Battling Chronic Anorexia for Over a Decade (But Still Fighting for Recovery)
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Battling Chronic Anorexia for Over a Decade (But Still Fighting for Recovery)

August 16, 2019

how would you describe your eating
disorder to somebody who has no clue what it is
I would describe anorexia as a little person in the back of your head
screaming at you it is a little person who tells you that you want to be alone
that you don’t need friends that you don’t need family that you need to eat
as little as possible and you need to exercise this certain amount and it’s
this little thing that puts Mane’s on you and says that you will be accepted
and you are the winner or you’re the best you are better than anyone or
anything if you don’t eat which is the strangest thing in the world this little
voice that is trying to kill you but you don’t see it I don’t see it I don’t see
this voice is killing me sometimes I see it as being my best friend so in some
ways it’s a security blanket it’s my best friend but my best friend is trying
to kill me all right when you share with somebody that you live with anorexia how
do you hope they respond um I hope they respond with compassion and that if they
have any questions first ask the person if they feel comfortable answering do
you feel comfortable answering any question I’m a open book what would you
say is the percentage of your day that you spend thinking about your body image
or food almost all of my day almost all my waking hours are kind of consumed by
food thoughts when you’re in the the worst part of your anorexia do you
falsely believe that you’re just healthier than everyone else
not that I’m healthier than everybody else no but I do think that other people
look thinner than I do like I would point at somebody my mom and I used to
do this where I would point at somebody on the street and I said but they’re
thinner than me and my mom’s like what are you talking about no they’re not
like you are so much thinner than that is that part of the body dysmorphia I
think so yeah I have been very close to death and it’s scary but
even you still don’t see it as scary in the moment in the moment it’s I’m still
not sick enough you will never think that you are sick enough you could be as
frail as possible and eating next to nothing and still think I’m not sick
enough but you are always sick enough if there is any sort of problem you are
sick enough and you deserve help and that’s the hardest thing to accept
is that you deserve help what are some things that people say and they think
they’re being supportive but are actually counterproductive so somebody
who is in recovery actively Hermine eating disorder I think some of the
hardest things to hear are you look so good that’s a really hard thing to hear
why is that hard because in your brain it turns into I gained so much weight
and I look so different and I look fat that’s kind of what it track in an
anorexia and in my anorexic brain that’s automatically what I go to is my
anorexia beause no no no no you’re losing you look fat any like weight
comments just in general around the eating disorder community comments on
somebody’s weight or how clothes fit them that can be very easily
misinterpreted and I think instead translating it to you look so happy you
have so much life in your eyes I can see you enjoying this activity so much more
I think those things and kind of making it less about you look and how the
outward appearances and what age were you clinically diagnosed with anorexia
I’ve been diagnosed with anorexia when I was eight OCD when I was ten and
generalized anxiety when I was twelve when somebody meets you for the first
time what do you hope they see I hope they see my bubbly personality I want
them to see me for who I am as a person not for my disease and sometimes that’s
even hard for me because a lot of my qualities come
needing control or needing whatever like needing that something that anorexia is
providing but I hope that they see that I’m so compassionate and loving and
caring and I just want the best for everybody else
how do your OCD an eating disorder feed off of each other my OCD portion of it
shows up more where the thing that I ate yesterday has to be exactly the same the
next day or else I feel the anxiety and there’s not really some people there’s
with OCD it’s like if I don’t do this then this will happen something bad will
happen and I think my something bad is you’ll gain a ton of weight or some your
body’s just gonna change or you’re gonna lose something in your life it’s not
even always a answer it’s just a wave of anxiety if what I did yesterday doesn’t
happen the next day so I weigh my food to the tee like
everything to the point two grams is weighed and that’s I think the OCD
portion of it because then I’ll see that and the next day it has to be the same
but the anorexia portion will pop in where if it’s point two less I’ll say
okay it’s only a point to us and then that next day I’ll be like but it was
