What if I told you it’s in your mind? An invalidating statement if I’ve ever heard one (which I have) but my intentions are good, I promise.
Hear me out….
There’s nothing out there that can change the life you live, challenges you face, and happiness you seek. No part, school, program, or scholarship will make you more, better or good enough. Going on pointe or not going on pointe you’re still the same. You’re you, that can’t change.
The acceptance and love for yourself and who you are is waiting for you in your body. Always has been, always will. You aren’t going to find yourself outside of yourself. No person, place or thing can fulfill the longing to be whole. Period.
The answer is in your mind.
You can have everything: job, car, boyfriend or girlfriend, talent, fame, hair and nails; and be totally miserable.
It won’t bring true happiness because you still hate yourself.
At first, I found self searching the, “You have the strength inside you”, “Your heart is your greatest companion”, or “ Just stop and listen to the soul”; a bunch of mumbo jumbo.
A little hocus-pocus if you ask me. (Color me cynical)
Searching takes energy, and at the moment you might be laying in bed, or standing in front of the toilet, or sitting on the floor with a sharp object.
The last thing you want to do is look inward because that’s where the demons live.
Demon’s of pain and agony are trapped inside your mind, your heart, your stomach. Maybe that’s why you’re not hungry; there’s no room.
But there’s hope… don’t worry. I won’t leave you like this.
The demons don’t belong there. They were born from a lie you are holding onto; it’s killing you.
The demons–let’s call them negative thoughts– are taking up too much space in your mind that could be filled by something else. They’ve hijacked you, and don’t want to leave.
So, what do you do?
You could release them, talk to your treatment team, take the medication….or you can dance with your demons.
Are you willing to let go? I can’t let go. Are you willing to risk, and take the biggest step towards eating disorder recovery? Maybe.
You have the power. It’s your life. But it doesn’t feel that way.
It’s all in your mind. I’m scared.
Let’s take the next step. Okay
Disclaimer: There are people out there that can help you through this process..it’s scary I know. I’ve been there.
Take a chance, you won’t regret it!
When you get what you want as you struggle for self and the world makes you queen for a day, just go to the mirror and look at yourself and see what that woman has to say. For it isn’t your father or mother or husband who judgement upon you must pass. The person whose verdict counts most in your life is the one staring back from the glass. She’s the person to please, never mind all the rest, for she’s with you clear up to the end. And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test, if the woman in the glass is your friend. You may fool the whole world down the pathway of life, and get pats on your back as you pass, but your final reward will be heartache and tears, if you’ve cheated the woman in the glass.
My eating disorder started when I injured my back and could no longer train for a professional career in ballet. It took years to overcome the devastation inside me and in all areas of my life. I took comfort with Ed because it promised me hope and happiness. Neither were true, what it really gave me was 3 psychiatric hospital stays, two eating disorder treatment facilities and a broken life. All of its lies were finally revealed and I came to realize that my ED was the thing that stood between me and dance, not my injury. Because this took 18 years for me to realize, a career as a professional dancer is no longer within my reach. What I can do is help dancers, families, and teachers fight eating disorders.
Dance is my passion…..and so is recovery. 🙂
I started dancing when I was 12 years old. After seeing a worship dance team at my church, I knew dancing was what I wanted to do. Starting with ballet classes, I fell in love with dance and couldn’t get enough of ballet. After one year I knew I was going to be a ballerina. I attended Frederick School of Classical Ballet in Frederick Maryland under the talented instruction of Mrs. Joyce Morrison, former principal with the Washington Ballet. After a year of training and seeing my talent, Joyce sent me to Maryland Regional Ballet School at age 13. Wanting so badly to make dance a permanent part of my life, I auditioned for Virginia School of the Arts in Lynchburg, Virginia. After being accepted into the school, I moved away from home at 14 to study dance full-time and had the privilege of studying under Jan Petrus Bosman from the Royal Ballet in England. Classical ballet was the focus of my training but also studied modern dance with Sveinbjorg Alexanders of Germany and Jazz under Mark Schneider -Assistant Ballet Master with the Fort Worth Ballet. I suffered a career ending spinal injury in the spring of 1994, at the age of 17, which ended my professional dance career.
With a broken dream and a hole in my heart, I walked away from dance and became a behavioral specialist for children and adolescents, a licensed Massage Therapist, and obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services. During those years, I developed anorexia, an exercise and diet pill addiction, bulimia and diagnosed with Bipolar 2 Disorder, which almost took my life.
Where I am today….
18 years later…..I am here, talking to you. I tried walking away but recovery, for me, meant going back to the beginning. I faced my greatest fear and grieved the loss of ballet. Recovery made it possible for me to have dance back in my life, and that is Dancing With ED. My non-profit has one purpose, to help struggling dancers.
I do not claim to have all the answers, there is no one who does. But I can say that I know what it is like fighting everyday, every hour, every minute. And if there is one thing I can say to you it is…..YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
My name is Amy Waddle, a former pre-professional classical ballet dancer and eating disorder survivor. I lived with an eating disorder for 18 years; the dancing with Ed years. I struggled. I failed. I survived. I won.
Since then (exactly 4 1/2 years) my life has entered a new phase what I call Dancing In Recovery. There’s a whole bunch of exciting stuff to share about that time in my life when Ed got kicked to the curb, and I got my life back. However, this isn’t the time to share it. You will hear it some day-probably in book format.
This blog is to serve as a connection to those struggling with: food, body image, dieting, perfectionism, self-doubt, weight, stress in recovery, mental health is a big one! We’ll throw some of that in there, too! The focus is for dancers, former dancers etc.
I’m always on the look out for new resources to add to my recovery repertoire. Look out for those!
There’s no way any of us can brave a new day, face our fears, be strong in our efforts to stay healthy, all on our own. I have found in my recovery from bulimia and bipolar disorder, the moment I stop reaching out is the moment I get sick, again, and again, and again. It’s just not possible for me to recover while not leaving my house, not taking my meds, not seeing my doctors, or writing in my journal. (or writing anything for that matter) Part of recovery, for me, is accepting that fact. Amy’s not super recovery woman. I tried for years until I realized recovery’s a team sport. Connection. Always feeling stronger when I’m learning and growing-not sitting still in my thoughts. That is scary.
Because I am a dancer at heart, and teach ballet time to time; I love staying connected to dancers. Part of this blog is to share what I have learned about dance, ballet in particular, and how it relates to recovery. Love, love, love talking dance. Recovery and dance go hand in hand.
And with heart, and compassion, advocacy’s the next step. Becoming an advocate has meant putting myself out into the community, speaking and sharing my story. Discovering who’s working with dancers in recovery, learning all I can about the unique lifestyles and pressures, talking with doctors, nurses, therapists, parents, teachers with experience.
Great things are happening! Would love for you to be part of it.
Follow my blog, and remember you don’t have to dance through this alone.