Saturday, March 12, 2016

NEDA.

febuary is "NEDAwareness month." more specifically, february 21st-27th is NEDAwareness week. NEDA stands for "National Eating Disorder Association." as many of you saw from this post my grim reality is battling an eating disorder of my own every single day. it's something i'm generally super private about and i rarely open up about with people outside of my close friendship circle and family. (in fact i wrote this post and published it during NEDA week. shame/embarrassment got the best of me and i deleted it. whoops. here we are trying again) i would love to be brave enough to post on facebook, instagram, or twitter about NEDA week to help raise awareness (because that's what the point of this week is) but because i'm not brave enough i'll post about it on here instead. when ever i feel like i need to be open and vulnerable about this topic and this area of my life i turn to this good ole' trusty blog because i have very few readers haha.
i guess this battle is something i'm pretty ashamed of. i don't like that fact that i'm still really struggling with it after all the help and support i've received. i have been so fortunate to have had the opportunity to get professional treatment and help. a lot of people don't ever have that chance. not only have i received that help i also have a supportive family. i've always had a safe place to go home to after leaving treatment. sadly, MANY people don't have that safe place to call home and that is what keeps them from actually recovering.
aside from all the support and love i have and still not being successful (yet) i have a lot of embarrassment for ever struggling with this in the first place. struggling with anorexia is such a shameful thing for me and it's almost mortifying to think that a lot of people do know about my battle. it's not something i'm proud of and want to brag about or flaunt, because in 100% honesty there's nothing "brag worthy" or "cool" about it. it's not something i want those around me to be aware of. overall, it's a piece of me that i'd rather avoid and pretend that it has never existed. it's a piece of me that i want hide and deny. sometimes i think that if i hide it and ignore it long enough it'll eventually disappear.

it's hard to even put into words what i have to say about this past week and month. it's hard to know what i want to say to help raise the awareness. a lot that i feel like needs to said was already written here. the reason i stepped out of my comfort zone and put myself out there with that blog post (and actually shared the blog post on social media) is because i'm sick of people 'not getting it' eating disorders are SO misunderstood and they're constantly being glorified and it makes me crazy.

i want to contribute to last week by helping bringing awareness; but eating disorders are incredibly complex and complicated. there is so much that i wish i could explain in depth. but in short, here's a few key things i wish people understood about eating disorders:


******(majority of this is taken from my original post so for those of you who've already read that you may remember some of what you're reading. this post also ended up being much
 longer then i originally planned, if you can't bring yourself to read the whole thing you should at least read the bolded points ;) )******

1.eating disorders are not glamorous.  i've heard so many people state that they "wish" they had an eating disorder because they "want to be skinny." let me testify that no matter how much weight you lose the last thing the illness brings is satisfaction with your body. no matter how much mass the eating disorder peels off of you you won't be satisfied with your body. it'll NEVER be enough. in fact; you only become more preoccupied and obsessed with your appearance. even after losing weight you're more upset with your body then you were in the first place. as you lose weight, you only create more dissatisfaction. how can you expect to gain love and respect for yourself when you're slowly starving and killing yourself? that's like thinking you'll learn to love a neighbor by constantly bashing on them, gossiping about them, and trying to find out ways to get them to die. it just won't ever work. when the eating disorder enters your world suddenly the ONLY thing that matters is the number on the scale and whether you have a thigh gap or not. i can promise you that the most depressing life you can live is one that revolves around your appearance. and let's be real,
"living" with an eating disorder isn't living at all, it's merely surviving. you might look at the thin frame and think us victims "have it all" but what you don't see the depression, anxiety, and emotional turmoil. you don't see is the declining physical and mental health. no one mentions the headaches that no amount of pain medication could relieve, no one mentions the dry, cracked, hurt skin. not only is it painful - it's ugly. my hands have never been more unattractive then when they were purple and yellow. no one mentions the fatigue, passing out, being light headed, constantly being dizzy, falling over, having a slowed heart rate and low blood pressure. no one mentions how you feel like you ran a marathon by simply turning the steering wheel in your car or walking up the steps to your front door because you have absolutely no energy. yet, despite the painful fatigue you feel the constant need to be "burning calories" and working out. when you have no energy and when your world is consumed by food (or the lack thereof) you lose yourself. the more power i gave my eating disorder the more power i lost myself. suddenly my voice was 100% gone. i no longer heard Courtney (the one who likes eating raw cookie dough, and cats, and laughing, and making others laugh, and singing in the car, and staying out late pulling pranks with friends) Courtney was no where to be found. all that was there was a walking eating disorder. the eating disorder convinced me i liked running, counting calories, hiding in the corner of my room, and having the body of a 8 year old boy. i was completely gone. there was no more spring in my step, there was no more light in my eyes, there was no more smile on my face. i didn't laugh, and i didn't feel happiness.
2. having an eating disorder shows no form of praise worthy self control. the world has this idea that if you choose not to eat and go running instead you somehow have "control" but i promise you, being able to starve myself is not self control. no it's not hard for me to pass up food; no it's not hard for me to "miss out" on treats when my mom makes cookies and cake and brownies; BUT it's not "will power"and it doesn't make me "strong." in fact i have no power and i have no control and i'm not strong. it gets to the point where you're sitting and you're staring at a pancake that you WISH so badly you could eat, but there's a voice in your head telling you "no. nope. don't you dare. don't you even think about it" and your mom's next to you with her arms around you trying to convince you that it'll be okay and that the pancake won't hurt you, but you're sobbing because that damn eating disorder is screaming "she's lying! that pancake will ruin your week and make you blow up like a balloon. and gaining weight is the worst thing that could happen to you" and who do you choose to believe? that obnoxious, mean, lying voice that's in your head.  wanting to die after chewing a piece of bubble gum because of the 'calories' is not self control. sobbing over "caving" at 6 pm and eating an apple and feeling like a "fat failure" is not self control. it's being controlled.
3. eating disorders aren't a choice.  it isn't just a lifestyle or a fad. it isn't just a temporary extreme diet. it is a diagnoses. i didn't wake up one morning and decide "hmmm i want to 'go' anorexic for a little bit" one term i hate is "going anorexic" or "going bulimic" it's a real illness and disease. it's not something you decided to "start" one day and decide to "end" a little bit later once you're "over it." it's
a real illness and a real battle. sadly, this battle is a battle i may just face the rest of my life. it's not something i can just "snap out of" or "get over" trying to survive with an eating disorder is living hell. trying to recover is a living hell. it's something you WISH so badly you could get out of, but getting out of it would require to face it. and facing it is terrifying, painful, and paralyzing. you feel stuck and trapped all day.

case and point eating disorders are nothing like the world and media makes them out to be. they're real and they're painful. i hope someday this illness will stop being glamorized and the world will be more aware of what this disease really looks like and consists of. if you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder NEDA is always there to help. you can call their toll free confidential helpline at 1-800-931-2237.