It seems like a harmless question. "When are you going to have babies?" "Don't you want kids?" "Are ya'll going to start a family soon?" Or my personal favorite "Do you know the risks associated with a pregnancy over 30?" ( This was said to me by a man, and I was 28. Oh and also had a severe eating disorder.) I wish I could just tell these people to go and fuck themselves. Unfortunately, I suffer from this thing called people-pleasing, a rare thing for people with eating disorders (just kidding, about 99% of us suffer from this, ED or not.) Bottom line is, I'm not pregnant, not because I don't want to, but because I can't. At least not yet.
I spent 10 years of my life on birth control. Getting pregnant scared the utter shit out of me, so I was trying to avoid it at all costs (you have no idea the pressures of a small town, private school white girl.) even after I got married, the thought of being out of control over how much I have to eat and how much weight I have to gain leads me to "catastrophise" the whole situation. My husband wants a baby. He's going to be such a good dad. If he can put up with the fact that I keep collecting dogs, he can put up with a kid. Come on science, why are we wasting time engineering seedless watermelon when we could be developing a womb for men?!
So after all those years of being on hormones to prevent pregnancy, I decided to get off of them (much to the delight of my natural-family-planning-enthusiast-sister) only to find out that I would not get my period. My periods were getting weird on the pill for a while. They weren't always when the were supposed to be, and and towards the end, they stopped completely. I thought surely it wasn't my eating disorder causing this, I was too fat! (I wasn't but I thought that I was; I'm still not, but I still think I am) The truth was, my weight might have been within the normal range, but my body was going into survival mode, and that meant shutting down the reproductive section of the body to just simply keep my heart beating. I began to think that once I went to treatment, the period would come back, but it didn't. I spent almost two years with no period, and no idea why. When I came home, I had an MRI taken of my brain to see if there was a tumor pressing on my pituitary, and even that was negative. (I know that's a good thing, but I was disappointed. I just wanted answers!) So I wait. Part of me wonders if the universe is sparing me from a pregnancy because I wouldn't be able to handle it. Or maybe I just shouldn't pass on these crazy genes to anyone else. I'm not sure if I want to have a baby or not, but I feel like I do't even have the option, and that's annoying. After a year of visits to my Gyno and trips to a fertility specialist just to see what the fuck is going on in my body, I got a teeny, tiny, baby, period. Alas! It does work! It lasted 3 days and was very light, but it was something. But as a general rule, its an asshole move to ask another woman about her reproductive choices. It really is none of your business, and if I (or anyone else) decide to let you in on this information, it's a privilege, not a right. So the next time you think it's harmless to ask a woman when she's going to have a baby or jokingly (lets hope) give her a hard time for waiting, know that it may not be her preference. It may be a choice that was made for her.
It’ s weird to think that it’s been a year since I checked into treatment. I distinctly remember EVERYTHING about it. If you have never been through the process of checking yourself into treatment, it’s weird. It’s just... so fucking weird. I spent weeks begging them to let me in and begging them to accept my insurance. I spent Thanksgiving in limbo not wanting to tell anyone what I was doing. not wanting to commit to any holiday plans, and just trying to survive. I remember having to remove myself from my mother-in-law’s and take a walk with Colby because I was afraid of what I might do and if it might kill me. I had already cheated death twice, I’m not a mother fucking cat for God’s sake. And when they finally did accept me, they wanted me to leave tomorrow. Wait.. What? Its’ a lot of hurry up and wait- or more accurately put, wait and hurry up.
I packed my bags with tears in my eyes, "It’s A Wonder Life” playing in the background, my Frazier Fur candle burning, and my whole life sitting on the bed watching me. Oh, and a never empty glass of wine in my appropriately-themed Christmas wine glass to swallow my nerves in. I had no idea what to expect from any angle.
The next morning Colby dropped me off at the airport to meet my mom who would take me the rest of the way. Colby couldn’t take me because he was preparing for a work trip to Israel; I can’t imagine the stress he must have been under, but this blog is about me, not him :) As I moved through the security line I thought about running. "i'll be fine, just go home. Seriously, don't spend your christmas like this." But as my feet continued to shuffle through security there was one thought that played over and over like music. "You just have to get on the plane. Just get on the mother-fucking plane." I sat on the plane, a ball of nerves, knitting my very average scarf and praying that this would be “the answer.” Spoiler alert, it’s not the end all be all.
