Another update.

I never saw my therapist.

After confirming date/time and everything, I get a text a few hours later…
Her: how much can you afford for the session?
Me: Is ___ (rate I ALWAYS paid) still okay?
Her: Really need 70. Rent has gone up quite a bit (as if I care?)
Me: I understand. I just can’t honestly afford anything more. I just need a session. If this is possible for you, I’d appreciate it, but if not, I understand.
Her: Wish I could, but I have to pay $20 for the office hour (TMI. I DON’T CARE)…I’d really love to meet with you. I’m already lowering my fee from _____ an hour. (quotes an insanely high price that she’s NEVER charged anyone as far as I’m concerned)
Me: Okay. Can’t do it. Never mind then.
Her: Sorry 😦

Why did she fucking ask how much I can afford for the session? Why didn’t she just tell me, straight-up, that she had a change in fees, and this was what I needed to pay? Who does this? Unethical therapists who can’t keep boundaries, that’s who does this.

I felt so betrayed. So livid. This all happened on Thursday. Couldn’t even think straight. Take a risk, want to reconcile some unsaid things in therapy, want to process our journey, but no. This happens. And it’s not the money. It’s the PRINCIPLE. I faithfully saw this woman for a year and a half- I was a consistent client and one who she said could always come back. I’m not trying to act like I’m entitled. I recognize that people change rates; I recognize that this is common in my field.

But, I would never do that to a client. Thursday, as a matter of fact, I had a client text me out of the blue…he needed a session. It had been six months since termination. He wanted to talk; I saw him the next day.

She never instilled boundaries before. And people warned me. It’s not normal for therapists to routinely text/call their clients, to self-disclose so much about their lives, to complain about office rates and coworkers, to offer me a job after graduation…none of this is ethical. Now she decides to tighten up? Whatever. I’ll process this–if I ever really do process it–with another professional.

Eating has been off-and-on this week. Job training everyday. Lots of candy and sugary snacks and free lunch and junk food provided. Sitting all day. Boredom eating. Or refraining as hard as I can…only to overeat later. I’ve had mini episodes of overeating three times this week. None escalated into a full binge, but I’m on the black-and-white pathway of “good” eating and “bad” eating. In fact, I want to just “binge it out” right now…like get it out of my system.

That sounds so distorted. It’s fucked up. It’s the reality I’m experiencing.

I don’t know. It’s just been emotionally difficult. And I don’t want to do recovery. I want to turn it off for a bit…and go back later. But I can’t even do that.

End of Therapy Journey

Dear Bee,

Well, I had my last therapy session.

It was emotional, and by the end of the hour, we were both tearing up. This whole weekend has been insanely life-changing, but that’s for a different post. The five-day psychotherapy conference completely inspired me in every way, shape, and form, and I’m grateful for the experience to be in the same room with some of the most influential people in my field. 

Anyway, back to therapy. I ended up terminating. We had a closure session today. I had prepped her with a text. Reflecting on the past fifty-one sessions, I started treatment a completely different person than I am today. I wanted to work on my eating disorder. That was it. Little did I know that I needed to work on boundaries, end a few toxic relationships, including the one with my ex-boyfriend, quit my jobs, and learn how to take care of myself. Little did I know how much ALL this mattered before, during, and after the eating disorder work. Today, I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life. I cannot emphasize this enough. I am head-over-heels in love with my boyfriend and feel incredible fulfillment in what I do on a daily basis. 

Grieving the end of therapy is like grieving the loss of any other relationship. She helped me, and at the end of the session, after we hugged, I told her, Thank you for believing me. She responded, That was the easy part. 

But when you barely believe in yourself, hearing that validation and concern from someone else means the world. And, for so long, I did NOT believe in myself. It hurt more than anything.

My needs stopped being met. Therapy stopped feeling so magical. I started feeling more annoyed, more bored, more as if I was wasting my time in session. 

But God. I loved my therapist. Ethics and dependency aside, she was THERE, and I mean, UNCONDITIONALLY there for me. It was unlike any support I had ever received (prior to my boyfriend), and that was exactly what I needed at the time. That’s what most of us need, but never receive. And so, in fifty sessions, over the course of about fifteen months, I was able to end a volatile relationship, repair issues with my family, attend eating disorder support groups for a few months, quit two jobs, attain an incredible internship, trek around Europe, and, of course, fall in love. I was able to learn the value of self-care. 

