Relapse.

Relapse.

*Trigger Warning– this post contains a vague description of an eating disorder relapse*

Lemme take you back 3 1/2 years. 

I ran my fingertips along the cold tile bathroom floor. It was kind of dirty. It was a college dorm, so we weren’t exactly on our A-game with cleaning. I didn’t care. I continued running my fingertips, tracing the tiles as I went. Weighing my options.

It’s a humbling moment when you find yourself sitting on a dirty bathroom floor in front of a toilet.

Eating disorder are lonely.

Sometimes relapses start with a split second decision. I need to do this *right* now. You don’t think about it, it just kind of happens. Other times, the decision is a slow build up. You start to lose yourself a little bit more each day. You flirt with the idea of relapse, but you don’t make any rash decision. Until eventually, it seems like you can’t go on without it. You feel like you have no other option. It’s too overwhelming not to relapse.

The latter scenario is what I was experiencing. The slow build up culminated with a moment where I saw something I never wanted or needed to see. I promised myself I’d scroll through Facebook quickly, and then start preparing for finals. So I opened my laptop, typed the address for Facebook into my browser and waited for it to load. Of course, the thing I did not want to see was the first post to appear.

Had I been in a good head-space, I would’ve vented to a friend. Instead, my mind went blank, my body was numb, and I felt myself walk to the bathroom without thinking.

Eating disorders are lonely. 

“What am I doing?” I asked myself. I couldn’t answer that. I didn’t have an answer. I sat down in front of the toilet, half thinking, half numb. It was a *long* semester. That Facebook post did not cause my relapse, it just tipped me over the edge and gave me an excuse to shut down even more.

As I sat on the cold tile, I thought about everything. It felt like every bad thing that had happened in the past few months was swirling around inside of my brain and mixing together to create the perfect storm. It seemed obvious to me in that moment that there wasn’t another option.

Eating disorders are lonely. 

I’m not going to sit here and tell you I logically weighed my options. I didn’t. What I did do was think about the release, the rush of endorphins, and the feeling of emptiness I’d experience once I made the decision to give into the eating disorder. It’s been 11 years and I still can’t distinguish between whether that was my own voice, or the eating disorder talking.

I stopped mid tile trace and decided that there was no real option here. No decision to make. I physically could not face the rest of the day without going through with this. So. Although it’d been over a year I did it.

And yeah, the endorphins and the numbness are great. If this was was three-years ago I’d probably be romanticizing this even more in my head. I’d like to give you a clearer picture. My eyes were tearing up, my throat burned, my fingers were cut up. The taste, the smell, the clean-up all take away a piece of your dignity.

…Eating disorders are lonely. 

Flushed, washed my hands, tried to make my eyes look less red, and walked out. Told myself it would just be this one time. I just needed the instant gratification of feeling better. That decision costs me the next two years of my life.

Eating disorders are liars. 

If you need help:

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/contact-us

NEDA Hotline: 1-800-931-2237

 

demi-lovatod

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Stop making it cringey

Stop making it cringey

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Hello, hello, it is me. I survived finals- and apparently I have more to blog about when I have absolutely zero time? But I’m back and I got a message, mainly for my straight friends.

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First of all- HAPPY PRIDE! I know this may come as a shock to all of you butgiphy-1

Okay, yeah, I know, not a shock. But for people who don’t know me, it apparently is? And when they assume I’m straight and then I correct them, things get super uncomfortable.

Here’s the thing about that though– I literally do NOT care. Like not even a little bit. If I correct you for assuming I’m straight, I’m not mad at you, I’m not offended, and I haven’t made some sort of assumption that you’re close-minded. I’m correcting you solely because I’m not going to pretend to be someone that I’m not anymore. There was a time when I wouldn’t want to rock the boat, wouldn’t want to interrupt the conversation for such a “minor detail”. But I like who I am, and so me correcting you is me sharing who I am and being proud of it.

