little snippets everywhere

There is so much to write. A whirlwind of a week. A whirlwind of a life.

I celebrated my birthday a few days ago. I had a combined graduation and birthday party. Surrounded by love. I think only now have I truly realized how LUCKY I am to have such unwavering support. Seriously. I remember being a prepubescent child, desperately praying for popularity, for status and acceptance among my peers, for “perfect” circles of friendships. 

I’m in my twenties. And now I have that. Friends who love me. Friends who are proud of me. Love all around. I am never alone. I haven’t appreciated it nearly as much as I would like to. 

My ex-boyfriend texted me out of the blue. “I’m sorry.” Those were his initial words. We conversed for awhile. I received a long, gushing apology. Gratitude and recognition. A spiritual revelation, apparently. He’s getting married in November. It’s weird. It’s really fucking weird. He says he’s happy for me. Well, I’m happy for myself. And, in a weirdly mature way, I’m happy that he’s happy. As dysfunctional as we were together, I forgive him. And he deserves joy. 

I’m walking across the stage tomorrow. Shaking the dean’s hand. Taking my makeshift diploma (I still have one fieldwork class this summer). Cap is decorated. Didn’t I just graduate high school? Middle school? Time, what an abyss. 

The current love of my love and I are going on vacation next week. The Caribbean. Courtesy of his parents. One of those insane cruises. I’m really excited. We both are. I just love him to pieces; we’re going to have an amazing time. It’s almost been a year now. Tomorrow marks 11 months since our first date. What a thrilling ride it has been. What a beautiful journey we have taken. We are very madly in love with one another; the love just keeps transcending deeper and deeper. It is beyond anything I ever imagined I could experience. 

There’s so many more details- so much more minutia that consists of my day-to-day existence. There was the intense Southern California heat wave last week that resulted in lots of beach time, swimming, and cold beers. There have been clients- so many clients. A couple new ones. Mostly little kids. Play therapy is fun. 

I love the adolescents. I think 12-17 is my favorite population. I think I want to specialize in teenagers. I say this now; it’ll probable change by next week. 

There’s been balanced eating. There’s been less exercise than usual, as I was swamped with end-of-the-year papers, celebrations, etc. There was birthday cake yesterday and there was kale today. There has been coffee and wine and several pancake breakfasts. There was shopping for a new bathing suit yesterday..and it was one of the first times I ever put on a bikini in the dressing room, and thought to myself, DAMMMMMN girl. If anyone says that, it’s certainly someone else. My body has never been good enough by my standards. It’s getting there. 

I’m growing into myself. It’s a good feeling. It’s a good life. 

the rainbow of emotions

Dear Bee,

I’m so sick of the holiday food. There. I said it. I’m so tired of junk food being EVERYWHERE. At my work, in my house, at the parties. It’s way too triggering right now. I don’t want to blame neutral ingredients, but it would be much easier to focus on my emotions without continuously feeling overwhelmed by the distractions of tempting chocolates, cookies, brownies, etc. I alternate between wanting to avoid everything altogether and fantasizing about extreme gluttony. 

To recap the past few days,

My loved relative is still dying. I’ve cried many times. I’ve pondered the meaning of life many more times. 

My ex-boyfriend is now engaged. This bothers me for many reasons. One, being that I felt so much emotional agony after I broke up with him, terrified that he would kill himself because he supposedly could not live without me. Two, he had proposed to me. Twice. And said I was the only person he could ever love. Three, I just don’t like to see him happy. Selfish, sure, but it’s the truth. Four, according to my highly judgmental opinion, he is immature and thus way too young/financially insecure/LAZY and ambitious to actually get married. 

My dad had a birthday. Things have been good with the family. The grieving process does that to people. 

My boyfriend has been off-the-charts incredible. SERIOUSLY. What kind of boyfriend is willing to help me process how and why I feel upset that my ex-boyfriend is getting married…while also completely validating my frustration. Love of my life, I swear. He’s my favorite person in the world. 

