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Unfiltered Eating Disorder Recovery Frustrations

This post is unedited and unfiltered. The structure is as my mind went. Trigger warning.

I’m sick and tired of gaining weight. I’m sick of facing myself in the mirror, or looking down at my body, and not recognizing what is starring back at me. I’m sick and tired of gaining weight for everyone but me.

I know I wanted recovery, and I didn’t want my eating disorder anymore, but the program I’m in focuses on food and not my body image. I’m at a point where if we don’t do something about the way I feel soon, I’m going to turn back.

I’m eating regularly, every single day, and it kills me. It takes up all of my time, and I’m constantly thinking about what I’m going to eat next, if it’s too much or not enough, and thinking of ways to balance out eating starch, “meat” and vegetables. I feel like I’m doing it for everyone but me.

I’m on my own. I’ve been told through this process that eating disorder recovery is impossible on your own. Well, welcome to my world. I’ve got no supports in my inner circles. No family presence, no friends. The closest thing I have to a friend is my boyfriend, and though I’m grateful to have him, it’s not enough and we don’t live together. Whenever I try to add someone to the group by opening up and being up front about the weight gain, I get a sarcastic response or a simple “proud of you”. It’s not enough!

I need someone to sit with me, cook with me and eat with me. Someone who is genuinely proud of me and who understands that every pound that appears on my body is a fucking curse. I’m facing my biggest fear and no one seems to care. None of my clothes fit anymore, and I can’t identify myself in the mirror anyone. How is it that no one seems to give a fuck?

I hate pretending like this recovery is simple. It’s not. I can’t eat by itself; I need to do something so I don’t think. If I think, I won’t be able to get through the meals. I can only imagine what eating on its own is going to be like… When I have to eat with my boyfriend, it can be detrimental if we aren’t talking. He has had to sit with me while I just stared at the plate, playing with food, so maybe I wouldn’t have to eat it.

I recently started pole dancing, and I love it. But it was the first time I got a good look at myself and my size in the mirror, and it had to be in comparison to other women, including a fit teacher. I tried not to stare, but I couldn’t look away. I almost cried during that class, but managed to keep it together. When I was trying to perform a move, I had to hold the pole with my arms in front of me and could barely do that with my breasts and stomach in the way. It was defeating.

After class, the adrenaline kicked in. And the memories of me overexercising and exerting myself came along for the ride. I found myself wanting to restrict, overexercise and use laxatives all at the same time. It was excruciating.

I’m getting fed up with my program therapist hiding my weight. I want to know the number so bad, but the last time I even got to see a graph without numbers, which only documented my first 4-5 weeks, my therapist almost had me checked into the ward. I was distraught, and overwhelmed. I couldn’t bear the fact that I was gaining weight, and I still can’t.

It’s been at least 15 weeks since I started this program, and a good 3-4 weeks since I have been able to eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks nearly everyday, and my weight still hasn’t stabilized. My workers tell me it’ll even out in the healthy BMI range, but it hasn’t stopped climbing. Every week, when they tell me “your weight is up a bit this week”, I want to lose it; scream and smash the walls. I’m sick of hearing that. I want to hear that number has gone down or that it’s stabilized. MAKE IT STOP!

They promise I won’t get overweight, and then say that “if you do, we’ll look at your food diaries, and talk about what we can change.”

I was triggered by my dietitian and therapist last week, who both dropped a contradictory bomb onto me. My therapist starts with telling me that I need to start exercising 3 times a week. Going from 0 (or casual exercise) to 3 times a week, out of the blue. And it frustrated me. It made me feel like she was worried my weight was getting too high. What made it okay to not work me up to 3 times? Why can’t I know my weight, that that’s a gradual process, but this isn’t?

Getting to my dietitian… I was told that I shouldn’t restrict anymore. That it’s not an option. My dietitian and I talked about a challenge food, and decided to tackle chocolate chip cookies that week. She then tells me I should only be having 2 cookies a day (depending on size). It blew me away! And, as I was eating my cookies, I felt like I had to restrict them.

Through this process, my appointments revolve around my food diaries. I need to talk about body image, but I just get redirected to being weighed or talking about last night’s spaghetti. It’s clear that I am associating her redirection with me not being allowed to talk about what is really bothering me. I have silenced myself and my emotions, and I am imploding.

I am all over the place. I am broken. I am frustrated. I want this recovery to be over, but it never will be. I will struggle with this for the rest of my life.

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Ontario’s New Calorie Count Law Is Dangerous

 

ontario's new calorie count law is dangerous, calories, eating disorders, government, sloth speed recovery, www.slothspeedrecovery,wordpress.com

“Nutritional information, including calories, is already available on the labels of many items we buy at the grocery store.” […] “As of January 1, 2017, all food-service chains with 20 or more locations in Ontario must post the number of calories in the food and drink items they sell.”

Calories on Menus in regards to the Healthy Menu Choices Act

The government of Ontario has decided that their citizens need to be more mindful of the calories entering their bodies, and has chosen to have all foods and drinks in restaurant chains with over 20 restaurants listed with their respective calories. Their goal is to ensure everyone is getting the right amount of energy needed for their bodies, but this listed number is doing more than that, and sadly, it’s not all good.

On one hand, those who want to lose weight healthily and have the means to do so have an advantage when they’re eating out, but a group has been forgotten in this whole equation.

In the US, 30 million people of all ages and genders struggle with an eating disorder, and eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any one mental illness. From anorexia nervosa, to binge eating disorder, to OSFED (Otherwise Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder), there seems to be no leg up through their struggles.

