Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ten Years

Ten years ago, I adopted anorexia as my own.

Ten. Years.

That means that ten years ago in March, I started the eating disorder behaviors.

And that six years ago in March, I ended the eating disorder behaviors. 

And those two sentences can seem so small and insignificant, even to me when I'm not careful. When I get so caught up in the here and now, I can forget where I've come from. It can sound like such a small thing to stop eating and then start again, especially on this side of recovery. But all I can tell you is that the space between the "stopping" and the "starting" is where my life truly began.

Because anorexia has very little to do with food.
It has so much to do with:

And bulimia has very little to do with binging and purging.
It has so much to do with:

An eating disorder isn't about being a narcissist who diets too much.
An eating disorder is a spiritual disease. 
Because when you're in it, you feel hopeless.
And when you lack hope, there is a plethora of despair.
And despair disconnects you from life.
And the living of it.

And so the journey between March 2006 and March 2010--onset and recovery--was a journey that saved my life. Because it lead me to:
-writing a book
and most importantly: hope

And I don't think I would have gotten there any other way.


Anne Lamott wrote in her book Traveling Mercies about her own recovery. And she put into words something I couldn't have said better myself:

“It is, finally, so wonderful to have learned to eat, to taste and love what slips down my throat, padding me, filling me up, that I’m not uncomfortable calling it a small miracle. A friend who does not believe in God says, ‘Maybe not a miracle, but a little improvement,’ but to that I say Listen! You must not have heard me right; I couldn’t feed myself! So thanks for your input, but I know where I was, and I know where I am now, and you just can’t get here from there. Something happened that I had despaired would ever happen. It was like being a woman who has despaired of ever getting to be a mother but who now cradles a baby. So it was either a miracle- Picasso said, “Everything is a miracle; it’s a miracle that one does not dissolve in one’s bath like a lump of sugar”- or maybe it was more of a gift, one that required some assembly. But whatever it was, learning to eat was about learning to live- and deciding to live; and it is one of the most radical things I’ve ever done."


I started this blog in 2007 (18 months into my eating disorder) and just as I was leaving for a year abroad in Cambodia. If you want to read any of the older blogs from my recovery journey the past ten years, select the topic labeled "Healing" on the sidebar to the right.

Here are a few you can start with:
-The First Blog I Ever Wrote About the ED
-Thoughts On The Daily Struggles
-How I Might Be Contributing to Another's Eating Disorder
-Stupid Things People Say About Eating Disorders

If you have an eating disorder (or are just interested in the subject of greater self-love and body acceptance), start here:

Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too by Jenni Schaefer

Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders by Aimee Liu

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies: Freeing Yourself from Food and Weight Obsession by Jane R. Hirschmann and Carol H. Munter

Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth

If you have recovered from an eating disorder, read these (but please don't read them any sooner, because they are not easy stories to hear and definitely wouldn't help in your current battle):

Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi