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It feels weird to start typing, but almost like it’s time to start sharing my thoughts again. As soon as my fingers started to hit the keys, my shoulders relaxed. Maybe this is what I need right now..

Oh, where to start. I’m not even sure, but I’m sure you all want an update. Things are absolutely crazy. I work around 50 hours a week, when you combine teaching, research, and my internship. Outside of that, I train for AIDS/Lifecycle, run a student organization, and try to fit in some activism. Oh, and did I mention I’m a full-time grad student?

Everything that was posing issues before–an eating disorder, gender, figuring out my life–is still an issue. However, everything has moved forward somewhat…

Things started taking a minor turn again, and I started getting the urge to purge or restrict numerous times a day. So, I started seeing my dietitian weekly for nutritional counseling and it has been unbelievably difficult. I’m being pushed way out of my comfort zone, but I’m making progress. Slowly but surely. The past few weeks, however, I’ve realized how freaking scary that is. I literally do not know my life without an eating disorder. At any given point in my memory, my life was somehow interwoven with restricting, bingeing, purging, chewing/spitting, using diuretics or laxatives, or exercising compulsively. Thinking about my life without all of that is so unknown and so scary.

It came to a head a few weeks ago when I, sitting in my dietitian’s office, began to cry. I’ve been in therapy since my Junior year of high school and I’ve never cried. This day, however, I put down my walls, showed my vulnerability, and let go. After trying to mumble out what I was thinking amidst all those tears, my dietitian just looked over to me and said: “So what you’re saying is that you’re at a crossroads?”

I had never thought about it like that before, but yeah, that’s exactly what this feeling has been for the past 6-8 weeks. I am at a crossroads. I feel like I’ve separated myself from the eating disorder too much to ever fully go back, but that I’m not yet fully in recovery either. I’m at this weird, awkward place in the middle, where my mind is telling me to move on with my life and my heart is reminding me of the comfort, solace, and control I find in my eating disorder.

It’s almost like a new grieving process. I feel like I’m looking back at all of the ups and downs with my eating disorder and I’m trying so hard to say goodbye. I don’t quite understand why it’s so difficult (after all, I almost died because of my eating disorder), but It feels like an immense loss. It reminds me somewhat of how people describe walking away from an abusive relationship… But needless to say, regardless of how happy I “should” feel to be in recovery, at the same time, it feels like I’m grieving for the loss of an old friend, something that gave me solace and comfort in my darkest moments.

All of this vulnerability, surprisingly, has pushed me further into recovery. It has forced me to think on a daily basis about my body image, my inner dialogue, and the choices that I make every day. For the first time ever, I found the courage to open up about the role that gender plays in my body image, and how it makes the battle with my eating disorder a walking bundle of mindfucks.

For those who do not know me–I do not look like a female. I am biologically female, but identify as gender queer and feel a whole lot more like a man than I do a woman. I never really thought about how this plays into body image before, but I’ve recently realized how difficult it makes my struggle with body image, creating this duality where I want to be thin (which is common amongst women with eating disorders), but also bulky and muscular (which is more common among men). I have this thin, lean, muscular image of myself that is literally unattainable. I cannot be as muscular as I’d like to be and still be as thin as I’d like to be. I cannot be as thin as I’d like to be and still be as muscular as I’d like to be.

So that leaves me confused and unsure–in the middle of these two extremes, fighting two body image battles at the same time. Which brought me and my dietitian to a new point in my recovery last week. One thing (at least in my disordered mind) that will bring me both thinness and muscularity is exercise. I feel AMAZING when I work out. I feel in control and on top of the world. The constant negative self-talk in my head is gone. I don’t worry, I don’t think. I just am. And, like I was so afraid would eventually happen… after a year of seeing my dietitian, she called me out on it. She looked at me, took a moment of extreme seriousness, and said: “You are addicted to exercise.”

I immediately became anxious and she knew it. I have avoided the topic of exercise because I have kept it for me. I’ll talk about behaviors, I’ll talk about my family or my past, I’ll talk about how far I’ve come since I hit rock bottom in 2007. But I will not talk about exercise. And now, it’s been thrown into the forefront of my recovery. I know, deep down inside, that I do not have a healthy relationship with exercise. When I think about it, I get that same feeling in the pit of my stomach that I get when I think about my relationship with alcohol or my relationship with food. I know it is disordered.

