Tonight I sat among a crowd of 600 women, listening to a KU graduate talk about her experiences with an eating disorder. The whole time, all I could think was that she was telling my story.
While dealing with an eating disorder, I had darker than dark days, during which I thought foreign thoughts and felt strangely twisted feelings. I had “good” days, during which it was still a struggle to keep my thoughts away from food, exercise and my body. Most depressing of all, in retrospect, were my “normal” days, during which I was sad, isolated and desolate — Basically, my whole perception of what was good and right in the world became warped and unnatural.
I didn’t believe in happiness and I certainly didn’t believe in recovery. Yet, here I am today, knowing that happiness does exist and that recovery is more than possible — It is necessary.
No lie that getting to this point was hard work. I had to push myself into remembering who I was, what I valued and why I felt the ways I did. In this journey, there were plateaus, pitfalls and even a few plunges. Eventually, though, I made it out of eating disorder’s pit — And I’m never, ever looking back…
Instead, I am trying to help other people avoid similar situations by working with my University’s student health group.
Instead, I am using my strong body to do incredible things, such as run half-marathons.
Instead, I am loving myself, which also helps me be better at loving others.
Instead, I am enjoying things that my eating disorder-addicted self would have never done, such as using oil, butter and cheese in the kitchen.
Open-Face Mushroom Pâté Sandwich
- ~2 C mushrooms (I used white button)
- Half of a small onion
- ~1 t buttery spread
- ~1 T olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Pinch of thyme
- One clove garlic
- ~3 T Italian-blend cheese
- Two slices whole-grain bread
- ~1 T pesto (optional)
- ~1 T fresh parsley (optional)
- In a small saute plan, heat a small bit of olive oil (enough to lightly cover the bottom of the pan) to medium-high.
- While the oil is heating, finely mince the onion. Add the onion to the heated pan, tossing to coat the minced onion in the oil. Turn the heat to medium and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are beginning to become translucent.
- Meanwhile, mince the mushrooms — They should be really small bits! Add the mushrooms to the sautéed onions in the pan. Add more oil, if necessary. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have shrunk in size and are very tender.
- Turn the heat down to low, add butter, salt, pepper, thyme and garlic. Stir everything together until the butter is melted and the garlic is slightly browned and fragrant (be careful not to burn the garlic!). Remove from heat.
- Place the two slices of bread on a baking sheet. Place this under the broiler and allow toast to brown slightly.
- Remove the toast from the oven. Flip each slice over, top with pesto, a little bit of cheese and the evenly-divided pâte mixture. Top with remaining cheese.
- Broil the open-face sandwiches until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven, garnish with parsley and season with salt and pepper.
Basically, instead of (not really) living with an eating disorder, I am embracing life and loving every second of it.
Question: Have you ever had to make any “instead of this, I am going to do this” decisions?