Anatomy of Recovery


Pro-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.

Email Me at anatomy.of.recovery@gmail.com

Ask Me Anything


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Theme by @yosoyprincesa.

I can’t wait until this current bout of depression lifts.  I know it’s going to pass but I hate the waiting and not knowing how long it will be before I can resume my regularly scheduled emotional life.

"think I have dermatillomania. I've picked the skin on the bottoms of my feet since i was about 4, but recently i've started picking skin from my head to the point where it bleeds and i'm going bald. I've been told i have anxiety issues by doctors in the past but that was disregarded and 9 years ago, i'm going back soon but i'm worried they'll tell me i'm just being stupid or treat me for some skin condition when the skin used to be healthy, they're quite old fashioned about mental illness." With love, Anonymous.

I can understand why you would be anxious about speaking to a new doctor after having been wrongly dismissed in the past and it’s very brave that you’re seeking help now.  It definitely sounds like you’ve got something going on in terms of dermatillomania or trichotillomania that is worth seeing a doctor about (the two tend to coexist quite frequently).  I think it might be helpful to bring them some information about trichotillomania and dermatillomania so that they can familiarize themselves.  Here’s a link to one resource for doctors.

A psychologist might be better equipped to treat you in the longer term.  These conditions tend to respond well to cognitive behavioral therapy.  Perhaps you could ask your doctor for your referral to a psychiatrist or psychologist.  If you look into seeing someone who deals with OCD and anxiety disorders, you might find someone with a better understanding.  Anxiety and compulsive picking/pulling disorders should definitely not be disregarded by anyone.  I’m sorry that it’s taken so long for you to get some help for this.  If your doctor doesn’t listen, I hope you can reach out to another professional like a psychologist or psychiatrist.  One doctor’s information doesn’t have to prevent you from getting the help you need.  I really doubt that they will discount you because it sounds like things are becoming pretty severe.  They may be able to give you some creams to prevent infection on the areas that are bad right now, but you need more than just physical support.

Just so you know, I suffered from dermatillomania and trichotillomania pretty severely when I was younger and I am basically free of it entirely at this point, so it’s certainly something that is treatable.  Don’t let anyone discount you— you can beat this.

Best wishes <3

It&#8217;s so interesting that so many other people have had this experience also!  For me, anxiety meds like klonopin did nothing but propranolol, which is a beta blocker that I take for my heart, seems to make a huge improvement in how often it happens.
People mainly think I&#8217;m cold and try to give me their jackets -_-

It’s so interesting that so many other people have had this experience also!  For me, anxiety meds like klonopin did nothing but propranolol, which is a beta blocker that I take for my heart, seems to make a huge improvement in how often it happens.

People mainly think I’m cold and try to give me their jackets -_-

Does anyone else with anxiety get physically shivery/shaky when they have intense conversations, even if they don’t feel upset or anxious?

I get these pretty noticeable tremors, even if it’s an intense conversation that I’m enjoying or don’t feel anxious about.  Anyone else experience this?  It seems like a physical reaction to intense social interaction?

I need to get my swirling vortex of emotions under control so I stop myself before I ruin every relationship in my life. I need help. And self control.

"Hey there, I am about to start seeing a new therapist and I am very anxious about it. I think what is bothering me the most is having to retell all my details to a new person, almost like starting from scratch or bringing up all the pain again. I was wondering if you ever had to switch therapists or start seeing someone new, and how did you deal with it?" With love, Anonymous.

I definitely understand feeling this way.  It’s always hard to bring everything back out for a new person, no matter if they’re a different therapist or just a new member of your treatment team.  It can seem overwhelming and unpleasant to bring these things back up.  To start, you don’t have to get through everything in the first session.  I find that it’s helpful to first establish a timeline for someone.  I’ll actually write down my story in bullet form from “beginning” to now in order.  This gets my thoughts in order before the appointment and helps me get through it without becoming too emotionally involved.  You can think of this first visit as the beginning of an outline; one that you’ll be filling in with this new therapist for a long time in the future.  You also don’t need to get too much into the emotional stuff if you don’t want to.  If you’d prefer to outline things in a more matter-of-fact way and then get to the hard feelings later, that’s perfectly okay.  It’s impossible to convey the complexity of your experiences in a session or a few sessions.  However, working with someone new can help you to reframe a lot of your past experiences in a new way, which can be very helpful.  