To throw in an additional factor (which probably makes sense to everyone else), I have a torn tendon in my foot. I felt it hurting a few months ago, but could not rest. The thought of not engaging in physical activity, even if its going to the store and walking around, makes me incredibly anxious. I’m sitting here thinking about how the next few months will play out… I’ll either be in a cast or I’ll be having surgery, then be in a cast.. And I can’t bear it. I start to sweat, my anxiety increases, and I get irritable. As soon as I think about the possibility of not being able to exercise, I want to go out for a run.

And thus, although it has been so so difficult, my last session ended with me giving my dietitian a compliment. I told her that, a year ago, when I began to see her, I thought it’d be just like every other treatment in my recovery. I thought it’d be a cake walk. I’d been in treatment since the end of my freshman year in college and I had never had difficult discussions about how I really feel about my body, or about how amazing it makes me feel to engage in eating disordered behaviors. I, in 4-5 years of “recovery” never really found out what “being in recovery” even means. But.. seeing her has been so trying that I can’t even begin to explain it. I have been pushed far beyond what is comfortable.

It’s not easy, and it surely keeps my head spinning. I lay in bed at night, looking back on what my life was. I couldn’t function. I honestly couldn’t tell you who my professors were or where I had class my freshman year, because my days were spent in the gym and not in class. I looked my doctor in the eyes, she told me I had months to live if I didn’t commit to recovery, and I went home and purged. I kept a tally of the number of times I purged in a week next to the toilet so that I didn’t have to think when I saw my “treatment team” the next week and they asked me.

My moments with Ed all blurred together and I had a life with Ed. I didn’t think that I was one of those people. But I was. And I still am.

For the first time ever in my life, I have begun to figure out who I am outside of Ed. Fully.

Recovery seems closer to me than the eating disorder. Really exciting, but very scary.


I’ve had a couple of really solid appointments lately, with both my dietitian and my therapist. Things are starting to slowly fall into place. However, there’s a big, scary thought boiling on the backburner when things start to go well…

Who am I without all of this? Who am I in general?

I’ve had a set of goals–a dream, a passion, a reason for living–since I was only five. I know that I was meant to go into medicine, and that I was meant to help people. That is what I was born to do.

But outside of that, who am I? In some ways, I feel like life since the eating disorder crashed has been a big blur. Clinically, actually, I’ve probably had an eating disorder since I was about six. But when things escalated and crashed right before my freshman year of college, and I began the quick descent into anorexia and bulimia, life just went all into one big blur.

My dietitian and I have spent a lot of time talking about what things used to be like and where I am now. At first, I just didn’t want to talk about it. But, like usual, I eventually realized she was right. Minimizing the past has allowed to be okay with where I am now.  We laugh about it, and she brings up every past behavior (sometimes just to be an ass and prove her point). Restricting? Bingeing? Purging? Chewing/Spitting? Laxatives? Diuretics? Exercise Addiction? Keeping the room cold?
All of it has made me realize how much letting go is similar to grieving, even if you’re letting go of something so painful and terrible.

My sessions, I’m finding lately, have been a time of ultimate release. I let go. I open up, I use my voice, and I speak. I also feel a lot of pain and think more than is comfortable.

I finally trying to be honest with myself and say all of the things that I’ve been so afraid to admit…

The common phrase I’ve heard countless fellow Ed patients utter–“I just want my life back, I just want to be me again,” has a whole new meaning these days.

Who am I without my eating disorder?

Honestly, I’m not sure I know. It’s become such a huge part of my life. Some of it is just instinct now–my mind naturally spinning numbers, always looking for the room to be a little colder than comfortable, constantly moving, trying to sway the caloric balance in “my favor.”

I’m looking forward to figuring it out. Deep down, I know I’m still me. Allison, the alcoholic, anoretic, bulimic child is becoming Alex–the sober, recovering adult. With freedom actually in the distance–I can almost see it–I can’t help but be afraid. Everything that happens from here on out is new. A new experience with new feelings. Seen under a different light, one that is sober, letting go of numbers, and so much wiser.

Sorry it has been so long since I’ve updated last! Things have been nuts with summer classes, all of my activities, as well as training for my 98 mile walk for Marriage Equality.

In terms of recovery from my eating disorder, I think it is safe to say that everyone was a little nervous about how the walk would impact my life, my health, and my recovery. However, I had faith and the will to make sure it was a positive impact, and not a negative one. It was great to have such health and positive thoughts today. About 7 miles into my training walk, I realized that I was getting hungry. Thus, I stopped, and I ate.

