Why I Haven’t, Won’t, and Don’t Plan on Keeping my Eating Disorder from my Little Sister.

Involving family in your recovery is probably a good idea if it is beneficial, but what if that family is your little sister who is 12 years younger than you? Is that too young to involve your sister in your eating disorder and your recovery?

I didn’t keep the fact that I have an eating disorder secret while in recovery.

My sister came with me the day I was admitted, she came to two of my family weekends, and after meals she would sometimes accompany me to the bathroom, where we would sing songs and laugh.

Why would I involve my 12 year old sister in something that could be so raw and vulnerable you might ask.

Her life currently consists of pointe, competitions, and teaching ballet to little kids.

She could very well be in my shoes in a few short years and is susceptible to also struggling with an eating disorder.

If there is the possibility that she could struggle, I want to be honest and open with her about my struggles so she can acknowledge it before it consumes her. That doesn’t mean she won’t hide it, or is sheltered from it, but knowing that it is okay to talk about it and seek help if her eating or thought process becomes disordered.

I reassure her that eating when you are hungry is great. That it is necessary to eat before and/or after practice. That there isn’t “good” or “bad” foods, that regardless if our mom eats, or what she eats, we need to eat and be okay with it. When your sister makes comments like, “Mom can eat whatever she wants, and always stays so tiny.” You know it is crucial to reinforce the thoughts that it doesn’t matter and you need to fuel your body.

Rather than silently suffering for years like I did, and denying I ever had a problem, I want her to be able to speak up, allow me to help, and attempt to nip it in the bud before it overgrows inside of her.

That is why I choose to involve my little sister in something that could be considered taboo or shameful. I want my sister to realize there is not guilt or shame in suffering, and being open with your struggles, and an eating disorder is nothing to be ashamed of or silent about.

Ella and the Non Verbal Child

Friends of mine typically know two things about me: I have a three legged dog, and my typical, daily extreme dislike of people.
Today was different, since it was raining Ella and I didn’t do our normal routine of going to the dog park. Instead, I spent over an hour in That Pet Place. The look of fear I get from some people due to the fact that Ella is a German Sheperd kills me. She is the sweetest baby ever, but yet people still avoid the two of us, as if somehow Ella is going to viciously go after them and their small children.


I met a mom and her two kids, one of her daughters has nonverbal autism, seizures, and cerebral palsy. Seeing that Ella had three legs, the mom made a statement of her daughter and Ella both having disabilities.


The daughter, Bri, quickly fell in love with Ella. She copied Ella by panting with her tongue out, squealed, held Ella’s tail, pet her ears, and shook with excitement when Ella soaked her face with kisses.

Was I scared that Bri would reach for Ella and was going to fall out of her wheelchair onto the floor?

No….. I was terrified.

Image may contain: one or more people and dog

I knew my dog better than anybody in that store, and knew nothing would happen. I could feel my anxiety rising, I hated being out, in stores, around people and my very vocal dog for any amount of time. I lived for the fact that I could run in and out of stores by the time most parents got their kids out of their car seat.


This family and I walked around the store for about an hour, letting the other daughter walk Ella, while we trailed behind. Listening to the excited squeals coming from both Ella and Bri. This was an amazing rainy Saturday, that warmed my heart as I watched this little girl shake, squeal, laugh and reach for Ella out of pure joy.

This was the Saturday that absolutely melted my heart.

Trusting The Process With a Trust Problem

If not now, then when?

The question was enough to fuel my morning drive to work.

Recovery has been filling my mind and thoughts, probably more than it should.

Life is going great, I have no more stress than the next person,

A good job                                          an awesome dog

A warm apartment                          a running car                      supportive friends

Coffee                                                  benefits                               paid time off

The ability to run

Why does my recovery want to take a sudden stop?

I don’t think it was sudden, it never is, but the restricting became more and more, until my list of foods was as depleted as my ability to fight ED off.

I’ve begun seeing a nutritionist, after months and months of putting it off, not wanting to go, etc. I like her, she is a believer and advocate of HAES, believes in intuitive eating. Overall, I have enjoyed the experience.

Yet the battle in my head is still raging.

It isn’t as easy as the “talking back” that I hear others talk about so frequently. No, for me, it has to be factual.

Which kinda fueled the internal dialogue this morning.

On more than one occasion I have been in a room of people struggling with their Eating Disorders, whether it be in treatment, support groups, wherever.

I look around, (and no, this is not going where you think it is going), and sometimes I am almost the oldest in the room, sometimes I am practically the youngest. When I am at the upper range of age I remember being their age, being so filled of denial, and so full of my eating disorder.