point two it was this number which was point two less than the number before
but I’ll keep that point two less and then I’m eating less over and over and
over and over and over and then it’ll be point two last night that it’s okay
because it’s a point two less and I’ll do that over and over and over and over
so unconsciously my anorexia is taking over and I’m losing weight and restricting unintentionally but also
intentionally but the OCD is the thing that’s making me do the exact same thing
as the day before we’ll say just eat just eat like what do you like it’s fine
just eat more and it’s not that simple there’s a lot that goes into that and I
think I wish sometimes I don’t wish for anyone to ever think and feel the things
that I think and feel but I do wish sometimes that I can give them a little
glue into my brain you mentioned that
anorexia is a symptom of something guys yeah what is it a symptom up for you for
me I think my whole life I wanted control and I want sameness and control
and an identity and to feel accepted in some way and I think at some point my
anorexia became my identity I think in some ways it comes out that if I look
different than maybe my boyfriend wouldn’t want wouldn’t want me anymore I
think sometimes that comes up but also or like my family will think of me
differently but it’s not that’s not the stem of it it’s not acceptance from
other people it’s how I look to myself how do you look to yourself right now
you actually you can see yourself I can don’t mean to flip that around no it’s
okay I don’t mind um good exercise myself I think a lot of people have
trouble looking at themselves and watching recordings of themselves
there’s a reason that screens on your side and not my side there yeah then you
have to watch all the recordings of yourself to during all these I did my
own footage so so every time you edit it you’re probably looking at it like oh no
you know it’s not that it’s not the visual it’s more the audio I don’t think
anyone can say that to that the voice in your head sounds a lot different than
the voice that you’re hearing yeah it’s true I don’t know we’ll see but I don’t
know I think the question when you look at yourself what do you see I see
someone with a big heart and a lot of potential and I think someone whose
perfectionism gets the best of them and someone who needs to let go and have fun
and be free and I see someone who works hard
there’s caring and loving but I also see someone who’s struggling a lot and who
has a lot of demons to battle look in the mirror and one minute I’m like oh no
I can see all these bones then the next minute I look in the
mirror and I’ll be like whoa what was I talking about
like I look just as fit just as whatever is all these other girls or I look in
the mirror and I’ll be like I can’t eat my snack after this because I look too
big too big so I but in reality my help like my healthy part of my brain is like
no Rachel you really need to like work on it or even now my goal is just to
find a more healthy relationship with the food is that voice the Henner exia
speaking to you even right now yes yeah it’s a voice how that is it right now
not that loud this minute I think but it changes by the second so I think it’s
there’s always a voice and how loud it is is it loud about different things at
different times I have certain meal times and our snack times in my head so
it’s really frustrating when you have to try to like manage your day based off of
that sort of a friend wants to hang out and I in my brain I’m like no you’re
supposed to eat dinner at this time and dinner needs to be this or I’ll be
thinking I’ll get up in the morning and my first thought is am I going to eat
breakfast today and then not only am I going to eat breakfast today it’s how
much breakfast am I going to eat or what’s considered healthy am I getting
enough protein am I getting enough fat am i getting enough carbs and that
thought manifests and then I sit there and I eat my meal and while I’m eating
it should I be eating this how much of this am I gonna eat am I gonna stop
should I eat more after the meal yes you’re sitting there and you’ll feel
guilty if you ate what the dietitian said you’re supposed to you’ll feel
guilty because you’re eating disorders like oh you’re doing this wrong like you
are not you’re gonna get large and then the other part of your brain if you
don’t do it you’re like I feel so guilty because my mom is depending on me my dad
my sister my boyfriend my family like everyone is depending on me to be
healthy and so when I make this poor decision to restrict and give in to my
eating disorder that also causes a lot of anxiety so then you don’t just eat
once a day you ought to eat again so that’s a hard part is eating is
necessary to live and there’s too much and there’s not enough and finding that
middle ground is really really hard and within all of that you’re consumed by am
I going to eat it am I not should I exercise how much should I exercise I