My clients are going through deep shit. What IS it about the holidays? There’s been self-harm, suicidal ideation, possible eating disorder behaviors, major depressive episodes, binge drinking, family fights… all I can say is that I’m happy I’m here for them. I’m learning so much every session. 

I did my first mandated child abuse & elder abuse report. These are really scary…

I’m going to Florida for a week with boyfriend. We leave Christmas Day. I’m BEYOND excited. 

I’ve been alternating between overeating and restricting. Too. Much. Sugar. Why does it have to taste so damn good?!?!?!

I’ve binged one and a half times. I stopped myself mid-binge this evening. I actually put food back. I know I’m supposed to be proud of myself, but I’m irritated that I was numbing my feelings in the first place. The first binge was atrocious. Really. It was just disgusting. I feel like such a savage animal attacking food like that.

Oh, and I’ve felt fat. And yes, I know fat isn’t a feeling. 

And most of all, I feel guilty because someone I love, someone who is close to me, is literally on her last final days…and I’m obsessing about the amount of candy bars I can cram into my mouth without anybody noticing that they are gone. I’m worried about someone getting married, someone who I can’t stand. 

I’m just grateful I can cry and express. I’m grateful for my support reaching out to me. I’m grateful that my life is colorful and vibrant. 

You, Bee, are a security blanket. I turn to you when my world becomes cold and frightening. Instead, I need to trust that my own body can handle the changes in temperature. Because no matter how much you may “protect” me, you also shield me. And this little bird wants to fly free. 


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.  

My Ex is Fatter.

Dear Bee,

My ex-boyfriend lives just a couple miles away from me, so it is only natural that my friends occasionally run into him. Thus far, I’ve been lucky. I saw him once driving, but we have yet to have that awkward run-in and deer-in-headlights encounter. At this point, I think I would be okay if we did. I would be civil and cordial and make small-talk if necessary, but I wouldn’t jump in to have a deep conversation either. 

He’s gotten chubbier. I’ve heard that from two different people. This makes me ecstatic. I hate admitting this. Me, fat-phobic? Me, who is studying to be a therapist, who literally breathes empathy and nurture, who is clinically trained to provide equal treatment to everyone? I would like to say that is my eating disordered voice speaking, and some of it probably is, but there is simply no excuse for my own sick sense of superiority. Because, clearly, if he’s gaining weight, that must correlate with him being worse off than me, inferior to me, less than me, grosser and sicker and more worthless than me. My friends also agree. They say he’s gotten chubbier with that carefree and malicious laugh, as if to say, you’re so much better off than him. He never deserved you to begin with, and he’s nothing without you. And if that’s not distortion, I don’t know what is. 

By nature, we associate weight gain with problems in life. We associate it with depression and dysfunction, inferiority and unattractiveness, laziness and gluttony. I am not an innocent angel who is immune to this kind of discrimination. I wish I was. I hope one day to be, but right now, it is an automatic thought that I must consciously work through. I tend to assume I am better than people who are bigger than me, and, on the flip side, I think the opposite if I am bigger than them. Thus, it is only natural, given my distortions, that I believe I am better off than my ex-boyfriend is. Not for legitimately comparable reasons, but because of the disparity in our appearances. Because mine is more socially acceptable. Because mine is more atheistically pleasing. Because mine is what more people would consider attractive, successful, and put-together.

For someone so deep in recovery, it saddens me that I still automatically hold these distortions and discrimination against others. 

Bodies are bodies. They are vessels. They are a composition of muscle, fat, and bone. They are not markers of inferiority, superiority, or even beauty. Evolution, social construction, core schemas, and media messages are the marker of inferiority, superiority, and beauty. 

My ex-boyfriend has a new girl. Why can’t I accept it?

My ex has a girlfriend. Or, he’s seeing someone, anyway.

I saw pictures.

I’m not surprised. I’d heard around. But, I hadn’t seen the tangible proof yet.

First instinct: She’s uglier than me. 

Second instinct: I want to know every possible detail about her. 

Third instinct: I want to call, text, contact him. I know he’d come back to me in a heartbeat, because he loved me more than he ever loved anyone, because the way he felt about me was unlike anything he’d ever experienced. I FELT that love every single day. He couldn’t believe we were together: he consistently reminded me that I was out of his league. He didn’t understand how he had gotten so lucky. He couldn’t wait to spend a lifetime with me.

I know he thinks about us. I’m sure he’s even seen pictures of me. In fact, we still have tagged pictures on Facebook that I’ve never gotten around to deleting. 

I wonder what he thinks. I wonder what he misses. We were part of each other’s lives for years…so many memories interlaced into places, songs, events. I’d never seen someone cry as hard as he did when I broke up with him. He apologized for everything he’d done to hurt me and swore up and down that he’d wait a lifetime for me to come back to him.

I was starting my graduate program and simultaneously entering recovery. I had grown tired of his childish ways, half-assed ambition, and elaborate plans that never manifested. I had been emotionally checked out of that relationship for months: by the time I ended it, the wounds had practically been healed. 

I’ll never go back. Ever. But, that’s not the point right now.

I was his fucking world, and he was just a piece in mine.

I miss being someone’s world. I miss being needed like that.

I want what I can’t have, and if I no longer want it, nobody else can have it. 

Control, control, control. 

He’s not the right person for me. He never was. He had enough baggage to fill an entire airport. I just wanted to save him: fix him, change him. Essentially, I was in that relationship for all the wrong reasons.  But he could give me a gift I have yet to give myself: unconditional love, endless support, and adoration. In his eyes, I could do no wrong. In his eyes, I was flawless. It wasn’t hard to let go of that, but it took me so long to realize that, without him, I was alone to increase my basically nonexistent self-esteem. I could always depend on him for compliments and admiration. Now, I try to find it through other people…when, really, I need to learn to develop it for myself. 

I wish I could be happy for him, but that would be a lie.

I’m enraged and jealous. 

Why am I holding onto something that I clearly broke off?

Why am I letting myself suffer?

Why am I still even dwelling on this? Isn’t it time to move on?

I feel jealous. I feel sad. I feel immature. I feel needy.

The end. 

Grieving the Loss of Emotional Intimacy.

Dear Bee,

Tomorrow is my ex-boyfriend’s birthday. We haven’t spoken since the day I broke up with him, sitting in my car outside my house, last November. He cried. He pleaded. He promised to change. Always promising to change. Always promising to be better for me. 

He wanted to marry me. Spend the rest of his life with me. I was the one, and he said it from the beginning. He never questioned his feelings or love for me. I, however, lived in a chronic state of serious doubt and second-guessing. I didn’t want to think about marriage, and I was scared of any notion of finding the “one” at such a young age.

He may have been good to me, but he wasn’t right for me. I held on for a long time, but one of the first lessons I learned in my recovery journey was that I needed to learn when and how to let go of the people and things that were holding me back on living my life the way I wanted to live it.

I’m forgetting the little things; the intricacies that were once part of me; the minute details that seamlessly integrated into our shared existence. His voice. The sound of his laughter. The way he smelled getting out of the shower. Some of our jokes. But, I also remember the random bits that once seemed insignificant. How it felt holding his hand. Kisses on my neck. Driving together. How he smelled before getting in the shower. 

It is better that we don’t talk. This is the one black-and-white element in my life that doesn’t need to be balanced or grayed or lessened with rigidity. I need these boundaries because I know I cannot realistically form any sort of friendship or civil relationship after sharing such a deeply-passionate whirlwind of love with him. Any contact would only cause confusion and pain for me. We hurt each other so much towards the end. I think of the person I am now compared to the person I was with him. I’m not sure how we would even communicate if we ran into each other again. I’ve changed tremendously. Sometimes, I want to show him.

And yet, I spent the good part of my night flirting with my coworker, fantasizing about us having a quickie in my work office, and enjoying the riddling of lust overcoming my logic.

It wasn’t until my drive home that I realized I am grieving.

I am not grieving my ex-boyfriend. No, I am grieving emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy: the warm blanket of comfort that you are deeply loved, those soft kisses on the forehead given first thing in the morning, the tightness of arms around your body, the whispered I love yous, the secret language comprised of inside jokes, smiles, and the puzzle of touch.

