Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Name is TC and I Have an Eating Disorder


I remember texting my friend from the hospital  “do you think you can come pick me up?”  My husband, Jon, knew where I was, he was the one who took me to the ER earlier that day, but I didn’t want him to have to come get me, I was too ashamed.  On the short car ride home I don’t remember talking to my friend, maybe I did, but by that point my brain felt like it had been contaminated by thick fog, my body felt weak and sloppy.  I do remember one thought I had… 

HOW DID I GET HERE?

And then a second immediate thought…

I’m fine.  This isn’t that big of a deal.   

I’ve learned that this is a pretty typical thought or justification for an addict or for anyone who has lost complete control of his or her life… which is what had happened to me. 

My name is TC and I have an eating disorder.






















I was nervous to walk in my front door.  I was full of shame and guilt.  My family didn’t deserve this.  My 3 beautiful children, my loving husband, they didn’t deserve the pain I was causing them by my choices.  I was scared to face them.  

When I finally walked in the front door I was surprised by who was there to greet me… my husband and… my parents.  
At this moment it occurred to me that THIS is serious.  

My parents should  have been lying under the beautifully warm sun on the radiant beach in San Diego, not at my home in Arizona.  They had been planning and looking forward to this California vacation for a while, but as soon as they arrived they were interrupted by a phone call from Jon… “TC is in the ER… I’m really worried”.  My parents were aware that I had been struggling with eating so when they heard from Jon they immediately jumped in their rental car and, from California, headed straight to Arizona.

The next day was a mixture of agony and relief.  This was inevitable.  I needed help.  I was sick.  I was slowly dying and I needed to be saved.  The people that were in my life that loved me knew this.  They understood that I could not pull myself through this place that I had put myself in.  Inpatient treatment was immediately decided.

Less than 2 days after my parents arrived in Arizona they were leaving again.  Only, this time they were leaving with something that belonged to me.  They were taking a priceless treasure of mine. 

They were leaving with my 13 month-old daughter. 


A few months before leaving for inpatient treatment






























They were going to care for Bella while I was away, in treatment.  It was the best thing for our family but no matter how I tried to rationalize this, it didn’t comfort me as I watched my loving parents drive away with my beautiful baby girl.  

I was devastated.  Everything felt like it was in slow motion.  I was heartbroken.  I judged myself harshly.  I hated myself.  Why couldn’t I just eat?  I loved my family, I wanted to be with them and all I had to do was start eating… but I couldn’t.  When did this thing get bigger than me?  When did I lose control of my very own life? 

My name is TC and I had to leave my family to save myself.

The next day I said heartfelt goodbyes to my boys, Brayden (5) and Jack (3).  What could I say to them?  How could I explain the situation to them?  I didn’t know how long I would be away.  I didn’t know when I would see them again.  So I just held them as long and as tight as I could.  
























I was terrified as Jon and I arrived at Remuda Ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona.  It was time to say goodbye to my husband.  I begged him to take me back home… I told him I would eat, I promised him that I could fix this on my own, but he knew better.  Words never really escaped my mouth as I was overcome with emotion watching him walk away, leaving me all by myself.  

Going to Remuda Ranch was necessary but it was HARD.  I had to do hard things.  I had to eat.  For 2 weeks I ate nothing but liquids (the “soft” diet”) for breakfast, lunch and dinner and my body hated me for it.  My body struggled remembering how to digest and absorb food.  I was in physical pain and emotional turmoil.  























I had to weigh in every morning wearing nothing but a hospital gown.  I had to eat everything off my plate or be supplemented in calories by drinking Ensures.  If I walked too fast or walked too much (in an attempt to burn calories) I had to drink MORE Ensure.  I was threatened with the option of putting a feeding tube through my nose.  I was told some harsh truths and I had to own up to some very painful realities.  I had to learn to live in the uncomfortable and deal with hard things in healthy ways.  


