28 February 2010

NEDAW - Awareness or hype?

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week has ended and while I appreciate the effort of the many people with eating disorders and professionals who have worked hard to spread knowledge and awareness, this year's NEDAW has been a severe disappointment to me for several reasons.

First the media coverage has been limited at best and often erroneous at worst. For example, one recent article at the college newspaper where I am a grad student, Central Michigan University, (and I hold them to same professional journalistic standards that I expected from myself when I was a full-time journalist — if you can't take the heat, get the hell out of the kitchen) featured an article about a friend of mine who has been in residential treatment for six months. Not only did this article repeatedly mention her weight (she weighed this at this time, she weighs this now, she needs to weigh this to be healthy, and so on, ad nauseum), basically reducing her illness to nothing but bunch of numbers (and I suspect the author did it solely for the shock value), the article then proceeded to quote a CMU associate university professor to whit: “I think that a lot of kids are overweight and, when they get to high school and college, they realize that it’s not attractive."

To say I was incensed would be an understatement, and I proceeded to write them a very heated comment about how the media needs to be a bit more sensitive in reporting on eating disorders, and if the writer isn't capable of doing that, perhaps she should stop writing until she is able to gain a bit more sense. 

Another example is "Victoria Beckham uses anorexic pin-up in show", an article supposedly taking Beckham to task for using a model with anorexia - Eugenia, who is very public about her pro-ana views - in her show during London's recent Fashion Week. The article included a prominent picture of Eugenia, nude and ... well, looking anorexic and labeled as "the Russian doll." The article also included this quote by Eugenia: “Call it whatever you want, pro-ana, calorie restriction, bulimia, vanity, anorexia – it is the desire for perfection.” (Let's overlook the fact that Beckham herself appears anorexic, no matter how many times she denies she doesn't have an eating disorder. She also defended her use of size zero models, and I'm not surprised.) What do you think women got out of this article? That anorexia nervosa is a dangerous illness or that women are basically clothes hangers and inanimate objects, i.e. a "doll?"

The second issue I have with both NEDAW and coverage of eating disorders in general is the almost total lack of any information about adult-onset anorexia (or other eating disorders.) I developed anorexia at the age of 41, and yet many, if not most of these activities have been aimed at those who developed eating disorders at a young age. There are different issues surrounding both the manifestations and recovery issues of eating disorders in different age groups.

It feels very weird to go for four decades without an eating disorder and then suddenly develop anorexia and be plunged into a world of IP, feeding tubes, therapy and the like; it feels like a thief snatched away the real me and left this person who is consumed 24/7 by anorexia. The feeling is often one of unreality - where did the real Angela go? And will she ever come back? I would like to see SOME information about adult-onset eating disorders, if only to make me feel less alone and strange. (I'm currently working on a journal article about my own experiences with adult-onset anorexia and plan to expand it into a book, so I guess I won't have much competition, anyway!) 
And this brings me to my final point - the whole "Love Your Body" campaign. Pre-anorexia, I didn't have any significant body issues and I did not develop anorexia based on any desire to be thin - I already was too thin! My body image issues cropped up after I developed anorexia. I do struggle with gaining weight and feeling fat, but I feel these issues have not been a significant component either in my struggles to recover nor during my recent relapse. I know I am too thin and the weight I am right now is not healthy. So what does that knowledge do for me? Not much.

Recent work with my doctor suggests that for me, anorexia is most likely trauma-based and fueled by almost relentless self-hatred and self-destructive tendencies. There are many articles and essays out there addressing the connection between the development of eating disorders and trauma. Eating-Disorder.com covers it comprehensively in its article, "Eating Disorders and Trauma", stating that more than 50 percent of patients with eating disorders have experienced serious trauma, such as childhood physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse. I fail to see how NEDAW addressed this significant issue. 

In conclusion, NEDAW basically felt like a feel-good week aimed at a 'let's all be positive' mentality — forgetting the pain of eating disorders and God help those who were struggling with a relapse during this cheerleading period. The week has closed, but those with eating disorders will continue to struggle as the hype dies down. Instead of an overhyped NEDAW, why not awareness — period?

(Thanks to Carrie Arnold at ED Bites for originally inspiring me to write this post. Her post can be found at "On NEDAW")

26 February 2010

If you are trolling for tips . . .

I am tired and I really need to go to bed, but I felt this was too important to wait. I recently discovered that at least one person was reading my blog trolling for tricks, and she is basically an anorexia wanna-be who wants to lose weight.


