27 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 27 — Bliss


A warm breezy summer's day
Happiness within
A good book
A smile from a friend
Belonging to myself
Cuddles from my kitty
A cold creamy taste of chocolate ice cream
The sky, light blue and fluffy clouds; the feeling I could become one
The first taste of sweetness; cool upon the tongue

Freedom from the voices within
Peace; sweet, unfathomable peace

When will I truly feel that I deserve bliss?

25 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 25 — Forgiveness


It has been so hard to forgive myself.
I feel as I have done so much wrong in my life.
When I think...it hurts.

I have abused my body. Starved it. Cut it. Hated it.
It was never good enough.
I was never good enough.

I did many other things wrong; things that hurt others and things that hurt me.
How could I ask for forgiveness when I couldn't forgive myself?

Forgiving oneself is a vital step to healing.
I couldn't move forward without forgiving myself first.

And only then could I forgive those who have hurt me.

I prayed to God and asked His forgiveness.
Sincerely apologized, but only to those who would not be hurt by my apologies.

That's what AA calls making amends.

I need to believe God forgives me.
Sometimes it is very hard, and I find myself slipping into self-hatred again.

Why is it so hard to forgive myself?
Sometimes I feel that I can forgive others so much more easily.
I would never berate them the way I do myself.

I am still learning to be open to others — and God's — amazing gift of forgiveness.
I can no longer afford the luxury of self-hatred and flagellation.

God's forgiveness is there.
All I have to do is believe.

23 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 23 — Soul

I am . . . a soul
My body,
A House

Why all this focus on the body?
Its weight
Its shape
Its imperfections

Made in the image of

He made me
And I turn that around
To mean


My soul
Under layers of

Self Hatred
Self Denial
Self Abuse


My Soul

Why should I

For imperfections?

That God
Does not

He sees
My Soul

The Spirit Within

And Beauty Takes

My Soul


And I


19 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 19 — Tears

I've cried so many tears in the past year. Tears of despair. Hurt. Pain.

Waking up each morning, wishing I would die so the pain would stop. I was tired. Tired of the eating disorder voice hammering at me all the time, telling me that I didn't deserve to eat, that I was fat, that I deserved to starve . . . I just wanted it all to stop, but anorexia is a slow killer.

Too slow.

Then tears when my husband left me. Not once. Not twice. Three times. I was frightened to be alone, afraid of . . .

That I would always be alone.
That no one could ever love me.
That I would die alone.

So many tears . . .

So many tears that I couldn't stop, so I continuously filled a wine goblet — I used one with snow-covered pine trees, so Christmasy and reminiscent of happier times — with wine, as much wine as I could drink, anything to stave off the pain.

To stop the tears.

Often I would stumble to the couch, passing out, only to awake and start it all over again

The tears stopped after my last hospitalization in December.

I didn't know what happened. Why couldn't I cry, damn it!?! Everything had fallen spectacularly apart, blowing up in my face, so why no more tears?

A calmness settled over me.

Then, about a week ago, I struggled not to cry. What was the cause?

I don't know.
But I'm glad to know that the tears are still there, just in check.

And I'm glad I'm no longer crying constantly.

18 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 18 — Laughter

For years, laughter was buried deep within me. I went through the motions, giving an appropriate smile here and there. But I didn't feel it.

You see, the icy shell of anorexia was virtually impenetrable. Love and laughter and hope could not reach me. Anxiety and depression and fear choked out laughter, and I felt as if I was losing my soul.

Because laughter is the soul of humanity. Through laughter, we connect with others. Through laughter, we become whole. Through laughter, we are freed.

But laughter requires nurturing, or else it will wilt and slowly die.

As it almost did within me.

Now I laugh easily with friends and family. We gather together, share jokes and stories, engaged and alive. Silly things, really. It is beautiful to look at others and see them laugh, truly laugh, and feel the joy that permeates throughout.

God, I have missed laughing!!!

Now I feel joy, and I laugh. I laugh, and I can breathe again.

15 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 15 — Now

Now (a poem?)

