Life is what you make it.

Misery. We wallow in it, we promote it, we continue behaviors to fuel it, all while telling others we are trying. Are we trying? Or have you given up at the moment?


If you are at the depths of your ED, you are probably ready to smack me right now, but that’s good. At least you are alive and thinking. The hard thing about eating disorders is they are all encompassing. You are either in, or out, there’s is not a lot of in between.

Plus nothing phases you when you are in deep. The mind reels incessantly, like a hamster on a wheel, squeaking as it spins, day in and day out, until you don’t know what normal is anymore. Can you imagine if someone was tape recording your daily thoughts? Nuts. Absolutely insane.

How many times would you say negative feelings about yourself?

How much would you be questioning your actions? What you said? How you said it? What ‘they’ think of you?

It’s a damn living nightmare, but I am here to say you can come back. Come back stronger, and harder, and more confident. You can beat this devil of a disease, but it takes persistence, resilience, and one hell of a lot of energy.

Let me tell you what’s waiting for you on the other side. Visualize being capable of;

Reading a book and not losing your place because you can’t concentrate on anything but hunger pains.

Sitting at the dinner table with friends, focused on their faces, expressions, and their words, rather than the food that will not stop calling your name.

The mirror becomes just a mirror, not the arch enemy, judge and jury.

Forgetting, honestly, forgetting to eat because you were so engaged in an activity.

Tell me the last thing you did where you felt like you were in the moment?

Just living life for life’s sake.

Let’s talk new year.  Fresh start. Breaking old habits. Building upon healthy ones.

I want you to: Believe, conceive, achieve.



PS my new year’s resolution is to stop underestimating. When it comes to time, energy, effort, you name it- I will underestimate what it will take to accomplish it. I like to call it “optimism….to a fault.”

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40 Responses to Life is what you make it.

  1. J.L. says:

    I’m visualizing….. It’s not working. Can I borrow some of that mamaV optimism?

  2. Nats says:


  3. Vanessa says:

    oh yeah, thats all i need, some false hope and optimism from someone who has everything. thank you soooooooo much.

    hello, i’ve tried recovery multiple times- didn’t stick. so why don’t you get back on your umbrella and find a couple of adorable british children to lecture, mary poppins.

  4. Mrs. B says:


    Sorry, you sound like the wallowing misery Mama just described. You really need to read and re-read Mama’s post. Get yourself into a program. Buy self-help books. DO what they say. Don’t just eat the covers (as my mother used to say).

    I watched my daughter go from a 4.0 honors student with a college scholarship, and healthy beauty….to a kid who had to drop out of school, almost killed herself….feels bad ALL the time, and in her own words, “looks like a crackhead”. Still, people stop her everywhere she goes and tell her that she looks “like a model”.

    Face it, Vanessa. You were sold a bill of goods. Unless your body can function productively, you are not beautiful. If you can’t learn, give birth to healthy children, live your full life expectancy with enough energy to have meaningful relationships…..what kind of life do you even have?

    My daughter enters a rehab facility on the first of January. She has decided that she does not want to die. She wants to be a doctor. It isn’t a pipedream for her. Her father is a doctor. Her mother is a professional. She is brilliant. She is more than “skinny”. She is a child of God, made with a purpose. A purpose other than a size “0” and a foul temper. He did not make her to throw up in a toilet, rip her esophagus to shreds, force food particles into her lungs and heart dying in a pool of blood and vomit on the floor, with the ultimate victory of being buried in a size “0”.

    Ultimately Vanessa, this is a choice. Only you can make it. I understand why you are this way. May Karl Lagerfeld, and all the other designers, rot in hell one day…and they will. May all the artists and musicians see into their hearts and realize the misery that they spread. May the producers of our sick and sordid media reap what they sow. If you have been abused, your abuser will get theirs one day, too. Get help and don’t quit. Let 2008 be your year of rebirth. Millions of women have shown that this CAN be beaten. Crawl. Take baby steps. Run. Live.

  5. vive42 says:

    mrs. b- i wish your daughter and your family all the best, but with respect you do not know me and i would suggest that you refrain from judging people so quickly based on your preconceived notions.

  6. Shana says:

    i have to say, it is true.

    when i was in the depths of my eating disorder, i would have laughed at that and said “yeah, for you it’s possible, but not for me”

    but time changes things.

    as i recover and become further and further removed from everything eating disordered, i find myself living the life you have described up there.

    the mirror is just that – a mirror.
    meals are just something that happen 3 times a day and can actually be enjoyable.
    food is food; sustaining, energizing, necessary, and tasty

    sometimes i look back on how i used to be… and it blows my mind that i’ve come this far.

    i NEVER thought this was possible.
    and i see many of you think that too.
    maybe right NOW, you can’t conceive it, but don’t write it off as an impossibility.

    happy new years!

  7. ibiteback says:

    I see where you’re coming from Mrs. B but you can’t just want to recover from an eating disorder and it will happen. You can’t just choose to live, you need a lot of help and many years (the average is 4-7). And you don’t just go into a program and miracously come out cured and suddenly realize how awful your eating disorder is. I’ve had heart palpations so bad I’m popping asprin and my electrolytes have been messed up, am I recovered?, No. And I’m been in treatment for a year and a half. And relapsed in the middle of that even while seeing a nutrionist, therapist, etc. So don’t assume that people who have eating diosrders are just lazy, weak, or definiant.

  8. Sass1948 says:

    Life is hell on earth – for most people.

    Now, I admire those who are relentlessly optimistic, but I don’t share their attitude.

    It’s a cycle. Good, bad, up, down. Like being on a bike down a gravelly hill & relaxing ur hands around the handles cuz u know u just gotta ride it. So now I’m apathetic?

  9. Heidi says:

    One of my favorite books is called, When Misery is Company by Anne Catherine (or maybe Catherine is with a K, I forget). I have yet been able to change my ways, but I am going to give it my all in 2008. Cause it’s becoming oh so old and painful.

  10. Michelle says:

    So many people out there are saying “It’s impossible.” “There’s no way.” “You don’t know me.” “Don’t judge me.” “Maybe you can do it, but not me.”

    Ibiteback, you challenged me to post this. You said you can’t just want to recover and it will happen.

    I say “Why not?”
    If you truly want to recover, you will. There is nothing holding you back. Nothing is telling you otherwise except yourself.

    Getting down to it, an eating disorder is personal. Sure, there are ‘categories’ (eg. Anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, EDNOS) and I have fought to be a part of a ‘category’ just so I didn’t think I was alone. But, you know what? We are all individuals. We are all different. Some treatments work amazing for some, others.. not so much. That’s all that it is about, though in the long run. Finding who you are, what helps you and above all, how you can help yourself.

    Misery loves company. Sure it does. But, we (as a company) don’t have to love misery. To have the want, the desire, the passion to recover is something that does take a long time. Recovery is a life long process. There is no way out of it once you start. Once you see yourself wrongly, you can’t keep away from that forever unless you want to. Unless you want to love yourself, unless you want to be someone who can live free such as what MamaV was talking about, you need to really want it. You need to strive for it like you do your numbers on the scale. It’s not easy. There will be bad days. There will be days where you think you are never going to return to happiness. But, look at what Shana typed “I NEVER thought” or “time changes things” and “don’t write it off as an impossibility.”

    Though many don’t need a reason to make amends and start a new life, New Year’s Eve is always the easiest reason to do so.

    I make 5 new years resolutions every year and stick to them.
    1) Eat healthily.
    2) Start to talk to someone about everything at least once by the end of January.
    3) Keep the toothbrush out of my purse.
    4) Open myself up to others.
    5) Keep in contact with family on a regular basis.

    Happy 2008 everyone, let’s make it a good one. =]
    Love, Michelle

  11. vive42 says:

    michelle, i’m sorry but you’ve just said that it’s my fault i relapsed because i didn’t want to recover enough. well, fuck that. i gave it my all the first time i tried, and then i relapsed and i tried again and AGAIN gave it my all. i had a hospitalization and a team after i left the hospital both times, and the second time i had the whole of the OA program as support as well. i wish all the best to everyone in recovery and i don’t mean to suggest that because i failed you will too. but this idea that you can recover by just wanting it enough, by just trying hard enough, i don’t buy it anymore. it implies that people who try and fail multiple times just didn’t want it enough, just didn’t try hard enough. and from personal experience, i did. i tried my heart out. so i suspect that more people than just me really “wanted” and “tried” but ended up relapsing in spite of that. and i suspect that more is going on, biologically perhaps, than just wanting or not wanting to recover.

