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    msare posted:
    Hi, I'm new to this so here it goes- I'm 19 and have had eating disorders for 6 years. I've never been content with who I am and my body image. I know everything that I want to be. I have aspirations to be healthy and happy, but no matter how hard I try, I slip up. I binge eat when I'm bored, stressed, or sad. I hate myself for these actions. I have an average body size, but I desire so much to be thin. I used to extreme diet, but in recent years, go through periods of binging and dieting. I think about food all the time, and I cannot control myself. I wish I could stop caring and trying so hard to look good because my success is illusive. When I make progress, I only fall further. Instead of beating myself up I should just let things go. But this is impossible. Happiness does not come easy for me.
    lostkate responded:
    Hi msare,
    Welcome, you are not alone in your battle and its very hard to do it alone. Are you seeing a therapist or have a friend to talk too? I beat myself up all the time and need to learn to let things go in a healthier way than what I am doing now. It's not easy. Many people here understand what your dealing with. I never actually sat down an binged, I usually find myself eating all day, a snack here, a snack there, on and on. Then I stop eating all together. I am trying to find the middle of it all. We all slip but we keep trying, it will get better. Not having a great time lately myself.

    msare replied to lostkate's response:
    Thanks Kate,
    It's good to know people out there are trying to help by relating their stories. It is very hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. We rise and fall, but in the end, how could everything suddenly be resolved? So often, I feel hopeless and disgusted with myself. It affects all areas of my life and I have considerably low self esteem.
    I do not have a therapist and my friends and family don't know the whole extent of my struggles. I always thought that my own will power and determination could help me overcome my problems, but I am starting to realize that I cannot do it alone. I really feel the need to seek help from someone that cares about me. I have always kept my emotions locked up and tried to be independent, but it's worth a shot to let others into my hard shell.
    Thanks for the support! I hope you continue with your optimism!
    Oopsla replied to msare's response:
    Dear Msare,

    Your letter strikes a cord in me that was recently plucked. Here is my two cents.

    In many areas of our lives we have the willpower to overcome or bear many adversities. Our minds and bodies are very powerful if you give them the right attention and nutrition. All this is well but the right words or connection from the right person can push you to new heights.

    The harm is that the wrong people with the wrong words can cut us just as easily. I know for me it was easiest to ignore all people and rely on myself. This is no way to live for any length of time if you want to have a meaningful life. Your heart may be broken, demoralized, and your self esteem put to the test many times. Having guards against the bad people helps. In your mind if you hear a negative comment your have a retort in your mind.

    Friends or foes go so far and then you are alone with your own thoughts. You must find a quiet spot in your mind where you can be you if you reach out to the wrong person or if things ever get too bad. I personally would live with little rituals or sayings that kept me sane.

    Personally I found shrinks to be merely a vessel of mirrors. It is good to look through someone else's eyes at times. I never had a connection that sparked me to be better with a shrink. To think, yes. With a very few shrinks did I learn new techniques in thinking. That was cool.

    My personal recovery came from the simplest of gestures from my weightlifting partner's girlfriend. She made me put down the cookies and ice cream, made me a wholesome sandwich. I took it home. I ate it. I kept it down. And from that point forward I never looked back. Sure there were dark days, but the moment in time took the hurt away.

    So... in closing. You can get past this. And you can learn from this. Do not be ashamed or upset. And when it comes to your weight. Average is better then skinny. Average is better then overweight. being you is most important.

    msare replied to Oopsla's response:
    Dear Oops,
    I am always looking for some significant moment in my life where everything will change, where I will have an epiphany of sorts, such as the one you described. I am impressed that you had the strength to learn and improve from that single experience. That is wonderful. I've had countless moments where I believed I was beginning a new, healthy life. But these feelings never stick. Sometimes I designate Sunday, the first day of a new week, or a holiday, the day I will start fresh.

    I once went an entire year and a half without eating a scrap of junk food. Yet I wasn't happy then either. I was never skinny enough, and I was depriving myself. This time period was set off by a single day of inspiration and ended just as quickly. Since then I have been yo-yo-ing between bouts of healthiness and darkness. With me, it's all or nothing. I cannot find a happy medium, and I don't like being average. This has become who I am, but I do not respect myself for it.

    I have other issues in life that also add to my low esteem, but my own thoughts get me through most days. I am introspective and rely on my selfhood. It would be helpful to get someone else's perspective though, because after a lifetime of circling my own thoughts, I have found no lasting answers. Thank you for your input Oops because I still have not found the appropriate time to seek help from a friend or family member. I guess I need to let that guard of discomfort down, but it will take time. This struggle is a progression. I keep my hopes up that the end will be a happy one.