Now. . .
I am beginning to feel pain
And loss
I am alone

Now . . .
The warm sun
And the cool breeze
I am here

Now. . .
I can dream
And be

Now. . .
I look at myself
And marvel
At my skin

Now. . .
I look
To the future
And wonder

Now. . .
I wonder

Now. . .
I am alive
and becoming


14 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 14 — Love


Given the current state of my love life, I'm not sure what to write.

I used to love the idea of love. You know, the white knight in shining armor who would rescue me from all harm. We would marry and live happily ever after.

The fairy tale. Not very original, I admit. But I played out some version of this scenario with my Barbie dolls growing up.

When do we discover the true meaning of love? From our parents? Our friends? Our spouse or significant other?

I now know I was loved by my parents, although I didn't always feel it at the time.

But I had no real sense of love between a husband and wife, or partners meant, simply because my parents never loved each other.

And it hurt when I finally realized that. I mean, imagine being the product of an utilitarian arrangement solely designed so your mother could retain custody of your older sister?

I desperately wanted to believe that true love existed, even if it didn't for my parents.

Then I learned love could hurt. It could betray you. It could be dishonest.

Oh, wait. That isn't love. It is . . . something else.

I thought I found true love when I got married.
Then my marriage fell apart.

Now I'm wondering — what is love? And do I believe in it?

I feel the love of God. I am trying to practice self-love.

And if this all feels disjointed . . . that is how love feels for me right now.

Lessons From My Eating Disorder | Surviving ED

Lessons From My Eating Disorder | Surviving ED

13 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 13 — Perfect

When you aim for perfection, you discover it's a moving target. ~ George Fisher

If the world was perfect, it wouldn't be. ~ Yogi Berra

To escape criticism - do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. ~ Elbert Hubbard

It is a cliche borne out of truth — as an anorexic, I have long struggled with the idea of perfection.
I wanted to be perfectly thin. Perfectly intelligent. Perfectly . . .

Of course, I never could succeed. All that aiming for perfection caused me was anxiety. I was never thin enough. I was never smart enough.

I was never enough.

Starving, hating myself; that did not bring about perfection. Instead, it brought about pain. And fear. And anxiety. And most of all, self-hatred.

I believe I had anorexic tendencies long before I developed anorexia. Since I was very young, I have strived to be . . . perfect.

And it caused me to hate myself.

This quest to be perfect did not allow me to see what was good about myself. That I was intelligent. That I was beautiful in my own way. My sense of humor, the grace in which I treat people, my kindness . . . all of this was lost as I sought perfection.

Perfection does not exist. Not even in nature. Look at a flower. Or a tree. Or an animal. Each one has flaws.
This does not make it bad or worthless, but instead these flaw or imperfections make each living creature, flora and fauna, unique and special and wonderful.

The only perfection that exists is God and His perfect love for us. To try and imitate that is only going to cause us pain.

And it is a relief to no longer strive for perfection, and to just be.

12 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 12 — Crowd

Family gatherings
Political rallies
Sporting events
. . .

Crowds frighten me.
You see, you have a group of people gathered together for a common purpose.
That's good, right?
Maybe not.

Think about the crowds that gathered to hear Hitler speak. All of them united in hate. Evil must of permeated that crowd.
Crowds can do anything . . . bad/good/indifferent.

Think about lynch mobs. People often don't stop and think when in a crowd. They just react. Emotionally. They feed into what the leader says to them, developing a herd mentality that often can not be stopped.

Crowds have always terrified me because these images come to mind.
What will the crowd do? Am I safe?

I often feel panicked when I'm in a crowd. The press of bodies, the stale air, the like-mindedness. The feeling that I can't escape.

I'm always looking for an exit.

However, crowds can gather together for good purposes, too.
One time I remember being in a crowd to hear Elton John perform. I love Elton John's music, and was thrilled to be able to go see him.
But I wasn't thrilled that I had to be surrounded by a mass of people. I wanted a small, personal concert...but that wasn't going to happen.
So, I went. And the one memory that remains with me is of a woman throwing her bra on stage, Elton John picking it up with a quizzical look on his face, and saying in that English accent: What do you expect me to do with this? Then he tossed it to a band member, the audience laughing.

But I still think, That laughter can turn...to???

