Love Yourself Enough to Save Your Life

Klynnrossi
Recently I have been struggling about where I belong in my career, personal life, and whom I follow on social media because of a lot of misinformation from HAES extremist. “Health at Every Size” does not mean “Healthy at Every Size” like some would like you to believe. HAES means that regardless of size, one should be validated by the medical field for their concerns that are not related to weight, and to be respected and treated with dignity.

No one should ever be shamed for their size, but one should be educated on weight and what that means for their health. The Fat Acceptance Movement wants everyone to just let them be, and that is all well and good, because, for me, I do not care what your size is and how it affects your life, because I accept everyone regardless of weight, ethnicity, race, age, gender identity, sexual preference, and religion; and one’s health is not my business. However, when you have a large platform that glorifies obesity, you are now influencing others to disregard their health.

We now have a culture that tells people to change doctors if they mention their weight and the health issues that are related to their size, and in turn, this is affecting the eating disorder community. If we are telling someone with an eating disorder to trust their body and to eat intuitively, then we are providing them with an excuse to binge or restrict. I recently spoke with a friend of mine who said if it is “Ok” to be fat then why is it not “Ok” to be underweight, here are the facts, if you are morbidly obese or severely underweight the end result is death.

What Does the Word Diet Mean and How it has become Misconstrued to Fit the Narrative of Fat Acceptance….

While I agree that fad diets are dangerous, the word “diet” is now considered bad. Diet just means what a person’s intake is on any given day, and to be healthy one must make lifestyle choices that will lead them to their most optimal well-being. The Fat Acceptance  Community is not body positive because they shame anyone who intentionally loses weight to save their life, they shame the fitness community, and they shame thin people for just being thin. To agree with fat acceptance or healthy at every size is dangerous, and that is what is being promoted on social media by big influencers. You cannot be healthy if you are severely overweight or underweight, and to promote that, you are leading others to an early death.

I am not a fan of MLM’s because I would not work to make someone else wealthy or waste money on a program that I can do myself. With that said, there are programs out there that provide structure for those who need to lose a significant amount of weight, and if one of those programs help someone save their life, then I am all for that program.

The Truth about Recovery and a Dietitian with a Zero Tolerance for the Word No….

My eating disorders were not about weight because it started at the age of five, but when I was morbidly obese and severely underweight, if my dietitian told me to trust my body and listen to my hunger cues, I would have just binged or starved because hunger cues were destroyed. I still need a meal plan, and while I do not track calories, my dietitian knows exactly what I am eating and how much I needed to gain weight and then maintain. Without her guidance and sometimes taking control, I would not be here today. What I have learned in my recovery journey is that I had to give up control to regain control. I have medical issues that are a direct result of the abuse I put my body through, so Intuitive eating will never be an option for me, and I am fine with that because I eat to live and not live to eat. I also learned that I can eat at holidays without fear, go out with friends and eat socially, and live my best life without having fear foods. Yes, I am restricted a lot because of my medical issues, but I found foods that fit my needs to meet all the macro and micronutrients and that I enjoy.

At the beginning of recovery, enjoying food did not matter because I needed to gain weight fast to live. I would say “I do not like this or that” and my dietitian told me that I gave up the right to “like” food when I got to a point where my team did not know if I would live. The same goes for those who are morbidly obese. It is not about enjoyment, it is about saving your life, and once one gets to a safe place in recovery, you can then adjust the plan to add foods you enjoy.

The Truth About Happiness and Acceptance….

 You will not find happiness in losing weight, that is the truth, however, If you do not address the underlying issues that turned you to food or to be obsessed about everything you put into your body, you will never be happy.  I believed at 350 lbs., if I lost weight, I would be happy, and I set weight goals often because when I hit the first goal and was not happy, I needed to go lower, and the cycle repeated itself until I was dying because that number for happiness will never come. It was not until I dealt with the reasons behind binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia and developed a positive relationship with food, did I make peace with the scale and my body.

There is only darkness when trapped in disordered eating that the HAES providers do not tell you about because that means there is something wrong with the weight you are at, but the truth is, if you are morbidly obese or severely underweight that is a problem. I will speak for myself in this area because I know how dark, isolating, and lonely it can be at both ends of the weight spectrum. I prayed every night that God would take me in my sleep, and when I woke up in the morning, I cried because I was still alive. What do you think that life does to your partner/spouse, children, family, friends, or the people you influence? If you want acceptance, you would love yourself enough to save your life, and in turn, you will inspire others to reclaim their lives.

We cannot accept morbid obesity as the “new” way of living, just like one cannot and does not accept one who is at a dangerously low weight because then we are saying that it is ok that you die, and it is NOT. My role as a new HAES provider has changed because I want everyone to be better than they were yesterday, live a healthy lifestyle, and inspire others to do the same. If you are working with a professional that tells you that it is fine to stay in either spectrum of weight, then you need to find a provider that will tell you the truth. I can only assume that HAES providers who promote that weight has no effect on your health have never dealt with either end of the weight spectrum because if they did and are telling their clients to trust their body, do not provide a meal plan, and just accept their eating disorder than they are doing their clients a disservice and are promoting self-harm.

Oppression is a choice you made when you chose to accept yourself as a morbidly obese individual. You have a choice to make a change, and society does not have an obligation to accommodate you. That may be harsh to say, but I have a disability because I suffered a life-altering injury, and I need accommodation so that I can physically move from point A to B. There are people who have more severe disabilities than I do, and if you think morbid obesity is a disability that society needs to change for you, think about all the people who cannot change their circumstances.

If recovering from binge eating disorder, bulimia, and anorexia means I am “fat-phobic” and have “thin privilege” then you are right because I will never go back to the darkness that almost took my life. My husband, children, and grandchild deserve better and need me in their life. I chose to save my life, and I hope you choose to save yours.

 

*Disclaimer* One: I am only discussing the extreme ends of one’s weight. Two: I am not calling out HAES providers that work hard in getting people to reach their most optimal health and wellness. My blog is directly related to those who promote Healthy at Every Size, which is not only life-threatening, they are creating a dialogue in eating disorder community that being morbidly obese should be accepted which in turn is affecting individuals who need to lose or gain weight to save their lives.