I, being a 19 year old woman in eating disorder recovery, diagnosed with OSFED (past atypical anorexia, and currently compensatory subtype) can no longer go out to eat without those numbers haunting me and triggering me. Those numbers call out to me and scream the horrors that I have worked so hard to hush. I am no longer safe when I am out of the house; my nightmares have followed me into my social life and make outdoor meals all that much harder. I could get by, reminding myself that not knowing the calories would be okay, but that safety blanket has been ripped away from me.

My mother offered me food from a Costco stand the other day, and there I was considering it, until that 3 to 4 digit number made my mind up for me.

I am now forced to not eat out, or keep my head down wile my partner/friend orders for me. I can no longer look up at the menu freely, deciding what I want to eat, without letting my disorder make my mind up for me.

This new law is not all good; and here’s why.


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Favours one agenda over another. I am constantly reminded when I go out that my recovery and the struggles I have with my eating disorder are not as important as someone who is struggling with weight loss. There is a divide where one groups’ health is put above mine, and I have no control over it. No where do I see on the Ontario governmental page a worry regarding eating disorders or the benefits it could have on those struggling or recovering.

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It isn’t only in fast food chains. I would be more understanding if these numbers affected the well-known unhealthy fast food chains such as McDonald’s, KFC and Wendy’s, because people go there and expect an unhealthy meal. They are aware that they’re not getting exactly what their bodies need. But this law seeps into Pita Pit, Burrito joints and so many other locations that are mainly vegetable dishes. These favoured places of mine have become less safe as the calories stare me in the face as I build a well balanced meal.

Being affected with an eating disorder, 600 calories can seem terrifying when at one time, I considered this more than my daily allowance of calories.

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Calories aren’t always the most influential part of a meal on ones body. This law puts emphasis on caloric contents instead of nutritional contents. They didn’t choose to label the vitamins and minerals, but chose calories. They also don’t state if these are healthy or unhealthy calories. Some people need to watch cholesterol whilst others need to watch sugars, but don’t worry, darling. In this diet culture, calories are all that matters. No need to care about your actual health. (Is you sarcasm meter on?)

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It encourages the notion that fewer calories defines a healthier meal. If I were to have a McDonald’s cheeseburger (290 calories) with a side of small fries (240 calories) and a Medium Strawberry Passion Awareness drink (240 calories), it would amount to 770 calories, which is rather low for a full McDonald’s meal. Compared to a large shrimp burrito from Burrito Boyz with all the toppings amounting to the same amount of calories, the McDonald’s meal will not have the same nutritional benefits or calories from vegetables that the burrito has, leaving this caloric number misleading in some respects to people whom don’t know better.

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The new law does encourage getting enough calories, but also achieves the opposite effect. Though this law states that they aim for people to eat enough calories, it does the opposite. We live in the age of diet culture, where magazines and ads constantly remind us we need to lose weight, no matter how much we weigh. Some diets encourage 1500 calories for adult women, which is less than needed, and encourages our bodies to enter starvation mode. The majority of people nowadays would prefer to consume less calories to lose a few pounds than to make sure they eat enough.

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Children are exposed to calorie counts at a young age. I distinctly recall being a child, sitting at my table eating cereal, and reading the numbers from the nutritional value over and over. I didn’t understand what those numbers meant, but I think I knew even then that it was encouraged to have less of that first number; calories.

This new law may encourage parents to make diet decisions for their children that aren’t totally beneficial as they may fall in line with diet culture, or they may begin to starve their child unintentionally to help them lose weight.

Being easily influenced, these children whom grow into young adults are constantly surrounded with pictures of fit or emaciated models on social media and television, that they don’t understand what is truly attainable and healthy. Ads for weight loss drugs and workout foods or items run in front of the eyes of these children, and they understand the language. They watch social media stars and their family members struggle with weight, and they may do it, too.

Canada also presents the Canada Food Guide to young children, teaching them about calories and exercise. There is no doubt that this encouragement could easily spark an eating disorder in our youth, and an obsession with that pesky little number known as calories.

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The obsession with numbers can perpetuate eating disorders. A common trait in restrictive eating disorders is an obsession with numbers; whether that be calories, weight or measurements. It becomes this internal dialogue where the counting begins. As this obsession increases, that caloric intake may decrease to a starvation diet; anything to be seen as skinny.

We are taught since we are young to obsess over these numbers, and having them in our face isn’t doing us favours.

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Those in ED recovery have a harder time staying on track. How the HELL do you expect me or my fellow recovering peers to stay on track in our recovery; to put our health and our needs first, when that (sorry for my language) FUCKING number is flashing in our faces? How do you expect us to get ahead and be healthy when our triggers follow us everywhere? It would be unreasonable to tell us to just not look, because some of us can’t. We can no longer ignore the calories; we must now try even harder to not let them affect us, and some of us can’t fight that.


Calories follow us everywhere, along with images of the frailest, most photoshopped images we have available. With access to the internet and even more ways to perpetuate eating disorders, nearly nobody is safe from the possibility of it taking over their lives. Male or female; nobody is safe. 

The overall relationship society has with food will not let us get ahead as a society; the statistics for eating disorders will continue to rise unless we take into the account everyone and teach the public about true nutrition and healthy eating.

These calorie listings could cost someone a meal, periods of pain and their life.

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Why RawTill4 Was A BAD Idea!

why rawtill4 was a bad idea rawtill4 vegan lifestyle www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com freelee the banana girl

I was a young girl when I first began to question my body. I was in dance class, starring at the bodies of my peers. They had talents in gymnastics and would show us different moves, and I also had a close friend who was a gymnast. I looked up to them indefinitely, and I thought that by being flexible, I could be adored, the same way I adored them. But, in the midst of my thoughts, I associated thin with love.

