The Ugly Truths About Eating Disorders and The Path to Recovery

Many women who are convinced they’re in control, sticking to a dangerously low number of calories a day and severely suffering mentally and physically, most of the time have no idea about the seriousness of their situation. 

Looking back, it’s hard to explain the level of daily obsession that I suffered over my physical appearance. As a child, I thought of sticking a needle in to my thighs and calves, to see if I could squeeze out the fat. I also had the best idea ever… to just cut my stomach off with scissors. 

Suffering from eating disorders in the past I had no idea I was ill and most of the women I spoke to were in denial as well. 

I thought eating an orange per day was healthy and that everyone around me wasn’t. I didn’t think I had anorexia: real anorexics, I erroneously believed, ate nothing at all. And I was still eating? 

There’s no question that letting go of an eating disorder is one of the hardest things a person can do. It’s also important to note that each individual will follow their own unique path to recovery but here are some steps that may help: 

  1. Recognizing you have a problem: This step is crucial because if you don’t acknowledge that you have a problem there’s no point in changing. If you are not sure if you have an eating disorder the best thing to do is see a registered dietitian or therapist so that you can get a professional opinion. For me, I took an online quiz and then from there I started taking steps to change. 
  2. Decide that you are worthy of recovery and start to make small changes: start to research how you can make healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle. This might include introducing more balanced foods into your diet and exercise so that if you do eat more you won’t necessarily gain weight. 
  3. Instead of just focusing on your physical appearance and food intake incorporate various ways to practice self-care with your mind, body and spirit. If your body and brain are being deprived, you are less likely to reap the benefits of everything from therapy to mindfulness.

Recovering from an eating disorder is difficult but definitely possible. The most important thing is to accept help and seek support.

To be sure, unsure, etc.

Image credit: fineartamerica.com

I don’t know much about most things, but I do know that some things are just supposed to happen, and some are not –

I know that the moon is supposed to rise in the east and that dogs are supposed to bark at each other through chain link fences and that pomegranates are supposed to stain my shirt sleeves

and I know I would never want to be inside when they sky looks the way it did tonight.

But I’m not so sure that things are supposed to be like this;

I am not so sure that the pepper tree I stopped at today is the same type of pepper tree that I grew up with. It didn’t remind me of home in the same way they usually do. It should have been familiar to me, and it wasn’t.

I’m not at all sure of people like you, and I am not sure that the world should be melting and that we should all just be okay with it.

How should I be allowed to miss things before they’re gone? How can I possibly miss you when my hands are on your face and you’re standing directly in front of me? I’m not sure how that is even possible, and yet I do.

I must remind myself to look up every once in a while.

Does shampoo cause cancer?

We use shampoo in our everyday life. “Dove,” “Head & Shoulders,” “Suave…” There are over 10 categories of different shampoo, but often times we’d use shampoo without investigating what we’re actually putting on our head. 

Photo credit: bustle.com

Cocamide diethanolamine, or cocamide DEA, is a kind of emulsifying agent used in the making of shampoo products. According to the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), cocamide DEA is an IARC Group 2B carcinogen, which means it has the potential of causing cancer. 

However, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has declared that there is no need to worry. In a document that gets updated only when needed, and hasn’t been updated since the March of 2018, it says “FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be alarmed based on the use of these substances in cosmetics” because the NTP‘s (National Toxicology Program) study result in 1998 didn’t find a connection between DEA and cancer. Plus, if the customers still want to avoid using carcinogen-related products, they can do it simply by “reviewing the ingredient statement that is required to appear on the outer container label.” 

So, it would be overreacting to panic. Nevertheless, checking the ingredient statement of the products that we eat, use, spray, and wash with, is indeed important. We use shampoo everyday, but do you check what you use, everyday?

Photo credit: goodhousekeeping.com

Noodles

Recently I had a dream no different from most, I was at a grocery store with an old friend of mine. It used lightbulbs that just made the store appear sickly (obviously not LED), the flickery hospital lighting that evokes the smell of latex gloves from nowhere. Anyways, apart from the lights that bothered me a lot, the shelves were only partially stocked, but they were all stocked wrong and without any tags. This made it especially difficult to find the ramen that my friend and I had gone in there looking for. After wandering through rows of of tall, black, and poorly built shelves with pretty much anything thrown on them, we finally came upon the milk section. Now this was a bit of a problem because we had gone in there looking for ramen, and I was now browsing cartons of milk that looked as though they smelled like goat urine. After my brain had somehow remembered that the dream had begun with the task of looking for ramen, we began to move away from the milk and towards the rest of the store.

Now, personally I do not know why I so vividly remember this dream. I can only attribute it to me having had a boring day, and the dream being the only interesting thing that had happened to me since the morning.

When we finally came across the ramen, it was behind some boxes of Chinese snacks that I can only describe as milky bread sticks. The ramen was also sub-par because it was the off-brand Korean kind that was made to burn your eyebrows off that once made me sneeze chili powder. I was upset but still willing to take it, because after an extended period of time in a poorly managed grocery store that I have dreamt about many times before, I was getting fairly irritable. However, this is when my hulking, pigmy of a friend decided to grab it and run off.