I can always return, but I doubt I will. It’s time to move on. I’m sure I’ll go to therapy in the future, because I think ALL therapists can benefit, but for right now, I’m going to see what it’s like to work on my own self-regulation, emotions, and self-care. I have the tools. Now, I just need to use them!

I am no longer tormented by the vicious throes of daily eating disorder battles. And that doesn’t mean I’m recovered. It just means I know how to handle and manage the ebb and flow. I can live a life free of the absolute obsession and bondage that came with the compulsive nature of such a complex disease. I have worked my ass off in the name of recovery, but it’s been worth it. 

I hope therapy helps my clients as much as it helps me 🙂 

This is the end.

Dear Bee,

I’m going to terminate with my therapist, and it’s really depressing…but honestly, she’s just being legitimately unethical. For one, we aren’t friends. We aren’t colleagues. And yet, she occasionally acts otherwise.

I may have shown some dependency at the beginning stages of our treatment together, but it’s her job to maintain the boundaries and keep the rules straight. She wants me to write her a letter of recommendation for a new position. She actually asked me that request through a text message. It’s very upsetting. For one, I shouldn’t be asked to do any sort of favor for her. And for two, what used to be constructive self-disclosure has now become intrusive and obnoxious. For instance, all the past history with learning about her eating disorder struggle was helpful in helping me feel normalized and understood, but I don’t need to hear about her hospitalizations or suicide attempts or cocktail of medication. I don’t need to hear about how many clients she is or isn’t seeing. I don’t need to know about her family and friends and where she likes to get her bagels. But I do. I also know where her kids go to school, her previous job history, and the types of books she likes to read. 

I can’t imagine EVER spilling all that out to my clients. 

At first, I loved the special treatment. Duh. Most clients do. Clients who want you to like them basically wear shirts with signs flashing, PLEASE LIKE ME. Yep. It’s that obvious to a therapist. So, I’m sure I was blatantly transparent that I was needy and dependent on her.  She would encourage me to call or text her anytime, and I would. And she’d talk to me. She would encourage me to come to multiple sessions a week. And I wouldn’t for financial reasons, but honestly?! I never needed to go to more than one session a week…most clients don’t. Maybe it was because she was the first person who didn’t look at me like I was crazy. Maybe, it was because she pushed me. That, I can’t doubt. With her facilitation, I was able to end a toxic relationship, quit an exhaustive job, and make some solid choices for myself. I was able to define what I wanted in life and develop some coping skills to manage with distress. Maybe, it was because I wanted to be her. A self-assured, recovered therapist with a husband and kids and supposedly happy life. When I was going through the beginning of school, unsure and single and active in sickness, she sure looked like someone worth idolizing. 

But, you know, it became stagnant over the summer. And now, I just feel like we’re not going over anything anymore. We haven’t gone over goals in…forever, and so now I feel like I’m just wasting my money. It seems more like a conversation social hour than it does professional talk therapy. 

So, why is it so hard to terminate? Because, well, I want her to like me. Yes, this is my transference. I hate disappointing people, even if it means sacrificing my own needs. I like to be the favorite. I don’t want her to think of me as just some other client who flaked out on her. I want her to believe I deserve that special treatment. Also, termination is just hard. You’re ending a relationship, you know? With someone who you’ve confided in with for a long while. I haven’t done a proper termination with any of my clients just yet, and there are a few I know I’d really miss if they just dropped out abruptly. 

I don’t really want to see her again. I want to end it over a text, but that’s shallow, so I’ll probably call. And say…what? I’m seeing someone else? I’m looking to go in a new direction? It’s not you, it’s me? Therapy relationships are just as intense as romantic relationships, except one person is making all the money, while the other is telling all the secrets. 

I’m going to miss her. And think about her a lot. And feel urged to talk to her and update her on my life. I want her to proud of me, just like most clients want their therapists to be proud of them. Our first session was in my first month of graduate school. I was just learning how to start a session with an individual, how to join with someone. Now, I have a full caseload. She’s seen me grow tremendously. I wish she could continue seeing me grow.

But my needs are not getting met. And that just defies the point of therapy. This isn’t about her; it’s about me. 

Time to learn the skills I learned in therapy and actually set some boundaries, practice my assertiveness, and stand up for my own needs. 

Halloween, therapy, and my body!

Dear Bee,

Halloween weekend was good. Super good. The boyfriend and I did a hilarious couples costume that I have to keep anonymous due to its originality. We went out with a group of friends on Saturday, drank and danced and danced and danced, and took tons of pictures. Yesterday, we recovered, shared headaches, went to a pumpkin-carving party and then fell back asleep. 

