Life with Ed, Part 1: In the Beginning

I have been writing this blog for over a year now, and I pride myself on being extremely candid and open. I try to be completely honest with you, my readers,  because I value honesty above all else in others (Being lied to for an entire relationship will do that to you.  I’m not bitter, it’s fine.). That being said, there is one area in which I have not been open about on this blog, and I feel like now is the right time to address it. In a series of posts over the next few weeks, I will be sharing with you my 11-year battle with what I would probably call my best friend and my worst enemy – my eating disorder.

Maybe you’re shocked. Maybe you’re not. Take a moment to regroup or get another brownie, since that’s what we all do when watching the Biggest Loser (don’t even try to act like you don’t) and this is along the same lines.

You know you've done it.

You know you’ve done it.

You might be asking “why now?” There are a couple of reasons. First, I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a long time, but it never seemed right until a few weeks ago. Spreading awareness and understanding of the seriousness of eating disorders is extremely important to me, but I normally do it on a one on one basis. Second, I am about to have major surgery (February 19th, by the way) that is going to impact my eating habits forever and there is a lot of psychological stuff that comes along with that, and I’m trying to work through it. I have hinted at my body image issues on the blog before, but never really gone into depth. While on a business trip to Charleston recently for work, I stopped in for lunch at my favorite local burrito place, where I am a regular and know the owners. I had just finished running with Amanda, so I was wearing a tank top and shorts. This is the conversation that transpired:

Burrito guy : “You look great!”

Me: “Thanks! Can you add just a little bit of ranch dressing, please?” Side note: he always makes my burrito and knows what a tiny amount I was talking about.

Burrito guy: Puts extra ranch on. Stares at me daring me to challenge him. Smirks.

Me: “You know that’s too much, haha!”

Burrito guy: “Yeah, I know, but we gotta put a little more meat on those bones!”

Me: “Actually, I’m trying to lose meat, so let’s not.”

Burrito guy: “Are you kidding? What are you, anorexic or something?”

Having heard things like this my whole life, I have trained myself to remain calm and not overreact. People joke about things all the time. Breathe.

Me: fake laughing  “Clearly not, but you shouldn’t joke about things like that. Anorexia is serious!”

Burrito guy: “Yeah no shit you’re not anorexic, I make you a giant burrito every day!”

Burrito guy #2: “Hahahahaha that’s right, because she’s bulimic!” Both burrito guys laugh hysterically.

That’s when my face fell. It occurred to me that so few people understand eating disorders: what they are, what causes them, how they’re treated, and most importantly, how serious they are. We hear jokes about them all the time. You see a picture of an anorexic girl or a skinny model and think “oh, just give her a cheeseburger and she’ll be fine!” I’m not going to go into all of those topics today, because this is a series of blogs, meaning I can’t wait to leave you glued to your seats for those details in future posts. For today, I’m just going to tell you my story, because that is the one I know best. First, some basics.

Who is Ed? Ed is a “name” that some eating disorder patients give to their illness to try and personify the disease in an attempt to give us something tangible to fight back against. ED = Eating Disorder, get it?

What this post is about: I’m going to tell you my story and describe my battle with anorexia and bulimia. This post will cover the first half of the 11+ years I’ve spent struggling with my eating disorder.

What this post is not about:  This post is not about blaming anyone. It’s also not about the symptoms, types of eating disorders, etc – none of the technical stuff. I’m not going to go in depth into my thought process right now. That will come in a later post in this series. I figure you need to hear what I have to say before you care about any of that, since most people cannot even fathom living this way. We’ll get to the technical bits, the recovery process, etc – today is just the background info.

What I’m looking for from you: An open mind. That’s it. I expect you to be disgusted, sad, angry, amazed, intrigued, sympathetic – whatever. I’ve felt all those emotions and I understand that you will too. I hope that this blog series will help you understand even a little bit more about someone you know (because statistically, there is someone you know) that is dealing with these same issues.

Disclaimer: This is a series of posts about my experiences with anorexia and bulimia.  Many of the things I discuss could be extremely triggering if you are dealing with an eating disorder, so please read at your own risk. I am not an doctor or a therapist. I am simply telling you my story.