I wouldn't wish anorexia on my worst enemy, and at first I was horrified that I might have been part of giving someone ideas how to starve, etc. I recently suffered a serious relapse - I could have died - and it was triggered in part by my own involvement, through an alternate profile, with pro-ana sites and activities. It is easy to get sucked into them, to buy into the Ana creed and all that crap. It was all part of my sick, starving mind that drew me in and didn't allow me to see these sites for the evil places they are.

I'm not going to lie. I still sometimes look at these sites; it's still a pull I am fighting. But this blog will never never turn pro-ana; I will destroy it first.

I will continue to write about my struggles with anorexia and I will continue to be honest in my posts. I believe that helps both myself, and others feel less alone. Anorexia and other eating disorders are complex illnesses that involve many symptoms and actions - starvation, laxative abuse, self-harm such as cutting, and other things, and there are some things I will never be comfortable with sharing with the public.

But I believe it's important to keep writing and showing people the real face of anorexia, in all its pain and craziness.

And I beg of those who might be drawn to pro-ana sites — don't go there. You will regret it.

22 February 2010

The destroyer takes all

Ana the destroyer is taking everything. My marriage. My dreams for grad school. My hopes for any kind of future. My soul.

I believe my marriage is over. My husband and I have struggled for years with this disease. I feel he doesn't understand; he feels this has taken over everything. He escaped to Florida on Thursday, supposedly to work on the boat of a friend. But I believe he wanted to get away from me, or the me that I now am since Ana came to stay.

He sounds so angry at anorexia and I feel he blames me for getting it and this most recent relapse. Without him, I feel lost and lonely and scared. I feel as if I will die of anorexia. And that's a terrible burden to put on anyone.

I think anorexia has so damaged our relationship, it cannot be repaired. I can't seem to make him hear - I didn't do this on purpose, and I am so sorry for what it has done to us over the past years. I love him so much it hurts. I also love him so much, I can't continue to put him through this.

Then there's grad school. I got a 3.7 last semester, and I was quite proud of that. Even with my recent relapse, I have been pulling near a 4.0 in my classes this semester. But I chose to go into the hospital, and now I'm so far behind I feel like I'm smothering. After days of constant writing, up until 2, 3 a.m. I turned in the rough draft of a literature essay that I was told probably won't earn a grade any higher than a B to a B- — after extensive revisions. So instead of resting today, as I so desperately needed so I can think more clearly and actually be able to eat, I again spent hours at the computer trying to salvage this piece.

Today - it's 3 a.m. right now - I have to write the rough draft of another essay, complete a 10-page take-home midterm, read a short novel and then write a 1 to 2 page response essay on it. All of this has to be completed by noon Tuesday.

But my grief over my failing marriage, combined with my sorrow over my now screwed up grad school record - the one source of self-esteem that I had; that I believed in - makes it almost impossible to think about writing another word.

Sometimes heartbreak can hurt so much, it silences everything inside of you.

I need sleep and I need food. I can't seem to find a way to give myself either. And without David, I don't really want to live anyway.

17 February 2010


I am falling apart again. I am no inspiration. I am just a failure who can't let go of Ana. I am trapped forever.

I am scattering to pieces . . . My heart is torn to pieces . . . There is no mercy, none at all.

Ana is just too strong to fight. Too strong. I am not courageous or strong or inspiring or any of those wonderful things people have said about me. I am a coward and a failure.

I am frightened. I am frightened of food. I am frightened of graduate school. I am frightened that my marriage is being sucked dry by Ana.


(The only consolation - if I die, others will live through my organs. Oh God, please let my organs be undamaged so I can do some good>)

I can't seem to grasp recovery. I feel as if I am encased in a block of ice, icy Ana, and I can see life outside but I can't reach it. Outside is freedom and love and learning and people, and I am so cold inside. I feel as if I will never be warm. I will never be free. I will never live.

I can't take much more. I feel so alone. What will it take??? What??? WHAT???

(I am screaming inside and no one hears me. Can't somebody hear me? Please?)

I don't have any answers. Only fears and pain and an all-consuming obsession with starving and hurting myself that I can't seem to fight.

Oh God, on this Ash Wednesday, I pray to you to see me, your lowliest servant, and have mercy on me. I know I don't deserve your mercy, but if you only would forgive me and say the word, I would be healed. Jesus, you once was told that even the dogs deserve the crumbs that fall from the table. Come into my heart and heal me, even though I don't deserve your mercy. Blessed Virgin Mary, intercede for me with your son.

I am falling to pieces . . . And I feel as nothing can ever pull the shards together again.

15 February 2010

Anorexia Tubing 2

It's a cliche, but I do believe pictures sometimes say more than words. So I'm posting this to remind myself how important it is to STAY IN RECOVERY!!! (Not the most attractive pic, but that's kind of the point.)

12 February 2010

Grace and the death of XXX

Grace. God's gift to us, giving us strength to begin in our own healing when we can't do it alone. Which we can't.

Grace. God's power that allowed me to destroy XXX, my Facebook pro-ana doppelganger last night. I removed all traces of myself from her profile in order to feel cleansed. The most important thing is that I removed my picture - 95 pounds, jutting collarbones, already becoming ensared in Ana - that I used (with my face removed, of course) to represent her.

(Side note - I really thought I was being clever and that most people did not know about XXX. I wasn't being clever, I was being destructive and not too bright.)

Grace. Yes, it is amazing. It is God's gift for us all, including me. I was once blind. Blinded by the Siren call of Ana.

I know the call will continue. I've only taken the first, few baby steps. But - I have eaten the food. I allowed the feeding tube. I destroyed XXX.

Really, I felt it was becoming a matter of life and death between her and I. Either she had to die, or I would.

This doesn't mean it's over. It means I can begin. It means Dr. Sackeyfio and I can start the work of recovery, which will be so hard and so painful. I can't do it alone.

Grace. God sending us people who love us and people who care for us, to help us in our journey, no matter what that journey may be.

My journey happens to be recovery from anorexia. It is really an inexplicable disease, defying basic human logic - the drive to survive.

I am - a wife, a graduate student, a friend, an intelligent person, a compassionate person. I am not XXX. I am Angela.

I am still afraid. The feeding tube is gone, I am eating again and I will soon go home. I am afraid I will again starve myself. I am afraid of the self-destructive tendencies that explode in my mind without warning. I am afraid because I am again at the beginning of recovery.

I asked myself last night - Is this really what I want out of life? To spend days, weeks on a psychiatric unit, a feeding tube down my throat? Do I really want to have to ask for piece a floss, permission to go to the bathroom after every meal, to sleep in an empty bed in a strange room? To not be able to move about as I want, make bracelets to pass the time, to explain to everyone here that I am here because I starved myself for a month?

I want to put my feet in the ocean, go back to Haiti, travel to Ireland, see Stonehenge, complete my master's degree and many other things before I die. Today it hit me - I could die of anorxia before I am able to do any of those things. I could die of anorexia before I have lived.

Grace. I was so lost. But the thing about grace is that God does lead you home, and sometimes even helps you see again.

10 February 2010

Ana thoughts and recovery hopes

Ana thoughts and recovery hopes continue to mix in my mind. I'm starting to realize that eating alone is not healing my anorexia.

Random journal entries (since I've come to Beaumont Hospital):

February 6, 2010

6:10 a.m.
I can't think and all the noises make me want to fly into a panic and I just want out of here. I have no hope of escaping Ana. She said I would die, die bitch and it's the truth. I deserve to die of this. . . . I have no future. I'm 44; what's the point? More years of this? I want to die, because I can't ever find peace and Ana is the perfect destroyer.
(And I scratched "Ana Wins" into my hip bone; no knife available, only my Sharpie and fingernails.)

5:30 p.m.
And I watch the food go away with no regrets. I'm still listening to you, Ana. You still have the power. I still want to lose weight and I know I don't deserve to eat. . . . I am feeling light, even lighter than before. It is so easy to eat nothing here. . . . Had I known I would or could slip into a coma (because of starvation), I would never have come in. I would have let it happen.
In you, Ana, I have found the ultimate weapon. You are so perfect and so easy to use. . . . Who am I without you, Ana?

February 8, 2010
10:25 p.m.
I hate myself. I hate myself for having anorexia and not being able to stop it.
Will Ana go to heaven? No, of course not. She will go to hell, her bones burning in the white hot heat. She will scream for mercy, but none will be forthcoming. She will deserve to burn, for she is evil.
I  just want to die of anorexia.
I am so tired. Tired of being Ana. It really is not fun. And I didn't even get below 100 this time.
I am lost in a swirl of hopelessness. I will never not be Ana. And she will always be me.
So tired. I just want peace. I want it to end.
But Dr. Sackeyfio says there is hope. Do I believe him? Am I a fool? To think of being free, free of anorexia, having a real life.
No, impossible.
Oh, and Ana doesn't have a heart.