Emotional intimacy: the glue of love.


Emotional intimacy is a void that I have to grieve. And it’s a void I’ve never allowed myself to grieve. I’ve been delaying it, because admitting that I missed him or admitting that I missed feeling loved and protected and secure seemed weak. I was desperate to move on and as quickly as possible.

Emotional intimacy. It cannot be filled by my compulsions, despite my occasional desires to fill it with cupcakes, drown it in alcohol, disguise it with casual fucking, sweat it with exercise, bury it with work, or distract it with academics.

Emotional intimacy comes from love. And pure love can only be filled with pure love. Nothing more and nothing less. I want to experience emotional intimacy again. And yes, I’ll say it: I want to fall in love again. But, this time, I want it to be a healthy and mutual love. I want it to be real and authentic. I want it to be the love that lifts and inspires me, rather than the kind that drags and defeats me. I just want it to be love without boundaries, questions, or second-guessing. Maybe that’s far-fetched. Maybe it’s idealistic. But people have that kind of love, and it’s the kind of love I know I deserve. 

It’s hard to accept this loss and even harder to accept these feelings. I don’t like admitting that the single world can be lonely. I don’t like feeling inadequate. I don’t like that I’m attracted to someone I cannot have. I don’t like that I’m feeling triggered in many ways, with food, with sex, with regret, with doubting myself. I don’t like that I’ll probably be thinking of my ex-boyfriend tomorrow in class (ps: why do I have class on a Saturday?)

I don’t like that I sometimes still believe relationships bring happiness, when I GENUINELY KNOW only I hold the true power to control my happiness. 

Tomorrow will be a challenge in my recovery, because my recovery involves honoring my feelings, accepting my reality, and learning to let go and turn over what I cannot control. The food and eating are secondary; if I can manage and stabilize my thoughts and feelings, the appropriate coping behaviors will follow.


Dear Bee,

For this moment, I can accept you. For this moment, I am okay, and I am happy with myself. That’s not to say it has been an easy day. This morning was rough. I resented you. I was tired of dealing with you. I went to an OA meeting, and I basically spent four minutes sharing my frustration and anger over having an eating disorder. 

And then, I ate lunch with some people from OA, and felt sickishly overjoyed for being the skinniest one among them. I liked being able to eat without feeling judged, because hey, I was the thin one. I was the healthy one. I was the “sane” one. 

That was all you, Bee. That was your logic that my problem must not be real enough. I hate that I feel inferior to people skinnier to me and that I feel superior to those who are not.

My ex-boyfriend has been on my mind all week. I have so many urges to call him. I just want to see what he’s doing. It doesn’t bother me that I miss him, but it does bother me that I feel guilty for missing him. That I feel guilty for feeling lonely, sad, or regretful. That I feel guilty over wanting to know what he’s doing. 

Guilt represents an underlying theme that maintains my distorted thinking and distress. People have always invalidated my feelings, which probably instilled this rigid notion that feelings are bad. For example, I told various people about my missing my ex. What were the responses I received? Well, you’re so much better off! Look how far you’ve come! He didn’t deserve you. You’re so much happier now. Don’t be sad!

For two days, nobody could empathize, support, or even acknowledge that my feelings were real. Nobody could just say, that must be rough. It’s okay that you’re sad. Nobody even asked why I thought I might be feeling this way. I was expressing my frustration to my sponsor this morning, and, bless her soul, she put her hand on mine, and said, I’m giving you permission to feel all those things. Your feelings are real. Sit with them. Honor them. They are there for a reason. 

This was so refreshing to hear. Someone who was NOT trying to fix me. Someone who was NOT telling me that I was a bad person or “wrong” for feeling those emotions. Later, a good friend told me something similar. She said, it’s normal to feel these things. You don’t have to explain or justify them. People go through this. You don’t have to feel guilty for wanting to talk to him or wanting to miss him. You can’t help how you feel.