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I spent every morning before school dancing like a fool in my bedroom, dancing for hours on weekends at times. I saw pudge and disgust in my own body, and the pressure to be thin around me was quite present. One side of my family was overweight, whilst the other had very thin counterparts.

I didn’t think I was particularly beautiful, and I became very influenced by conversations in elementary gym classes where the teacher would mention nutritional value tables, teaching us about calories, fats and carbs. We were given the Canadian Food Guide to consult, and were advised a specific amount of exercise minutes per day. I was never the most athletic, and I took my lack of exercise as a jab to my self-esteem.

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After my 14th birthday is when things sunk in. I had always tried to hide my body in black clothes prior, and did not like to be in tight outfits. I wouldn’t eat in public, and was humiliated by myself and my body. Not to mention, I had my eyes set on a senior about to graduate high school. He could NEVER see me eat!

I spent my ninth grade trying to lose weight, whilst my self harm worsened consistently. Sure, I was losing weight, I was constantly tired and binging on several occasions. I was invested in proana, spent a majority of my time on Tumblr and sunk deeper in self-hatred. My weight never plummeted exactly, but my mental and physical health definitely took a turn for the worst.

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There was a period where I was over-invested in exercise. The spring of 2013 was dedicated to weight loss; I was out of school due to mental health issues and spent hours in the gym. I would either walk or rollerblade to the gym, unless I had tutoring next door, and spent so much time on the treadmills and ellipticals. I refused to gain any muscle because I wanted to be frail. My speed on the elliptical caught a woman’s attention once, where she commented and told me it was crazy how fast I was going.

The summer proved worse where I spent about an hour a day in the incredibly hot sun, rollerblading as fast as I could, in sweaters. I was very unwell.

For a few years, the mentality was still present, but I was practically free of the behaviours. Sure, I hated my body and wanted to lose weight, but my weight had stayed balanced for years. I tried to learn comfort within myself and move along with my day. Not to mention, food is absolutely delicious!

In June of 2015, I turned to veganism, with no relation to my eating disorder. I truly did it for the animals and their well being. The documentary Earthlings was highly graphic and did traumatize me, leading me to hear pigs screaming and refusing to eat because of the trauma, but it was not related to my eating disorder. The sudden change in food and diet did awaken the disorder, but I fought it harshly.

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In April of 2016, I became invested in RawTill4. I saw Freelee The Banana Girl’s body and took her word like a Bible scripture. I could be happy, thin and healthy, whilst eating all the food I wanted? YES, PLEASE! But, that wasn’t the case


What is RawTill4:

Raw Till 4 is a lifestyle rather than a diet. A vegan program that focuses on eating A LOT of  raw fruits (especially bananas!) and vegetables, no animal products, little to no fats or seeds.  You basically eat whole, unprocessed raw foods until 4pm.  Then you are allowed to cook and eat certain beneficial foods, but again, without oils to help flavour and cook your food. (www.rawtill4diet.com)

And then began my journey.

It was a high carb/low fat vegan diet with restrictions on fat intake, meal contents, salt and oil, and you had to have exercise included almost daily. It was also instructed to use a calorie counter online that calculated fats and proteins. It was encouraged to hit 90% carbs/5% fat/5% protein.

ALREADY we’re mixing an eating disorder with calorie counting!? Not a good idea.

It started out great. I was feeling wonderful, eating as much as I cared for, and I was losing weight. I just didn’t know it would harm me the way that it did.

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The problems began when I was constantly eating and still not hitting my caloric intake goals. I was aiming for at least 2000 and could barely attain that on most days (especially since I hated banana/date smoothies). If it weren’t for me having 2 free periods in school, I would have never gotten close to my goals. Some days, I would arrive with half a watermelon and several other fruits to school, spend my day near the counselors office and eat all day, and couldn’t even finish my food load.

I would beat myself up if I couldn’t attain the 90/5/5 goal, and began to stress over the amounts of fat I had eaten. I would sometimes go frantic on my rollerblades, pushing myself far much harder than I should’ve, and I was weighing myself practically daily at about the 2 or 3 week mark, hoping on and off the scale repeatedly, not really entering any weight gained in aspiration to lose it. I hadn’t even hit the 2 week mark when I had attempted to purge again.

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I wanted so bad to see the number on the scale decrease that my intake decreased, too. It must have been obvious because my mother took the scale away. And, there I was, finally noticing a problem. I was no longer in a healthy BMI and spent my lunch and third period to buy a scale.

I had started to take laxatives (something I had never done before), and I would cry and avoid meals when my significant other would come to visit. All I could picture was my “fat” body and how I was kissing “beauty” goodbye.

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I finally attained that thigh gap the 14 year old me wanted, and I was swimming in a pair of jeans that used to be snug. I had lost over 12% of my body weight AND COUNTING! It was visible in my attitude and on my body, and though the 14 year old me would have begged for that, the 18 year old me wanted anything but THAT! I wanted so bad to gain the weight and to be free of my fears, but food just made me cry. I was so scared of ingesting anything, and I was hateful for putting myself in that position.

For a while after stopping RawTill4, I was dependent on laxatives and restriction. I hated the weight loss, but I wanted to keep it so badly. I sought help, and am now registered for an eating disorder program in March. I fight every single day, and some days are no longer battles. I’m happy I gained the weight, even though some days, I turn to my maladaptive coping behaviours. I often celebrate my body with my partner, looking in the mirror while I’m nude and commenting on how beautiful a healthy body looks on me. I’ll grab my tummy and thighs in front of him, and giggle at how cute they are.