Alcohol is a dangerous social lubricant, but I like the feeling of being drunk. It’s fun. I do it very sparingly now after raging hard for a few months last year. My boyfriend doesn’t really drink much at all, and I’m glad, because I’m not the hugest partier myself. Before him, I thought I was supposed to go out every weekend, get my drink and dance on, meet guys who only wanted one thing, and come home feeling empty. That’s what the single life is all about, right? Living young and wild and free? I did it, but it never felt just right. I was always too in my head, too preoccupied with the social setting around me…I thought I needed “escape,” but, in reality, I needed to make a worthwhile life that didn’t require anything to escape from. I’m so relieved I don’t feel any need to to do that anymore. The club scene gets old. The hangovers aren’t worth it. The dancing is always the best part. I love to dance. 

We’ve moved my therapy sessions to every other week due to financial constraints. The truth is, I could probably afford it, but because I’m not working or making any income whatsoever, I had to make some monetary sacrifices. And I don’t need absolute, dire clinical services right now. Thankfully. A year ago, had we moved them to every other week, those thirteen days in between sessions would have become agonizing. I would have been miserable and counting down the hours until I could just explode for sixty minutes and vent all my frustrations and fears. I now feel confident in myself. I can do recovery. I am doing it everyday. 

And today we were talking a lot about triggers, addiction, and self-disclosure as a therapist. This is always a gray area: as a rule of thumb, therapists can self-disclose if they know sharing their personal experiences or input will somehow benefit the client. Doing it for their own purposes is considered unethical and possibly hazardous. I guarantee my therapist self-discloses more than the average therapist. I know about her kids, family, schooling, job, money, etc. I know about her eating disorder history, her experiences with hospitalization and inpatient and therapy and OA and psychiatric wards and the treacherous throes of anorexia and bulimia. Yes, I’ve virtually stalked her online, but the majority of this information comes straight from her mouth. In the midst of her sickness, people had considered her a lost cause. She’s been through hell. She tells me she self-discloses with her eating disordered clients because we are often the most resistant, shameful clients.  

Her self-disclosure has humanized her as an individual. I trust her and know she understands what it’s like to feel obsessed with food, trapped in a mental disorder, and taking on an identity that requires you to feel “sicker” in order to feel better. I still put her on a pedestal out of my own transference issues, but I recognize that she’s been through just as much as anyone else. She can’t possibly be perfect, even though I want her to be.

Food hasn’t been much of an issue lately. I’m proud of my body. I like looking at in the mirror, in pictures, during sex. I’m proud of it. I like my arms and my hips and my boobs and my smile. I like the light in my face, the youthful glow I radiate. I’m at a low weight, one I haven’t been at since high school, and it’s interesting, because the last time I weighed this, I was severely restricting myself to stay at this golden number. As if some arbitrary number will make our lives happy. As if that’s all we ever needed. I haven’t restricted myself to get to this number this time. I haven’t ran a thousand miles or given up white carbs. I’ve just eaten what I feel like. And that includes vegetables and fruit and nuts and seeds, but it also includes real bagels with real butter and real ice cream with real chocolate and real bread with real cheese. Only when I complicate the simplistic process do I begin to spiral back into the disorder. When I just take it meal by meal, I regain my confidence. 

I am so grateful that I continually give myself the invaluable gift that is recovery. There is no greater feeling than the release and liberation of self-induced bondage. 

Tension with my therapist

Dear Bee,

I’m annoyed with my therapist, but also think I may be overreacting. Basically, last night, I texted her telling her that things had been getting a little rough with the eating disorder. I asked what I could do over the week to get back on the right path until I see her for our next session on Monday. This is the kind of working therapeutic relationship we’ve had over the past year. She always encourages me to contact her during a rough spot. For awhile, we had routine in-between phone/text sessions. Those were our boundaries, and even though I somewhat feared it fostered some dependency on my part, I cannot deny that her support helped me during some very triggering times. 

This afternoon, twelve hours later, I received a response in which she said that I needed to really carve out time for my sessions and prioritize my needs and goals to avoid sliding backwards. 

Um. Harsh.

