The Recovery of a Lifetime

Do you know someone with an eating disorder?

I hope you answered yes, because you know me. I am a survivor of anorexia nervosa for life. This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and I hope you all have been bombarded by posts, news segments, and other materials about eating disorders. Kate has been doing some awesome informative posts about all types of eating disorders to break myths and bring awareness. I have been participating in Awareness Week since my first year of recovery, and this week is one of the most meaningful weeks of the year for me and my family. It is because of this week and the efforts of many organizations like NEDA that eating disorders have finally left the closet and people have started talking about it. So let’s talk.

Eating disorders are a mental illness, each eating disorder is individual and unique. Yes this illness shares similarities between cases, but no eating disorder is ever the same. I know a large majority of people believe that eating disorders are about appearance and dieting, but that isn’t the case. Those who develop eating disorders don’t necessarily want to be thin. It took me a long time past reaching my goal weight to recognize that this mental illness 1.) doesn’t go away just because I look healthy again and 2.) the reason for my obsessions with food, diet, and exercise were really just a way for me to deal with other life stressors. Turning to food and restriction and compulsive exercise was/is a way for me to block out the rest of the world, escape from things I wasn’t happy doing.

Now my eating disorder, or my life in recovery really, has taught me how to live my life for me- taking care of myself physically and mentally in order to live a healthy and happy life. I resisted recovery for longer than I would like to admit. Even when I had reached my goal weight there was still a piece of me that wanted to go back. You see, eating disorders take over your brain, they have a separate voice, and it is a strong voice with the potential to ruin your life if you aren’t strong. Recovery gave me strengthonce I accepted it. The day I chose recovery became the day I started to live again. I began to live a life that didn’t revolve around food. I started to challenge my perfectionism. And most importantly I began to see the real me again.

Because of recovery, I know who I am. I know how to deal with the stressful moments of life, and I have the tools to recognize when I need to ask for help in any situation. Recovery is more beautiful than any life in an eating disorder ever was. There is no perfection in recovery. There is fear in recovery. There is no escape from life in recovery, because recovery (the good and the bad) is life.

I have found hope in recovery and wish that for anyone suffering today. If you know someone who might be suffering or you are struggling yourself reach out. Don’t stay silent, because one more day of saying and doing nothing is another day you are not living.

For more information on Eating Disorders check out these resources:
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The End Begins Now

I honestly do not know where to begin on this last day of 2012. All of you have written beautifully composed posts about what you experienced this year and what you are looking for in the year of 2013. But I don’t think I documented this year as well as I would have liked to. Sure I have some amazing memories and experiences…

change 6

Goodbye to dance

Climbed the Arc de Triomphe

Climbed the Arc de Triomphe

Cheers!

Cheers!

Done with my last day. See you in the winter Chesapeake Regional!

Done with my last day. See you in the winter Chesapeake Regional!

First cosmo

Ordering my first drink

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Rebekah came to VT

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Coffee obsessed

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Hokie football = sad season

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New friends! All thanks to blogging

Dad had the idea of going on a little jog after opening presents. Awesome idea! I loved every minute of it

Started running and no longer hate it

And I learned a ton about myself through all of it. A beautiful sermon that felt very much directed towards me yesterday plus a few internal struggles I have been dealing with as of late have caused me to want a few resolutions this year. But I never stick to resolutions or goals or whatever you want to call them. I get caught up in school and all of my normal routines pretty quickly and by the end of the year I normally cannot remember what goals I set at the beginning of the year. I don’t want that to happen this year. If I keep going on the same track I will never grow and the struggles I had this year will follow me for the rest of my life. I do not want this.

Yesterday I was asked to contemplate what takes me away from God. My answer was everything. Until I realized that God wants me to have talents, he doesn’t want me to stop studying or exercising or eating a healthy diet. But he also doesn’t want those things to be done without him. I need him to guide me on a path in life that will lead me to a destination only he knows of.