  12. Shana says:

    Michelle – you really impress me.

    your first paragraph – all those things that people are saying are just ways of deflecting the real points that were made and taking responsibility off oneself.

    i personally have no interest in judging anyone here; who am i to do that when i used to think the same way and would have responded the same way to anyone who had challenged me?

    it took a while to recover because frankly, i didn’t want to. i was scared to lose my anorexic identity, scared that i wouldn’t have anything to live for, nothing to occupy my thoughts with and scared that i’d turn into a fat monster lacking any self-control.

    it used to be that every day was a conscious choice not to restrict. i had to remind myself what i had to lose and that skipping meals wasn’t going to get me where i wanted.

    as i get further and further away from that mindset, the choice is less conscious and more habitual. i’ve relearned how to eat, how to approach meals and how to talk myself out of self-destructive choices.

    the few times that i have relapsed (and it has happened, hard-core, painful, ridiculously destructive relapses) i knew exactly what i was doing and how i was going to do it. and the bottom line was, i didn’t want to be recovered anymore.

    so yes. you do have to want to recover with all your heart and soul. of course it won’t be easy. it’s the fucking hardest thing you will ever do in your life. but why think that you are so special and unique that it’s impossible for YOU to recover. you know how many recovered people have said that?

    yeah, probably every single one of them.

    face the facts.
    it can happen, but not if you don’t want it to.
    all the other stuff, treatment, therapy, meds, whatever, that is all useless if YOU are fighting it.

    why not try?

  13. mamavision says:

    Hi Mrs. B: Let your anger fly, it is justified. But then sit by your daughters side, hold her hands, look her straight in the eye and tell her you love her no matter what. No matter what.

    She must know that she has not disapointed you. Read this again and make sure you hear me. Damage done on this point now, can last a damn lifetime, and I want to save you from this pain and hurt. She MUST know that she has not disapointed you…..but this must be a true statement- has she disapointed you?

    Deep beyond all the fashion, media brianwashing are young girls who are hurting due to lack of self esteem. Our anger towards the cause will not help this, especially during her exceptionally fragile time of entering treatment. I also believe that in the majority of cases of eating disorders where is an accumulation of many triggers, some more powerful than others. In fact, you may be a trigger. Scary to think about, but you must. I am just throwing this out to you not that I have any opinion on your situation, but because it is quite common and us moms have blind spots, we aren’t perfect. Pressures we may put on our daughters we may be totally oblivious too. I think of my 7 year old daughter often and wonder if I too will inadvertently impact her self esteem one way or another, so I too am in your shoes.

    Take this time NOW to focus on your daughter and only your daughter. Focus on WHY she is where she is, not on where she should be (or where you think she should be) it will only bring you both down and leave her sunk longer. She has years ahead of her to study, live, breathe, and learn about life. All of that is completely and totally irrelevant right now. School doesn’t matter. Acheivements don’t matter. Frankly, life does not matter to her right now, and you have to understand this powerful mindset (no matter how much we can’t understand it).

    Please know I am not judging you, I am right along with you with all your thoughts and feelings expressed above. But after the anger, there is still the pain, and your daughter needs you more than ever. This time is your life is one that may bring you closer than you could have ever imagined, do you realize that?

    This could actually turn out to be a gift.

    Be in the moment, don’t shove it away. Accept what it is now, and live it with her.

    My heart is with you,

  14. mamavision says:

    Hi Vanessa: How are you? Why are you not over on the critics board, crap, I created it for you!!

    Seriously, I hope all is well with you, and you are looking forward to the new year.


  15. mamavision says:

    Hey Nats! In this case the word “conceive” means to create, such as in “create an idea or notion.”

