Façade-my favorite word

Everyone lives a façade. We create a perfect outside image to hide our actual reality.

“When did creating a flawless façade become a more vital goal than learning to love the person who lives inside your skin?”

Sometimes, recovery is one big façade. Being threatened with treatment and having opportunities snatched away makes some of us who are struggling not want to admit it.

I do not want to tell my parents that I am struggling right now.

I do not want them to know that I have hardly been eating any food.

I do not want my friends to see me feeling glum and sad.

I do not want to ruin my façade.

I’ve been doing exceptionally well since I was last hospitalized in February. I have been going to appointments, following my meal plan, taking my medications. I was able to stop acting because I started to naturally feel like my normal, go-lucky self.

One of the reasons I created this blog is so people can understand that anyone can look happy and healthy on the outside but really have something dark going on in their actual reality. Some people do the best acting in their daily life so know one will ever know the truth.

So, yeah right now I do think I need a kick in the butt. I need to eat. I need to get re-motivated. I get scared for my parents to find out because they have spent so much money to finally get me “cured.” I do not want to waste their money by not listening to my dietician because I am skipping meals. My dietician is a crucial part of my recovery team and I need her.

I think its important for parents of children struggling with an eating disorder to understand that we do not intentionally act like brats and ignore the things we are told to do. Eating is scary. Recovery is scary. Changing to a new (healthy) lifestyle is scary. I have been living in a way fueled by Ana for so long that I get scared sometimes what will happen without her.

I want to be able to be open with people. Well okay, I am extremely open with everyone since I publicize my entire recovery, but I leave out important facts. I do not mention the part where I only ate on meal on this one day or when I stood in the aisle at the store fighting the urge to buy laxatives.

I am sick of being sick but I am also scared to say when I am feeling weaker.

I will have bad days or weeks but that does not make it appropriate to threaten to send me home from college. It does not make it okay to say to someone they need to go into intensive treatment over a slip up. Doing this makes it worse. Doing this makes me (and probably a lot of other fighters) want to fake our recovery, which benefits NO ONE.

So, when you see your child struggling, try to just show support. Do not freak out and jump to conclusions so quickly. Obviously do so if it keeps getting worse, but we need to feel supported and cared for. We are not giving up and we need to know that our support system won’t give up either.



The relationship continues…

In one of my earlier blogs I talked about my relationship with my scale. My abusive and emotionally unstable relationship with an inanimate object.

Here’s a quick background for new readers: I have been flirting with the scale for years. I remember around age 13 was when I started racing home off the bus to beat my mom so I could weigh in without her knowing. I took baths all the time because the scale was in her bathroom along with the good tub. I would go to the gym just to weigh in and sit in the sauna. It was (and still is unhealthy.) I bought my own scale when I was 17. I kept it secret and drove to the woods to put the box she came in, in the big dumpster. She was a beautiful glass Taylor scale. I weighed myself at least 6 times a day. So like 42 times each week I would know my weight. I began to get good at guessing how much the number would read back. It became routine to weigh myself.

Throughout treatments, therapists and doctors have worked to break me up with the scale, but I have always had access to one. The scale in the bathroom with the good tub was always there- and she still is.

My glass scale ran out of batteries from my frequent weighing in, and I never replaced them….which is probably a good thing. But I still keep her even if she can’t tell me my weight. I don’t won’t to get rid of her. She’s traveled to Ohio, California, and Illinois with me. She’s been with me during my most dangerous and successful times. So, I keep her in my room at home under my dresser.

So let’s move on to current state: we are separated at the moment. I’m supposed to be doing blind weigh ins but I’ve found out my weight each week by doing some distraction. Last week I had a different doctor and she just casually told me my number. It was higher. Closer to the safe zone. I freaked. 

Recovery Liv knows this is good. I need to be at a healthy weight, but Ana still wants me to walk the tightrope with danger. 

I guess this past week, eating has sucked for me. I knew I would be going home and being home = going out to eat. I skipped out on some things I shouldn’t have which makes me feel like I failed myself. 

Today I found out my weight. I’m down again.

I’m happy

I’m scared

I don’t want to lose control

I want to smash all the scales and I want to buy them all

I do not know if I’ll ever be able to simmer this addiction with the number.

So here’s what I’m going to do..

I’m going to listen to my dietcian and EAT everything I’m supposed to and DRINK ensure plus and water. I am going to TELL the doctor they need to hide my weigh better because I will figure it out.

But most importantly I need to listen to my loved ones. I have so much encouragement and support. I am apart of one of the most supportive ED recovery communities and I need to not be scared to reach out. 

