Letter to My Eating Disorder

Tomorrow, I’m having a dietician’s appointment. I have probably gained a lot of weight and at the very least my eating habits have been crap. I am feeling that focusing on weight loss doesn’t always help me. I’m not even sure I’m motivated to lose weight, but I am definitely motivated to stop bingeing. Or am I? In order to motivate myself, or examine why I am or am not motivated for recovery, I looked up eating disorder recovery challenges. I’m not active on Tumblr, where most such challenges are hosted, but I thought I could do one on my blog.

For day one of this challenge, you are asked to write a letter to your addiction or disorder. Here goes.

Dear binge eating,

You have been with me since early adolescence or before. You crept into my life slowly. At age fourteen, I read an article in a teenage magazien about eating disorders, and, like so many teen girls, I was touched. I didn’t want an eating disorder, but I was struggling. I did want a way to express my struggle. Little did I know that you had already entered my life.

The article was mostly about anorexia. I admired these young women, in a way, because they had perseverance. In another way, I felt that if I had an eating disorder, maybe then people would see I struggled. I started counting calories and using a food diary, but I never stopped eating. In fact, I overate. You were already in my life. I didn’t realize you were an eating disorder just the same.

For a while in adolescence, and then again for a while in my mid-twenties, I had bulimic tendencies. These gave me a reason to believe I was really struggling. I took you seriously, but wasn’t really motivated to let go of you. I was at a healthy weight, but because I purged, I had an eating disorder. I joined Proud2Bme, a Dutch eating disorder recovery site. Not that I really wanted to recover. In fact, I at one poitn joined a pro-ana site. I was already ovrweight by this point.

I stopped purging in 2012, and from then on, I was “in recovery”. I didn’t like this point, because I was still struggling, and I still had a need to feel that my pain was real. I don’t mean this, for clarity’s sake, towards others. I hardly ever disclosed that I had purged when I still did. But to myself, purging had to be in my life to justify my pain.

Meanwhile, you took over more and more of my life. I didn’t realize you were a problem until I reached obesity. At that point, I realized you were in my life, and you were serious. This wasn’t till about half a year ago.

You are strong. I think of you on a daily basis. Sometimes, I cling to you, and sometimes, I curse at you. You have caused me to gain over 30 pounds since 2011. Yet you’ve been in my life much longer, I know. In middle and high school, I would buy a sausage roll and bag of candies every single day. I remember one day in seventh grade, buying five candy bars. My classmates told me I was being outrageous, but I ate them all anyway. I didn’t really know what was normal. Now I do.

I am not sure at this point I want to get rid of you. You fulfill my need to do something about my strong, unstable emotions. You fulfill a need for instant gratification that I’ve always had. Yet if I don’t get rid of you, this is making you worse, and making the need for instant gratification worse by reinforcing it. But if I do get rid of you, will the need go away, or will you just be replaced with some other addiction? I will have to find this out, but I do want to take on the challenge and try to get rid of you.

Sincerely,

Astrid

The Righteous Live by Faith

Today, I’ve been feeling a desire to invest in my faith. I hope this is not just for today, but for many days to come, but for now, I’ll just make use of it. I usually invest in my faith by prayer, reading the Bible and reflecting on it. Therefore, I decided to look at some Bible passages and write about one that appeals to me.

“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.'” (Romans 1:17 NIV)

The first thing I came across when looking for devotionals on this verse, was Ron Moore’s devotional with the provocative title “Hello, My Name Is… God”. In it, Moore starts by explaining righteousness. To be righteous means to be blameless, and no human being can be blamelss. The good news is that God through Jesus cleanses us of our blame. Amazing, huh? In a way, it is, but it sits a bit uneasy with me that Christians may view themselves as above and beyond blame, as if they can do as they please as long as they have faith.

Moore explains that we who believe in Jesus are accredited with blamelessness. This connotes a kind of responsibility. As believers, we need to make a conscious effort, with the help of God, to remain righteous.

Here is where the second part of this passage comes in: living by faith. I mean, I am generally a pretty well-behaved person, but I am not perfect. Nobody is perfect. It is through our faith in God that we become righteous.