Top: My husband, Jon, and I during "family week"
Bottom: A few of the women I grew really close to while at Remuda




I was gone for 75 days.

I missed Halloween.  I missed Jack’s 4th birthday.  I called him on his birthday and had all the girls from my house sing “happy birthday”.  When they were done I heard Jack laugh on the other end of the phone call, then he said, “Mom, it’s my birthday, why aren’t you here?”  Right then I hung up the phone, I had to.  I couldn’t even find my voice as my regret and emotion took over once again.  

My name is TC and I believe lies.

Eating disorders are no joke.  They are all different and they are all uniquely complex.  I spent a lot of time listening and learning about how so many dynamic, smart, happy, lovely, fun, beautiful women ended up with eating disorders that were drastically affecting their lives.  In my experience, the universal problem was that we all trusted lies.  Every single one of us, on some level, believed lies.

The lies I trusted had a lot to do with being worthy.  I absolutely believed that I was unworthy… of everything.  I was unworthy of God, of love, my family, my friends, my children, my marriage… everything!  I believed that I could and would never be worthy, that nothing and no one could possibly EVER love me, simply because I was unlovable, I was unworthy of love.  And I believed this with all of my heart.  To me, this was reality.  

My name is TC and I am learning to believe truth.

I have been home from Remuda Ranch for over 5 years now and I still have to proactively put forth effort to stay healthy.  I constantly have to catch my first thought (which is usually a lie), challenge it, and change it (to a truth).  I have to have a plan in place for the times when I start feeling the pull to engage in eating disorder behaviors.  Some days, weeks, months seem to come and go with little effort but some days, weeks, months come and I feel as though I am back on the front lines fighting for my life.  The difference in my fight now, is that I finally believe that I am valuable and that I am worthy!  I am not only valuable and worthy enough to fight these battles, but I am actually worthy enough to win them! 


5 years to the day I went to Remuda Ranch. We celebrated by letting 5 balloons go.






























I believe that eating disorders are REAL.  MY eating disorder is real.  Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness.  I believe that eating disorders are serious.  I can finally acknowledge that MY eating disorder is serious. 

I believe that starving myself or binging after eating was my desperate attempt at controlling my life.  It was my lame attempt at making myself feel worthy.  It was a lousy coping mechanism and a very false form of self-soothing.  

I believe that all the pains and fears and insecurities that I hide myself from by turning to my eating disorder will ALWAYS inevitably and eventually catch up to me.  I have learned that the best way to move through my painful mess is by simply (or not so simply) sitting in it and feeling it and validating it.  Pushing it away by running to an addiction or a false form of self-soothing is only delaying and magnifying what will eventually come.  

My name is TC and I have learned some very hard things.

I have learned that my eating disorder will never go away, much like an addiction it will always be “there” inside of me.  I will always have to be proactive to keep myself in a healthy place, even after all these years I have to consciously “fight” against my eating disorder and the lies it wants me to believe.  

I have learned that if I work, if I use the things I have been taught and the tools I have been given, then my eating disorder will only take up a tiny little space somewhere in the back of my brain, rather than consume it like it has in the past.

I have learned was that I CAN’T trust my eyes to tell me the truth about myself.  This lesson wasn’t one I easily accepted and for the longest time I couldn’t understand this concept.  I was told that my very own eyes were incapable of accurately seeing my reflection in a mirror.  How could I agree that my very eyes that lovingly watch as my children play, my very own eyes that can recognize when someone needs a friend, the same eyes that can recognize God’s love by watching a colorful sunset in the Arizona desert… those eyes that see so many realities are capable of seeing accurately ACCEPT when I am looking at MYSELF?  The tests I took while working at Remuda Ranch proved that I saw myself, my very own eyes saw my reflection, as 52 pounds distorted.  This news was so unbelievably painful and confusing to me, and in some ways it still is, but I am learning to trust and accept (with great sadness) that my eyes possibly don’t “see” me.


