Insider Advice

Below is an excerpt of a conversation in which Ida describes her rich and complex understandings of the problems and how, in prioritizing her hopes, values and preferences for her life, she began to find freedom from anorexia and drugs and alcohol.

“I think both [substance misuse and disordered eating practices] can be ways of dealing with the world, it’s a distraction. If I prioritize being an unrealistic weight, I need to dedicate most of my energy to achieving that goal, which means I’m not paying attention to the fact that there are wars going on right now, where families are being slaughtered. There is oil leaking into the ocean and no one is stopping it. Those problems are so overwhelming. It’s easier to distract by getting high or focusing on getting thin. I’m also aware it’s a waste of time and energy. I could be having fun, but instead I’m trying to lose weight when I don’t need to.

They both fill so many needs. As a youth and young adult I also felt like I wanted people to know I was suffering, from just having to exist in a world where girls and women are routinely abused and exploited. And I still suffer, but I am better equipped to deal with it. I’m smarter, I can think more critically, I can challenge myself. I have an amazing husband who gives the support I need to make myself feel better.

I ask myself what really matters? What do I want people to remember about me? When I’m 90, what do I want to think about when I remember my life? That I was high and can’t remember, that I never ate chocolate and maintained a ‘X’ inch waist? Or that I had fun, was a good friend, enjoyed the childhoods of my children, including making and eating a piece of their birthday cakes?”

She goes on to say,

"I know disordered eating made me 'anti-social'. And that was part of what got me into being healthier-food is such a corner stone, the first summer I actually relaxed about what I ate, I had such an amazing time, I felt so carefree. I fell in love and met my husband."