Categories
Eating Disorders

Anorexia Doesn’t Have to be a Death Sentence

     If this isn’t a reminder of of the deadliness of anorexia, I don’t know what is: Isabelle Caro, a French model and actress well-known for bringing mass attention to the issue of anorexia in the world of fashion died last week. She was a mere 28 years old. It’s not just her youth that saddens me, but the overwhelming destructive nature of eating disorders in general. They wreak havoc in the most pervasive way: infecting family meals, creating shame-based thinking over the mere act of fueling our bodies, shattering any sense of self-esteem, and creating the sensation of falling down the rabbit hole whenever we venture into the realm of nourishment. The truth is, they negatively impact those suffering in more ways than the few I’ve mentioned. 
    Circumstances maintaining the virulence of eating disorders are in abundance: fashion magazines tout the ultra-thin, we’ve got a myriad of celebrity diets and pop-up ads declaring easy weight-loss without exercise, but the piece du resistance — pro-ana (pro-anorexia) sites celebrating and encouraging emaciation. In fact, when Caro died, it was a pro-ana site that posted her images with the tag line “die young, stay pretty.” On sites like this, recovery is the anti-goal.
    Recovering from an eating disorder takes time, support, and patience.  It takes acceptance of the fact that there will be good days, bad days, and days that fall in between. For me, it also takes the willingness to be transparent when transparency is usually not an option–this means I let someone know the tricks of the trade, so to speak, by sharing my “tells.” I have gleaned new ways and means of dealing with the lies my head tells me by being mindful about what I am feeling and thinking in relation to food. I engage in a loving-kindness practice when I eat, particularly when the day is rough. I regularly practice yoga, which directly brings my attention to my breath and body in a positive way. I share my experience, strength and hope whenever I can.
    I’m deeply saddened by the death of Isabelle Caro. It reminds me of how precious our lives are and how invaluable it is to be healthy. Taking a step towards recovery has positive, life-changing consequences. Why enter another decade suffering needlessly? I encourage you to reach out, ask for help, and begin talking about what’s going on. I’d like to be able to look at Isabelle Caro as a beacon of change, not just a victim of this disease, her voice becoming a vehicle for awareness, encouraging us to get to a place of healing and recovery. Nothing is impossible!

Categories
Body Image Eating Disorders Mental Health Recovery

Help With My Eating Disorder

I began to address my eating disorder when I was in adolescent treatment in Malibu. It has been a very difficult journey and sometimes it has been very hard not to lapse into old behaviors. In the last year, I have really dedicated myself to staying committed to recovery and have recently seen a big change- I’ve gained weight! In the past, this would have destroyed me, but since I have been working so hard to get healthy, I feel pretty good about it. Mostly. Honestly, this week I had a bit of an emotional meltdown when I went to try on a bathing suit I hadn’t worn for three years. It didn’t fit. Later that night I went to put on a favorite summer dress. It didn’t fit. My jeans didn’t fit. Like, overnight my clothes stopped fitting. It’s one thing to talk about the work, to write about the work, to intellectualize the work- and an entirely different thing to actually have it happen. In my brain, I am very pleased to have some success in this very difficult area of my life. In my eating disorder’s brain, I am losing my mind. It’s horrifying. I feel like I shouldn’t be so upset, but of course I am. This old way of thinking has dominated my life for years and years. Of course I will grieve.
My sponsor and my best friend both suggested that I get rid of my old clothes. They will never fit me again as long as I am healthy. I took their advice and began to bag up my eating disorder clothes and cried the whole time. It was intensely symbolic for me to say goodbye to them, and to my eating disorder– to acknowledge that I’m not going to be that underweight again. That I’m going to stay healthy. I felt like I could almost hear my eating disorder yelling “Noooooo!” as if it was a villain being shoved off of a cliff in a movie. Sometimes those ceremonial gestures are important, like I’m showing myself what is really happening.
This week has been kind of heavy for me, but now that it’s over I feel a certain levity. I know that there is still a lot of work to do so that I don’t lapse in behavior. I have to power through this challenging time. It was hard to say goodbye, and I know that this is part of my grieving process. It may sound weird to grieve something that hurt me so much, but it was my greatest comfort for many years, and it’s scary to let go of it. I know that I have a lot of love and support around me, and that I don’t have to go through this alone. And hey, I get to go shopping.

Adolescent Eating Disorder Treatment In Malibu