Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Help from my readers for my readers

Harley and Spes go for a scenic ride. Safety belts on of course.

Brother and Sister Build-A-Bears went on a scenic tour on MO.  Well, it only included driving two hours from Columbia to St Louis, but it’s a long ride for little guys.  They were tuckered out at the end.

Harley is on the left.  He was sent to me while I was at Rader from a friend.  Spes, which means “hope” in Latin, is on the right.

A comment on my wall this morning got me thinking.  It was about time passing since treatment.  And this is a question for all of my readers.  I am out here, trying to convince people that I do not have an eating disorder, that there is life beyond an eating disorder, and, despite what doctors like to tell us, you don’t have to “manage your eating disorder” for the rest of your life.  You can be totally free of it.  I know I’m not the only one who has gained this freedom.  What I’m asking is for any reader who has also gained this freedom to leave a note letting other readers know it is possible.  Be as long or as brief as you want.  But please answer the question about whether or not you would trade the life you live now, free from the eating disorder (given that life in and of itself isn’t just going to be great without the eating disorder), for the life you had when you were sick. You can always leave anonymous posts on my diary.  But I really do think that the more people hear that others have made it to the other side and aren’t white-knuckling it through each day just to stay healthy, the more we help those who are on the verge of making that decision to get help or more intensive help or to be more honest with their team, or or or . . .

I know you are out there.  Help me with this one.

(Oh and the photo was chosen because A) I’m obsessed with my build a bears and because B) if these guys can get out there and face the world, so can you.)


March 14, 2010 - Posted by | Eating Disorders, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. My ED started 9 years ago. I was IP for a month a year and a half ago, and aside from 1-2 sessions a month with a therapist I’m not in treatment anymore. I don’t know if I’m fully recovered yet, but I know that I’m close, and now that I’m this far, I TRULY BELIEVE FULL RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE!!!

    When I wake up I simply get dressed. I don’t fret over what fits this way or that way, or try on 10 different things before I even leave my room. I go downstairs and I eat breakfast. Without anything influencing me. I’m hungry, so I eat breakfast. It doesn’t matter how my jeans fit. I eat when I’m hungry, and I don’t obsess over types of food. I have even started admitting that I have favorite foods… which is something I never was able to do before.

    I exercise simply because I love being active. And I listen to my body, stop when I need to and take days off when I need to. And I no longer exercise to “make up” for anything I’ve eaten.

    I wouldn’t trade this and go back to my other life. I wasn’t living then. I didn’t have time or energy for friends, school, family, or any relationships.

    My life is finally balanced and void of the extremes. I’m not obsessing over numbers and measurements. I feel strong, I feel healthy. I feel more comfortable with myself. I don’t hate myself anymore and am finally able to love others and let myself be loved. I have a future now. I’ll be able to live long enough to go old with my husband. I’ll be able to be a good example to our kids. It’s all in the priorities.

    Body image can still be an issue, I’m not saying that goes away so easily. But it’s better than it was, and I’m finally learning that my size isn’t important. That most of the time, people don’t notice changes in it like I think they would.

    So yes, I back up Lexie- full recovery IS possible.
    Just don’t give up. It gets easier as time goes on.

    Comment by Andi | March 14, 2010 | Reply

  2. I had an eating disorder for 14 years, was in and out of seven treatment centers, and NEVER believed full recovery was possible (for me) – but after completing a three-month residential program in 2008, I’m living it. I eat what I want when I am hungry, stop when I am full, and don’t worry about my weight or size. And I don’t struggle with invasive thoughts or horrible self-doubt anymore.

    What’s better? Without a doubt, recovery. I have a full life, friends and family that I can now love fully, and I feel strong and happy. I can plan for the future, a future I want to be part of. And while life is still full of problems and difficulties, I now know that I am strong enough to handle them.

    Years ago, I would’ve dismissed this as a platitude, as something that applied to others but not me… but it’s not. It’s not simple, but it does get a lot easier as time goes on, until it becomes completely normal NOT to struggle anymore.

    Lexie, I agree 1000% – full recovery is possible, but the skills we use in recovery (whatever they may be – for me, it was total honesty and awareness) need to be kept up to stay recoverED.