I am much happier wrapping my palm around a big handful of chips and eating bananas, than I was restricting anything with too high of a fat content that could jeopardize the “wonders” of RawTill4.

I am happy I had this experience because, it really showed the sick side of my brain and how ridiculous it all was; that being thin would NEVER make me happy!

I am not condemning RawTill4, but I can tell you that I will never revisit it again. You can’t just hop into a diet like RawTill4 when your mind is still sick. I am not saying it doesn’t work or that it should be avoided, but it did NOT work for me. It created fear foods, and worsened my eating disorder overall. It encourages rules and habits, and for those who follow extremes, it can truly ruin their mentality and their body.

I learned that loving my body in whatever shape or form it chooses to take is much more valuable. I can eat wonderful foods, ranging from high fat to extremely healthy. And, if weight is an issue for a potential partner, I will never be with them. My body can be a different shape tomorrow, and that is okay. Recovery is much more tasteful than calorie counting and restriction.

The only thing RawTill4 and I have in common now is that we are both VEGAN!

**I do believe that veganism is the best possible way to live, but I do not support it to achieve weight loss, nor do I think it should be visited in the midst or the ending of an eating disorder. I believe that people should be vegan because, the torment caused to animals is diabolical and unnecessary. Not to mention, livestock eat up many of our resources, and animal agriculture attributes to 51% of greenhouse gas emissions! There are many vegan options of mock meats and dairy products that are just as delicious!**

 

This post is not to demean Freelee the Banana Girl, but more so to spread awareness about the effects of dieting on individuals.

 

 

 

 

 

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The 8 Wonders of Pro Anorexia Websites

sloth speed recovery, proana, pro anorexia, eating disorder, thin commandments, proana websites,

Pro Anorexia (Pro Ana) is a secret society of individuals who condone anorexia. They may not condone it for other individuals, but ultimately, they are encouraging, worsening or potentially starting eating disorders for themselves and millions of women and men around the world. They support and follow “Ana” rules and tips on a regular basis in a strive for the thinnest, most frail body to feed their mental illnesses and eating disorders.

They will sacrifice their well being, the rest of their confidence and their body to be thin, to be what they deem beautiful. Body parts with pertruding bones and concave skin are worshiped and glorified, and are what every woman should strive for, according to these websites. Without being thin, beauty is far beyond your grasps. Not to mention, it encourages community, friendships, self-discipline and beauty, and working hard to achieve that standard.

So, how can Pro Ana websites really be all that bad

 


1. Being thin is a gateway to a lifelong friendship with Ana!

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Those who turn to Pro Ana websites are often those with a plummeting self-esteem, in search of a solution. They may initially be hit with the thought that thin = beautiful, and achieving beauty is a few pounds away! They are turning to Pro Ana to resolve self-consciousness and seek validation of themselves, within themselves.

Someone in the early stages of their eating disorder or progressing within it may be flung full force into this community and the support around them. Mentally ill individuals are supporting each other to act out unhealthy behaviours, without the interruption of conscious decision for future benefit. In these acts, they may find themselves feeling euphoric and will pursue the behaviours until they can no longer reverse the effects.

In summary, exposure to the images, quotes and support of the community, one, especially adolescent, may find a home for themselves where they feel they can express, destroy and cope with themselves. They may be determining the beginning of a lifelong eating disorder!

2. You will be living in a fairy tale of beauty!

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In the evolution of this disorder, you may find yourself losing touch with reality. Suddenly, you are aware of more “flaws” within yourself that weren’t apparent before, and aren’t exactly realistically accurate.

Those actions that were once choice no longer are choice, they become habitual or ritual in your life, without the ability to cease them. In the process, you may find yourself wanting to stop, with no avail. Conscious decision is no longer within your hands, and you have Pro Ana communities to thank for your slow walk on death row.

The consistent restriction of nutrition will starve you of the abilities of your brain, causing great difficulty in everyday tasks, and seeing things for what they really are. Reality will no longer be in your grasps.

3. The tips, tricks, advice and exercises are very successful!

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The websites and communities promote tips to lose extra weight and get through fasts in succession, all while reducing hunger tendencies. Many of these tidbits are successful and trick the human body into refusing food, worsening the eating disorder and spiral the obsession with food, weight and control. The continuous practice of these behaviours inevitably lead to all the awful physical symptoms of eating disorders, and the last one, which is death.

4. YOUR life is YOUR business! Privacy above all else!

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A good portion of advice offered within communities are ways to conceal behaviours and preserve the on going nature of the eating disorder. It offers in house tricks to convince loved ones that you are eating food and keeping it down, even if you aren’t. It ruins relationships, trust and will rob you of your life. It distances the ones who care, and alters their mind into believing that you are well, ceasing them from providing you help out of your self-destructive hell.

5. A community will stand by you to lose that extra flab! You will never be alone!

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A flow of constant individuals supporting your weight loss will cloud the negative nature of your eating disorder. The positive reinforcement that is continuous convinces your mind that this is okay, that this is natural, healthy and an intelligent decision. You will be assured by the dozens that you will be happy when you are skinny, but you won’t. Everyone involved in Pro Ana or who has an eating disorder is mentally ill and their perceptions are skewed because of it. Their support and comments are a reflection of their own spiral and loss of control.

But at the end of the day, you will always feel alone with yourself, your laptop, and your spiraling sickness.

