Anatomy of Recovery

I'm Jules, a 23 year old recent college graduate, currently working and applying for grad school. 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.
"You are so inspiring! Cupcakes, lipstick, and recovery for you!" With love, Anonymous.

Thanks hon.  I am feeling the opposite of inspiring tonight :/

"Hi! I love your blog thanks it doing this! Odd question -- could you please post a list of your favourite lipsticks? They're so amazing (=^x^=)" With love, Anonymous.

Eek, thanks!! :}

From left to right:

  1. Stilla Custom Color Lip and Cheek Cream in Poppy
  2. Revlon Lip Crayon in Romantic
  3. MAC Lipglass in Viva Glam V
  4. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Plum
  5. Bite High Pigment Lip Pencil in Tart
  6. Albeit Matte Lip Pencil in Scarlet
  7. E.M. Michelle Phan in Hot Tangerine
  8. Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Passion

My go-to’s are #2, #4, and #6.

"I have many questions... 1) Do you plan on having kids sometime in the future? 2) What's your favorite comfort food (besides cupcakes) 3) What's your favorite kind of music? What are your favorite bands/artists? 4) Can you list some of your favorite movies? 5) Are you the kind of person that cries easily? For some reason I can't help imagining you'd be too tough for that! Not that there's anything wrong with it..." With love, Anonymous.

Goodness, many questions!!

1) I am not sure about the whole kids thing, to be honest.  I’m neither one of those people who has always been certain that they will never want kids, nor one of those people who will feel incomplete without them.  I imagine wanting them sometime in the future.

2) Cupcakes aren’t so much of a comfort food for me— they’re more of a special treat!  My top comfort foods are probably soon doo boo (korean soft tofu stew), good toast with european style butter, oatmeal only the way my mom cooks it, and pasta of really any sort (plain with salt, tomato sauce, zaru soba, udon soup).

3) I’m mostly into indie rock, alternative, folk, punk, etc.  So basically a bunch of different things.  A few things that I’m really into right now are Neutral Milk Hotel (a favorite for 10 years), Arctic Monkeys, Alt-j, Walk the Moon, Portugal. the Man, and Metric.

4) Ummmm…. Idk!  I only really ever watch new movies when I’m with people.  I saw Boyhood this year and really loved it.  I also watched Say Anything and was surprisingly enchanted.

5) SO WRONG!!!  I cry all the time.  All the time.  It’s mortifying, lol.  I cried on my way home from a job interview during my senior year of college on the train and had to blow my nose on like 5 sheets of lined paper because I ran out of tissues and just couldn’t stop crying.  A man tried to give me the number of a suicide hotline as I got off!!!  I think the longest I’ve gone without crying is like 7 days.  I cried earlier today.  I’ll probably cry tomorrow.  One of my greatest wishes is a medication that would make it impossible for me to produce tears.  I even cry when I’m really mad!!  The rest of me is a tough cookie, but my eyes do NOT cooperate, no matter what I do.

"What did you study in undergrad/what do you want to study in grad school?" With love, Anonymous.

I have a degree in Biology and I studied pre-med as well.  I want to study genetic counseling in grad school but I’m still open to other options in allied health if I don’t get into a program this year.

"Hi! So I wanted to do something new to my hair and I've been thinking about cutting it really short (like pixie cut) but I keep having thoughts of "you gained weight, it won't look good on you" and things like that. What do you think I should do?" With love, Anonymous.

I feel like folks should do what feels right to them. If a pixie cut is calling your name, go for it! I am particularly partial to pixie cuts and tend to notice when folks have them, and I think they look good on people of any weight. Any major haircut can feel like a huge change to the person who gets it, even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal to the people who know you. If you think that getting the haircut and having the potential of not liking it, or having the haircut and thinking it would look better if you weighed less, would trigger a lot of eating disorder thoughts then you may want to put it off. Personally, I like to get a hair cut when I restore weight. I feel like it feels like a fresh start and I also secretly think that the different hair distracts people from the different body, giving me more time to adjust. Everyone is different so think about what would be best for you. From an outside perspective, there is no reason why a pixie cut would look any less good now than it would have before. It will probably look better now that your hair is most likely healthier!

