|02-04-2008, 07:00 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2008
I'm grateful I was anorexic
A strange series of events has just transpired this evening.
I took a day off writing today to recover and prepare for podcasting, and in the course of some random internet surfing found my way to Steve's blog, then here. This evening, I had a look through some of his posts and found one on gratitude, and in particular being grateful for the things for which it's not that easy to be grateful.
It's not that easy to be grateful for spending fifteen to twenty years with anorexia. I'm 29, and I feel like I wasted years of my life on a set of very limiting and limited ideas about myself as I tried to squish myself into the ideals of everybody else. I thought limiting myself made me a better person. I pretty much went through every behaviour that an anorexic can experience, and my illness was severe enough that I was told recovery was unlikely. I lived in a small world, but even then, I made an effort to help other people with their own eating disorders as I had come to a greater understanding about how it feels to be anorexic and how to deal with people who have eating disorders.
Still, I have found myself wondering if I wasted my time. Then this evening I had a call from a friend of mine who's a learning mentor at a local school. A learning mentor gives pastoral support to pupils through learning support and counselling. He called me specifically because he wanted to thank me for talking him through how to deal with anorexics. He'd once told me about how he dealt with it - by offering food and drink and eating in front of them - and I'd suggested that he look for the deeper issue. Anorexia, in fact all eating disorders, are about dealing with emotional pain rather than being about food. The reason why eating disorders are so little understood is because everybody focuses on what's going on with food, and never realise that food is used as a tool to deal with something much deeper and more painful.
He told me he'd had to deal with a girl today who's been starving herself, and that because he'd listened to me talking about being anorexic, he was able to help her express what was really going on. He's now been able to pass the case on to a professional support team, and include some advice on how best to deal with the issue. It made me feel glad that I'd had the experience, that because I spent years getting to know the disorder so well it was like a sister to me, I was able to advise somebody else on how to help a teenager make a better choice.
I've had a difficult life - often because I've allowed my negativity to overtake me - but whenever something like this occurs, I feel glad that I had those experiences, that I've had times when I've felt weak and negative, that I've been unhappy with the world and with me. It's given me the opportunity to really appreciate and help others who are still struggling with those issues. My understanding of suicidility has helped another friend support his girlfriend who took an overdose last year, for example. It shows you that you can never really know the value of the experiences you encounter, the good and the bad, and just how they might lead to something positive for others.
Last edited by Joely; 02-04-2008 at 07:03 PM.
|02-05-2008, 05:26 AM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: New Zealand
Thankyou Joely for what you wrote and especially being so honest about the underlying cause of anorexia. To be able to share with others what you have learnt from your own experience will help so many people and many people reading your posting.
|02-06-2008, 11:39 AM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2008
I left anorexia behind about four and a half years ago now, maybe five. I never had any formal treatment based on dealing with anorexia because it was recognised that if I dealt with what made me want to starve myself, I would get better all by myself. When I actually did make the choice not to be anorexic, I did it all by myself and without support.
Since then I've had some therapy, hypnotherapy for other things, but I've been a longterm fan of personal development and working on myself, which is how I ended up here.
|02-07-2008, 10:13 AM||#7 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2007
So many people say that "it's not a lifestyle choice, it's an illness" - which is true, but I think you do have to make the choice to be healthy and change.
That's amazing that you were able to overcome all of that on your own.
but anyway... I'm glad that that's in the past now.
Last edited by Amandaaa; 02-07-2008 at 10:35 AM.
|02-07-2008, 10:43 AM||#8 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2008
I agree, I don't think it's a lifestyle choice at all, it's definitely an illness. But that doesn't mean you can't overcome it. For me, it was a case of choosing to live a better life, and the inkling that life might be worth living.
As my friend once commented, I'm just incredibly bloody-minded I think!
|02-07-2008, 01:27 PM||#11 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
out a negative come a positive
I am so glad that have found a way to funnel those negative experiences towards helping others.
I hope that some day many more people with all type of disorders can come out of the closet and that we will embrace them instead of reject them.
Perhaps situations like that in Virigina Tech can be adverted if people are allowed to open up, share and receive advice from someone like you who has been there and done that and found it not to work.
I hope that many read your thread.
Thank you for sharing.
|02-08-2008, 03:05 PM||#12 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
|02-08-2008, 04:18 PM||#13 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2007
When I finally got out of an abusive marriage, my mother said, "I'm so sorry about all this honey, but you know you made the wrong choice when you got married in the first place."
My response was, "Stop right there." I refused to discount half my life as nothing but one big screw-up and was not going to color all of those years with the tinge of regret.
It was what it was and contributed greatly to who I am today. Like you, my empathy and understanding of others in similar situations would be nil were it not for my experience.
Thanks for sharing your story, Joely, and for doing so from the viewpoint of gratitude.
|02-09-2008, 08:03 AM||#15 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2007
Hey Joely, good for you! I'm happy that you are able to emerge a much stronger person based on the negative experiences that you have been through. Not many people can do that, though. And I applaud you for that!
I wish you all the best. Your life is how you make it to be. You can do it :-)
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