    Get your mind out of the gutter will ya? :)

  16. Vanessa says:

    whoops. i had to get a username to comment on twistedsister’s blog, and “vanessa” was taken. so just so that i don’t cause even more confusion/havoc than usual let me be clear:

    vive42 = Vanessa

    mamav: hi! not doing all that well, tbh. but if you thought you’d be able to banish me to the “critics” section i’ve seriously overestimated you. i’ve avoided it completely just to be contrary! hehe.

    you all got me so worked up i have a whole blog post that gives more of my views on why people who push recovery too hard completely and totally miss the mark over on stop on by if you feel like it. especially you, heather.

  17. Hillary says:

    There seem to be few here who can take this post for what it is. It’s optimistic and inspirational. A lot of people are spitting and stomping on it, but it’s shining anyway. People need hope. When they’re wallowing in misery, what do they have but hope? And though it’s only a blog post, this is a small beacon of it. People may scoff and claim that you’re trivializing recovery; “It’s not that easy.” However, recovery begins within yourself. Life is what you make it. So you’ve tried to recover and failed thus far. So…. what? Give up? Well what would be the point of that? Of course it’s not easy. Life never is. And frankly, for the lot of you who simply appear to be trying to block out the beacon of hope for other people… honestly… stop.

  18. ibiteback says:

    I respect your opinion about recovery but I still think that just because you want to you can. I’ve know people who want nothing more than to recover but die in the process. Did they not want it enough? Do people who relapse not want it enough? Sure having a positive attitude helps but it doesn’t make it happen, I personal believe that people who die from anorexia, buimia, etc. while fighting did want to recover very much but sometimes the disease is just very strong. Think of it like this, people fight cancer everyday, some make it some don’t but do you think that the people who don’t didn’t fight hard enough, that they didn’t really want it. I know I’m going to get flamed for saying that. Cancer and eating disorders are very different but they do hold some similarities.

  19. Jamie says:

    Thanks MamaV for this post. It gives me hope.

  20. Vanessa says:

    ibiteback- i’m really glad you were around today. it honestly isn’t much fun to feel accused of just not wanting recovery badly enough.

    i’m all for people taking responsibility for themselves and their lives but people seem to be taking that doctrine to an extreme and forgetting that their own experience may be very different from that of another person.

  21. Mrs B says:


    I hear you. And it ain’ t easy. My daughter has been through a horrible year starting with a really horrible boyfriend relationship gone crazy. We are about to work through the most amazing program with her. And I mean with her. It is faith based, staffed by the most amazing people, most of whom have been there. They are the most amazingly straight-forward, yet compassionate group of people I have ever met. And we looked at a lot of places. Fortunately, this is a place close to home where she can continue with these remarkable people for as long as it takes.

    We will have great opportunity to start family therapy a few weeks after she begins. We all know that it is a process. We all know that we have things to learn. I am well aware that our family dynamics may be rife with triggers. My husband is diabetic and has many food allergies. My daughter has many food allergies. Food is just a mess for my family although I put family meals on the table – somehow, every day. She also has a lot to “live up to”. My husband is enormously successful despite lifelong health issues. I am graduate degreed. She has fallen a long way from merit scholarship and the many other honors she has achieved. Baby steps. Starting with physical health and feeling safe again.

    But when she returns, she will have boundaries. We will accept her unconditionally. We will not continue to accept the lies or personal irresponsibility that came into our house with ED. We will get them, I am aware. But we will not accept them. We will just keep pressing forward as a family, stopping to help her back up when she falls. But she has to get up herself. If she is continuously picked up, she won’t ever be able to stand on her own. She doesn’t need self-pity, she needs support to help her rebuild her life. ..sleep, order, faith, laughter, healthy meals, friends, structure. She’s already responding…even with sleep and meals alone, without even beginning therapy. I’m confident she’ll get better. Where we will struggle is when she decides she is going back to campus. Not sure she can deal with that- maybe ever, and she’s sure she can. Our family therapist says in time, we’ll deal with that together. But school to me is a long way away, at least on a full time basis. She is anxious to get back to her friends next fall. We’ll see. First things first. One thing is for sure, she will never live in a dormitory again, where she is feeling secretive and putting herself in danger looking for ways to binge and purge. We learned a huge lesson from that. Never again.