6. There are many benefits of extreme weight loss!

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Beauty is pain, right? That is true in the case of anorexia and bulimia. You will be so happy you lost those five extra pounds when you stare yourself back in the mirror, witnessing the clumps of hair falling from your scalp, and transferring as peach fuzz on your otherwise smooth skin. Your teeth will yellow, weaken and rot with the various attempts of rising food from your stomach up into the toilet bowl. You will constantly feel weak, tired and faint on a daily basis, becoming deficient and anemic. You will grow anxious in the confines of your bedroom, begging to leave but also to remain enclosed. Unhappiness and depression will become your closest friend, as you push away any human being that tries to get close. Your friends will insist you leave the house, but you know that safety is within those walls, and that the world only offers fat, your biggest fear. And when you finally choose to recover, eating will be the hardest decision you will have ever made.

In those moments, you will not be grateful for the hell you went through.

7. Comparing yourself to others is a good pastime! 

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The constant bombardment of images of overly thin women from your Pro Ana peers will convince you to compare yourself to any woman who walks by you. The thinner women will be the death of you, and you will perceive thicker women as thinner than you. You will find aesthetic “beauty” in passerbys, measuring yourself up to size, trying to conclude how many more pounds are in your vicinity to lose.

If being out and about isn’t enough, try having the community sharing their inner torment and self-destruction with you constantly. The images will become pornographic to you, bringing you euphoria aside of great shame. Suddenly, each individual struggling with an eating disorder is nothing but a number. Goal weight after goal weight, up to an ultimate goal weight, decorated by the digits that define their height, age and body mass index. Your peers will post images of their dying, decaying bodies, and you will ogle them, defining which aspects are your favourite. You may even advise them to lose more!

8. Being thin and not eating are signs of true willpower and success! You can never be too thin!

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With extreme dieting and overuse of these abundant behaviours will lead to death. Being thin and “beautiful” will be the only thing you lived for, and it will have not been a good life. Death will be ugly, painful and agonizing, and as much as you will wish to the heavens for it to cease, you have been taken control of. You are no longer at the steering wheel, and this car is going full force into a fiery crash!

An eating disorder is a constant battle, day in and day out, with ourselves and our bodies, which we cannot escape. It is life or death, and may not seem worth fighting, but it truly is. At the end of an eating disorder is recovery, happiness, well being and a HELL OF A LOT of good food! You may have spent hours, days or years surfing these websites, trying to find where you fit in the world, when none of that was necessary. You were physically fine, healthy and most likely happy!

But now, as hard as it is, it’s time for recovery. It’s time to delete the heaps of images saved on your phone or on your laptop, delete your search history, delete Pro Ana songs, and kill what’s been eating you!


If you or anyone you know is consulting pro ana blogs or websites, please seek help from a professional or call a help line. Recovery is possible.

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The Suicide Stalker

I’ll be entirely fine, having a decent day. I’m eating, taking care of hygiene, taking my medications, enjoying the sunshine… But something changes. A bad interaction, anxiety, my trichotillomania kicks in or I just end up too depressed for anything, and then everything changes…

I don’t understand how I can go from okay to just not okay. I’ll be having a grand day, but something has to be said to destroy me. I’m just trying to get by but I can’t shake the demonic thoughts that persuade me and encourage me to destroy myself. I’ll convince myself that I am cured, recovered and okay, but the next moment, I’m contemplating suicide. I just can’t get away from my suicidal thoughts, depression and Borderline.

I’m stuck in an never ending loop. The darkness is all around me and I am drowning, and nobody is there to save me. I feel so alone and lost, and like I could die off and the world would not be concerned.

I am trying with all of my heart and soul to keep my life going but it’s debilitating, and I’m really losing sight of my life and well being. It seems that I’m well on my way to being awful again, unable to function.

My inability to function is destroying opportunities, my relationships and my life and I just don’t know how to get a hold anymore. And when that sinks in, I always contemplate suicide… I am being stalked and followed by my own suicidal desires and my unstable mindset. I am fighting with all of my will power, but I am losing myself…

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My Recovery Wake Up Call (Featuring S.K. Bosak from Borderline Mama)

sloth speed recovery borderline mama www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com www.borderlinemama.wordpress.com my recovery wake up call

With the challenges of everyday life, it is easy to dismiss and forget about our inner troubles. Sometimes a life altering event is the kick we need to wake up to the reality of our illness. Mustering our own inner strengths and all of our courage, we may all see an end to the torment. We must be resilient, and brave. Only then, do we truly start our journey to recover from BPD.

Sloth Speed Recovery has partnered with S.K. Bosak from Borderline Mama to bring you our two incredible stories of self-discovery and journey into recovery.


S.K. Bosak:

I was diagnosed with BPD during my stay in rehab. As a result of all the medicine I had to take, I couldn’t really concentrate on anything and I didn’t feel like myself. I never thought about my diagnosis, but my doctor never went into detail about BPD either. So I just viewed the illness as the cause of my emotional pain and left it at that.

When I was discharged from rehab, I was a fragile mess. I wasn’t ready to go out and live my life, so my parents encouraged me to study from home while I had monthly therapy sessions. It was a lonely ordeal and I hated it. Within a year, I completely forgot about having BPD. My medication made me feel numb, so my therapy sessions weren’t really much help. But I wanted to get back on my feet so I could escape my isolation.

Things started to change when I came off my medication. I began to feel my emotions again. I was able to think more clearly, and remembered my diagnosis. I did a little research on BPD, and finally understood that the illness was why I couldn’t control my emotions and why I behaved the way I did. But I wasn’t ready to recover yet. As a result, my BPD symptoms flared up as I fought to be free from my loneliness.

When I met my SO, I left the country to go and live with him. My BPD symptoms were badly out of control, but I finally wanted to recover. I didn’t like how it made me behave around him. But ended up focusing on our relationship instead on recovery. It was only after I became pregnant, I started focusing on recovery. I didn’t want to be a bad mother.

