NEDA Week 2019 Roundup
NEDA Week 2019 was one where my thoughts were all over the place. Instead of posting a caption with a recovery tip once a day, I let what I wanted to say flow to me. And I think that these captions are still important and have the power to either just reach people who are struggling to make them feel less alone, or to push someone to make a change.
Full posts were the week of February 25th on my feed if you want to see them, but the captions I will post below. They’re long, but worth a read.
I was quiet about my eating disorder for 4 years following my initial diagnosis. And looking back, I think it was because although I weight restored, I wasn’t fully healed.
I actually posted on my personal Instagram during NEDA week 2015 and “came out” about it, saying how I had had it, which obviously the people who knew me knew without my saying.
What I didn’t know was that I was back in the same spiral at that moment I posted. Just a few months later I’d be back down to close to my lowest weight and go through another summer of eating a 💩 ton and not seeing the sun as a result of spending all my time in intensive outpatient care. I’d be threatened with not going to study abroad. Basically I was about to relive the whole “nightmare.”
But the second time I’d get better for good, I’d treat the root of my issues and not just put a bandaid over my disorder with gaining some weight. I’d go on medicine and give my all in therapy and find an RD who could meet me where i was. And I think that being open about my disorder has helped me to stay recovered and stay motivated to get better every day.
I’m greeted with shock most of the time when people find out how open I am about my disorder, and they act like it’s so brave, when it actually has probably been one of the most important things in keeping me from falling back.
Awareness is crucial in being able to change the stereotypes and assumptions about eating disorders, and so NEDA week is always something I’m all for.
Last year I shared something that helped me in my recovery each day through the week, which I have saved in my “recovery” highlight if you’re interested. I also have blog posts on my ED story, my top tips for recovery, and tips for how to take in the social media we see each day in a way that won’t fuel a disordered mindset. I post frequently with captions that take time and effort to write about all of the above and more.
This year I won’t be putting out a tip into my captions everyday, but my DMs are always open and NEDA week is still as important as ever to me- maybe even more now that I can use it to help others and not just myself.
I hated everything about my ed. Hated the way it seemed like the only reason I’d get about of bed was because i knew i could go back into it later. Hated how i wanted so badly to EAT, but my mind possessed with Ed wouldn’t even entertain the thought. Hated how instead I’d settle on an 80cal yogurt eaten with the back of the spoon.
Hated how i couldn’t focus. How i seemed to be losing the brain id always been proud of. How i couldn’t go hang out with friends because they’d probably eat and nothing would be “safe” for me to eat. How i lost most of said friends. How instead id sit in my room by the space heater under my electric blanket and wait for another day to pass. How I wasted years.
Hated how it made me run and run and run when there was nothing to run on.
Hated how it made me mean. Hated how it impacted my family. how my mom cried when she put me on a scale.
Hated the way my thighs were so small I could wrap my hands around to touch. Hated how my bones protruded. How a boy poked a bone sticking out of my shoulder and said “ew.” Hated how i was stared at in public and the comments people made to me. Hated how I could feel my heart struggling and feel frequent waves of dizziness.
But most of all hated that despite all of this and more I didn’t want to recover. Even if I’d wanted to, i couldn’t “just stop.” Hated the twisted sense of satisfaction i got from all of this because i was doing something “well.” and that’s how I know that my ED was not me. It was something that took me over and that I had to separate myself from in order to heal.
You are not your ed, and your ed is not you.
my past of an ed still doesn’t define who I am. It is something I’ve been through and something I’ll continue to share about because I know it can help others, but it isn’t my whole life.
Memorial Day 2011:
I wake up early for the parade- we’re having a bake sale for my relay for life team and this is the most social I will have been outside of school/ tennis in months.
I pull on my smallest pair of Jean shorts and realize that these too, although i bought them a month ago because none of my others fit anymore, have become baggy.
I go downstairs and grab a yogurt. My parents try to get me to eat something else but “I’m not that hungry.”
I get to the parade and I’m cold and wish I’d brought a sweatshirt. Everyone else is hot. It’s late May.
We stop at Cumberland farms and my friends all get blue slushees. I “don’t like slushees.”
My stomach growls as we walk up and down the streets selling our baked goods. My friends all eat one or two, I “don’t like baked goods.” At least I’m able to walk around though, I’ve already been told told by my parents I need to gain weight or they’ll take me to a doctor, and I haven’t been exercising much now that tennis season is over. Tennis doesn’t really *count* as exercise though.
We walk to my grandmas who lives near downtown and she’s made homemade pizzas for us. But I “don’t like pizza” and “am not very hungry.” Instead I eat the only type of wrap I’ll eat- which my grandma went out to buy specifically for me, and one slice of turkey.
I’m miserable. I’m sick.
Memorial Day 2018:
I wake up early because I’m excited. Erik’s visiting and we’re hanging out with Madison today.
I put on a bathing suit and some clothes over it.
I head into the kitchen to make breakfast for Erik and me. I don’t even remember what because food wasn’t at the forefront of my mind.
It’s hot out wow.
The 3 of us get Mexican food and margaritas because we’re hungry and it’s a day off!!!
We buy beers and sit by the pool.
Hours pass and the most movement we do is between chairs and the pool, until we realize we’re hungry.
We go get pizza. It’s good.
We laugh so much that day doing stupid stuff my stomach hurts. And it’s not the hurt of being empty.
I’m happy. I’m free.
There’s no straight answer to the question of how I recovered. In all honesty sometimes I feel weird even saying I’m “recovered,” because what does that even really mean? Does it mean I am always now like I was pre ED? Because if that were the case then I wouldn’t be recovered. I think it means something more along the lines of I can still have thoughts that in the past would have sparked disordered behavior, but these thoughts are much less frequent. They are quieter. They are no longer all consuming. And when I do have them now, I have the ability to push them away and not act on them.
Sharing some schools of thought that have helped me most in my recovery:
💚denying your body’s need for food is like denying any other basic need- water, breath, sleep, etc.
💚seeking professional help is not frowned upon and is often needed.
💚treat yourself like you would a best friend.
💚you can’t live a full life on an empty stomach.
💚acting on ed thoughts will do no good.
💚separate yourself from ed thoughts. They are not you.
💚in the end, you’re the only one who can lead yourself to freedom. You have to want it and nobody but you can convince yourself that you want it.
You’re worthy, you always have been, and you always will be.
You’re worthy of getting help no matter what your eating disorder looks like.
You’re worthy of telling your story always.
You’re worthy of support from others.
Disorders and obsessions surrounding food (but rooted in something deeper than food) are arguably some of the hardest to overcome because avoidance just isn’t an option. We must face food every day, multiple times a day.
And you’re so strong for choosing to fight off whatever demons you suffer from- anorexia, bulimia, BED, EDNOS, etc etc etc+++++++ everyday.
We are all in this together!!!!! ( 🎶 and it shows, when we stand, hand in hand 🎶 lol)
NEDA Week 2019- Come as you are