    80% of girls recover from bulimia fully. The statistics are better for girls in supportive families. Those are really good odds. We’ll get through it together.

  22. Shana says:

    ibiteback – don’t take this the wrong way (or accuse me of ‘flaming’ you) but comparing recovering from eating disorders to recovering from cancer just wrong, for more reasons than i can explain.

    and for the record, let me clarify one thing:
    not everyone who WANTS to recover actually does.
    but NO ONE recovers without wanting to.

    vanessa – of course every experience is different.
    what are you saying, that for some people (like you) it’s impossible to recover?

  23. Vanessa says:

    shana- well, actually my opinion is a little more nuanced than that. i think that broadly speaking there are two types of eds when it comes to recovery. some people can work hard and fully recover, others have basically a chronic illness that can be managed/alleviated but never fully cured. i believe myself to be in the latter category.

    for this category of eds “recovery” looks a bit different. in some ways its similar to people in the first category in that you can acheive a happy productive life free of ed symptoms. you may even acheive quite long periods free from ed thoughts or urges, you can have a decent body image, you can love yourself, all the good things are still possible. however people in this category remain at risk of relapse throughout their lives and need to do certain things to actively prevent relapse from happening for as long as they live.

    its more like an alcoholic, where even after years and years if they have one drink they may fall back into their alcoholism and they can never ever drink like a normal person. wheras the people in the first category, the full-recovery category, are more like a wild teenager who drinks and uses drugs in high school or college and may have a serious problem, bad grades, possibly flunking out of school. but when they decide to turn their lives around they are able to return to normality and drink socially later in life.

    i don’t mean to suggest that i alone am special, or that my disorder is worse than anyone else’s, just that it is and has been shown to be resistant to treatment. and i also don’t mean to completely abdicate responsibility for my ed- there are things i could be doing to try and be symptom free, things that have worked in the past, that i’m not currently doing. however, i want people to try and understand that a subset of eds are resistant to treatment and cannot be fully recovered from, and that trying really hard in recovery and wanting it really badly isn’t necessarily enough to prevent relapse for people in that subset.

  24. Rachel says:

    Vanessa, I agree with your last post completely. I am at that point in my dealing with these demons. It has become not necessarily a realization of ‘recovery,’ but dealing with my mental illness on a day-to-day basis. I accept that there are relapses, fluctuations, etc. For now, my condition is chronic and may be with me for the rest of my life. I may go through several more manifestations before all is said and done. It may go away in my 30s. It may go away next year. Again, it may never go away.

    I read an interesting article on stating that the root of EDs may indeed be a brain malfunction that turns it into a ‘manageable disease’ rather than a thing that you can recover from, which is what Vanessa just hypothesized. My reaction to that article is: “Well, no shit, Sherlock!” I think that that can be the core difference from mental illness in general that is spawned from extreme emotional distress vs. a genetic malfunction that just destines a person to being mentally wonky. I believe I fall in that latter category as well, and I’ve got the documentation and family history to back that up.

    In my own battle, I’ve gotten to the point to where I am old enough to recognize when the OCD is getting out of hand and take the appropriate a measures to tone it down. This is through meditation, removing myself from the situation, and ocassionally, I’ll up the dosage of the medication in order to turn down the intensity of the hamster-wheel anxiety. For me, this is that category of ‘manageable disease’. I’ve been hoping, praying, wanting to not have these afflictions ever since they started. This part of me pisses me off to all hell. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished that these demons did not exist.

    I’ve finally come to the point in my life that I can either fight it with every last ounce of energy, or accept it and manage it. Accept the obsessive-compulsive disorder, the bipolar disorder, and the PMDD and realize that these *are* a part of me, and that there is not much I can do about it. What I *can* do is manage the symptoms and focus on functioning and not letting the OCD/BPII/PMDD get the best of me. The ED thing is a manifestation of the OCD. It was merely a thing to obsess on and focus on rather than the fear and anxieties associated with what was going on in my life at that time. I recognize this. I am fortunate to be old enough and experienced enough with this to recognize it. Many are not that lucky. I believe I reside in this subset that Vanessa mentioned, however, I am doing what is necessary to manage it. It took a long time for me to get to this point.