After our daughter was born, I made a promise to her. I promised to fight my illness so I could be a wonderful mother. My daughter is my motivation to recover.

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Sloth Speed Recovery:

My wake up call was my own self destruction. Nothing was particularly done to me, but I was messing my life up.20160320_14585256861027

I was first homeless a month after my 16th birthday, wanting to get away from home after being physically violent with my family and having the police called on me several times. I was out of control and would use violence to express my inner torment, which turned my family against me. I was partnered with a company that would help me leave home when I turned 16.

I met a boy in the homeless shelter who took my world by storm. I laid my eyes on him and he swept me off my feet. Every interaction we had was lovely, comedic and romantic, until he really hurt me. Within one week of us officially being a couple, he cheated on me. I wanted to die; I wanted the pain to stop. I remember laying on the beach, hoping the waves would drag me in and I could drown. But I was stupid and continued my relationship with him.

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A few months passed and I found out he cheated AGAIN with a girl who was 4 years younger than him and with another girl who woke up, terrorized, to find his hand in her pants.

8 months passed. I had been living with him for 5 months, we had been scrapping pennies, and we did everything together. We were sexually involved with other couples and had rules around that. The night of June 30th, 2015, I went to my friend’s house after a week of suicidal thoughts and pill popping. We went to her boyfriend’s house, and I just wasn’t in my right mind. There had been sexual tension between the 3 of us, with my boyfriend refusing to have sex with them. My boyfriend at the time was with his friends and wouldn’t answer my calls about me feeling aroused and having desire to play with them. Stupidly, I engaged in some sexual activities with them and told him what happened. He was displeased with me, with reason.

Upon my return the next morning, he was furious, and though we led a deviant lifestyle, he had no right to hit me. I was slapped across the face, bringing me to the ground, and received a kick in the lungs. I stopped breathing and ran to the bathroom. (To be clear, I had had physical altercations with him. I did try to attack him once when I was drunk, and smacked him when he had a bottle of pills I was going to OD with).

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It was mid October. Our relationship was falling apart and I was utterly depressed, practically never leaving our bedroom and skipping at least one day a week of school. I was terrified about the result of breaking up with him, and in response, chose to down alcohol with sleeping pills during a Halloween party my roommates were hosting. I was ill with one of my roommates asking me what I did and he put me to bed. Upon my boyfriend’s arrival, my roommates harassed him about what I had done. I was unconscious. He came into the room, kissed me, and LEFT to go party. May I repeat that he LEFT his suicidal girlfriend in bed after an overdose mixed with alcohol. I was asleep for 14 hours that night, and though I’m lucky I woke up, it wasn’t for sure that I was going to.

He left me there, without care that our bed could’ve been my death bed.

About a week passed, and I told my school social worker about the time he hit me and she urged I leave him. That night, I came home and insisted we go one break. We discussed rules and he said he would remain faithful, but that I could see other people. Well, he ended up cheating on me again. I packed my things and left the day it happened.

I enrolled in the Out of Control program in my hospital for DBT and CBT, and was broken. I tried so hard to recover but I was destroyed.

Barely two months passed, placing us in December. I had just celebrated Christmas with my family, and an argument broke out. Well, apparently I shoved my mother and next thing I knew, I was homeless again.

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I moved to Toronto with the help of my current boyfriend into a youth shelter. I was in a city I didn’t know, with people I didn’t know, trying to get on my feet. I enrolled in a new school, started seeing a youth worker, had a school social worker, and worked at a restaurant. I was getting on my feet, but I was miserable and terrified.

I lived there for practically 4 months, witnessing fights with knives and fists, theft, had schizophrenic roommates, sexual harassment and STDs. I decided to patch things up with my mother, begging her to pick me up and take me back home. I needed my family back and I couldn’t live like that anymore.

My mom forced me to re-enroll in the Out Of Control Program, I chose to start working on my recovery and managing my emotions, I graduated high school, joined an employment program, started this blog and I’ve started my own secret project (coming soon!). I have not displayed violent behaviours since December, my self harm is farther and fewer in between, and I am in control of myself and my emotions.

I still have a ways to go with my recovery, but I’m almost there. Everyday is a battle and my BPD really gets to me sometimes, but I understand now how much talent and what capabilities I possess. Recovery is a lifetime lifestyle, and I’m going to get there. So can you.


What was or will be your wake up call?

4

9 Things You Need to Understand About Borderline Personality Disorder

9 things you need to understand about borderline personality disorder bpd www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com sloth speed recovery

It is necessary to state that not all diagnosed BPD patients are the same. Most statements will resonate with the majority of diagnosed individuals, but not all. Every experience differs, and all of our pasts and paths are diverse. These are very common and basic statements about the disorder.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder, otherwise known as BPD, is a serious mental illness characterized by the inability to regulate emotions. Some common traits or symptoms borderline-personality-disorderinclude:

  • Fear of abandonment
  • Unstable interpersonal relationships (with idealization and devaluation)
  • Identity disturbance and low perception of self-worth
  • Impulsive behaviours (risky sex, drugs, overspending, etc)
  • Self harm and suicidal tendencies
  • Reactive and difficulty controlling emotions, especially anger
  • Emptiness
  • Paranoia and disassociation

Borderline Personality Disorder has acquired plenty of negative connotations over the years, with some mental health professionals reluctant to treat it based on the intensity of the patient’s threats, reactions and, sometimes, lack of desire to get better. Some people who have associated with individuals diagnosed with BPD may not understand and, within discussions regarding the topic, furthering the stigma.

