My Eating Disorder Documentary Went Live This Morning!

 

This morning, a lil mini-documentary about my eating disorder, and recovery aired on Barcroft TV, and what a unique moment in life.

There’s always something to note (like LOLZ on all the “looking into the distance” shots or HEY check out some of the laughable YouTube comments), but I’ll keep it simple.

A reminder today that:

Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. My story is common because I am a white, small, cisgender female who grew up engulfed by “diet and beauty” culture, and the insecurity and expectation that it breeds. That is not to be ignored, but there are millions out there who do not have the same background. Men, women, ethnicities, nationalities, class. I am not the sole representation of what an eating disorder looks like, and will never pretend that I could be or am.

You will never be “sick enough.” You deserve help, no matter your circumstances, religion, shame, or weight.

I had a strong support system when I went to treatment. Most don’t (or they do) and it still means that sometimes they go back to rehab a few times before they get their shit straight. I am still working on what that means in my own life.

Recovery is ever-changing, ever-evolving. That’s why it’s flexible.

It is okay to live with an eating disorder. Recovery is accepting its presence in your life, not ignoring it as “fixed.”

Thank you to my best friend Kim Dyer for being in this, and Kristina Doelling for watching it from her apt in Brooklyn. Thank you to my parents Joanna Byers Hall for putting themselves out there, and being vulnerable to millions as parents of someone with an eating disorder. Thank you to The Renfrew Center for inclusion in the documentary, and taking time out of their lives to participate. Thank you to the camera crew and the producer for not making this salacious. Thank you Bradley’s parents for raising a beautiful child. His life has been the inspiration for so much of my recovery. Shout out to my partner for helping me get through that day, and waking up at 6am.

I am feeling many things, as one does when they see their sniffling face on film. Mostly, I am grateful for the life I have led – in all its ups and downs and side doors and mirrors.

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“Ew… She Sent Me A Sick Pic”: Why We Lust Over Anorexia

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Alright, first thing’s first:

Smirk at my headline.

IT’S FUNNY.

And took me all day to think of. (Partner currently shaking his head; don’t think he found it as amusing as I did when I snorted into the coffee.)

Anywho, shifting away from PornHub vibes, (gotta watch what I write otherwise pervs on the internet end up finding my blog from “unshaven fetish” google searches)…

Let’s dive in.

We all do it – this lusting over anorexia – so let’s call a spade a spade.

Pondering this post from a plane (God bless the lady next to me: likely reading over my shoulder thinking ‘’what the hell is this woman writing about?”) – and I’m on my way back from a wedding. My dead best friend’s sisters wedding, to be candid – so maybe I’m not much in the mood for bullshitting, and the words pour.

Who knows. It’s beside the point, but I want you to know where I’m coming from so you’re not all like ”whatta asshole.”

Truth is: I’m about to make you uncomfortable… because I’m making myself uncomfortable.

However, four years into this recovery business, I can assert with sincerity that being uncomfortable is half of the process – and in order to navigate this murky world – we have to let it exist.

So, face it with me. And if this post pushes your boundaries, sit with it. You’re making progress. Continue reading ““Ew… She Sent Me A Sick Pic”: Why We Lust Over Anorexia”

Think Your Friend Has An Eating Disorder?: 4 Tips On What The Hell To Do Next

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So, your friend has an eating disorder. 

Or, at least, you think she/he does.

You don’t know because it’s not like they’re telling you. I don’t know anyone that just goes and is like “I’m gonna vom now for the x time today. Will you hold my coffee?”

You just sense it.

I say I have eating disorder telepathy. I can watch someone from a mile away, and have this intuitive knowledge if they struggle.

Maybe, that’s the majority of the country and I’m giving myself too much credit.

But, it’s the way I watch their discomfort unfold around food. The way their eyes narrow; breathing appears tighter.

It’s the way they avoid looking at food – or talk to someone a mile a minute to escape having to actually eat.

It’s the slight comments “Oh! I ate before I came.” “I’m not hungry – I’m on a diet.” “I can’t eat that!”

Nobody is the same, so I’m generalizing here.

But, I just … I know.

Possibly ’cause I lived it. Possibly cause someone’s discomfort automatically makes me uncomfortable (It’s the empath in me, I’ll say – as I pat myself on the back for being such a “giver.” lolz)

Anyway, so you think your friend has one?

Now, what the hell do you do? Continue reading “Think Your Friend Has An Eating Disorder?: 4 Tips On What The Hell To Do Next”

The Part About Changing Your Life That No One Talks About

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As we wrap up the first month of 2018,  the cliche remains: “Where did the time go?”

How are we so shocked when we look down at the screens of our phones and realize we’re 31 days into a new year.

Where were we the last 31 days? Did we go into a mindless Instagram vortex and disappear?