    I may never be absolutely symptom free. I may always have that monster lurking in the back of my mind, wanting to spring into action and count things repeatedly, count calories, obsess over the pudgy bits, etc. I think that the point that I may be trying to make is that the subset of EDs that Vanessa describes is a subset in which I reside. However, OCD/BPII are treated differently, as they are not necessarily bodily and life-threatening. I think that the focus and push for ‘recovery’ from ED is because of the danger of the disease. For those who may be resistent to it, such as myself (I do not believe that I will ever fully “recover” from obsessive-compulsive disorder, or bipolar II disorder, OR pre-menstral-disphoria disorder), there is symptom management and trying to get to the root of the triggers, acknowledging them, and eventually reducing the anxiety associated with them. It’s hard work. Fuck. It’s hard work. But, Vanessa, I think that’s our best shot at functioning in life, eh?

  25. Nats says:

    mamaV my head is not in the gutter! I was just wondering which concieve you were talking about is all HA HA

  26. Shana says:

    i don’t believe that there are those 2 categories.

    however, to believe that is probably quite convenient and comforting for those who have not yet been able to achieve a measure of recovery.

    i believe that recovery is acheivable for everyone, yet it remains a process, meaning, there is no point at which an eating disordered person can say “i am thru with my eating disorder and i will never have to deal with it again”, more like “for the time being, my eating disorder is under control and i can function like a non-disordered person”

    relapse is always a concern. i tend to not call myself ‘recovered’ but ‘in recovery’ because how do i know i won’t start to relapse in a month? a week? tomorrow?

    i am symptom free. this is as good as it gets. but there are times when things get really rough and i am automatically tempted to starve myself. then it becomes a battle with myself to stay on track.

    i suppose you were intimating that i would belong in the first category being that i think that recovery is possible for everyone. does that mean my eating disorder was a ‘self-destructive phase’ like that rebellious teenager you mentioned in your example? was mine any less addictive and detrimental than yours?

    i am continuously perplexed with the clarity and assuredness with which you express your ideas. why are you so sure that you CAN’T recover? cuz it hasn’t happened yet? you KNOW it takes time. a different amount for each person.

    so why waste your breath saying it’s impossible for you and not address the “things i could be doing to try and be symptom free, things that have worked in the past, that i’m not currently doing” that you mentioned?

  27. ibiteback says:

    I’m guessing your are overall an optimistic person because you refuse to believe some people can’t recover. Eating Disorders are diseases and just like anyother disease some people can just not recover. I do believe you have to want to recover with all your heart and being, to get better. Not well I’ll just get better physically or emotionally, or I’ll hold on to just a little piece of my eating disorder just in case my weight gets out of control. And it has to be you, not your parents or friends or your treatment team but you. That is often the problem with getting treated early (teenagers or just people in the early years of the ed), you haven’t suffered enough or don’t want to listen to people. when you’re a teenager you just want to rebel, I should know I am one. That is not saying you can’t recover when you are a teenager but it just may be harder. My problem right now is that I am so controlled by my parents that I don’t want to do what they say. When I am 18 I am going to terminate treatment on my birthday and will probably relapse or when I do refuse to go and get treatment because I was controlled for so long.
    That being said I do believe there are people who can’t get better not because they don’t want to but because their disease is just really bad.

  28. Shana says:

    ibiteback – eating disorders are like no other disease that i can think of. they are unique in that the physical and emotional aspects of the disease are so intertwined that they are inseparable and intrinsically dependent on one another.

    so i understand you are a teenager and you feel that because you’ve been forced into treatment against your will, it will be unsuccessful.

    well you know what? i was in the same situation. i’m 20 now. i was forced into treatment 2x, when i was 14 and 15. back then, i also thought i would terminate everything once i hit 18. but i didn’t. because i knew what was good for me.

    you won’t just relapse by chance when you terminate treatment. by terminating, you will have effectively caused your own relapse. you do have a say in the matter.

    those people who have the disease “really bad”, the ones who “can’t get better” – let me ask you a question. isn’t every eating disorder “really bad”? isn’t every single one living hell? who are you to say that some people have it worse than others?

    am i an optimistic person? not particularly. i feel that a lot that i have gone thru has made me cynical of the world as a whole. however, i do believe that each individual (including you and vanessa) have the capability to recover. maybe not now, maybe not even in the near future, but ultimately, you could. and the more you say “i can’t, i can’t, i can’t”, the further away that will be.

    and in my opinion, every time you say that you can’t, what you really mean is, you don’t want to.