What really takes my life away from God is an eating disorder that I have carried with me for over 7 years now. For most of this time I have considered myself recovered, and I still do. I wrote in the past about how I felt stuck. Well I still feel stuck and that is because I was too busy making excuses instead of sitting down and deciding on a plan of action to one day rid my life of this part of my life completely. I have fear foods that I refuse to release because the fear keeps me safe. I still struggle with what exercise is supposed to be for me, although this is something my mom was kind enough to point out I have been working on and succeeding in. And I am still consumed by appearance, the thin body ideal, and perfection in everything. Until I let go of these things I will forever live a life in which I am in a constant battle with anorexia. I might be winning for the rest of my life, but as long as the battle is still going on there is a chance for losing.

I don’t want to live my life on the battlefield. So in 2013 I will work to end this war. I am not making it my goal to rid my life of this thing that has consumed me so long. I cannot set a time frame for when this will be over and not longer consume me. I making 2013 the first year of the end. There will be a time in my future that I am completely free.

I am currently working on a short list of short term goals that will help me to end this battle. I hope by posting this list in the next week it will keep me accountable to trying new things, challenging myself, and taking risks so that I can begin to experience life that is led by the light of God.

Letting Go

I once thought I knew everything about eating disorders. Even before mine occurred, I had done school projects on them, loved their chapter in nutrition related books the most, and as I said last week always really enjoyed the TV episodes dealing with them (and still do). But the truth is I knew nothing about my individual eating disorder. I had know idea that it could be so hard to gain weight and keep it on, that there was a whole mental side that I would have to spend years figuring out, and that this disease would effect every relationship (friends, enemies, significant others) in my life. You give up a lot when an eating disorder takes over your life, and that doesn’t just change because you gain the weight back.

That last statement is something I am just comprehending today, tomorrow, and in the future. This post is about my recovery, the biggest accomplishment in my life. But I don’t fully understand my recovery yet. I have however made some huge breaking points in my life and recovery from this mental disease that took over my life when I was 16.

A little background.

I started seeing a nutritionist (not an RD) immediately once I broke down to my mom about my fear of eating. (that is also something unique about me, no one made me admit I had an eating disorder. I knew it but didn’t know what to do with it anymore.) This woman was so nice and sweet, but she had no idea what monster she was dealing with. It was her job to help me gain weight, but I managed to take everything she told me to do and turn it into a way to lose more weight. I was going down the wrong road with her. Unfortunately my visits with her only made my weight loss and mental stability worse. After almost 4 months my mom was about to give up on getting me help at home and throw thousands of dollars that were saved for my college into a treatment program. Did I want that? Yes and No… I did not want to leave my home, but I just could not let go of this ED. It was the most important thing in my life. We decided as a family to try one more time with a new professional who was a Registered Dietitian. Thank you Babs. Who knew this old lady could break me down to tears while telling me I must now eat 6-9 servings of grains a day, 5 servings of veggies, 2 servings of fruit, 3 protein sources (she never made me give up vegetarianism), 4 cups of milk a day, and what eventually built up to 11 servings of fat (which I called Omegas). O I cried, I brainstormed ways to not eat all of that, and I continued to leave lotsof what I called scraps on my plate. But guess what? Even I could tell by the look on my mom’s face on weigh days that the number was slowly going up. All of my efforts were failing, the weight was coming back. And one day I left my last scrap…

A person must choose to recover for themselves.

And although my weight was going up (at a minimal rate) I was only doing it because I saw how much I was hurting my family. I figured I could recover for them for a little while and then just go back once I was on my own. That is not recovery. I chose recovery at an IHOP in Williamsburg, VA (Read it!) because I realized that I knew so much about this disease, and that I could do something with that knowledge other than unintentionally take my own life. I could use my recovery to help others. It could be my platform in pageants, and I could start to live again. After that night my weight increased every week and I became invested in pushing this invader out of my life. I can honestly say that junior year of high school was the best yet. I made the decision to stop going to Governor’s School, I was able to start exercising again, and on February 14, 2009 I reached my goal weight. But was I done with this? I thought I was close I really did. Until I decided it was a good idea to leave my school and city to go to Virginia School of the Arts in Lynchburg, VA. I felt anorexia coming back… and I fought it. It took me 6 weeks to finally say I was unhappy and had made a big mistake going to VSA. But because I did eventually realize that mistakes happen and we all make bad decisions, I went home. I went home to complete what was to be a pretty fantastic senior year. I loved my classes, I had a social life (even a boyfriend to go to prom with), and I won the title of Miss Hickory High School (a dream of mine since I first saw the pageant in 2007!) O and I was both accepted and wait-listed at a few colleges. I owe a lot of credit to my therapist who I didn’t start seeing until my senior year. I had seen someone initially but he had no background in treating eating disorders (he did his best and did help me cope with accepting recovery). My new therapist has allowed me to more than cope. She has showed me that what happened to me can be a tool to help me in life. Because of her I see that my recovery has been more than just gaining weight, it has been about discovering who I am, what bothers me, what makes me happy. Most importantly she has helped me to realize that I can deal with bad situations successfully. I can turn a curse into a blessing. So thanks to her and my own efforts I can honestly say that in my senior year I was not consumed by an eating disorder every day. For anyone who has had an eating disorder, you know how BIG this is.