When there are people much older than me, I think of that is how I want my life to be at their age?

Should my life be focused on my body and eating disorder when:

I have kids

Get married

Start another job

My kids are grown up

My siblings get married

So, if not now, then when?

I also have “Trust the Process” tattooed on my wrist, to remind me of recovery.

I’m struggling with following my meal plan given to me, and it is so difficult to listen to my body when I am hungry and not feel the need to run first in order to “earn” the food that my body needs.

I am telling myself that I wouldn’t want someone to tell/question me on how to do my job, so then why am I questioning and fighting her so much?

She knows what she is talking about and is on my side, so why am I fighting her?

I need to focus on Trusting the Process.

I may not always enjoy it or find it easy, but I’ve been here before.

Update

Hello All!!

I have been completely MIA for a while.

Life has been crazy, but also crazy great.

I plan on starting blogging again, but quick update.

 

I received two promotions at my job, so I am not a Biochemist Scientist specializing in HPLC work.

I am in the process of becoming a foster parent, and am now on the hunt for a bigger place.

I also began seeing a nutritionist because I have been struggling with ED again, and I really like her.

 

Overall, life is going really great!

 

Trust the Process

xoxoxoxo

Invalidating Before and After

 

With Eating Disorder Awareness week slowly but surely creeping up, there has been something that has really been bothering me.

 

The fucking before and after pictures.

 

I realize, that for some, they can be helpful. You can see how far people have come, the weight they have put on, etc.

 

For some though, it is a complete and total nightmare. Can we quit glamorizing the before and after pictures??! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LOOK LIKE THOSE PICTURES TO BE WORTHY OF RECOVERY.

 

YOUR WEIGHT DOES NOT INVALIDATE YOUR NEED FOR HELP!

 

I was one of those people who saw emaciated people and wished to look like that. I wanted so badly to be tiny like “those girls”. That was also my justification for not needing treatment. “I wasn’t THAT small.” “I didn’t look like THAT.” So in my mind, it made me less worthy of recovery.

 

As if somehow, my weight had a direct correlation on the amount of pain and suffering I had gone through.

 

Those before and after pictures do nothing but add to the stigma of how you are “supposed to look”

 

Hungry *Warning: calorie/carb counting*

Why, why don’t I want to eat? I’m hungry, I know I need to, but I just don’t want to. Nothing sounds appealing. My stomach is growling though.

I take out my phone and go to My Fitness Pal; I type in the Larabar I ate, considering it “breakfast”, but who really knows what it is, and does it even matter?

I’m hungry, but I feel like I just ate. Maybe I’ll drink a little water. No, a lot of water.

I eye the speckled banana on my desk and type it in, considering that “lunch”. It immediately calculates the calories, the 19 g of sugar and the 30 g of carbs.

I’m hungry, but not that hungry. Not 30g of carbs hungry. Not 19g of sugar hungry.

Is it fear? Am I worried about foster care? Am I afraid I’m gonna gain weight?

Why am I afraid of carbs? What has happened lately to set me into this cycle?

It doesn’t make sense. It never makes sense.

I’m hungry, and now I’m out of water.

Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes

 I sat at work, at 5:30 in the morning, and saw my sister had shared this video. As I watched it, I just began to become more and more enraged.

Money or not, that should not dictate our character.

There is a double standard, not only from a political standpoint, but also gender. It is okay for Kanye to run his mouth in public in support of a political leader, and nobody bats an eye. Yet when a well respected woman states her opinion the entire world goes freaking out.

Yes, Meryl Streep may have said that she was a normal person, but what is “normal”?

I think what she meant, is even though she has money and is well off, she is not a xenophobic, homophobic, misogynist pig. Her money, worth, fame, is something she worked for, and she uses it in a productive way, much like Angelina Jolie. She doesn’t let it dictate her behavior or morals.

Not to mention the white privilege this reporter is showing. A blonde, attractive, white woman, running her mouth with no consequences. That, sister, is white, thin privilege.

This was not one of Kanye’s concerts, that you had to pay for in order to listen to his political support. This was an award ceremony, if you will, of which Meryl Streep had been awarded an honor, and took her time to make a speech using her opinions! If this had been a middle aged white male supporting Trump. Nobody would have said Shit.

Millennials and Adulthood

I think one of the most infuriating things about being a “Millennial” is the fact that the generation before us doesn’t seem to take us seriously.

Hearing comments from the Baby Boomers and Generation X like, “Welcome to Adulthood” “Adulthood isn’t all it has cracked up to be, has it?”, or the ever sarcastic, unwanted invitation of, “Welcome to the real world”. As if our struggles through finals week, in college was all just a bad hallucinogen trip.