I took this really personally, as the lack of empathy just astounded me. She’s always been very encouraging and positive. Immediately, I felt defensive. I’ve done my best to prioritize my needs and goals for recovery. In fact, I’ve changed most everything in my life in the name of recovery. So, when I read that, I initially felt infuriated. Who was she, after all, to tell me that I wasn’t putting my needs first? When that’s all I’ve been attempting to do?

I understand what she’s trying to say and model. She’s remaining neutral and not responding to my “crisis” in the way I wanted. In a sense, she is modeling complete professionalism. However, this is so unlike her typical response that it really just struck a chord 

She knows my compulsive tendency is to overload my plate, and we’ve worked through that A LOT. However, therapy sessions have been somewhat erratic over the past month, as I’ve been balancing my client load with school and readjusting my schedule. Moreover, quitting my job depleted my main source of expendable income, so finances are tight. Even though I attend sessions at a discounted rate, I cannot afford to go every week anymore. It’s a tough reality and an unfortunate circumstance, but I have to sacrifice money for time. Self-care requires some compromise. Had it not been for my growth in therapy, I never would have had the courage to quit working to put my well-being first, but it was the choice I made, and I’m proud of myself for it. Sort of a double-whammy. Make money to jeopardize my mental health vs. lose money to jeopardize my mental health. Needless to say, her reaction spewed feelings of internal guilt that I had to backpedal on our sessions and my immediate thought was, oh she must not think I’m serious anymore about treatment. Of course, the other part of me thought, she’s just wants my money every week, and now I’m not making it as easy for her. I’m guessing she thought neither of these, but those were my automatic reactions. 

She wanted me to reach out when I felt triggered, and I did, and now I feel somewhat punished for doing so. And maybe I’m just being sensitive to the whole thing. I know what she says and does for me comes from a place of grave concern and deep caring, but the people-pleasing side of me still wants that stamp of approval. I hate feeling like I’m needy and I experience that sensation  when I contact her in a frenzied craze, but then, she always says she is there to help and listen to me whenever I need. Today, I just didn’t feel that way. I felt like a burden. 

In conclusion, therapy is a fucking weird relationship.

I’m calmed down now, but I’m kind of dreading our next session, because I really need to discuss this with her, and it’s easy to vent it all out here, but in person, it may be difficult and awkward. 

Facing reality can be tough, and nobody can do this recovery but myself. It’s not her job. Not my boyfriend’s job. Not anyone’s else’s real responsibility. I have to work this. People can provide me with support and help lift me up if I fall down, but ultimately, nobody has the power to choose my behaviors. I know what I have to do; I know the coping skills; I know the interventions; I know how to “feel better”; I know how to change or test a thought; I know what life feels like in recovery. I just really have to let go of you, Bee. All of you. No more half-assing it. No more just letting you flirt around with me, test me, convince me that just this one time won’t hurt. Because it always hurts.

Part of me still wants you there. For comfort or reassurance or familiarity or an escape path. Or all of those reasons. But, it’s not a real “want.” It’s just a behavioral, habituated neurological response; you’re just a temporary fix; you’re just the intoxicating high with the inevitable crash that I do my best to overlook. You’re 

But you’re also the force that has the ability to push everyone I love–including myself–away. You are the very worst friend to have. I must let you go. And the more I choose recovery, the more distance I create between us. 

Traveling with the boy

Dear Bee,

Well. Life has been good! I spent the entire weekend with my lovely and amazing boyfriend on a mini vacation, and it was all I could have hoped for and more. 🙂 I was told to eliminate the word perfection from my vocabulary, but I just can’t think of a more fitting word to describe this relationship right now. Serendipitous. He likes that word. We can use that one instead of perfection.

This was the first vacation in quite some time that you weren’t in my head. Two months ago, I spent a weekend with one of my good friends. I recapped the experience related to the food here:

My boyfriend is a very conscious eater because he is on a specific fitness plan to acquire muscle mass. In other words, he follows a relatively strict regimen concerning macronutrients (protein and carbohydrates). The cool thing is: it doesn’t trigger me in the least. He eats what he has to eat; I eat what I have to eat. We cook with each other. He makes what I like to eat! However, we simply indulged this weekend. Like ordinary people do on vacation. We went out to eat a few times, and it was wonderful. I ate good food: pizza, pancakes, and ice cream…yep. Fear foods, say what? We also worked out together and ate salads and veggie omelets. Moderation, moderation, moderation. No desire to binge or restrict. Very little eating disordered talk. And I was in shorts, my bikini, or just naked for most of the trip. So there you go. Confidence is sexy. I’m so happy with myself and with my life.