I’m your stereotypical eating disorder patient. White female, upper-middle class upbringing, Type-A personality, all of that.  I grew up in a sheltered little world where pretty much everyone was smart, everyone’s family had money, and everyone was destined for greatness, or so our parents would have us believe. My parents were no different, and I grew up knowing that I was capable of being anything I wanted to be, and I had a duty to the world to live up to my potential – whatever that means. I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew I was going to do it and be something special. Nothing conceited or narcissistic about it; in my mind, these were facts. My parents were pretty strict with my brother and me growing up. We had a tight limit on the amount of tv we were allowed to watch and the shows were carefully screened. We had an 8 pm bed time through elementary school unless we were reading books (great for me, but my brother fell asleep every night at precisely 8:01 pm). We were only allowed to play educational computer games, but those were the only ones I liked anyway. Play time was outside, and we had chores, and dinner was healthy and eaten as a family every night. Piano lessons were a requirement beginning for me at age three and a half, and practice was mandatory. My parents were determined to give my brother and me the advantages that they didn’t have, and I was used to the structured environment.

My parents are thin, and my extended family generally is as well. There was an emphasis on maintaining a healthy weight, getting plenty of exercise, and eating healthy food, but not overly so. Like any middle-aged woman, my mother was concerned about her appearance and her weight, and as an overly observational child, comments she made seemed to stick with me longer than they maybe should have. “Every brownie you eat will stick straight to your thighs!” She drank Slim-Fast shakes and did occasional diets to keep her weight where she wanted it. I heard a lot that she weighed 107 pounds when she got married, a number which meant nothing to me when I was 10 and everything when I was 16. I personally didn’t weigh over 100 pounds until I was 16, which was very difficult for me to accept at the time. I was a very skinny kid, but healthy and normal, I guess. Just scrawny.

My dad is taking the picture, so you'll just have to trust me that he is skinny too.

My dad is taking the picture, so you’ll just have to trust me that he is skinny too.

The steep decline started when I began going to church when I was about 15 in an attempt to quell my overwhelming fear of death and eternity (another post for another day), and in my not-so-religious family, this wasn’t a huge hit. My parents were on the edge of ok with it, even if they found it a bit odd, but that all changed when I met my high school boyfriend on a missions trip for church. Suddenly, I was hanging out with his very religious family, spending all my time at church, bible study, and the rest of it, and my parents thought it was weird at least, and cult behavior at worst. It was a Methodist church, for the record, but my parents are very vigilant about such things. This new focus caused a great deal of friction in my life at home and especially in my head, with my parents pulling me one way and my new boyfriend-slash-omg-the-like-total-love-of-my-16-year-old-life-SWOON and his friends and family pulling me the other. I had two very controlling entities clashing and I felt like I wasn’t allowed to make any decisions for myself without receiving backlash from one side or another. Whether this was actually true or not, I don’t know. I just know I felt helpless.

It’s hard to remember how it started at first. I was disturbed by what was going on in my life and disturbed by the fact that I suddenly weighed 100 whole pounds and climbing, and I was depressed. I guess I felt like the hunger I felt echoed the hollowness inside me, so I cut my calories back tremendously. I didn’t have a method for it back then; I just didn’t eat much. I’d move food around on my plate, throw my lunch away at school, and I was never much of a breakfast eater anyway. Each pound I lost was a ringing little victory in my mind, and every piece of food that I didn’t eat made me feel like I had power over my own life.  I also got a sick satisfaction from people noticing how thin I was. My high school history teacher called me out of class after seeing my jeans hanging off my very prominent hip bones and asked me if I was ok. I told her I had pneumonia. A girl I barely knew at the time told me that she had suffered from an eating disorder and knew the signs when she saw them – I told her I had been really sick and not able to eat for a few months. All of these comments just told me I was on the right track.