Thin Privilege and Fat Acceptance: My Experience

thin privileged

It’s ironic that I was once fat for many years, severely underweight for another ten plus years, and now I am what the Fat Acceptance/Body positive movement calls “Thin Privileged.”

If you are on a weight loss journey, I applaud you.

If you are on a weight gain journey, I applaud you.

If you are happy, in the body you have in the present, I applaud you.

You see, that is what acceptance is about, loving everyone for all of their uniqueness, but here is the thing, I do have “Thin privilege.”

You may be asking yourself, “What Does Fat Acceptance, Body positive, and Thin privilege mean?”

Trigger Warning: Talk About Weight and Other Numbers

When I had binge eating disorder, my highest weight went to 350 lbs., and rarely did I step foot in the doctor’s office because I knew what he or she was going to say. However, right after my daughter was born, I had a whole host of symptoms that I never experienced, all GI-related and my intake was shaky, but I was a binge eater, so I had weight to lose.

Back story, if you have not read any of my other blogs, I was also in therapy, dealing with my son’s illness, and medical PTSD and my therapist pushed me to see a doctor. Yes, I did go to the OBGYN while pregnant, had a great pregnancy, but I was still binging; by the end of my pregnancy, I could no longer tolerate food and lost a significant amount of weight. I was fat, so that was seen as a good thing and praised even while pregnant, and no concern by the doctors in charge of my care about my GI symptoms.

My son was out of the hospital after almost a year, and my daughter was four months old, and I was not getting any better, but I could binge and not gain any more weight, so a win for me, NOT. I could not deny anymore that I needed to see a doctor, so with high anxiety, I went and explained all my symptoms, and the doctor said, “Well, you certainly do not look like you are in distress because you have a lot of fat on your body, and If you lost weight all your symptoms would go away.” Yes, I was what is considered “Morbidly Obese,” and that is all the doctor saw and sent me to a “Fat” doctor. If you read my prior blogs, the story of how that went is there, but the words he said to me stuck, and still haunt me today. He said, “You are what you eat, so you must be a cow.” Mind you, that was the last day I ever ate meat, and also the last day I ever binged. Food became the enemy and no longer my friend.

Yes, I lost the weight, which almost took my life, but I still also had all the same symptoms, but now it was blamed on having anorexia. Somehow in the mix, the team of “Doctors and dietitian’s”  that were working with me forgot the fact that I had binge eating disorder, which turned into bulimia (medically induced, but I was happy about it), and I was told, “If I gained weight, all my symptoms would be gone.” Two weeks later, I almost died because my K level dropped to 1.1, and at that time, my first team realized I need a new team, that specialized in eating disorders. Once I made the move to my new team, who I interviewed, I did need to prove myself because at that point I was so sick, and I no longer knew how to distinguish between illness or eating disorder. However, at this time my intake was up to 3500 calories, and I was still losing weight because I was SICK. I agreed to go into Princeton Medical Center to “prove” I was sick to get the medical help I needed while stabilizes my weight.

Princeton Medical Center Eating Disorder Unit

Everything my team discussed with the medical team at Princeton turned out to be a lie. I was placed on bed rest, and the doctor thought it was a good idea to take me off my six potassium pills a day because he was proving that it was the eating disorder, and I was manipulating my new team. I had no time for manipulation and never once lied to my new team about what was eating disorder or and what was medical, and the only reason I agreed for this admission was that they were going to do the test, WRONG. My room was at the nurse’s station, and I had a video camera in my room, so how could things go south?

I was permitted to be out of my room in a wheelchair for meal times and groups, so my first meal came and I ate, no big deal, but they dropped my intake from 3500 a day to 1500 a day.  The staff believed I was lying about my intake, and they did not want to cause the refeeding syndrome. Then I entered group, and I felt like I was just wheeled into a grade school; the youngest was 11-years old and the one closest to my age, was 18-years old, I was 29. I left the group, and went to my room, and knew then this was not going to work, but I would still give it a chance. After a rough night of sickness,  morning rolls around, and I have labs drawn, and I was supervised as I get changed for a weight check, and of course, I lost weight. I went back to my room, and all of a sudden, I am having an emergency ECG because my K level was 1. The doctor walks in my room and said: “Since I was purging all night, I was now on 1:1 supervision.” I looked at him as if he had ten heads because I did not purge, I was sick, and the nurse was with me all night; while also having a video camera pointed at the bed and bathroom. However, my nurse told the doctor I had purged all night, which was not true, so I signed out AMA, and he said, I would be dead in a week. I lasted 12 hours in Princeton, to prove myself, and they were trying to prove I was manipulating my team, which almost killed me for a second time. I went straight to my primary care doctor, who admitted me to increase my K level, rehydrated, and for weight stabilization by providing me with the medical help I needed. With that said, because of the reports from my previous team, I understand her reasoning for sending me to Princeton, where she believed I would have testing done. She has never doubted me since, and I have an amazing treatment team.

Why the story?  

I told this story to show weight bias in the medical community, whether you are fat or underweight, and how one is invalidated for medical symptoms all just based on the number on a scale.

Getting Back to the Story behind the Story

I had commented on a post from one of my very dear online friends who is a Fat Activist who also exists in a Fat Body, no big deal to me because I do not view people by their size, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation; I judge their character and how they treat other people. I know my story and experience and can relate to everything she has gone through and still goes through; she, however, suffered from anorexia, and just as the doctor said to me that “I did not look sick,” she was told she did not either and never received the proper treatment for her eating disorder. The difference between her and I is that the Fat Doctor put me on amphetamines, B12, and HCG. I developed a fear of food, and the weight was gone, in 9 months. I was then validated for my eating disorder because I was dying. I still see myself as a binge eater, and anorexia saved me, and my team saved me from myself. The comment on this post was in reference to an individual who was harassing her about her size and saying she was promoting obesity, and that is not the case, it took her years to love her body as it is, eat intuitively, and move with joy, not punishment, and my response was: “I am sorry you are having a tough time, so you feel the need to hurt others with your word, I hope tomorrow brings you a better day.” I left it like that and went on with my day. When I went back on Instagram, one of her followers who is also in the fat acceptance community, which I thought I was too in, responded to my comment said: “You have no right defending anyone, so take your “thin privileged ass” and jump off a bridge.” I removed myself from the conversation without responding because it was better to separate then say something that I could not take back.

