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Dear Ana

dear ana, anorexia, eating disorder, ed, ednos, osfed, recovery, sloth speed recovery, www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com

My dearest Ana,

What are you doing to me? You are driving me insane. Every waking moment is torment. I miss you more than I’ve ever missed anyone. You’re fading from my life and I am terrified.

I have somehow reclaimed my body back, restored my weight, my happiness and my life, but something is missing, and it’s you. Everyday, I’m full of food, but missing you, and I can see you fighting our distance. I can feel your desperation to stay in my life; your claws digging deeper as you’re being sucked away from me.

I want to lend my hand out, and pull you back in, but I’m being told you’re no good for me, and I believe it. Hell, I think so, too. How can I trust you? You’ve stolen my livelihood, my teenage years and ripped pieces of me I didn’t know could be removed. You had me withering away; bones and flesh, swimming in loose jeans.

You didn’t just steal my shape from me, you stole my ability to eat and to function. No more could I sit and enjoy a meal; every meal was a challenge. Counting, measuring, feeling, chewing. And you convinced me it was normal. As long as I ate, I was okay. But, I wasn’t, and you made me believe my body was the problem, when really, the problem was your existence.

We met when I was very young; starring my body in the mirror as it stood in line with my fellow dancers. You criticized me at the mere age of 6. Every inch of my body was unacceptable in your eyes, and no one told me you were wrong. Everyone else followed the same philosophy; thin, thin, THIN. Why didn’t you let me grow up like other little girls got to? Why did you interrupt what was supposed to be the simplest, happiest moments of my life? Why did you make me doubt myself, and compare myself when there was nothing but happiness that should’ve been compared at that age?

You made me weigh my body before I could understand what a pound was. You told me being heavier than the girls around me was the worst thing I could be, and made me blurt my number out in groups, trying to see if I was the thinnest. And when I wasn’t, you made sure I knew. You made sure I doubted my body and my ability to exist, because suddenly, I wasn’t perfect, and it was apparent to myself and the ones around me. I needed to be thinner.

You were winning when my father and I were fighting at the mere age of 12, and he would throw me over his shoulder until my blood had turned my face red and purple. He would chase me around the house as we yelled at each other, make threats to call the police or throw me in a mental ward. He laid his hands on me and tried to throw me down the equivalent of 3 flights of cement stairs. He cornered me and tried to punch me with his large, powerful fists. He would lock me alone in a bedroom that wasn’t mine, to cry and moan for a better day, and refuse my dinner. That is when you won, and when we got well acquainted.

At 14, you became my best friend, and I listened to your words as if they were gospel. We stayed up late through the nights, starring at emaciated bodies that were begging for their revival as if it were pornography. Those girls aroused you as gas does to fire, as lighting does to an empty ocean, as catastrophe does to me. You sat with me, gun to skull, as I scrolled through images and rules and websites that should’ve been banned. You told me this is what I wanted; that this was the answer, and one day, you’d give it to me. You’d give me the goal, and I would get there; dead or alive.

You taught me my mom and dad would never love me, and maybe if I lost a few pounds, they’d notice or they would change their minds about pushing me aside. Maybe they would come to their senses and stop tossing me around like a useless pawn. I was a overly played game, used a billion times over.

“She needs our help.” My mother would cry.

“She’s fine.” My father would flatly respond.

I’m winning, you responded.

We danced the tango, my hand in yours, our limbs intertwining as we made sweet love under broken light bulbs, dancing to my screams. My wrists were handcuffed to you, and though I tried to spin and twirl away from your grasp, you were still able to pull me in and dip me. You’d plant a kiss on my lips; your lips so blue and cold, sucking the breath right out of my lungs.

A meal before us was place for our secret conversations.

“What can I eat?”

Nothing. If you eat, I’ll make sure you pay for it later, you fat pig.

“But, I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten in 36 hours. I have school work due. I need my energy…”

The only thing you need is to shut the fuck up, learn your fucking lesson and quit being a greedy whore.

We carefully decided on pieces that were edible, delicately carving out bite sized pieces that we could take in to convince the ones around me that I was, in fact, okay. Counting what could be counted, drank water to fill the void you created, and fought through every meal like food were grenades thrown at us by our arch nemeses. Scanning cubberts like professionals, labeling different foods under various labels. “Healthy, unhealthy, binge food, NEVER TOUCH AGAIN.” Sat in front of it like it were our God, praying for it to free me from its contents. And when I couldn’t fight the hunger, I binged, and was left devastated, weeping by a toilet or in front of a mirror.

You reminded me of my failure, and I promised I’d fight harder tomorrow.

We’d creep up the stairs in the early hours of the morning, relieve ourselves and step on the cold scale with my decaying body. I thought I was heavy, but truly, the heaviest burden in my life was you.

We would embrace my protruding bones, and they were the lullabies that put me at ease before I went to sleep; singing songs of empty promises for a better tomorrow. A tomorrow where I’d be thinner.

I thought pills and cuts would help and take away the pain you were causing, but it only created new doors for you to seep in.

