Lee Wolfe Blum is a Health Educator at the Melrose Institute for Eating Disorders in St. Louis Park, MN. In addition to her job encouraging and educating patients on a day-to-day basis, she runs a support group for friends and family of those affected by eating disorders... Read MoreSubscribe in a reader
I haven't written on here in a while and I apologize if you have returned to this site and found me absent. I have been busy with a new role at work, trying to launch my own author website and edit my book. My book will be released in January of 2014. I couldn't be more excited and scared!
I hope you will follow my writing here and on my author page at:
A refreshing new voice in the eating disorder community. A woman I have been blessed to meet and am more than honored to recommend her book Chasing Silhouettes.
is a unique resource for family members and friends of disordered eaters. Based on the true story of a young woman who struggled with anorexia nervosa, Silhouettes provides a fresh perspective on the age-old topic of body image, and how to redefine it in a world of eating disorders.
Comprised of insight and advice from both families and Christian professionals in the eating disorder field, as well as suggested prayers and tips on what not to say or do, the easy-to-read chapters are separated into five sections:
"It is rare I find a resource that so uniquely supplements the whole-person approach to eating disorder treatment as what I have discovered in this insightful, inspiring book."
-- Gregory L. Jantz, PhD, bestselling author and Founder of A Place of Hope
Author, Save My Children and Chasing Silhouettes
I was inspired after reading this book, What I know Now, Letters to My Younger Self, that I wrote one of my own. This letter is to my 20 year old self. It is a powerful exercise that I encourage you to try.
I will be 40 years old soon and today is Mother’s day. My youngest son sits close to me holding my hand and snuggling his head into my side. I am content and filled with so much joy that salty tears trickle down my aging face. On my other side is my husband that after sixteen years I am falling head over heels madly in love with again and yet again. For the umpteenth time.
I wish you could see me right now.
The scars from all the years that you ran from life took so long to heal. I wish Lee that I could stop the years of pain ahead of you. Stop the years of running and help you live now.
Life is short.
You will later wish you had those years back.
Lee, why are you so afraid? I see you, late at night frantic and rigid as you perfect your lines for your play. I see you run so fast keeping yourself busy so you don’t have to feel. I see you abusing your body and it hurts me so. Because that body is your gift. It births three beautiful boys, it becomes strong, and it holds your heart. Now that body is my friend, not the enemy. And that heart of yours that burst with emotion is a good thing, but you are so afraid to see.
I received an email that stopped my heart.
I was chatting with my friends as we finished our warm soup. I noticed through the tall window of the restaurant the cool spring day blowing the icy Minnesota winter away. I reached into my purse to check the time on my phone. An unread email caught my eye.
An email that stopped my heart.
An email telling me that yes, my book, my story will be published. That finally a contract was being sent to me.
In a pink diary with a gold lock and tiny key, I wrote my first journal entry.
"I hate Bobby. He smells.”
I was five. There were thousands, some notebook papers with frayed edges, some fancy leather books with pretty ties, but often they were simple spirals with lines.
It was the words that fell on those lines that mattered. The words that were an expression of my heart and of my soul. An outpouring of the person banging up against a world that offered little breaks and much pain and sorrow. Joy was there too, but mostly the scribbles of me in an unreadable outpouring of words trying to figure life out.
Was God telling me to write? Was God urging me on? I don't know...but I know I needed to write. Late at night when the lights were out, under my covers with a flashlight camping, on a bathroom floor, on a plane. Wherever. I needed it like humans need air.
Hello Readers! I have been so absent on this blog and for that I am so sorry. I have been investing my time in a writing project that I am hopeful will produce fruit soon. I haven't given up on this blog and I hope you haven't either. Thank you for your patience.
I come to you during Eating Disorder Awareness Week to share with you a very insightful and profound letter of ENCOURAGEMENT. This letter was written by a woman that I know who is on the path to recovery from an eating disorder. My hope is that you will see the TRUTH in this letter. The TRUTH that the eating disorder is a liar. That YOU have a VOICE. And that voice is in there somewhere trying to be set free. Eating Disorders are not a choice. RECOVERY is. Won't you choose recovery every moment of every day for the rest of your life? My prayer is that you will. I promise you...you won't regret it.
Recovery: in essence to overcome, persevere, and move on; to take back the life you once had, or to create a new one. It’s the ultimate vindication, as though the cage that had once held you prisoner dissipates one bar at a time, until there is a wide enough gap to set you free.
It does not mean forgetting that the cage was there, nor does it mean expecting it to spring back up suddenly, imprisoning you again. It means being prepared, knowing where your weaknesses lay in maintaining your freedom, and thinking of all the ways you will hurdle them when they appear.
It means FULLY living your life according to your own rules, not the worlds.
It means recognizing how far you have come and breathing that empowerment into your very core.
Recovery is experiencing your emotions, embracing them, reveling in the happiness, and knowing that the sadness will eventually pass. It’s taking off the mask you have worn for God knows how long, revealing your true self to the world, and being okay with it.
It comes through acceptance of the good, the bad, and the things you never thought you could live with yourself for.