“Thin privilege”

Yes, I am “Thin privileged” in the sense that I live in a thin body and no longer deal with weight stigma in the medical community or my personal life. I get treated with respect and dignity just like I treat everyone that I come into contact with, regardless of whether they are rude, mean, or just downright nasty. However, I am not ”thin privilege” as a normal abled body. My body is sick and attacks every organ. I cannot just get up and go out, work, go to parks or beach, and even showering can wipe me out for days. I cannot travel or drive long-distance, exercise, and I am discriminated against because of my disability and medical conditions, however, what I experience cannot compare to the way the medical professionals and people in general still invalidate others because of their weight, and that leads to death. What this follower did to me was not acceptable because she does not know my story, and just told someone with suicidal ideation to kill herself because she stood up for a friend being attacked. I know what it’s like to be bullied and discriminated against, and it can be life-sucking. So, before you can’t take back the words, stop and ask yourself, “How would I feel if someone said that to me or my child?”

If you want to stop Oppression than don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution.

I am not angry at this follower, however, the leaders of fat activism, HAES, fat acceptance, and the body-positive movement need to step up and address this issues because instead of bringing communities together for acceptance, their followers are hurting their progress in moving forward in breaking down weight stigma because they tell someone like me, who suffers from chronic suicidal ideation to kill myself. I am blessed to have the treatment team and tools that I do to get through these situations, but the next person may not be so lucky.

Peace, Love, and Respect

Angels in the Storm

People say that you only have one life, but truth be told, you live every day, and only die once. So, what is stopping you from living each day to the fullest?

I can complain about the last year and a half of surgeries, emergency surgeries, complications, a spinal cord injury, almost dying, almost losing my family because of morphine, and losing six months of my life that I can never get back. But, complaining would not change what happened.

Yes, I live in pain 24/7 from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Intractable Pain, Central Nervous System Pain Syndrome, and Medical PTSD, and I have had periods of darkness that I did not think I could pull through, but just like my eating disorder, pain does not define the person I am becoming.

In this last year, I have lost friends and family, and I am fine with that because they were not supporting me when I needed them the most. I rebuilt my relationships that are the most meaningful, I have an amazing friend who texts me every day something inspirational, and I am graduating after finally finishing my internship in 3 weeks. I have a vision and purpose in life to share my story that may help others. I did not realize that until after I was weaned off morphine.

The truth about nerve pain is that pain medications do not help; they just make you not care. However, in my case, from what I have been told is that it made me go out of my mind. What I do remember is having conversations with my father and father-in-law multiple times a day, and they have both passed away, but looking back, I know they were sent to save me.

 Angels in the Storm

The Darkness engulfed me as I was hanging by a thread

I didn’t have a lifejacket because I wanted to be dead

As the storm became stronger, I saw a flicker of light, and my angles flew down and held me tight

We talked for hours day and night, how life is not fair but I had to fight

I did not want to listen because I had no hope, as the bridge started shaking my angels spoke: “If you go now there is no turning back, the morphine lead down the wrong track. It was supposed to help take your pain away, but instead, it decided to take your life away.”

My angels stayed with me no end in sight because they saw my purpose, but I had no light

Living with pain, how could this be after I fought for my life to be set free

I had to accept that this was meant to be, to help others who suffer just like me

As I started to climb, my angels stood by, and before they flew away, they turned to say: “Life will be hard, but you have come to see that you are stronger than you ever thought a human could be. Don’t ever let go when the storm blows your way because you are here to lead others to stay.”

As they turned to go, they kissed me goodbye, and all I could do is breakdown and cry.

Morphine brought me to my knees, and I climbed back up to follow the voices that held me up. I will not give up or lean over the edge because CRPS will not be my end.

I am not Anti-Health I am Anti-Fad Diets and Body Shaming

new blog pic.jpg

I need to make something clear. I am not anti-health. I am anti-anything that causes one to restrict, punish self, and label foods as good and bad. I am anti-anything that preys on the vulnerable to meet their financial goals.

When you stop trying to change your body, and you work on mindset, food is no longer the enemy or friend; It’s just-food. Understanding health at every size would provide all mental health practitioners, dietitians, and medical personal the tools needed to breakdown and eliminate weight stigma. The number on the scale is not an indicator of health, it is a tool for medication purposes, and that is how it should remain.

HAES

With that said, HAES does not mean healthy at every size. It means health at every size, and doctors dismiss symptoms and miss life-threatening illness because of weight stigma. Essentially it means all bodies deserve love, respect, and validation, and that still does not happen in 2019.

*Disclaimer*

I had a very underweight eating disorder client who asked:” If weight is not an indicator of health, then why do I have to gain weight?”

Let me be brutally honest here when I was considered morbidity Obese, not one doctor validated my health issues or ED. I was repulsive to them, and it made me feel worthless and hopeless because I was not “deserving” of help until I lost weight.

I was court-ordered into a residential facility where I spent 5 months the first time, and six more admissions and four medical hospitalizations later, I was not expected to live. If one doctor would have validated me, things may have been different. It wasn’t until I shrunk my body almost to my death did someone say, ” She needs help.”

If you are battling anorexia and your weight is dangerously low, you can and will ultimately die. Anorexia is the number one mental health disease that will take your life, and in a life-threatening situation, the weight will be the focus. I am sorry because I’ve been there, but you will get through it. As your body and brain get nourished, you begin to heal your relationship with food, and the number on the scale becomes insignificant. I have not stepped on a scale at home or with my treatment team in 8-years.

Reality

Not all people with anorexia fit into the mold of the DSM-IV for validation of needing help. I am working on changing this, and it is my “work in process” Thesis. According to the new code, one is deserving of help if their body % is 75 or less. If all eating disorders were validated regardless of weight, no one would get to that 75% or lower.