I will not go into much detail about any of my relationships, but my relationship with my high school boyfriend was one that disturbed even his family and friends, which maybe should have been a sign. He was a year older than me, a football and baseball player, and I fell head over heels in love with him in the way only teenagers can fall. He was everything to me and he could do no wrong in my eyes. His own parents expressed concern over the way he ordered me around and warned me that he was unequivocally selfish, but they loved me and loved that I was with him. His friends couldn’t believe the way I put up with him, but they loved him in their own way too, and they loved us together. When he went off to college, I did a little bit better because he wasn’t around as much to dictate my free time. I reconnected with some of my friends and still saw him almost every weekend and counted down the days until I could be at the University of Miami with him.

He'd probably rather not be seen in this post.

He’d probably rather not be seen in this post.

When I got there, it was a living nightmare.  He had a drinking problem so serious that his fraternity approached me about it. (Seriously, take a moment to process that. I mean, really.) Our relationship deteriorated every day and I looked for ways to fill up my time so I wouldn’t have to be around him. I joined a sorority and then every other club I could find. And I stopped eating. My daily food intake consisted of one 280-calorie Subway sub each day that I spent two hours in the gym working off. My weight plummeted and I began to get sores on my body from where my bones rubbed together. Walking through campus, I remember wondering why everyone was staring at me, so I asked my boyfriend. He said “It’s because you look like a fucking skeleton and you’re disgusting.” I somehow felt so bad and couldn’t have been more pleased at the same time. The size 00 jeans stopped fitting, so I switched to kids’ clothes. Eventually, my college roommate sat me down. “I know what you’re doing,” she said, “and I’m going to tell your mother if you don’t start eating.” “Ok,” I thought. “Challenge accepted.”

I had heard about bulimia long ago, of course. Everyone had. I have to say that it didn’t really make sense to me as a fairly logical person. You eat a whole bunch of food and then throw it up or take laxatives to flush it out? That doesn’t make any damn sense. Why not just not eat to begin with? Well, once the jig was up and my roommate was threatening me, it was the obvious solution. I would just eat a normal amount and then throw it up. It would be like it never happened. Maybe it would be even better because I could still feel like ate but not have any of the effects! WHY didn’t I think of this before? So that’s what I did. Everything that went down my throat came back up. I became a true expert at not only throwing up, but throwing up quietly. Of course, my roommate and dorm friends weren’t dumb and figured out where I was going, so they would follow me to the bathroom and try and wait me out, but there is no waiting out someone who is that sick. I wasn’t even particularly disgusted with myself – I was kind of impressed. “Look how smart I am! I have everyone fooled!” Right. The strange thing about purging is that it isn’t as effective as you’d think. Having been so deprived for so long, every calorie I consumed stuck to my body in the oddest places – my knees got fat, and my wrists seemed bigger. Everything was disjointed and out of whack, and even though I was still able to continue my compulsions, I wasn’t getting the same results. It made me even more insane.

Over the summer, at a conference I attended at the University of Maryland for Greek leaders, I found myself confessing my eating disorder to a group of total strangers as we were asked about the biggest challenges in our lives. It felt good to say out loud the pain I felt inside, and I left that conference with a new resolve to break up with my boyfriend for good, transfer schools, and maybe get some help with that pesky eating disorder that had been plaguing me.

When I got home, I broke up with my boyfriend for good. Then, I told my parents that I thought I might need some help. It’s hard to tell if they believed me at the time.  I don’t think they understood the true depth of how sick I really was, but what parent wants to believe their child is intentionally harming themselves despite knowing the risks? See, I knew that what I was doing was dangerous and not normal. I knew how sad I was, and I knew I didn’t want to live that way forever. I had heard enough times that I had a problem, and I knew those people were right. Although part of my brain knew I was sick, part didn’t care. I found the routine very comforting. So my parents took me to the Renfrew Center, which is an eating disorder treatment center that has installations around the country. I was lucky enough to have one practically in my back yard, and I began going their for treatment. I got described my first antidepressants and my first diagnosis – Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). At the time, there was no diagnosis for someone who was anorexic but also purged their food without the binging behaviors associated with bulimia. I had symptoms of both that I had combined to make a delightful little eating disorder cocktail that fit my lifestyle. My parents were in complete denial by this point. When told that I would probably be fighting this disorder my entire life, as most patients do, my dad said very matter of factly: “No way. She’ll be fine in 6 months.” I don’t know if it was denial, optimism, or a foolish amount of faith in me, but they didn’t want to see me for what I was back then.  I have my own theories as to why, but I think ultimately it comes down to the fact that every parent wants their kid to be healthy, happy, and normal. I was none of those things, and that’s hard to swallow when you’ve spent the better part of your life working hard to give your kid everything. I can’t say I blame them.

