Six months before Andrea's death she experienced an almost three-month emotional reprieve. Although not gone, the bulimic behaviors decreased and Andrea felt strong and confident. In a journal entry she reflected on how she was...
...enjoying this experience of being stable. It’s a new one for me. Emotionally—I am doing damn good—I don’t really know how it happened. I just know that I am reacting to things and dealing with them a little differently. I enjoy my classes and I love that I am getting all the reading done and really being proactive.… Things are good—I am good.
Sadly, a get-back-together-break-up-again cycle with a former boyfriend put an end to this perceived "stability," ultimately triggering an increase in bulimic behaviors, with death as the outcome.
Andrea experienced numerous psychological ups and downs in days she labeled as either "good" or "bad." My heart breaks though, in how she often correlated the quality of her day with the quality of her "being" as illustrated by her final line above, "Things are good--I am good."
Yes, in this context the words, "I am good" can be interpreted in various ways, but it is this repeated refrain within her writings that lends credence to her engagement with black and white thinking--a common characteristic in eating disorder sufferers, and unfortunately in our culture at large.
Such thinking had thoroughly infiltrated and influenced Andrea's feelings of self. Her worth was not inherent in the fact that she existed, but instead tied to the sort of day she was having, the foods she ate, even a stranger's off-hand, thoughtless remark. Thus, she could instantaneously go from loving herself to hating herself.
Tomorrow is our Nation's celebration of independence. Let us each announce and celebrate our independence from self-loathing today...so that tomorrow and every day thereafter is one in which we embrace, as a self-evident truth, our own value and worth.
Happy 4th of July!