If you have binge eating disorder, a doctor will tell you to lose weight. He or she will not address your medical concerns because they feel if you lose weight, all your symptoms will magically disappear, and many people go undiagnosed with major health issues and die because of weight stigma.

 If you have bulimia, a doctor will say, “Well, you do not look like you have an eating disorder.”

If you have anorexia and you are of average weight or higher, a doctor will tell you that you are “Not sick enough.”

If you have anorexia and you are below 75% you are already dying, so now you are sick enough.

The system needs to change now, and I am here to make sure no one goes through the emotional abuse I went through from the medical professional because I was not “sick enough” until I almost died.

Comment below on how weight stigma had impacted your life.

The Truth About MLM’s and Fad Diets

 

beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s discuss an MLM, specifically, BeachBody because I had an interaction with one of the “coaches” yesterday. If you are a BeachBody Coach, do not take offense over what I say because this is just my opinion and my experience with pyramid schemes.

The conversation went like this:

Coach: I have been following you for a while now, and I think you would make a great coach.

Me: You obviously have not followed me well enough because if you did, you would know I am in recovery from anorexia. I am all about HAES (Health at Every Size), and I do not do pyramid schemes.

Coach: It’s not a pyramid scheme. You can make great money, help people, and take care of your health.  What’s more important to you, money or health?

The Truth

Here’s the deal, if you are going to ask someone, “What’s more important, money or health?” You just lost them.

I should have ended the conversation there, but I wanted to see how far she would push the subject, so I asked her what her education was in, and she said you do not need any education to be a coach, WRONG!

She also said the program can help people in recovery from eating disorders because the superfoods will help one gain or lose weight while also changing their relationship with food, WRONG! Any program that has one obsessing about exercise, calories, portion control, meal replacements with so-called Superfoods, and weighing daily, is not healthy for anyone, let alone someone recovering from an eating disorder. The truth is, the program is not sustainable because people cannot afford to buy the products monthly.

She also claimed that Superfoods cured her Lupus, so it can certainly cure me of my autoimmune disease and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, WRONG! I believe in science and my amazing treatment team, and without them, I would not be alive today.

The mom crack (GOGO Juice) will give me energy. Kathy (not her name), if you truly followed my account, you would know that I had a heart attack, and your mom crack could kill me.

What does BeachBody Mean

What BeachBody Coaching means is that you must get as many suckers to join your team so that you can make money, however, unless you are at the top, it is estimated that only 1% of coaches make large amounts of money because all the work these coaches do is paying the highest leader to sit around laughing at them for making them wealthy.

To end this, I want to share what I learned when I watched a BeachBody Team Call that should have never been posted to YouTube.

On this team call: Head Coach and three of the coaches that are under her.

  • Find vulnerable people
  • Make them feel guilty by asking them would you rather live and spend the money, or die an early death?
  • Tell them if they stopped drinking coffee and planned a budget, they can afford to make their health a priority.
  • Keep checking on them and pretend to be caring about their situation.
  • If they have disordered eating, tell them you were trained in helping people overcome their food issues, (they are not and do not have a degree in anything). *Disclaimer*Some coaches are nurses, and deceiving people goes against everything we learned as a nurse. However, I never had a BeachBody Coach who is a nurse contact me, so I cannot assume they follow the same practice as other coaches. Regardless, it is still a Fad Diet that can lead to disordered eating and over-exercising.
  • Tell them that superfoods will heal them. Make up an illness you had.
  • Even if you hate the shakes as I do, pretend you love them.
  • Make sure you post workouts even if you do not do them. (Get dressed in workout clothes, cover yourself in water (sweat), and do a few minutes of the routine to post in your stories.
  • Filter the shit out of your transformation Tuesday pictures (push your stomach out in one and hold suck it in “baby’ in the second)
  • Tell them you have a great meal plan for them to follow that will give them optimal results (not allowed to do). I work with adolescents who have eating disorders, and I do not advise on food because it goes against my scope of practice. That is why they have an eating disorder dietitian. 
  • Lie about how much money you make (the head coach actually makes less than 500 a month, tells people 5000.00).
  • Buy followers to show you have a great community. If you look at any BeachBody account, you will see that most have 10,000 plus followers but look at their post because you will see they only have 25 or fewer likes and no comments.

Yes, I am anti-MLM, and more people need to learn that unless you have connections and a huge following (real followers), you will end up losing more money than you could ever make.

I was once a sucker and joined an MLM, LipSense under one of the top leaders. She offered no support, I ordered and sold $2500.00 in products my first month, and what did I get you might ask, a $5.00 credit towards my next month’s purchase which was mandatory. I quit that day and come to find out the top leader is making 600,000 a year off of all her fans under her. She built a 1-million-dollar home, so that says a lot about how she gets paid to stay at home and do no work. Why would she when she has about 4000 people who work their butts off to make her wealthy while they get credit for products.

What is the Goal of MLM?

The goal of any MLM is to get your people any way that you can, and then push (coach) them to get people (Family and Friends) under them because without recruiting people the top coaches do not make any money. MLM’s push you to harass family and friends to join you, and the money that does not come from the products you are supposed to sell will and has destroyed marriages, family, and friend relationships. Is it worth it?

What are your thoughts on MLM’s? Comment below

Reclaiming My Life

img_10916024652383

I have been gone for way too long. The story is long, and I am not ready to discuss the situation in length, but I am doing great.

Over the past year, I had ten surgeries and multiple complications, but that is for another day because I am now reclaiming my life. I have been in recovery from all eating disorders, and I struggled some while dealing with what happened to me. However, today I choose joy, and I have a lot to be thankful for because I am now a grandmother, my youngest just got engaged, I am just about ready to work again after almost 8 years, and I am officially done school on September 16th. Well, I say officially, but I am starting graduate school in January.

It is ok to have setbacks, but it is not ok to stay stuck in that place, and it took me time to relearn that this year. A very good friend said to me, “Not every day will be positive, but there is a positive in every day.” Each night I write a new poem to clear my head of the medical PTSD I now suffer from, which helps me hold onto the positives in my life.

