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 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.



  • sherrisacconaghi

 I'm going to yoga today I told myself as I marched through the front doors of the big box gym. I was carrying my new purple yoga mat, and trying to ignore the people sweating it out on the treadmills as I walked past. Yoga today, I reminded myself as I turned the corner, passing the cycle room, the pre-warm-up music spilling out into the hallway. I couldn't help but glance in, noticing my favorite bike was empty. No, today, you are doing yoga, I muttered, forcing myself to continue down the hall to the mind/body studio. I walked into the cool, dimly lit room and quietly laid my mat on the floor as to not disturb those who were already seated for their pre-practice meditation. As I took my shoes off, ready to be seated, a voice stopped me before my rear end even hit the ground.  


"Is this really what you plan to do today?" My Anorexic Brain (AB as I came to call it in treatment) whispered, "don't you feel like the high of a good sweat instead?"


"It’s yoga day,” my healthy Sherri Brain (SB) retorted back silently, "I feel good after yoga."


"Who are you kidding?” AB pressed on, “you feel good after you have burned serious calories." 


"I don't need to burn calories," SB argued, "my body already feels empty." 


"You can eat chips with lunch if you go to cycle, though," AB taunted convincingly, "you love chips."


Oh crap AB is right, I thought hastily rolling up my mat and running to grab one of the last remaining bikes in the cycle toom. Once in, I threw on my shoes, adjusted the bike, jumped on, and began to pedal. I don't want to be on this bike today. I want to be in yoga, I thought to myself, as I slowed my pedal speed, willing myself to get back off the bike. 


"If you cave and go the easy route today, then you will be tempted to do the same tomorrow and the next and the next, then what?" AB shouted, breaking down SB's willpower. 


"Just fucking shut up and let me go to yoga,” SB screamed back silently, tears of frustration springing to my eyes. The back and forth in my head so loud I was sure everyone around me could hear it. 


Fueled by spite, I jumped off the bike, and before I could change my mind, I grabbed my mat, ran back into the yoga studio, and took a space on the floor just as the class had begun to start. Although I was flustered and distracted by the shit show in my head, after a few deep breaths, I was able to settle my body and focus my mind. 


My anorexic brain loved a good sweat session. Of late, however, I had begun to dread my cardio workouts. I was constantly worried if my heart would give out in the middle of class. Knowing I was punishing my starving body. And why? Overcome by shame that I could not bring myself to stop. Walking out of most of those classes with my head down to avoid the cruel, judgmental stares, I was sure I was receiving from others.

My friend Lori texted this to me randomly one day. It was the little things like this that made a difference. That made me think..hhhhmmmm.....just maybe. (2016).

My healthy brain, however, was loving yoga, although I didn't fully understand why. It was challenging, but without the feeling of being punishing or offering a depleting calorie burn I was not yet convinced it was an efficient form of exercise. But it did make me feel strong. It filled me with an energizing warmth that radiated through my limbs, making me feel more mobile and fluid. And afterwards, I felt a boost of confidence that allowed me to stand a little straighter, knowing I was finally doing something good for myself.


And that day after yoga was no exception. I walked out of the room, energized, with my head high, proud, and very relieved that my healthy brain had won the small yet very rare victory against my dominant anorexic brain.  It felt good.


It gave me hope that winning that battle meant I hadn’t yet lost the war.



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