I have learned to be patient with myself.  I have messed up… and I have messed up big time and I have messed up a lot.  But I have realized that, for me, recovery isn’t pretty and it isn’t clean and it isn’t a one-time fix.  I have learned that my recovery is very ugly and very messy and I have learned that I will fail sometimes.  But I have also learned how to see the bigger picture.  I have learned how to hold on to hope and how to give myself grace while I heal.






I haven’t quite learned how to entirely love the physical part of my body, but I haven’t given up on the possibility.  However, I have been able to learn to love my body for all the things it can do for me.  I have learned to appreciate what my healthy body is capable of and I have learned to be grateful for it.

My eating disorder will probably be a part of me for the rest of my life but I believe that the harder I fight the easier my battle will be.  I have hope that I can heal.  I have hope that the people who love me truly love me for who I am, not what I am.  And I have hope that one day I will sincerely and completely love and embrace my whole body with all my wonderful flaws.  

My name is TC and I have hope that I can and will love myself completely. 





























It just so happens that this week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. How beautiful is that?  In hopes of spreading more awareness about the reality, the seriousness and the hope that is out there,  I am asking (and begging) for your help.  I am trying to rally together some major support for eating disorder awareness this week.  Will you PLEASE wear purple sometime this week (I am on Wednesday) and if you feel comfortable, take a photo of yourself wearing purple and email it to me? There is so much POWER in numbers! I promise I have big plans with great intentions in mind! You can email me your photos at leticejolley@gmail.com

Also, you can find more in-depth details of my personal journey on my blog at http://apeaceoftice.blogspot.com

For more information about Eating Disorders, check out the national website at: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

*TC... You, my friend, are such a magnificent person. I know this is such a personal journey you've been on, but thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing it. Your bravery to speak honestly and openly is, no doubt, not only blessing your life, and that of your family, but also the lives of countless other women who are enduring the same struggle. It IS real. Thank you for being so strong and for reminding us that we can all overcome- even if it's something we have to work on every single day, for the rest of our lives. You are remarkable.

**Please remember that it takes a lot of courage and vulnerability to share our stories. The purpose of this series is to open our hearts, to interact, to uplift, to support and to grow.  TC will be reading the comments and I know it would mean so much to hear from you. So, if you feel compelled, please reach out and give her your love.

(Read more about the "My Name is" series and the stories of other inspiring women, HERE)



45 comments:

  1. TC~ what a journey you have been on. I am Joan King, a friend of TC's... I was TC's son's Kindergarten Aide at the time TC was going through this rough time in her life and she was away at camp. I shed many tears, for her, her lil children,TC's parents and her hubby. I ached, I was sad, I was hopeful...This bright cheery, full of life, fun filled, funny, off the cuff cuteness was going to be healthy. It was a long journey, and I am sure every day a journey we all have no clue what it's details include. I joke myself about being skinnier, in my next life as I suck down my XL large Coke... but.. it's no joke, it's real and I have lived it, watched it happen, witness the sadness, and the heartache. I want to commend you TC for your bravery, your will to come out the winner.. You are a winner, and you have all that it takes to help yourself and others. Thank you for being so brave!! We love you girl. Love your Guts!!! Keep smiling, stay healthy and remember you have all of us~ your friends... <3 Joan King

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    1. Joan, what a journey indeed. I am so grateful that I had supportive, loving, caring, and understanding people like you in my life to help me, and my family. Brayden was so blessed to have you as an aide in his class at that time. We are all so blessed to know you and have your continued love and support in our lives today. You are such a great person. Wonderful in every way. I love you friend.

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  2. Love you, TC! I already have my purple shirt all picked out, and I'll get a picture and emailed to you soon! Hugs!

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    1. Hilary! I love you and I love al the purple you and so many others sent me this week!

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  3. Wow, what an amazing daughter! Hard to believe it's been five years since Remuda. Looking back is so much easier than being in it and watching you..... struggle; hoping and wishing with everything in my being that you could see what we could/can see of you. Could not be more joyful as I watch you take your healing one BIG step further..... bringing your story and experience toward the light and out of the darkness. I really love you and am grateful for your courage and example.