I know I developed an eating disorder because I struggled with acceptance. Acceptance of uncomfortable feelings. Acceptance of my whole self. Acceptance of reality and its messy, unpredictable ways. I wanted to control my feelings, control my body, and control the world.

I struggle to accept happiness, because I compare myself to people who are far worse than me. I struggle to accept sadness, because I compare myself to people who are far better off than me. I invalidate my own feelings, and in turn, I experience guilt for having emotions. But, feelings are healthy. Feelings are real. Feelings are ours, and they are spontaneous, beautiful, and meaningful. And yet, I have spent years denying myself of them. I have stuffed them down. I have ran them off. I have starved and binged them. 

I have focused on behaviors. I have focused on thoughts. But I rarely considered my emotions. I hardly think to ask myself, how do I feel right now? Or, what feelings does this bring up for me? 

And now that they are all resurfacing, it can become overwhelming. That’s okay. This is where the growth happens. This is where the realizations and transformations occur.

I thank the universe every single day that I am on the road of recovery, and that, even though I may be young and relatively inexperienced, I am creating a life worth living. 

This afternoon, I was sitting at a coffee shop finishing my last paper of the semester. I struck conversation with the girl sitting next to me. She was also studying, and she lamented on the fact that she had no idea what she was doing with her life. I encounter this often. Most people my age don’t know what they want to do, and even more, I see people of all ages unfulfilled and unsatisfied with their lives. So many of us are just waiting…eternally waiting for something to just click or happen…are we living lives in eternal limbo? 

I never want to live that way. I know I am fortunate. I knew I wanted this career path for years, and everyday, I feel more satisfied, rejuvenated, and passionate about it. But, even more so, life is so much greater than our career paths. I don’t ever want to be unsatisfied. I don’t ever want to feel unfulfilled. There are far too many ways to generate that satisfaction and find that fulfillment.

What if we all believed we were meant to be happy, joyous, and free? What if these were nonnegotiable? How would we live then? How would we live without the bondage of fear holding us back? How would we live without the choke-hold of preoccupation and obsession? How would we live in a world absent of our own desires to control?

All I can say is, I know I have a purpose in this world. And I know I’m damn well going to rock the life I have. 

rambling about my ex, eating disordered clients, and revealing my identity

Dear Bee,

I can’t believe I’m still writing to you. Honestly, you’re insane. I’m mentally and physically exhausted. I did eat a little bit ago. I don’t know if it constitutes as a binge, but it certainly wasn’t food I needed. I’m eating things I don’t even like. I’m hiding wrappers and sneaking around. I can smell the food on my fingers. That’s disgusting. Why am I reverting to this?

I’m just tired. I’m thinking of my ex-boyfriend, too, and that’s a huge indicator that I’m slipping. I literally just looked at a bunch of pictures of us…and now, of course, I want to call him. It’s been months. And I broke up with him. But both of our birthdays are coming soon, and weirdly, I’m finding that extremely triggering.

Breaking up with him was one of the best decisions I ever made for himself, and yet, I feel lonely right now…but, why don’t I want health? Why don’t I want happiness right now? Why don’t I want to continue moving forward? 

Oh, and on that note: it still amazes me how people actually believe eating disorders are just diets, trends, attention-seeking fads, or even choices at all. Sure, there are reasons why I have what I have, but I can assure anybody that I didn’t fucking choose any of this. 

A few weeks ago in class, my professor was discussing the challenges of working with eating disordered clients. Excuse my language, but no fucking shit. We over-complicate like it’s our jobs.  One day, everything feels GREAT and we’re all RECOVERY, RECOVERY, RECOVERY.  We’re on top of the world, and we think to ourselves, we got this. Next meal, everything is scary and out-of-control and triggering and it all feels hopeless. We’re known to be liars, manipulators, and mentally unstable. We’re also known to be charming, intelligent, and hyper-vigilant. We over-achieve, and we people-please. We like our rigidity, our black-and-white worlds, and our control. Oh God, we LOVE our control. We are completely disillusioned by our own distortions, and even though we fully realize it, we often feel like we cannot and will not stop.