The Renfrew Center was the first residential eating disorder treatment facility in the U.S.

The Renfrew Center was the first residential eating disorder treatment facility in the U.S.

I decided to transfer to the University of Maryland to get away from my boyfriend and a fresh new start away from all the perceived perfect bodies I saw at Miami. My father was none too pleased about the decision – I had a full scholarship to Miami and Maryland was an out of state school that offered me some scholarship money, but nowhere near as much as Miami. I didn’t care. I started working 3 jobs to save money and swore I would take out loans if I had to. My father is someone who appreciates both hard work and stubbornness, and I had both, so eventually he relented and I got my wish. Of course, the whole summer I was in treatment but panicking about what the fall would bring, so the problems continued. I threw up everything I ate, and I began to only eat white foods – apples, white rice, and yogurt – for reasons I can’t entirely explain. My fellow lifeguards made fun of me while becoming increasingly horrified admiring how thin I got.

Before transferring to Maryland, my parents and I made a deal. I had a nutritionist, group therapy, and individual therapy, and a psychiatrist, and I had to go to all of them and weigh in each week or they’d pull me out of school. “Good,” I thought, “another challenge. I like challenges.”

91 thoughts on “Life with Ed, Part 1: In the Beginning

  1. Vernita

    That was intense Danielle but im proud of you for getting better i can’t imagine the feelings but i hope this does help someone.

    1. Thanks girl :) I appreciate your support!!

  2. pbrockm

    Thank you for sharing. So many of us have had these experiences and they are never easy to read. I remember when I had to start shopping in the little boys department for clothes, when I was in college. I would eat 1/2 of a granola bar as my daily meal, and made a ritual out of the chewing. So sad. Now, years later, I still hate my body, but I accept it and know my perception will never change. I have a healthy lifestyle, but the demons are still there. Thanks for your honesty.

    1. That is exactly where I am at right now. I know I will never think the “right” way about myself, so right now I’m just focusing on the behavior. That is all we can do, right?

  3. Kacey

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Thank you for reading!

  4. I love you. Thank you for sharing your story. This hits a lot of tender parts of me. One of my closest childhood friends died from anorexia (heart attack) when we were about 18. Her decline was excruciating to watch (and colors many of my most vivid high school memories), but at that age I didn’t have a full appreciation for her sickness — I considered it a choice. As an adult, I wish I could go back and treat Katie differently, try to be there for her in better ways than my teenage self could. The more people hear personal stories like yours, the better equipped we all will be to support those with this incredibly powerful illness. So thank you, again and again, for talking about your life with “Ed” so candidly. You never know whose life you could save.

    1. Michelle, your comment hits so close to home and highlights so many of the issues I am trying to touch on. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you’ll tell Katie’s story and share with people the ways in which you would handle it if you had it to do over. I’ve seen my own family and friends feel so helpless and it’s easy to understand why. I’ll be doing a post on “how to help” coming up. Thank YOU again.

  5. I applaud you for being open about this. It’s good to know you have people to support you and I’m sure posting about this will show you that. We’re behind you 100%!

    1. :) Love you Smills!

