When Your Eating Disorder Looks Like A Freak Show

UK articles
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.

Wherever You Go, There You Are: Moving With An Eating Disorder

I officially live in Denver, y’all.

Scratch that. I officially live in a Jungle. Just call me Tarzan, or Jane. Whichever floats your boat.

As I lay here this afternoon, feeling both nostalgic for NYC as well as overwhelmed, terrified, and elated about everything else going on in my new life in Denver:

       

I’ve realized that I’m now living the exact mantra my therapist quoted at me 100x before I made this move:

“Wherever you go, there you are.”

In 5 years, I’ve lived in 5 places:

Fayetteville, Arkansas (c. 2007- 2011)

Seville, Spain (c. 2011- 2012)

Fort Worth, Texas (c. 2012 -2013)

New York, New York (c. 2013- 2016)

Denver, Colorado (c. 4 DAYS)

I’ve lived in about the most conservative state in the US – to the most liberal. I’ve lived in the state that thinks it IS its own country, and I’ve lived in a country that prides itself on siestas (can you even imagine if NYC were to implement such a thing. LOLZ. Does nodding off on the subway count?)

I’m idealistic to a fault; every place is better than the last. I’ve experienced American “life” at many different angles; in many different perspectives – but hey, GUESS WHAT?

 At the end of the day, none of it “fixed me.” I still have my bloody eating disorder.

Moving – again – does not change that I have to maintain my ED, and that’s a reality I’m coping with today.

It doesn’t streamline recovery, or evaporate the habits you created over the years. I don’t get to walk into a new apartment and say “Hi Ms. Denver, here’s the trash from my eating disorder – could you toss it please? Thx!”

Changing environments doesn’t mute the voice in your head. I will always be in recovery; and no matter what stigma I surround myself with, my environment will not “cure” me.

I have to choose to cure me every day, and right now it’s a struggle to center myself because I’m vulnerable and antsy and out of place and over-stigmatized.

I’ve always had this quirky idealism about moving (lies- okay about everything).

OH MOUNTAINS, I thought before I moved, through rose-tinted goggles. MOUNTAINS AND INCLINES AND BIKE PATHS GALORE. DENVER- I’M IN HEAVEN. DENVER – YOU’LL CURE ME. THIS IS WHAT I’VE ALWAYS NEEDED. DENVER- YOU’RE MY NEXT LOVER. TAKE ME IN.

I’m like a stage 5 clinger to cities. (Insert mental image of me wrapping myself around a New York skyline, planting sloppy kisses on the wall of the Drumpf Tower… )

I’ve shuffled through cities about as quickly as I’ve shuffled through partners – and in the past, I’ve always inevitably felt deflated when one or the other didn’t just “fix me.”

Continue reading “Wherever You Go, There You Are: Moving With An Eating Disorder”

“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.

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.

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

8 Tips To Cope With Body Dysmorphia and Eating Disorder Dayze

…Cause literally Eating Disorders and Body Dysmorphia are a daze – ammirite? You walk around trying to exist; put on your work face; your social face; your public face – and inside you just feel all this guilt and shame for being so self-absorbed.

Now, don’t jump down my throat. You’re not necessarily self-absorbed. But, BDD and EDs do make you seem that way. When you can’t be present in a conversation, when you’re flaky as hell on all social engagements, or when you realize you can’t pass a glass window on a New York street without turning to observe whether or not your ass grew from the block before – it just gets exhausting. And honestly, embarrassing.

I have no joke run right into someone while distracted by my thighs in a window reflection.

“You’re lookin fine, gorgeous,” he said sarcastically as he bristled past me.

I wanted to be like ”I DON’T THINK I’M HOT A-HOLE. I THINK MY THIGHS ARE BIGGER IN THIS REFLECTION THAN THEY WERE IN THE DUANE REEDE REFLECTION- DON’T YOU GET IT?!”

2 years into recovery, you can still catch me doing that it’s true- but in treatment, my team and I developed coping mechanisms for dealing with the bad days. Some are helpful; some might be cornier than others. It just kinda depends on what type of person you are in terms of what will work for you.