Once I got there we checked into a hotel, I prayed for death and waited for impending doom- ok, thats melodramatic, but that’s what it felt like. As we pulled in and entered the admissions office, I had a mini breakdown when I learned that visitation was “from 3-6 on Sundays.” I’m sorry, my family lives 12 hours away, are you telling me that they can only come see me for 3 hours once a week? “Also, you will get your phones from 7:30-8:45 every night and there’s no wifi.” Can you repeat that? I think I just heard you say no wifi. “Yes, and we’ll need to confiscate that Apple watch as well. We don’t allow y’all to count steps or track body movement” But honestly, I didn’t completely lose my shit until three days later when I actually realized I had no idea how long I would be there, and that I no longer had ANY control over anything.
The challenges came in waves for me, as it does for everyone. There were days when I could complete all of my meals, and there were days when I was crying over a bowl of yogurt. I was so paralyzed by the reality that I would spend my Christmas here, but I was also partially relieved. There were no unrealistic, self-motivated expectations I had to place on myself, nor were there any decisions I had to make. We all just had to sit our asses down at our stupid flower-named tables and eat the same fucking christmas cookies and sit with it. There were no thoughts of “should I eat this?” how many should I have?” what if I can’t handle it?” “how many calories are in this?” Is this normal amount?” what are they thinking about me?” “when should I go to the bathroom?” I felt unapologetically supported and safe. I also felt mother-fucking frustrated; like I said, it came in waves.
The truth is, there were no expectations from family members, no comments that you can’t unhear from the asshole family member who doesn’t seem to get it, and no feeding- trough of food choices to belly up to and stuff yourself senseless.
I am conflicted in where I stand today. I’m beyond happy to spend the holiday with my family, but until last year, I can’t remember a Christmas I was behavior-free. I’m glad to be out of treatment, and I want to go back. I’m happy to have choices to make, and I’m afraid to make them. I’m excited to experience life in recovery and, I'm scared shitless. DBT is the bomb, y’all. (and if you are unfamiliar, get familiar!!)
Thank you for the support, and here’s hoping I can stay the hell out of North Carolina— as I raise yet another full glass of wine in my Christmas cup
November 15, 2017 is a day that changed my life. On this day EXACTLY a year ago, I landed in the hospital. This was not the first time I had ended up there, so why was this the time that shoved me into reality? I have no idea. To this day (exactly a year later) I have no idea.
What a difference a year makes. I do not think it's a coincidence that this amazing event fell on the exact same day as the day that I almost died. Today we are bringing awareness to eating disorders. Today we are "Smashing the Stigma" that the public places on us, and that we place on ourselves. An eating disorder is a mental disorder. I still hate saying that because I guess I still feel a certain way about having a "mental disorder," but I guess it's time that I accept it. Let me just give you a little background: NEDA (The National Eating Disorder Awareness Foundation) decided that New Orleans is, in fact, as shitty as all thought it was in regards to ED support, so they came in and gave us a tool that we so desperately needed, a clinician-lead, peer support group. This group is free to anyone who wants to attend, but these clinicians give up their time, and running a group doesn't come without costs. That's where this event comes in.
Now that you understand what we're doing here, I'll get back to me... November 15 is the day before my dad's birthday. I spent the night in the hospital. Alone. My husband and my brother (because he was the one who so quickly got me admitted to the ER) were the only two people who knew I was there. I was deemed so unstable that I was moved to the ICU to spend the night. There was a team that checked on me hourly as well as a camera in the room that monitored me throughout the night. The person who was in the room before me died-(that's irrelevant to the story, but nevertheless, it freaked me out.) The next day I called my mom and tried to act like everything was normal. Thankfully she could tell that it wasn't and came to my side. I called my dad from a hospital bed to wish him happy birthday. He told me that the only thing he wanted for his birthday was for me to get better. Well that's a buzz-kill...