(End of journal entries)

And now? I am just eating to get home. I still have the feeding tube in; however, it was disconnected today because my doctor wants to see if  I could completely finish two meals. (The tube itself is still in in case it has to be reconnected.)

I am afraid once I am home, it will begin again. I am still not hungry. The feeding tube and food has made me think clearer, feel more awake.

But it was not the panacea I had hoped it would be. I wanted to be free of the Ana thoughts. Instead, the thoughts hammer at my brain almost continously.

Ana is not ready to die. And I am not ready to live.

09 February 2010

Anorexia tubing

He tried to be gentle. A nurse stood by one side of the bed, holding my hand as I anxiously eyed the hollow tube that would soon be placed inside my nose and down my throat, snaking its way through my body and into my stomach, ready to continously feed me 24/7 until I was able to feed myself.

It was the throat part that broke me.

Slowly the tube was inserted into my nose. Then it hit my throat, and gagging and wretching, I threw up on the floor, the nurse's shoes, and in my hair.

At least I know bulimia's not in my future. I hate to throw up.

The tube was again pushed down into my throat and I started crying as I again retched, leaned over and puked.

Third time. The tube again was gently pushed down into my throat - it had to go in there; it needed to reach my stomach to feed me.

This time I didn't move quick enough to throw up on the floor. The bile - there wasn't much in my stomach, anyway, after a month of starvation, landed on the pillow.

Shaking, I wiped my lips with a tissue. I swallowed hard and breathed slowly,  nodding that he should continue to push in the tube. Gulping, gulping, I ignored the gag reflex, albeit with a lot less ease than I am able to suppress hunger.

The tube finally made its way to my stomach, but a certain part needed to open to allow nutrients to flow through the tube and into my stomach.

It wouldn't open. They said I needed to relax in order to allow the tube to enter its final destination.

Relax? I just puked three times, I was shaking and crying, and I was still trying to cough up the tube like a cat coughs up a fur ball.

So the nurse and the technician started using imagery, as in imagine I am in Tahiti and there is this handsome man with a tiny small bathing suit and I am being fed some luscious tropical fruit . . .

STOP! Fruit? Food? I hadn't eaten more than about 100 calories a day in more than a month, I'm still terrified of food, and the thought of anything luscious made want to hurl a fourth time.

Poke with the tube. The stomach wouldn't open. Wiggle the tube and poke some more. The stomach still wouldn't open. Threaten to leave me to go watch the Super Bowl and come back tomorrow . . . I grabbed the technician with both hands, pulled the front of his shirt and dragged him toward me, saying through a gagged throat, "We are staying until you get this damn tube in my stomach, I don't care how long it takes. Forget the Super Bowl!"

Finally, 45 minutes later, he placed a thinner wire through the tube, nudged and prodded, and the tube slid in.

I could be fed and he could go watch the Saints triumph.

The tube still gags me and my nose runs constantly, trying to dislodge this foreign object out of me. But for some reason, it has given me an odd sort of permission to eat. I'm told that happens to many anorexic patients; maybe it's a breaking down of defenses, maybe it's just a sheer desire to get the damn thing out.

I'm still eating what most people would consider minimal. I have been told they don't want to shock my system with too much food too soon. It takes my one hour to eat a simple meal. Small bites, chew until very soft, swallow and gag it past the tube. Then repeat about a thousand times.

And that's eating anorexic-style.

07 February 2010

Tube day

I get my feeding tube today and I have to admit I am very scared. I'm scared it will hurt. I'm scared of the loss of control. And yes, I'm scared of gaining weight.

This relapse wasn't about weight loss. The drop in pounds was incidental. But any anorexic would be lying if they said they didn't care about weight gain. Because the weight lost is an outward symbol of the inner pain I feel, and part of the stripping of skin and reappearance of protruding hip bones and prominent collarbones shows that to the world.

And then of course there is this world's current obsession with being thin. When I was trolling the pro-ana sites (not allowed here, and that's part of the safety of the hospital), I saw pictures of thin, tanned women who were so beautiful it ached to look at them and think I could never, ever look like them. I know that many of the photos are lies - Photoshopped to show a flawlessness that doesn't exist in nature; I bet many of them get pimples and under-eye circles and have a little flab here and there.

