Anatomy of Recovery

I'm Jules, a 22 year old recent college graduate. I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa when I was 14. I'm 100% committed to recovery because I know how amazing it can be. This blog is about my journey and any help and inspiration I can offer others on their own journeys.
I tag all my personal pics "julespic" so that you can block the tag if you find them triggering. I also tag all photos of food with the "food" tag in case they are triggering to you.

Ask Me Anything

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Theme by @yosoyprincesa.
"how long are you in recovery?" With love, Anonymous.

That’s a question with many answers.  I first got anorexia when I was 13 (2003) and first entered recovery at age 14 (2004/2005).  I was then in recovery from 2004-2011, when I relapsed at 21.  I re-entered recovery sometime in 2012 and since then I’ve considered myself in recovery, although I’ve had a few major lapses along the way.  I’m 23 now.

"are you weight restored?" With love, Anonymous.

Long time followers of this blog will know that I really dislike getting this question and any other questions about my weight.  If you want to talk about my weight, come off anon and give me a good reason why it’s something you should know.  I usually just use these questions to talk about stuff I feel like talking about.

That being said, I couldn’t give an answer,even if I wanted to.  I got rid of my scales and I’m not being followed by a nutritionist or a doctor who specializes in eating disorders anymore.  Before I stopped going, they couldn’t give me a consensus about what a goal weight would even be for me.  My old nutritionist was very concrete and specific, whereas the most recent one was very wishy-washy and my doctor sort of shrugged and said that if I was eating enough she guessed that whatever my weight was would be fine.  It was all very stressful.  Now I mainly practice intuitive eating while making sure to get in a certain number of meals/snacks a day.  It’s certainly an adjustment to not know my weight or have someone guiding my weight when in the past I had such a specific number or range to focus on or achieve.

So, I don’t know my weight.  I don’t know if it’s “restored.”  I am not even sure what “restored” would mean for me anymore.  I can guess at about where I’m at, but that’s not information that I think would be helpful for folks and I’m not at all sure if it would even be accurate.

"I don't like the word sexy and I hate when people call me such. I personally feel degraded - as if as a woman I am merely a sex object. Now of COURSE people don't usually mean it that way. But I've had so many men mean it that way that it's repulsive to me. So my point is that we all see words differently and that doesn't make us insecure about who we are just because we don't like the words definition. :)" With love, Anonymous.

(2) and “sexy” or even “attractive” are things that are maybe even more important to keep to classified individuals. Not that you don’t want people to think you aren’t sexy but that it’s not the piece of you you want them to see…? Anyways, long story short, you’re normal for wanting to control others’ perceptions of you and I hope you come to peace with this discomfort in one way or another (and that nobody makes you feel uncomfortable if they have power to avoid it) ps you’re a lovely human<3

Thank you; I really appreciate the thought and care in your response.  I think you hit on a lot of things that resonate with me.

"you define you. no one else. not a word or a number. you define you." With love, Anonymous.

Yes, I understand this.  It isn’t about the word sexy or the definition of sexy.  I want to be in control of my identity.  I want to be able to define that and it’s not possible and it affects the way the world interacts with me.  I know that I define me and not numbers or words, and that’s under my control.  But there are a lot of things that aren’t under my control.  I’m not trying to be difficult or rude.  It’s just really complicated and I just want to feel heard.

"You are sexy. :)" With love, Anonymous.

I don’t always want to be sexy though!  I feel vulnerable when people on the street think I’m sexy.  It isn’t comfortable or really a good thing in my mind a lot of the time.  I appreciate that this message was intended to be reassuring and a compliment and I’m thankful for the kindness you were showing.  Sexuality is pretty complicated for me.

"It is time for you to learn to love yourself as much as you want to be loved by others." With love, Anonymous.

I’m not really sure where this message came from or how to take it, to be honest.

"hi you look super lovely in your new dresses. good that you're treating yourself - have a good day angel :)" With love, Anonymous.

Thank you beautiful <3

"hey, i saw your text post and i just want to say it's going to be okay. you've come such a long way and you're very tough. i admire you for all that and you're a huge inspiration. take care, dear. you're beautiful." With love, Anonymous.

Sorry to not respond sooner to this!  Yes, I will be okay.  I don’t think about being sick when I was younger very often, so I didn’t know what to expect from my emotions.  Thank you very much for your kind words, I really appreciate your support.  Sending you all the best <3

"could it be possible that I look .. fatter .. by the second weight restoring? I think I was smaller before my relapse" With love, Anonymous.

There are a lot of possibilities.  It’s not unlikely that your body temporarily looks a bit different after weight restoring than it did before you relapsed.  This is usually because the body puts energy into temporary storage before redistributing it to whatever cells need it.  The body can take up to a year to redistribute fat and find the balance with muscle mass.  This is totally normal and you can trust your body to know what it’s doing.  There was also an age gap between before your relapse and now, and depending on your age and how long you were in relapse, there can be natural shifts in body that should be happening.

It’s also possible that your body image is distorted.  Many people who have just weight restored find that they are very uncomfortable with their bodies, so it’s easy to fall into a trap of believing things were better at other times.

