Of faith, confidence, and trust

Here's the interesting thing about supporting someone with an eating disorder: they're often not in control of their own judgements, especially those involving food. And to someone with anorexia, just about every judgement has to do with food, at least in part.

When I was in residential treatment, and one of the day patients was going to head back to her apartment after dinner, one of the Resident Assistants requested that she stay at the house until later so she wouldn't purge. Looking her straight in the eye, Mel said: I trust you. I don't trust your eating disorder. That sent a powerful message to the girl. It said that Ed is untrustworthy, not you. It said that she would NOT let Ed harm her in any way if she could prevent it.

Can I just say that I love Mel? My treatment experience there was what it was, but I miss her so much.

This past week was rough for me, and I found myself back in Ed's clutches. I was depressed and anxious and overwhelmed and I didn't know where to turn. My job (which I felt pressured to return to) was literally making me crack under the pressure, not helped by the fact that I don't particularly like it all that much. I didn't even have the energy to fight off the ED thoughts. It became quite evident on Thursday night, when I finally reached out to my mom.

I need constant reminders of why I need to eat. I didn't have those reminders right then.

At my therapy appointment yesterday, I talked to S who said that she figured that going back to my apartment and old job probably wouldn't work. This was not said unkindly, just in the matter-of-fact way that characterizes our work together. I did cringe, just a little bit. Partly because she didn't think I would make it, and partly (okay, mostly) that she was right. I knew, deep down, that this was a dumb idea, but I was so lost for other ideas that I just said, screw it, I'll go back.

But then S said something that really made me think about how far I've come in recovery. She said:

I didn't want you to go back, but I also had enough faith in you that you would make it work if you could. I also trusted you enough to bail if the situation was hampering your recovery. I wanted to give you that opportunity to learn.

Damn. That says a lot right there.

Trusting someone with anorexia is a hard deal. Is it Carrie speaking, or is it Ed? Could this harm her recovery? Are there ulterior motives? And on and on.

In spite of everything, I decided to move back home and try to find a new job. I decided I needed much more help in refeeding than I thought. I simply need that support. I need someone to say "I believe in you so much that I'm not willing to let you fail."

I'm realizing the cheese factor in this post is getting almost unbearable. But the work of recovery has completely wrung me out, and I can't go on without someone helping me along. The helping hands were outstretched for so long, only I didn't grab hold. Yes, I could be dragged out of my well of despair, and perhaps I should have been.

But this time, I'm grabbing hold and not letting go.

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mary said...

I promise to hold up your mom as much as possible! Put on your padded pants cause you're getting dragged, supported, and nurtured. Don't look back, ok? The day will come when you can do so but for now you need to look ahead.
I dreamt of a kitten the color of a bluebird last night. Beautiful.

Laura Collins said...


This is brave, beautiful, and STRONG. It takes strength to take the outstretched hand, it takes wisdom to choose your battles.

Your battle is with ED. Your allies are those who see that and lend their strengths. Letting others support you is a generous, brave thing.



Thank you for ALL of your support, both to me and my mom. I do, in my heart, consider you my fairy godmother. I have my super jumbo down pillow duct taped to my butt. I don't know what I dreamt of last night...but I'll bet my kitty dreamt of the little bunny family next door.

Thank you always for your kind words. Knowing I have so much support means more than I can express.

mary said...

You better put on a helmet too, one with a CD player for distraction!
I bet you had no idea how much support you'd get if you asked the right people. Laura too, you lucky duck! Neither of us give up! Not E-V-E-R.
I was kinda disappointed when I woke up and realized that kittens do not come in blue like in my dream. Oh well.
I do like the fairy god mother title. Better watch out though.


Just don't whack me with your wand...

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About Me

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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Have any questions or comments about this blog? Feel free to email me at carrie@edbites.com

nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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