But it is hard not to buy into the lie, and if you are already suffering and your mind tells you not to eat, why not try to be like one of them?

But I want to like being me - dark, wild curly hair, a smile that many say is beautiful, a slender (not skeletal) body, and a few little lines near what my husband calls my "cornflower blue eyes."

And I want to eat normally - sometimes too much, sometimes too little, sometimes a bit of junk food, most of the time just boringly healthy. I'll never be a big eater - that's not been my nature for most of my life, and I am a bit of picky eater even in the best of times. But I could, in the past, scarf down some popcorn at the movies and slurp it down with a regular icy Coke,

I don't want to sit at my plate and eat one grain of rice at a time, one pea at a time; slicing a banana into miniscule pieces so small that I can't even taste it. I don't want to shred my allowed half piece of bread into tiny pieces, balling it up until I can't taste the yeasty taste of whole grain bread with the little piece of nuts because I have crushed the life out of it.

And I don't want to mark my body with red ink, the color of Ana, writing across my hip "Ana Wins." She is not going to win, not if my doctor and others have any say about it. (It's too bad, because I actually like the color red. Maybe someday it will again just be a pretty color for me.)

Just like anorexia has been crushing the life out of me.

So today is tube day. I am scared it will hurt. I'm afraid maybe it won't help. I feel like it marks me as someone who could not get past the demon of Ana without medical help, without tube feeding.

But the choices are either reclaim my life or die Ana. And she doesn't deserve that honor.

When I do die, I hope people will remember me as someone who fought and won, someone who was kind and funny and full of life, a good writer and someone with an insatiable drive to learn new things. Not someone who cowered under Ana. Not someone who sat at her computer and counted every single calorie, and couldn't even take a sip without fear.

And I want to be remember as someone who liked a good hamburger with Swiss cheese, mayo, ketchup, Vidalia onions and a cold beer once in a while. (That's in the future, ha ha.)

05 February 2010

Unsnarling the web

I feel alone and scared, and yet for the first time in a while, hopeful.

I checked myself into Beaumont Hospital today, realizing the downward spiral was only going to continue. I was tired of my starving brain screaming at me that I cannot eat, I must not eat and I do not deserve to eat. The medical tests do not lie - my ketones are at the level of a diabetic's, and Dr. Sackeyfio said any higher and I could have slipped into a coma.

I was becoming so sucked into anorexia, I was becoming Ana. Angela was dying, both literally and spirtually. It final struck me how far I had fallen into Ana's web when I went out Thursday night and purchased a small knife, with the intent of carving Ana into my left hip bone.

I pulled over the side of a dark street, pulled out the knife and slipped down my jeans. I was ready to carve when I became horrified, wondering where I went and who I was. I wasn't totally safe - instead, I wrote Ana in large red letters, a reminder that I will never be free.

I refused to accept that reminder. In the shower this morning, I scrubbed and scrubbed the letters off, feeling dirty that Ana was marked on my flesh. Now there is a big red spot, and I'm proud of that spot, because it was the first step in taking my body back.

I still don't understand how became so enmeshed in Ana's web; snarled, tangled, Angela small and almost dead underneath the cobwebs. I couldn't see past it; I couldn't see anything at all.

And all the time my brain screamed at me, "You do not deserve to eat."

So tomorrow I will be put on a feeding tube, and I am afraid. But someday, I hope, I will remember this time from the distance of past, a memory of a bad relapse that almost killed me, and I will have a cup of hot chocolate, maybe a piece of pie, and lean back into my husband's arms and sigh, "Aren't we glad that's over!"

03 February 2010

The web of Ana

I am caught in Ana's web, deluded by her lies and promises . . . Just a few more pounds, she whispers, and we're done. A few more pounds and you can rest. I just need to see your bones more clearly; do not give up, you will be beautiful and you will be free.
It is hard to think, to fight these seductive thoughts. I feel rejected all around — no room at the inn for me, the door is barred shut, recovery not available. Then Ana whispers in her oddly sweet Brunhilde Nazi bitch voice — Why bother? You will be Ana forever.

I feel the sharp images of my bones whenever I move or sit or try to rest; there's no cushion against the hardness of life. I am reminded of what I have lost.

And Ana whispers, "It is good."