You Will Never Be my Friend

Why did you come back when I was feeling so strong
What did I do, where did I go wrong

I did not faint
I already ate
I did not purge
I have not lost weight

I refuse to allow you to control my thoughts
You are not my friend, so please don’t pretend

I have climbed up before
I will not crawl
Your words cannot break me
I will not fall

A friend would never make you get down on your knees
To beg for life, you once promised me

I learned a lesson the other day that you cannot shake me or take me away

I left you once, and I will do it again; because you Ana, were never my friend

 

Find your Why in life, and run with it because life is too short to be unhappy.

Peace and Love

Relapse

relapse pic

After being thrown into a medically induced anorexia stage things have spiraled out of control, and I want to be real. It’s hard to battle back, but I have decided to go into a medical hospital to get my Nervous System back in control so that I can continue with my recovery. Sometimes life throws you curve balls, and it is up to you how you act and react to them, and my actions and reactions have caused me to trip, stumble, and fall, but I will never give up or lose the fight. I wrote these Lyrics to Demi Lovato’s song Sober after I was already on the ground, and planning a way to climb back up.

I got no excuses for the life I turned upside down.

I hope you’re still there when I need you because I am dead inside.

Catch me when I am fainting because I refused to eat, and keep the demons away as you watch me disappear

I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know why I do it every every every time
It’s only when I am terrified

Sometimes I just wanna be invisible, and I don’t want to try I cry, and I cry, and I cry, and I cry, and I cry just tell me you need me.

To my husband, I am so sorry I’m not in recovery anymore, and Kids, please forgive me when I throw food on the floor. To the team who’s never left me we’ve been down this road before. I’m so sorry I have relapsed once more.

I’m sorry for my future life, and for the life I left behind, making all those promises that stayed within my head.

I’m sorry for the friends I lost who watched me fail again.

I want to be a remodel, but I caved to anorexia again.

I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know why I do it every every every time
It’s only when I am terrified

Sometimes I just wanna be invisible, and I don’t want to try I cry, and I cry, and I cry, and I cry, I cry just tell me you need me.

To my husband, I am so sorry I’m not in recovery anymore, and Kids, please forgive me when I throw food on the floor. To the team who’s never left me we’ve been down this road before. I’m so sorry I have relapsed once more.

I am not in recovery anymore…

 

I am sorry that I am here again

I am sorry to myself

It wasn’t my intention

I promise I’ll get help

© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group: Demi Lovato (Sober) 2018 (Kelly Rossi, (2018) lyrics to the tune of Sober) https://youtu.be/vORIohoI4m0

Little Girls Don’t Stay Little Forever

IMG_1075

The moment you are born society gives you a list of things you cannot do, and you must be because you are dainty, breakable, and not strong enough to flee.

When society says you have to be thin and beautiful to fit in, I want you to know that beauty comes from within, and you will always be the most precious baby girl to me.

”Boys will be Boys” you will hear society say, don’t let them take your self-confidence away. Your body is your temple and unique just for you, stand tall and proud of everything it can do.

I want you to know that you can be anything you set your mind to; an astronaut, an athlete, a doctor, or even the President if you wish to be because…

Little Girls Don’t Stay Little Forever

I want you to know that when you reach for the stars and lightning strikes you down the thunder will roar, and the sky will be yours because…

Little Girls Don’t Stay Little Forever

Your voice never silenced, you will always have me because I was once a little girl society tried to bring to her knees, but…

Little Girls Don’t Stay Little Forever

And when fear and doubt take your hands, your partner in crime I will always be to face any evil or hurt that comes your way because…

I was once a little girl who threw society’s rules away.

 

Breaking Free From ED

Breaking free from ed pic

Fear invited you into my life the day my childhood was taken. How could I know at the age of five it was a lifetime commitment because you invaded my mind?

Your love so strong, your grip so tight, you were breathing for me as you blinded my sight. My fate now cinched because you kept me free from the dangers around me that brought me to my knees.

You whispered don’t speak and never to stray because I would not survive if you did not stay.

You took my voice and gave me yours, my life no longer mine because we are now conjoined. Together we will be till death do us part, our vows now sealed since you broke my heart.

My world on fire, I can see from afar, spiraling like a tornado that hit me so hard. Hiding and manipulation became my only goal. My motto, my song, was known to all. 

I already ate

I did not purge

I have not fainted

I have not lost weight

An abusive relationship I never saw, you brainwashed my mind when you stole my soul. My body weak, my blood pressure low, my heart barely beating, and I had no control. My life never mine, and I asked you to go, you shook me violently, telling me “NO.”

You said you would let up if I lost more weight and as I disappeared your power dominated. You brought me to death’s door so many times and asked for forgiveness as I was losing my mind. My thoughts no longer clear I had to believe you had my best interest, so I was ready to please.

My team my lifeline rolled in like thunder striking you down as I was going under. Their wisdom and guidance sent me a rope bringing me back up and giving me hope.

I no longer trust the words that you say because I have no doubt you will take me away. The battles with you continue to show, but I have come to see that you never wanted to set me free. You warned me of danger; a reality unseen, your power once crippling, is slowly coming back to me.

The time has come for us to part ways; I want to survive without you by my side. You no longer control me, as much as you try, as I continue to trip, stumble, and fall; I will crawl until I can fly.

As you sit on my shoulder begging to come in, I whisper these words “I am the storm that put out the fire, and as I send you to hell, I need you to hear, I am stronger than you as I watch you disappear.”

Sincerely,

Kelly Rossi

An Open Letter to Fear: A Pledge to Self

IMG_6238
Fear is like a deer in headlights because it stops one in their tracks, not allowing your legs to move forward or backward, just stuck, frozen in time. It leaves you with self-doubt, low self-esteem, no self-confidence, and the doom of failure is like a black cloud hanging just far enough above your head so that you cannot reach it; perpetually waiting for the lightning to strike. It paralyzes one to the point of self-destruction. All the dreams and hopes of what you thought your life would look like vanishes because you are already dead inside. You lose sight of who you are because fear traps your mind into believing you are not worthy or deserving of happiness and success.