think my anorexia is there almost all the time sometimes when I’m really
enjoying myself like if I’m out with my friends and dancing and singing and
having a great time very quickly it’ll come back so if a
song stops and the next song is about to start like even that short moment I can
start thinking again but somedays like I’ll go a while I’ll be on a hike and
I’ll be enjoying the beautiful weather and sometimes it’ll think it’ll sink in
how many steps did I just take you use the word sick in the heat of the moment
do you understand you’re sick in the heat of the moment it’s I’m winning it’s
the little anorexia voice in the back of my head saying you’re winning you’re
doing your best look at you look you lost so and so amount of weight look you
lost this amount of weight you’re winning but then there are moments of
clarity and those moments of clarity as you become healthier and gain a
healthier relationship with food not just with weight but with food freedom
and you’re eating more more with your eating more freely you’re eating with
your friends you’re enjoying these life moments you realize more that like the
unhealthy part of you you see it more so I’ll see more when that when I’m
slipping or that I’m sick when I’m healthier which is an interesting thing
but the sicker I think the sicker you get sometimes the harder it is to see
that you are sick I see myself as realizing that there has been a very
large problem and right now there still is a problem right now I’m more stuck in
I don’t know the appropriate way to get help that’s helpful towards me because
I’ve had over new therapists in my life I’ve seen so
many and that hasn’t been helpful in the past so it’s hard for me to see that
it’ll be helpful in the future so trying to find what is the best way for me to
get better with like the most helpful way from me personally right now every
day is a battle and every day I’m still living and I’m I made it to this amazing
occupational therapy program that ten people got accepted to a lot of 300 or
plus applicants and I am living in Los Angeles on my own I have a dog I have a
boyfriend I have friends so I’m managing my life every single day with this
disorder and I think that’s something to be really proud of and every day I did I
make a choice that’s healthy for my recovery I think I I think I survived
and I made it but I also think I’m battling it and I’m a warrior every day
what’s your biggest hope for the future my biggest hope for the future is I want
a family I want to be healthy enough and okay with myself enough to have a very
loving happy family I want to mend my relationships with all the people that
I’ve really hurt through my eating disorder you’re my anorexia I think it comes with
a lot of backlash it comes with me kind of getting at people without meaning to
I kind of separate myself and build a wall and I hurt other people when I hurt
myself and who is this this is Toby toby is my little boy he’s my kappa poo
and he’s a year and a half somebody wants to be your friend or a part of
your support unit what’s the easiest way to do that come up and talk to me don’t
be scared sometimes I do have a resting like very off-putting face but I’m super
friendly don’t be scared I love people I love you man interaction I thrive off of
but I but I’m also a bit of an introvert at the end of the day I like to be home
with my book and my and doing my own thing but somebody wants to be my friend
somebody wants to be a part of my circle I would love that
I just love just say hi that’s all you have to do it starts the saying hi does
he help with your recovery he really does um toby was actually first a kind
of reward system for being healthy and keeping my body healthy and I was
working with a therapist and a dietitian and my mom and I pushed so hard for this
dog I wanted him for a very long time and it was kind of a goal that if you
keep yourself healthy and you stay on the right track for this period of time
there you will be healthy enough to have a dog what would be the number one piece
of advice you gave to somebody who’s afraid to reach out for help reach out
and reach out here I would open up to somebody you feel the most comfortable
with because sometimes it’s not your families sometimes it’s your best friend
sometimes it’s your boyfriend sometimes it’s your girlfriends sometimes it’s a
different family member but reaching out to the one person you feel most
comfortable with and will open you up to love and support just sitting here
talking about it I think I feel more empowered to look how far you came and
look how much further you can come and like look at everything
it helps me realize all that I’ve accomplished all the things that I’ve
already struggled with and made it to where I am so look how much more I could
do like it doesn’t stop here like I’m not gonna just give up it doesn’t stop
here so there’s so much more thanks for watching it’s our mission to show that
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