Life throws some nasty curve balls.

Freshman year of college was amazing. Who was this girl with friends and tons of people who liked her? She was going to all of the football games, handling changing majors one too many times, attending military balls, and having a great time without thinking about the next meal! I was living and learning and stepping out of my comfort zone every day! I wish I could say that all of this lasted. but it didn’t and my sophomore year is now over and I lost a lot of the friends I was close to because I stopped being outgoing and got stuck in a rut. I got comfortable and refused to break from my routine. It was working right? Straight A’s, a best friend, keeping my weight steady… But I lost a lot too. I gave up time with friends, Hokie football games (which you just don’t miss!), and new experiences because I was scared. Scared of what? I don’t know. but I can name a few things like failure, not being accepted by others, and gaining weight. I lost balance in my life. And boy did it hit me this summer! I realize now that there are still some things I need to discover about my eating disorder.

The road is ever changing

Does the fact that I went a little backwards mean I am back where I started? OMGsh NO! The differences between this past year in college, and me when I was 16 are huge. For one I do not want an eating disorder. I want to live a life where I do not think about food and my next meal, or if I worked out enough for that day. I had no idea what was happening to my life this past year, no idea that I was losing important aspects of my life! But I figured it out and wanted to change it. This goes back to being at a healthy weight doesn’t = recovered. What does = recovery is never wanting to go back, and living a life that does not revolve around this disorder. I am almost there, I can feel it. I am searching for that piece of me that got lost when it was pushed away by the eating disorder many years ago. And I will find it.

Sometimes I feel like I am lying when I say I am recovered. But then I remind myself that if that weren’t true I wouldn’t still be living and accomplishing so much! The only way I would be lying was if I stopped recognizing my red flags, and stopped trying to dig deep into the roots of my ED. I am able to recognize my eating disorder and fight it. It took some pretty smart people to help me see that to be true.

Everything in it’s own time for that individual.

There was a time that I needed to be in pageants to recover from this. Now that isn’t true, I have a lot of other reasons to keep climbing in my recovery other than a crown, and a platform I love. There was also a time that I believed I could never be a dietitian because it would only hurt my recovery. That changed too and my goal to help others with this struggle only continued to grow. There was also a time not too long ago when I imagined my future as a dietitian as one who only treats eating disorders. That is beginning to change too. I believed that in order to stay in my own recovery I had to surround myself with eating disorders while helping others overcome them. This is still a life goal of mine, but my goals continue to grow and expand beyond eating disorders. I now realize that at one time I had to hold on to eating disorders to keep my recovery going strong. Now I see that there will be a time when I will let go. I will never forget, never stop fighting to educate others about this mental illness, or stop lending my hand to help others recover. But it doesn’t have to be my whole life.

This is where I am now. Working (and looking forward) to my future. And parts of that future include my passion for recovery and helping others do the same, but another part involves letting go and discovering the other passions in my life.

Cause and Effect

I left off last Thursday with a bit of a cliff hanger… Sorry! So on to the next portion of my journey.

What caused me to have an eating disorder?

It is actually a question that even I have not answered all of the way. Every day/month/year I seem to uncover another portion of my eating disorder I had no idea existed. But I am getting ahead of myself… I am not going to highlight every trigger or every thought that came about as my eating disorder came about but I am going to highlight what I believe are the important parts that brought anorexia into my life.