I am working on overcoming my fear of crowds; realizing that a mass of people doesn't always equal evil or wrong-doing.

However, there is the phrase: crowd-mentality

Think about it.

11 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 11 — Force


It seems to be such an ugly word.

At first.

He used force.
He forced her to . . .
I was forced to . . .

But why?
Words are just letters that are strung together; our minds and intelligence are what give each word meaning.

F . . . O . . . R . . . C . . . E


On the other hand...

Someone can be a force for good.

Someone who fights for what is right.
Someone who stands up for what she believes in.
Someone who refuses to be cowed by life/circumstances/illness.

She is a forceful person.
She forced herself to face the past, and triumph over it.
May the Force be with you! :)

(Sorry, Star Wars fan here.)

It is interesting how a series of letters can hold so much power. How our minds look at a word, such as force, and something from the past springs forward, propelling us into the past when force was used against us.

But as adults, we have more power over our own bodies and minds. We can use force to protect ourselves, and to do good.

Force no longer has to convey something negative. It can be good.

A force for good.

10 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 10 — Emotional


I am a very emotional person. For a long time, it felt as if my emotions would kill me. Literally.

A fear-filled drive during a raging snowstorm sometime during the winter of 2009. I remember waking up, anxiety so great that I thought I would die. Or I wanted to die. That is all I remember. What triggered it? Trying to gain weight? My fragile marriage? My stressful job? Everything....

I have spent decades trying to mask my emotions. Alcohol. Sex. Tranquilizers. Sex. More Alcohol. Alcohol with tranquilizers.

Yes, it could have killed me. But the emotions felt as if they were killing me...

How does one describe all-pervasive anxiety? The kind that fills every pore, suffocates each breath, and threatens to consume...

Words are banal. Trite. Cliche.

Therefore I struggle, remembering, but unable to convey the feelings fully.

I remember once, twice, perhaps three times...slamming a coffee cup against the stainless steel sink; throwing a plate, one with delicate, twining green leaves and slender branches, the promise and hint of spring; angrily destroying my flesh, carving "Hate me" and watching the blood seeping into minute trails, mimicking rivers...

And I felt a fleeting sense of relief.

I have worked through it. Confessed all to my psychiatrist. That I did misuse the Valium and Ativan given to make things easier for me, to give me a chance. I blew it. Mixed these pills with wine each day, crashing on my couch in a stupor, blunting out all emotion...for a while, at least.

The thought that I could have died did not occur to me then. I just wanted the pain to stop. My husband had left me — for the third and final time — and I felt that all life was over, that I was worthless, ugly, too emotional.

Now, an eerie calm, coupled with brief bouts of minor anxiety, fill my days. Still panicked, I reach for the PRN Seroquel, marveling that not too many months ago, I was sure I would fall apart without alcohol and tranquilizers.

I feel clearer than I have in years, decades, perhaps my whole life.

The emotions are still there. But they no longer can kill me.

09 June 2012


Hi Blogger peeps!!!

I've been out of town for a few days visiting my beautiful sister and her lovely family of two dogs, two puppies, and two kitties!!! I will resume the June Blogger Challenge tomorrow with the word Emotional. (I can really get into that word!)

Love you all!

07 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 7 — Honesty

Be yourself; everyone else is taken. ~ Oscar Wilde

The real things haven't changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.  ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Honesty has always been a cornerstone of my life. I remember when I was little, me and some of my friends stole something from a store.

The guilt was too much. I told my mother. Sure, my friends were angry with me. But I had my self-respect back.

However, my true self often was buried under self-hatred and recriminations. I felt that I was not good enough, and I often wanted to re-invent myself.

But that is not possible.

Then my true self became buried under anorexia. I thought of myself as an honest person, but anorexia is inherently dishonest. You lie to yourself: I am not thin/sick/dying. You lie to others: I already ate/I'm too full/I am a vegetarian...vegan...gluten-sensitive...fruitarian...sugar-free...flour-free...Oh, forget it, I just CAN'T eat that. Or in the hospital: I can't eat red meat; it bothers my stomach. I can't eat bacon because of the sodium nitrite. I can't have salad dressing because...