  6. Wow. Powerful post. You’re very brave to share and I know you’ll help lots of people with your story.

    1. Thank you! I hope so.

  7. Anonymous

    Such an important topic. Your honesty is admirable. I think more women then we realize, and I think increasing number of men, struggle with eating disorders. I think this is more true in athletes. It took 43 years for me to START getting okay with my body. Just when I was starting, I had a personal trainer take my measurements and then tell me I was bordering on obesity. It took weeks for me to get clear in my head that he was an idiot and I was not obese. I hope this series is therapeutic for you and helps you to continue to love yourself for who you are, you are an amazing young woman. Keep up the good work:-)

    1. The fact that so many athletes, both male and female, suffer from eating disorders is part of what inspired me to write this all down. I’m just one in a huge community where this type of behavior is sometimes admired, even if unintentionally – we always want to be in better shape, leaner, etc – not always realizing what someone might be doing to achieve that. I hope one day I’m ok with my body, but I’m not holding my breath. For now, I just need to control my behavior and stay physically healthy. The rest of me will catch up one day! Thanks for reading :)

  8. Very brave, but also very important that you delve into this topic. We (runners) are great about sharing. Often sharing way more than most (read: sane) people care to hear about. But, we also tend to encourage people, whether we intend to or not. Often our actions inspire others to get of the couch and get moving or at least live a little healthier. I think taking this step will do the same. If just one person reads this and gets help that they need, or stop joking about it, then I think you have succeeded. Also on the note of runners, eating disorders are way too prevalent. Just look at many high school and girls cross country teams and you can easily see an epidemic. Maybe a teenage girl somewhere will read this and start to feel a little better about her body image. Good blog, Danielle.
    - Jay

    1. Amen, Jay. The prevalence of eating disorders in the running community is part of what inspired me to write this post!

  9. "Jane"

    I’m in awe of your bravery. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you, and thank you for reading!

  10. Sam

    Thanks for sharing. I’m just sorry I wasn’t more there for you at the time.

    1. <3

  11. Bari

    Loved you then, love you always! Little did I know I was dealing with similar issues (obsessive exercise to reduce caloric intake) at the same time. Still hard to talk about. <3

    1. Oy vey, RT 2 was a mess! I love you, roomie!

  12. Hats off, for sharing such a personal story. Keep it up and I hope that soon you will be able to make peace with yourself.

    1. Maybe one day! You’ll have to stay tuned to find out :)

  13. Danielle, thanks for sharing this. I can totally relate, and, while my story is much different, it means to so much to hear how other people have coped with similar situations. This line – “I’m your stereotypical eating disorder patient. White female, upper-middle class upbringing, Type-A personality, all of that.” is something that just screamed out to me and it was like looking in a mirror! What’s interesting about marathon addicts is that you tend to hear a lot of stories like this where marathoning has become the new addiction, myself included. Thanks for writing about this and I look forward to the future posts in the series.

    1. Poor little rich white girls, right? I wish I could say that marathoning has completely replaced my other addiction, but it’s as close as anything will ever come. I guess there are a whole lot of us out there that can relate in some way, which is kind of the whole point of the series – we’re never alone.

  14. Erin

    Thank you. As a former anorexic who still struggles with poor body image your post hits home. Running has helped me feel better about my body, but after putting on a couple pounds while taking a break to nurse an overuse injury, my first instinct is to cut way back on my food intake and find ways to skip meals without my kids noticing. But, I know that they see what I do and they notice when I don’t eat with them. They keep me honest. I refuse to pass this on to my daughter (or son), so I model the healthy relationship with food I wish I had. Thank you for your honesty. There are so many of us with your story.

    1. It’s funny because running and exercise are a trigger for so many people, but for me (and you), it is like a lifeline. I am terrified of having kids because of exactly what you posted. Knowing that my children will have the genetic component (and if I’m not very careful, the environmental component) is absolutely terrifying. I hope I can force myself to be a good role model like you, even on the days when I don’t want to. Thank you for sharing!

  15. Anonymous

    Thanks for posting.. My teenage daughter has depression and dabbles in eating disorders. She goes to therapy and we both know that both of these are lifelong conditions that will ebb and flow. I appreciate you being candid, as you can help so many others learn about what is going on & talk about it instead of just ignoring it! Good luck !

    1. Thank you! I am going to be doing a post in the series later on about what to say (and what not to say) and how to help someone who is struggling. You are already so far ahead of most people by just understanding that this is a lifetime thing! Your daughter is very lucky.

  16. Anonymous

    I love you my precious and so very thankful for your voice. You. Are. A blessing.