We are put into a category of “entitled”, “lazy”, “selfish”, the list goes on and on, and yet, seldom do we fit this tight narrow minded view of ourselves. With these confounded credit cards, and the debt we had dug our way into trying to afford an education.

Not to mention the technology we are so attached to, neglecting the fact that we may, in fact, be checking work email, or comforting a friend whose parents don’t understand their mental illness.

It isn’t that we are failing expectations of past generations, or that we are somehow unsuited to grow into adulthood without past generations’ supervision, it is that we are different.

Our goal is no longer to be married with kids by the time we are 20. It isn’t that we don’t want a good house, car or job, but it has become exponentially more difficult. Healthcare prices, cars, education, housing, everything has increased in price. As Millennials, it is our decision to choose what necessities we actually “need”, and what gets cut off the list. Some continue to live with their parents, some decide to rely on other modes of transportation, we try and stay on our parents’ insurance for as long as possible.

We sit and do the math, living paycheck to paycheck, wondering what should be paid first and what can wait a little while longer. The decisions from past generations impacted where Millennials are today, but they don’t want to admit that. The fact that prices didn’t change overnight, and the adults that were supposed to be looking out for future generations didn’t screw us over….well guess what, you did.

I feel to be one of the few, one of the blessed. I graduated college on a scholarship. Got a full time job, with benefits, right out of college in the field I studied for. My apartment is small, drafty and expensive, but it has hot water, carpet, and everything else I could want. I am able to see my therapist every week, and it not costing me an arm and a leg.

This too, did not happen overnight. Baby Boomers and Gen X, you don’t get to take credit for my accomplishments, when you are the reason I had to work so hard to overcome it. I live paycheck to paycheck, I also work ~100 hours every two weeks, so it is not for a lack of trying. It is that no matter how hard I try, I can’t get ahead.

So next time you call us lazy, selfish, and entitled, I want you to look around. If you are at work, I bet there is a Millennial close by trying to get ahead. If you are at the coffee shop, I bet the barista behind the counter is a Millennial, trying to pay her rent, or car, while going to school.

 

Hoe, Hoe, Hoe

What do you say when your grandmother brings her married boyfriend over for Christmas?

Trick question.

              Nothing.

                       You say nothing.

                                          But you do get very, very drunk.

 

So, let me paint the scenario for you. My grandmother had invited herself over, and had decided as well that she was going to bring her boyfriend.

My sister and I ran to the store, she wanted needed hummus and I needed wanted wine. We come home, and my dog decided to get in the trash. I carry up the much needed items, which magically also included Ben and Jerry’s Almond milk ice cream too. Then went to clean up the trash.

Then I hear the car.

I gathered myself, regretting that I hadn’t downed the entire bottle of wine the moment I stepped foot in the house. I took a deep breath for composure, and walked into the line of sight.

Grandma tried to get me to hug the strange man, I nicely declined, claiming, “Looks like he has his arms full.”

The moment we were back in the house I dug through the drawers searching for the corkscrew, which seems to only make its appearance when I come home. I poured red wine into a very large coffee mug, trying to be slightly discreet, hoping grandma wouldn’t notice I needed to be intoxicated to deal with her. Walking down the hallway I run into my mom. I offer her the mug of wine. She quickly inhales half of it. My brother walks around the corner and inhales the rest. Here I stand, still sober as a judge.

I quickly inhaled red wine, and could feel it in no time at all, being on an empty stomach.

Grandma doing the fake laugh, I could hear her mumbling and talking shit from the kitchen. I was pouring myself another mug of wine.

Her boyfriend, whom I didn’t care enough for to even learn his name was not only still married, but was 12 years younger than her, and was a condescending prick.

Granted, I don’t even know how to describe what I do for a living without sounding pretentious, but he was just being a smug prick.

In no time at all mom and grandma were picking a fight about all of grandma’s boyfriends. Grandma was talking trash about our family. What’s-His-Fuck has to butt in with his two sense that nobody wanted or asked for.

With that my brother and I snuck off to get some air, as the wine was still flowing through my system.

I hadn’t been that drunk in a long time. I remember sitting on my brother’s floor eating a Larabar. Talking about our trashy grandmother, and her weird creep boyfriend, and having a midlife crisis about what to do with my life.

My brother went to the living room briefly, and came back to his room, informing me they had left.

With mumbled words, I asked if I should go hurry and say goodbye. He said not to worry about it.

The feeling of disbelief and confusion came over me.

In almost the same way as telling someone, “I went home for Christmas and it was chaotic. My grandmother brought her married boyfriend over.” He responded, “I understand.”