Anorexia forces you to lie simply because the illness thrives in secrecy.

To live my life with honesty means to live it authenticallyIt is only now, in my forth decade, that I feel I am truly living my life with full honesty. I know what I believe, and I live it. I know who I am, and that is okay.

I recently confessed to my psychiatrist that I was NOT sensitive to beef, but just said that because I was afraid of the calories. And I can eat bacon, too.

Vulnerability and Anorexia | Surviving ED

Vulnerability and Anorexia | Surviving ED

Note: I am one day behind with the June Blogger Challenge. I will be returning later today with a post for the seventh day of the Blogger Challenge — Honesty.

05 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 5 — Sincere


I value sincerity in both others and myself. To me, sincerity is synonymous with honesty. Sincere people shine, whereas false people do not.

Sometimes it is hard to know if someone is sincere or not. Did that person really like my dress...or is she being nice? Do I really look good...or am I fat?

That was the problem when I was very ill with anorexia. I doubted people's sincerity. I didn't believe anyone really cared about me, because I didn't care about myself. And I was ready to jump on anything that fed into my disordered mind. I turned words against me, using them as weapons of self-destruction.

And I lost my sincerity. I wasn't true to myself, because I was a slave to the disorder. But worst, I wasn't sincere to others. Instead, I hid and lied and isolated. I didn't wake up one day and say, Well, I think I will be an insincere bitch. But that is what happened.

I now trust what others and myself say. I have regained myself, and that includes regaining my sincerity.

04 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 4 — Crazy


Today I feel crazy.
My mood has crashed, and I feel hopeless.
I'm not sure why.
I'm struggling not to cry.
I don't know how to reach out to anyone.
I feel as if I've failed — again.
That is crazy.
That is all.

03 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 3 — Power


Today I took back my power and reclaimed my soul. Yes. That.

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

For a long time, I gave away my power. I allowed what others felt to define me, to control me, and often, to break me. It was through patient and long work with my eating disorders psychiatrist that I have been able to regain my power.

Then, for the past few weeks, I allowed it to slip away. Again I defined myself not by my values and morals, but by what other people have thought of me. And I started to slip into depression. I struggled to eat. Things were starting to look hopeless again.

I am better than that.

I have been thinking a lot of about power and what it does to people. Nelson Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom, illustrates two sides of power: the power of the state and the power of individuals. The white-minority South African government held power for a long time. Or did they? The African National Congress was founded in 1912. In spite of the South African government's brutal attempts to crush AFC, the organization flourished. ANC during the apartheid era was a multiracial organization dedicated to a democratic society. The ANC started out by using non-violent protest to bring about change in South Africa, but soon felt forced to become more militant. Do I agree with this? Not necessarily, but I certainly can understand that when non-violent protest is continuously met by brutality, it might change things somewhat.

South Africa of the apartheid era is a prime example of corrupt power. The government brutally crushed out all forms of dissident opinion. One of the most effective means was through the use of banning. I was horrified to read about this form of punishment. Imagine not being able to meet with more than one person; not being able to even attend your own child's birthday party? Those who were banned were often not told of the reason, and the ban could be reinstated indefinitely.

Mandela could have become bitter. He certainly had reason to. But instead, he reached out and worked to effect change in his country.

That is grace. And there is power in such grace.

I have learned much from reading Mandela's words. It is hard not to be angry about the lost years and opportunities caused by having anorexia. But I refuse to be angry. Instead, I have taken back my power by learning from what happened.

That is growth. There is power in growth.

There are different types of power. The power outside oneself, and the power within.

Today I took back my power. I am free.

02 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 2 — Invisible



This is how I was through years of anorexia.
I could not speak.
I did not want to be seen.
I was silenced.

I spoke without words.
Anorexia the outward manifestation of my inner pain.

Once I wrote...
Journal entries

That faded
As I faded

Falling into the wormhole
Of illness.

But a small flame
Flickered inside

Nourished by
the beliefs
of others
When I did not
Believe in myself.

I wrote
And I screamed out loud
On paper.
Knowing that part of healing
Came from
The Spirit Within

I felt myself
Heard again.
I began to speak out.
Trying to help myself
By helping others

As the weight of anorexia
I again found my voice.

