what if I got up tomorrow and ate exactly what I WANTED? Not what ED wants, not what I think I SHOULD eat, not what’s cheap or available to me right now… What would I eat? How many calories would it come to? Would my body REALLY ask for the food it needs to be healthy and balanced? I’m so used to ignoring it I don’t know if it even has a voice any more… I can imagine… sitting here now…
breakfast: bacon and mushrooms on a slice of wholemeal toast 215
snack: Yogurt, grapes, apple 117
Lunch: Ham sandwich with sweetcorn, carrot and cucumber salad 350
Snack: grapes and cheese and breadsticks 240
Dinner: Jacket potato, chicken and mayo with broccoli 530
“My body is not a representation of my failures, sins, or mistakes. My body is not a sign that I am in poor health, or that I am not physically fit. My body is not up for public discussion, debate or judgment. My body is not a signal that I need your help or input to make decisions about my health or life. My body is the constant companion that helps me do every single thing that I do every second of every day and it deserves respect and admiration. If you are incapable of appreciating my body that is your deficiency, not mine, and I do not care. Nor am I interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter so, if you want to be around me, you are 100% responsible for doing whatever it takes to keep those thoughts to yourself. If you are incapable of doing that I will leave and spend my time with people who can treat me appropriately. Please pass the green beans.”—Avoid Holiday Weight Shame — Ragen (danceswithfat)
“This is the weird aftermath, when it is not exactly over, and yet you have given it up. You go back and forth in your head, often, about giving it up. It’s hard to understand, when you are sitting there in your chair, having breakfast or whatever, that giving it up is stronger than holding on, that “letting yourself go” could mean you have succeeded rather than failed. You eat your goddamn Cheerios and bicker with the bitch in your head that keeps telling you you’re fat and weak: Shut up, you say, I’m busy, leave me alone. When she leaves you alone, there’s a silence and a solitude that will take some getting used to. You will miss her sometimes…There is, in the end, the letting go.”—Marya Hornbacher (via courageisgraceunderpressure)
So, I got to thinking last night about life and death and all those things which come to your mind at stupid times of the night.
And it occured to me…
If I died today, would I be happy with the life I had lived up until this point? What would my last ever feeling about my life be?
I have spent too much time trying to be thinner, trying to change my body, worrying about how I look. For what? I’m fairly certain that my last minutes on this earth won’t involve wishing I’d lost another 2lbs. It’s more likely that I’ll regret stressing about it so much when I could have been having a good time.
I haven’t seen my friends enough. I’ve been too busy thinking about how depressed I feel or being “too busy” or “too tired” to go out. Worse, I’ve spent too much time trying to keep people I don’t really want or need in my life happy. If I died today, I would be sad that I didn’t see my REAL friends more often.
I hold back on doing things I love for fear of looking silly. Tiny things which make me happy… painting, splashing in puddles, walking along the surf on a beach, dancing… It’s the little things in life which give a moment a particular feeling when you look back. I wish I had more feelings of happiness and less of sadness. I’d wish I had jumped in more puddles, watched more silly movies on a whim, sung loudly…
I haven’t done anything AMAZING with my life. There’s so much I could do. there are mountains to climb, poor countries who need wells and schools, Earthquake victims who need help. I could walk the Great wall of China, ride an elephant, swim with Dolphins. What have I actually done? Eh, I have some nice memories and I have seen some wonderful places, but nothing OUTSTANDING. If I died, I would never get chance to do those things, I think I would feel regret for that.
We only get one life. One chance to do all those things which make it wonderful. Maybe it doesn’t matter, maybe when we die - that’s it - lights off and then there’s nothing. But what if that’s not the case? And even if it is, do I REALLY want my last feelings to be of regret and sadness for the things I COULD have done with more confidence? Wouldn’t it be better to die knowing that I did everything I possibly could to make my life fantastic?
Waking up naturally at 8am and knowing you can lie there in bed until you’re properly awake. Then taking your time with your make-up, your clothes. Achieving something first thing - the laundry or sweeping the floor. Something to look forward to - a friend coming to go shopping with.
Wandering through town with your friend, just LOOKING at the pretty things and saying “After Christmas”, talking about the wedding without having to stress about the money, planning the day we’ll all get together to make the invitations… the pizza and wine we’ll have, the girly DVD’s…
Lunch - with someone who understands and won’t comment on the food you’ve left on your plate, sharing stories of Saturday night, opening up a little, but not so much that you worry about what you said, knowing they won’t judge you anyway because they’ve known you since you were both 11.
Back home, listening to christmas music in the car and singing too loudly, giggling at other drivers faces as you blast them with shakin stevens at the traffic lights.
Drinking too much coffee, putting the world to rights, planning new year’s eve…
And then when she goes, you know it’s only an hour until the BF gets home, you have the time to prepare dinner without stressing about it, add a little garlic, try a slightly different way of cooking it, let the smells fill the flat, homely, welcoming.
Find your library book and curl up on the sofa with it, curtains drawn, lamps lit, music in the background, the rain hitting the windows, but your safe and warm and relaxed inside so let it rain all afternoon.
