An Anorexic Abroad: Q&A about my Adventures Overseas

Hi Everyone!
You guys had some awesome questions about my trip to Ireland and France so in this video I answer some of them. Check your YouTube Saturday afternoon for my next video on what I ate while abroad!

NEW Vlog!: My Life-changing Trip to Europe

Not too long ago I did something I never thought I would be able to do as an eating disorder sufferer – step on a jet plane and go overseas. Since I was little, I had always longed to set foot in another country and immerse myself in a new culture, but my struggles with anorexia nervosa kept holding me back. Finally, I decided that I was sick and tired of my eating disorder keeping me from achieving this long-held dream of mine and on May 15th, I left with my dad for Europe.

In this video, you’ll get to see just some of my many foreign adventures! If you have any questions about my trip and how that all worked with my eating disorder, please COMMENT below. Also don’t forget to subscribe!

Controlled: A Guest Blog Post by Neesha Arter

When I was fourteen years old, I struggled with anorexia after being sexually assaulted by two people I had no reason to mistrust. My ordinary teenage life went from volleyball practice and sleepovers to an unwanted legal case and loss of identity.

This blog post is written by Neesha Arter, a survivor of an eating disorder as well as sexual abuse.

neesha arter

When I was fourteen years old, I struggled with anorexia after being sexually assaulted by two people I had no reason to mistrust. My ordinary teenage life went from volleyball practice and sleepovers to an unwanted legal case and loss of identity. In my memoir, CONTROLLED, which comes out on August 11th, I write about how these challenges consumed my life.

For me, it was never a matter of being skinny or fat—anorexia was the remnant of my sexual assault and a vehicle to satisfy my wish to simply disappear. Fourteen is already an age where you don’t seem to know anything about the world. In many ways, losing my innocence made me lose my identity entirely. I couldn’t figure out if I was a teenager anymore or an adult. I thought it I could look like a child again, I could be the perfect little girl I used to be before that night happened. However, I learned after months of starvation, numbers, and calories that I had only lost myself more.

I am now 24 years old and after ten years, I have learned that perfection does not exist. But I’ve also learned that you can’t get to the other side on your own. I now know how hard it is on family and friends to watch someone they love suffer and I wish I had confided in them more at the time.

No matter how dark things seem to be, they can always turn around. I believe in second chances and giving them to yourself. I know the hardest thing in the world can be forgiving yourself for whatever it may be, but I think the most important thing I’ve learned in the past decade was how to be my own best friend.

I give a very honest account of my eating disorder in CONTROLLED, which I hope helps anyone who can relate to my story. A dear friend of mine told me during the publication process that I should focus less on it all being perfect and in the end, focus more on liking myself. And the truth is, no one is perfect. I will always be a perfectionist and have flaws but it’s all learning.

I now know that the power doesn’t lie in killing yourself, but it lies in letting yourself live.

If you are interested in reading Neesha Arter’s eye-opening book, you can now order it off Amazon.com. Just click here!

I’m Back Home!

No longer could I eat meals comprised of my “safe” foods, eat at the times I preferred, or isolate myself from others. If I wanted to not only survive during this 6 day challenge, I had to let go of my obsession with control and break free from the chains that have been holding me back for so many years.

Two weeks ago today, I was dropped off at UW-Oshkosh with a suitcase, a fan, and a heart filled with worry. For the next 144 hours I would be one of two delegates representing my high school at Badger Girls State, an intense program meant to immerse young women in the complex science of American government.  The program was both physically and emotionally demanding. Every girl was expected to wake up at the crack of dawn, dress to the nines, and then proceed to drag to their sleep-deprived bodies to meetings that lasted well into the night.  On top all this, I had my own set of challenges I had to overcome. No longer could I eat meals comprised of my “safe” foods, eat at the times I preferred, or isolate myself from others. If I wanted to survive this 6 day challenge, I had to let go of my obsession with control and break free from the chains that have been holding me back for so many years.

With sheer determination, I not only survived Badger Girls State, but I thrived. I meant girls who were nothing short of amazing and who will probably be my friends for many years to come.

In this video, I explain my experience in greater detail and I hope my experience will give you the strength to also overcome your challenges and live the life you were born to live.

Taking selfies with the governor (he's still not getting my vote after what he's done to our schools)
Taking selfies with the governor (he’s still not getting my vote after what he’s done to our schools)
I was chosen to be POPPY PRINCESS!
I was chosen to be POPPY PRINCESS!
Acting silly during a LONG county meeting!
Acting silly during a LONG county meeting!

Fleeing Fashion’s Cult: How One Young Woman Has Learned to Love Her Body

For too long, women everywhere have adhered to the teachings of fashion’s holiest texts, such as Vogue and Elle,hoping to gain self-confidence and empowerment by wearing the clothing they see on their cadaverous prophets.  The women who have become victims of this psychologically-destructive cult have lost the ability to express themselves. No longer do they seek attire that complements their figure or matches their unique personality. Why? Because all these victims want is to be what Vogue and Elle tells them to be!

But Holly Foster, an incredibly wise 22 year old, has refused to lose herself in fashion’s toxic teachings. When she was just 16, the age when most girls spend hundreds of dollars on the latest trends, Holly discovered a vintage dress at a charity shop and fell in love with it.  Today if you were to check out Holly’s closet, you would find it chalked full of the classiest pieces of vintage attire.  Knee-length skirts, stunning blouses, classic dresses . . . YOU NAME IT. If it is from the 40’s, you’ll probably find it in there!

