SKINNY

The Truth Behind the Lies Of An Anorexic Mom

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Note:  This blog contains descriptions of eating disorder behaviors.  Although I have tried to be mindful in writing about specific behaviors, there are parts of  that may be difficult to read for those actively struggling with an eating disorder.  For support please see the "resources"page on this site.

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  • sherrisacconaghi

I felt sweat dribble down my back when I answered the call. I'd had the number tucked away, deep in my wallet for two years. I don't know why I pulled it out and left a message that day but I didn't have much time to think about it as here she was calling me back.

I was sitting in my car in front of my sister's house, about to spend the afternoon with my niece when I saw the number pop up. I ignored my immediate urge to let it go to voicemail and forced my hand to answer the phone. The air in the car suddenly felt heavy, and I was having trouble catching my breath. 


"Why don't' you start by telling me a little about your situation,” Kelly, an eating disorders therapist, began after we exchanged greetings.


"Well, I think I might have some food and body issues," I said vaguely.  My heart was pounding with the reality that for the first time, sitting in that hot, stuffy car, I might out the secret that I had kept shoved deep inside for over a decade.


"Okay, tell me a little more about that," she prodded gently. 


"I'm thin. " I blurted out, taking a deep breath to calm my shaking body, slowing the rush of adrenaline roaring through me like an angry river. 


“Okay, well, let’ start with the basics,” Kelly said seemingly un phased. “How tall are you?

"I'm about five-eight," I answered, forcing a casualness I did not feel.



“How much do you weigh?” She continued, unaware the impact of those five words were having on me.


Although I had braced for it, and promised myself I’d be truthful, hearing the question out loud shattered my bravado. I wanted to skitter into my dark, safe corner of denial.


"I'm not sure how much I weigh," I lied before giving a number slightly higher than my scale read just hours earlier.


There was a pause as if she were jotting something down.“Do you exercise?” She asked cautiously. 


"Yes," I said, and rattled off the same rehearsed spiel I've given my doctors over the years, "I mostly play tennis, but I throw in other things like boot camp, weight training, and cycling, you know, when I have time." Hoping that would answer her question and she would let it go at that.


She didn't. 

Just a week before the phone call, my family was unaware of the internal struggle raging inside of me. ( 2016)

"How many hours a week would you say you exercise? "Kelly persisted.


"Well, it varies," I stalled, doing the math in my head and giving her half the actual total. A number that I hoped relayed that I was active but not obsessive.


"That is quite a bit," she said, concern creeping into her voice." And what about food?" She continued, "about how many calories a day would you say you are eating?"


Like the others, I anticipated this question. I answered with a calorie count that I believed sounded reasonable yet nowhere near the truth. 


 She was silent for several seconds, although it seemed more like minutes. My shirt was sticking to my body from the hot summer sun streaming through the car window. I was exhausted from revealing more to Kelly than I had to anyone outside my journal. I sat there torn between hoping she would say she could help, and saying I was perfectly fine. 


When she finally did speak, an icy shiver went down my spine.



  • sherrisacconaghi

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for subscribing to my blog and following my story. My initial goal in sharing my journey with anorexia was to support and connect with others who may be struggling in some way. The unexpected bonus has been how much this blog has helped me put some pieces have into place that, even during treatment, I had missed. Allowing me to connect some significant dots that will, fingers crossed, keep me on a healthy path.


I’m ready to share my recovery process. It was four years ago when I initially reached out for professional help, and it continues to be an ongoing process. Yes, I am much healthier today, mentally, emotionally and physically but there are still some sticky spots that have the potential to trip me up if I do not stay focused and present.


In some ways it is more difficult to write, and talk, about the recovery process. Not only does it still feel fresh, but there were some painful unexpected life hurdles that occurred along the way that caused me to zig when I needed to zag. I am determined to stay open and honest in my sharing. I will not allow the shame of this disease to creep in and tempt me to half ass my story. I just won't. So I am taking this week to contemplate how I want to write about my recovery journey.

My front porch. My favorite place to contemplate, write and...eat ice cream.

I will be back next week, and I will attempt to make Part Two a “no tissues required“ kind of thing.


Thank you again for you ongoing support. Your willingness to read and engage in conversation via email, texts, social media and face to face chats (including the ones that took place in Starbucks lines or the produce section of New Seasons) have meant the world to me. I look forwards to more.


Gratefully,


Sherri


  • sherrisacconaghi

"Hey Sher bug," I heard her say, using the nickname she gave me when I was young, her voice so close I felt she was lying right next to me on the hardwood floor.


You came back, I answered silently, I knew you would.   I wanted to see her face but knew if I opened my eyes she’d be gone.


"I'm here," she continued making me feel comforted, like when I was eight years old, and she was tucking me in under my pale yellow blanket with the satin trim.  


Stay, I begged, I’ve missed you so much. Now that she was back, I couldn't bear the thought of losing her again.


“I'm not going anywhere," she said, her voice becoming fainter, "I'll always be with you."


My eyes popped open, startled. I turned my head from side to side to get my bearings, relieved that the others around me were still peacefully lying in corpse pose. Usually, I had trouble settling into Shavasana. My mind preoccupied with getting home to eat lunch within my rigid self designated time frame, counting the seconds until the instructor signaled the end of practice with a namaste so I could bolt out. But on that particular day, despite the hustle and bustle in the hallway outside the mind/body studio, I relaxed so much, my body melted into my mat. My mind becoming unusually quiet. So quiet, I was finally able to hear the voice I'd been so longing for.

I even took a trip up to Bellevue, WA, to visit my childhood home in hopes of feeling my mom’s presence. (July 2016)

In the three months since my mom died, I had desperately tried to reconnect with her, to feel her presence around me.  When my grandma had died five years earlier, the connection she and I  had in life flowed seamlessly after she passed. I felt her with me always. I couldn't understand why that did not happen with mom too. I often found myself walking to the top of the inactive volcano on which I live, trying to get closer to the sky, hoping she would hear my voice and give me a sign she was out there. I would visit her at the cemetery, talking to her in the marble crypt under the big pine tree. Telling her about my day, the latest town gossip, or funny stories about the boys hoping to hear her laugh. I'd send balloons to the sky with messages of love and wear the little silver bracelet with her name engraved on it from her first communion. Day after day, nothing. 


But that day in the yoga studio, out of the blue, she came to me so clearly, her voice so close, I felt I could reach out and touch her. My mom’s presence engulfing my body and making me feel warm, safe, and loved. 

I do visit my mom once a week, and fill her in on the latest stuff. Nothing mom loved more than a little gossip. (July 2020)

Together, lying in the stillness, I felt a desperate need to give back to my mom for all she had given to me.  And I knew what she would want. The only thing she so desperately wanted for so many years. The thing I was unable to give to her when she was alive.  But I could give it to her now. 


For my mom I was willing to try.



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