Blogging while angry or irritated might not be the best idea I've ever had, so bare with me...
Six months ago, yesterday, I was officially discharged from treatment; it really feels like six years ago, though. It is highly doubtful there are many other people who take the time to recognize treatment anniversaries, but I do. So much has changed in this short half of a year; making it feel like years worth of progress have been made.
On my drive to school today, the sun was shining and I was feeling great about life; six months out of treatment and six months symptom free. There aren't too many things that are highly triggering to me anymore, which is a huge step in the right direction. There is an exception to everything, however, and today I experienced that exception, proving the irony of being triggered the day after my six month anniversary. Sometimes I think the universe has a sick sense of humor.
Today in one of my classes, I had a one-on-one meeting with one of my professors about the research paper, about eating disorders, I have been referring to recently in my blog posts. Before I knew it, our conversation about APA formatting, turned into a conversation about his beliefs and past experiences with eating disorders. He went into great detail about an anorexic woman he saw on the Dr. Phil show who weighed... I won't say it, because I know better than to say numbers, but he was not afraid to shout it out. His exact words were, "She looked like death."
|Sorry, I had to use this picture.|
As I sat there, trying to keep myself from giving him the finger, he continued to talk about his younger sister who went through a "phase" of anorexia; like it's just a phase that all teenage girls go through. A specific weight was also given in this story, pushing me over the edge. Next, a story of his best friend who was, "One of the worst bulimics he's ever seen. She would eat more food than I ever dreamed of, but would always mysteriously disappear after meals."
Oh, I forgot to mention, this professor knows specific details about my past and current place in recovery.
Needless to say, I was pretty useless during the rest of that class and the one that followed. Is this really how people view eating disorders? Do they really think it is just a phase that some girls go through? Do they really think Dr. Phil is a good resource to learn about eating disorders for goodness sakes?!
I thought for this post, it would be a good idea to go over a few general things, that may not seem harmful, but actually are, while talking to someone in recovery from an eating disorder. It is also important to keep in mind, that everyone is different; what is triggering for me, may not be for everyone else.
-Do not give specific numbers or weights. If someone weighed a lower number than I did during the depths of their eating disorder, it can automatically send me into an "I'm not good enough" thinking cycle.-Exercise. Sometimes it's easy to forget that exercise addiction is a very common eating disorder symptom and during recovery, there are often restrictions on the amount of exercise a person can do; if any at all.-Diets. Period.-"You look so healthy!" or "You look so good/great!" For a normal person, this would be a wonderful compliment to receive, but after gaining weight in recovery, "healthy" and "great" mean FAT in our minds.-This is not a phase. I honestly didn't even know that some people believed it was, so I don't have much else to say about that.-Do not comment on what or how much a person in recovery is eating. Trust me, they are already well aware of the abnormal amounts of food being consumed.-Healthy vs. Unhealthy foods. There is no such thing in recovery, so don't even go there.-"I wish I had the willpower to be anorexic." Yes, I have really heard someone say that before.-Weight comments in general are a horrible idea.
What did I miss? I know there are plenty of other things that are potentially triggering, but this list should help spread a little general knowledge.
As upset as I was this morning, however, I am proud of myself for surviving the rest my classes today; well, at least physically. Mentally I was in my own world. The past six months of my life, outside of treatment, have gone really well; but that does not mean my life is 100% trigger free.
In six short months, my life has completely changed; I can't wait to see what the next six months will bring!