I tried to fight you. Ana, I hated you. But, when things were too hard, you always came back and promised to give me another shot, I’d just have to try harder or you would leave.

You kept coming back, holding my hand as tight as possible. I trusted you. I loved you. And more than anything, I wanted to please you.

One of our notable successes was my 48 hour fast, but you weren’t proud of me. I thought it would please you, but the binge that followed disappointed you more than I could imagine.

That 2013 summer, age 15, we were like lovers. Everything I did was to honour your name, and I’m sure the amount of food I ate that summer was under a 1/4 of the minimum I needed. You exerted my already exhausted body as I traveled quickly on rollerblades, leaving me feint under the hot summer sun, starving for something more than food. We spent hours in the gym, trying to hide my hideous frame from eyes that did not deserve to see horror, as I focused in a corner on the treadmill, dreaming of the day I could be completely yours.

We remained together as you taught me new lessons only the most twisted creature could create, and we knew we’d never be apart.

I was 18, about to graduate high school, and you must’ve convinced me a diet could somehow save me. You coaxed me into thinking that this could work; that this could be the answer to our clashing dilemmas. I followed at the wave of your fingertip. You owned me.

We followed the rules, and pushed them to their limits. You noticed quick results, and you came for the kill. You took over my body. Food portions continued to shrink along with my size, and it was the first time you manifested yourself into me physically. Rapidly, I became a skeleton, and I had never been more miserable.

For years, I had dreamed of this. I thought I’d be my happiest, but I wasn’t.

We had to measure the things I ate, counting every calorie possible, trying to reduce it to nothing. I spent my waking hours working towards killing myself, and you were the facilitator. Looking at my frail and minuscule frame continued to remind me how in control you were, and how out of control I was.

My eyes were hollow from the torment you were forcing me through. The lack of nutrition left me weak and restless, unable to rest. My boyfriend desperately trying to make me see you for who you really are, and my defiance of his efforts. I insisted you were good, and that I loved you.

I remember this undying love for you and how treacherous that was for me. My love for you was going to rob me of my own body; of my own life. And there is nothing you could promise me for me to ever trust you again.

You were feeding on my life. You were so close to killing me. You almost won.

But, you didn’t. I found recovery. I found happiness, self-worth and stability. I am so close to beating you, to burying you, to kissing you goodbye with a great big punch to the face.

And, I can see you trying to come back, trying to dig your claws into me like you had once done, but I won’t turn back. I’m heading in a direction that doesn’t include you, and don’t think you will ever be invited.

I have never been happier, and I know it kills you to know that, Ana.

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How I Overcame a Binge

how i overcame a binge, binging purging starvation laxative abuse, eating disorder, www.slothspeedrecover.wordpress.com, sloth speed recovery

Last night, with the combination of moving and Eating Disorder Outpatient Recovery stress, I found myself wanting to turn to something to feel better. All I’ve known in regards to coping for several years was food control and self-harm. It was a vigorous cycle that never ended with good results, and though I thought I was in control, I had never been more out of control in my life. I would either restrict enormous amounts of food, or turn to eating as a coping strategy.

I was sitting at my desk, talking to my boyfriend. I could feel myself being hungry, but I was crying hard. I was run-down from the go-go-go of my life, and how everything seems to crash down on me. On days like that, I would usually go buy an overpriced bag of chips, consume the whole bag and rid myself of it. But, I couldn’t let myself do that; not in recovery.

This recovery isn’t just about learning how to eat properly again, but to learn not to use food as a coping tool. Food is to nourish the body; not to punish.

For the first time in my life, I admitted to someone that I felt like binging. I used to be too humiliated to speak a word of it. I let my walls come down and confessed to the craving I was having. It was an important first step.

I was hungry, so I couldn’t just not eat, because that would be falling into my restrictive habits; I had to find what my balance was, and how I could avoid losing control.

How did I get through my urge to binge?


I told someone. I took the first step and admitted the urge I had to fall into that coping behaviour. I was up-front with my loved one and asked for their help.

I talked out my feelings and the cause. I told him why I was having those feelings; I felt my life was falling apart all around me. I’m in the process of moving, I have appointments nearly everyday next week, I’m in an outpatient eating disorder recovery program that’s opening up old wounds, etc. It’s important to assess the root cause of those emotions, and why they’re coming up. Write it down, talk it out; I did what I had to do to get through the rough patch.

Because I was hungry, I ate. During most of my urges to binge, I am not usually hungry, but this time I was. I was treading on thin ice; I didn’t want to slip up. I had to be fed, but couldn’t use it to control my emotions. I couldn’t retaliate a binge by starving myself; that wouldn’t be following my recovery plan.

I decided to eat, and assess during if I was still hungry, and I paced myself.

I was mindful when I ate. I kept checking in with myself to make sure I wasn’t doing it to cope. I checked if I was still hungry. And, in retaliation to wanting to starve myself, I finished the plate because I knew I needed it.