As I walked through the door to Oak Wine Bar a year later, I was overwhelmed by the energy and support that surrounded the group. There were a few moments that brought me down, like a message I received to let me know that I was failing at something I was desperately trying for, but that was diminished by the support I received form so many loved ones. Both family and friends were there to support me. Just so you know, I am so loved that it was not only my friends who supported me, but also my mom's friends (whom I'll claim as my own for sure!!) There were silent auctions that we all participated in.
I began to find my peers and we walked up on stage to announce that we were recoverING, and there were moments we needed hugs to just be standing before you. I do not think it was a coincidence that it was the anniversary that I discovered that I needed a higher level of care exactly a year ago today.
I also don't think it's a coincidence that we lost one of our own that night, Katie Farm. As the event ended, we began to receive the information that she had passes as a result to her ED. Let me be clear, I didn't know her personally, but this hit me like a ton of bricks. I cried, no, I bawled in honor of someone I did not know personally; but I knew her. I was her. Sometimes I still am her; sometimes it's sobering to think that I am as vulnerable as she was. Shit, a year ago, I could have succumbed to the sam illness.
I have been saving these pictures, for some time. I was not sure what I was going to do with them. They have been on my phone waiting to be shared with the world when I was ready to release them. I guess I am ready to let y'all see that "sick pictures" don't have to look like emaciated ED victims. We can still be so close to the vulnerability of death and hide it.
Please don't judge one another. Please be kind to one another. Please hold your neighbor accountable, but also allow some room for mistakes and growth. And most of all, please don't judge me and my struggle. It's been a year since I figured out I needed help, and I still feel like a new-born baby lamb in my recovery,
Current status: en-route to home. Current mood: inspired. Yesterday was more than I could have asked for. It was EXACTLY what I needed. I am beyond happy that I went. Before leaving I was doubting and second guessing myself. Even as I was getting ready the morning of, the butterflies in my stomach were fluttering. I didn’t know what to expect, if I would feel like I even deserved to be there. Once Jenn and I pulled into the parking lot, it was like time had not passed, and the air was bouncing with positivity. It took only seconds for me to open up, cry, laugh, and use DBT skills. There is something magical about this yellow house that brings back it’s patients. Just shy of a year ago I sobbed as my husband was in another country, and my mom dropped me off as I stood on the porch destined to spend Christmas and New Years in a house where I knew no one, and was being asked to do things I wasn’t sure if I could do. Well it didn’t take long for the strangers to become family, and the hard work, well, that didn’t change. That was still hard as fuck. Let me rephrase: that IS still hard.
The relationships didn’t skip a beat. We spent the whole day together, bonding, doing yoga, art, shopping and eating sushi. We talked about our recovery process, where we currently are and where we’re currently struggling while we sat on that porch. That porch where I had cried many months ago as my husband left on Christmas night to spend the night alone in a hotel and eat McDonald’s because there was nothing else open. I was triggered by many memories; some good, some hard. I sat there and looked at the tree that Suzann and I beat the shit out of after a night of mac and cheese, and I wondered how it was still standing. We smashed that tree until we both broke the plastic bats we were using, and that didn’t even stop us. We just kept swinging. We talked about the tole being gone from families took on them and on us, and we wondered if we could even do it again. I didn’t realize how incredibly brave it was for me to commit to treatment and to stick with it. It was incredibly brave of me to leave my home, my state, my family. I did not realize it at the time because I didn’t have another choice. It was go to treatment or die.
I cannot thank that yellow house enough for what it did for me. I cannot thank them enough for allowing us back to reminisce and recommit to recovery. But let me be clear, I still don’t want to do it again!