Recovery is beautiful and absolutely terrifying, a masochistic paradox. To let go of something that for so long has protected and shielded you is not simple. Blindly trusting that there can even be a so-called “normal life” takes COURAGE. At times, it can feel like self-sacrifice, because your demons have convinced you that you are one in the same.
By destroying them, you will be destroying any chance you actually had at being happy. You have to break out of that fallacy, and it will not happen instantaneously. Recovery starts as being an option and slowly shifts to a reality through hard, sometimes excruciatingly exhausting work.
It is easier to give up, to go back to old habits and forget that you tried. What’s one more failure, right? TRY AGAIN, for the ability to recover lies in this. In retrospect you have never really won. You have convinced yourself that success means thin, but then thin never comes. As soon as you get there, it’s not good enough. You crave more. Your intrinsic values shift to self-centeredness at its worst, for you are not self-obsessed to impress others, but to destroy yourself.
Recovery is letting go of the positive things your demon has provided, and finding a way to fill its void once it is gone, but know that it can be filled. It is all too easy to fall into the belief that nothing could take its place, nothing could ever feel as good as your demon did. And then you step outside of yourself and realize that this sensation is drastically better than anything the demon could invoke. It’s the power of choice, and of regaining your control.
Recovery is health.
Being able to finally think clearly, without the omnipresent shadow that you’ve come to think is your own. It is being able to laugh genuinely, not the fake kind you’ve been parading for so long. It brings present moment awareness, allowing you to enjoy the fragility of life. In turn, it makes you realize that you are not, in fact, infallible.
You start to see that your life does matter, and that you weren’t made only to self-destruct. Rediscovered talents emerge, abilities you forgot you had. The demon is an excellent bargainer after all, but a dangerous one to entrust. It will take all that you have in the pursuit of a number that will never come.
Let go, because life isn’t lived in front of a mirror.
Managing the Holidays
For families and support people of those struggling with an Eating Disorder.
The holidays can be extremely difficult for those with eating disorders. It can also be stressful and worrisome for family members of those struggling.
Here are a few things I highly recommend doing so you can make Thanksgiving (or any Holiday) eating disorder free.
DO Have a discussion now with the person in your life battling Ed. Ask them what they are worried about, what brings them anxiety during holidays, and what kind of thoughts they are having. Don’t fix…just listen and the repeat back with, “I hear you saying that…”
DO Ask what you can do to help. Bring a piece of paper and pen and write down a few tools that you decide on together that YOU can do to help the person struggling.
We talk a great deal about freedom. Freedom of speech. Freedom to vote. Free press.
How about FREEDOM from an eating disorder? I can’t tell you how many times a day I hear people (mostly from family and friends of someone struggling) say; “well, looks like this is just something he or she will struggle with his/her entire life.”
Eating disorders are not a choice. Recovery is.
“This is beautiful. This needs to be published. Finish it.”
She said to me with tears in her eyes and hope on her face after reading through my manuscript. Another author, one I highly respect, filled me with what felt like an ocean of encouragement in my dry desert mind.
I have been working on a book (actually three books) for over 7 years now. I could wallpaper my walls with the rejection letters. I have wavered from highly inspired to almost setting all of the paper on fire and giving up. I struggle with thoughts like this:
I have wasted time writing that I could have been spending with my family.
All the money I have put towards this writing …and for what?
Why did I think I was a writer? This isn’t my gift. I am trying to force a hand that isn’t meant to be.
Who would want to read this story…yet another addiction story.
So when she said those words to me, heartfelt and truthful. I believed her.
For a day. Actually, maybe a week.
I am tired she says. I listen and put her to bed.
I want some m&m's she told me today. I go buy them and give her some.
I need to be around people right now, she begs, I call a friend.
I am anxious about things, she whispers. I give her a breath and some soothing thoughts.
We are a team. Me and my friend. We used to be enemies. She would ask me for things and I would ignore her. Often I would pretend I didn't hear her. Many times I would call her names.
Very mean names.
I wouldn't let her cry, if she did I would call her "weak." And I made sure she didn't get too close to anyone. That would hurt too much.
She liked to work hard, but I made her work harder. She liked to play. I wouldn't let her.
But we fell apart the two of us. We couldn't exist in constant opposition.
I surrendered. I asked God to help me learn to love her. I asked for help from others to, to learn to listen to her, to learn to accept her for exactly who she is. And slowly we became friends again. Slowly.
I didn't trust her, I needed to see she was trustworthy. That she knew what she was doing.
She was. She is.
We are friends now, good friends. She tells me things I need to know. She tells me when she is hungry, when she is tired, when someone isn't safe, and when she needs to rest.
And I listen. I listen closely because once I used to hate her.I have forgiven her. She has forgiven me.
Now I find her wise. So I listen. And she is pretty fun!
You have a friend like this too. The world tells you to hurt her and toughen her up. Tells you to work her into thinness or into perfection. She doesn't like that. It won't work. I tried it.
Do you know her? Do you listen to her when she talks to you? S
She is your body. She is smart. She wants to tell you things.
Won't you listen?