"What's your favourite cupcake? ;)" With love, Anonymous.

There are like… Infinite cupcake flavors so I’m not sure I could pick what my actual favorite flavor would be. At the cupcake place near my work, my favorite is the jumbo Oreo one.

"Best type and place to buy ice cream?" With love, Anonymous.

Ever since I had my tonsils out and had to eat a ton of ice cream, I’ve not been a huge fan of the regular hard ice cream. I like frozen custard a lot more. My favorite is chocolate rolled in chocolate sprinkles or with a chocolate dip. There’s this place back home called Soft Stuff, which is my favorite. I’ve yet to find something perfect in the Boston area but there is the best ice cream restaurant around here. It’s like everything you could imagine that could be done with ice cream from floats to ice cream waffles and cookie sandwiches. My friend and I went there for NEDA Awareness week last year because we weren’t into the campus programming. I think it’s called Cabot’s.

"What is your idea of a romantic evening?" With love, Anonymous.

My anons are trying to seduce me!  I think a romantic evening is anything with a lot of thought put into it.  It connects to something deep about you or some shared experience.  I think one of the most romantic days I’ve ever had was with my ex.  For our anniversary, we decided to recreate a day from our trip to Italy.  We got gelato and cappuccino for lunch, browsed art galleries in the afternoon, and had brick oven pizza on an outdoor patio for dinner, then went for a walk through the park.  It was romantic because it connected to our shared experience of our trip to Italy.  I think romance doesn’t have to be expensive— just thoughtful.  I also love surprises.  If you show up with my favorite cupcake or something, I’ll probably love you forever.  I also think that trying something completely new can be romantic, as can sharing something you already love with someone.

"This is the bloating and constipation anon - thank-you so much, your post was really helpful! I am on the waiting list to see a gastro specialist but because our public health system is so slow, I won't be seen until next year :( I will try and keep going with recovery, and eating recovery amounts like you suggested. Thanks again!" With love, Anonymous.

I’m so sorry to hear that you’ll have to wait so long and I really hope you feel better soon! <3

"What are your best tips to pull yourself out of a relapse?" With love, Anonymous.

Reach out and get help.  That’s probably the number one tip.  This keeps you accountable and helps get you back into a place where you’re being forced to put your focus back on coping skills.  Make that call tomorrow if you can to whoever you need to reach out to.

Take your relapse seriously and don’t assume that it will just go away on its own.  It may look different from how you were sick before and don’t let this fool you into thinking it’s not as serious or that you can let it continue.

Create a list of reasons not to get sick again or create a pros/cons list of what you gain and lose from being sick again.  Post this wherever you will see it as much as possible.

Remember that you have learned a lot and that you can apply these things— you’re not back at square one so don’t beat yourself up over it.  You may just be under a different set of stressors.  A relapse can be a good teacher about where your recovery is weaker and needs additional treatment.

I hope this helps.  It’s totally possible to get out of a relapse without letting it throw you off completely as long as you face up to it honestly and reach out for help. <3

"I really struggle to eat chocolate again.. It was something I ate a lot and i'm always afraid I will binge on it or I feel bad for betraying my ed.. How long did it take it for you to be able to face fear foods? and how can I eat without feeling bad ? ://" With love, Anonymous.

I feel like facing fear foods is hard but important.  It’s a way to show that you care for yourself over your eating disorder.  Betraying your ED at every turn is how you gain strength.  It’s hardest the first time you do it, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.  If you’re afraid of bingeing, it can help to get someone on your side who can eat the fear food with you, although this is probably an outcome that is feared more than real unless binging is part of your eating disorder.  It’s a common anxiety to have when reintroducing favorite foods.  Remember that there is always more food!  You don’t need to have it all today.  You can now have it whenever you’d like because you are in recovery and this is about regaining your freedom.  Here’s something I wrote a while back about the steps I think helped me in conquering fear foods.