*** I will not be sharing photos of myself at my worst because not only could this post about triggers lead to triggering others (and myself) but this blog is meant to show how much my life has grown and developed, and how much more I appreciate all of life’s challenges now. Looking back on the past and how unhappy I was does not really do justice to my motto of plating it and climbing. The goal is to climb up not down.

  • Dieting.

As I said before I have always been very preoccupied with my appearance. Being little was something I took pride in, and I grew up unconsciously worrying about my weight and size. I say unconsciously because it wasn’t something I tried to change, it was all thought no action. But I would hear about dieting and associated it with something adults did, so naturally, my time would come. When I started high school I put on a very little amount of weight and I was concerned because now that I was dancing in pursuit of a career my appearance was even more important. So my mom was just trying to get me into fitness and healthy living when she suggested I try out our exercise bike for 30 minutes. I loved it and weight did start to come off. Then she bought me the book above and I became obsessed. I would read this book at night and was inspired to take up cooking, eat vegetables, non-sugary cereals, and begin to realize that portions mattered. All of these things were great concepts. It wasn’t the book that caused the eating disorder… I believe that it was when the weight came off that my brain began to change. And then I regained a lot of weight (I still wasn’t overweight but when you have lost weight and then it comes back, sometimes it can be upsetting) and became so distraught and for some reason I couldn’t get back to where I thought my body was healthiest. Of course the weight I had gained and then couldn’t lose was probably where my body was feeling healthiest… but my brain wasn’t having it.

So dieting was a trigger for me but it is not for everyone.I just want to make that clear.

  • Competition, Being the best, the need to have something I was recognized for…

There was a time that dance was fun. I looked forward to class and I was good at it. There was no sense of doom and gloom when I talked about my future in dance.

I am on the right in pink shorts. This was when dance was still fun

But when I started high school I made the decision to leave my recreational studio where I had basically grown up. I knew that in order to really make it in dance I needed better technique than my studio could give me. I also started Governor’s School for the Arts (I was accepted into the Dance Department) and that meant I danced for my grades! Dancer’s heaven? I thought so. But then this is when dance began to bring more worry than fun. I was always comparing myself to other dancers and I never felt good enough. There was always someone better or some skill I was too scared to even try. And then suddenly class was something I dreaded. I would stare at the clock counting down the minutes until it was over or I would convince myself I didn’t feel well so that I could sit out. I didn’t know it at the time but my eating disorder was my escape plan…

I was a Virginia Tech HighTech Freshman year of college… it took awhile for me to give up dance

It took me a LONG time to admit that I didn’t want to dance anymore. I tried many things to keep me dancing: Pageants (I’ll cover that in the post about my recovery), The NCAA dance team in college, and taking classes because I though I was supposed to. When something has been a part of your life since the beginning of real memories it is hard to let go. And I will admit, most of dance comes so naturally to me (not all though). So it was hard to explain to people that it wasn’t that I didn’t love dance, it wasn’t that I didn’t feel good enough, it was that I didn’t like the feeling of dance anymore.

My last dance

A lot of people ask me if dance caused my eating disorder. My answer? NO. I was never pressured to lose weight or look a certain way at any of the schools I attended. I pressured myself to be too perfect. I lost my love of dance and didn’t realize it and then an eating disorder became my way out because when I did recognize I didn’t want it anymore I was too scared to leave the one thing I felt good at. Dance is beautiful, and it does wonders for so many young boys and girls. I would not be who I am today without my years in dance. I just don’t love to do it anymore.

  • Something more complicated

I don’t have a picture for this one sorry. This is incredibly complicated and I don’t understand it  myself. But ever since I knew eating disorders existed I have had a fascination with them. I have always enjoyed watching the movies about them, the TV shows (Emma of Degrassi anyone? or DJ on Full House?), and books that dealt with them. I don’t know why, but I glorified these stories and I think unconsciously I was in a way learning how to have the perfect eating disorder. There is a lot of research out there now suggesting that some people have a specific gene that makes them more vulnerable to developing an eating disorder. I am someone who believes this to be true. We found out shortly after I was diagnosed that my grandmother exhibited bulimic behaviors throughout her childhood and young adult life. And my mom admits to also dealing with some disordered behaviors (although I look up to my mom so much these days, she eats what she wants, no longer diets or counts points/calories, and takes such great care of her body). When my grandma was young eating disorders were not mentioned and treatment was pretty much unheard of so of course she was never diagnosed with an eating disorder and no one would have thought to be on the look out for the possibility in later generations. Now I am. Because if there is a gene, research also suggests that the gene does not have to be activated. That happens when outside forces come into play, and that happened for me as you can see.

