29 July 2013

XXXXXXXXXXX — Insert Awesome Post Title HERE

Don't dictate to me
Don't tell me what I feel/should wear/should look like/should be like...

Don't tell me ...
I should gain/lose/maintain
I should.............................

I refuse to maintain an unhealthy weight solely so YOU don't feel guilty/worried/pissed/uncomfortable

Your feelings are your concern, not mine

What you feel/do/say/think/dream is unrelated to me

They are a good thing

Get it?

I am learning some truths that, perhaps, I'd rather not face.

I don't have to love anyone solely on the basis that we share genes and biological makeup.

I don't have to allow anyone to treat me viciously solely on shared ancestry.

I have discovered that hundreds of miles of distance are necessary for my health, well-being, and sanity.

My friends love me, in spite of the fact that I can be difficult, moody, and sometimes negative.
It's those shared genetics that bite me each time.

When does my obligations cease, and I am allowed to be my own person?

I refuse to wait
Another decade
Another year
Another minute....

I'm sometimes afraid that I will suddenly wake up, realizing that I have allowed my life to be dictated by genetics and shared ancestry, choking and smothering me until nothing is left.

Without getting into specifics, each time drama rears it's ugly head, I turn to eating disorder behavior to cope.
I'm not blaming.
It just is, you know?
It is

No blame is definitely not an excuse, however.
At some point, I have to keep myself safe.

Explosive anger scares me.
It sends me hurtling back
Places I don't want to go
Places I thought I forgot

Exploding angry
Exploding worlds
Explosions and then

I can't figure out why some people behave this way.
Don't they realize how frightening they seem?

Of the four freedoms, freedom from fear is the most important one to me.



I will continue to blog, but perhaps I will save my most personal thoughts for my new, anonymous blog on Wordpress. I'm not ready to share this blog with anyone who knows me; perhaps I will be someday.

Writing is my release. I can't live without it.
Writing is how I process things.
It restores me to a measure of sanity.


I ask —
Who is using whom?

The End.

23 July 2013

An Acceptable Number?

I no longer can pretend that I am recovered from my eating disorder, if I ever was. The thoughts, the actions, the pattern of behaviors - all point to the fact that I am still struggling with anorexia.
People look at me and think, "She's at a healthy weight, so she must be better." Scratch that. People probably look at me and think, "She's fat, poor thing; she really has let herself go."
I asked Dr. S the other day if he thought I needed to lose weight. I waited to hear the hesitation in his voice, the pity that I was now at the other end of the spectrum. He answered with an emphatic, "No."
Who am I to believe? What he says or what I see with my own two eyes? The thing is, I don't know if I can trust my own eyes; they have lied to me so much during the past six years.
And what about the number on the scale? The scale does not lie, it is an impersonal  machine that really doesn't care what I or anyone else weighs. The bar slides forward and back, speaking to the fears of hundreds of women who watch, silently, praying that it would stop on an acceptable number.
What is an acceptable number? During the past six years, I've hit a low of 91 and a high of 168. My body has gained and lost the equivalent of a toddler, except the only life that was lost was mine.
I remember sitting in McDonald's a few weeks ago. It was hot, so very hot. A couple in their 60s or early 70s stopped in, ordering cold drinks. He order a chocolate shake, topped with whipped cream and a cherry. She ordered an iced coffee, and I'm sure it was either unflavored or flavored with sugar-free syrup.
The message was this: men can order whatever they like, the world of food and its flavors are completely open to them, they don't have to restrict their lives. 
Women, on the other hand, must rein in their appetites, and instead delicately sip on low-caloried beverages and pretend that they really don't want the milkshakes and other treats that are out there.
Of course, this is changing with a new generation, and men are also increasingly taught that they must deny themselves.
This is just a little vignette, something to highlight the increasing rage I feel toward the eating disorder voice that taunts me.
I also thought this: will I be her when I'm in my 70s, still restricting myself from all that the world offers? That is, of course, if I am still here.

17 July 2013

Bad News — Especially for an anorexic

TRIGGER WARNING — Numbers are in this post.

I found out today that I am at least 10 pounds overweight, and most likely, because I am small-framed, about 30 pounds.

I need to lose 30 pounds.

I am speechless.

I knew I was heading in this direction, but of course no one wanted to say anything to me. Who wants to say to a recovering anorexic — the eating disorder voice is still very strong — that she needs to lose weight. I wouldn't.

But weight does effect health, and now I am in the position that I need to lose instead of gain.

I had hoped that I might be able to move past weight. I had hoped that this, all of this, wouldn't be a focal point of my life.