We have a lot to learn from Holly Foster. She decided to wear clothes that not only suited her personality and figure, but also honored her moral values such as modesty. So my friends, before you purchase that overpriced tee from Abercrombie & Fitch or spend your whole paycheck at Hollister,  ask yourself why you are buying their clothes. Are you purchasing them because they reflect your values and personal style or do you just want to blend in with the other dedicated members of the fashion cult?

A Friday to Remember

It was early Thursday morning when my dad left the house with a deep blue suitcase in tow. The mundane suburban landscape was still  trapped in a sea of darkness and the crisp fall air bit the skin with its cold, sharp teeth. As my dad drove his little white car and disappear  into the lightless morning abyss, I couldn’t help but be overcome with a feeling of uneasiness. I knew he would be back from Florida on Sunday with stories of the state’s sky-blue oceans and hot yellow sun, but the idea of being with just my mom for even this short amount of time was a frightening thing to think about.

I am not really used to my mom being home for a even a tiny period of time. Due to her demanding job, she usually stays in Chicago during the week and if she’s not in Chicago, well she’s in some other state around the US. Now since my mom isn’t really there during the week at all, I bet you would expect that I would be overjoyed when she returns home. I hate to break it to you, but that is far from the case. To be brutally honest, I have come to dread the moment when she walks through the door after a long week of work.  For a few short moments after she’s come home, she is thrilled to see my dog, sister, dad, and me. She hugs us and as she walks to her room to unpack the over-organized contents of her suitcase, she asks us how are week went. But after she completes this little ritual, her whole disposition becomes choleric. She begins to ridicule us if the house isn’t spotless and makes us feel like we are lazy and worthless. Her anger and frustration spreads throughout the house like wildfire and soon everyone is burning with rage. Fights begin to break out for absolutely no reason and most of these fights are between my mom and I.

So now I hope you can see why the whole idea of my mom staying with my sister and I for a little bit sounded just plain terrible! I thought I would be counting  the minutes till my dad returned home.  But something happened last night that completely altered my whole idea of what my time with my mom was going to be like. It was one of the greatest surprises I have ever had.

Yesterday afternoon was when I began to think this girls-only weekend was going to be a phenomenal bonding experience. You may remember from yesterday’s blog post that I had an appointment with my psychiatrist’s, Dr.K.  Dr. K was running incredibly late and my mom and I were trapped in the mundane waiting of the private psychiatric clinic where he works. For over an hour, we sat waiting. Usually when Dr. K is this behind, I turn into a cantankerous and rather disrespectful juvenile. That day though, that didn’t happen at all. The whole time my mom and I were joking, laughing, and even having conversations that weren’t superficial! I mean IT WAS AMAZING. Who knew that being stuck in a waiting room with some pretty irritable patients for an hour (including a VERY angry drug addict) could be such a pleasant experience?!?!?!?!? 🙂

After our visit with Dr. K, we headed on home and decided to have a movie night! We ordered food from a local, nutritious Asian fusion restaurant and watched one of the greatest DreamWorks films EVER – The Prince of Egypt! We had such an excellent time and I think today will just as good or even better!

It’s Time to Move Forward

“Let your hopes, not your hurts shape your future.” ~ Robert Schuller

If you guys haven’t noticed, the past couple of months have been rough for me and that emotional turmoil  has made many of my most recent blog posts take a toxic turn. As I look back at my past posts, I realize so many of the sentences I have conceived leave the metallic taste of arsenic in one’s mouth. Though these posts only contain small doses of this literary form of arsenic, we all know how arsenic works. Each dose of this life threatening poison accumulates in the body until one day when the sky is painted with black storm clouds and the sun fails to shine, the body shuts down.

 

Though literary arsenic does not destroy your body, it does destroy The more you read poisonous posts that are laden with sorrow and anger, the more it affects you emotionally. Haven’t you realized that when you read posts that bleed with the blood of psychological agony, you almost feel like you too are bleeding that blood? With each word you read, you feel the intense stabbing pain of the post’s author as if it were your own.

 

The recent posts and videos I have published have been harmful and I now realize that. My blog is entitled “Forever Going Forward” and as of late, I honestly  have not moved a single step in that direction. If anything, I have taken many steps backwards and allowed my eating disorder, depression, anger, and anxiety to take full reign of my mind once again.  I no longer want my posts to be tainted with a toxin that robs one’s soul of happiness and joy.   I want my blog to be a beacon of light in the eating disorder community. A place that raises awareness about eating disorders, helps family members or ED sufferers find helpful resources, and to encourage ED sufferers to get the treatment they not only require but also deserve.

 

So from this point on there will be a few positive changes in my blog and here’s a list of them.

 

  1. If I am struggling and a post is rather negative, I will write 3 positive things about my day at the end of the post in order to encourage myself to be more optimistic and to also show people there is always a light in even the darkest of times.  Also if I create a YouTube video that is triggering, I will ensure to warn people  by putting a disclaimer up on that video(I have been doing that though anyway
  2. I pledge to try to make more positive, supportive YouTube videos 🙂
  3. Every Monday I will write a “Remission Resources” blog post that discusses different “pro-remission” resources available.   These may include smart-phone apps, websites, books, support groups, treatment centers, etc.


These are currently the three things I have vowed to do. Overtime I will add more things, but these are my goals at the moment and there is no doubt in my mind that I will achieve them with flying colors. Hopefully, these little changes will help me and all of you wonderful people who are reading  my blog move forward in life.