OR… do I just tell myself  that because right now, in this moment, I’m feeling that way.

ANYWAY. I detract.

I know it’s “new year, new you” and all that crap, and many of us are off starving ourselves or worshipping new gym memberships or trying to stick to the belief that are bodies “are fine as is” even when we want to act out… regardless where you’re at, there’s an aspect of these “life changes” that doesn’t get acknowledged or valued enough. And that’s the loss.

The loss of the life you were leading. I know we’re supposed to be all like “YAY recovery life. I don’t want that old life back.”

But, as Mark Manson says, you can’t change or grow without losing a part of yourself. And that loss, even when it happens for a good reason, it hurts. It shapes.

And that’s not even getting into losing something or someone for a bad reason.

It’s terrifying.

Out of the hundreds of emails I read each month seeking recovery or ‘what next’ advice, I’d say nearly 50% relate to loss in some way. Loss of an eating disorder. Loss of a relationship. Loss of family. Loss of career. Loss of friendships. Loss of identity. “Who the hell am I without X?”

I’ve been there. Sometimes, I’m still there.

Continue reading “The Part About Changing Your Life That No One Talks About”

This Is Why You Relapse

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Heavy-hearted, I write today.

Truth is, this headline is declarative. I have no idea why you relapse.

As I sit here in a coffee shop – mulling through this post – I got a call from a close friend.

“Have you talked to X lately?”

“No… He dropped off a couple months ago and stopped answering me, so I assume he’s relapsed.”

“Linds, it’s bad. Just feel you should know before you hear from anyone else. His liver and kidneys are failing. Was in ICU for 13 days. Respiratory failure. Got out and got back on the painkillers. Sister found him slumped over a coffee table. He’s going to die if he doesn’t get help… and I don’t know if you want to reach back out – but we’re trying anything.”

I stared at my phone.

Stomach sinks. Not because it’s unexpected – but because it’s so expected and yet, no matter how much you can prepare for anything – you never know when the day will just come.

My ex might very likely die, which is two of my exes that I am waiting for that call.

“He’s gone.”

I received it once already – when my best friend fell out of a tree.

And I know it’s only a matter of time these days, before I get it again.

Being a messy person creates a messy life. And I have always held a love for messy people.

Continue reading “This Is Why You Relapse”

VIDEO: NEDA Denver Walk Keynote Speech – Woo!

A quick, simple post to thank so many, including  The Eating Disorder Foundation for asking me to give the keynote speech for yesterday’s Denver National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) walk.

As I stood up there, cold as hell, nervous, adrenaline-infused (as I always am before any public speaking), I had a momentary wave of peace.

There are times that what I do feels like a hashtag blessing. And there are times that I am truly conscious of that blessing. This was one of them – leading a crowd of people , and helping to hold a banner of awareness for a sickness many suffer from in some shape or form.

Stood next to a group of young ladies after the walk. We chatted for a bit; I pet their puppy:

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“Your blog helped us,” one of them said. “You make people feel like they can talk about this stuff and it’s not a big deal. Thank you.”

I teared up (my tears likely freezing into icicles cause IT WAS FRIGID): my words may make a momentary impact, sure, but choosing life outside of an ED is a powerful, intimate decision. And having a support group of friends who are doing it with you – how rad. These ladies inspired me.

Cheers to days like this.

How lucky I’ve been to take my experience – and magnify it to the point that it is no longer a shame for me to speak to, and about. How lucky I’ve been to find purpose and meaning in my life at 28-years old.

Thank you to all of you who have ever read a word I’ve posted. 

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Reminder – Your “Back Fat” Is Not What’s Bothering You (Also, NEDA Denver Walk Speech: Please Critique!)

 

Posted the following message on Instagram, but felt like sharing here:

Had one of those nights last night where I had to sit at my kitchen table, moments before heading to the hot tub, and remind myself that damnit, it’s not your “back fat” you’re worried about – it’s the Denver NEDA walk speech you’re giving on Sunday.

It’s not your lack of working out this week – it’s the expectation that you would, and didn’t.

It’s not that you ate Qdoba for lunch and – OH CHRIST – the calories from a salad bowl (😱) – it’s that my ex read my blog post the other day about relationships, and was hurt. And now I’ve sat here the past 72  hours trying to reconcile the pain I’ve caused him for my misguided – at times – interpretations online. I’m dealing with guilt and a facepalm to my own face.

Continue reading “Reminder – Your “Back Fat” Is Not What’s Bothering You (Also, NEDA Denver Walk Speech: Please Critique!)”

6 {Real} Signs Of An Eating Disorder Relapse

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Haven’t written in awhile.

Mostly because —  I’ve lost weight — And I don’t know how (nor want) to talk about that.