Feel free to share your own. As always, I’m just a girl with an ED – no more special or wise than the rest of you. Continue reading “8 Tips To Cope With Body Dysmorphia and Eating Disorder Dayze”

Recovery Truth: Loving and Leaving New York

My favorite thing about New York is the people, because I think they’re misunderstood. I don’t think people realize how kind New York people are. – Bill Murray

Came to this city 3 years ago hoping it’d “fix” me. “HELP ME,” I pleaded. “Help me live again. I don’t know how.”

Little did I know back then that while no one can save you; no place can fix you; you CAN use both to help yourself.

Recovery is not easy- no- you stumble all the time. But I have found that with it, you can truly exist- you can simply just live. And that’s been enough for me.

Came here with nothin’- leaving with everything.

Watched the sun come up this morning; chomped on a Girl Scout Caramel Delite cookie – and all I could think about were the people who helped make all this possible.

I am lucky today – thankful today- and forever indebted to the people I met along the way.

Not a goodbye, just a C YA L8R, my forever city. ❤️

#ColoradoBound

Eek That One Time I Had A Cosmopolitan.com Article

Could not be more appreciative of all the support as this article runs. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a mixed bag of feelings to look down and see your name associated with the word “suicide.” To clarify: it’d be sensationalizing my eating disorder to state that I ever tried to end my life, but there were plenty of times that I looked at myself in the mirror and thought “this will be how I die. I’ll never get past it.”

Glad to be an example of recovery; what it is, what it entails, and all the beautiful ups and downs. Feeling so much gratitude and love as I leave this big apple city.

And of course, thank you to my friend Chase Williams for his sexy cameo. Don’t be surprised if the ladies of Cosmo come knockin’ my friend

Continue reading “Eek That One Time I Had A Cosmopolitan.com Article”

What To Do If Your Homie “Halfway Relapses”

Half a relapse- is there such a thing? I don’t know. I coined it tonight so bear with me.

Relapse is relapse, right? No excuses, no bullshit.

But, like, is it really? Isn’t recovery grey and murky? When do we draw the line? I never know. I have 10-years of eating disorders and 2 years of recovery, so I’m not even going to pretend like I can talk definitively.

There are times however I know I push it in terms of relapsing; times I conveniently put myself in situations where I won’t have the chance to eat for several hours and “can’t” get to food (i.e. the airport- always a prime example. Boarding an 11:50am flight from Dallas back to New York and conveniently not getting in till 5pm eastern time.)

“Oh,” I think to myself. “WHOOPSIE, guess I just skipped lunch!”

Continue reading “What To Do If Your Homie “Halfway Relapses””

Rehab Truth: Why Orthorexia and Exercise Go Hand-In-Hand

As so often happens, “weekend Orthorexia” creeps into me after I’ve worked out. What is it about that voice in your head?

Had a nice, 6-mile run and then immediately came home and couldn’t decide what to eat.

“If I just DON’T eat, well then those calories will be saved,” I always initially (and gleefully) think. “Whatever I eat will make me bigger. NOTHING is safe.” My Braveheart chant sings.

I’ve always had a little bit of an issue with working out and then eating. Somehow, it feels like when I work out- my appetite tends to dissipate for awhile afterwards; Even though I know I need to be eating. Does anyone else feel that way?

Anyway, I went to the little grocery store by my apartment and found myself doing what I always do when I’m in this position; walking up and down- and up and down- back down and elsewhere- into the store unable to decide what is “acceptable” to my ED to eat.

But alas, at the end of the day it’s a choice to hurt yourself- and I’m enough in recovery to understand that. It’s a choice to live by your ED and a choice to weigh your healthy voice over what your weird, instinct desire is telling you.

Fruit? Do I need the (natural) sugar? Cheese? Do I need the protein and fat. Bagel chips? Do I need the carbs?

Yup. I do. Cause I can’t live my whole life being scared of food.

I spent years of my life researching food; memorizing calories.

Years of my life google searching until my eyes felt like they were burning out of my head.