I didn’t punish myself. I usually use compensatory behaviour to punish myself for eating, and in recovery, that isn’t an option. I made sure to keep the food down and understand that I ate to nourish myself, not to punish myself.


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I am nowhere near perfect or fully recovered; but I wanted to share how I got through that specific urge to binge. I’m sure in 6 months, I’ll be much healthier and have a more skilled way of getting through it.

I do think it’s important we assess why we want to binge, and where the desire is coming from, and I want to continue assessing that, and becoming mindful of my urges.

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10 Ways to Prepare for Eating Disorder Recovery

10 ways to prepare for eating disorder recovery, sloth speed recovery, www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com

Eating Disorders are difficult to recover from because they’re characterized by disturbed eating habits and rituals, that are consistently repeated, resulting in habitual behaviour. Trying to break this pattern may be complicated due to food being apart of everyday life and a source of nutrition; being unavoidable. We are constantly exposed to foods that we may not be comfortable around or feel are safe to consume, and we may struggle with breaking habits and routine.

Everyday is a challenge, but with these steps forward, we may see an end to our eating disorder.


 

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Admit to the Problem. There will never be an end to the problem if we cannot admit it. It begins with ourselves, followed by our closest friends and family, and finally, the professionals. We should expect tears and hard times from this confession, but must remember that this is the start of something new. Be prepared for it to be an excruciating experience, with an outstandingly beautiful outcome.

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Seek Professional Help and Build a Support System. During this difficult time, you will need the encouragement and love of the people that mean the most to you, and the professionals that have been educated on your disorder along with the recovery methods. These people will able to aid the construction of  your safety plan, make lists of friends to communicate with and map out coping mechanisms to remain on the recovery path.

Professionals will be able to help with your next steps, whether that be group therapy, eating disorder clinics, meal plans, one-on-one therapy sessions or other options. Try to remain open-minded because, these people are only there to help you.

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Don’t Try to Physically Prove Your Eating Disorder. The recovery process can prove difficult when you feel your body mass does not reflect your eating disorder. It is important to recall that your body weight is not the sole evidence or validity of an eating disorder. They are mental illnesses, characterized by a perception of self and food, and not the gap between ones’ thighs.

Do not try to conform your disorder and recovery to that of someone else. Every person is unique, along with their respective disorder, and you should not be trying to emulate anyone else. The focus is you and your recovery; not that of a popular Instagram star.

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Be Uncomfortable. Put yourself in situations that you never wanted to face. Go out to that fast food joint with your friends like you’ve been wishing to visit for years; eat in public; let yourself eat “unsafe” foods. This process is about breaking rituals and routines, and to do so, you have to go places and do things out of routine or your comfort zone.

Be logical. Do not expect yourself to eat a burger, fries and drink non-diet soda in your first outing, as it may be overwhelming and throw off your recovery. Take baby steps whilst continuing to progress. Go at your pace.

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Don’t Hide Any Feelings from Your Supports. If you are struggling to eat a meal, and your friend confronts you, don’t pretend your refusal is from a tummy ache. Be upfront and tell them that this specific meal is very hard for you, and that you will need time and patience to conquer it.

When you feel upset about your body, or sense a relapse occurring, speak up. Voice your feelings of lack of control and be honest regarding the trigger. Keep open communication and always be honest.

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Be Strict with Your Boundaries. Do not let someone disturbed drag you back into your disordered eating habits. There are people who will want to discourage you, act as if you look healthy and don’t need recovery, but they are wrong (according to you, your loved ones and medical professionals). If they are a disturbance to your recovery, you need to cut them out and no longer give them the time of day.

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Don’t Let Yourself Skip Out on Important Appointments. It doesn’t matter if there’s a concert or a cool party, you cannot skip out on important therapy sessions and clinic dates. You will be diservicing yourself, and nobody wants you to do that.

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Relapse Is Practically Inevitable. Be rational and expect there to be difficult times, relapses and feelings of regret regarding confession, but you must remember that you do not want to live like this anymore. Your eating disorder was never a friend or a healthy process, and it wants to destroy you. The best thing you can do for yourself is fight it.

Ride the relapse thoughts and behaviours, challenging it at every chance you get. Do not let yourself spiral. Keep your recovery in control, and consistently remind yourself the reasons you chose recovery.

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Loving Your Body Will Not Be An Everyday Occurrence. Some days, you will look in the mirror, proud of the weight you’ve gained and the way it looks on your frame, and other days, it will be your biggest nightmare. Understand that those negative feelings regarding your body are fueled by the eating disorder, and not a healthy mind. Your body is beautiful, it’s healthy and it’s on its way to recovery.

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You Are Not in a Race; Pace Yourself. Do not let yourself be affected by the hoards of others in recovery. They are not you, their experiences and feelings are different, and their recovery will reflect this diversity. You cannot expect yourself to attain a goal made for someone else. This recovery is yours, and yours alone. It is not a competition, it is not a race; it is your life.


You cannot expect perfection in a process like this. Be reasonable, be understanding of your limitations and goals, and don’t give up for anybody or anything.

Remember; you will recover and this eating disorder will be history.