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the summer after my first year of college i developed a severe eating disorder (non-purging bulimia). i was finally diagnosed at the start of my fourth year and have spent the many, many years since on that strange and wonderful journey towards recovery and health.

while there has been much written about the peculiarities and particulars of eating disorders, little has been written about all that goes into getting better (and just how long and slow that process is).

what follows below is post after post charting my own progression in the hope that others might find comfort in knowing they are not alone and that it does and it will get better. 

the thing is, this isn't just the story--the progression--of recovering from a severe illness. it is the story of ferreting out happiness, of returning from the edge of absolute sadness and discovering a real peace. some of the posts are not explicitly about the eating disorder, but they are part of that journey nonetheless.

(it is a lot of information and much of it's repetitive, but here it is, all in one place)...

my hope is that this will help others struggling, but particularly the family and friends of those who struggle--so that in some small way they may understand and be supportive and positive and healthy ways (because few things are so important) 

the story of my eating disorder and the winding, circuitous road to health:
...from the beginning...

an introduction.
how i came to know NED.
spring is hard.
a story.
miracle of miracles.
ned be gone.
NYC and it's calorie count law (i don't like it).
the story of ned.
start of a new year.
cannot admit depression.
blue jeans.
the white flag.
not wanting to feel.
on giving up diet coke.
on the importance of really hard exercise.
on trying to write about it all (the disorder/and the path to wellness).
the first step.
eating meat. or not.
small victories
eating well is a constant choice.
making small goals each week.
getting rid of the scale
forty pounds
the danger of fat talk
5 point roadmap to health
green pants.
friday night cab ride.
eat real food (so simple)!
when i start to get sad.
food has a cost.
figuring out happiness.
food as a political issue.
getting to the good part.
the eight word prayer.
claiming the land.
the swell and the breath.
on emerging from a funk.
i mostly think falling in love with music made me well in a way nothing else could // more proof of that // and again
on beauty.
a list: i love myself enough to...
in inches.
a cookie and coffee for dinner.
these are the ways to love yourself (to forgive).
cleaning out my closet.
two months doing weight watchers. six years battling an eating disorder.
on why i'm actually thankful for the damn thing.
perfect bodies. cellulite. and a little rebellion.
on eating burgers again.
on owning jeans. finally. 

INFINITIES. ding-dong-the-witch-is-dead!

...to where i am now...

inspiration and information:

Janna Dean: healing the body image // healthy body image for our children // weight doesn't matter
fat talk (video)
so much happiness
women in advertising (video)
scarlett johansson speaks out
body image is still a thing (hello giggles)
audrey tautou's wise words
happiness is (quote)

just say no... to sugar

may i also suggest FAT, SICK, AND NEARLY DEAD, as well as, HUNGRY FOR CHANGE (both streaming on Netflix).


Kmarie said...

You may like british feminist Caitlin Moran's chapter on Fat in her book, "How to be a woman." Thanks for all these. I have a problem with actually liking food in general so I will be perusing some of your articles:)
Have a great week!

jessica renae said...

ah! i'm so happy you compiled this!! honestly, i have a bookmark folder dedicated to your recovery posts starting way back when i started reading. through working my own recovery, when i've felt like no one could understand what i was going through, i'd open up the bookmark and pick a post to read. it always helped - whether it helped pick me back up or related to the struggle. it's really something to relate to another woman about this struggle. a therapist helps, and a real woman gong through the same thing helps just as much. my recovery is becoming more full and having a partial collection of what you've written has helped - been a lifeline. thank you for what you've shared. truly, thank you.

and now thank you for compiling it all in one place! :)

ps. do you read much from brene brown? if you haven't you might like what she's done!

Jennifer M. said...

Love this list! I went back and read a few that I missed. I commend you for being so open and honest about your struggles. I personally don't struggle with a NED but I know girls who do and it's definitely worth talking about.

smask said...

Bravo. You're right: no one really talks about it. And so many of us have been there. The internet thanks you. :)

Lottie said...

i remember reading these posts for the first time and thinking how brave and courageous you are.

and i am sure this will help a lot of people :)

Rachael said...

Thank you so much for posting all of these (and then organizing them too). I'm recovering and getting so much out of reading them.

Sarah Marie said...

I like this. I like it a lot. I've struggled with an eating disorder and still struggle from time to time. I think open dialogues is sometimes really healing, as well as an opportunity to discover that others suffer in similar ways.

By the way, this quote by J.K. Rowling:
“Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her.

I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain…

I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? ‘You’ve lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!’

‘Well,’ I said, slightly nonplussed, ‘the last time you saw me I’d just had a baby.’

What I felt like saying was, ‘I’ve produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren’t either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?’ But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!

I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons.”

Elise said...

I have followed your blog for some time, but haven't followed from the beginning and never read back from the beginning. So I opened all of these in tabs and put them in chronological order and read your entire story - or at least the portion that you have posted here. I have to say, it is inspiring. It's hard to post something so personal and it's hard to do it so well. I think that many people can relate to this in many ways. So thank you. For blogging about it. For being so eloquent. For putting it all out there. It does not define you. But it has made you who you are and taught you a lot of valuable lessons.

I'm not sure if what I just said made sense, but I hope you understand, that really I just wanted to say thank you.

Alissa Anne said...

Meg, I can't tell you how beautifully timed this post is. I came back from a week-long trip today and am in that post-vacation haze where my food and body issues sometimes take hold. And I scrolled down and saw this post and realized I needed to wait until I was by myself, and had a cup of coffee or tea or something, and could really process. Because this is exactly what I need right now. Thank you, thank you.

Kaitlin said...

Meg! I can't wait to read through all of these posts. I struggled with an eating disorder for four years as well, and it wasn't until I encountered Jesus that I became "healed." It was a process, of course, but through Christ, we can do all things! I'm so excited to read about your journey :)