So many things can lead to a person developing an eating disorder and the 3 things I mentioned here are only a few of the things I believe led to mine. I believe it is so important to know possible triggers because eating disorders ruin lives. Yes recovery is possible, but it is hard to chose it and when you do the battle has just begun.
I did not realize how hard the recovery from an eating disorder would be. They leave that part out in the magazines and in the movies don’t they. Well I am not leaving it out because my recovery is what I am most proud of.

Come back next Thursday for my path to healthy and happy! I promise it is a good one!

Stepping Out of the Boat

Step out of the boat and into the water. The sermon at my church today was about walking on water. And facing fear and failure.

For those that do not know the story, Jesus walked on water to reach his disciples in the middle of rough water and Peter trusted Jesus to help him walk on water too. He trusted him to help him do the “impossible.” He did falter, but he recovered because Jesus had him. He sank but then came back up stronger.  That was the over all message… but there was more to it.

Having faith, being a Christian does not mean your life will be perfect. When was the last time you asked yourself What did I do to deserve this? or I follow God, I pray, I believe so these things should not happen to me. But the things is, as my pastor pointed out today, no where in the Bible does it say that if you follow God nothing bad will happen to you. It says that God will always be with you, he will never leave you. That means that although you are struggling, God is there. But why would he allow these bad things to happen?

He is building up your faith. 

For the athletes: It is like when you are training and you hit a point of plateau in which you can’t move forward and improve your skill unless you push yourself and make things harder. 

But there is the fear of failure, the fear of the unknown. Even the fear of succeeding. But again God doesn’t promise you won’t fail, he promises to be with you no matter what. So you are going to fail. Not all of the time, but there will be times when things get hard, and you fail. But you have to have faith that you will overcome the failure and keep going.

I have to work on stepping out of my personal “boat,” and into the water.  I have hit a place in my recovery where I am actually already out of one boat and I have made it to another. My weight is regained and has been for 3 years and I have no intention of going back to an unhealthy and unhappy life. And I have learned to enjoy my food, have conquered most all of my fear foods to the extent that I can and will eat a food even if I still remember the fear I had and may still have some fear of it. I know that by taking a bite I push my eating disorder away from my life more and more. BUT pieces of the ED still dominate my life if I am being honest. Now I have heard both tales told: 1- that you always have an ED but learn to live with it by adopting coping mechanisms and 2- that some people recover they are not living in recovery. I am not sure which one exists for me, but I can say for sure that I am not going to settle with what I have reached so far because I have this feeling that I have not pushed my ED far enough. It does not control me anymore, I still think about it every day. And I realize that it is a strong person who can live with an ED thinking, and then having the strength to still do what is sane and healthy and happy. But I want more. I do not want every day to have an ED thought that I push through. I want there to be days that I forget

I used to think these thoughts were just me remembering what the ED had done to my health and my life. Now I am seeing that this remembering is just a way of making an excuse for my thoughts. So I need to step out of my comfort zone and cross to another boat.

Staying safe is no way to live life. Sure I  could stay right where I am. I am at a healthy weight, I know what thoughts are good and what thoughts are bad (I hate the words good and bad by the way because what is bad for me could be good for someone else), and I am very happy with the decisions I have made to put me on the life path I am on. not it is time to confront fears that I could live with.

  • Breaking from my routine and trying something new- I could live with the same old routine, but it would definitely hold me back and stop me from experiencing a lot of potentially life changing things
  • Actually listening to my body instead of what I think is right- Following a clock and again sticking to routine works, but there might be something that is better for me and only my body can tell me that

Just to name two (there are more, and some I haven’t even realized yet I am sure).

I hope this challenges more people to walk on water even though there will be times that you sink. You just have to trust that when you come back up you will be stronger in both body and mind than you were before because

You had faith!