  29. Vanessa says:

    shana- i’m not going to answer your questions because i feel i’ve answered them on my blog in a post reacting to all this that i posted yesterday. if you want to go there just click on my name at the top of this comment. if you don’t, that’s fine.

    i have some questions for you, however:

    1) who on earth appointed you the judge of how bad other people’s disorders are or whether or not other people have or haven’t really tried in recovery or are just making excuses?

    2) where did you get this knowledge of other people’s experience? are you psychic, or are you just going by your own individual experience?

    3) how can you possibly say that every eating disorder is equally bad? i think a more realistic view for both of us would be to say there are those whose experience was tougher than our own and those whose experience was less tough. and i have no idea which of us has had it harder and am not interested in a pissing contest of whose had it harder.

    4) why does it matter to you whether or not i personally choose to be in recovery right now? don’t i have a right to make my own choices? who are you to judge those choices and what evidence are you judging them on?

  30. Josie says:

    I am “recovered”, and i agree that it’s worth fighting for.
    However i do take issue with your suggestion that people choose to wallow when they have an ED. With an ED the brain chemistry changes so that depression and hopelessness is almost inevitable, and so it’s harder to escape than one can imagine (even if you’re looking back on it from experience – i have to remind myself sometimes “don’t get frustrated, you were thesame!”).
    Other than that – good message :)

  31. ibiteback says:

    Some people’s ed are worse how could you know? You have only experienced your own ed. Just because your forced treatment worked doesn’t mean mine will. And people with ed can stay relapse-free without the help of professionals. Just because I will terminate treatment doesn’t mean I am destined to relapse. How can you possibily know me and Vannesa’s capability to recover? And there is a difference between “I can’t” and “I don’t want to.” And how would you know whether we mean can’t or won’t?

  32. Shana says:

    vanessa & ibiteback: you know what i’ve realized?
    you aren’t going to believe me, or anyone else, that recovery is possible unless it happens to you. and honestly, i don’t see why you should believe me, being that when i was in that situation, i wouldn’t have believed anyone who told me i would be able to recover.

    so i just hope for you two, and everyone else who doesn’t think it is possible, that one day you will be able to experience it for yourself.

    i really wish you both all the best

  33. kjosie says:

    Shana – i think you’re right. When i was ill, especially when i was depressed and very involved in pro-ana sites (where there are no recovered members) i never believed i could recover. However I have, and i’m astounded. I never thought full recovery was possible, and really it isn’t because i’ll always be vulnerable to relapse, but it’s definitely worth trying for.

  34. I have been fighting my whole life. I am 34. I have yet to give up. I won’t. Why? Because I take responsibility for my own part in my disorder.

    All I hear in this post is refusal to accept the truth–that relapsing is a choice.. that eating is a choice.. that living or dying is a choice.

    And yes, it’s that simple.

    7 years ago I made the choice to live.

    I’m still alive.

    Tell me I don’t know you, I don’t know what I’m talking about, that I don’t have a clue about anything.

    That’s just more candyfloss…

    Anorexia is anorexia… and it’s always possible to recover, no matter what anyone tells you.

    [for the record, according to the doctors, I should be long dead]

  35. Vanessa says:

    oh wow! a lifetime of endlessly fighting against my disorder! where do i sign up???

    i’m 29 and i believe in recovery too, in theory. but i get tired and fed up with the expectation that i constantly fight my disorder with every breath and if i don’t i’m somehow a bad person. how about instead i fight when and if i feel like it, and if medical science has a breakthrough that actually provides recovery and not just endless fighting, then i’m happy to try it. until then i should have a choice of whether or not i want to sign up for something that may or may not be doomed to failure, and people should respect that choice, even if they happen to be making a different one.