What would happen if I gave up my ED? This is a question that I do not know the answer to because I have never even humored the possibility, but I am being more and more pressed to try. My treatment team is coming down hard on me at the moment, and I am going to have to commit to recovery. Can I just say that as I look back on my experience in treatment, I think of it fondly. As a matter of fact, as I write this, I am literally on a plane to go to a reunion for the Carolina House Alumni. It changed me and it healed me, but I must be clear about something: there is no part of me that wants to go back. I don’t want to be told what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, reprimanded if I don’t complete 100% of a meal or snack, asked to consume an Ensure because I didn’t complete a meal or snack, followed to the bathroom every time I have to pee or take a shit (yes, that’s right people, you can’t even take a shit in private. I don’t even have kids and I still have to be watched in the bathroom, and if you know me, you know how many times a day I pee.), not allowed to chew gum, not allowed to have soda, not allowed to have more than 1 cup of coffee, not allowed to keep your bathroom supplies with you, feeling like you’re constantly talked about among staff members (because, lets be honest, you are. There are constant emails going out) and, not even last of all, but I have to stop somewhere, not allowed to have wine! This is a problem. Like really. wtf? As I am reflecting on these things, I am not sure why I look back fondly on treatment. Perhapse because it saved my life , or because it’s kind nice to not have to think, work, or keep up with politics; all you have to do is feel your feelings, eat 6 times a day, and knit. Or maybe it's because I made some lifelong, unbreakable, inconceivable to those who haven’t been through it bonds. I cannot wait to see my friends this weekend, but I do not want to go back and make new ones. My nutritionist told me that she thinks that I can do this outpatient. I want to believe her. I have never been pushed this hard. This part of recovery is harder than treatment because that had an end date. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that was looking forward to leaving so that I could get back to my friend, ED. It’s hard to explain how exponentially frustrating this push pull is. Lauren wants Ed gone, but Ed wants to stick around, and he really is a scrappy motherfucker. I can’t seem to get him to leave. It’s like walking through a spider web, trying to shake it off, and constantly feeling that string on the back of your arm that you thought you had gotten rid of. I keep brushing it off, but it just won’t leave. Perhaps it never will, but it can get quieter, I just need to trust that it will. I have two jobs that are dependent on me, a husband who is unreasonably supportive, but would miss me terribly if I left again, and an acting career that is picking up, and I feel has the potential to go somewhere. I am hopeful that this weekend will rekindle a fire inside of me to fight for my recovery. I want nothing less. I am afraid though. So here’s to a hard reset this weekend, because theres no fucking way I’m going back there as a patient.
Hello fellow yogis. I have been thinking about how I should word this, how I should write this, and what the hell I wanted to say. I first thought about apologizing for not being a perfect yoga instructor or human being for that matter. I thought about apologizing for not leading by example, and for telling you to do things that I couldn’t do myself, but I can’t. I can’t apologize for something that I did not do. I say this because I so desperately wanted to do what I was telling ya’ll to do. I set my intention every day to have a “good” day, and then I would fail because Lauren would leave and ED would enter. It was like I temporarily left my body and had some monstor air BnB it for a few hours. I would then come back and see what a mess my tenant had made of things. Then I would have to drag my run down home to a shiny place and try to make it look presentable, the whole time falling apart both physically and mentally with guilt and shame. You see, I was coping with life in a maladaptive way; by both restricting my food and binging and purging.
I tried to heal myself through yoga. I started practicing yoga in college, and things did start to improve. I started to find mindfulness, and I started to slowly lessen in behaviors, but ED didn’t like being ignored. My ED started to change shapes and I started calorie counting and restricting, and before I knew it, I was back in the grips of ED. I thought, “Maybe I’ll get certified in yoga. That will fix me. I can’t possibly be a yoga teacher with an eating disorder because they don’t exist; once I get certified, I’ll get better” News flash—that’s not at all how it works. It probably made things worse because that was another aspect of my life I had to hide. And as I said before, I felt like the biggest hypocrite in the world because I was preaching body love and self-awareness and self-acceptance, and I couldn’t do any of it. The ED would just get louder and more insistent. “You’re a yoga teacher, you cannot get fat, and if you let go of me, you will be. No one will take you seriously if you don’t look like a ‘skinny yogi’” This is of course, a lie. There is no prerequisite to being a yoga teacher, and I would never want someone who might not be featured in Yoga Journal to feel like she wasn’t worthy of being in a class; but I felt this way all the time. Isn’t it ironic that ED could turn around the one thing that would save me and make it stressful for me? Mental disorders are tricky bitches.
So I suffered in silence, I taught by lying, and I existed in a shell of myself for years. I went to a master class taught by a well-known and inspiring yoga teacher who had a big influence in the development of Power yoga (the style I teach.) In this master class he told us to own our imperfections, unless those included eating disorders, and to “Not bring that shit in here.” He was a very nice person, and I do not think that he meant any harm, but harm he caused me. That hit me like a ton of bricks, and ED played that teacher’s words back at me every time I thought about getting help or confiding in someone. I was so ashamed, that when I went to treatment I didn’t even tell the yoga studio where I was going or what I was doing. I got my classes subbed and kept my head down. That is, until recently.
It’s enough already. To say that yoga teachers aren’t allowed to struggle with eating issues is like saying yoga instructors aren’t allowed to get injuries because we stretch so much. The brain is an organ just like any other in the body. If I developed cancer in my kidneys, would that mean that I couldn’t be a yoga teacher? No, you’d say that’s silly. How is an ED any different?
The main reason I wanted to write this is to let you know that you are not alone. If you practice yoga every day, but still struggle with destructive-behaviors, that is ok. You are worthy of help. You are allowed to struggle. You’re even allowed to struggle tonight and wake up tomorrow and practice yoga and know that you are not a hypocrite. You are human. I am human. Your instructors are just like you. Please don’t put us up on pedestals because we do make mistakes. We’re all growing. Together. If you feel like you need someone to talk to that’s been there (and still struggles with her identity outside of this), please reach out to me. I had wonderful people who helped me, and I am better for it.
Love, Light, and Namaste
I’m sitting in a coffee shop. I just ordered a black iced coffee. That’s my summertime go-to; it used to be an iced chai tea latte, but heaven forbid I consume more calories, so for now, it’s an iced black coffee with a splash of cream. I’m sitting in this coffee shop, not because I really had a hankering for a good cup of joe, but because I can’t trust myself in my house right now. The urge to engage in behaviors is overwhelming. I just ate lunch and I’m crawling out of my skin. I haven’t worked out today, and exercise eases my stress, so I’m super-antsy. I don’t even want to drink this coffee because it’s making me more full, but it’s good and I want it, so there’s an internal conflict going on. I’m frustrated. I feel stuck. I am making steps in the right direction, but with every three steps forward there is one step back, so i took my ass to a coffee shop and am giving myself a pep-talk. “Bitch, you better keep that lunch down.” In treatment after every meal we would do “food and feelings”-
This meal was to my taste preference. It was challenging due to body sensations, events of the day, and environment. I am feeling urgey (a word made up in treatment) uncomfortable, antsy, anxious, and repugnant. After this I will be on my computer and I might need staff support.
If only I had staff support here. The trouble with me is that I am VERY uncomfortable asking for help. Showing my vulnerability in the moment is like plucking each toenail off my foot, so sometimes I opt for behavior instead because it’s easier. I had really hoped to be further along by now. I feel like I’m failing. It’s too hard and sometimes I feel like I can’t do it, which I know is not true, but its hard and I don’t always want to work. Can you imagine fighting against something you literally need to survive? I’m sure some of you reading this can, and others are like, “bitch you be crazy!” Well, that is also accurate. Every time my stomach growls I have a plethora of emotions. I get pissed because I have to eat, excited because I get to eat, nervous because I know I’ll be urgey, scared because I might mess up, and distrustful because I’m fucking stressed out. A human body reaction literally strikes fear in me. That pisses me off. It’s like, "I have to pee, omg, that’s the worst thing that could possibly happen to me!” Well, I guess it is for someone with a UTI, so Im walking around with the hunger equivalent of a UTI that perpetually stays with me.
This is not a new fear, and that’s why its so embedded in me. I didn’t always purge, but I always got anxious. I remember as an 8 year old comparing my body to some of my friends and thinking it was too fat. I remember as a teen ager going to the library for lunch so that I didn’t have to eat and hoping no one would notice. I remember my parents leaving me alone and sneaking off to Wal Mart to buy diet pills that don’t work. I remember lying to my mom and telling her that I had a stomach ache so that she wouldn’t make me eat dinner. I used that excuse so much that she took me to the doctor because she was concerned. I remember not being able to go to school because I took 25 Laxatives and telling my mom that I had a stomach bug. Sometimes I would go to school anyway and have to make many trips to the bathroom.- And just on a side note, laxatives suck. I kicked that habit pretty quickly because not only is it gross, it hurts! The constant stomach cramping and raw butt hole from the violent shits are intense. (sorry for the visual, but the the truth is messy…)
All I can do is take one step at a time. If I get triggered, that trigger belongs to me. I am the one who needs to make an adjustment. Sometimes I can make the right move like leaving my house and going to a coffee shop; sometimes I succumb to the urges that often times don’t seem rational (because they’re not.) All that I can do is try to do the next right thing. I might mess up occasionally for a while, but that does not mean the whole day is a wash. It’s a human tendency to think that way. But the ED likes to take control of that “black and white” thinking. That’s also something I try to be aware of.
