NEDA Week Day 6: Today

NEDA Week Day 6: Today
NEDAwareness Week Day 6: Silencing the Internal Critic

When I originally embarked on sharing my story, I thought I was in a place where I could separate myself from who I used to be – detach my present identity from this battle that consumed the greater part of my adolescence. I envisioned a polished essay with a crisp and neat conclusion. A happy ending. But there is no ending. I am in the thick of it. Weak and tired from years of being on the defense, this battle is still raging. You never fully recover from an eating disorder. You never fully rid yourself of anxiety. You don’t eradicate the voice in your head reminding you that you are not enough. You adapt. You cope. You learn to overpower the voice within you – to quiet the internal critic, if only for a moment.

Continue reading “NEDA Week Day 6: Today”

NEDA Week Day 4: Eating Disorder, defined

NEDA Week Day 4: Eating Disorder, defined
NEDAwareness Week Day 4: Defining an Eating Disorder

The room smelled familiar – like antiseptic soap and one too many sprays of Febreeze. I shifted on the table, wincing as the paper scratched against the cheap leather. I had just finished another round of the Gardasil vaccine and inquired about remedies for dry skin – my hands used to get really dry in the winter – as in arid, cracked hands with knuckles that bled when I held a pencil. My doctor looked over my hands, brushing his moisturized fingers over the red knuckles. He set them down on my lap and looked at me very matter-of-factly. Continue reading “NEDA Week Day 4: Eating Disorder, defined”

NEDA Week Day 2: Perfectionism

NEDA Week Day 2: Perfectionism
NEDAwareness Week Day 2: The Burden of Perfection

I have always been prone to anxiety. I remember sitting in pre-algebra, my right arm warm from the dusty projector crammed between my desk and a peer’s. The week’s fraction quiz glared at me with a large red C circled in the top right corner. A brick dropped in my stomach, weighing me down to the point that my shoulders slumped and my chest tightened to bear the load. I blinked back tears and ended up in the nurse’s office. A “stomach ache,” I said. Continue reading “NEDA Week Day 2: Perfectionism”

NEDA Week Day 1: Anxiety

NEDA Week Day 1: Anxiety
NEDAwareness Week Day 1: Coping with Anxiety

For me, disordered eating and anxiety are intertwined. They feed off of each other until I am hollow. It’s a parasitic emptiness, one that consumes your every thought and action until you are emotionally void. The cycle is cruel – anxiety begets restriction and shame; restriction and shame beget anxiety. Ignored, the combination can easily spiral into depression.

We’re kicking off NEDAwareness Week with the root of my eating disorder: Anxiety. When I’m feeling anxious, I turn to pen and paper for comfort. This was one of those times. The following was written during a bout of anxiety earlier this year.


I should have gone to bed earlier, but I never do. The weight of the world becomes exceptionally heavy right around 10 p.m. The problems, the fears, the anxiety – they entangle me. I stare at the wall across the room and shift uncomfortably. I sink down into the cushion, staring, thinking. It feels as though pieces from five different puzzles are swirling within my mind, each trying – yet failing – to connect. I eventually break my stare and pull myself off the couch. I brew some chamomile, hoping to lull myself to sleep, and make a list of the things I need to do. Laundry, bills, call the grandparents, go to Target, find a therapist, write that blog you’ve been meaning to write. I set it aside (with the six other lists I’ve made this week) and crawl into bed. I pull the covers around me, eyes barely exposed, and breathe a slow, deep sigh. I continue my stare, fixated on the ceiling’s shadows. The cerebral fog begins to dissipate. My mind bounces from emotion to emotion – dread at the idea of repeating today, excitement for the week’s trail run quickly followed by an instinctual social anxiety. A craving to just be alone. I stare a little while longer and eventually roll over, reaching for my mug. I take a long sip, turn out the light, and return my gaze to the darkened ceiling. The tea was cold.

I hate feeling this way. This “I’m going to listen to the same four Lorde songs on repeat and lay on the floor” feeling. I’m experiencing life through a pair of smudged, cloudy glasses, and my typically optimistic and bright perspective now has a hazy, blurred lens. Everything just feels hard. Things I normally enjoy – making dinner, weekly group runs, journaling – become laborious and taxing. The smallest grain of sand is enough to uproot my entire existence. I’m not sure what led to this – stints of anxiety, the occasional bad day, uncertainty regarding my future – small things, sure, but not enough to lead to this sinking, darkening feeling. I recognize bits and pieces of this lens: the desire to run away (and the increased weekly mileage in an attempt to do so), the same Spotify playlist, the increased social anxiety and desire to isolate myself, the self-criticism and body shaming – but some things are new and difficult to navigate. The increased heart rate and shortness of breath, the periodic (and inopportune) bouts of tears, sometimes losing visual and mental focus, dreading the everydayness of my still-new routine. I am craving change, not necessarily in scenery (although that seems like the quick and easy fix), but in purpose. I feel listless and disengaged. Mediocre and unmotivated. I hate this feeling.

I’ve tried to run away from myself before. Many times. Every so often I become incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin. It scratches like cheap wool and wrinkles in all the wrong places. I am displaced within myself. Anxiety creeps in, and I crave an easy out. Isolation. Restriction. Obsessive tendencies. A dangerous cocktail of criticism and control becomes my coping mechanism. Anxiety tightens its grip and, in return, I tighten mine – disordered eating, obsessive exercising, social unease, and loneliness. I desperately want an out, to be free from myself. To run away. But no matter where I go, no matter how far I run, I take myself with me.

Also – today we’re launching the Lane 9 Project – a project by active women for active women. We aim to empower women struggling in the ninth lane. If you’re an active woman with disordered eating and/or amenorrhea, we want you to know you’re not alone, you’re not stuck, and you’re not done. This project will be your community, and hopefully the start of your recovery. If you’ve been there, these are your people.

To learn more about the Lane 9 Project, visit our Medium page and follow us on Twitter.

It’s Time to Talk About It

It’s Time to Talk About It
It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

And this year’s theme is “It’s Time to Talk About It.” 

Talking about mental illness is hard. The stigma, the shame, the embarrassment. it leaves little room for recovery and community, little space to grow and heal. But it is time to talk about it. It is time to allow our stories and struggles to live and breathe. Because there is power in shared experiences. There is strength in community.

Sharing my story is hard, but so is recovery.

Next week, I’m sharing my story. I’m allowing my words, experiences, and struggles to live and breathe. My journey is unique and yet shared by so many. The anxiety and shame, the restriction and amenorrhea, the depression and need for control. It is all interwoven, creating the life I lead today. As we work through this year’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I will share a piece of my story each day, including my struggles with anxiety and depression, my relationship with running, my quest for healing, and my partnership in a project aimed at keeping this conversation going.

It’s National Eating Disorder Week, and this year we’re going to talk about it.