  36. Excuses.

    It’s all about fear.

    I know for me I was too afraid to fully commit to recovery. What would I be without the disorder? It is a security blanket that’s killing us.

    I do respect you as a person, but I would never respect your [or anyone else’s] decision to give up.

    All these harsh and bitter words are just hiding someone who is scared and tired… just like the rest of us. I’m 34, I’ve been sick since I was 8. I’m not fully recovered yet, but I’m not going to give up until I am.

    It’s bullshit that you can’t recover.

    You just don’t want to because you only want to when YOU want to and not when you need to most.

  37. Sarah says:

    Vanessa, why are you so dead set at convincing others about your viewpoint? If you TRULY believed you were OK, you would not spend so much time coming to forums like this and bullying others about it.

    In my opinion, you are LOOKING for sympathy from people who are NOT going to give it to you.

    It seems to me that mamaVISION has been terribly patient with you, and I applaud her for it. It just goes to show that she believes in what she is doing, and she won’t give up on the naysayers. Maybe it will rub off on you, but I’m not holding my breath.

  38. Vanessa says:

    sarah- actually, i’m only dead set on putting my viewpoint out there. i’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, just show that there are other ways of looking at things. in this case it was the recovery police who are 100% convinced that they’re right all the time and no other viewpoint is valid.

    and as for bullying, not to belabor a point, but i try very hard to be polite and respectful when i air my views. whereas i believe in another comment you called me pathetic. soooo… who’s the bully, if you’re the one doing the name calling?

    i don’t believe i’m okay and i’ve said many times that i agree with mamaV more often than not. i just happen to think that the overall effects of her efforts to publicise herself and her hysteria about pro-ana will do more harm than good by bringing more people into pro-ana. so, from my point of view i’m actually more against pro-ana than mamaV is, and more concerned about the problem than she is.

    this specific discussion, however, dealt with the views of people in favor of recovery and their strange need to impose those views on everyone else. as someone choosing not to be in recovery right now it seemed only logical to speak from my own experience when i disagreed.

  39. Rachel says:


    I love you dearly, dear. Your utter tenacity has grown on me and somehow, I’ve grown to like you. Sometimes, your opinions are a little ‘out there’ for me, but this time, you’ve hit the nail right on the head. Of course there are other ways of looking at things, and I defintely appreciate it when you bring them up. If I feel that you were too grumpy, I’ll call you on it, but I only do so in respect and love. Overall, though, you add a very nice dynamic to this blog.

    I’m very glad for those who have found recovery permanently. I am not going to reiterate ver batim what I said before about recovery and ‘manageable disease’, but I do think that it’s important to mention it again.

    I can’t just decide to be free of OCD. What I can do is take my meds religiously, pay attention to my moods, and avoid certain “triggers” for them. I think that this is very similiar for a lot of people with EDs. For those who CAN recover without the meds, etc, that’s GREAT! More power to you!!! However, for me, that is the management part. The disease part is that if I go off of the meds, I go off of my fucking rocker. I go literally bat-shit insane. I then realize how intwined and important the meds are for normal functionality. I am trying to train myself to deal with teh thoughts and anxieties so that one day I can step down. For now, however, I’m stuck in that ‘disease’ part that I mentioned. BUT, it’s “manageable disease”. Relapses, etc. happen. I now recognize this. I won’t be perfect all the time in this. It just simply will not happen. The mood swings and intense anxieties are just a fact of life for me. The meds calm it down so that I can leave the house, work my jobs, go to school, etc. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully “recover” or be free of the meds. I do know that I can function and for the most part, be symptom free for 75% of the time or so. It waxes adn wanes, that is for sure. I accept this and just try to keep that in mind. It’s kind of like being an alcoholic. Stay away from certain things and situations in order to stay sane.

    😉 Love ya’ll!

  40. wishfullybliss says:

    Hey! I just found your blog and I think its great.

    Attempting to recover again. I don’t know how to go about doing something I already failed at before. Recovery was the same things as anorexia, the only change was some gained weight, but the same ana thoughts in my head 24/7.

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