Thursday, March 3, 2011

Today's Ten: Ten Reasons to Keep Fighting

I've been struggling more than usual with eating disordered thoughts for the last few weeks. As I've said many times, recovery from an eating disorder is only possible when you are actively thinking about and pursuing recovery. It isn't going to just happen to you. You aren't going to wake up one morning with your eating disorder magically cured. If you want to get better you have to fight for it. Here are my personal top 10 reasons for fighting (in no particular order).

1.) Anorexia is a thief.

My life pre-eating disorder is frighteningly different than the life I have now. In the past I was happier. I was healthier. I wasn't so antisocial. I didn't second guess myself. I had more friends. I went out more. I didn't feel the need to withdraw into myself and sit at home all the time. I didn't feel like crap all the time. I wasn't always tired and drained. I could focus on tasks without getting distracted. Before my anorexia, I was a better me. My eating disorder stole everything I had. I'm just now beginning to get it all back.

2.) Anorexia is a destroyer.

Let's get straight to the facts. Eating disorders are serious business. They aren't fad diets or lifestyle choices. They are potentially fatal mental illnesses. According to NEDA:

" Between 0.5–1% of American women suffer from anorexia nervosa. "

" Anorexia nervosa has one of the highest death rates of any mental illness. "

" Between 5-20% of individuals struggling with anorexia nervosa will die. The probabilities of death increases within that range depending on the length of the condition. "

I refuse to be in that unfortunate 5-20%. I will not die from this. We will all die from something someday. But I will not die from this.

3.) I want a future.

Anorexia may own my past, but there is no place for an eating disorder in my future. I'm only 26. God willing, I will have a number of years of life ahead of me. My past may be troubled, but my future doesn't have to be. My future is unspoiled and uncomplicated. It's full of potential, of innocence. It's expansive. It's limitless. I can do anything and be anything. I can start over.

4.) The world is too beautiful. Life is too beautiful.

I am deeply touched and inspired by nature and by the world around me. I'm a stargazer. I'm wishy-washy. I stare at birds and trees and flower petals. Maybe it's because I'm sensitive, maybe it's because I'm a poet, but I see the beauty in every living thing. I'm learning now to see the beauty within myself.

5.) I have dreams.

This is connected to #3 I guess. Not only do I want a future, but I have dreams that I want to come true. I want to teach at a university. I want to get married. I want to have a family. I want to travel, to see the world. I want to make a difference. I want to plant a garden. I want to sit on the front porch somewhere in a little house tucked away in the woods and watch the world unfold around me. I want to sing. I want to write. I have a laundry lists of positive things to accomplish. My eating disorder has no place in any of them. My eating disorder is an interference. It steals the spotlight, the focus. It distracts me from doing the things I want to do and being the person I want to be. I've wasted too many years thinking about calories and fat grams and pounds and the size on the tag inside my jeans. I've wasted too many years feeling not good enough and out of place. No more. It stops now.

6.) I want to have better relationships.

Like many other people with eating disorders, my ability to form lasting relationships is less than desirable. I don't have many friends. I barely speak to the friends I used to have. We've grown apart for a number of reasons, my eating disorder being one of them. I push people away. I don't know how but it always happens. I feel them getting to close and I put my armor on. I'm impenetrable. But I don't want to be anymore. When I meet new people, I want to let them in. Here's to letting my guard down.

7.) I'm tired of being sad.

Depression is nothing new to me. I've experienced it for years, since I was a child. In fact, I can hardly remember not being depressed. There were a few years when I was very very young in which I was truly happy. I remember feeling sad and ashamed of my body at age 7 or 8. I suppose that's when I first started drawing into myself. My father fell ill with cancer when I was 12. That is when the depression really started to take flight. Throughout the years it picked up speed. When I was 19 and he passed away, it skyrocketed. And then the eating disorder came. I understand that all of these things are connected and that, over the years, they have fed off of one another. But I'm tired of being sad. We all deserve to be happy. I know that getting rid of my eating disorder will bring me one step closer to happiness.