Living by faith is an area in which I could definitely improve. I don’t read the Bible nearly everyday, haven’t been to church in months, and struggle to keep my language in check – even as I have to write this blog post for the second time all over again because my computer decided to act up. Faith is not somethign you do every once in a while when it suits you. It is something you focus on on a continuing basis. I pray that God helps me keep focused on Him.

Linking up with Saturday Soiree.

Pain Doesn’t Have to Be Visible to Be Real

“I always hated when my scars started to fade, because as long as I could still see them, I knew why I was hurting.” – Jodi Picoult, Handle with Care

I am a self-injurer. Have been since childhood. Part of the reason has always been to feel something other than emptiness, loneliness, or emotional pain. However, part of the reason has also always been to make my pain be visible. Not even necessarily to others, but to myself.

It feels kind of odd to admit this. After all, wanting to express pain is seen as overreacting, attention-seeking. We are taught to hide and numb out our pain.

I once read a Dutch book on psychosis which started out by eplaining that today’s psychiatry is aimed at ignoring people’s inner experiences, or altering them with drugs. According to the author, we live in a kind of brave new world, where everything is aimed at individual and social stability. Take some soma, baby! And I can relate, having resided in a psychiatric institution for almosot seven years. When I feel stressed, the first response from the nurses is usually to ask if I need a tranquilizer. In fact, when I resided on the locked ward, I’d call oxazepam my “shut up pill”, because nurses would tell me to take it whenever something irritated me.

Please note that psychiatric drugs have some place in treatment of severe mental illness. I take various medications for anxiety, irritability and emotional instability. Sometimes though, I’ve wanted to quit my medicaiton because it numbs me out.

Psychiatric drugs aside, many people are taught that to feel pain is to be weak, and to express it is to be even weaker. Most survivors of trauma feel guilt for the pain they experience, because, you know, others have it worse, it wasn’t that bad after all, you name it. I am still working on admitting that what I suffered was real, and the pain I feel is real as well. Just today, I saw another quote. Something along the lines of: “Your struggles are valid even if others are struggling more.”

Another common misconception is that physical pain is somehow more real than emotional pain. There is a huge stigma associated with mental illness, more so than with physical illness (I’m not saying there’s no stigma associated with physical illness). People all too often think that we can “just get over it” when we’re experiencing emotional turmoil, whereas if there’s something physically or at least visibly wrong with us, it’s real. I am not immune to this, and in my case, this idea perpetuates symptoms such as disordered eating and self-injury.

If you want to get over emotional pain, the first step is admitting it is there and that it is real whether it is associated with visible scars or not. You should not have to convert emotional pain into physical wounds to be taken seriously. Expressing pain in a healthy manner should be allowed, encouraged even, and should be enough to deserve support.

Linking up with Inspire Me Monday and Motivation Monday.

Week of August 11 to 17, 2014 #Mumslist

This week, Mums’ List is being hosted by Aby of You Baby Me Mummy because Hannah of Mums’ Days is on holiday. I haven’t reflected back on the week yet, so this is the perfect time to do so.

Real Life


  • Haven’t been too crafty this week. Finished a card for my mother. It was about time, because it’s an extremely late thank-you card for my birthday presents. I forgot to scan it before I put it in an envelope, so no picture, sorry. Other than that, I have only just started working on the Christmas card I said I’d make this week.

  • Received my art doll for a mixed media swap I’m in. Haven’t even started working on the one for my swap partner. The deadline isn’t until October 1.

  • Ate out twice this wek. Once, on Thursday, I took my husband to the local Chinese restaurant. I loved my gon bao chicken. On Friday, we ate out while we were shopping for jeans at a nearby wholesale store. Thankfully, I still fit in the same size I had last year – which is still three sizes above the size I always had, but well.

  • Had a horrible week re my eating habits. Binged on winegums on Friday so badly that I was sick all day yesterday. Got fries today anyway. Had binge eating episodes on two other days this week.

  • Did go to the gym on Thursday.

  • Both my computers are still working, but now my braille display is acting up.

  • Have been reading Angels at Our Table edited by Ann Breen. It’s a book of stories from families with Williams Syndrome children.

Blogging / Social Media


  • Started over with my Facebook page – again. This time, I was actually planning to stick to it, but since I hardly do photos and since WP won’t let me share posts to both my page and my profile, I really don’t know. I could seriously use some advice on what’s the point of a Facebook page and how to use it.

  • Did write not just one but two original blog posts.

  • New blog discovery: Edspire.

  • Most inspiring read: Emma’s guest post on fetal valproate syndrome for Victoria Welton’s blog. This is something I want to learn more about.

I don’t really have goals for the upcoming week, other than finally kicking binge eating’s arse. I have a dietician’s appointment on Friday and a therapy appointment on Tuesday. Will discuss the binge eating issue with my therapist – the dietician already knows.

Suicidal People Need Support, Not Judgment

Through my feed reader, I follow a fair amount of mental health blogs. I don’t follow any of the mainstream media and I don’t watch or read the news frequently. I did hear of Robin Williams’ suicide through the mianstream news, but anything more in depth has come to me through blogs.

I see a lot of discussiono n suicide and its reasons. “Reason” is really the wrong word, as Bill Brenner of The OCD Diaries points out that suicide isn’t a rational act. Brenner writes about the differences between long-term depression leading to suicide and a “spur of the moment” suicide when someone kills themself after a disaster, such as the 1929 economic meltdown..

I myself have experienced a mixture of the two when I’ve been suicidal. In 2007, I had the worst suicidal ideation I’ve ever had three months into living independently. My crisis appears like a “spur of the moment” crisis, and in a way, it was. I wasn’t diagnosable with depression at the time, or ever for that matter. I was labeled with adjustment disorder for lack of a better diagnosis.

This is probably too what the people killing themselves in 1929, that Brenner refers to, could’ve been diagnosed with. Adjustment disorder refers to a maladaptive response to an identifiable stressor, where the response (depressive mood, anxiety, disturbance of conduct, etc.) is grossly out of proportion to the stressor and/or causes significant distress or impairment in functioning. The condition can only be diagnosed if other mental health conditions, such as clinical depression, have been ruled out, but it is a mental disorder nonetheless.

Another condition which can come with apparent “spur of the moment” suicide is my current diagnosis, borderline personality disorder. Unlike adjustment disorder, this is considered a severe and usually lifelong mental illness, yet people with this condition who attempt suicide, especially if they don’t succeed, are even more often seen as selfish or manipulative. People with BPD are seen as attempting suicide over the tiniest thing, yet their suffering is severe and chronic, like the suffering of people diagnosed with clinical depression.

In none of the above cases, suicide is a rational act. People with BPD are overwhelemd by intense emotional turmoil. People with adjustment disorder cannot see a life beyond the stressor affecting them at the time. People with clinical depression, the ones who are given the most sympathy when suicidal, are, of course, overcome with depression and hopelessness. These are different emotions and thought processes overcoming different people, but the bottom line remains the same: suicide is not a rational act.

I remember during my suicidal crisis in 2007 being told that I was selfish. In a way, I was, but not out of malice. I was unable to think of other people due to being consumed with intense emotion. Being told I was selfish only worsened my depressed mood.

Remember, people who are suicidal, are in pain. They need support, not judgment. They don’t choose to burden you with the consequences of their death – and yes, I was actually told that. Guilt trips, if they do anything, make the suicidality worse. What someone needs in an urgently suicidal state, is to be kept safe and to be loved. They may understand your point of view once they’ve climbed out of the depths of their suffering. If a person is at the stage of comtemplating suicide, supportive talking can help. If they’re acutely suicidal, all you can do is call emergency services and make sure they’re kept safe and sit by them until they hopefully get out of this state. It’s as sad as that.

Sensitivity Is a Good Thing

“You are too sensitive.” I and other people with mental health problems hear it all the time. I was raised with the idea that I should be more laid-back. Now I can see that being laid-back is good, but when it’s used to mean not to react to wrongs in our environment, it’s not so good.

Over at Pride in Madness, there’s a post on being sensitive. Its main point is that sensitivity used to be a positive trait. People who care about the world around them, used to be described as sensitive. Now, it’s used to mean “overreactive”. We easily forget that people who fought for the rights we now have, used to be seen as sensitive and overreactive, too. Women’s rights activists were diagnosed with “hysteria” as a way to silence them. This is a way for the dominantly male, White, heterosexual, non-disabled culture to keep its members in a privileged position. And this is exactly why we need sensitive people.

Everyone is privileged in some way. I remember last year considering the Black people protesting the St. Nicholas celebration in the Netherlands because of its association with Black slaves, overly sensitive. That was a mistake. I don’t promise I will never make this mistake again, and so I can see why men make the mistake of calling women overly sensitive and non0disabled people make the mistake of calling the disabled overly sensitive. This is, however, exactly why we need reminders from people like the author of Pride in Madness that sensitivity is a good thing, and that we need people who are sensitive to the wrongs in the world in order to make them rihgt.

Positives for the Week

One of my loom bracelets.

I am feeling a bit stressed out after my computer started acting up again – not as in it being broken, just as in having a hiccup. I am also missing out on inspiration for my #Mumslist post this week, because I haven’t been online much. I thought I’d put these two frustrations to good use and make a list of positives of the week.


  1. Made not just two but five loom bracelets this week. Am working on a sixth one. The above pic shows a bracelet I made for a nurse.
  2. With today being the exception, the weather has been quite nice over the past week.

  3. I reached my goal of going to the gym this week. Did buy candy more than once though. I did have a binge eating episode on Friday, but let’s just consider that a slip up.

  4. The nurses made delicious macaroni for us yesterday. Had a delicious ice cream on Tuesday.

  5. Both of my computers are usually fuctioning again.

  6. Made phone calls to my mother and sister. My sister, who earned her Master’s in history a few weeks ago, got word that she may be accepted into teacher education after all.

And here are my goals for the upcoming week.


  1. Make a Christmas card for a swap I’m on. Yeah, cardmakers make and sometimes swap Christmas cards all year.

  2. Start working on an art doll for a mixed media swap. I don’t really know what an art doll is, but one of the usual activity staff will be back from vacation this week so I can ask her for inspiration.

  3. Go to the gym again.

  4. Write one original blog post (so something other than Tuesday Ten, Word of the Week, etc.).


Have a nice week everyone!

Mums' Days

(Mostly) Screenless #WotW

On Tuesday evening, I wrote here on the blog that my husband can usually fix my computer. That same evening, someone from Freedom Scientific, the screen reader company, called to get into my computer through some kind of distance control, in the hopes of fixing a problem I’d been having for a few weeks, which my husband had been unable to fix and for which he’d blamed my screen reader. After the Freedom Scientific person fiddled with my computer for a bit, it was worse than it was before. She recommended system recovery, which my husband tried on Wednesday, but failed. He took my computer to his place to reinstall Windows.

Since I hadn’t been able to use my computer from Tuesday evening until last night, and I didn’t compensate for the lack of a computer with a smartphone (which I don’t own) or TV, this was largely a screenless week. It was less of a boredom-filled week than my week without Internet acccess last May. I am thankful for loom bands in this respect.

Thursday was actually the most boring day, because we had a rather weird activity staff. I need some help with the loom bands, although after almost a week of nearly fulltime practice, I can almost entirely make a fishtail without help – the only thing I haven’t figured out is how to attach the clip on one of the ends of the bracelet.

Anyway, the other clients and I spent Thursday morning in the room pretty much keeping busy by ourselves because the man had no clue what activities we were doing let alone how to help. Besides, he went on a 45-minute cig break – thankfully there were no clients who needed to be accompanied by staff at all times. After this hilarious if not frustrating morning at day activities, I decided not to return for the afternoon. Instead, I did go to the gym, which was one of my goals for the week anyway.

A nice nurse worked the evening shift and there was some extra staffing, so she offered to help me with the loom bands. We decided to make a loom band heart for my husband. Unfortunately, I fidgeted with it too much so that a band snapped shortly after the thing was finished. I hope this isn’t somehow symbolic.

Yesterday, my husband brought me both my new computer, the one on which Windows needed to be reinstalled, and the older one, for which he had to replace the keyboard. Unforutnately, the old one returned a weird error upon startup and I forgot the password to the new one, so I had to wait for my husband to finish his late shift at work at 11:30 PM to give me the password. Today, he also “fixed” the older one – it wasn’t broken. Yay for my husband and yay for two working computers!

The Reading Residence

Ten Things About My Husband #TuesdayTen

This week’s Tuesday Ten is all about friendship, in honor of National Friendship Day. Lisa of The Golden Spoons explains the origins of National Friendship Day. Like most holidays, it’s higly commercialized. Unlike others, it actually originated as a commercial celebration, having been invented by Hallmark. It’s apparently formally recognized by the United Nations now.

Like Lisa, I am quite introverted. I don’t have anyy good friends, unless you count my husband. My problems with friendship usually come down to reciprocity, or the lack thereof. I either share too little, ask too little about the other person, or I pour my heart out too soon.

Consequently, I, too, will have my husband as my best friend. It’s not that he doesn’t have to put up with my lack of reciprocal interaction, but apparently, he loves me anyway. Here are ten things I love about him.


  1. He is patient. He kept coming to the locked psychiatric unit when I was there and we weren’t officially in a relationship yet. He patiently waited for me to answer that I loved him too.

  2. He is funny. Usually. Sometimes though, his politically incorrect jokes drive me batty.

  3. When he’s determined to do something, he goes for it. He’s sometimes frustrated when I give up too quickly in his opinion.

  4. He plays and dances with me when one of my inner children is out.

  5. He handles my mentally ill moments really well.

  6. He is usually honest but gentle.

  7. He has a lot of knowledge and is a great debater.

  8. He helps me out when it’s noisy or I can’t communicate clearly for another reason.

  9. He loves me in spite of all my quirks.

  10. He can usually fix my computer. ;)

The Golden Spoons

Week of July 28 to August 3, 2014 #Mumslist

While looking at blogs I might want to subscribe to, I came across the lovely Mums’ Days by Hannah, and her fabulous linky Mums’ List. The linky is about all kinds of lists, but especially a list detailing your week both in real life and in blogging/social media. I love linkies and lists, so I badly wanted to participate, but wasn’t sure I could since I’m not a Mom. I left a comment aking this, but then saw the rules and figured out the answer by myself. So here goes

Real Life


  1. Spent a lot of time and energy on my computer, both working on it and trying to get it to work. My husband fixed some of the problems, but not all. Left a few calls with the screen reader company, because that appears to be the problem.

  2. Enjoyed time in the garden and outside in general. It’s been sunny all week. Had a BBQ on Thursday for my ward. It was crowdy and noisy as a DJ came to play music and a lot of people sang along. Not my favorite pastime, though the food was good.

  3. Made a lovely loom bracelt. Yes, I mentioned this on Friday, too, but I mention it again because my husband was able to snap the picture today and I really want to show it off. Made an attempt at starting another loom bracelet for a nurse over coffee today, but I’d better just spend my time drinking coffee or looming than both at the same time.

  4. Finally went to the gym again after skipping it for two weeks. Had quite a nice work-out.

  5. Managed to buy a lot less candy than I usually do, but got a bag of liquorice in exchange for another bracelet so still probably ate as much as I normally do (which is too much). We also had fries tonight, but the little step I’ve taken is finally being able to eat a normal size portion.

Loom Bracelet

Blogging and Social Media


  1. Not been blogging much this week. I really had to bribe myself to write.

  2. Discovered the lovely Headspace Perspective, a blog about premature birth, birth trauma and baby loss. Since I am the oldest surviving child of a mother pregnant several times before delivering me, and I’m a preemie, I felt a kind of connectedness even though I haven’t been in Leigh’s shoes.

  3. Got a lot of compliments on my bracelet in Facebook groups.

  4. Not looked at my blog or Twitter stats (I don’t have a Facebook page or Pinterest or whathaveyou). My blog stats are probably misleading as I had around ten spam comments from what appear to be different spammers yesterday and last night. I’ve enabled comment moderation for new commenters now.

Goals for the Upcoming Week


  1. Make two loom bracelets.

  2. Buy candy only once. Go to the gym once too.

  3. Study 100 pages of intro to psychology textbook.

  4. Write at least three blog posts.

Mums' Days