When I was in the throes of my illness, I didn't allow anyone to take pictures of me. I'm still horribly camera shy. In my book, I go into more detail about that. I did have to get one picture taken for my driver's license. Unfortunately, it was stolen, so now there's an image of me floating around where I'm looking all sickly and jaundiced. In one of my early posts, I explained that I never had any sense of normal when it comes to food. I'm far more "normal" now than I ever have been. However, I assume people will toss judgments, project their own issues and possibly look with a critical eye at me when it comes to my posts and my recovery. I actually welcome any and all opinions, and I truly appreciate any suggestions or input. So far, I have been incredibly grateful that the responses have been primarily positive and supportive. I can't thank people enough for that.
I do want to say that I honestly understand that eating disorders can be a tricky topic, especially for those still struggling. What I'm hoping people will see is my intention behind all of this. As stated before, I really really REALLY don't want anything related to my blog or my interviews to potentially trigger anyone's issues. Diane and I have continually said that our goal is to reach people, offer hope to others and allow people to open up and talk about something that is often considered taboo. I am definitely all for free speech, but there's something to be said about responsible speech. I truly am making an effort to think about my words before posting- minus a few snarky or funny comments, of course.
For those who think that the mere mention of an eating disorder is enough to "trigger" their issues, I would say the same thing that another thoughtful poster suggested-Step away from the computer! And anyone who might be on the verge of an eating disorder or who is already in the muck and the mire, I honestly hope that my posts will be of some benefit. It took some serious debate and consideration to start this blog. I hesitated writing it at all, but the potential to reach someone in need was too great to not do it. Already, I have had a few people mention that my manuscript has allowed them to better understand the illness, so I'm hoping my blog will do the same. To me, that's something. I know that when I was in a living hell, the people who inspired me were those who had overcome the illness and also those who had at least learned to live more comfortably with it.
Speaking of being inspired, I know I mention Diane Israel quite often, but she really did help me so much when I was struggling. She also attempted to help me when I wasn't ready for it. My friend, Heather was another person who completely changed my life. She was there for me when I was at my worst. Bobby McGee was also someone who really stepped up to offer me guidance when I needed. He was the one who taught me that I was an OK person whether I ran or not. I was lucky to have the support and love of many people around me.
Getting back to the topic, I have to say that my blog picture was taken shortly after I had emergency gall bladder surgery. I was, indeed, a tad on the thin side, as someone has already noted. A guy I was dating quite a few years ago took some images to possibly use for my book or blog that related to eating disorders and running. To those who think that picture makes me appear anorexic, I would remind them that that's about 25 pounds heavier than my lowest weight, slightly lower than my current weight, and slightly heavier than my weight when I was running in high school. In other words, it's all relative. I would hope that people realize that how I relate to food and the world is what this is all about, not a number on the scale. I happen to like the picture, which is rare for me, so I will be leaving it as is.
The last clarifications I have to make are in regard to two things I said in the interview I did with an a running coach. While trying to neither defend nor condemn my high school coach, I will say that anorexia wasn't well understood when I was first diagnosed. In fact, I hadn't ever heard the term when I first started having issues. I was sick before I went into the running program in high school. That being said, there's no doubt that some of the girls and I felt pressure to run well and be at a low weight. Whether it was internal pressure or a combination of internal and external pressure is hard to say. I do believe that a good coach can steer an athlete in a healthier direction when needed. There's no doubt that a coach can be incredibly influential.
The other clarification I wanted to make is regarding Colleen Cannon. I mentioned that Colleen didn't listen to her coaches who told her that she needed to lose weight. I also mentioned her eating ice cream despite her coaches wanting her to lose weight. This was about her taking a stand, allowing her body what it craved and needed, and running well despite the complaints from her coaches that she would be better off losing weight. She did not get to the top of her sport by chowing down on ice cream, but she was strong enough to know that she could eat some if she craved it and still run well
That's it for now. .
Thanks again to everyone reading my blog. I definitely hope to inspire people, not encourage any kind of disordered thinking or behavior. I know the darkness of being in the midst of an eating disorder. I also know what it is to be on the other side of that. My hope is that fewer people will have to go through the pain and suffering associated with an eating disorder the more we can talk about it, examine the causes and explore possible solutions.