My Path Here

One of my first posts was a link to a story I wrote my freshman year at Tech. It is a “fictional” account of how my eating disorder not only hurt me but really hurt the people that loved me the most. But that story doesn’t tell about the why behind the disorder. I have recently loved reading about other bloggers’ journeys towards their relationship with food, especially those that deal with disordered eating into recovery because I see how every situation has parts that are very similar, but more that are so unique. I want to work as a dietitian serving those that are recovering from eating disorders and disordered eating, and reading these blogs has made me see that I will encounter so many types of people and no one person will be treated the same way.

Every story I have read has amazed me. The courage it takes to recount all of the fear and put yourself out there publicly is beyond words. So here is my story, I hope to do just as great a job as all of you other bloggers! (Part One)

I have been a picky eater for a very long time. Since I can remember I have had my food rituals. My breakfast almost always stayed the same: the cereal I was eating (apple jacks, cinnamon toast crunch, and wheaties) + milk (that my dog would finish for me once the cereal was gone) + a Krispy Kreme Doughnut + Orange Juice w/ water in it (because of my intolerance) + chocolate milk and soda (there but very rarely actually finished) and all of this had to be set on my TV table just right or I would not eat until my mom or dad set it up right. When I didn’t have this meal I would enjoy a breakfast treat of pancakes (explains my love for them now!) but my pancakes had to be cut up into very small pieces or I would refuse to eat them too.

A recreation of my old favorite breakfast

I have also loved patterns and order. When I first learned about patterns in school I attempted to make everything into one. And I admit I still do this today especially with my food. Order on the other hand was different. I was not neat, my room was always messy and I never cleaned. But my socks always had to fit just so, and I loved my routine. The neatness has grown as I have grown and now I do love to vacuum and fold laundry just so.

I have also always been too competitive. Now a little competition here and there is a good thing, but I compete with everyone including my parents and best friends. Looking back this is probably why I had so few friends growing up. My competitive drive was only encouraged through the dance environment I grew up in. Dance is a cut throat sport (yes it is a sport) and to make it you have to push yourself and everyone else. To make it you have to be the best.

“Don’t Mess With a Serious Dancer”

And I was always preoccupied with my appearance. I guess standing in front of the mirrors at a dance studio in clothing that could be used as a back up bathing suit if you forget yours and fancy a swim after class could do that to a person. But I think that even without that in my life I would have had this obsession with mirrors and weight. When we got measured in class for costumes I would stand by and listen to everyone’s measurements and then suck in and hope mine was the smallest on the list. A lot of times it was, and a lot of times it wasn’t.  I would sulk silently wondering how I could become the smallest again if I wasn’t, and smile with pride if I was… When you are destined to never grow above 5 feet tall being the smallest is sort of the only thing you can count on… until it’s not.

You would think that with this competitive nature that I would always want to first in everything I did. That was true in everything except for when it came to food. At every school party I can remember since 1st grade I can remember sitting with my piece of cake or my cookie and waiting for everyone else to finish before I took my last bite. I wanted to be the last person to taste the treat.

Photo Source

And finally, growing up there were multiple times I would silently declare that the easy mac I just devoured because I was bored would be the last time I would eat. I would think about how I could make the uncomfortable feeling in my stomach and all over my body go away but never have the conviction to throw it up or stop eating. The thoughts would invade, but be pushed away by other (more important) things in a child’s/adolescent’s daily life. AKA barbies, best friends, the first time I was allowed to wear make up, my first crush and love…

Looking back, I see that there were a lot of the warning signs for a potential eating disorder. But warnings are just that. None of these things guaranteed I was going to develop an eating disorder.  In most cases, an eating disorder in someone like me (someone who has it almost in her genes) could still lay dormant all his or her life.  A trigger has to push the disorder into motion. Unfortunately that is what happened to me.

Now this post is long and i have covered a lot of thought contemplating ground. So this feels like a good stopping point. I will continue with my story Next Thursday

She was Always There

If someone were to ask me who my best friend was I would have 2 answers: Kailey (who I praised here) and Rebekah.

Rebekah this is to thank you for always being there for me. I don’t know who I would be in this world without you!