I’m tired of it.

I deserve better.

Flaming Self-Respect-

And it just ain’t no life at all.

Happy Saturday!

“But Trix Are For Kids?”: Life As A Cereal Killer

Saturday, I texted my mom at 1:25pm.

“I’m not eating well today. Idk what my deal is I’m so bingey. All I want is all the cereal in the world.”

She called soon after and asked if I’d like to “talk it out,” but the truth I didn’t tell her, and only admitted to  my best friend later- is that I’d already devoured 2 boxes of cereal over the past 2 days.

…Even writing just that, I almost lied and put 3 days instead of 2 so that whoever reading this wouldn’t think it was as bad as the reality is for me and cereal, even now 2 years into recovery.

This last week or so has not been stellar in terms of my binge eating. I go months and months without touching trigger foods, but what inevitably happens is that I convince myself I’m “fine” (like Ross in Friends when Rachel and Joey start dating “fine”) and fall right back down the rabbit hole of my own ED delusion.

Continue reading ““But Trix Are For Kids?”: Life As A Cereal Killer”

2 Years Later: The Night I Asked For Help

 

Two years ago, I went to a wedding, drank 6 glasses of wine, and wouldn’t take off my coat.

Earlier that day, I binge ate 2 boxes of cereal, threw up- and went straight to the gym with my dad.

I ran for 45 minutes- analyzing how many calories I’d likely thrown up and how many I could continue to burn.

It wasn’t enough.

When my dad came over to the treadmill, he signaled he was ready to go and I hopped off and followed him out of the gym.

We chatted in the car that day, giggled about the latest Bachelorette (because, yes, my father watches The Bachelorette), and when we got home I lurked till he was back in his room before I grabbed the keys and yelled out I was going to “run errands.”

My brother, I was later told, watched me pull out of the driveway and went back to my parents room to let them know I still had my tennis shoes on.

30 minutes later, as I ran cemented to the treadmill, I looked up to find my Dad standing there at the gym entrance- his eyes watching me.

Filled with shame, I stared back as he walked discreetly over to my treadmill.

“Linds” he whispered. “C’mon.”

We didn’t talk much that afternoon. I stayed upstairs with a bottle of wine avoiding my family and getting dressed for the wedding.

Anxious because I hadn’t finished running 12 miles, I hated the way I looked in that dress. I hated how much tighter it felt, I hated my thighs, I hated my arms, I hated my stomach and I wore Spanx that sucked in what was already bloated from purging.

At the wedding, I lingered near the bar.

Please take off your coat, my Mom whispered at some point when I’d gone out on the dance floor with my winter coat zipped to the neck.

I’m cold, I lied.

That night, I got absolutely hammered. I spoke with people I don’t remember talking to but have pictures with, I spent the last hour finding ways to sneak the grilled cheese appetizers in my coat pocket to ”eat later,” and I danced with sweat pilfering through my coat because I wouldn’t take it off.

Wine-dazed and dehydrated, someone drove me home that night and as I walked in the door I heard my Dad call me into the living room.

Shit, I sighed drunkenly. I just wanted my bed and the Cheez Its I’d hidden in the bathroom.

As I walked into the living room, I immediately noticed the two empty boxes of cereal on the coffee table.

Lindsey, he said calmly. What happened to the cereal?

Dunno, I slurred, my face reddening.

Lindsey, he said again- softer. Mom and I counted before you got here and we had 6 boxes of cereal and now we have 4.

I stared at him.

Honey, he whispered. We just love you.

Tears welled in my eyes.

We know, he said. Lindsey we know you need help.

I’m sorry, I heard myself whimper. I’m so sorry.

Did you throw it up? He asked.

I nodded.

My mom shook her head. We have to get help, she said. Lindsey you can’t keep living like this. We can’t live like this.

I don’t want to, I mumbled. I just can’t stop.

Let us help, my dad pleaded. Let us get you help.

I nodded. I didn’t care anymore.

I was done.
Continue reading “2 Years Later: The Night I Asked For Help”