profile pic) - though I do struggle with not looking the way I used to and still to this day feel severely disfigured and grotesque :(

I am struggling bad today...this time of year, as I mentioned previously, is really hard for me, because it's around the time when I was mauled. :/ It's been almost 5 years since it happened (will be 5 on Dec 23rd) and it still affects me, but I suppose each year less than the last. I have been obsessing over the most random things lately - like worrying about a particular bill or worrying about Etsy feedback or whatever and I will obsess for hours and talk in circles. I realized when talking to my husband the other day that just like when I would use my ED to keep my mind busy and protect me from what I really felt, I am using anxiety and worrying in the same manner.

So now that I have stopped avoiding my true feelings, I feel really unpleasant :( I am trying to listen to Christmas music, to take Christmas back and trying to get things made so I can go to the Post office, and it's just really, really hard. I think had it happened some random day in the middle of say like May or March or sometime when there was nothing significant going on, it wouldn't be upsetting like this. But since it happened so close to Christmas, so many things Christmas-related can trigger flashbacks and memories and I panic and just sob and I hate feeling so out of control with that. Like I remember seeing beautiful Christmas lights on houses minutes before it happened and now lights on a house can even trigger it and it's just so, so hard, especially since I was the biggest Christmas fanatic I have ever known. I guess I feel dumb that it upsets me still. I hate that it still causes me so much pain and grief.

I know things are somewhat better. In previous years, starting in November, I would sob for hours daily and I was an emotional wreck. This year, granted I avoided the emotions some with the anxiety/worrying cycles, but even that aside, I haven't been too bad at all. Today though, today I am crying. Crying so, so hard that I can't even see straight (thank God for my freakishly fast typing and accuracy lol). I hope it gets easier :(

message 47: by Jessa (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) Well to add to the spectacularly awesome week I am having (major sarcasm) I was in a car accident today. A woman in her late 90's (maybe early 100's) smashed into my car while I was parked into it and did a lot of damage. Not fun.

message 48: by bekah (new)

bekah (epidendrum) | 17 comments God, Jessica, this just isn't your week, is it?

message 49: by Jessa (last edited Dec 17, 2011 04:23PM) (new)

Jessa (Jessa1983) bekah wrote: "God, Jessica, this just isn't your week, is it?"

Nope :*( yesterday was particularly bad. First I went to the dentist for a teeth cleaning and when they leaned me back, they had posters on the ceilings, probably to entertain kids. Anyway, there was one of two golden retrievers playing tug of war and a golden retriever is what I was mauled I started just crying and had a panic attack, it was so embarrassing. Then after that appt, I had my dr appt, so I got there early and was waiting in my car when this old woman smashed into my car. Then after the police came (she wouldn't give me her insurance) I finally got to see my doctor, who had bad news about my ovaries and then I had another cyst rupture last night. I don't know whether to cry or laugh, because it's all just so ridiculous! My husband did surprise me with a Kindle Fire last night, so that did cheer me up :) but I am still just really I still have so much jewelry to make and ship (a few of which are having to ship a day or two late because of all of this and I am terrified, like ridiculously terrified, of getting bad feedback because of it) and everyone here has an apartment inspection next week, plus my parents-in-law are coming, so I want to get things perfect anyway, yet I have so little time to do it. I just feel like I am going to explode and keep having the most severe anxiety because of it all. I feel bad I can't devote my attention here, or on some facebook pages or to my shop or anything lately and that eats at me too. And it's so hard to stay in recovery while coping with ALL of this crap. Arg :(

message 50: by bekah (new)

bekah (epidendrum) | 17 comments Good grief.

Suggestion: Prioritize. Make a to-do list, order things by how important they are and when they absolutely HAVE TO BE FINISHED by. Example: your health takes precedence over jewelry to be made and shipped. If necessary, include notes explaining any delay--anyone who takes exception, well, do you really want someone like that buying your jewelry? Morons. Anyway, it's going to work out in the end...somehow, I swear.

I would hug you if I could...

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