I cannot even begin to count how many times I have succumbed to you, how many projects are left undone, how many times I betrayed my body, and how many nights I have stayed up in sheer panic because you made me believe that I would fail. You have left me in turmoil because I thought I was not worthy to be a daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, or friend, and I pushed the most precious and loving people out of my life.

You have made me build a concrete wall around myself, brick by brick, so the people who can help me the most cannot get in, and I cannot get out. And, because of you, I have an all or nothing thinking, and perfectionism controls my every being. I always have to prove you will not beat me, so I have to be the best at governing my body, having the highest GPA, and the champion in encapsulating myself into a cocoon to conceal my past; my true identity. However, what I have come to realize is that you have made me sink deeper into a hole, hanging over cliffs, and wishing I would not wake up again because I could not face another day with you in my life.

You, anorexia, anxiety, depression, and perfectionism became a great team, and have left me isolated in my mind, not looking forward to the possibilities of what life would be like if you were not in it. As soon as I see the light, you grab hold of me, and whisper in my ear “You cannot go out there because you are a failure, cannot be loved or liked, and you are too stupid to reach your goals.” You convinced me that without you I could not survive, and you took my voice and silenced me as soon as I felt the need to speak.
I have lived my life according to your every demand. Always forgetting about my aspirations; not learning who I am or what I could grow to become. You have become my only instinct; inflicting pain for most of my life. Today, I will find my voice, climb out of the darkness, step high on the mountain, break down the wall, and break free from the cocoon so my wings can fly. I will fight you, win the battles you throw my way, and I will win the war.

From now on, you are no longer welcomed in my life, unless there is a rational and real threat to my physical and mental well-being, but you will never get the chance again to tell me I am not deserving to live my life to the fullest potential.

“Fear Is Only as Big as You Allow It to Grow in Your Mind, Once Faced You Begin to Soar.”

Sincerely,

Kelly Rossi

Commitment is a Choice: Turning over Control to Regain Control

commitment

I am the kind of person that cannot trust that those who are trying to save me from myself will not abandon me. It started out at a young age but intensified with my first treatment team. I was always honest about my eating disorder and behaviors but quickly realized that I was not part of the team. I had signed contracts on a weekly basis, I was told what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, and if I refused, I was threatened with hospitalization and being dropped by my team. After many inpatient residential stays and medical admissions, I started to hide my behaviors. I fluid loaded and wore weights to get weighed because I was forced to weigh four times a week, and I lied about my intake; by the end, I didn’t know truth from fiction. Everything became a power struggle, and I was going to win; however, I became extremely ill, and no one would believe me because I had lied so much. I knew I was dying, and I decided I would no longer keep “secrets” and was doing everything they told me to do, but at that point, it no longer mattered. My team dropped me after I was admitted with a potassium level of 1.2, and while in the hospital learning I was truthful about following my prescribed meal plan. My GI tract could no longer tolerate anything, and yes, I am sure it was from all the abuse I placed on my body. For the first time, as a team, we knew we did not trust each other. The decision to make a transition was mutual, but only because I had no choice; it was going to happen whether I wanted it to or not, but also realizing I needed a team that specialized in eating disorders.

The Transition: Giving up the option to die

It was terrifying knowing I was going to a team that specialized in eating disorders because I would no longer be able to get away with what I was doing. But, was I really getting away with anything? Yes, in my head I was going to die without committing suicide. My children would at least not have to live with the thought that their mom left them on purpose. I knew I would either have to take my life or give up the option to die, but when faced with death I fought for my life, so there was and always has been a healthy version of self. While the choice to die stayed with me for a long time after I made the transition, I knew the minute I met everyone on my new team that I trusted them. I would not let them know that at first, but right away it was clear that not only was I a part of the team, but I was also the driver of my recovery journey. However, the fear has stuck with me throughout the years, even though I have made significant progress, I have not been able to turn control over completely to regain control of my life.

Trust with Caution

I have never lied to my second team, but I still do not give out information unless they ask. I have no contracts, I have stopped all behaviors including loading, but in turn, I have refused weight checks. There is always one area where I need to retain control, so I give up one and add another, which has been a vicious cycle. With these cycles, I continue to sink further into the dark hole because I still have not opened up about my past. The fear of being dropped after divulging the horror I went through as a child and adolescent is still too great of a risk because I blame myself. My team supports me in every way, whether I can meet the intake goals or not, and even refusing to weigh, although they do not particularly like that idea. They have never once said they would drop me, so there is no evidence to back up my irrational thinking, but the fear and anxiety continues to control me and leaves me with doubt.

Turning over Control to Regain Control

What I failed to realize was, while I am not new in my battle to beat my eating disorders, my mindset has remained stuck in the all or nothing, black or white thinking, while my treatment team fights like hell to show me there is a gray area. That gray area scares me because I have never lived without my disorder. So, my team watches me sink into the quicksand quickly closing out any light that had once flickered until they can’t sit back and watch anymore. They throw me a rope that I have now shredded to the last thread and pull me back to the ledge, thus keeping me from submerging further into the hole I dug for myself.

Once pulled back to the ledge, I find that strength and motivation again to fight, and this time it will be different.

  • I am going to talk to my therapist about my demons, nightmares, flashbacks, and as soon as I get to a session, I shut down because the “What ifs” are a bigger monster than my past in that moment.
  • I have the motivation to take control of Ed, and this time I will eat the recommended meal plan. However, once I get to a session with my RD, what we discuss, although accurate, rational, and logical, as soon as I leave my head tells me it’s too extreme or unfair, and it will cause a binge.
  • When I see my medical doctor, I go in with the intentions of telling her everything, and I freeze because the unknown of her reaction takes over.

After every appointment, I end up sitting in my car crying because I know again that I will fail. No, I will not cry in front of any team members because it shows weakness, and I want so much to prove to them I will do it right this time, but each time is a rerun of the last session.

At some point, I need to come to terms that to climb out of the darkness for good I have to take the hands of those who care for me more than I care for myself right now. I have to trust that it is in my best interest to turn the wheel over to my team of experts before I can take the wheel again and drive my own recovery.