The problem lies here though. 9/10 times the conversation gets REAL awkward. People start apologizing to me, going on about how they shouldn’t be making assumptions, apologizing again. Essentially just drawing the conversation out and making it into something it doesn’t need to be.

This has a ripple effect. First, it makes me feel awkward and guilty for making someone feel bad. Second, it makes me reconsider ever saying anything in the future. And third, it makes me angry that I can’t just simply state a fact without everyone making it into a huge deal.

Lemme be clear though, I’m not speaking for everyone. I don’t know if it bothers others when people apologize for assuming that they’re straight. This is simply my experience and my feelings about the subject.

Here’s the thing though. I’m not offended that you think I’m straight. I thought I was too for 17 years of my life and part of the reason I could *not* believe that I wasn’t was that society fed me gender norms my entire life and taught me that if I like feminine things, that must also include men. It makes sense to me that you would think I’m straight (although I’d love if it was more obvious to people but THAT’S ANOTHER STORY).

I guess the moral of the story is that you don’t need to make it a big deal if you make an assumption. Apologize if it seems like you offended the person but don’t start rambling, don’t be overly apologetic. I promise I don’t think anyone who assumes I’m straight is close-minded, and I think most reasonable people would feel the same way.

I’ll leave you with this because it speaks to me:

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It’s been three years?!

It’s been three years?!

It’s mid-finals but I’m taking a quick break because as I was procrastinating by going through my TimeHop, I came across this post:IMG_3337

It freaked me out. You’re probably like….why? It’s just a selfie. Chill. BUT, I took this in the car on the way to my first stay in Renfrew Philadelphia. Which means that I started my recovery process three years ago- May 8, 2015. And that’s weird to think about. Three years is a long time. It’s the entire length of law school.

But it’s also weird to think about because this morning while I was getting dressed I freaked out when I tried on pants I haven’t worn in a while and they “fit differently.” Not sure if it was all in my head or not, but either way, it’s still significant to me. I’m sure on my way to residential, I thought in three years time I’d be past these sorts of experiences.

But I’m not, at least not completely. And that’s one of the things you have to remember throughout recovery- it takes a LONG time. It’s easy to relapse in these moments, because numbing yourself through using symptoms is a lot less difficult than having to deal with the feelings associated with hating your body….or actually feeling things.

I don’t like cliche or overly sentimental things, which is why I appreciate all of Marya Hornbacher’s writing about eating disorders. It’s real, it gets to the point, and it doesn’t cloud things in fluff about being a ~warrior~ or whatever other ~inspirational~ BS someone comes up with. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, if it’s what works for you. It’s just not anything I’ve ever found helpful. Anyway plz enjoy some of my fav quotes about this stage of recovery:

This is the very boring part of eating disorders, the aftermath. When you eat and hate that you eat. And yet of course you must eat. You don’t really entertain the notion of going back. You, with some startling new level of clarity, realize that going back would be far worse than simply being as you are. This is obvious to anyone without an eating disorder. This is not always obvious to you.

-Marya Hornbacher

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So all this to say– yeah, I’m not fully recovered. But sometimes I have .5 seconds of clarity where I’m like “Hey! You look way better than you did wen you were malnourished and bony.” And like, yeah that’s a short amount of time and it then reverts almost immediately back to “HEY YOU’RE FAT!” But it’s better than where I was 2 years ago. Progress, ya know?

And on the bright side- no more ensure or boost:

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Let’s talk about modern dating

Let’s talk about modern dating

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Let’s cut to the chase. It sucks. Honestly, I wish I could just remove myself from it all sometimes, but unfortunately, there’s a small part of me that feels like *maybe* there are a few good people left. I think we all feel like that? Or at least us single people.

But okay, why does it suck so much?

We live in this weird universe where dating has somehow become a competition between two people to see who can pretend to care less. I’ve begun to view dating as some sort of confusing black hole. You enter the vortex and suddenly you have no clue what is going on. Are we just *talking*? Does this person have a flirty personality and talk like this to everyone? Are we just hooking up? Is it okay to ASK what their intentions are?

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Lemme quickly preface this for any older people who might be reading this and have no idea what I’m talking about.

Modern dating goes through a few different stages. The first stage is usually coined as “talking.” Basically, neither of you know what the heck is going on or if the other person is even interested, but you text 24/7.

Maybe you’ll go on a “date.” If you’re lucky, the person asking will outright call it a date. If you’re not, they’ll ask you to hang out and leave you wondering what this all *means*. Even if you reach a point where you’re very clearly more than friends, it’s not always apparent what the other person wants.

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The logical thing would be to talk about it, right?

Here’s the problem: everyone is competing for the title of “person who cares the least.” WHY? Who taught us to do this? Where did we learn? Because I won’t lie, I’ve totally participated in this game. But, it’s gotten to the point where we gotta ask why we are doing this and what purpose it’s serving?

It’s just creating a population of overly guarded people who are too scared to ever fully open up. I’ll give you an example that I noticed recently. I am always ready to be accommodating to people I date, even if it’s not what I want. You’re not sure you’re looking for a relationship? Oh, yeah, me too, I mean, I don’t know what I want for sure, I’m like figuring it out, ya know? Because god forbid you want a relationship. Or if you get ghosted, and confront the person to find out their intentions- I’ll find myself apologizing. “Oh sorry, just not trying to waste my time, I don’t care though, it’s totally cool, I’m not interested either.”

Like, are we kidding? When did it become wrong to feel human emotion?

Kind of reminds me of the “cool girl” speech from Gone Girl– the concept can be applied to any relationship, not just those with men.78e61d224ceed20d4284c5b6692f5bb4

If you don’t know what I’m talking about I’ll link ya to the text of it here: Gone Girl “Cool Girl” Speech

Let’s all stop kidding ourselves though. Ghosting sucks, feelings suck, it all sucks, but pretending we don’t feel anything at all and that we don’t care sucks even more.

Until then though:

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NEDA Week

NEDA Week

Hellooo, welcome. I wasn’t going to make my first post so personal but it happened to correspond with NEDA week so like, why not?(okay fine, it’s next week but I didn’t realize that until after I wrote this and I wanted to post it now soooo too bad). This years theme is “Let’s Get Real”. So, I’m about to go waaaaay out of my comfort zone and it’s about to get super uncomfy (probably just for me, but hey I don’t know, maybe for you too??) so let’s just dive in.

For those of you who don’t know, (I guess you haven’t seen my angry posts about diet culture??) I’m in recovery from an eating disorder. Real quick, lemme just say that I am not writing this for any sort of sympathy. I HATE that kind of thing. I’m writing this because there’s not enough awareness about eating disorders and everyone seems to think that unless you’re emaciated and on your death bed, you don’t have an eating disorder and I’m here to tell ya that’s DEFINITELY not the case.

ANYWAY, everyones first question when you mention having an eating disorder is always, oh which one? I don’t really understand the question– why does it matter? Regardless of which eating disorder you have, you’re suffering from the same inner turmoil and inability to properly cope with whatever it is you’re dealing with in life. The only difference is the manifestation of symptom use. And to be honest, in the 10 or so years that I had (have??? idk??) an eating disorder, I’ve pretty much run the gamut of symptoms. All suck equally, so I promise, it does not make a difference which one I had.

My eating disorder was like a toxic on again, off again relationship. When I think about it, it’s like we started to get to know each other in 8th grade, but things weren’t so serious.  Then freshman year of high school, I got reeled in. It was very much the honeymoon phase. I did not see anything wrong with what I was doing and anyone who caught on, even a little bit, and voiced their concern was just going to get cut out of my life. We never got too serious during high school, but I kept ending it and then going back. I felt guilty for eating normally on the “off” months and so I’d return. Like I said, toxic relationship. Essentially:tumblr_p3j994jAjU1wgmlzqo1_540

*If you don’t like dark humor and memes, you can get off my blog.