    1. I love you too :)

  17. I wrote about mine too. Mine is a food addiction that’s complicated and I was obese. But I’ve teetered at all ends and dabbled with all not saying lightly in my attempts to cure myself. I certainly don’t judge. Just hugs and understanding. My roots are in abuse but food was still at the center.

    1. As you know, food is a crutch used by so many people for so many reasons. I’ll be talking about all eating disorders, including binge eating disorder, in a future post coming up. It’s not as easy for everyone as society wants us to believe!

  18. You are right to focus on behaviors right now…but please don’t say that you will ‘never think the right way’ about yourself. How you choose to see yourself is just that – your choice. You are not doomed to anorectic thinking for the rest of your life.

    I know something of which I speak – I am 49, and I was anorexic from age 13 through about age 23. I continued to ‘think anorexic thoughts’ for a long time after my apparent physical recovery..but as I learned to love myself, and be compassionate toward myself, and learn the role forgiveness plays in my own health…I left those thoughts behind.

    You’re a runner – you know that strength and speed do not come all at once. Neither does peace of mind, or self-love – they are things you work toward, and like running, there is as much reward in the journey as the destination.

    Today I posted a story about my own battle with anorexia. I link to it here as a friend (and an enemy of ED!) http://dld.bz/cdJnX

    Good luck to you!

    1. Oops, I guess I should have mentioned, I am a runner too, which is what drew me to your post in the first place. I run marathons and ultras. It’s a sport that can aid and abet an ED if you let it ,but it’s also a sport that gives back for your whole life. Today I run and never ever think of the calories burned etc. I just run for the total joy of running & competing.

      1. That’s very true. Exercise is a trigger for so many people, and I’m fortunate to be one of the people running has helped. I can’t say I never am affected by it, but mostly it has been a blessing.

    2. I suppose right now it’s hard to envision thinking the “right way” about myself ever, but this is a marathon, so I just have to keep going. Your recovery gives me hope! Thank you for sharing your post.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Honestly, comments like the ones from the Burrito guys make me so angry. People say such thoughtless things without considering the impact they could be having on someone else.

    Sharing stories like yours can really help other people understand themselves, and people they care about. Sometimes we know something is wrong, but we don’t have the words to put it together. You’re helping give people the words.

    1. The thing is, I really see myself as being pretty hard to offend. I’m not very sensitive about most things, but joking about eating disorders is not funny, especially because statements like that are triggers for so many people and could send them over the edge. A few years ago, something like that would have caused an instant relapse. I hope by telling my story over the next few weeks, we can start to change that.

  20. So proud of you for having the courage to share this. I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but I don’t think we need to know each other to show that you have support around the world. I look forward to reading the rest of this series and wish you a speedy recovery after your surgery.

    1. You are absolutely right, Mari. The recovery community is global!

  21. Thank you for sharing Danielle. I am a high school teacher with a student who recently revealed her eating disorder to me. Her parents are somewhat in denial too (less her stepmom than her dad). I’m going to share this link with her and hopefully she’ll find hope in your story.

    1. There are a lot more posts to come, so I hope she will follow along. Also, if you or her need help, advice, or just want to talk, you can always email me at thetrexrunner@gmail.com!

  22. Great post, very elegantly laid out. It’s unfortunate that so many people have these issues and I wonder if it is just because of the crazy bodies we try to achieve or if its just people are more comfortable talking about it now. I have definitely had / have my own issues but like to think everything is in more control than it used to be. I do worry that I’ll never get to what i perceive as “comfortable / normal”. Only time will tell, thanks for sharing.

    1. I have my own theories as to why, which I will cover in a future post. I think it’s easy to blame the media, but I’m not so sure that’s what it is. I kind of think it’s the immense pressure a lot of us are under to achieve achieve achieve, but maybe that’s just me. I completely understand teetering on the edge of control, so I’m right there with you.

  23. Ian

    Thank you for writing this. This is important, and you write very well.

    1. Thank you, Ian!

  24. Perhaps the great truth of life is that anyone who is truly aware will never be “comfortable” with who they are. I envy those who are, but in the end, it is better to be self aware and a bit scared of who we are than be the mindless sheep who refuse to question. Thank you for sharing this. I envy your courage.