Commitment to Recovery is a Choice

I choose to stay in treatment because I still have hope that one day I may break free and have the courage to climb out of the hole, out of the darkness, and into the light; thus, turning over control to reclaim my life, confront the past, and let it go. There are times I want my team to take over, no options, no questions asked, and tell me what to do, but then I remember what that did to me the first time around. I can sign contracts and have “consequences,” but it does no good if it brings about power struggles, while I continue to do it my way. I acknowledge and take full accountability that my approach does not work, and I know my team is for me, not against me, and only wants me to live to my fullest potential. That cannot happen unless I am 100% committed to recovery because it is my choice, and not just what my team wants for me. What I have learned is that my team wants recovery more for me than I want it myself, and only I have the power to make that change. They can guide me in the right direction, but I need to follow that direction. However, I steer off the road and often end up hanging over the cliff. While I have helped many people make positive changes in their recovery from an eating disorder and or addiction, I am not an expert in my own recovery. I am an expert in keeping anorexia alive and thriving. I am an expert in enabling my disorder to lead me to believe all my fears will come true, and I am an expert in not allowing those I trust the most to guide me to full recovery.

Recovery is a Full-Time Job

Recovery is a full-time job that I keep placing on the backburner because it is so much harder than when I needed to start a new life after my injury by going back to school for my degree in Psychology, Human Services, and Addictions. School provided me an escape, but also an escape from the reality of where I am at in the recovery process. I have achieved a lot and have conquered many obstacles, but I do not give myself credit for what I have accomplished because I have not been able to turn over control to divorce Ed for good. Commitment is a choice, and I am choosing to give it my all for the next 365 days without judgment or hesitation by using my recovery journal that I am completing shortly. I cannot ask anyone else to commit to a one-year journey if I do not undertake it myself. Blind trust is hard, but sometimes in recovery, you just have to close your eyes, trust the process, and keep pushing forward.

A Tribute to My Dad, Lawrence Robert McMullen

family

Dad,

We will never forget the day the doctor came out, the look in his eyes; we had no doubt. Our lives forever changed, the pain so great, the battle lost, no war to be won, we had to accept the fight was done. We would stand together McMullen Strong, and even in defeat, our love could not be beaten.

We learned a hard lesson from the Lord above, he answers all prayers, but not all prayers could he grant. God blessed us with 19 days to cherish every last second, every moment, every hour of the day. He blessed us with the gift to walk with you through the stages, and to hold you tight throughout the night. He granted our wish to stand together as one until your time here on earth with us was done.

December 6, 2011, is the day you said the Lord would call you home to be with your family who passed on long ago. Not a day has gone by that you are not far from our thoughts, the love we still feel close to our heart. Our hero, our protector you will always be, you have inspired our lives to be all we can be.

We know you are near, the messages you send hit home from your great-granddaughter because you have remained her friend. You feared she would forget you, but there is no doubt, she sees you often, your thoughts she talks about. Her Guardian Angel, you were meant to be. Maybe that is why God had to set you free.

We wish we could see you one last time, hear your voice, hold your hand, and tell you our plans. We know you are watching and pushing us on, we can hear you say “You got this kid. Go after your dreams. You can be anything you want to be, but just do not sing.”

We cry, and we laugh at the memories we have, our family not whole, but you will always be a part of our soul.

Today, we will hear you just in our minds as you whisper those words one last time. “The seven most important people are here in this room” as we gather today to celebrate you with one last “See Ya” we needed to say, we love, and we miss you more each day.

The Cycle of Binge Eating, Bulimia, and Anorexia

IMG_5812

My cycles in and out of each eating disorder were dramatic. I would be extremely heavy to very thin, and I learned early on that it was never about food or weight, it was about feeling safe, comforted, gave me friendship, and having the control of what went into and stayed in my body.

Binge Eating made me feel insulated and untouchable. Bulimia made me feel powerful, and anorexia made me feel numb and invisible.

Early Years

From the age of five until the age of 17 I cycled in and out of each disorder, but at one point I found myself stuck in anorexia. I was so numb to the world that self-harm walked into my life. I had cut and burned at an early age, but that was different because, at the time, I was punishing myself for not being good enough. When it started again, I wanted to feel anything other than the turmoil going on inside me. Feeling pain allowed me to express my emotions externally and kept the emotions internally. I always knew the “why” behind my eating disorders and self-harm, but I had no voice. As children, we were seen and not heard. From the age of ten until the age of 15 I never felt good enough, I was the ugly sister, and most of the time I was the fat one. I hated myself, was riddled with guilt and shame, and I was alone in my head. The summer after I turned 15, I started working which gave me a sense of peace, and I felt useful. It took me away from my thoughts that were destroying my heart, body, and soul, but I began the cycle of binging and purging again. I also met my now husband of almost 31-years. We both worked together, hung with the same friends, and began dating, however, I could never connect intimately emotionally or physically without numbing myself. Two years into our relationship I found out I was pregnant. I gave up everything to ensure the safety of our unborn child, and it gave me an excuse to binge all the time. At 20-weeks’ gestation, our baby no longer had a heartbeat, and I was placed under general anesthesia to deliver. My unborn baby died around 14-16 weeks’ gestation, and I blame myself to this day. From that point on binge eating controlled my life over the next 11-years.

Married with Children

Although my binge eating disorder did not start because of having a chronically ill child, it morphed into a monster during the months and years (not days) spent in the hospital with him. The guilt of not being able to help him, not being with my son at home, and then having a newborn a few years later, who I could not breastfeed since she could not come into the hospital, binges became my comfort and friend. It allowed me to detach from all those feelings of being a lousy wife, mother, and person. I had a four-year-old who felt abandoned, a newborn who I could not bond with, and a child who had to wonder why mommy couldn’t stop the pain.