I had therapy this afternoon. It was our last session for about a month because I’ll be on a plane to Germany this time next week! We kind of talked about my eating disorder while I’m abroad and explored how I think it will go. To be honest, I don’t have any concerns. And I know that may sound pretentious or arrogant, but I fully believe that I need to choose a positive mentality! After all, I choose how food does or does not affect me. I choose what I want to obsess over. I choose whether I let the eating disordered voice influence my decisions.

I’m not scared of you. Not even halfway across the globe. Six months ago? I would have been terrified. Today, I’m ready to conquer! I’m ready for a challenge! I’m ready for approximately eighteen days of NO planning food, NO predetermined safe meals, NO set exercise, NO weighing myself, NO counting numbers in my head, and NO body hangups holding me back! 

This is the trip of a lifetime, and there is so much to see and experience. I want to revel in ALL of it. Saying yes to recovery is saying yes to living, yes to joy, and yes to the sweetest freedom. And that tastes better than anything in the entire world. Recovery is the greatest gift in the world, and I am so lucky to get to open that gift everyday. 

The first time I told someone my secret

Dear Bee, 

Life is so amazing right now. I know I’m lucky, and I don’t take one SECOND of it for granted. The boyfriend and I are doing so well, and everything between us is just incredible. I could spend every waking and sleeping moment with him. We connect on a level I never knew existed, and it astounds us both. Yesterday, I dropped most of my dinner in the parking lot outside of my workplace. This isn’t unusual for me, as I am a ridiculous klutz, but how does he respond? Goes to the grocery store to buy vegetable broth (because he only had chicken in his place), makes us quinoa, roasts a bunch of vegetables, buys my favorite iced tea, and brings us some fresh blueberries for dessert….then drives the half hour to forty-five minutes in rush-hour traffic to my work just to see me and give me dinner. And I’m not one to blast my sex life on the Internet (yeah, right), but NOTHING has been lacking in that department. It’s like I literally can’t get enough. So our relationship compromises of a healthy balance of insanely deep conversation, playfulness and goofiness, random and crazy adventures, mushy and gushy love babble, crazy hot sex, and therapeutic jargon. Like, what more could I possibly want? I’m ridiculously happy. 

Summer is winding down quickly. August is just around the corner, and in two weeks, I’ll be prancing around Europe!! Just got my grade for my most recent summer class…98.5% on my 3-hour and 10-page final. Still maintaining that shiny 4.0 🙂 Stoked. 

Yesterday, I had therapy. It’s been slow and mellow in sessions lately. I’ll be seeing clients soon, so we’ve been talking and processing that. I’m really excited, of course, but part of me is definitely nervous. I think this anxiety comes from a genuine place of caring, but I have to be mindful of my perfectionistic tendencies. If I go into this field expecting to save the world, I won’t even be able to save myself from burnout. I know I struggle with a core belief of incompetency, in that I won’t be good enough. I am certainly no expert, but I also realize we tend to put mental health professionals on a pedestal.  recognize that my clients may perceive me to be some all-knowing source of power…when really, I’m just a human being who is trained to understand patterns of behavior and offer uncompromising support and guidance to those in distress. Ah well. Everyone has to start out somewhere!!!

I also had a follow-up with the psychiatrist yesterday. Ten minutes. Ugh. I guess I’m biased, but I really DO NOT like him. He fits the perfect “psychiatrist” stereotype. Lack of empathy, no attempt to join or connect with me, only focusing on symptoms. For a career that is designed to dole out medication, you would think there would be more in-depth analysis with patients. I guess not. Anyways, I’m staying on the lowest dose of Prozac (20 mg) for the time being. My emotions have definitely stabilized, but it’s obviously hard to tell whether it is from the medication or simply my life circumstances. One thing I have noticed: I experience significantly less urges to binge and stronger hunger satiety signals. This is one of the reason antidepressants are actually prescribed for bulimia and binge-eating disorder; in conjunction with psychotherapy, this evidence-based treatment reduces the insane and nearly intolerable cravings to frantically binge. 

Interestingly, I was searching for an old email yesterday, and I stumbled upon an email I had sent my ex-boyfriend in April 2012. He was the first person I ever told about my eating disorder. At the time, I couldn’t do it in person. I was too scared. Too insecure. I didn’t even know how to approach the subject, but my condition was worsening, and like most secrets, it just kept getting bigger and bigger, until it began controlling my every thought. I attached the email (with some edits for privacy) here.

