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Old July 25th, 2011, 09:33 AM   #1
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Amaryllis's Forum Picture
Name: Z
Join Date: June 27, 2011
Age: 21
Gender: Female
Blog Entries: 12
Smile A Guide to EDs - Recovery and What to Expect

This is for the people who have looked in the mirror and hated what they saw. For the anorexics, bulimics, binge eaters and so on, the recovering and the recovered, as well as their friends. It's for those with low self-esteem. It's for boys and girls. It's for everyone.

It doesn't matter what stage you're in. It doesn't matter if you don't have a "really bad" eating disorder, it doesn't matter if you're at the brink of death. It is never to early or late to stop.

This is my story in as much of a nutshell as possible:
I was 13 when I developed anorexia, I'm turning 15 this year on the 5th of September. I spent my 14th birthday exercising and crying over eating half a slice of my birthday cake.

An eating disorder is not like suddenly falling into a pit hole. It's more like you're standing on thin ice that's slowly cracking but you don't see it because you're too busy staring at the beautiful snow-covered world around you. By the time you notice, you've fallen into the cold deep beneath.

It started out as me just wanting to lose a couple of pounds. People started commenting on how slim I was getting and how pretty I looked. I loved it. But soon, slim turned to skinny and skinny turned to skeletal.

I googled and read about diets, healthy eating, how to live an active lifestyle as well as exercise and foods to burn fat. I used the excuse of me wanting to be "healthy". I was obsessed. I calorie counted like it was my religion, watched the food channel like it was porn, read recipe books like they were great novels and exercised like I would die without it.

I stopped sleeping. I was so underweight, I couldn't. Not to mention I couldn't stop my brain from thinking about food. So every night I just paced back and forth in the corridor, burning calories. Then my mum took me to the doctor, she made me step on the scale.

50 pounds.

Now, you might not think you'll ever get that far but an eating disorder is an addiction. It's like a cigarette to a smoker, pain to a cutter. It's hard to stop once you've started. But then, you might not live to 50 pounds.

I was weak by then. My friends left me. My grades plummeted. My hair fell. I was never too tired to exercise though. I was in so much pain. My body was eating itself for fuel. I still didn't stop. But I wanted to. I just couldn't. I was a beautiful girl. Talented. Smart. I had 101 hobbies. I didn't see that though. Not until I lost it all.

Anorexia is suicide. It's self-harm. But it is one that provides no release. It's one that magnifies pain and makes you wish you never started in the first place. But it's never too late.

Some days I thought i would never get through, some days I still do. But I did and I am.

Eating disorders are not all alike. Different people recover differently. Some are in denial. I'm just speaking from my point of view and from a scientific point of view, sometimes. But nonetheless, I hope it helps you.


Maybe you just want to lose a couple of pounds. Maybe you just tell yourself you don't feel like eating or maybe you just hate the way you look or you just hate yourself. Either way, this is the stage where you "diet" starts or you just start eating less or more or you start exercising. Maybe you tell yourself you want to be "healthy" or maybe you don't, you just want to lose weight or disappear or punish yourself.

Either way, you've planted a rotten seed, will you let it grow?

You're hooked. You lose more weight or maybe you binge. Maybe you binge/purge or exercise obsessively. Maybe you don't think so but deep inside, you know it. Are people saying you look slim or skinny? Or that you lost weight? Maybe you take it as a compliment and you want to lose more.

But how much more is enough?

You have an eating disorder. Food, exercise and calories are what you think of the most. You start to withdraw from your friends and family. Maybe to avoid eating? Are people asking you to gain weight? You're starting to hate yourself more and more and your target weight is getting lower and lower. Maybe you're like me, you don't have a target weight. You're just hooked. You don't know what else to do BUT control what you eat and exercise. Maybe you just can't stop. Maybe you don't want to.

Are you going to sink a little deeper?

Your eating disorder has taken over your life. You're too tired to fight, too tired to communicate, too tired to live. Your organs are shutting down. You know you can't go on like this. You feel hopeless, like nothing will ever change. You feel broken. But you're not. Sometimes or maybe most of the time, you forget where you end and where your eating disorder starts. Maybe you feel like you are your eating disorder and you have to hold on because without it, you'll crumble, you'll be nothing. That's a lie. Remeber: What may seem impossible today, may not be so hard tomorrow.

Now you have 2 choices: Death or Recovery, which will you choose?

Good choice. Here, you might have someone to help you, a therapist? A nutritionist? An entire team? Just you? Or maybe you're now an inpatient. Sometimes you may feel like breaking down. Sometimes you'll feel like you just can't do it. Most of the time, it's 2 steps forward and 1 step back, but it's a step forward nonetheless. The road to recovery is like running up an escalator that's running down. You stumble and fall and there's an Ana/Bulimia or whatever you want to call that Demon, hanging onto your ankle, unwilling to let you go. Kick it off. Run. Chase after that light at the top of the staircase. You never fail till you quit trying.