As diagnosed BPD individuals, we are not perceived positively. People tend to avoid us because of our intense emotions and emotional episodes. As much as we may try to explain ourselves, we are often misunderstood  or not taken seriously. We may desperately try to express our distress to you, without knowing how to go about it. Some of us don’t quite understand our disorder yet and may not know that our explosive or sensitive reactions are distinguished in this disorder, thus having no capabilities to explain ourselves to you.

Explaining our behaviours by stating we have Borderline Personality Disorder is an explanation, not an excuse.


I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me

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We find it very complicated to be in a stable relationship, seeing as our life patterns demonstrate someone loving us, remaining for a while and then abandoning us. We push and shove in response to our overwhelming emotions, trying to abandon you before you are able to abandon us. We constantly fear being left by the ones we love and we find it more beneficial to our emotional stability if we do it first. We convince ourselves that the blame cannot be put on us, even though we recall our behaviour later on and blame ourselves for causing you to leave.

We cannot live with you or without you, and it is a constant battle in our minds. We try to deduct whether it’s more beneficial to have you in our lives or not. At times, we think we have our mind made up, until we realize we want the opposite minutes later.

Think of the old concept introduced to kindergartners; “boys bully you because they like you.” (Extremely sexist, but wait for it.) BPD can sometimes make us act like those little boys. We do not have the means to express our affection to you, nor do we comprehend it, thus we violently lash out. We get the most violent with the ones we love and appreciate the most. It’s awful to say, but if we are treating you like this, we probably love you very, very much. We blame you for the potency of our emotions, and being loved is out ultimate fear. In response, subconsciously, we will cuss and push you away until you leave.

 

 

Emotional Instability, Intensities and Outbursts

A main symptom of the disorder is emotional instability and mood swings. As much as we may try to control our emotions, they always seem just past arms’ length. We go from ecstatic to depressed in moments, and it can leave us utterly exhausted. We struggle with the maintenance of any particular long term emotion; contentment can last a few hours and it can be followed by exaggerated anger.

In response to the ferocious mental storm, we violently react with outbursts and painful statements. We can become physically abusive as well as emotional and mental, trying to spike you with similar pain that we feel. Our outbursts can be brief or elongated, lasting up to a few hours. The extreme emotional implications can even lead us to self harm or a suicide attempt.

 

Sensitivity and Overreacting

It is no secret that we are on the more sensitive side of the spectrum of people. A comment you make that someone else could  disregard or be caught off guard can drive us into a frenzy. Our sensitivity is heightened along with our emotions and, though what we are hurt by may seem silly to you, it is very real and traumatizing to us. There are events and situations that we will not forget because of their extreme sensitivity content and the overload we felt.

An empty comment can be spun out of context with our skewed perception of reality, assuming you’ve observed a trait in us you don’t like, or we aren’t attractive enough, etc. and even if what we heard is not what you had said or what you intended, we create our own reality to make it true.

In retort, we may lash out or bawl, taking an extreme stance, and though it may seem like overreacting, it is valid to us and comprehensible. We felt so hurt by something and our only ability to cope is to lose it in one way or another.You may perceive it as unnecessary but it is our process for coping and we require love and support. In these times, we are in need of an apology and comfort from you.

 

Boredom and Emptiness

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Borderline is often unstable, with periods of highs and lows, and some switching quickly between the two. It keeps us very busy, I’m sure you can imagine. We are so encompassed in this constant whirlwind that, when it calms down, suddenly we are hit with boredom.

Boredom often gets misinterpreted in our minds as depression or sadness, and can evidently lead to self harm and suicidal behaviours. The stillness leads our thoughts in a negative direction, and the self-deprecating notions become repeated in our minds, woven one over the other. (“You’re useless.”, “You’re lazy”, “You never stop wasting your time.”) When nothing is going on and we are chaos free, we are unsure as to what we should do with ourselves, and we can sense a great deal of emptiness and dissatisfaction. Without being kept busy with a hobby, we misinterpret the boredom and the intensity escalates until we lose control and have an episode. We want to have that time and those feelings filled with activities that work our minds and keep our thought process busy. Without occupying the thought process, we can quickly become consumed by our own self hatred and low self esteem.

 

Relationship Struggles

The inability to maintain a stable relationship is very common. These relationships can be family oriented, friendships and romantic or sexual relationships.

A thing to remember is the sensitivities and intensities felt by an individual diagnosed with BPD; any comment made gets held to heart, whether it’s kind or mean. Your opinion is held at high standard and can make or break the individual’s day/week/month/year.

Being in a relationship, we often assume we will be left, being a common pattern we have been exposed to. We assume it is a life pattern that will always follow us, and instead of riding the waves, small or large with you, we subconsciously push you away and leave you before you can leave us. In our mind, it is a way to break the pattern; “you can’t leave me if I’ve already left you”. Any stillness in the relationship is perceived as boring and can somehow be misinterpreted by you not meeting our needs or not understanding us, or even not loving us enough. We have not been exposed to much relax and thus, do not have much experience with coping with it, but we do know chaos and roller coasters. In our inability to cope, we will take you for that ride down the slope.

We desperately want to have a happy relationship but we are not always in control, and to be loved. We face episodes where our mouthes and emotions completely disconnect from our morality and usual conversations. We do not want to hurt you, but we are terrified of being loved. It’s a foreign concept in our minds. We try to keep ourselves together but we loosen at the seams and become explosive. And at times, in our angry episodes, we want you angry too, because then we aren’t alone and you, too, are taking the roller coaster ride with us.

Despite the chaos and rides we will take you on, and as silly as it may sound, we do it because we love you.

