Why? Why in bloody hell did I post pictures like the ones below of me in my underwear of all things? Well, I can promise you it still terrifies me that I’m exposing such a vulnerable and ‘ugly’ part of me to the world for ridicule and judgment, but I also think you need to see where I’m coming from to understand how I got here. Soooooo, this post was prompted by a question asked in a recovery group I’m a part of on Facebook this morning, and it really made me stop and think.
One of the group members asked everyone what their biggest fear was related to ED? As I sat there considering it, I realized that through my fear is how I found my freedom. I realized that while I frequently explore all kinds of emotions and memories that have shaped me both in my life and in my journey, I’ve never taken time to really think that question through. This post is about how I let go to get better.
***
The day I took this picture (at right) I remember looking in the mirror and analyzing every flaw. I 
2 years ago
focused on the rolls, the fat overflowing under my armpits, the dimples on my stomach where cellulite existed, but I was unable to see the pretty, even features of my face, the distinct outline of muscles from hours of hiking and cycling, and the crazy fact that in my mid-thirties I still looked twenty-something. 
This was at a point in life when ED’s voice was louder than ever before. I had been diagnosed a year prior with a hiatal hernia that was causing my esophagus to bleed profusely. I was barely eating, and when I did I was purging not only everything that passed my lips, but the cupfuls of blood from my dying body. To others I was the picture of improvement and health (ironically that was when I first started this blog), but inside I was sicker than I had ever been. No amount of raw, vegan food could fix what I was doing to my body, and no one knew but me.
Summer 2017
Last summer, just before deciding to get counseling for ED, I was at an all new low (see pic at left). The difference, however, is that this secret that I had kept hidden for my entire life was too great a burden to bear alone anymore. I felt the entire weight of the world on me.
I had spent most of the beginning of 2017 in what I originally claimed was a funk, but was clearly hallmark signs of serious depression. I was binging and purging at a new alarming rate, and all my symptoms I had previously tried to improve, had returned full-force. It all went from being something I wanted to keep secret to realizing ED had taken me hostage and that I was on the brink of either suicide or a medical emergency. I remember the exact moment that I realized I was actually considering suicide. I needed help.
I knew I had an eating disorder but I didn’t know he had a name (ED). I had spent my entire life hearing ED’s voice rather than my own, so I didn’t know where to start, just that I needed to do something
No one, not my husband, my family, my kids, or my friends knew I was bulimic, and they certainly didn’t know I was depressed.  No one knew how close I was to just saying “I’m done, life is too hard”. I knew, and it scared me to my very core. I was a professional at appearing like this transparent person, but in reality I was so closed-off from everyone…especially myself. I wasn’t coming from a bad life! I have a husband that adores me, kids who are amazing, success in my career, but ED had grown so LOUD it was as if he just stood beside me screaming at full-force every minute of every day. It was all just too much.
Deciding to tell my husband about my eating disorder and risk being judged was a HUGE first step. ED had me convinced if I did this, I would end up alone. It did not happen overnight but took me weeks to build the courage to do (all while battling the suicidal thoughts). After that initial conversation, it took hours of additional discussions to keep me going emotionally until I had that first appointment with my therapist. I had never spent so much energy just making and getting myself to an appointment!
When I first started therapy a few things helped me let go. My therapist, asked that I throw-away or have my husband hide my bathroom scale. She also told me to stop certain behaviors which had only fueled ED’s voice in my daily battle. Gone were my meticulous menu’s complete with calories and quantities. The hours spent planning each weeks grocery lists and every morsel I would plan (though I never managed to stick to the plan) to put in my mouth, evaporated. My sole purpose and goal was to take it one-step at a time. I put off completing my CPA exam, I switched professional environments, and I even stopped restricting food to only plant-based (which I later came back to once it was safe and I was in a place to do so with a dietician’s help). 
NONE of this was easy. In fact, ALL of it seemed impossible, but I knew if I didn’t do this, and didn’t push past all the thoughts of “I Can’t” then I would be dead within a year. Bulimia is suicide, just at a much slower rate. 
For the first 2 months solid I felt like I had lost a family member. I grieved in a similar way to when I my dad died. The depression was overwhelming some days, but I refused to quit. I wanted to live TOO much to quit on myself. I committed to feeling something, anything, even the pain. At least it meant I was alive.
Sometime around the 2nd month of weekly counseling and following my therapist’s homework, I had a massive anxiety attack. So rather than using it as an excuse to quit, I cut more responsibilities and gave myself a ‘get out of jail free card’ to ONLY focus on recovery. THAT was when things changed. 
My steps weren’t big; they were baby steps. They were change!
I guess my point in sharing all of this is that recovery is hard. It’s painful. It’s scary. It will make you feel like you’ve died a thousand deaths. Then one morning you’ll wake up and realize that somehow you’ve gotten to a place that when you do hear ED, that you can tell him to shut up and sit down…and he listens. 
Today if you asked me what I see when I look at either of those pictures, the answer is a fighter. I decided that no matter how ugly and strenuous the journey; fighting for my recovery was worth any sacrifice I needed to make. 
Letting go of just about everything and just fighting for my life was the scariest and most worthwhile choice I have ever made. Wherever you are in that fight, whether you are on the edge of the darkness or winning the battle, keep fighting. You are worth it, and one day you will be able to look back and know it was in that moment that you let go, that everything changed.
Let go and get better <3