I’m done. I’m done hating myself. I’m done being uncomfortable, angry, sad, self-conscious; really just insert any negative word into this sentence, and I’m so over it. I’m done thinking that other’s opinions of the way I look are what make me beautiful. I’m done craving to see the number on the scale, only to get utterly pissed because it’s not small enough. I’m done spending my days binging and purging and then being pissed when my runs suck or I can’t keep up.
The Eating disorder took so much away from my life, but we talk a lot about what it took away from the relationships with others in my life (or maybe that’s just me coming off of a family therapy binge- pun intended), but what’s kept behind closed doors is what it takes away from the relationship with myself. I have never really gotten to know who I am as a person. My worth was always wrapped up in the size of my clothes and the way they fit, or if I was satisfied by how small my stomach looked every time I’d pull up my shirt to look at it in the mirror. I literally remember crying and kicking the scale one day because I had gained a few pounds, not realizing that I’m woman and we can retain water at certain times of the month, or maybe I just needed to take a shit!
I’m under no illusions that just because I say I’m over these negative emotions it will happen. Just because I want to be un-crazy doesn’t mean I am, but I can keep telling myself that I am over it, and maybe one day it’ll stick. My main worry when I came home from treatment was that since I went away for a few months, other people would think I’d be cured. It’d be great if it worked that way. Shit, it’d be really fucking great if, when I was in the hospital, the idiot quack doctor who told me that if I started a regiment of 10mg of Prozac, my eating disorder would be gone in a matter of months was right. Hey asshole, I have some books for you to read.
I still hate the way my clothes feel on me because I have gained weight. I still hate that I’m no longer in a size 0. I still pull my shirt up and look at my stomach in the mirror multiple times a day; however, I don’t weigh myself anymore because my husband hid the scale from me when I came home from treatment. (He’s a sneaky little bastard. He’s also very smart.) The difference between now and then is that I no longer let the emotions ruin my day. Yes, they still ruin portions of my day, but I am able to realize that that’s silly.
This weekend, I attended a pool party. I was quite nervous. I haven’t been in a swim suite since well before treatment. I even went to a spa weekend with my mom and sister and wouldn’t take my cover-up off. But a few days before going to said party, I had a friend tell me she doesn’t do swimsuits because she’s too self-conscious. I thought in that moment, “I am done letting my crazy shit affect my ability to have a good time.” I proceeded by taking my mother-fucking cover-up off (with the positive vibes of a good friend; you know who you are:) and sitting my ass on the edge of the pool while… get this, eating a slice of pizza. #recoveryworrier. The negativity can stay at a minimum, it’s time for good vibes.
Lately, I have been holding onto my disease. I definitely did not expect this, I mean I hate it, shit it almost killed me, so why am I having a hard time letting it go? I’m not necessarily talking about behaviors, although, sometimes those are still there, but I expected those. What I didn’t expect was the identity piece of it. “If I eat lunch, I won’t have an eating-disorder, and who am I?” or, “If I eat that cake, and don’t purge, I don’t have an eating-disorder, and who am I?” Sometimes my “wise Mind” wins (a little DBT talk there) and sometimes my “not-so wise mind” wins.