I've tasted recovery once and it felt good. I could dance and sing and move again; I felt joy and sadness and crushing disappointments, and I fought through it all. Once you've tasted recovery, returning to the land of Ana wrenches your soul, stabs your heart, and mercilessly taunts you. Ana says, "You will never recover. It was a dream, a false hope and you will die of anorexia."

I know can do it again. But not alone. Please let there be room at the inn soon; allow me to come to you for help, do not turn me away in my helplessness.

Book of Judith 7:25 — "And now there is no one to help us. God has delivered us into their hands to be prostrated before them in thirst and utter helplessness."

01 February 2010

Finding Angela

I am powerless against anorexia.

Those were the five hardest words I've ever had to write. It was so humbling to admit it — me, so strong and ready to deny that nothing is wrong and I can handle anything — and yet so freeing in a way. Maybe I don't have to blame myself. Maybe I can now accept anorexia as the disease it is, and turn over control to those who can help me instead of fighting against their every suggestion, every word. I now know that in order to recovery, I must change.

It also has started me thinking about who I was pre-anorexia, and as my mind floated back to that time of freedom, I felt an aching sense of loss coupled with an intense longing to yet again be that person . . .

I liked books and reading and was interested in so many things — religions, history, medieval times, the life and history of Anne Bolyen, the writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder and more. I studied many things on my own, reading about everything from the flu epidemic of 1918 to the catechism of the Catholic Church to the teachings of Islam. I delved into "The Chronicles of Narnia," exploring the strange new world that Lucy and her siblings found. I was one of the first in line to buy the newest Harry Potter book, and I couldn't wait to dive into my new books for graduate school (even literary theory!) Each new book was like a treasure waiting to be opened and just the smell of the paper and the crispness of the spine was thrilling.

Curling up with a book at bedtime, becoming part of a new world of each offered, devouring the words, no ED thoughts hammering at my brain . . . It sounds so simple, I know. It also sounds like a beautiful, healthy and normal way to spend an evening.

I cared about people, and did things to show that caring. I took part in an in-school program for years, where I was paired with a young student who needed a kind, caring adult to read to him or her and just listen to the day-to-day life of childhood. I remember one young girl, Anna. Anna had long, dark curly hair and looked somewhat like the daughter I've never had. She loved to giggle and was so smart; she didn't really need help with reading, she needed an adult to listen to her sometimes confusing and convoluted life. Each week, we would sit in low chairs, two dark heads bent over as we nibbled on our lunch and explored the different worlds inside books. She loved to talk and create her own stories, and I still pray that she is as healthy and well-adjusted as she was then.

My husband and I went for long walks, watched stupid T.V. shows, talking about politics and the books we were reading and played competitive games of Scrabble. We held hands, snuggled on the couch, and we didn't argue about food. We went out to eat after church on many Sundays, and the time at the restaurant wasn't spent watching my fear as I opened the menu and looked at all the frightening food choices.

I wasn't afraid to go to parties and other events. People didn't scare me then, and my mind wasn't consumed by anorexia. I could relax and enjoy the moment, and actually was considered an interesting and engaging person.

I could write articles without feeling panicked; I could read and understand the words on the page. I could eat without fear, I could be with people and not want to run away and hide any where I could find just to be safe. I could face a variety of situations and not feel fear bubbling up.

I miss the person I was, and right now I am in a period of mourning for that Angela, going through the stages of grief and wondering who I will be when this all plays out. I wonder if anyone else out there feels the same way, because it feels lonely to miss the self you were, and wonder about the self you will be after recovery.

Can I ever become the person I was? No. Time has moved on and anorexia has impacted me. I know I will never be the exact person I was before anorexia.

I want to become a better, stronger person; one who embraces life fully and without fear. I can either continue to be bullied by my anorexia, trying to hide from it (although no matter where I go, my mind is always with me) or embrace the growth opportunities that it offers.

I can let it slowly kill me — and right now, a part of me wants to let Ana win (Jesus, just get this pain over with already! I am so tired, just take me home to peace and love and rest; "For my yoke is easy and my burden light.")

I am ready to concede to Ana. I just realize I can't do it alone. I think of it as nothing less than preparing for war, for the more I try to move toward recovery, the more fire bombs Ana throws at me. She's been a real hissy bitch lately.

But as I think about being powerless, I realize that doesn't mean I'm not without strengths. I have a mentor, my husband, my friends and colleagues and perhaps most importantly, my writing; all formidable weapons against my arch-evil foe Ana.

Now it's time to unbury the Angela underneath Ana.