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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This Is Why Your Eating Disorder Is Boring

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My partner and I have been arguing lately.

Likely because we’re at that point in a relationship where our “quirky” personality traits have lost their lusty splendor, and humanized into regular, every day irritations –

I was clearing the table after dinner last night.

In my view (which is, of course, the only one), I’d been helpful. The loving, easygoing girlfriend.

“Shit, did you clean this pan with soap?” I hear from the far side of the kitchen.

The aforementioned monologue in mind, I gripped down on the white plates that now peculiarly resembled killer frisbees:

“Yes.”

An exasperated sigh. “Damn, okay. This one can’t be cleaned with soap or it ruins the bottom.”

He stared at it like a child grieving ice cream that just fell out of the cone.

I lost it in that beautiful way people sometimes do. Slowly, subtly, and then with a rip-roaring bang.

It’s always easy to consider ourselves even-tempered, until we’re not.

One soap wash – and it’s ruined? I asked, with biting sarcasm. Better buy a better pan next time.

He ignored me, purposefully, which I gathered by his effort to look over me instead of at me as he walked past with the soap-murdered skillet.

I acted accordingly: choosing to hurtle the two plates into the sink, and allow them to clank together – leaving a rattling, ear-piercing splendor.

He whipped around from his hunchback, introspective stance:

“You don’t have to be so Defensive Diana, Jesus. I’m just informing you.”

This is one of those “cute” things we did – nicknaming our more difficult personality traits to the tune of “Defensive Diana” (me) “Controlling Chad” (him) “Insecure Irene” (me) and “Tone-deaf Todd” (him)

In my awe-struck lust, little did I realize how irritating it’d be to have character flaws thrown back in my face in the form of alliterations.

It’s one thing after the other, I quipped. Now it’s the pans. Earlier it was the knife for the cheese board.

He interrupted. No. I just had a proper cheese knife and thought you’d find it easier to cut through hard cheddar.

He emphasized the word ‘hard.’

I lowered my eyes. And the lights, I said. I don’t turn on your bloody lights correctly.

Never said that, he said. But, I don’t understand why you turn them on FULL BLAST when I have the energy saver that dims them.

Because I don’t know what a fucking energy saver light socket is, I said. And I can’t figure out which button is which. So there. I’m just a dumb, energy-consuming consumer of America YET AGAIN. Please, oh PLEASE, teach me more. Do I compost correctly? Do I recycle the wrong plastics? Do I eat too many non-organic blueberries?

I stomped off to bed.

In retrospect, I overreacted.

He can be a control freak, but typically in a way where he truly believes he’s helping to make my life easier.

Oftentimes, it does.

Which infuriates me.  Continue reading “This Is Why Your Eating Disorder Is Boring”

“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”

What To Read RIGHT NOW During National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

For the sake of the headline, I left out the ‘read AND listen to‘ because it seemed too long. (It’s the public relations career in me.) So, to clarify, I thought it might be handy if I put a little list together of resources I’ve seen circling around the web this week, speaking to eating disorders and recovery.

I asked some of you who follow my Instagram to provide suggestions as well, so below is a group of responses. Please feel free to comment your own pieces as well! Continue reading “What To Read RIGHT NOW During National Eating Disorder Awareness Week”

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”

Eating Disorder Community Responds: What’s The Hardest Part Of Holiday Season & How Can A Loved One Help You?

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Thought it might be a helpful post, this time of holiday year, to remind everyone struggling with eating disorders and recovery and this and that mental illness –

That there is a wide ole’ community in the world that is struggling with you.

That every few people you pass in an airport or on the street, one of them has thought or felt the same way that you have felt. To some degree. In whatever way their reality shapes for them.

I posted a question on Instagram: “What’s the hardest part of holiday season & how has a loved one helped you?”

The responses are varied, but the sentiments are similar.

Continue reading “Eating Disorder Community Responds: What’s The Hardest Part Of Holiday Season & How Can A Loved One Help You?”

A Reminder: It’s Okay To Be Utterly Scared Of Recovery

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Made a choice this time 4 years ago — full of fear – walking into rehab:

Perhaps I’ll run around forever — healing my brain and my body — perhaps I’ll fail — and perhaps I’ll never know all of the answers — but maybe I’d never want to, anyway.

S’pose that’s all we need sometimes — the freedom to reshape and believe whatever the hell we need to believe to get on with life.

Spent this morning and night on a roof — only to remember that I’m pretty far from knowing anything — but recognizing  a couple things: what I want and how I’m gonna get it.

Laughed with a best friend.

“Get used to your destiny babe,” he said. “Writing – recovery – all that stuff you talk about – it’s part of your life — forever. Accept it and blossom with it.”

We stared at the full moon.

Continue reading “A Reminder: It’s Okay To Be Utterly Scared Of Recovery”

“You Must Eat Intuitively … But, Actually, Eat At Exactly 8am, 12pm, 3pm, and 6pm”: The Truth About ‘Intuitive Eating’ In Recovery

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This post has taken me a long time to write.

(What’s new? Generally speaking, everything I write takes me till the next half moon … but I think I like starting posts off by saying something declarative to build anticipation … probably some public relations gimmick. I’m a fraud.)

ANYWAY, this post is hard because I don’t have a solution.

Usually, if I’m going to blabber on about a topic, I like to have an end in sight – but this one is different because I’m not an intuitive eating coach.

I’m just a girl with an eating disorder that feels confused by ‘intuitive eating’ methods – vs reality.

It’s not that intuitive eating shouldn’t be an end goal, it should. In my humble opinion, we all deserve to chow down on Pecan Pie at 4pm on Thanksgiving and move on with our lives.

But, I still feel like 4 years into recovery – and I’m often asking myself “what the hell is intuitive eating?”

Continue reading ““You Must Eat Intuitively … But, Actually, Eat At Exactly 8am, 12pm, 3pm, and 6pm”: The Truth About ‘Intuitive Eating’ In Recovery”

Let’s Get Real: Are You A ‘Half-Assed’ Anorexic?

Well, are you?

Alright, so before you bite my head off in T-Swift “Look What You Made Me Do” fashion:

Let me explain.

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Continue reading “Let’s Get Real: Are You A ‘Half-Assed’ Anorexic?”