I met Rebekah in the 3rd grade after moving back to Virginia from Texas.  We bonded over a shared dislike for another girl in our class… Remember we were young and impressionable. But 3rd grade came and went and we didn’t really start being best friends again until 5th grade. We were pretty attached at the hip. Rebekah was carefree (sing Cindy Lauper on the playground free!) and I was type A perfectionist (hmm guess some things don’t change). But we shared the loves of Limited Too clothing, boys ;), toe socks do you remember those!!!, and so much more. But midway through 5th grade I went to Disney World and when I came back Rebekah “hated” me. The natural thing to to do was hate her back.  Needless to say I had very few friends at the end of 5th grade and was looking forward to a fresh start in middle school…

Rebekah and I on our way to Ring Dance

Walk into my 6th grade classroom for orientation sit down and then o wait Rebekah walks in too!!! NOOOOOO! yeah we were both mortified and preceded to turn our noses up because well we hated each other! That lasted about a month. We shared two friends that quickly saw what we didn’t: Rebekah and I were meant to be best friends. And we were. We did pretty much everything together, and I started to realize how great a best friend she was. I could tell Rebekah anything and she could do the same. She hated the boy I slowly started to like, yet she never once stopped being my friend. 7th grade couldn’t separate us either. Actually we got closer and a little weirder together. We were obsessed with the movie Mean Girls and had Pink Day every Wednesday. If you aren’t wearing pink you can’t sit with us. Hah! To this day I still laugh if I wear pink on Wednesday.

Prom! and yes we went in a pink limo!

Remember that boy I mentioned? Well in 8th grade we finally really started dating. Rebekah got a boyfriend too and we stopped seeing each other as much because we were no longer in the same classes. But that never made me doubt that if I needed someone Rebekah would be there. And she was. This relationship was hard on me and I lost a lot through it, including some of the new friends I had made at the beginning of 8th grade. But this brought Rebekah back into my life! And although she saw how hard this relationship was on me, she also knew that for some reason or another I loved this boy and she stood by me. Thank goodness she did because if she had left me I would have had no one.

Welcoming me back to a Hickory High School football game after I foolishly left for 6 weeks!

In 10th grade I started down the road that changed my life forever. This was the year anorexia came into my life, and much like that boy, pushed many people out of my life. But Rebekah stayed. Even when I was in my worst state, she is the only person I can recall treating me just the same. And when I decided to stop dancing and start at my high school for the full day Rebekah stood by me and whether she knows it or not made me more confident and comfortable. I know she knows that what happened with my eating disorder was scary, but she never stopped being the same friend she has always been. Everyone else changed a little towards me, not Rebekah and I am so happy for that. I got to keep my best friend and we grew closer! (I didn’t think that was possible)

Rebekah showed me the glory of IHOP 😉

Now Rebekah and I see less of each other because we go to different schools that are about 3 hours away. But we have always said that we share a brain and I really believe that in a way we do! Even miles away I know that Rebekah is there for me. I know that I am not the only one that thinks of pink on Wednesdays. Or walks into a test sometimes and thinks “I really hope i have the whole brain today!”And I know that no matter what Rebekah is my best friend. We used to joke about how when we grew up we would get houses right beside each other, one of us would have a girl, and one of us would have a boy, they would date and marry and then we would be family. I don’t have a lot of money betting that will happen, but Rebekah has been my sister in every possible way anyways. She is already family. She reminds me that carefree is possible, that life has to be fun, and that life without a best friend is no life at all.

We will keep on climbing together!

Life has taken us on quite a few turns Rebekah, and I can’t wait to see where we end up next!

Detour from Dinner

My first day in Germany included touring two beautiful castles

This is the first of the two: Hohenschwangau Built to be a summer-house for the King of Bavaria. It was about a 10 minute up hill hike to get to the entrance and then we got a great tour. I swear I was born in the wrong time period, because I really wish I lived, dressed, and ate like people did back then. But a tour of all of these great castles is the closest I can get to real life. I will take it!

Now this beauty is the REAL sleeping beauty castle. Neuschwanstein is the name and the King who built it was the son of the king who built the previous picture. Half way through the building of this over the top castle the treasury was used up and the government proclaimed that the King was unfit to rule and insane. If you go into the castle and into the rooms that were actually finished you can see that he may have been insane but was also probably gay (he did break off his engagement to a princess). This just shows how unaccepting the world has always been to this issue. This king died because we can not accept that not all people are the same, when will things change?