The first few years of college were very much the same, still on/off again. I went into college telling myself that I wanted to enjoy my time and that I couldn’t let this thing ruin it for me. My high school grades were not up to my normal standards, and that was because all I was focused on was how much I was eating, when I was eating, how hungry I was, if I was going to work out, for how long, etc. I didn’t want to follow the same pattern in college. The problem is, you can only bury an issue for so long. Eventually, it’s going to resurface if you don’t face it.

So, fast-forward to my junior year of college. I was not in a good place (i.e. depression), for a bunch of reasons that need not be mentioned in a blog. An eating disorder is a coping mechanism. Something I feel like a lot of eating disorder awareness posts don’t mention is that they’re often (if not always?) accompanied by depression and anxiety. Which one comes first is unique to each person, but to be honest, I’m not sure that I know of someone with an eating disorder that does not suffer from depression and anxiety as well.

Anyway, a bunch of things going wrong in life plus a chemical imbalance in your brain (thanks genetics!) does not make for a good mix. And when your go-to coping mechanism since the start of puberty has been an eating disorder, and ya haven’t dealt with the underlying reasons for that, it’s inevitable that you’re going to return to it.

I had honestly thought that I was done with that stage of my life. Little did I know, it was about to take off at full speed. Towards the end of my fall semester of junior year, I just couldn’t deal anymore. Symptom use seemed like the only solution. It was pretty casual at first. Relationship wasn’t committed yet, we were just seeing each other again. But obviously, I got attached.

This brings me to spring semester of my junior. Lemme preface this with a HUGE shoutout to my roommates and family for dealing with me. Those were some dark times. And let me tell ya, my 21st birthday corresponding with a relapse did not make for a good mix. 0/10 do not recommend.

To continue my super lame analogy, essentially went head first into this relationship, probably got engaged. It wasn’t good. How I got through the semester is still unclear. I don’t want to go into too much detail because that might contain some unnecessary potential triggers, but let’s just say that I was not having a fun time, I drank too much for the little amount that I was consuming, and it’s still shocking that I had friends at the end of it.

I was trying to handle it on my own, but that wasn’t exactly working. I had tried all semester to get a grip on things and it just continued to get worse instead (shocker!). I should have known that I couldn’t handle it on my own considering how long this had been going on, but I’m stubborn and therapy sounded like my version of hell. By April, I was at the end of my rope and finally ready to concede and admit that I needed some help. I contacted an eating disorder treatment center and scheduled an intake.

In spite of all of that, I honestly still did not think that this was *that* big of a problem. This is something about eating disorders that a lot of people don’t understand. It’s very easy to minimize what’s going on. Especially with diet culture and everything in the media. You’re always going to think, “I’m not skinny enough”, “I’m not sick enough for treatment”, “This is just a diet”, etc. When I called for my phone intake, I honestly expected that they would tell me that I needed some form of outpatient treatment–probably just regular outpatient but *maybe* IOP if anything. (For those of you don’t know IOP= intensive outpatient. You go to treatment 3x a week and eat one meal and have group therapy). I was beyond shocked when they told me I needed residential treatment. I think I asked the intake person at LEAST 6 times if I’d be the fattest person there. Yay body dysmorphia!

Here’s the thing. A lot of people with eating disorders are desperately trying to be in control of their lives. When you’re in the eating disorder, it feels like you’re in control of it, but once you reach a certain point, the eating disorder is in control. Even then, it’s SO easy to convince yourself that you can fix this on your own if you wanted to. When you think you’re in control, even if you logically know that you have a problem, it’s so easy to downplay. Even on my way to residential treatment I was thinking to myself, “This is ridiculous. I bet I’ll get there and  be able to eat completely fine and they’ll wonder why I’m even there.”