What to expect
-You fat with be distributed quite strangely. For most people, they'll get big tummies, I got a pretty chubby face. Don't worry though, it will even out.
-Mood swings. It has to do with your hormones. You will feel depressed quite often and sometimes you'll feel angry or sad for no reason. That's okay.
-You might fight with people. Especially your parents. You might put recovery above everything and everyone else or your ED has you caught, you're angry, you feel hopeless, you don't know what to do. Here, relationships and families will be tested. But believe me, it's worth it.
-You might have to gain quite a lot of weight and have a BMI of 20 and above. You don't have to but you're less likely to relapse if you do.
-You'll want to give up but hold on. You're worth recovery.
-People will urge you to eat. They're not trying to be cruel. They just don't understand that recovery isn't just about deciding "Oh, I'll start eating now". To them, food is food. If you eat, it'll all be better. They mean well. They just don't know how hard it is for us.
-Hair loss. Your hair reflects your health 3 months ago so you'll most likely lose your hair during recovery. Don't worry though, it will grow. Just as you will heal.
-You might relapse but pick yourself back up. You know you can.

So are you ready to move on?

This doesn't always happen but it's quite common. Especially if you had anorexia or bulimia. It's your body's way of surviving. It's scared it will starve again. Some people binge for 3 months, some a year, some 2 years or more. Don't worry though, it gets better as your body realises it won't starve anymore.

-You will most likely put on at least 10% more of your weight before your eating disorder. Do not panic, when you start eating normally, it will regulate itself.
-Do not eat little, purge or exercise to compensate for the bingeing. This will only lead to another eating disorder.
-Instead of thinking in black and white such as "Oh well, I've binged. Might as well eat everything" or "I ate really little so I'll just eat really little for the rest of the day and start over tomorrow". Every second is a new chance at life. Just because you had a muffin, doesn't mean you've ruined everything. Rate your day, is it a 5? 3? 7? 9? 10? 0 would be you killed yourself so don't ever fall to 0 or think you had a 0.

Are you ready to love yourself?

You're slowly beginning to realise you have a life after your eating disorder. You realise now you're not your eating disorder. Maybe you still over eat or under eat sometimes but that's okay. You're getting there. You think about food less now. You don't focus too much on your weight, you eat relatively well. You want to hold on to recovery, you realise nothing good comes of an eating disorder and you never want to go back there.

You're almost there, are you ready to let go?

Maybe you wouldn't walk around a nude beach shouting "I'm the hottest person in the world!" but you don't hate yourself, either. You've learned to be more lenient on yourself. You don't obsess over food or exercise or calories now. Food is just food. You've let go of your eating disorder. It is the past. You're ready to move onto the future.

So what will you do now?

-Keep a recovery journal. Look how far you've come!
-Reach out. Your friends and family might not understand but that's okay. Tell them what you need, even if it's just a hug.
-Fold paper stars. That's what I did. When I made a step forward, I'd fold a little gold star and put it in my jar. It was my Pixie Dust. Now it sits next to this laptop I'm typing on. I've stopped folding them. I don't think I need them anymore.
-Help others. Helping others with EDs/depression/self-harm issues has really helped me. My kindness, empathy and capacity to love is what makes me beautiful. What makes you?
-Write a list of what you love about you. What are you good at? Talents? Personality? Don't know? Ask someone!
-Write in a diary. This helped me a lot. It was what got me through. Write down your pain, anger, the hurdles you must cross, the happy moments, the achievements, write down everything.
-If you're religious, turn to religion. [I]As a Wiccan, I tried to think of food as life. It shouldn't be regarded as calories. It's the Goddess' gift to us. And also, the Wiccan rede "An it harms none, do as ye will" applies to yourself.
-Got a hobby? Indulge in it. There's life beyond your eating disorder.
-Challenge yourself! Afraid of avocado? Eat it! Scared of eating out with friends? Do it! Don't let your ED isolate you.
-Colour your day. Buy colour pencils. Pick a colour for the day. Anything but black or white.
-Rate your day. 0 is: You're dead. So don't let me see a 0, now.
-Be a kid again. We're never too old to be young!
-Affirmations. I stuck them all over when I was at my rockiest point in recovery. Things like "I am doing better than I think", "Food is life", "I am getting better each and every day."

My dear friend(though I've only known her for a few days) posted a thread that inspired me. Hopefully it will inspire you too.

Life Beyond Your Eating Disorder - Johanna S. Kandel
Eating Disorders For Dummies - Susan Sculherr
Intuitive Eating - Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
Monkey Taming - Judith Fathallah

I hope this helped you. Please, feel free to ask me to delete/change/add anything! And PM me, leave a comment, email, anything. I'm here if you need help or just someone to talk to. And remember: All you need is Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust. And the Pixie Dust is you.

"Never test the depth of water with both feet." - Some dude whose name I cannot remember

Last edited by Amaryllis; January 5th, 2012 at 07:18 PM.
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