In any case, stick with things.  Whether or not your body is actually different or whether or not any changes are temporary, you can always devote time and energy to improving your body image and self esteem.

"Nice glasses maybe on a binder? Or hold them and not show your face? Who cares if your face is shown? You're beautiful!" With love, Anonymous.

I posted a pic of them a little while ago before I actually got them, like off of my face.  I just try to avoid connecting my face with this blog too much because I’m worried about potential future employers, since I share personal emotions as well as general info/inspiration on here.  I think I’ll post it to my secondary blog and then reblog it with texty post stuff.  That would feel safer to me.

"needs and priorities. Stay stong, hun, I'm rooting for you and I hope you find the balance that makes you the happiest and healthiest. <3" With love, Anonymous.

Thank you, lovely <3

"I have chronic I pain in my legs lately from piriformis syndrome. It's so bad that I can't really work out. I'm starting to feel so suffocated by this and feel so fat because I can't be fit. I'm getting married in five months and I'm going to have sex for the first time. But I hate my body and the idea of being seen like this is scaring me violently, nagging at my brain every second of the day. It's really tempting me to lose weight through restriction, and I don't know what to do." With love, Anonymous.

Hey hon.  I am so sorry to hear that you’re suffering so terribly.  I understand what it’s like to be in a body that is very painful and unable to be active, and one that starts to feel foreign.  For reasons other than fitness— like pain control and mental health— are you able to get physical therapy?  This often combines pain management, stretching, and strengthening exercises.  For me, it helps me keep a little bit of muscle even if I’m not able to be very active, which helps my pain as well.  If you have health insurance, I would also suggest looking into seeing a pain psychologist or getting back into therapy in general so there’s someone monitoring you as well as helping you talk stuff out and learn coping skills.  Pain and mental health can be very intertwined, as can pain and body image.

Remember that fit and healthy mean different things for different people.  We’re surrounded by a world that shows us one view of healthy, where a person exercises and focuses on muscles, cardio, etc.  What our culture ignores entirely is the type of healthy that comes from taking care of your illness.  For me, sometimes it is much more healthy for me to not even walk for a few days to give my hip tendons a rest if they are flaring up.  People forget folks like us when they show people being healthy in the media and in conversation.  You taking actions to be fit/healthy might look entirely different from the norm, and it’s important to learn to accept where you’re at right now.  It is SO much more important that you’re taking care of yourself in the ways that you need to in order to have as much energy as possible to start your new life.  And this might mean resting.

It’s hard to love your body when it’s in pain, and this isn’t something that’s discussed a lot.  Being sexual with someone you love for the first time brings a lot of potential anxieties but it also brings a lot of potential joys.  I assure you that your fiance is nervous about their own body as well.  Sex can be an opening up and something that is intimately vulnerable between two people.  What I’m trying to say is that what your body looks like is not going to be the most important thing at all.  In my experience, my partners have not cared nearly as much about my body as I have, even when I think my body looks really bad.  There are so many other things to think about and focus on during sex, and the act of just having a body is beautiful to many people.  

Losing weight and relapsing is not the answer, and I think you know that although I’m so sorry that it’s taking up so much of your mental time and energy.  Being in relapse will be so much more detrimental to your new life and new sex life than any perceived physical flaws.  You can also talk to your partner about your anxieties.  Opening up a dialogue about your anxieties about sex can be helpful for most people, no matter what the situation is.  They may be able to be a source of support for you.  (you may also want to look into sexual positions that won’t exacerbate the affected are, for example, your hips or buttocks).  If the thoughts are really bad, I encourage you to reach out to someone for help because you shouldn’t have to deal with them alone.

Hope this helps and best wishes to you and your fiance!

"My insurance ran out and I had to cancel all of my future appointments with my psychologist. I am in a pretty good place with my recovery right now, but I'm scared that without that support system and consistency I will falter and start spiralling again. Any advice?" With love, Anonymous.

Oh dear!  I had that happen with my insurance for my nutrition appointments.  I’m glad to hear that you’re in a good place right now, but it’s smart to think about support structures and future needs.  You may be able to find a psychologist who can see you at a sliding fee price, and you might just have to see them less frequently than you are used to.  You might also want to look into finding support groups in your city.  These tend to be free weekly meetings to provide support and group therapy.  Contacting local eating disorder organizations in your state or city (if you are in the US, or the equivalents elsewhere) can be a good place to start.  You can get in touch with NEDA through their hotline and they may have some suggestions for places to look.  It might also be good to come up with a list of warning signs for yourself, that mean that you’re sliding and need to get additional help immediately.  I hope things go well for you and that you are able to keep moving forward because it sounds like you’re doing a great job. 

"I asked you two questions today and I just wanted to say thank you for answering them!!! 😃" With love, Anonymous.

You’re very welcome!  I hope you got the answers you needed <3

"After my menstrual cycle every month I can see my "hole" but after that I can't see anything. I am still a virgin and I've never "done anything" and I've never been to a doctor because I'm scared. Do you think there's something wrong with me?" With love, Anonymous.

Nope!  It doesn’t sound like there is anything at all wrong with you.  

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