    1. That’s very sage wisdom, and I think you’re right. I’m incredibly self aware, and I think that’s part of the problem. As they say, ignorance is bliss.

  25. Thank you for sharing this post. When I was at school one of my friends had anorexia, I didn’t really understand it at the time or what she was really going through and felt hopeless, so this has really hit home to me.

    I imagine almost everyone who reads this will be able to relate in some way, whether they suffer with an eating disorder themselves or know someone who did/does, you never know how many lives this post could save.
    Hope you have a speedy recovery from your op!

    1. It’s very hard to understand if you have never gone through it, which is why I’m writing this post. I don’t expect people to really “get it,” but if I can shed some light on the thought process, that will be a victory in itself. Thanks for reading!

  26. Thank you for sharing the beginnings of your relationship with Ed. I can’t imagine how hard it is to struggle with such a disorder. *HUGS* to you..

    1. Thanks for reading, Michelle!

  27. Marcie

    Thank you for sharing- your story will help so many. I love your blog and your honesty (and your sense of humor :) As both a runner and someone who has had ED issues, I can totally relate.

    1. Thank you, Marcie!!

  28. Patty

    Great post Danielle! Thanks for sharing your story! You definitely are “something special” to so many of us!!

    1. Thanks Patty :)

  29. John

    Thanks for sharing I had a sister dealing with Ed when I was in college and she was in high school, it was very difficult for me to understand at first, but now I have a better understanding. Your story about the burrito guys really hit home with me. It really is crazy when you hear what people say to their friends, family, and complete strangers about weight. I am always very tuned in when I hear that stuff because of my sister. Our society sets up some horrific views of beauty. Thanks for sharing and remember it is a lifetime of battles up and down the rollercoaster-stay strong and surround yourself with people who know your inner beauty!

    1. I’m glad to hear you were able to gain some understanding, John. It’s really hard to understand as someone going through it, much less someone who is not, so I definitely get why it is difficult for family and friends to relate. It really IS crazy how we talk to people we don’t even know and the jokes we make without understanding how devastating they can be, but if this series of posts stops one person from saying something like that in the future, mission accomplished.

  30. Leslie Kelpsch

    Thank you so much for telling your story. I can’t imagine how hard it was to make the decision to share this with all of us, most of whom you’ve never met. I commend you for your courage. Keep it up. Looking so forward to meeting you up in Kenosha in May. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Leslie! It will be great to meet you in Wisconsin!

  31. Mike

    We are all broken in some way – I can feel the exhale coming out of you when I read this – you are going to help so many people by sharing your story. Thank you

    1. Thank you, Mike!

  32. Sue

    This post is HUGE. You are a strong, brave, and incredible person for being so raw and writing this. If you help even ONE person by sharing your story, your battle with Ed will have been for some good.
    Like so many girls (yep, include me in that rich white girl category!) I starved myself down to 78 pounds when I was 15. My parents were in denial, and the more they denied the more I starved. I just wanted their attention, for pete’s sake! While I can’t say that I’m 100% fine now, 22 years later, I am in a MUCH better place than I was. I never ever want my beautiful 6-year-old girl to grow up struggling with food and body image like I did.
    Some of these comments are SPOT ON. SO MANY runners hide their disorder behind their running. I am not one of them, but I am hyper-aware of what they are doing. I have two friends who run compulsively but are in such denial because what they’re doing is “healthy”.
    There is a fine balance between embracing an activity you love and disordered behaviors/thinking.
    Thank you again for sharing. I can’t wait to read subsequent posts because I’m looking forward to the “happy ending”.

    1. You are absolutely right, Sue. Sometimes our brains get so twisted that I don’t even think we can tell the difference even if we tried. I’m writing this series in hopes of helping others recognize signs and reach out to those who need help too. We could all benefit from a little more awareness on this topic, obviously. Thanks for reading!

  33. Huge step for you Danielle! You should be way more than proud of yourself!

    1. Thanks Susan :)

  34. Janetp

    Wow, from what I can see you’ve come a long way. Good for you! Keep it up! I appreciate you sharing such a personal story. Best of luck to you as you move forward on your journey. I will send you good vibes for your surgery. Can’t hurt!