You can also tell your new therapist about how you’re feeling.  Some people won’t want you to retell all your details right away.  You can start with where you’re at right now and go from there as you’re comfortable.  If you have the opportunity, you can have someone else, like your old therapist or someone who has treated you, provide this therapist with a history so you won’t have to re-tell so much.  

Hope this helps and best wishes with the new therapist!

"People say I'm a bad person because I tried to kill myself... I am recovering from bulimia and I'm so much better than I was when I was in that state of mind.... And I've learned from all my mistakes and take care of my body... Am I a bad person like everyone says? ....:/" With love, Anonymous.

I absolutely don’t think that you’re a bad person.  People who say those sort of things lack an understanding of what it means to have a mental illness.  I know it’s hard to let what they say flow in one ear and out the other, but they are underinformed and find it really hard to understand how someone might feel that way.  It might also make them feel scared and angry to hear, but those responses are related to their own emotions rather than being about you.  They have no jurisdiction to say what kind of a person you are.

I am so sorry to hear that you were in so much pain that you felt that you needed to do that.  I hope you can find compassion for the former self, who was hurting so much, rather than judgement.  I’m so proud of you for the work you’ve done in recovery.  Your suffering doesn’t make you a bad person.  You were trying to cope the best way that you knew how, even if you would handle it a different way now.  Taking care of yourself means being gentle with your pain and gentle with your past.

(via c0rktree)

This is so sad and incredibly relavant.

(via tyedyetaylor)

Reblogging for B.

(Source: five--a--day, via badhabitofmine)


"What is dermatillomania? I'm just curious, I hope this doesn't sound rude by asking :/" With love, Anonymous.

Not rude at all!  It is a disorder where you compulsively pick at your skin either with fingers or other items and it usually causes damage to the skin and tissue.  It’s related to OCD and is frequently seen in people who have anxiety disorders and BDD.  I tend to get really focused in on my skin and imperfections in it.  For me, it’s partly a response similar to self harm in anxiety management and partly just something that I find myself doing accidently.  I can use different coping skills to deal with the first part, and I avoid situations where I am likely to accidentally pick to deal with the second part.  For example, I always wear long PJ pants when I’m home alone and going to bed because seeing my legs when I’m in bed about to go to sleep can trigger the picking.  Overall, it’s not something that tends to get in the way of my life or cause physical damage anymore.  When I was younger, I would do it literally for hours without realizing the time had gone by and I seriously damaged my skin/caused infections.

"do you have any mental health problems aside from anorexia?" With love, Anonymous.

I have been diagnosed with general anxiety disorder since I was about 11, then dermatillomania and trichotillomania about the same age.  I struggle with the last two MUCH less now.  I also have several “specific phobias” which apparently often come along with general anxiety disorder.  For years I was diagnosed with depression, but last year my doctor decided that bipolar 2 was probably my actual diagnosis.  I feel like everything is pretty related, rather than being entirely separate in causation.  Like, the same things have manifested differently in terms of symptoms over time.

My sleep report for last night
My psychiatrist told me that getting good quality sleep was going to be very important for managing my mood, and that my lamictal can interfere with my sleeping.  I just downloaded the Sleep Cycle app for my iPhone, which monitors your movements during sleep to determine your cycles into deep sleep and the overall quality of sleep that you&#8217;re getting.  
It will develop graphs over time, and you can add categories like &#8220;did yoga before bed&#8221; or &#8220;took a melatonin supplement&#8221; to the Sleep Notes category and use a graph to compare the sleep you get with and without those conditions.  You can also chart your mood when you wake up.  
It will also keep track over time of how much sleep you&#8217;re getting per night, and seeing changes in your sleep pattern can be a cue that you might be cycling into hypomania or depression.  
The alarm function is pretty cool too.  You give it a range of time in which it can wake you up&#8212; from like 10-30 mins, and it will wake you up at the most gentle part of your sleep cycle at some point during that period.

My sleep report for last night

My psychiatrist told me that getting good quality sleep was going to be very important for managing my mood, and that my lamictal can interfere with my sleeping.  I just downloaded the Sleep Cycle app for my iPhone, which monitors your movements during sleep to determine your cycles into deep sleep and the overall quality of sleep that you’re getting.  