 I’ve never been able to tell you this, and mostly it’s because it’s the one part about me that makes me want to hate myself, the one part that makes me feel like a complete hypocrite and failure. And believe me, I feel ridiculous writing this all out in a stupid email, but I also know that I owe it to both you and myself, and I don’t have the same bravery you do to say it to your face. 

I clinically have an eating disorder. If I went to a doctor or therapist, I would be immediately diagnosed, given that I match every single criteria. It’s not mild or temporary, and it’s something that is seriously compromising my quality of life. To be specific, I have bulimia nervosa-nonpurging type disorder. I know that’s quite a term, but that’s what I have. You can read over the criteria if you’re not familiar with it (basically: eating a lot of food in a discrete period of time, a sense of lack of control over eating during this binge episode, using compensatory behavior to prevent the weight gain). It is nonpurging type, because instead of vomiting, I abuse other “compensatory” behaviors, like excessive exercising or severely restricting my food intake. 

I know I told you that I suffered from this during a dark phase in high school. I suppose that was lie. I’m still in the middle of it, and I struggle privately everyday. It’s never gotten easier. I’ve just gotten better at not disclosing it.

Explaining all the psychological disturbances is just exhaustive and upsetting. Just assume I’ve done it all. Count calories, weigh myself fifteen times a day, look in the mirror and cry, etc. I have the world fooled in thinking I eat so healthy and rationally. And, 90% of the time, I do because I care so much about my health. And, it makes me so amazing when I’m eating the proper nutrients for my body. But there are those times, those scary and sad times, when I fall into a mood and devour incessant amounts of food. Amounts of  food that I’m sure you don’t think I’m capable of eating. Last night, for example, I was really upset about what happened between us. I couldn’t concentrate on anything, and I just needed to numb the pain. That’s when people turn to alcohol. Or drugs. You once turned to painkillers. And not to sound like a bitter, forty-five year-old divorced woman, I use food.  I ate a bowl of ice cream, a piece of pie, three cookies, four waffles with butter, a chocolate bunny, and two spoonfuls of Nutella in less than an hour. Was I hungry? Nope. Not really. My mind just goes on auto-pilot, and all I want to do is grab whatever I’ve restricted myself from eating and stuff it into my mouth before I can feel guilty about it.

Invariably, I end up feeling physically sick to my stomach. I can handle that. It’s the mental consequences that hurt. The dread, the guilt, the disgust at the person I am, the shame at my lack of willpower, the confusion as to why I’m like this, the promise to never, ever let it happen again. It’s a control issue. You know all about my control issues. Nevertheless, it’s just not normal, and it’s just not something I can easily talk about.

The main problem is that I truly know I have nothing to worry about. I’m healthy. I know I’m beautiful. I take such good care of myself. So why do I feel this need to sabotage my body? Why do I feel so anxious around “bad” foods or “good” foods?

I suppose the worst part about having this disorder is that I FUCKING know all the biological and social reasons for my behavior. I FUCKING know the appropriate treatment, what medications are prescribed, what kinds of therapies help people recover from it. I FUCKING want to do this for a living. But, I can’t even help myself. I can’t even talk about it. Ugh. Who am I kidding?

I’m telling you all this because I love you, and because, I honestly need your help. I’m not sure how you can help me, but maybe, I just need you as my sort of sponsor for when I’m feeling anxious or scared. Because, right now, I feel so discouraged. I feel like I’ve tried everything to fix myself, but maybe I need professional help. Either way, I have to open up to you the way you open up to me. And that’s no easy task either. I love that you find me so strong and powerful. But, I don’t feel like I am, and I’m scared after reading this, you will think I’m just a coward. Of course, that’s not really true. I know you would never think that of me, but honestly, this monster inside of me makes me feel so weak and powerless. I’ve been fighting it since high school, for probably (X) years. I just want it to end. I just want to be at peace with myself.

Writing this all out is probably one of the most difficult things I’ve done in awhile. Admitting weakness hurts, especially when it’s over something I feel isn’t as important as other problems. For example, I always thought drug addiction was WAY worse than an eating disorder. But, I’m starting to realize that I’m not overreacting over a “first-world” problem.  

Yesterday, I promised myself that I would tell you this. I’m sorry I haven’t found the courage to talk about in person yet. I hope you understand. Thank you for loving me and already believing me. I love you.