We hate the bodies that others call beautiful. We fear the food we once ate with reckless abandon. We become prisoners of the mind and slaves to the disease. We try and we try and we try and it never feels good enough…we wonder what recovery will feel like, and we wonder if we will be the blessed warrior who makes it, or if we will be the drowning swimmer who falls through the cracks, living the same lie, telling the same story, until he or she slowly and painfully wilts away.

If someone had told me I would have developed an eating disorder, I would have laughed. Eating disorder? Not me. No way. I could have understood a mood or anxiety disorder or maybe even alcohol or drug dependency, as I was raised under the impression that one drink or hit could induce lifelong dependency. But an eating disorder? Please. I wasn’t that narcissistic. I once believed every one of those myths: that those with eating disorders were just seeking attention and had low-self-esteem, that they just needed to eat and/or stop throwing up, and that they were essentially stupid. 

My ignorance is simply representative of our society, and it sickens me. No wonder people are afraid of treatment. No wonder recovery is such a scary term. No wonder so many professionals refuse to even work with eating disorders. We are a chaotic, unpredictable, erratic, and emotional bunch. For so long, I feared I wouldn’t be taken seriously. And now that I am being taken seriously, I fear that, too. I want the attention, and when I get it, I seek to isolate. I want recovery, and when I get a taste of it, I self-sabotage. I think I fully understand the ferocity that is my eating disorder, and then it turns around and stabs me.  

Cunning, powerful, and baffling: the Anonymous community didn’t come up with those words for no reason. 

I am weight-restored, in good physical health, and motivated, which puts me at a slight advantage for professional treatment, but at the same time, I can see how I am one frustrating individual to work with. I’m hyper-intelligent and analytical, but I struggle to even identify with my emotions. I am incredibly black-and-white with my progress. If it’s going well, I assure everyone it’s going AWESOME, and if it’s getting shaky, I assure everyone IT’S SO FUCKING DIFFICULT. Again, eating disordered individuals can be exhaustive.

And yet, I know I will work with these clients one day. 

I don’t know when that will be, and it doesn’t matter right now, but I just know my recovery will guide someone else’s one day. And maybe that’s my motivation right now. 

Because I GET IT. Because I’m living it. Day after day. I understand the ups and downs, the fears, the anxieties, the mood swings, the body bashing, the isolation, the overwhelming thoughts, the negative self-talk, the confusion, the pain, the questioning, the absolute, sheer bewilderment.

We all deserve someone who can unconditionally support and BELIEVE in us. There is a reason I am on this path that I am now. 

The other day, I was thinking about this blog and its tremendous growth over the past few months since I made it public. I thought about revealing my identity because I felt like a fraud for hiding behind a screen. But, I thought about those future clients. The ones I want to work with. And I remembered why I have to stay anonymous. I’m beyond worrying if anyone in my personal life knows about my struggles, because many of them do. Some people who follow me on here are friends with me on Facebook, so they know more about me, and that’s cool, too.  I am no longer ashamed of who I am.

 But, because I will be emerging in the mental health sector as a therapist very soon, I simply can’t afford to have such raw information this accessible. Not while I’m this active in my disorder, anyway. Besides, deep-down, I know that coming out on a blog is just another way for me to seek validation and approval.

My ability to help others is far more sacred than any virtual eating disorder-related attention will ever be. Besides, all that attention can be a double-edged sword. It almost creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Too often, we are put on a pedestal, and we often fall down a few notches just to PROVE to others that they were wrong for placing us there. 



This was such a random post. I just intended to jot down a few words…I just need to go to bed. 

Sexually starved…maybe?

Dear Bee,

For the last four days, I’ve essentially been a hermit writing an ENDLESS paper for one of my classes. I severely underestimated how long it would take me to write this damn thing! Writing papers is kinda an easy thing for me (surprise, surprise), but this assignment is INSANELY TEDIOUS. 

All is good on the recovery front. Still attending meetings daily, and I must say that doing so has absolutely changed my outlook. I feel grounded and humbled by the shares I hear and literature I read. Furthermore, taking a more active and alive approach, rather than assuming my previous wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am (don’t talk to me, don’t hug me, I don’t really want to be here) style in those rooms makes for a much more satisfying experience. I feel much more connected to the program and to my fellow compulsive overeaters/anorexics/bulimics/whatever you want to identify yourself with.