Right now, the scale controls me. However, this can’t last and I know it can’t. I have come SO FREAKING FAR in recovery. I will never trigger others by sharing my behaviors, but younger Liv was a dead girl walking. That stage didn’t last. I stopped those behaviors (and some of them I have no desire to start ever again.) so I know this will get easier. The first month will be hard. It’s like an alcoholic not taking a drink. A smoker not taking a smoking break. That’s what my addiction with weighing myself is like. 

So my readers,

My name is Liv and as of right now, I am 8 hours scale free. 

It’s not much but everyone has to start somewhere

Apples are not Bananas

Lets be real here, we are all guilty of comparing ourselves to others. Whether we compare the size of our legs or our height. Maybe we compare personality and academics. We ALL do it. But why do we do this? Does this benefit us in anyway? Because honestly for me it just makes me feel much worse.

I met with my dietician this morning and I was talking to her about how I found out my weight during vitals yesterday and that I was kind of freaking out about the increase. I guess I was going into a spiraling episode of comparing my current self to my much bonier/unhealthy self just a few months ago because she interrupted me with an interesting question.

She stopped me and asked me, “Are apples the same as bananas?”

Obviously I looked at her and thought she was whack because the two fruits are not even close to being similar.

I told her no and she began to explain why she brought up this comparison. She began to tell me that we don’t compare fruits and get upset when a banana does not look like an apple because that’s simply not possible. She told me that we couldn’t think of ourselves as fruits because it is impossible to get your body to look one way based on ones bone alignment. It began to make sense to me as she described it in this way.

I love apples and bananas and their appearance means nothing to me. I do not care that they do not look the same because they are both delicious.

So I guess (for an odd way of wording this) we are all delicious despite the way our bodies look.

I am tall. I will never be short and petite like some of my friends AND THAT’S OKAY.

Obviously I am not going to be able to just flip a switch and stop comparing myself to strangers on the street, but at least now I am more aware of how unrealistic and pointless it is to make these comparisons.

I am unique and when my passing comes, the important thing will be how people speak of my character. It is highly unlikely that at my funeral friends and family will discuss my weight and how my body looked.

So as of today I am going to become more cognizant of comparing myself to others.

I am going to use strategies and coping skills to redirect my thinking. When I get these thoughts I am going to write it down and rip it up because it is NOT important.

What is important is accepting my body and loving it.

Apples are not bananas.

The Secret Illness

You know that saying that goes something like “treat everyone with kindness for they all fight their own secret battle.” We say it all the time, but do we ever actually think about it? Do you ever think about how your best friend could be depressed or anxious and hiding it all from you?

One of the most mind-blowing things for me to think about is how there are so many others who suffer with mental illness and we do not even know about it. SO many people have a struggle, yet almost every day we see perseverance in this struggling friend. We would never think he or she could be mentally ill.

I was talking to one of my professors the other day. See, I had a major panic attack in her class. It was really embarrassing for me because it made me feel like I was failing at recovery. I went to my professor’s office to talk to her about it and I went into more detail about my history with mental illness. This conversation was so meaningful because my professor said she would have had no clue that I fight myself everyday. People know me for my outgoing personality. I always have a smile on my face. It is hard for others to fathom that I suffer so much.

It’s kind of scary in a way to think about how good I was at hiding my mental illness. I got through high school with very little people knowing I was sick. (Even with missing a month of school for IOP!) And I will NEVER forget that one day senior year in English class, when my teacher made a comment about my cut wrist in front of the whole class. It took him a moment to realize the major mistake he made.

Think about the stranger you sit next to everyday on the train. Or one of your co-workers that you kind of know. He could be suffering and maybe that smile you give him is the highlight of his day.

Think about the ones you loved. We never really know how much someone is struggling until they crack. But what if we took more focus on how our loved ones actually are. Then it would not escalate to the point of danger.

It’s scary to think that people can hide their demons so well.

Everyday, my alarm goes off and I dread getting out of bed. I know that for the next 12 hours I am going to have to be a ray of sunshine, running all over the place, and pleasing others. It’s a lot of work, but it makes me feel good most of the time, so I keep doing it. Sometimes I’ll admit I do need a break. That’s when I hit snooze a little bit longer and stay a little quieter.

Every time a meal comes along I feel full just from the anxiety. I do not think I will ever understand how people get excited about meals. I still do certain behaviors, but no one knows that my weird eating habits are unhealthy.

When it’s finally time to sleep at night I am wide-awake with voices of all the things I  think I did wrong running through my mind.

Mental illness is unpredictable. It’s not a fun thing to live with. Which is why we need to show more compassion to those we love.

We need to be more inviting to companions we do not yet know well. Exchange a smile; genuinely show care about how someone’s day is. Make an effort because you never know what someone is going through. Mental illness can be silent, but deadly.