Saturday, May 11, 2013

"Failed Anorexic"

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I have developed some strong relationships with others recovering from an eating disorder via email thanks to this blog. This morning I woke up to a message that was so incredibly spot on that I knew it needed to be shared. This person felt like they were writing me an egotistical and horrible message, but I thought it was the exact opposite. It felt as though my own experiences were somehow imported into her brain and put into writing...

"I have been having a hard time with eating and the disordered thoughts about food. In my last couple of messages I started to write about it but then I didn’t because I felt I shouldn’t talk about it. I know that is just a remnant of eating disordered thoughts, but the urge to keep all my disordered behaviour secret is often overwhelming. I still hide food all the time (both food I don’t eat and food to binge on). I think about food all the time. I am haunted by the food I do and do not eat.

I worked so hard to lose weight and now it just feels like I’m wasted all my efforts. In a weird sort of way restriction/purging/ weight loss is a real confidence booster. When the numbers on the scale were lower, I knew for sure I made progress. Now I feel like I’m undoing all my hard work, so it is hard to feel happy about that."

Eating disorders are one of the most secretive and manipulative mental health illnesses in existence. During my eating disorder I also hid excessive amounts of food. There were a few occasions when my mom did find my stash and the amount of humiliation I felt was unbearable. There was also a period during my eating disorder where I gained a little bit of weight (picture below) and people thought that because I was physically healthier, it must mean my eating disorder was under control. Wrong. 

My "failed anorexic" period
"I really feel like people generally are really disgusted by bulimia. And I get it. It disgusts me too. Not many people know the extent of my eating disorder. All my life I have hid my mental illnesses behind all of my pre-occurring physical illnesses…It seems many people think of bulimics as lazy, stupid and “failed anorexics”. The last one always seemed the worse. Because I felt exactly like a “failed anorexic” (though I do hate that term). I felt like I couldn’t even diet right. So with all those negative impressions of bulimia why would I tell anyone? I always consoled myself my saying yes you may be a bulimic but at least you’re an underweight bulimic. What when I’m not underweight anymore?"

 This "failed anorexic" term brought tears to my eyes. I cannot tell you how many times I felt like my inability to constantly restrict made me feel like a failure. The picture of me on the right was taken during my "failed anorexic" period.  My binging and purging was out of control and I began really hating myself because I was not even good enough for my eating disorder. On the outside everything appeared to be fine, but on the inside I was sinking further into my disorder.

The truth is, however, after a period of starvation it is NORMAL to binge. The body becomes so starved that it resorts to binging to compensate. As weight gain begins, those of us with eating disorders do start to wonder if anything in life is worth it.

Hopefully this last quote will shed some light on why it is so hard for some people to recover from an eating disorder...
"I love being sick because it protects me from expectation. It makes me special. And I felt I needed to be thin because it would help me fulfill my potential for greatness (though that sounds nuts)… I feel like healthy me will just be ordinary and that is horrible… Recovery means I have to take responsibility for my behaviour, school results et cetera, good or bad, and that is terrifying."

Taking responsibility for all of my horrendous previous behaviors has been an ongoing battle since day one of my recovery journey. All of the expectations - whether it be school, work, or relationships - in life needed to be faced. All of the things I never felt good enough to do were suddenly brought to the surface. Terrifying is just the beginning of the emotions associated with recovery.

In all of the recovery related books I have read, I have yet to come across something this powerful. My friend's words are raw and perfectly express how many people feel about recovery. I wish I could write like her! :)

It's crazy for me to look back and realize that even during my sickest days, I still thought I was "failing" at my eating disorder. This is just more proof that no matter what my weight is, I will not be happy with myself unless I learn to appreciate all of the beauty still surrounding me in life.



  1. This is extremely powerful and hits the nail dead on the head. "Failing anorexics" often do tend to go to bulimia and that's what I did.
    Thankfully, my now healthy mind can see just how incredibly sick I was and I know that I don't ever have to feel like an "anorexic failure" again. I am free from ED and my prayer is that you stay free too, as well as the friend of yours that wrote this.
    Great things to think about!
    Love you, girlfriend. Keep rockin' out! xoxo :)

    1. Ahhh this comment is a breath of fresh air! Thank you for sharing your freedom and encouragement for others. Love ya, Kenzie! :)

  2. Yes, that's probably what I have been feeling. I shared once in the 12 step program, "I feel like I even failed to be anorexia. It is almost like I am trying to lose weight to prove people that I am anorexia." When I know the way I eat, I question myself, "am I really anorexia?"

    Most of anorexia is young, and it makes sense that some becomes so sensitive about their appearance. Then, I look at myself. I am 45, and will be 46. Who cares if my period has stopped for 2 years? It is the time for some to go into menopause. It is too late to have my own kids anyway. My hair is turning to gray, and I see aging physically everywhere in my body. I felt ugly when I was younger, and now I am no chance to look better. Then, I even can't do Ed right. I am a complete failure.

    I have been restricting and overeating for the last 20 years of my life. Like, why do I even care? It is really a lonely place when I feel that I am too embarrassed to say that I am anorexia. I really do feel this.

    Always, appreciate your posts. Thank you. xoxo

    1. Eating disorders don't discriminate. Your age should not make you feel badly for this disorder. Keep fighting <3

  3. I just stumbled onto this blog and I’m so glad I did. This post particularly, it’s like you’ve read my mind - the guilt and shame and feelings of worthlessness about failing at being anorexic and that last quote about wanting to remain anorexic because it makes me feel different or special. It actually brought me to tears! It’s like you’ve taken my inner most thoughts, things I’ve been unable to share with anyone and put them on the screen.
    So I just wanted to say thank you. Thanks for being brave and strong enough to do this blog and document your recovery. Thanks for being able to put into words what I can’t. Thanks for making me feel a little bit less alone. There’s probably so much more I could say, but I’m not as good with putting things into words as you are! I basically just want to say that your blog is brilliant, it’s really helped me and you should be very proud of it and you :)Thank you! xxxxx

    1. Hey Vicky! Thanks so much for your kind words. It's always nice to hear from someone who can relate to my struggles. We are all in this together! :)

  4. I didnt even knew you also had issued with purging :( At the moment i really ask myself what i "am" ? anorexic ? bulimic ? I never got a diagnosis and i´ve always been scared to be seen as "only" bulimic even though i restricted mostly. But i feel like anorexic is a term i dont "deserve" to be called because, well you know the whole "not sick enough, not thin enough" thing. do you think it is more like a mental thing whether someone would be underweight bulimic or anorexic with bulimic tendencies ?( I dont want to offend anyone none of these illnesses is worse than another, i know, its just mmy personal feeling.) xx