It will develop graphs over time, and you can add categories like “did yoga before bed” or “took a melatonin supplement” to the Sleep Notes category and use a graph to compare the sleep you get with and without those conditions.  You can also chart your mood when you wake up.  

It will also keep track over time of how much sleep you’re getting per night, and seeing changes in your sleep pattern can be a cue that you might be cycling into hypomania or depression.  

The alarm function is pretty cool too.  You give it a range of time in which it can wake you up— from like 10-30 mins, and it will wake you up at the most gentle part of your sleep cycle at some point during that period.

"I remember a while ago you mentioned that you might have bipolar-- is that a confirmed diagnosis?" With love, Anonymous.

It’s something that my psychiatrist brought up as probably true, but isn’t really pursuing making it “official.”  It’s on my chart, so I guess that’s kind of confirmed?  She doesn’t think it’s important to my treatment outside of finding a medication that will treat the depressive parts because she doesn’t see the hypomania as an issue and I’m scared to lose it, to be honest.  In terms of other treatment, my therapist has always been very flexible and open to different types of treatment, so the possibility of bipolar opened up new types of therapy that we could try.  I’m not sure why the people treating me are so content with it being this “probably” sort of thing because I think it would help me understand myself if I knew for sure.  I’m really not sure what range of emotions is considered “normal,” and that scares me.  The medication I am currently on is used to treat the depression part of bipolar, not clinical depression, and it’s certainly the only thing that’s worked before.

"Yesterday, I spent 60 dollars on groceries,
took the bus home,
carried both bags with two good arms back to my studio apartment
and cooked myself dinner.
You and I may have different definitions of a good day.
This week, I paid my rent and my credit card bill,
worked 60 hours between my two jobs,
only saw the sun on my cigarette breaks
and slept like a rock.
Flossed in the morning,
locked my door,
and remembered to buy eggs.
My mother is proud of me.
It is not the kind of pride she brags about at the golf course.
She doesn’t combat topics like, ”My daughter got into Yale”
with, ”Oh yeah, my daughter remembered to buy eggs”
But she is proud.
See, she remembers what came before this.
The weeks where I forgot how to use my muscles,
how I would stay as silent as a thick fog for weeks.
She thought each phone call from an unknown number was the notice of my suicide.
These were the bad days.
My life was a gift that I wanted to return.
My head was a house of leaking faucets and burnt-out lightbulbs.
Depression, is a good lover.
So attentive; has this innate way of making everything about you.
And it is easy to forget that your bedroom is not the world,
That the dark shadows your pain casts is not mood-lighting.
It is easier to stay in this abusive relationship than fix the problems it has created.
Today, I slept in until 10,
cleaned every dish I own,
fought with the bank,
took care of paperwork.
You and I might have different definitions of adulthood.
I don’t work for salary, I didn’t graduate from college,
but I don’t speak for others anymore,
and I don’t regret anything I can’t genuinely apologize for.
And my mother is proud of me.
I burned down a house of depression,
I painted over murals of greyscale,
and it was hard to rewrite my life into one I wanted to live
But today, I want to live.
I didn’t salivate over sharp knives,
or envy the boy who tossed himself off the Brooklyn bridge.
I just cleaned my bathroom,
did the laundry,
called my brother.
Told him, “it was a good day."
A Good Day (Kait Rokowski)

(Source: wordsthat-speak, via modern-day-hero)


Sad, Scared, Confused Jules

The other night I fell asleep with B on the sofa and we ended up sleeping there until 4:30 AM, so I’d been asleep for a while when we woke up to go upstairs.  I woke up really confused and upset, absolutely CONVINCED that I had been on the couch, sleepily having a conversation with B that was super upsetting.  I woke up convinced that he had said some really hurtful things and that I was upset with him.  Then I had a meltdown because I couldn’t tell what was real and what wasn’t real, and ended up curled up on the floor of the laundry room crying, before eventually being basically carried up to bed.

Lamictal fucks up my dreams and klonopin knocks me out.  Sometimes it’s a really messy combination.

One Tree Hill (via asdfjlkendrick)

(Source: asdfjklswan)