Everyone probably conquers fear foods a bit differently, but here are some steps that I have used:
  1. Set an achievable goal that pushes your limits.  Sometimes it is good to work your way up incrementally.
  2. Decide on a reward for achieving your goal.
  3. Get someone else involved, if possible.  It is often easier to eat a fear food if someone else is doing it with you.  If you have a friend or family member who you are comfortable with, let them know what you want to do and how they can support you.
  4. Decide what kind of location would be the most comfortable.  Maybe you would feel more comfortable eating the food at home, or maybe it would feel safer to be out somewhere.
  5. Make a plan for what you are going to do after you eat the fear food.  It can be hard to reach out when you are already in feelings of distress, so make this plan in advance.  For me, this usually involves plans to be around people, but in a low stress activity, like watching a movie or going shopping.  It could also be self-care.  Distraction afterwards can help reduce feelings of panic, and actually helps change the brain’s response to encountering the stimuli in the future.
  6. Eat the food!
  7. Follow through with your plans for afterwards.
  8. Eat the food again.  Eating a food once is a big step, but it takes time for the anxiety response to be extinguished.  You can also step up the challenge.  For example, perhaps you had x as a fear food, and became comfortable eating a measured amount of it.  A next step could be eating an unmeasured amount of x, or x prepared in a restaurant rather than at home.

I hope this helps and I wish you all the best in conquering your fear foods! <3

"You have the best style!" With love, Anonymous.

^.^ you are so the sweetest!

"This is a totally tmi question - how do you deal with constipation, bloating and gas in recovery? I've been in recovery for almost a year now but these issues are still around :/" With love, Anonymous.

Absolutely, these things are no fun at all!  Try seeing a gastroenterologist if you have the ability to do so.  It can take time for things to get back to normal, and the more normally you eat, the better things tend to get, but it’s always good to be able to get a medical opinion.  Here’s a post about bloating that might help.  My personal GI issues tend more towards the gastroparesis, inability to properly digest foods, abdominal cramping, and nausea end of the spectrum right now, but I had similar issues to yours earlier in intense re-feeding.  Definitely talk to a doctor and potentially a dietician if you can because they can recommend medications and dietary changes that might help get things back to a more normal state.  Sometimes there are simpler fixes like drinking a dietician recommended amount of water, doing some gastric self-massage, or modifying certain foods in your intake.  Hope this helps! <3

"What is your opinion on women who don't want children? Because I'm 27 and all of my friends are getting clucky, I feel like the odd one out because kids are not, and probably never will be, on my radar" With love, Anonymous.

Women should do whatever feels like it fulfills their lives.  Not ever wanting to have children is a totally valid life choice.  There’s no need at all to feel bad for not wanting to do something just because everyone else seems to be doing it or because other people find it fulfilling.  The best way to respect yourself and protect your happiness is to listen to the still small voice inside of you that guides you.  It sounds like you know what you want right now, possibly what you want forever.  That’s a great thing to know about yourself.  My opinion is that I respect the choices of women absolutely and will protect them fiercely.

"HIYA!! is it okay to stay at home all day and sit on my butt and relax? I just finished mock exams and have some days off and this is all id like to do!! but i feel guilty :(" With love, Anonymous.

Dude/Dudette/Dudeness, it’s totally fine!  It’s normal to need to recharge your body and your mind!  Your brain is using up sooooo much energy to do hard academic things and it needs time to recover.  Also, you always owe yourself self-care.  There’s no reason you need to feel guilty.  You are allowed to feel proud for taking care of yourself kindly and it’s an accomplishment to be able to listen to what you are wanting to do.