I had hoped to achieve recovery, but right now it feels as out of grasped as when I was at my thinnest.

I can't believe this.

I am so upset.

15 July 2013

Is complete recovery from an eating disorder even possible?

In 2007, an inexplicably irrational and frightening disease entered my life — anorexia nervosa. I was familiar with it, of course, although I did not have any close friends who struggled with anorexia or any other eating disorder, at least that I knew of.

My first contact with anorexia was with a two-sentence entry in my Abnormal Psychology textbook. It was the 1980s, and eating disorders just weren't getting a lot of attention. My next encounter with anorexia was in the early 1990s, when I was hospitalized at the University of Michigan Hospitals after a particularly bad bout with depression and anxiety. There was a young woman there, very thin and pale, who was on complete bed rest. I later found out that she had anorexia. I scoffed, eating my bacon eggs, that anyone would willingly starve herself.

Little did I know that years later, that woman would be me.

I developed anorexia after a bout with another frightening disease, hypoparathyroidism, caused me to lose a significant amount of weight. I found that I liked being that thin, and thus was kicked into anorexia and five years of utter hell.

There have been many fits and starts during my recovery, when I would go so far, only to jerk back and start clinging to anorexia like it was my best friend. I became a serial patient at my ED doctor's hospital, being admitted eight times between 2008 and 2012.

I still sometimes ask myself, will there be a ninth admission?

I started working seriously on recovery after my last hospitalization. I was discharged on 1 January 2012, and days later, I slammed my scale against the trash can and tossed it out. I have not owned a scale since.

But eating disorder thoughts still come and go, some fleetingly, others taking hold until I feel as if I am smothering.

Fat. Not so fat. Cellulite. Dimples............fatttttttttttttt.....oh so fat!!!!!!!! I wouldn't be caught.dead.in.a.bikini, said in a clinched tone. FAT FAT FAT FAT FAT, SCREAMING AT ME, GOD PLEASE STOP THESE THOUGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Of course, anorexia isn't really about weight and food and body image. And yet it is. My life is pretty stressful right now. I'm looking for full-time work after finishing graduate school. My living situation isn't idea. I feel like a failure after the twin disasters in December and June.

It is characteristic of me to turn inward, churning up self-hatred, berating myself for actually nourishing myself as a normal human being, hating myself for no longer being a size XX.

But all of this leads me to think, will I ever be completely recovered?

I mean, the truth is, I am at the high end of the acceptable weight for my age and height. I do need to lose some weight. I am risking my health, or I was, with all the sugar and simple carbs I've been ingesting.

So how does a recovered anorexic — if I am truly recovered — address possible health issues and the need to lose weight? How do I do it safely, or is it simply not possible?

Or will this simply trigger another relapse? Can I safely maintain my healthy, get to a healthy weight, without inviting anorexia back in?

Does anyone ever really recover from an eating disorder?

06 July 2013

An Open Letter to Sen. John Moolenaar, R-Midland

One of an ongoing series of letters I am writing to Michigan legislators about the lack of suitable employment in the state. When I receive an answer from one of the legislators, I will post it here.

Hi John,

I hope this finds you doing well. I wanted to share with my experiences since I left the Daily News, and hopefully help you understand some of the issues currently facing college graduates in this state.

After I left the Midland Daily News in 2009, I attended graduate school and completed my master's degree in English Composition and Communication in August 2012. Cheryl Wade — I'm sure you remember her — also left the paper to go to graduate school, and she received her master's in rehabilitation counseling.

Both Cheryl and myself have years of experience in journalism, and I have five more years experience as a social worker. We both are intelligent, talented, and known to be very hard workers.

And we both are unemployed. Cheryl is currently working full-time without pay as a counselor for a women's center in Lansing, where she did her internship. I am freelancing for the paper while I look for full-time work.

Next week, Cheryl will fly to Kentucky to interview for a position as a rehabilitation counselor there. You see, she has applied to numerous positions, but nothing has stuck. She has tried to find a job in Michigan — she loves Michigan and has family and friends here. But she thinks one year is enough, as I'm sure you will agree.

Today I applied for a job in Kentucky. I also want to stay in Michigan — it is my home state, and I also have family and friends here. But I did not earn my graduate degree to simply live on unemployment and whatever freelance or low-paying options I might be able to find.

My question to you and all state legislators is what are all of you going to do to stop this "brain drain" from continuing in Michigan?

Some day, the economy will stabilize here in Michigan. Some day, professionals will retire and positions will open up. What will this state do when it turns around to hire new people, only to find the best and the brightest gone, employing their talents and skills in other states, because their state had nothing for them?