In working through step two, I actually defined a Higher Power that makes the perfect sense for me, which, as an agnostic, is a goal I NEVER though I could achieve. Exciting.

I must say, it’s wonderful to be able to focus on OTHER issues besides my eating disorder.

And in talking about other issues: it’s been almost four months since I have last had sex. FOUR MONTHS. Sigh. I really miss it. I had a few hookups, a lot of random make-out sessions, and a horrific one-night stand after my breakup, but truth be told, I miss relationship sex. I miss comfort and intimacy and knowing someone’s body as well as my own. I guess, in a sense, I miss companionship. I’m not used to being on my own romantically, and even though it is exhilarating to develop the relationship I share with myself, part of me misses the security and comfort shared with another person. 

And yet, I DO NOT WANT A RELATIONSHIP. I am absolutely not ready for one.

Having been with one person for so long, I looked forward to venturing out sexually, but I’m starting to think raw promiscuity isn’t really my thing. Sure, I like going out and meeting new people. I love getting raunchy on the dance floor (with both men and women), and I love the thrill of first kisses and wandering hands and those blitzes of electricity shared between our bodies…but sex? I don’t know. That still makes me nervous. That still holds some sacristy. I grew up believing sex was an act between two people who loved each other. While I no longer follow that disposition, I know I personally feel uncomfortable when guys chase me solely for sex. Which, is in fact, 99.9% of the male population. Gross generalization? Not when you’re my age.  

And yet, sometimes, it’s so validating and so reassuring. Knowing that someone wants to see my naked body, be inside me, and use me for his own pleasure. It sounds terrible, but the attention can be addictive.

The woes of youth, I know.

I lost my virginity a few later than most of my friends. This was by choice. My decision to wait  until I was fully ready embodied the awkward white elephant in previous relationships (and actually ended one of them), but I never regretted my first time, as I had found someone who was patient, attentive, and kind. I felt absolutely comfortable in my own skin around him.

He loved every inch of my body and never failed to praise my appearance. I was absolutely confident in the bedroom and together, we did things I never imagined I’d do…much less, enjoy! I channeled out a side of me I never knew existed. And yet, there were many times I wondered…what else is out there? What am I missing? 

On the flip side, I never experienced the same level of physical attraction towards him. Yes, this made me feel guilty, but no, I couldn’t help it. I wasn’t turned on by his body, and in fact, I often resented it. But, this gave me power. I was in the torturous throes of a binge-restrict-compulsive exercise cycle…and yet, I had a better body than him. He was overweight to obese. And frankly, it often disgusted me. I wanted him to lose weight. I wanted him to eat healthier. I loathed most of his dietary habits (and with an eating disorder, could I be any more hypocritical?!?!)

Yet, I liked knowing that I was small around him. I liked knowing that people looked at us and saw me as this attractive young thing. I liked the jealousy I invoked in his friends and people on the street. I liked having that sense of control, knowing that I never had to really worry about how I looked, because no matter what, I was physically superior to him. I liked knowing that I was more attractive than any of his exes and probably any of his next’s.

In other words, I was sick. Absolutely sick.

Anyway, I’m totally rambling, and I’m not going to even edit or reread this letter…because I need to continue editing my 20+ page treatment plan on dysfunctional families.

But, I will say this: I am interested to see what sex in recovery will be like. Will I feel more connected to my body? More attractive? More insecure (especially if the guy has a great body)? Will my sex life improve, simply because I am less preoccupied with food, control, weight, etc. Will I make sure I only choose mates I feel equally physically attracted to? Will I feel entirely threatened if he is, in fact, a very attractive man? Will I be able to let go of wanting the upper hand in a relationship, looks-wise?

Maybe this entire post seems shallow (just writing them sounds ridiculous), but sexual chemistry comprises an underlying thread of much of our relational satisfaction. So for now, I will just say that I am excited to see what lies ahead.