 

Skewed Perception of Reality

Though reality is altered from one person to the next, most people are still living within the facts or slight exaggeration of them. With BPD, our reality is concentrated on emotions and fears. For example, if we are scared you will abandon us, we will act as if it is current and live in that chaos. Or, let’s say we feel ugly, we may assume that our loved ones believe it and torment ourselves to not feel this way. And if our fears aren’t real enough, we create them and make them reality.

Our perception of reality is often skewed and can confuse our surroundings. Though we may not be psychotics, we may have delusions and paranoia. They may not be the commonly known heard voices as seen in schizophrenics and patients with psychosis, but they alter our sense of reality and fog the facts.

Our assumptions can go from being just that and escalate to being “reality” as we associate clues and events to our prejudged conclusion. All of our clues, though inaccurate or unrelated, soon become the full reason or description for a situation.

A misheard sentence from your mouth can make us frantic; you may claim you said one thing but we heard another, and it wasn’t a good thing. Suddenly, we believe it; we have proof and evidence that it is all true and you meant what we thought we heard.

 

Identity Crises

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We lose touch with who we are in the process of understanding our disorder, mental illness and wanting to be someone entirely different. We may label ourselves as BEING the disorder or change from one type of person to the next. We act like chameleons and study our peers to be accepted and wanted by them. We perceive fitting in as a sense of validation and self worth. Some individuals will be entirely different when they are at home, compared to work, compared to with a romantic partner. We study and dictate what we want to put on show for specific people, trying to find a way to integrate and not be left.

We discern our being as unlovable, dictated by the demonstrations in our past, and we cannot imagine anybody loving us for our true selves, not to mention the chaos that is this disorder. We will hide behind as many masks and in as many costumes so that you may not break that barrier and unleash us out of our comfort zone. We would prefer putting our best traits on display.

 

Self Harm, Suicide and Threats

A common lead to diagnosis is self harm and suicidal tendencies. Many adolescents get diagnosed before they are deemed able to be diagnosed because of this, mixed with unstable teenage emotions that worsen in stages of puberty.

Self harm is our expression of the overwhelming emotions that overtake our bodies and minds. It is our way of physically creating our pain; painting it out, if you will. Self mutilation is not just the act of cutting, it also includes:

  • Burning
  • Starvation/Bingeing/Purging (Disordered Eating behaviours)
  • Scratching
  • Suicide attempts
  • Overdoses
  • Illegal and recreational drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Trichotillomania/Dermatillomania (and other Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours)
  • Etc.

Some of us do it to feel alive, others for control, on impulse, or to scare. (Whether a person is doing it to scare or for any other reason, it is still valid and still dictates a problem, just a different type of problem. In the end, it is still self mutilation, which is unleashing physical pain onto ourselves to cope with emotions.)

It is important to not judge the individual for this expression. It is a maladpative coping strategy and eventually grows to be addictive, as the acts release endorphins, tricking our brains. For the time being, it does work. It isn’t healthy, nor is it worth it, but the individual may have not come to that realization yet. Without desire to recover, it is still recognized as functional by the one self mutilating. Prying and trying to stop the behaviour can worsen the outcome, leading them into intense emotions where they feel they may have to do it again to find release.

Trying to be understanding and supportive, offering positive coping strategies,  hobbiesroutine and helping to create a coping kit with them can guide them on the right path. It will take a lot of time, but the diagnosed BPD patient must eventually learn to self regulate and should be granted years for this process.

Though we may not be trying to kill ourselves by using these negative coping strategies, they can have negative repercussions. The beahviours can become quite severe and may require medical attention, which is important to seek out when needed. The emotions we feel can escalate drastically, requiring us to get stitches or getting our stomach’s pumped, and should be supervised. It is important to ensure all wounds are kept clean and are covered to avoid STDs and other blood transmitted diseases.

Suicide attempts and threats should be taken very seriously, but it is very crucial to note that mental health professionals prefer to avoid hospitalizations for us and so, we can be left on our own. Many of us do not properly use hospital stays properly, often getting involved in other people’s problems or becoming aggressive with staff, feeling the assistance is unhelpful, and disrupting other people’s stays. It is a very sad truth, and we may be turned away when requesting to be hospitalized for these reasons. (It is also very important to recognize that being turned away can spiral emotions downwards, and skewing their perception of reality. They may think “Well, if they don’t think I’m suicidal enough, I’ll prove it.”, and this can be a very dangerous thought process. Ultimately, it is preferred to avoid trying to get hospitalized, which will lessen the trauma.)

The threats can be made to express great deal of distress and serious desire to take one’s life, and it can also be to scare and receive sympathy from loved ones and medical attention. The emotions are intense, and we may threat when they have escalated passed our capacity of withholding them. To us, it is very real. We truly believe we are ready to take our own lives, and though it may be a threat and we may not fully act upon it, our feelings are serious and can lead to the act if overwhelmed.

They will need extra support and will require professional attention from a counselor or therapist who is knowledgeable in  Borderline. Offer support, do not fall into stigma and try to be understanding of the chaos.

 

It is a Disorder but we are NOT Hopeless

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Though this is a long lasting disorder, we CAN recover. The recovery path consists of self regulation and understanding. We must practice mindfulness and positive coping strategies to keep ourselves in line. We are not entirely in control of the behaviours; they are just learned patterns. The treatment of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy will offer us the tools to acquire that content and stable life.

A popular choice for those who cannot afford, nor find a professional or service that specializes in DBT can look into the Out of Control; DBT CBT Workbook, which offers diagrams, activities and simple explanations to many, if not all, common Borderline Personality Disorder behaviours. The tools must be continuously practiced, or relapse is inevitable to occur.

Many will give up on us, but I can assure you that if you stick around to watch us get better, you will not regret it. One day, we will know peace, stability and even happiness, as long as we work hard at it.