I could process this all right now, but for anyone who has followed me on this blog…you can see how much I’ve grown. That was probably the first time I recognized that I needed help. That I needed to do something, and that the problem was just going to go away on its own, like I had spent years hoping.

In that letter, I just see a terrified and isolated little girl. I see someone who has no idea if she will ever get better. I see someone who is so sick, so afraid, and so lost. I am not that girl anymore, but I still relate to her everyday. I remember what it is like to be in that position. I can feel the agony, cry those same tears, experience that same horror. Words cannot describe my gratitude for recovery, but the memories of such hell will never be lost upon me.

I have come a damn long way.  

Believing that I am worthy

Dear Bee,

I am struggling to believe that I am worthy.

That’s not an eating disordered thought. That’s a life thought. That’s a core belief. That’s something that has existed in me long before I started controlling what I did or did not eat. 

This guy is triggering those thoughts, and it’s nothing he’s saying or doing. When I’m with him, I feel happy and excited. I feel appreciated and valued. It’s when I’m not with him that I start feeling doubtful and insecure. Worried and afraid. It’s pushing through the unknown and the fear that the unknown embodies that is giving me a hard time right now. 

I went to therapy today and discussed these uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. This is a time to be unbelievably joyous, right? One would think. But, I don’t want to invalidate the fears I feel. I’ll challenge the irrational thoughts and distortions, sure, but I know ignoring only makes them come back with a vengeance.

So, here’s the deal: This is someone who is at my level. Intellectually, emotionally, financially, mentally, and physically. In my past, I’ve dated down. Ego boost. Whatever you want to call it. I had the upper hand. It wasn’t ideal, but it allowed me to feel good about myself. I chose weaker men because then I could feel worshipped. I also knew they wouldn’t leave or abandon me for someone better, because hello, I was the best they were gonna get .

Is this sick or what?

So, we talked about this new guy. He’s into me. He accepts me for who I am. He’s amazing, and I wonder why he isn’t snatched up already. Funny. He wondered the same thing about me. I’ve never been in a healthy, egalitarian relationship. I’ve been with my eating disorder since I started dating, and it’s tainted and distorted my self-esteem, intimacy, and perception of love. This, like so many things over the past year, is just another change. Another potential new way of living. Another opportunity. 

Then, I have you. My eating disorder voice. The ever-knowing voice of irrational and illogical reason. Bee. Listen, I hear you. You want this guy away from me. Because he’s good. Great, even. Because he’s going to threaten your existence. Because he already has. You don’t want me with someone, but if I insist on it, you want him to be beneath my standards. So you can stay in my life. So you can make me as skinny as you want. As fat as you want. As whatever as you want. So long as you have the control, you are content. And how do you obtain this control? By making me sabotage myself. By focusing on my appearance, weight, and food. By stuffing or starving or working out feelings rather than coping with them constructively. By perpetuating the self-fulfilling prophecy that I am not worthy. 

There’s YOU and then there’s the reality. And the reality is: I am worthy. I am deserving. I don’t have to do anything to earn those rights. I just have to be me. And this guy wouldn’t be talking to me if he wasn’t interested. If he thought he could do better. If he was planning on finding someone else. He wouldn’t be taking me out to breakfast tomorrow morning because he still wants to see me, even though I have to work early in the afternoon. He wouldn’t be texting me throughout the day, asking what I’m up to, telling me what he’s doing, etc. He wouldn’t be complimenting me and telling me that I’m what he’s looking for.

Whatever this is, I want to ride in it fully. You can hang out, Bee, or not. You can try and make me feel inferior or less-than in some way, but I’m smart and strong enough to know your words simply are not true.

why I don’t regret a single moment spent with my eating disorder

Dear Bee,

I just want to say that I understand why you do what you do and why you exist in my life. I understand why you entered my life when you did and why you will leave it when you will. I understand how you work, and I understand WHY you work.

As much as I may loathe and resent your presence, I appreciate how my recovery from your toxicity is turning me into a more genuine and wholesome person than I could ever imagine.

For about a third of my life, you have been the caretaker of my unmet needs. You have been the mother filling these voids with your distorted version of nourishment and love. You took me under your wing, provided for me, and wrapped your secure blanket over my young body. What vulnerable girl, living in this world of heightened anxiety and fear, wouldn’t want that comfort? What vulnerable girl wouldn’t let you take her in?

Before my eating disorder, I never thought I could have an eating disorder. Now, I realize that I practically embody a textbook example for developing one.

