Posts Tagged ‘Anorexia’

‘Ed’ and All Her False Promises: A Story of Recovery

A group of friends standing on cliff during a sunset

By Abby Couture

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

At the age of 14, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. My admission into intensive care was sudden. I had gone from starving myself for months to being fed three meals and snacks a day in a hospital bed. Needless to say, I didn’t exactly embrace this abrupt change in routine. Though as traumatic as living through an eating disorder was, I believe I was able to survive for a few main reasons.

The first was my reckoning with control. A common feature of individuals struggling with disordered eating is an underlying fear of lacking control in one’s life, or feeling powerless and uncertain with their sense of self.

Throughout my freshman year of high school, I struggled to feel grounded and secure in shifting family dynamics, redefined friend groups, and a fluctuating identity with academics. In middle school, everything seemed so much easier, my grades were above average, and I felt more or less socially safe. In high school, I found myself frequently shifting between different social groups that were often in conflict. I felt tethered between old ties and new ones, constantly shifting “selves.” This ultimately led me to constantly question how I could be defined. At the end of the school year, my grades had dropped and I was no longer on the honor roll. Compounded by a disconnection with my academic self was a feeling of alienation from my own bodily identity. As I navigated puberty, I began to gain attention from older boys, leading me to objectify my own body as I learned to view it as social capital.

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The Truth About 5 Eating Disorder Myths

5 people in a group therapy setting

An estimated 30 million people in the United States have an eating disorder. The majority of them do not receive professional care. Many experience shame and stigma because of their illness, and many struggle all alone.

By educating ourselves and others, we can work to reduce stigma and to better understand these complex illnesses that affect so many. Here are five myths and facts about eating disorders.

Myth: Eating disorders affect only thin, young, white women.

Fact: This is the stereotypical image of eating disorders—a thin, young, white woman. It is this woman we’ve seen in media depictions of these disorders and heard about most in common chatter. Even within the field, research has historically focused on clients who fit this profile, in part because white women were (and still are) the most likely to receive care.

But this narrow demographic does not accurately reflect the diversity of those who experience these illnesses. Far from it. Eating disorders affect people of all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, body sizes, classes, and abilities. They’re not just a “teenager’s problem” or a “white girl’s problem.” They’re not something that affects only wealthy people, or only cisgender people, or only people of any other social group. Eating disorders don’t discriminate in these ways; they span across all social categories.

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Episode 37: Binge Eating Disorder and Anorexia as Long-Kept Secrets with Susan Burton

A young person journaling outside

Episode description:

Susan Burton is an editor at the public radio program This American Life and a former editor of Harper’s. Her radio documentaries have won numerous awards, and her writing has appeared in Slate, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and others. Susan’s debut book, Empty: A Memoir, is out now from Random House.

In this episode of Peace Meal, Susan tells us about Empty, a personal story of her eating disorders long kept hidden. In describing her experience with binge eating disorder (BED) and anorexia, she poignantly recounts how the illnesses felt both destructive and protective, both safe and stifling. They functioned in part, she says, as ways to cope with longing and a deep desire for human connection. Understanding now that BED and anorexia were equally harmful and isolating, Susan shares myriad lessons from the perspective of someone still recovering. In this liminal space of recovery, she continues to learn how to sit with discomfort, balance emotional highs and lows, and practice self-compassion with the help of therapy and family support.

Empty is available at local bookstores and on Amazon. Connect with Susan via her website, Instagram, or Twitter.

Learn more about The Emily Program online or by calling 1-888-364-5977.

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Emancipated Love Junkie: A Q&A with Rachel Wilshusen

Rachel Wilshusen

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Rachel Wilshusen is a dynamic and vibrant writer with liberal arts degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, University College London, and the University of Cambridge. After an extensive battle with anorexia, including admittance to an eating disorder center, Rachel wrote Emancipated Love Junkie to embolden others to follow her path toward recovery. Coastal runs with her husband and jumping into ocean waves are her favorite ways to spend sunny mornings in Del Mar, California. Learn more about Rachel via emailInstagram, and her website, rachelwilshusen.com.

Here Rachel tells us about the purpose and process of writing Emancipated Love Junkie, a memoir about her recovery from anorexia. 

Tell us about your book, Emancipated Love Junkie!

In 2016, I reached a breaking point with my anorexia and admitted myself to an eating disorder center. During my time in treatment, I devoured memoirs, self-help books, and mental health resources to uplift my spirits during the most challenging time of my life. Although various writers touched my soul and inspired change, I never found what I was craving: an inspiring story with actionable help that exuded a “You got this, girlfriend!” vibe. Consequently, after treatment I toyed with the idea of writing such a book based on my experiences to provide others wrestling with their own disorders with a warm and optimistic literary hug. Four years later, which included a year of intensive writing sessions, I’m thrilled to share Emancipated Love Junkie with The Emily Program and ED community. The title is meant to emphasize the book’s proactive approach to recovery; I hope to encourage readers to release their inner critics and do the tough stuff to embrace a life of health and happiness!

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Can You Have Anorexia and Bulimia at the Same Time?

A therapist and client

Is it possible to have two eating disorders at once? What if you restrict and binge and purge? Is that anorexia or bulimia? Both? Neither?

It’s a common question, one that makes sense to ask. Many people do experience a continuum of disordered behaviors within or over the course of their illness, at times restricting, bingeing, and purging. One behavior leads to another in what is often called the eating disorder “cycle.” Trapped in this cycle, people experience symptoms that overlap multiple eating disorder diagnoses. They may be left to wonder: Exactly what, then, is the appropriate diagnosis?

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Midwest Kitchen

Woman setting pan with food on kitchen table

**Content warning: This is one person’s story. Everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Elizabeth O. is a writer, doula, and identity navigation specialist from Pennsylvania who loves thinking and talking about how to make our relationships places to heal from oppression.

The role of gender and whiteness in the development of my eating disorder

My maternal grandmother passed away from cancer three years ago. All within less than two weeks, she went from healthy to gone. She was a Minnesota Baptist minister’s wife, and five days before she passed, she lay in the hospital with her end-of-life care pastor and me.

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