    Thanks again,
    Oopsla replied to msare's response:

    Through life I have found that thoughts, looks, people, ideas, well just about everything is changing. That's why you'll not see a pic of me. That is a snapshot in time that gets older every second. That is who I was then, who am I now?
    There are no steadfast rules or a perfect thoughts or a perfect world or a perfect shape.

    There is also many people who enter your life that want you to believe in them. It could be a teacher, a boy, a girl, a pastor, your mom, it could be the many commercials or ads. All of them are saying, "Msare, you should look like me, buy my product, follow my idea, or believe what I say is true."

    When you say you do not like being average what are you saying? That you believe things will be different? I would like you to consider accepting and believing in yourself for who you are right now. Because even if you lose 5 pounds or whatever you will still not believe in yourself. You are better then that.

    Concerning your comment about a year and a half without junk food. You said you were depriving yourself. Hmmm? Here is my little rant. What else are you depriving yourself of? Think of all of the areas that makes a person well balanced. Knowledge, community, nutrition, exercise, health maintenance, stimulation, exploration, comfort, security, etc. Look at all the things in your life and ask yourself if you are depriving yourself of these. Life is a journey that will be short if you just eat cookies. It will be long and dull without a cookie or two.

    Remember at the beginning I said life is ever changing so the levels you need of each category changes in the time you are in. There are no concretes, just guidelines to being happier. Right now you are depriving yourself of the love and belief in yourself. you can change that.

    I have found learning a new skill can add belief in yourself whether it is how to crotchet, mix music with a video, a dance step. etc.
    Do not deprive your life of diversity and new challenges. Thinking that I must look a certain way before I can live will only hold you back.

    Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!

    emstoy09 replied to Oopsla's response:
    I know I am butting in here . . . but, Oops, once again you have given me so much to think about and reflect on tonight. As I've said before, you have a way with words to help us all see the world a little differently.

    It is so interesting to think about all the other things in my life I am depriving myself of as result of depriving myself of food. I have deprived myself from finding new friendships, from experiencing some milestones in my friends' lives for fear of standing out in a social setting (that almost always involves food), from unknown opportunities because I was too scaredtake the risk, from the possibility of so many amazing memories I will never know . . .

    Now, to you, Msare -
    You are right that the battle with an ED is a progression. You mentioned that when you try to make progress, you only fall further. I know that feeling - sometimes I feel like everything I've tried to do in my life has been a failure. But when I really think about it, if all of the struggles in life hadn't happened as they have, I know I would not be as strong of a person as I am today. Don't get me wrong - I feel weak and hopeless and worthless many days - but, in the long run, I know I am stronger person for pushing through the depths of anorexia and depression.

    So, I want you to try to think about some of those times where you've "fallen." You are a better, stronger person because of them - otherwise, you would have only been able to fall once, right?! We are all affected and influenced by our life experiences, but those life experiences don't define us or our future. As much as we want to, we can't change the past. The best thing we can do is to push forward and know that every obstacle brings us closer to our ultimate goals.

    Don't give up, okay?!

    Just when the caterpillar thought the world would end . . .
    msare replied to emstoy09's response:
    I am depriving myself of many things in my life. So much life has passed me by because I've spent it obsessing over my body image. I try to tell myself that everyday, but I can't wrap my head around it. It is true though, and lacking these things- love, comfort, and social situations- adds to my unhappiness with myself.

    I do have an image in my head, perhaps from the media and people around me, of the perfect shape. It is my ultimate goal. My train of thought has always been that looking good and losing weight will help me believe in myself. This is the first stepping stone. Yet, I am realizing that raising my self-esteem and respecting who I am may be the foundation of becoming healthy. If I am happy, I will not need to binge eat or starve myself because of anxiety, frustration, or self-loathing. I will feel good about myself and eating and exercising right for a healthy lifestyle will follow.

    It is calming to imagine the future, uncharted and untainted by the past. We always have a chance to start over, to change for the better. I do feel like I am a stronger person because of what I have gone through, Emstoy. Some good must have come out of all the years of heartache. Yet, I am still in the middle of it. I am determined to beat it. Yes, I will have ups and downs, but I need to keep pushing forward, putting in the effort. It will be worth it. And that's interesting to think that I have fallen many times, not just once, which means, although it is exhausting, I have gotten back up many times. If everything is constantly changing than I have a choice in every moment to learn and grow and live healthily. But even if I slip there will always be another moment to try again.

    I do like the idea of trying a new skill or learning something, because part of my struggle is that I lack passion and enthusiasm for anything because of my eating disorder.

    Thank you for your insights.

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