Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

My approach




She's my quarterback kitty


I’ve been asked why I do this, write this blog, and why I write in the style I do.  Which, I know, can be blunt, tactless, and in-your-face.  I’m not going to shy away from topics just because they might upset people.  The whole “let’s not discuss it” thing never worked for me.  I mean, that was my MO for the first 28 years of my life, but it led me down some very self-destructive paths.

And I’m not going to (or maybe I will, but only very very rarely) give you a (what I call) la-la-foo-foo entry of how you should just love yourself and come to peace with your struggles and then move forward, honoring the fact that you deserve treatment and help and health and life.  I will not try to convince you of these things.  I will state them.  But unless I know you and know how you think and can counter your emotion mind, I can’t engage in that discussion.  That sounds rather cruel.

But I never believed I was worth recovery or life or fighting until I was almost ready to be discharged from my last treatment center.  No one could convince me I was worth it.  I could not come to any peace.  I was in hell.  And I was rather selfish in that hell.  I needed to be shocked out of it.

I needed to be taken to the ER and scratch at my throat, frantically whispering I can’t breathe over and over again, while a fiend sat by my side, helpless.  A friend who had lost his daughter to bulimia a little over two years before this particular ambulance ride.  A friend who had to borrow my cell phone and call his wife in the middle of the night and let her know what was going on.

I realized my actions had personal consequences for other people.

Obviously, it took a lot more than that one event to convince me I was ready and able to recover and was worth it.  But I thought my behaviors affected me.  I was the one who got sick and I was the one who went to the ER.  But other people saw me on a daily basis, watched my slow decline, worried that I would pass out in class (this came from the mouth of one of my profs).  Professors talked to other professors, trying to figure out what to do, how to help.

I sat in one class my first year at my Master’s program and compared my wrists and fingers to the girl sitting next to me.  I made sure I sat next to her every single time.  Convinced she was thinner.  Looking back, she was an underclassman who hadn’t finished puberty yet.  I was 28, fully developed.  And I was thinner.  I have no idea if she had an eating disorder or if she had body image problems.  But what if she did?  My presence, my constant pushing up the sleeves to show off my slight forearms couldn’t have helped her.

And it certainly didn’t help me at all.

So that’s why I do this.  Some people need calm, peace, and gentleness and, yes, some people may not want to discuss the topics I do.  But some people need a literal slap across their face to wake up and smell the consequences of their actions.

And there’s room in the world for both approaches and more.




November 14, 2009 - Posted by | Body Image, Communication, Eating Disorders, identity, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I agree that a “tough love” approach has been helpful for me in terms of therapy. My therapist does not “baby me” as she puts it when I was trying to describe how I felt like she was a “hard a**” at times. Unfortunately, my family never babied me either especially my mother who did quite the opposite ESPECIALLY after she found out her daughter was not perfect and god forbid had an eating disorder. Then all hell broke loose and I believe due to my relationship or lack thereof with my mother I have adapted a more “tough love” approach with others as well when it comes to recovery, however I do believe that if I was also given some maternal and nurturing love it would have saved me a lot of pain and may have perhaps prevented an eating disorder since my eating disorder is so deeply rooted in the relationship with my mother. So as most things and as we are taught, there is a balance- nothing is black and white.

    But going along your slap in the face approach, I have a challenge for you. I know you always say you are recovered and I assume that recovered may be different for each individual although I kind of think it is not- BUT, I still do see so many ways in which I feel you need to prove your eating disorder to others.

    Is there a reason why in most of your blog updates you must tell everyone that even though you do not have pictures chronically your eating disorder you DID HAVE AN NG tube, and DID GO to the ER, and DID GO INPATIENT, and DID hear professors worry that you would pass out in class? I just wonder if that is still a way to reaffirm that your struggle was real because although it may be subtle, it is a definite pattern.

    But I also know I have a hard time understanding your perspective. I find it so hard to understand how you are so firm and upfront about all of these eating disordered behaviors and the culture of the eating disorder yet are completely fine and almost in support of pro-anorexia sites….. Maybe its time for you to make your next blog about your opinions on the pro-anorexia world because I find it completely sickening.

    Comment by Jessica | November 14, 2009 | Reply

    • I mention that I’ve been IP because that was part of my treatment journey. I remind people in this blog every so often that what I did to get better is not what works for everyone. What worked for me was going IP. I think I mentioned the ER here because that particular ER visit was my slap across the face/wake up call. And I’ve only mentioned the NG tube in the pictures entries and (I think) the fashion entry.
      Although I mention these things, I don’t dwell on them. This entry did a little because a couple were the consequences for others due to my own actions. I try to dwell on the steps I took after all of this stuff. But I do mention that this stuff happened, yes. I’m hoping some people will connect and see themselves in me or part of my story and find hope.

      And I always had tough love at home. An A was not to be celebrated, it was expected. And we can wonder (I have) if that would have prevented the eating disorder, but then I think of all the other contributing factors. I think it would have made telling them easier and family therapy easier/possible. I think we would have had a relationship before I was 30. Now we do, and now I look forward to their visits–even though it means they stay with me and don’t leave at the end of the day. i like having them here for a week. But it took a long time and hard work to get there.

      And the entry you mentioned is coming, along with another one today.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | November 15, 2009 | Reply

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