How do you talk about the reality that’s occurring – and less about the past you can reflect on? (Writing about the past is so much simpler.)

What does it mean when you’re generally “okay” and yet — not being okay?

How do you write for the people you know that read this — put yourself out on the gurney —  and still make it human?

It’s hard to maintain a sense of transparency about your life – while also worrying about what other people will think.

So, I write in this way. In numerical values like this headline — because it seems easier to own.

6 “real” signs of a relapse.

I’m in one – but I’ll dig out of it.

And, I think, while I’m in it — it’s worth shedding light on the little manipulations we use in order to get away with it. Continue reading “6 {Real} Signs Of An Eating Disorder Relapse”

When Your Eating Disorder Looks Like A Freak Show

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Feelin’ about 50 shades of WTF.
Haven’t posted in a hot minute because I’ve been struggling a bit in this transition to Denver (love the city, love my life here – but just having some control issues that OF COURSE manifest into weight loss) and I’m working through them with daily OA meetings. (Post to come on OA soon.)
However, I’m coming out of the woodwork because I am all sorts of emoji red face P.O’ed
Everything in that picture above is what I loathe about the portrayal of eating disorders.
Yesterday, I woke up and these article headlines about me ran on the UK Daily Mail, Sun, and Mirror.
YEP GUYS -there I am – the two-headed eating disorder freak show splattered across UK media.
My agenda every day is to represent recovery in a way that relates to ALL yet time and time again the world has a tendency to portray people with eating disorders as though we are some fictitious character straight outta American Horror Story.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m thankful every single day for the opportunity to write about this shiz. It’s kept me connected with the community as well as find an outlet of accountability, but the problem with this kind of portrayal is that it sends the message to people that you have to be “that” sick to really have an eating disorder.
It discourages people from voicing their struggle because they look at horror headlines like that and think to themselves “Oh, well I’m not vomm’ing blood into a toilet – I guess I’m not really that bad.”
The truth is, am I proud of those articles content? Yes. The journalist was respectful and asked real, human questions about my recovery and ED experience. She does not choose headlines, and I have nothing but kind words to say about our interview process.
However, when I read these headlines, I absolutely bloody cringe. Not only because it’s grossly and salaciously manifesting as cheap click bait, but because the headlines heighten my experience with body dysmorphia and eating disorders in a glorified one-of-a-kind manner.
Did I feel and do all those things? Yes. I did have trouble sitting on a subway. I passed people on the SIDEWALK (not street) and had moments that I panicked. “WHAT IF I RUN INTO THEM WITH MY THIGHS.”
I was very sick. I’d never deny that and I’ve got a whole helluva lot of war stories- we all do in recovery, as I’m learning through my resurgence of OA meetings.
Half of recovery is letting those “war stories” go and moving forward.
I just want to reiterate today that I was still a real person back when I was sick. I went to work like anyone else (albeit not fully present), and I functioned as best as i could.  At the end of the day my experience is really no more extreme than anyone else out there struggling with BDD and ED.
PLEASE REMEMBER — You don’t have to have “bloody vomit” and “fear of walking down the street” to quality for an ED or BDD, just as you don’t need to have a salacious bikini pic to qualify as “recovered.”
I hurt myself a lot over the years, and I am still learning what it means to be healthy of mind. However, I want to continue to reiterate that you don’t have to look, act, or be any certain way to suffer from ED.
Ignore those headlines – not everyone’s experience with mental illness has these glorified extremes that they imply.
If you are sick, you know. You know because your life is passing – one day after the other- and you’re missing it, and it’s sad. 💛

“Are There, Like, Cals In Gum?”: Life As A Calorie Counter

It should qualify as a skill set.

I was revamping my resume the other day (for my big ole move to Denver tomorrow! P.S. HIRE ME PLZ) and as I was modifying my skills I actually had a moment ((while eating Greek Yogurt and a handful of almonds)), that I smirked to myself and considered including:

  • Fluency in Calorie Counting
    • Sharp cache for all sugar, carb, fat, and sodium grams
    • Extensive fieldwork into the calorie counts of all processed and baked goods
    • Well-versed to all sugar in fruit juices, caffeine, and alcohol

Eating disorders are amazing lil boogers. I was completely focused on perfecting the language of my resume and yet as I glanced down at the yogurt, I caught a SMIDGEN of the label and my brain went all “Beautiful Mind” and added the calories of the almonds and yogurt quicker than I could stop myself.

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Not to brag, but I am like the Speedy Gonzalez of calorie counting. My brain doesn’t really retain historical info, or anything actually pertinent or useful- but bloody hell, I can count calories on a plate of food about as quick as Kobayashi can choke down a hot dog.

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Continue reading ““Are There, Like, Cals In Gum?”: Life As A Calorie Counter”