A Journey from Victim to Survivor…to Living Freely

Highest-Mortality Rate

on December 7, 2012

I am battling a mental illness that carries with it the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.  An illness that claims many lives…where “recovery” can only begin to be possible 6-12 months after entering an intensive program (including refeeding).  I am beginning to understand how sick I was…that I was days away from full hospitalization…and days or months away from death.  It allows me to see, for as much as I have never wanted any of the labels that come with ‘victim’ status, I am sick.  I was very sick 4.5 months ago when I entered IOP…I  was at the top tier of sickness to even be accepted into that program.  Partial-hospitalization was the other piece being considered at the time.  And, I was thinking that I wouldn’t even qualify to receive counseling.  I knew I needed more help.  I did not identify myself as anorexic or EDNOS or having an eating disorder.  By July, I had *kinda* said maybe I had some disordered eating….or “issues with food”…


This is a brain disorder…one that not only changes the chemicals in the brain, but also decreases the size of the brain.  Before refeeding, working on any other underlying issues, is impossible…the brain is so malnourished, it cannot do anything more than survive.  And, I can see now that I was getting to a point where that was a struggle.  I was starving myself.  My body had lost any fat and was eating its own muscle.  My heart (a muscle) was throwing off odd beats.  My body temperature wasn’t regulating.  My body grew lanugo–a white, downy fur–that is designed to keep the body warm.  I had lost all emotion–except for fear–which the brain keeps for fight or flight mechanism.  My hair was falling out in clumps…and the hair that didn’t fall out was breaking in my hands.  I was exhausted.  I had so little energy and felt I could fall asleep at any given moment.  My hands shook.  My face tremored.  I would attempt to push in the areas that were still ‘too big’…only to realize that you cannot push bone away to hide it.  I took pride in counting my ribs.  I was starving myself…and thin or skinny or emaciated was never small enough.  Because, when you are trying to disappear, the fight is within the body, mind and spirit.  I would’ve died before getting to a point where I was “enough”.


I was very sick…I am sick. I am choosing recovery…I don’t feel like I am doing it well…I certainly am not doing it perfectly…and for this former perfectionist, this is painful.  I did ED really well…for 24 years…it was going to cost me dearly–my life.  I set out to do recovery perfectly…I was going to rock recovery…I was going to do recovery so well that others would say “WOW!  Look at her!!  She was cured in 6 weeks of IOP!  Amazing!!!!”…I’d appear on late-night talk shows and the Today Show…sharing my secrets of sheer will and determination…I had no doubt I could do it.  I was terrified to give up the ED…but hey–if I rocked recovery, I could have something else that could dominate my time and energy.  Recovery doesn’t work that way.  Or, it can…but it doesn’t work that way for long…because the time has come in recent weeks where I finally feel I deserve to be healthy…where I deserve to be happy…I have worked relentlessly through horrible, traumatic aspects of my life….and now I can continue to learn what it is like to live…and then to live freely…without ED hanging around in the dark corners of my mind.


I am sick and I am choosing recovery.  It is too hard to do on my own and I know I need support and insight–and hugs–to keep on this path.  I might wish it was easier or that there was some secret potion or pill that made recovery possible right this second.  And then, I begin to understand that it is this process and the progress I am making, in these small moments, that is helping me become the person I am designed to be.


My love to all of you on your journeys!


11 responses to “Highest-Mortality Rate

  1. hiddinsight says:

    BIG HUG for you honey. Thank you for writing about your journey. You deserve recovery. To be healthy. To FEEL loved.

  2. Oooh, BIG hugs to you. Yes, recovery is a decision we make one hour at a time, and you’re doing it. Recovery looks different for everyone, but one thing is the same inside all of us who have struggled in the past with this beast, or are currently struggling: We have a hole in our spirit that needs to be filled with love. We start to heal when we realize how very precious we are, how valuable our lives are, and how irreplaceable we are in the world. YOU have a purpose in life and it’s not to struggle with an eating disorder. You will be freed from it. I’m certain of it. Another hug…

  3. kanundra says:

    It may take time, it may hurt sometimes more that ever, but it is worth it. 🙂

  4. Cassandra says:

    You are beautiful ….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: