21 Questions is a series of interviews with people who currently have an eating disorder or have recovered from one. The same 21 questions are asked of each person. Each interview sketches a picture of someone who has been in the depths of the reality of an eating disorder and is either still working on blazing a path out of it or has gone on to recover. Some of the names used have been changed at the request of the interviewee. If you would like to be interviewed for this series, please contact us.
Interview with Emily:
A: First diagnosed with EDNOS at age 12 (ten years ago) and struggled with the thoughts ever since, despite being “recovered” and at a healthy weight for a lot of the time in between.
Q: Who in your life knows about your eating disorder?
A: Just about everyone I know knows. It’s not a secret, and I’ve written some blogs/articles about my experiences and shared them on Facebook.
A: My mom. She’s always been my best friend, but through all of this recovery struggle, she’s been amazing and always there to talk or listen or whatever I need.
A: I’ve been lucky – everyone I know has been very encouraging, and happy to know that I am finally taking steps to get better.
A: At age twelve I was admitted to the hospital and spent two months there, being monitored by a doctor and seeing a dietitian regularly. I didn’t get any psychological therapy though, so nothing really got better at that time. Now, I am in an outpatient program, which includes doctor checkups, dietitian meetings, psychologist appointments, and group therapy.
A: Group therapy has been incredibly helpful in my recovery. Up until now I’d never had anyone to talk to that understood what I was going through, but I’ve met some of the most amazing people in my therapy groups, and we all are helping each other get through this.
A: When I was younger (8/9) I was pretty overweight, and unhappy with how I looked. When I started losing weight it was the first time I received compliments and positive attention, and I wanted more of it. I kept losing weight, and kept getting compliments, until it got to be a big problem.
Q: Besides yourself, who in your life do you think is/was most affected by how your eating disorder hurt you?
A: My parents. I know I’ve caused them a lot of worry and stress, and put a lot of strain on our family relationship.
A: I think it just hit me one day that there isn’t really an alternative to recovery. I can get better and get rid of my eating disorder, or I can let it kill me. Harsh, but that might have been what it took to scare me into recovery-mode.
A: Having to gain weight. I’ve been in therapy for about four months now, and the thought of gaining weight still terrifies me.
A: I have no idea- I’ve had an eating disorder for so long I don’t know what life’s like without one, so I can’t really think of what I’d do differently.
A: Recovery is really, really, really hard, but it’s worth it. I’m nowhere near fully recovered, but I’ve already had little tastes of how much better life is without an eating disorder, and it’s worth every day of fighting.
Q: Do/did you seek support online? If so, what kind of support and did it help you?
A: I do. I have started writing a recovery blog, and I’ve been reading and commenting on other similar blogs. I find that the online recovery community is very supportive and positive.
A: I think right now, where I’m still in the relatively early stage of recovery, it’d be really easy to slip into a relapse. I don’t really know whether I will definitely be healthy from now on, or if I will relapse a dozen times. Right now I can just take it a day at a time and try my best.
A: Jenni Schaefer’s book “Life Without Ed” was the first thing I read that made me actually consider that recovery was possible. I still read it pretty often, and I find it helpful when I need to get my thinking back on track.
Q: What song, album or musical artist comes to mind when you think of good music to listen to while trying to make positive changes in your life?
A: I don’t know?
Visit Grace on the Moon, a website for eating
disorders information and recovery:
Photo at top of blog is from the Flickr account
of Mike Licht