Anyway after spending the morning hiking up the hills of Bavaria I realized that I had nothing to worry about exercise wise so far. I actually really want to go on more hikes! Not for the nature, because honestly I have no idea how to appreciate it fully. it is glorious and God created it and I appreciate it, but what I really loved about hiking was the future destination was semi unknown! I am not good with unknown so this is weird to me. Hiking pushed me in a way I cannot push myself!

Next on our agenda? Munich! where the largest cuckoo clock resides, o and a really famous beer house (the Hofbräuhaus).

Needless to say Dad was happy 😉 Don’t worry he did not drive for at least 2 hours I believe!

Which one do you think I had??? Now remember I may bot be legal in the states but I am in Europe. But I wanted to save my first EVER drink of alcohol for another occasion

Now, here comes the learning experience of the day. Dad and I left Munich around 6 so that we could get back to our hotel in time for supper. Everything was going really well until we got behind a TRACTOR on a main road!!! But that was fine we got around it and still would be able to make it back in time IF the GPS would have kept us on the autobahn (German highway) but no it didn’t and yes we did come to a blocked road detour… and yes the GPS kept trying to get us down the blocked road!!!

Soon I came to the realization that even if we did get back (and that seemed like a big if) it would not be in time for dinner… Cue eating disorder coming to life. When my eating disorder awakens inside me it is not a silent thing, it causes huge break downs and tantrums. I am very out of control and do not watch what I am saying or where I am saying it. Let me finish the story before I really go into what was happening in my head though: We ended up having to take tractor roads (ironic, maybe) for 20 minutes before getting on a real road and finally back to our hotel, but it was after 9pm and all restaurants we CLOSED…

OK back to the issue. There was a time in my eating disorder that whenever something went wrong I collapsed to the floor after first having screamed at my mom, blamed her for everything, and refused to go on (in life). I have gotten so much better at dealing with things that do not go as planned.  But right then I was in a completely different country, and my dad has never completely understood how this thing changes me for the worse. So I lost control of the situation and all I could think of was “O this is my opportunity to skip a meal, but shoot (actually it was a little more profane) I am actually hungry!!!”

I did eventually come to again, and realize that my dad wasn’t out to get me. He didn’t mean for us to miss dinner, and really did feel bad. He just didn’t realize that something as little as missing dinner one time could send me over the edge so easily still. And normally it doesn’t, but I was hungry and vulnerable because of that.

I was hungry all night and did not sleep well because of a lot going on in my head. I didn’t eat enough that day as it was for all of the hiking we did and I knew it. So I came to this conclusion, I do not think it was my eating disorder that caused this huge break down. It was me fighting the eating disorder. I wanted to eat and enjoy myself, and more importantly I wanted to fuel myself and ensure that I wasn’t given the opportunity to go back to that place again. I never felt weak with no energy when I was in the depths of anorexia, but that night and the next morning I did. And I HATED it. So when 8am came and breakfast was served I enjoyed and savored every bite for all it was worth.

This was a huge breaking point for me, I not only showed my dad who I am but I also showed him and myself that I have the ability to really fight.  I fight every day to ensure I am healthy and I fight everyday to find ways to push myself to limits past what I believe I am capable of. Before this night I have always believed that skipping a meal meant I was giving into my eating disorder, but this time it was the opposite. I didn’t choose not to eat, although Dad would have gone out to get me something from a McDonald’s or something.  So I guess I did chose not to eat, but not because I didn’t want food. It was late and I was so tired from the day and from the huge scene I had made I really just needed to sleep. So instead of listening to the voice telling me “you have anorexia you either eat or go back to that” I listened to me which said, “you are tired and food will be there in the morning and you will eat it and enjoy it a lot more then.”

I am sorry this post was so log, but these thoughts are extremely difficult to express and plus I wanted to show you some of the awesome carefree parts of my vacation too!

Has anyone else run into dramatic (unexpected) problems on vacation? Please share, and how did you overcome it???

How do you act when you are really upset? I scream and fight and then shut down while crying not something I am proud of

What do you think of the castles? I love them and again, I was totally born in the wrong time period! were you, or do you like the modern world without castles?