I was furious, I had just wasted so much time staring at milk, wandering through aisles of nothing, and putting up with stress-inducing incandescent lighting, all to have my crappy ramen stolen away from me. Normally, this is where I would wake up, barge downstairs, and make myself food, but my dream-self was feeling particularly determined tonight. I continued searching for ramen, I spent hours searching the shelves of the store, running into half-asleep janitors, and many soulless patrons, destined with the same fate as I was.

After my search of the store came up empty, I somehow stormed myself to the loading dock in the back of the store that for some reason was also the location of the dumpster. It was beside this dumpster that I had found almost exactly what I was looking for, garbage bags full of contaminated ramen noodles. I do not know why I thought to look in the trash bags, I do not know how I knew they were contaminated, and I also do not know why I eventually took two bags home, but I do know that the story did not end well for me.

I don’t remember exactly how the dream ended, I eventually woke up, and I remember being fairly put off by the end, but as is common with dreams, I quickly forgot it. I didn’t find much meaning behind this dream. This is by no means the first dream I have had about grocery shopping, those have always been quite common for me. I didn’t think about the dream again until I came home that day from school, and saw that among some of the things my mother had bought from the grocery store was a few packets of ramen. Needless to say, I did not eat the ramen. That was the night I discovered that perhaps store bought ramen wasn’t for me, that was also the night that I discovered I was clairvoyant. So if there’s anything you should take away from this experience, and I seriously doubt there is, I’d say it’s probably to use LED bulbs, because they won’t cause irrational and dangerous decision making like incandescent bulbs do.

Photo Credit: Imgur.com

A Place Behind the Hills

There is a place behind the hills,

behind the deep-dark forests and rocky roads,

Photo Credit: maureenness.com

where the trees are bright and the flowers purple.

There, storms are a pleasant breeze,

and the lakes are so clear you can see all the happy fish.

There, the sun rises at 5:30 every morning

and goes to set when you’re ready.

There, there are no downsides,

except for the cows’ bellies that swing as they walk.

But, to get there, you’ll need to run.

You’ll need to hike and climb and swim,

Photo Credit: jeremybatesbooks.com

but most importantly, you’ll need to run.

There are tall monsters and mean witches

waiting for you to stop and catch your breath,

waiting to hold you by your legs and arms

and never let you go.

So don’t catch your breath, not now.

Now is not the time, but the time will come.

Now, you must run past the monsters and witches,

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through the forests and along the rocky roads,

past the dark shadows that are hunting beside you.

But then, believe me,

there is a place behind the hills,

where the trees are bright and the flowers purple.

Where the only shadows will be of the lazy cows in the sunset.

Poetry Based Off of Songs

The Beautiful & Damned 

The Beautiful,

a delicate rose.

Small and light in a sea of others,

Bright and beautiful,

Photo Credit: defiantart.com

silky-smooth petals,

like a gentle caress.

The Damned.

Crimson red like its fallen petals.

Damned in the colors of rust and blood.

Tainted with thorns,

hidden in the layers of the silk petals.

Sharp and deadly,

Hidden in beauty.


Colorless (Colors – Halsey)

Side note: i wrote this poem for an english assignment where I had to write a poem using words from a song.

You’re colorful like a saturated sunrise.

Glowing with red, orange, and pink,

but like an overflowing sink.

Your colors seep

and it covers me in blue.

The same blue as you.

The blue of your pills, hands, and jeans.

Photo Credit: paintings.pinotspalette.com

The same blue as you,

but unlike the day’s blue sky

and the night’s starry light.

Your blue’s dark,

a starless night,

an empty sight.

And like a black and white book;

Your mind’s the pages,

your thoughts the ink.

And they’re grey just like your dreams.

Your body’s the pages,

tattoos the ink.

But they’re grey, just as you think.

And I rip at every edge of your masterpiece,

but you’re so devoid of color,

you’re colorless.

What if You Knew?

If only you knew.

I don’t know if it would change anything, I don’t even know if I would want it to. But from time to time, I find myself wondering: what if you knew?

Would I be the one wearing your jackets? The one that you’re waiting for when class is over? The one that you’d sit down with at dinner and who you’d tell how your day went? The one that you’d miss whenever I wasn’t with you? The one that could make you as happy as you’ve always deserved to be?

The thing is, you are happy. She makes you happy and I’m happy for you guys, believe me. You’re good for each other and I’ll leave it at that. I’ll never do anything to interfere with what you guys have, that wouldn’t be right. I know that. But, deep down, I still find myself wondering, what if you knew?

Photo Credit: lotl.com

Would you chose me over her? Probably not, there’s no way. She’s a 10/10. I’m, well, not. She’s with you, I’m not. If you knew, you’d probably think I was insane with no morals. You’d probably avoid eye contact with me for the rest of the school year until I leave this place behind, hopefully forgetting about how terribly difficult it is to see you across the room, wanting to be there with you, but knowing that, with your arm around her, you’ll never even consider me to be more than an acquaintance.

I hope you don’t know that I’m talking about you. I hope you’ll never know. But from time to time, I find myself wondering: what if you did?