And now I refused to be

And I no longer feel

01 June 2012

June Blogger Challenge: Day 1 — Change


What does change mean to me?
I thought about this all day, and I keep coming back to the fact that my life has been filled with incredible changes during the past four years.

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. I didn't care if I lived or died. My life revolved around weight and calories and unrelenting self-hatred.

Today I learned that I no longer have the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa. And I've been thinking about all the changes I have made for recovery to become a reality.

Two years ago, I entered a PHP in the Midwest. I was not a proponent of recovery. I went solely as an attempt to save my crumbling marriage. I did not really want to recover, but I was good at trying to pretend that I was.

Going back further, sixteen years ago I was preparing for my wedding. I did not know then that I would be caught in the horror of anorexia nervosa. I was a normal weight, and honestly, I didn't even try to lose weight for my wedding.

Soon that would change.

We moved to a thriving college town, where I pursued my dream of being a writer. I enrolled to complete my second bachelor's degree (my first was in psychology, ironically) in English/Imaginative Writing. We perused practically every restaurant, and I felt free to enjoy food and drink.

I went on to build a career as a respected journalist and writer, covering everything from government to the military. I was overweight, having gain some pounds both because of a medication and the inevitable marriage-induced apathy, but I was happy. I was in love and I was writing, and that was all that matter.
Then some people insinuated that I was fat.
Then I became ill with an unknown illness that would not be diagnosed for years.
Then the war in Iraq started and I had to write about young men who had hopes and dreams, but came home in pieces.
I listened to their families' sorrow and I fell to pieces.
Quietly, inside. I was unable to express my horror at the ravages of war, and therefore began to wage war on my body and psyche.

I was sick and I was afraid and I no longer could eat without fear. There was the fear of fat, but that wasn't really my real fear.
My real fear was of life.
I could no longer engage in life, because to do so would be so painful.
I would have to feel/see/know about the young dead men and their grieving families.

All of this began to take a toll on my marriage. I sensed that we were becoming unraveled. The loss of intimacy. No longer sharing jokes. Indifference.
The indifference hurt. I struggled to hold onto what was in the only way I knew how—by starving.
Starving became my voice, the voice that spoke words that felt unspeakable.
I could not speak of the horrors, of my fears; I could only starve.
You see, it really wasn't about being thin.
It was about survival.
Survival through starvation.

How can I describe how things fell spectacularly apart??? How can I convey any of this, when I was lost/buried/drowning?
For a long time, I feared change. I was no longer the woman I used to be. The woman who packed her bags and moved away to complete her degree, determined to make something, anything, of her life. The woman who married and moved away, and then worked hard to achieve her dream of writing.
The woman who was unafraid of change, who didn't feel threatened by change.

However, anorexia nervosa did change me...but for a long time, it was change for the worse.

I became selfish. Uncaring. Self-absorbed. Mean.

I was caught/stuck/drowning.
And oblivious to it all.

I did not want to change. I did not think I needed to change.
What, me sick? I DO NOT have anorexia. I am just thin. Thin....Thin...Thin.

And the words echoed in my soul, mocking me.

One day in August 2008, I walked into the office of an eating disorders psychiatrist. I didn't want to be there. The first thing I thought when I looked at him was, How the hell is this man even going to understand? How is he going to understand that I am afraid? That I want to die?
He gently asked me some questions, and then looked at me and said, "You are dying."

That changed me.
That penetrated the ice of anorexia.

It took a long time to change from that person who was dying, body and soul, to the woman I am today.
Many changes came my way.
I left my job and started graduate school.
I was hospitalized for anorexia eight times in four years.
My marriage fell apart; my husband and I separating.
I then fell into alcoholism and drug addiction, necessitating intervention from my psychiatrist.

There have been many positive changes.
I have been working hard at recovery.
I have decided that I am a strong, intelligent, awesome woman.
I have changed how I view myself and others.
I have moved forward onto an unknown and scary path, alone and yet not alone.

I embrace it with all the strength I used to embrace my illness.

Today I learned I no longer have the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa.
My identity will change.
From one of an eating disordered person.

To one who is fully, joyfully....alive.