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    1. Mom, thanks! Thanks for your support then, and now. Thanks for being a pretty great mom! Love you.

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  4. Oh, TC. How I miss my amazing next-door-neighbor and friend (and her entire fantastic family)! I miss that amazing smile and always cheerful disposition. Even when I later find out how much you were struggling, you always seemed so positive and upbeat whenever I would see you. I think I learned from you to never, ever, ever judge, even if that judgment is "What an amazing person! I wish my life was as perfect as hers." Because we never truly know what is going on behind our next-door-neighbor's closed door. And I think I've also learned what a gift it is to be open and honest and brave to share what is going on behind that closed door. I really admire you. And really, really miss you! (I know Lu misses your boys, too. Give them a hug from us!) Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I'm going to do my part to help it go a little bit more viral. Long distance hugs!

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    1. Karen, I miss you too, WE miss you all so much! Thank you for your kind words. You said a lot of things that are important to me and mean so much to me. I hope that people, more people, feel like that can be brave and share their stories. I feel like all of us are trying to trudge through the mud and we are only hurting ourselves and others by pretending that we aren’t, ourselves, in the mud. I also like what you said about judging too. I absolutely agree that any type of judging is unproductive, even when it seems like positive judging. You are wonderful and I miss you. Lots of love to you and your family. HUGS!!

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  5. You are strong. You are brave. You are beautiful. I am touched by your courage in sharing such personal, messy truths and you have inspired me to be more honest with myself and more gentle with other people. Bravo, TC. May the next five years be even better and brighter than the last five!

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    1. Jamie, thank you for what you wrote. I am so grateful and forever changed by those who were (and still are) patient and gentle with me. I think if we truly know each others complete stories, we would all be so much kinder. Thank you for your sweet comment. You are wonderful.

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  6. Oh how I love you and your sweet family. Thanks for sharing and helping us all to catch a glimpse of how powerful you are. love Suzanne

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    1. Suzanne, we love you and your sweet family too. Thank you. And what a compliment… powerful, I don’t know if I think I’m powerful (insert me blushing here), but I really hope I can help or make a small difference, for good.

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  7. You're amazing and I love you! I so glad that you're here to brighten my world! The world is absolutely a better place because you're in it!

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    1. This comment brightened MY day! I think the world is a better place because you’re in it too!

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  8. I wonder where we got the mistaken idea that once we "conquered" something it was gone forever. I am so grateful for your words that now this ED can take up just a tiny space in your brain. I struggle with issues that I wish would just go away and your insight that they can just take up a tiny space and therefore are conquerable gives me hope. Thanks for the hope you have given. Thanks for sharing. Love Vicki

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    1. Vicki, I held on to the idea that I was weak because I wasn’t “conquering” my eating disorder. I was so hard on myself for not being STRONGER or TOUGHER or BETTER. Once I let myself see that most people (if not all people) that deal with addictions or mental health issues don’t really “conquer” their problems, I was filled with hope. Hope that I didn’t have to overcome and conquer my eating disorder to be healthy. I didn’t have to have this monster in my past, as a memory, to love myself or to be happy. This was like a breath of fresh air and a new found freedom for me when I learned and embraced this. Thank you for your comment!

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  9. Bravo, TC. Much love to you and your family!

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    1. Thanks Allison! I appreciate you reading my post AND leaving me a comment! I hope all is well for you and your family!!

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  10. TC, I am in tears!! First, I am proud of you for acknowledging that you needed help. Second, I can totally relate to everything you said on here. Kudos for sticking to recovery.

    xo- Ang.

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    1. Ang! Thank you for your comment! Thank you for reading! And ditto!

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading my story!!!

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  12. You are darling and your family are lucky to have you. Keep on keepin' on, girl!