It seems like a simple step to someone else, but for someone with an eating disorder, this can be an incredibly difficult concept to grasp. After all, the purpose of exercise is to burn calories, right? So why would someone EAT on a walk?? Well, thats what I used to think. And its crazy how much I’ve grown to appreciate my body and what it does for me. A 98 mile journey for a cause is a very long and arduous task. I would not be able to accomplish the walk, or even my longer training walks, without a body that is sturdy, strong, and healthy. It’s nuts how I’ve actually grown to believe all of those “corny” sayings in Ed pamphlets about “appreciating your body” and wanting to “fuel it so you have the power to do the things you like.”

I’ve had a couple of really great appointments with my team, and I’m excited about making progress. I’ve made big steps that I never thought I’d be able to (such as switching to 2% milk and being open and honest enough to give myself some constructive criticism and evaluate my progress in recovery). Recovery, as we all know, takes an enormous amount of effort, but I am approaching it with a new sense of resolve.

One thing I realized is that i always walk into appointments as if everything is going fine and dandy. By talking about this with my therapist, I realized it is because I always take time to think about what is going on with my life, what I want to talk about, etc. prior to going into an appointment. Thus, everything seems pretty clear and I have a good amount of insight into what’s happening, as I’ve taken the time to reflect and reevaluate.

So, we decided to try to expand that. See if doing that every day, whether or not I have an appointment coming up, helps me to move on from day to day and to get through little setbacks and then also help me to gain positive momentum during good times.

So, every night, I’ve started to ask myself: What went well today? What didn’t go so well? How am I feeling about everything that happened today? Did I use any ineffective coping mechanisms?

I write these on a mental “whiteboard,” another concept that we came up with in my session. Thus, I get the time to “write it down,” evaluate my day, and learn any lessons that I can from what happened. The next morning, when I start my day, I “clear my whiteboard” or give myself a clean slate for the day. Anything that happened before is done and over with. I can learn lessons, but I cannot “look back to yesterdays notes” to decide what I should compensate for, whether that be “extra” calories or faults from the previous day.

Taking a few minutes out every day to reflect really has been helping to decrease my stress. It seems like no big deal, but as we all know, when you get busy its easy to say “I’m tired, I just want to go to bed.” and put off those two minutes to the next day. And then the next day, and next day, and so on. Thus, I’m making myself “just do it” and I’m thinking it’ll be a positive boost in my recovery!

Some super cool Pink socks for my walk!

Hives from the Sun--An unfortunate roadbloack!

If you all would like to check out my website for my walk, go to

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

After writing my goodbye letter to Ed (previous entry), thinks food-wise got a little off. I couldn’t really determine why. After all, I had just wrote a strong letter denouncing my eating disorder and saying that I didn’t need it anymore.

Finally, after a lot of thinking (and crying), I realized that it was most likely because I didn’t have the support I needed after writing. I usually see my therapist and dietitian biweekly, and I hadn’t/haven’t seen any of them in over a month! Things have been very tight with money (mostly due to errors made by stupid companies!–how frustrating!).

I’m realizing that I’m getting extremely discouraged because of how things are going, and cannot wait to see my therapist next week. She doesn’t really know about anything–gender stuff, food stuff, my sobriety…

It’ll be good to get some of this off my chest. However, just thinking about it, I’m getting overwhelmed. I have so much to update her about, how can I ever fit it all into 50 minutes?!?

Until I get to see my dietitian again, I’m going to try to set some solid goals for myself. I would like to try to start eating more mindfully, pausing at intervals to determine how I’m feeling. I’d also like to make a more concerted effort to food journal for the majority of meals, and to ask myself what I’m really in the mood for. On that same note, I’d like to start listening to my cravings and what I am in the mood for! I’m realizing that ignoring how I’m feeling emotionally just leads to poor decisions later. Finally, I’d like to try to slow down and take a step back when I start to feel overwhelmed/stressed. Instead of restricting or bingeing, I’d like to step back and ask myself “Why are you feeling like you need to?”

I’m feeling really overwhelmed without the professional support from my therapist and dietitian, but I think these are some great steps to take in the meantime.

More exciting news: I’m going on vacation this weekend. My partner and I are heading to Vegas, and stopping at a Nature Conservancy walk on the way. We’re also hitting up a baseball game tomorrow night. As if that wasn’t enough, I’ll also be meeting her mom for the first time! It should be a jam packed weekend.