    Comment by Heidi | March 14, 2010 | Reply

  3. I believe it is possible. I’m right on the threshold. I had a big change in my life this weekend and switched back to the old bad behaviors, but I can see that I’m doing it. I would call myself 90-95% over it, except for this last little freak out. But it’s good because I can see the problem and then work toward fixing it so that it doesn’t happen again.

    I do think that I’ll use disordered eating to try and get over some problems, that is why I need to watch out for them and be careful and not let it get out of hand. So recovery? YES! But at the same time always vigilant.

    Comment by david | March 14, 2010 | Reply

  4. I can answer that DEFINITELY, life without the eating disorder is so much better than when I was existing with it. There are obvious physical problems that the eating disorder brought, and now I am can be thankful for a body that functions! And aside from the physical–I actually feel alive. And sometimes that means I feel more than I’d like- I don’t use the eating disorder to numb out all feelings. And now that I feel…not only do I feel negative emotions, but I also feel amazing and positive ones. I am actually present in my own life. I don’t feel like I’m merely existing. I’m living. I’m not watching my life go by from inside a cage.
    Life isn’t perfect. And I’m definitely not recoverED. I still have terrible body image days. But I can HONESTLY say that EVEN with bad body image days– life is STILL better without the eating disorder. As my treatment team says, even the worst days in recovery are better than the best days with ed.

    Comment by Mindy | March 14, 2010 | Reply

  5. Hmmmm… although I feel like I should be writing “Yes of course full recovery is possible” based on the fact that I do feel I’ve been in a strong recovery for a while now, at the same time, I must admit, that the question of if truly FULL recovery is possible is still something I ponder almost daily.
    This being said, I will admit that my world has changed a million times for the better since I’ve gotten myself into recovery mode and out of my eating disorder. I love waking up each day to the sun, I have moments of pure clarity where I just KNOW I am going to be okay and that I’m doing the right thing, and my relationships are finally starting to be about the people involved instead of the caretaking one way or another because of ED’s. I no longer see eating disorder professionals for treatment; just the regular doctor visits for flu and stuff. By all accounts, I am for the first time in my life feeling like a “normal” college student.
    All that taken into consideration however, I still struggle daily with body image, food related thoughts, and anxiety/ stress influencing my habits. Others above have written that they no longer try on ten different outfits, or exercise to make up for things, but I still catch myself doing these things constantly. I think the difference is that at this point, it feels more like it’s done out of habit than it is done out of fears. I still have constant thoughts of restricting, however, what I can say has changed is the fact that as soon as I feel the hunger, that feeling strikes me into reality, and I eat, without worry I might add. I eat because I’m hungry, and I stop when I’m full. I go running for enjoyment, but I keep running for exercise. I think I’m getting closer to seeing the light of “full recovery”, but I can’t quite feel it deep down inside yet.
    I remember when I was in treatment, praying night after night for the freedoms I am feeling now. At that point, this is all I wanted out of recovery, and this is what I thought recovery looked like. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think “full recovery” is a lose term for me. I feel like I am in recovery, yet I feel like my definition of full recovery is constantly changing. Each time I take a new step in the process of recovery, I feel like there’s one more to make (I say this in a positive tone, not a negative one), this means though, that each time I reach what I had considered to be “Full recovery” before, I no longer feel like it’s really a “Full recovery” when I get there. So, the overall answer to the question, do I think full recovery is possible?…. It depends on what you mean by full recovery. If you mean can you live a life of health and happiness uncontrolled by any eating disorder thoughts or behaviors, then yes, but if you mean can anyone who used to have an eating disorder ever really disconnect with that part of their lives, then I’d have to say no, but I don’t always think that’s a bad thing, I feel like I have learned more about myself in the past two years than I did the first 19 years of my life combined.

    Comment by Nikita | March 14, 2010 | Reply

    • I totally agree with you, Nikita. Recovery has brought me so much insight that I’m thankful for…and I also still have so much to learn. I definitely still struggle. But health and happiness and better and better as time goes on, I think. And knowing I will be ok is a fabulous feeling.

      Comment by Mindy | March 14, 2010 | Reply

  6. Lex, thanks for this post. You know I read all of yours, and this one is especially helpful for where I’m at. Reading the replies has given me a lot of hope that just maybe this obsession won’t control my life forever.

    Comment by Hannah | March 16, 2010 | Reply

  7. It is possible. I live it daily.

    Comment by Amy | March 18, 2010 | Reply

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