    1. Thanks for the good vibes, Janet! There’s more of the story to come :)

  35. bobbi

    When I got your post via email, I was like Ed who? :) Thank you for sharing. Hopefully people will have more compassion-even if they don’t “get it”. Much like my nephew who committed suicide-unless you have been thru depression, you can’t really relate.
    But You are admired for your honesty-people like what You write-I can see this will have an impact. Can’t wait to hear ‘the rest of the story” (to paraphrase Paul Harvey)

    1. Anonymous

      Admiring you for your raw honesty, respecting you for your courageous voice. Thank you for sharing your journey.

      1. Thank you for reading!

    2. Oh you know, my frenemy Ed :) Thanks for reading! I know it’s hard for people to relate, and it’s even harder for people who don’t know what it entails, so I’m trying to help everyone understand whether they want to or not, hehe!

  36. That was a very intense post, but I’m really glad you’re doing this series. As someone who struggled heavily with body image through all of high school and into my 20s and dabbled with bulimia (I could never manage to make myself just stop eating and it took a while to getting a hang of the throwing up thing), I can definitely appreciate the seriousness. The raw honesty is appreciated and I think its especially great that you’re including something like this on a running blog considering the prevalence of eating disorders in female runners and athletes in general.

    Looking forward to your next post!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment and for reading! As you pointed out, this is a huge issue in the running community, which is why I think this forum is so appropriate. I must use my tremendous popularity and influence for good instead of evil :)

  37. I am at the opposite end of the spectrum – binge eating and emotional eating issues. I flirted with binging and purging when I was in college. What you say about your Type A personality and trying to control something in your life resonates with me a lot. Also the burrito guys – it’s amazing the casual comments that people can make about weight without even thinking how it might affect someone or completely throw them off track. You just never know what someone might be going through on the inside. Thanks for sharing – I’m sure this series took a lot of courage and emotional strength for you to write.

    1. I try really hard not to overreact to things people say unintentionally, but that conversation was such a big wake up call for me. A year ago, that would have triggered a huge relapse. I’ve thrown up their burritos a thousand times. I’m debating the merits of sending them this series, or at least discussing it with them…but that would be real awkward. Thanks for your comment and your encouragement!

  38. Caroline W

    I’m so proud of you! You are honest and amazing. You have support and love! Remember that always!!

    1. Thanks love! I am lucky to have wonderful friends.

  39. Thanks so much for posting honestly about this. I hope one day I can be brave enough to do the same, after a 17 years off-again-on-again relationship with Ed myself. My first go around with running was within the context of my eating disorder, but 7 years later, it turned out to be the way for me to slowly start to loosen the grips of my eating disorder on my everyday life.

    1. Running has been the same way for me. Although it has served as a trigger in the past, I see it now as a tool to help me get better. Thank you for sharing part of your story!!

  40. Blake

    hey, love. I just read this. You already know I already know how much I think of you, but just so you know… You are amazing. This is one of the most honest things I have ever read. Honesty is hard and because it’s hard it is also rare. I know I don’t see you much these days (i am sad you aren’t coming this weekend), but I love you much. Always will. Hope I see you soon.

    1. trex

      Thanks so much :) I wish I was coming this weekend too. I hope y’all have a wonderful time! Let’s do a reunion soon.

  41. Thank you so much for sharing this, for giving people an insight into the ED world. I completely agree that not enough people truly know what it is like–so many misconceptions. Thank you for sharing!!

    1. trex

      You’re welcome. Thank you for reading!

  42. AMAZING props to you! As someone who is year two in recovery after a 7 year battle against bulimia, I can imagine the strength necessary for you to share this incredibly personal information. I am now very open about my disorder and the struggles it gave me (and at times still continues to give me), but take it from me- being open about our struggles and letting people in is what helps us MOST in recovery!
    Stay strong in your recovery!
    Best Wishes!
    Brandi Lawson

    1. trex

      Thanks, Brandi! I’m so happy you are doing well in your recovery. Thank you for reading!!

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