8.) I'm ready to relinquish control.

Control is a tricky, tricky word for those with an eating disorder. I will admit firsthand that I am a major control freak. I wasn't like this before my eating disorder. I used to be very easy going and nonchalant. Now, I have to control everything. Every single thing. I can't do anything without planning it out first, and I make very detailed plans. Then I make several back-up plans. I'm meticulous, a perfectionist. I'm a nervous, neurotic mess. I can't give up control in any situation. I micromanage everything. It drives my boyfriend crazy. He's a chef and I refuse to let him cook dinner. Why? He might not do it correctly. I don't like to work as part of a team. I'd rather do it on my own so I'm certain it's done the right way. I never realized my issues with control were problematic until recently. I realize now that it, well, has gotten out of control. I think if I can manage to relax and give up control that it would take a lot of pressure and stress from me. I have to stop worrying about things. I have to learn to be easy going like I used to be. But it stresses me out just thinking about it...

9.) I have people who love me.

I know that I'm not as close to my family I used to be, but I still love them and I know they still love me. My boyfriend loves me. My mother loves me. My grandmother loves me. My nieces love me. My brother loves me. My sister in law loves me. My aunts and uncles love me. Deep down I know this. I have people in my corner even if it doesn't feel like it. I have people who depend on me, who need me. While I know that we can't recover for an eating disorder just for the sake of others, I do know that getting rid of my eating disorder would improve my family relationships. I have to be healthy for myself, but I want to be healthy for those who love me too. I want to stick around to see my nieces grow up. I want to grow old with my boyfriend. Even though an eating disorder is a very personal disease, it impacts all of the people around me. I can't change the damage it's done in the past, but, as I said, I can stop it from doing further damage in the future.

10.) My Dad wouldn't want this for me.

There. I said it. Someone I know said a couple years ago that my Dad would be ashamed of me if he knew I was starving myself. It ripped my heart out. I've never been able to forgive her for that. I don't think my Dad would be ashamed of me. I know that's not true. He would, however, hurt for me. He wouldn't want me to be sick or sad or miserable. He wouldn't want me to torture my body. When he was dying, all he wanted was another shot at life. He saw his body failing and deteriorating. He wanted nothing more than to live and I have life and I'm not even living it. I have a perfectly capable body and I'm destroying it. He wouldn't want me to hate myself or beat myself up or doubt myself or put myself down. He would want me to be happy because he loved me. Because he loves me. He would want me to love myself.

What are your reasons for fighting?


  1. Wow, a powerful post today....I love this. I will have to do it for myself as well. Thanks for sharing.

  2. this is beautiful and just what I needed <3

  3. This is so inspiring. Thanks for posting this. x x x

  4. Thank you for posting this! This is very inspirational. I am glad that you are reminding yourself of your very important reasons for fighting- I find that when I'm struggling with ED thoughts, focusing on my motivations always helps me to fight ED. You are working so hard and it is going to pay off! Keep fighting and winning <3

  5. Hi, I´ve been reading you for some time now and I think I`ve never post a comment cause I speak spanish and it´s difficult to me express myself in english. But I think now you did it for all of us when you say " I have to be healthy for myself, but I want to be healthy for those who love me too." I´m not sick but I feel identified with other girls who has Eating Disorders, in many ways. I think this sentence you have written says a lot because I think that happiness is not something that you can find out but something that we have to built.
    I must say thank you for sharing all of these with us, you are very sincere and that is something to value.



  6. I have read your blog for a while as well but never commented either. It moved me so much today that I had to say thank you. Thank you for inspiring me and for giving me strength to beat this. It was your comments on what your father would have wanted that touched me. My fathr has passed as well, I know he would not want this for me. Thank you.

  7. I needed to read this, so thanks for sharing and I am happy that you took the time to help yourslef by writing it.

    The last one was very powerful.

  8. This is a really inspiring post. Thank you so much, I needed to hear this today. Keep fighting.

  9. After the last few weeks, these are words that I needed to hear. Thank you!