I sit at the table, legs shaking and chest pounding. I stare at the plates in front of me covered with copious amounts of food. I suddenly get nauseous and disgusted with myself. I don’t want to eat, I want to be empty. I sit there, food glaring back at me. Direct Care encouraging me to at least take a bite. I take a bite, I chew, at least 10 times each bite before I swallow. I make a disgusted face as I swallow the food. I get redirected as we are not allowed to make faces or talk about the food until post meal. All I can think is “I hate food and Im scared of getting fat.”Emotions overwhelm my every thought as I try to slowly put the food into my mouth. I eat so incredibly slow that everyones done before me. After eating half, I push the rest aside. If you don’t eat the whole thing, scraping your plate included, then you have the supplement with boost and ensure. The direct care hands me a large cup of chocolate boost. And I just sit there, eyes darting everywhere watching my peers eat as i count up the calories in my head. I also sit there glaring at the thick and creamy liquid staring back at me in the plastic glass. I have no interest in food anymore, and no desire to eat even though I’ve been in recovery for 8 months now. I feel unsafe in my womanly body and trapped inside a body that I absolutely despise. I have 15 minutes to finish the putrid liquid in front of me. I hold the straw and slowly drink the supplement as that is what is expected of me and I am a rule follower. I pause a lot and draw it out throughout the whole 15 minutes. Once I’m down to the last 2 ounces I begin to feel sick to my stomach. The nausea overwhelms me as I complete the chalky drink. I process my feelings with direct care and the whole table full of other eating disorder patients if I feel comfortable; if Im not feeling safe, I pass. Then i proceed to go lay down on the couch. I curl up in little ball under my gray blanket with gold shimmery patterns on top, with my teddy bear and my soft baby blanket under my head. I reflect upon all those unwanted calories that I just put in my body. Im overwhelmed with fear and a paralyzing fear of not only the food or the calories but of myself. The fear of myself and my body is my number one fear. Not feeling safe and comfortable in my body is what leads me to engage in the horrific eating disorder behaviors. Oh how I just want to feel safe. Anorexia is a debilitating illness and takes up 100% of my thoughts. I hope in the future to sit at the table calmly and enjoy a pleasant meal with my family.
Im Ariana, I am 23 and i am battling/recovering from Anorexia Nervosa. The above is a poem I wrote this afternoon after eating a difficult lunch. Since 2008, i have hospitalized too many times to count and have been to about 35 eating disorder treatment centers. This has been a long hard battle for me and one that I have been open about on my Facebook and with my friends and family, however not open like this with my every thought. I thought that I would start a blog to help others to understand from someone struggling what it is like to have an eating disorder and what it takes to fight one. Throughout this blog I will be talking about some very vulnerable things, be open about my other diagnosis’s besides my eating disorder, spread hope and inspiration to others that are struggling and let other people without eating disorders know what it is like. I hope to shed light on how serious eating disorders are and how trying the recovery process is for those grappling with this octopus that I call ED.
I am hoping to slowly share this blog with everyone I know, hopefully others will spread to people they know, and I hope to inspire others. I am also interested in guest blogging on other peoples blogs so if you are interested in me doing that please let me know, I want to get my name out there as I would like to really help others through my struggle.
Over the last few years I have really noticed how much I could actually help someone. Through all the treatment centers I have been through, I technically could be a therapist and a dietitian, because I have spent the last 11 years wrapped up in this mess. I feel like all the therapies I have learned and the dietary information I have learned I could actually use to help others. I understand that you need to help yourself before I can help others, but Im going to start off with just helping others by trying to share my story. When I am in full recovery and doing better for myself I will hopefully help others by writing a book, making a recovery coloring book, and by going to speak at schools, churches, temples and events.
A lot of people send me messages on Facebook asking me questions about what its like in the mind of an eating disorder at a meal, so I wrote the above poem to try to get you all into the head of an anorexic at the table at an eating disorder center where we are forced to eat an appropriate amount of calories a day to promote weight gain or weight maintenance. Even though most of us if not all of us are terrified of the ideas of not only our bodies but about weight gain. I also frequently get asked how many calories I eat in a day. (this I am not going to share for my sanity and as to not trigger others who may be reading who struggle with eating disorders) I will share an example of what I have eaten in a day at an eating disorder center at my worst when I had to gain a ton of weight and an example of what a maintenance plan has been for me as well so others can see just how difficult the weight gain plan is when in treatment. I will start with the maintenance plan and then go on to the weight gain plan (these were for ME, everybodys body is different and will have different needs.) Please see a dietitian or a doctor before starting anytime of meal plan like this.
Maintenance Eating Plan for a recovering Anorexic
Breakfast: 1.5 cups cereal, 8 0z 2% milk, 8oz juice, and 1-2 pieces of fruit Am snack: 1.5 ounces of animal crackers, 2 tbsp peanut butter Lunch: spaghetti and meat sauce w/ broccoli, with veggies and dip and a lemon bar PM snack: luna bar and 1 0z nuts Dinner: Peanut Butter and Honey, with pretzels, fruit and yogurt. HS snack: Hersheys bar, 8oz 2% milk
Weight Restoration Plan for an Anorexic on Refeeding (trying to get to a normal weight)
Breakfast: 3 cups cereal, 16 oz 2% milk, 16 ounces juice, 2 pieces of fruit, 2 veggie sausage patties, a boost plus AM snack: 80z frozen yogurt, 1 oz choice chips, 1 oz nuts, a boost plus Lunch: Double Spaghetti with meat sauce and broccoli, with double the size egg and dip and lemon bar and a boost plus PM snack: 2 ski slices banana bread, 2 tbsp peanut butter, 2 tsp jelly and a boost plus Dinner: Peanut Butter and honey sandwich, pretzels, yogurt, and fruit with 10 oz Ben and Jerrys Ice cream and a boost plus HS snack: 1.5 oz animal crackers, 3 tbsp Peanut butter, 12 oz 2% chocolate milk and a boost plus
I hope that gives some insight as to what its like for us who are in eating disorder treatment to sit down at the table and eat copious amounts of food 6 times a day until we are absolutely sick because we want recovery so bad. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to fight in my life but it has been worth every second because I believe that all of my experiences have made me a stronger person and that is what I want in my life. I want to be the strongest I can be and I want to help others.
I hope this first blogpost helped you to peer inside of a brain of an Anorexic and to understand how difficult recovery in an eating disorder center is for someone like myself.
I would love some comments on this to know what everyone thought so I can improve from here on future posts. I would also LOVE ideas of what you would like me to write abut in future posts. ❤ Comment Away
❤ Ariana Magro