My Last Binge

I remember my last binge like it was yesterday, just as I did my first suicide attempt. It was August 19, 1996. My baby now four months old and my oldest son now five, my sick child three years old on this day, and was dying, by noon I had to be at 10,000 calories, and I was sitting on the floor in a bathroom at the hospital in disgust and despair. My husband and I no longer connected because we were fighting our own fears of possibly losing our child; was in the room with him, and I heard a code blue come over the announcements. It was my child, and I was not there with him. He was in septic shock and DIC, his kidneys were failing, and I was binging. I watched them shock him back to life, and I knew at that moment I would never leave his side again.

Therapy Began

At 300 lbs. my eating disorder was not validated, and my first therapist told me we could not deal with the problems until I got the binge eating under control, and if I just lost the weight, I would be happy. She sent me to the “fat” doctor who told me I was what I ate, and he put me on amphetamines. Six months later I was in my first residential for anorexia; however, I was at 85% of my ideal body weight and was not “sick” enough. I left there feeling defeated because I still was not discussing the reason behind my cycles of eating disorders, self-harm, depression, and suicidal ideation. When I first saw my therapist again, she told me to stay with the fat doctor, so I would not gain the weight back. Six admissions to residential treatment and three medical hospitalizations later, cutting out all food, exercising six hours a day, and addicted to amphetamines, I was finally sick enough, and my first team could no longer help me.

New Treatment Team

I knew I needed an ED team that would help me work on the “why” and from the moment I left the hospital and began with my new team who specializes in eating disorders and co-occurring conditions my recovery journey began. I was admitted to residential to get stable, but that lasted 12-hours, so I ended up on bedrest at home except to go to appointments and my driver’s license medically suspended, but with my new team I never binged again, all behaviors were in control, and I never took another amphetamine.

Finding My Way

Yes, there were and are setbacks, and real recovery did not start until I watched my dad die 6 1/2 years ago. He begged for one more year, six more months, one more week, and one more day; he got 19 days after we, as a family, told the surgeon to close him. He had no choice, he was going to die, but I had an opportunity to live and was choosing to die. I lost a lot of time with self, children, husband, and family because my eating disorders took control of my days. Over the last six ½ years I have faced many obstacles; injury, losing my career as a nurse, starting college again at 46-years old, dealing with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, learning to walk again, and the list could go on forever; however, I have remained behavior free. I still have nightmares of binging, which has left me terrified of facing fear foods and food in general, and I still cannot meet my daily intake requirements, but what I have realized is those dreams are telling me I still have work to do because I have not faced my past demons. While I cannot say I am recovered, because I still have a long way to go, I can say my mindset has changed, I have grown, found my voice, and I know who I am; someone I never knew existed.

 

Suicidal Ideation-Depression: How my life began with ED (Eating Disorder)

self-acceptance

The Beginning

I remember the day like it was yesterday, the day I asked myself “Why am I here, and why am I alive?” I was three-years-old. I would hold my breath until I passed out because I was hoping to die (at three, I was hoping not to wake up again). I would pray before bed asking God to please let me stay asleep forever, but he would never take me. Remember, I was three and already had suicidal thoughts and severe depression. Was I born this way? Was it because I was a preemie? Those questions I do not have the answer to, and may never know, but it has stayed with me throughout my life.

My First Suicide Attempt

By the time I started school my anxiety and social anxiety was so intense that my sister had to drag me a mile to school on a daily basis. She hated me (I don’t blame her), and would leave me at times in what I felt like was the middle of nowhere, but if I went home I would get in trouble; I was frozen in time, not able to move forward or backward. When I was in school, I isolated. I had no friends, and I would not even look at the teacher (Ms. Meredith), and if she talked to me, I would have a meltdown. At home, my father was always out, and my mother enjoyed her sleep; neither parent emotionally available for any of us. I had three sisters at the time (the fourth came a couple of years later), but I felt alone, and I did not fit in. I always felt as if I was the outsider begging to come in from the cold. All I wanted was to feel loved and safe, but I was terrified of life and the demon that lurked among us. One night I had woken up because of a nightmare, and there was a snow storm, and in my five-year-old brain, I thought if I went out in the snow maybe God would take me. I went out in a t-shirt and underwear, no socks and went to my neighbor’s house to swing on her playset because I believed that if I swung high enough I would reach heaven. My neighbor woke up to get ready for work and found me and took me home. Again, I failed. I did not feel in control of self or body, and in walked ED.

Defiance

My mother was raising four girls primarily on her own, and in hindsight, I now know she too suffered from depression, hence the joy of sleeping all the time. We had to be outside after breakfast, and only allowed in for meal times and when the street lights started to come on, and in bed before the sun went down. Three of us had a very rigid schedule where there was no deviation without consequences. Meal times were always a battle because we were picky eaters, and of course, my father (who did most of the cooking) was not making multiple different meals. He would have, but my mother did not allow it. Yes, the right thing to do, but not the best in action steps to get us to eat. If I did not eat, my mother took that as me being defiant, and I would have to sit at the table until that meal was gone. I would sit there overnight before she would allow me to move, but that meal was served until eaten; restriction began. While sitting at the table for hours I learned that the top part of the chairs came off, and there was a huge opening that went all the way to the bottom of the chair. So, to get out of eating food I did not like, I would wait until she was not looking and stuff it down the hole; hiding began. Once I was caught doing that she started to force feed me until I would vomit, which then I had to clean, so I had to find a way to take control of an out of control situation. My five-year-old brain had some amazing critical thinking skills going on to problem-solve facing the consequences. I figured I would eat what was served as fast as I could, and go right to the bathroom the get rid of it, and that work. I felt powerful, in control of my body, and I won the war against fighting with my mother, so maybe she would love me more and keep me safe; binging and purging began.

Blame

I do not blame my parents, or just my mother for my life with ED, because she was doing what she felt was best to ensure we were eating. She did not have the tools or coping skills to do anything different, and only raised us how she was raised. I never loved my parents any less than I do today. I have a close relationship with my mom, and we have discussed a lot of this, but some things are better left unsaid. Losing my father 6 ½ years ago, I miss him more each day, and he is the reason I am beginning this blog, telling my story, and writing a recovery journal. It is not the end, but just the beginning of how I am learning that sometimes you must give up control to regain control.