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    1. Thank you ginabean! I am lucky to have them too and I will keep on if you will keep on keepin’ on too!

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  13. TC, you are an amazing and inspiring person. Thank you for sharing this. It brought tears to my eyes.

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    1. Jadi! Thank you, thank you and thank you! It means so much.

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  14. I am so grateful that you would share you life in order to help others. We buried our daughter who left behind her husband, six children and many friends and family members that loved her only because she wouldn't take the help you accepted. I know your story will help others, thank you so much for give others hope.

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    1. Sharla, I am so incredibly sorry for your tremendous loss. Sending you all the love I have.....

      Love,

      Jacy

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    2. Sharla, my heart breaks for your loss. I am so sorry for the pain you must have endured and that you probably endure every single day. I don’t know what I can say or what I could say to relate how badly I want to reach through this computer and HUG YOU and cry with you. I am here, if there is anything… ANYTHING I can do for you or your family. All my love, TC

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  15. TC, you ROCK my SOCKS OFF! I love you soooo much. Thank you for your time, your courage, your vulnerability ... for sharing all of this. xoxoxoxo

    Jacy, this was brilliant. You are such an amazing woman. Thank you for giving so many of us a voice. ~Melody

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    1. Melody! You know I LOVE YOU and I love the article you wrote on EDAW. Thank you and thank you for all your support. I agree, Jacy is brilliant!

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  16. TC! Thank you so much for your courage in sharing your personal struggles and, as a result, your resilience and strength. I really related to this. It resonated with me. I wept as I read of your struggle, and, as an addict and someone who struggles with disordered eating, I was really strengthened by your words, your life. Thank you for being brave!!!

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    1. Tracie, I was able to read your comment but it was gone by the time I had the opportunity to reply. Thank you for your kind words.

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  18. Tc, love you lots! I know by doing this you will help so many people!
    Niki tanner

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    1. NIKI! Thank you for your support. No matter what, I know, that you can still strike me out… any day!!! Love you!

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  19. You are so awesome and so very brave to share your story Tc! Love you so much!! ~Shauna

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    1. Shauna, thank you so much! I really do appreciate the support and love.

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  20. TC. Incredible! You are so awesome! Incredible story! Keep at it girl!
    Krystle smart Johnston

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  21. Krystle! Thank you so much! I am flattered by the love and support I have received.

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  22. How did I never comment on this until now?!! I was back here, re-reading this post because I'm struggling and hating this SO MUCH today. I feel like it's so hard to love myself because "I have all the right answers" so if I can't just stop, I must be stupid. I love coming back here and reading how much you have overcome, Tc, and seeing the person you are today. I believe in your strength and although this is a lifelong battle, I hope you can see and feel how much you have changed my life and so many others because I wouldn't be able to talk about this if it weren't for you. I love you so much, Tc. I love you so much too, Jacy. I don't know where I'd be without all of your awesomeness in my life!

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    1. Suz! Sorry I haven't been back here for awhile so I haven't checked for comments! Thank you for your kind words, you are so sweet. And thank you for fighting. You are such a fighter and you can do this. Look at you... tonight you smashed the crap out of your scale! That is incredible!!! Love you girl. Keep fighting the good fight.

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    2. ^^^Read your reply tonight for the first time^^^. Loved it. Needed it. Two months later, tonight was the perfect night for me to read it. Smashing that scale was incredibly scary and empowering---we really can do hard things. I know, this comment is going nowhere but I needed to reply anyway because you are awesome, Tice. You are brave and strong and powerful. Thank you for helping me fight.

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  23. I just read this article. I resonated with it so much, although I don't have an eating disorder. Thank you for sharing your story, it's inspiring, and hopeful, and shows what is possible, that it is possible to heal. Thank you.

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  24. I just read this article. I resonated with it so much, although I don't have an eating disorder. Thank you for sharing your story, it's inspiring, and hopeful, and shows what is possible, that it is possible to heal. Thank you.

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