***Also, quick side note, I felt completely insane for having to go to a residential facility for treatment. I was super embarrassed by it and to be honest, I still am a little bit, but it shouldn’t be embarrassing to receive the help that you need, which is why I’m talking about it.***

Here’s the short form of my first stint in treatment: I was not ready for it, I did not want to be there, and I was angry at everyone. People often think you can just go to treatment and be cured, but that’s not the case. Spoiler alert: Three weeks in a treatment center won’t cure 10 years of an eating disorder.

I mentioned before that I’m stubborn and that’s a huge factor throughout this whole ordeal. I’m stubborn and I had an internship setup for June. I told every member of my treatment team that no matter what, I would be out of this place in time to start my internship. They all gave me the cliche line, “Whatever you put in front of your recovery you will lose.” That wasn’t what I wanted to hear and so I stopped listening. On top of that, they assigned me a therapist who was leaving for a new job a week into my stay, so really, I wasn’t being set up for success.

I recently read some Facebook messages I sent to friends while I was in there, and it’s insane to see what my frame of mind was. I was not thinking clearly, I truly still thought I didn’t have a problem, and that the only thing they were doing at residential was making me “fat”. Quick visual representation of me reading those messages after I got past how cringe-y they were:

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So, I left after 3 weeks, even though the suggested stay is usually 4. I did a week and a half of day treatment, started my internship, and did IOP at night. Looking back, I wasn’t really in recovery. I maintained my weight because they were monitoring me in IOP, but I wasn’t ready to let go. Needless to say, the day after I discharged and returned to school for the fall semester of my senior year, I started to relapse.

I tried to convince myself to stay in recovery using the same logic I’d used during my freshman year– you don’t want to ruin your last year of college. The problem was that it wasn’t in my control. Recovery felt too hard and I couldn’t handle my weight restored body. I’d gone through the motions of treatment, gained the weight, ate the food, but I didn’t really put my all into therapy.

I thought I’d be able to just relapse a little bit. I told myself that if I only lost a little weight, or used symptoms a little bit, I could make it to graduation without issue. But a little is never enough when it comes to eating disorders and I wasn’t in control.

So, I spiraled pretty quickly. I was the most miserable that I’d ever been in my life. I wanted to eat more, but I couldn’t do it. People often ask, “Why don’t you just eat more?” But, if it was that simple I obviously would. The doctor at Quinnipiac said that to me many times and it took a lot for me not to go off on him. Speaking of which, Quinnipiac is not equipped to handle eating disorders, which is not okay considering that they’re highly prevalent in college-aged students. It’s really not acceptable.

I couldn’t focus on school, or really anything other than how many calories I was eating, when I’d allow myself to eat them, and all of that BS. I had no idea how I was going to make it through the semester AND pass. I figured I’d just push through, like I had the semester before. But this time was even worse, which just goes to show, if you think you’ve reached rock bottom, you can always dig yourself a little deeper. So, I left campus on November 6th (after harassing administration and all of my professors and making them guarantee that I could still graduate on time, because again, I am stubborn AF) and admitted to Renfrew Philadelphia for the second time that year on November 10th (might write another blog on this place because I got some STORIES from my time there).

I was not happy to be there, but I was so worn down and so sick of myself and my eating disorder that I decided to give it an actual shot this time. I stayed for 5 weeks, and even though I had my ups and downs while there, I got a lot more out of it than I did the first time. I then did a month of day treatment, which was super helpful and something I definitely should’ve done the first time around instead of the 2 weeks I actually did. Followed that up with like 3 months of IOP, which was a little unnecessary, but it was good to have that as a check when I returned to school for spring semester.

It’s now been 2 years since that time and I would say that I’m in recovery. Definitely have bad days from time to time but it’s pretty good for the most part. I use staying in law school as my motivation because let’s be real, I could not do this with an eating disorder.

If you’re starting recovery, my advice would be to take it one day at a time. It does get easier, even though it doesn’t feel that way. Also, I’m always down to talk so never hesitate to reach out.

NEDA Website

NEDA Hotline: 1-800-931-2237

P.S. Can we all promise to keep the theme from last years NEDA week going and not post before photos? Because C’MON, we all know that they’re triggering AF.

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