I was so pissed at my eating disorder when I went into treatment that I was determined to beat it, but t I think I should have been (there's those words again) more in the moment and in my emotions and not obsessing about when I would get to leave or that I complete my exchanges and didn't have to supplement. (If you don't complete 100% of your meal, you have to supplement with an ensure)
I was so “determined” to get better, that I’m not sure if I allowed myself to be “weak” which is leading to some real insights. I think that sometimes I was so ready to get back, and be over it, and be back to my life that I was trying to prove to everyone that I could. But honestly though, I wasn’t sure if I could (and I'm still not). It was kind of like the ED took on another form of control in that way.” Just lie, just act strong for a while, and they’ll believe you, and then we can go back to doing what we want” What’s crazy is that I didn’t even realize I was doing that until well after I left, so that sucks…
When I stepped down to a lower level of care, I really hoped that it would be short and sweet. I mean, you go from 24 hours of constant accountability and care, to 8-10 hours of programming (that’s treatment talk for “learn not to be so crazy class) and my reasoning was, what am I going to do for the other part of the day up here in Raleigh? PHP is supposed to help you transition back into your life, but how can I transition up here when my life is back in New Orleans? I ended up leaving AMA (against medical advisement). I have no idea if I should have stayed. I don’t know if it would have been the same or not, but I can tell you this; I would be a lot further along if I were able to transition at home. Louisiana’s ED treatment sucks. I’m not kidding; not one little bit. It nearly sucked the life out of me. I refused to go to treatment for so long because I didn’t want to leave my home (and heaven forbid people find out where I am, because that’d be embarrassing) , so I continued to get sicker and sicker until I ended up in the hospital where they should have transferred me to the ED unite, but we don’t have one… So they sent me home to get sicker until I ended up in the hospital again; this time in the ICU, and again, they pumped me full of electrolytes and sent me home to get sicker.
Did you know that early-intervention in ED is key for recovery? I feel like my state let me down in that department, and that makes me angry.
Anyway, I digress. This unexpected connection with my ED has been eye-opening to me. It’s really been a lesson in vulnerability, and I was always focused on the “strength” part of it. My therapist asked me if I was proud of the work I have done, and I said “no” because I’m not better yet. Are you starting to see how my brain works? This is why I had to attend so much programming ;) The vulnerability piece started when I started to reflect on my overall attitude toward my connection with my ED and with my connection to recovery. It’s still a work in progress, and it’s taking everything in me not to judge myself for my lack of perfection, but I so just want to be "normal!" BTW, if any of you out there are normal, can you tell me how to do it :)
I have been writing this blog in secret. I haven't told anyone about it, but I wanted to write down my experiences and feelings in the moment, because they are impossible to replicate once I have (hopefully) moved past them. However; lately I have been verbalizing my story to more and more people, and I find it cathartic and helpful. It has really precipitated my thinking about opening up on a larger scale, but I'm scared shitless. There are a lot of reasons not to: I'll be labeled, I'll be judged, I'll be misunderstood, I'll be worried, I’ll be isolated, I'll feel uncomfortable. But the biggest reason is that I'll be held accountable... and that scares me, but it's also pushing me. See, right now there are people I can still "pretend" around. I still feel like I have always felt, but I know for sure that is keeping my stuck where I am.
This weekend I went back to Raleigh, the scene of the crime. It was weird... It felt like home; I felt safe; I felt accountable. It was also hard. I saw some great friends from treatment and how well they're doing, and I immediately began to judge my recovery. "I'm struggling so much more than they are," "I'm failing" "Why'd I even bother going to treatment? It didn’t work" All of this is bullshit. Well, most of it; there are always things we could be doing better in our recovery, and shit, in our whole lives, but let's not "Should ourselves to death" (the immature part of me loves that quote :)
The judgment is another thing that keeps me stuck, and another is my inability to ask for help. Even after all that time learning how to ask for what I need, I still have a hard time. I'm so wrapped up in seeming strong. This is something I am trying to work through in therapy, but as I sit here writing this article, I am being more and more pushed to publicize my struggle. I should be vulnerable. I should not be ashamed (there's that should again!) But screw it, here it goes. I'm scared, but I need to do it. I have faith that I will be met with compassion and grace from you all, and I just want to be transparent; because I have been opaque for the last 10 years of my life
There will be some of you who are completely and utterly shocked as to what I have written,and for that you can thank my disease. It was so good at hiding, manipulating, and lying that I had you all fooled. Sorry. I hate it too. I still struggle, so I guess I’m here asking for a bigger support system to help me be my best self. I am worth it, and so are you. I struggle, you struggle, we all do. I have lived in shame for so long. Don’t do it, you don’t have to. I’m here to listen to you if you need me to, and shit, you better be here if I fall apart :)