So you want to kill yourself? Because no one cares about you. Your family hates you. Right? No. Your parents walking in your room in the morning to only find a dead body. They’ll try their hardest to not think negative, and to just think that you’re fooling around. Then they’ll start shaking you. Why aren’t you breathing? They’ll be broken. Tears. Many tears. More tears than you ever shed. Was it them? Were they the reason you did this? More tears. Pain. Every day. Every night. Every single second of every day. Guilt. More guilt. What about your bestfriends? They’re not going to care. Right? No. What’s the first thing that will go through their mind when your principal comes in and tells the class that you’re not alive. While your bestfriend sits there in tears. That girl that you’d smile at but never talk to? She’s now crying. The boy who used to kick you under the table just to annoy you? He’ll be shocked. He’ll be devastated. He’ll blame himself. What about your teacher? Thoughts crossing her mind. She’ll question if you did it because she didn’t make school comfortable enough for you. Pain. Devastation. All in one. Who organises your funeral? Who has to go through your stuff? Clothes? Notes? Those few older girls who used to give you daggers at school? They’ll feel regret. They’ll blame themselves. See, if you killed yourself today, you’ll never know what might of happened tomorrow. You’ll never know because you’re dead. Plain dead. Not breathing. Not alive. Just dead. Your family hates themselves for it. Your bestfriend then falls into depression. Tears. Tears. More tears than a river. All because you killed yourself because you thought noone would care. Right? You are loved. By many. Someone right now is thinking of you. And right now, I’m thinking about anyone who has thought or is considering suicide. You are beautiful. No matter if you’re black, white, homo-sexual, tall, short, overweight or anorexic. You are beautiful. You want to kill yourself? Think about it first. There’s no coming back. And I promise, if you do it, you are not only hurting yourself, you are hurting many. You are creating more tears than you led yourself to. You are making everyone miserable and making them all feel guilt and pain. Never will they feel whole like they used to when they had you. You are beautiful. And you are never ever alone.
You are admirable! I think you are so brave sharing your fight with us. It means so much for so many and especially young girls. You are a hero to me and I wish you the absolute best in life!! I'm sending you all the strength I have! Take good care and don't ever forget how precious you are! <3 /Paula
Thank you very much my love :)
I love getting messages like this, they always cheer me up. I worry that my blog is too negative, so it’s doubly nice to hear such lovely things.
I'm almost positive that my friend is anorexic or has some other ED. He's 15, his mom is schizophrenic and (from what I've he's told me) is pretty horrible to him. What do I do? I'm really worried.
The most important thing you can do for your friend is to support him and not judge him. the fact that you are worried about him shows what a good friend you are, and he is very lucky to have someone as caring as you in his life.
Is there someone you can talk to about this? A teacher, or someone else at school? I know it can be scary, but you should know that teachers and school staff have training to help them know how to deal with these sorts of things properly. They may then be able to help your friend talk about this with his Mum - it’s amazing how parents take things more seriously when a teacher talks to them about it ;)
How do you think your friend would respond to you telling him your concerns? Only you know what sort of person he his. It’s possible that if you ask him outright, he may become defensive and deny it hotly. You seem like a very caring person, so I’m sure you know the best way to speak to him about this if you think that its the right thing to do.
Otherwise, you just need to continue to be there for him, show him that you don’t care about his body and that you want to help him. Try and comment on his strengths that aren’t food or weight related - this will help him to see that there is more to life than his appearance and also help him to trust that you like him for HIM, not his body.
so, to sum up…
talk to someone
be supportive of him
don’t judge him.
I hope your friend is able to find the help he needs, and that he appreciates having you as a friend. xx
It’s very common for someone with an ED to talk about their disorder as if they are a separate person. Often, sufferers even “name” the disorder - “Ed”, “Ana” and “Mia” are very commonplace identities. Why do we do this?
If you have an ED, you may quite literally feel as if you are split in two. The voice in your head SOUNDS like you, it may even FEEL like you, but it’s in constant battle with yourself. Internal conversations become the mainstay of your existence. Everyone has this internal voice, but if you have an ED, your self talk seems to have a mind of it’s own. It defies all logic, all facts, all common sense and it is incredibly loud and powerful. This voice is what tells you to restrict, binge, purge, exercise. Sometime’s its sweet, gentle and encouraging. "I don’t need to eat this, I’m better than that." Other times it’s angry, demanding and downright abusive. “I am disgusting, I can’t believe I was stupid, fat and greedy enough to eat that. I deserve to DIE.”
Once we enter treatment, recovery, or do a little research on our disorders, we begin to realise that these “thoughts” are not “normal”. maybe we have an awareness that a part of us doesn’t want to starve or binge, maybe we argue with ourselves about this on a regular basis.
With all of this, it becomes much simpler to separate ourselves from our ED. When we talk about “Ed”, we mean our ED thoughts, the ones we know aren’t healthy, the ones we know we wouldn’t be having if we were “recovered.” We are in constant conflict with our ED thoughts, so you may well hear us say “Ed wants”, “Ed tells me” or “Ed believes.” We aren’t crazy, we just know this is our disorder speaking, not our healthy self.
The closest way I can come to describing it is like being possessed by a demon. Your mind is taken over by thoughts and feelings which you seem to have no control over. You find that fighting the thoughts makes them louder, while engaging in them gives you temporary relief from your Demon’s abuse. Make your disorder happy by not eating, purging, or exercising and it tells you that you did well, it lets you sleep, lets you feel as if you have achieved something good.
Once you decide to go against its wishes, you get the sort of abuse that would get a “real” person locked up for several years. Your “demon” bombards you with what psychologists call “negative self talk” And I MEAN bombard. Every second of every day you Ed tells you how badly you are doing, how you should be working with it, not against it. It gets madder and madder and louder and louder until you give into it and then it purrs at you like a contented kitten - for a few minutes at least. It’s rarely pleased with you for long.
In fact, with this demon so firmly entrenched in our heads, its hardly surprising that recovery is a slow and painful process. It feels so much easier to just give in and continue to feed our disorder, it feels like the simpler life, it’s safe and people with ED’s love safety.
Knowing this, Knowing what recovery takes, how it’s the long haul… it makes me so inspired and proud when I hear recovery stories. These people who have truly overcome ED have had to put up with months of abuse from their own heads, they have had to retrain their brain, silence the demon.
THAT is true strength, determination and courage. Not starvation.