I didn’t know any better. I thought you were just my inner critic dictating my food. I didn’t understand how you trickled into every aspect of my life, from my family dynamics to my interpersonal relationships to my professional and academic pursuits. I didn’t understand how recovering from you entailed literally healing and changing my perceptions and actions on ALL these aspects.  


I want to thank you for all that you provided for me. Sincerely. I don’t know how many times I have stepped on a scale in my life. Maybe a million. I wish that was an exaggeration. I don’t know how many times I have turned down food out of fear of what it would do to me. I don’t know how many times I have emotionally eaten or binged. Hundreds? Thousands? I don’t know how many events or activities I declined because I had to work out. I don’t know how many minutes I have spent dwelling over what you do to me. Those may be minutes I never get back, but they are not among the moments I regret or would change.

With you, I remain a child trapped in a young adult’s body. With you, I am still dependent on your logic, rules, and decisions. With you, I am unable to fend for myself and live life on unrestricted terms. With you, I remain afraid, insecure, and skeptical.

I can outgrow you. I AM outgrowing you. 

What if I could live in recovery under the premise that you were one of my most precious gifts? That you were one of my greatest teachers? What if I could channel all my hatred towards how you make me act, believe, and think into unadulterated, uncompromising love?

My recovery is teaching me the most amazing lessons about myself. My recovery is absolutely, overwhelmingly beautiful. Because of my recovery, I cannot regret my eating disorder. Because of my recovery, I have realized just how SPECIAL this life can be.

I sat on the floor today with my therapist and strung bracelets with plastic beads. After spending all this time learning play therapy techniques for my own clients, I wanted to play myself. So, that’s what we did. We talked about my life sagas, sure, but I also realized something fundamental in this session: It’s okay to have problems. It really is. It’s not so much about how my life will be once that problem is eliminated, but, rather, how my life CURRENTLY IS as I work through and cope with that problem. 


And it’s okay to get down on the ground and spontaneously take a breather and play. It’s okay to make pretty bracelets designed for ages 6+. Life doesn’t have to be serious. It doesn’t have to hurt. It doesn’t have to feel heavy. 

Last week was necessary. Last week reminded me of the LIFE I once lived: the life you dominated, the life riddled with compulsion and control, the life labeled by my own sense of worthlessness and powerlessness. Last week hurt. It hurt a lot. But I needed it. I needed a reminder of who I want to be and who I absolutely CANNOT be. 


Sometimes, we need to brave the most treacherous storms to see the brightest rainbows. Sometimes, we need to dance in the rain before we can see the sunshine again. 

My world right now, the breath I am breathing right now, is rocking those rainbows and sunshine. 

Therapy with Momma

Dear Bee,

Overcame another milestone yesterday. I’m just kicking your ass lately. The more I hand you over to others, the less important you are in my life.

I had a therapy session with my mom. It was interesting. Most of the time, I actually felt like I was back in elementary school in a parent-teacher conference. While the “grown-ups” sat around discussing my progress, I occasionally interjected, nodded my head, and answered their questions. This probably would have been more beneficial when I was younger and more dependent on my parents, but I was so enmeshed with you that I never would have allowed that to happen. You kept me so secretive and ashamed. The fact that I can even openly talk about you to other people at all is a miracle. This blog blows my mind away! Honesty is an uncomfortable color for me to wear, but embracing my truth has completely spun my life.

I expected the session to be more intense and emotional, but my therapist maintained appropriate pacing and dialogue, keeping most of the content relatively surface-level. This was my mom’s first time even stepping foot in a therapy office, so she naturally had no idea what to expect. I’m glad my therapist recognized that and kept a stable atmosphere. My mom told me she enjoyed the experience and needed to process the session. Processing therapy can be a challenge, but it’s worth the occasional mental insanity.

Regarding my eating disorder, it was mostly psychoeducation for my mom, with my therapist explaining the progressiveness of it, how recovery works, and the distorted mindset. Nothing I don’t already know, but it was eye-opening for my mom. I am just so grateful for her support and willingness to help me. I know I am extremely lucky to have that, and I wish it were the same for everyone.

Anyway, I am writing all this on my phone in the car…because I’m on the road! I’m spending Memorial Day weekend at my best friend’s parents’ lake house. Looking forward to a weekend of sunshine, boating, swimming, relaxing, and whatever else. Nothing you throw in my way can possibly ruin my positivity.

Life is beautiful.