Eating Disorder Recovery — Sharing a Little Bit of My First Journal

I started keeping a journal a little over a month before being admitted to the treatment center. I was seeing a local therapist every other week at the time, but my eating disorder soon became too much for outpatient appointments. There was definitely a point of no return where I knew I couldn’t go on – I had to get help. When I made that realization I felt I slight boost of energy – a slight glimmer of hope – that helped me get to where I needed to be. I needed it because it took some work to find the proper treatment for my symptoms. 

The door’s been cracked.
I can see light peaking through.
That slight glimmer of hope
is holding my head above water
for the moment…


I was constantly sick and on many days stayed home in bed. I missed my family’s Thanksgiving celebration which was the event that set the ball in motion. I knew I needed help at that point.


I’ve been very sick lately. It was like having the flu four times in two months. I went to my therapist crying. I knew something was really wrong. She said I needed to go inpatient. I’m still trying to figure it all out.

In middle school, when I started a habit of bingeing and fasting, the 6th grade me didn’t see our future. Deep down I know I’m a smart woman and I never meant for this to happen.


I felt I needed to make some notes to prepare for my phone assessments with two different treatment centers.


List of Symptoms

– Gag and spit out food at almost every meal.

– Sometimes vomit

– Very, very picky. I won’t eat fruits and veggies and I don’t like the taste of meat. Things I used to like don’t taste good anymore. The selection and variety of foods I’ll actually eat are getting smaller and smaller.

– I skip meals. Sometimes I eat one meal in the afternoon.

– Sometimes I eat food out of the trash.

– Sometimes if I find a good I really like I’ll binge because I don’t know the next time I’ll find food I like. I find comfort in eating a lot of the foods I like but it always leads to me feeling out of control.

– I eat the same foods over and over again. Right now I’m stuck on turkey sandwiches – as long as there’s a lot of mayo or dressing so I can’t taste the meat.

– I’ve been feeling very sick physically for the last two months. I see a GI doctor and he’s done lots of procedures and tests (endoscopy, colonoscopy, bloodwork, stool sample, ultrasound and MRI of abdomen) and hasn’t found any medical causes for my illness.

– I feel my hunger signals are messed up right now. Sick or hungry?

– My weight is affecting my health (high blood pressure and cholesterol) 

– Diabetes has been ruled out with recent bloodwork.

– I’m overweight and upset about it, but I feel more afraid of food than I am of gaining more weight.

What I Want From Treatment

  • Stop feeling sick
  • Regain control
  • Lose weight

What I Fear About Treatment

  • Getting even fatter
  • Not getting better/unwilling to make changes
  • Family unwilling to make changes

Tuesday 1:30pm – assessment


Finding the proper treatment was even harder than I thought.


The steps to recovery
are covered in mud,
there’s no handrail,
upper floors don’t exist,
and the climb is steep.
I’m out of breath
and wearing the wrong shoes.


This is part of a letter I wrote when one treatment center suggested outpatient due to my rumination disorder:

Thank you for taking the time to do my assessment last Tuesday. However, I feel like I am screaming out for help and no one is listening. I am desperate.

My eating disorder has consumed me. It is an everyday battle that I am losing. It has negatively impacted my functioning and relationships. I have missed work and family gatherings. My husband has become somewhat of a caregiver and my impressionable young daughter is watching me suffer. Everyone in my life is worried.

I am very sick and very miserable right now. I am losing weight and am concerned about my health.

I have started looking for a dietician and occupational therapist like you suggested, however, I don’t think outpatient is going to cut it at this time. I need daily help to get me back on track. 

Please help. I am really struggling and I’m begging you to reconsider.

Thank you,
Megan Rahm

When I wrote that letter I felt absolutely desperate and thought it was a long shot. However, that letter is what got me the treatment that I needed. I learned to advocate for myself which can be extremely important when it comes to healthcare. This is literally what saved me.

Prior to writing this letter, I was turned down by another treatment center also for rumination disorder. They said it would trigger the other patients. I thought I was running out of options so when I got a response to my letter I sobbed. I couldn’t believe it worked and that I would finally get treatment.



Went to my therapy appointment. We talked a lot about how anxiety, OCD, and grief all contribute to my eating disorder. She said I’m holding a lot inside.

She’s probably right.

Treating my eating disorder is going to be a long and difficult process. I feel like going to the treatment center when I was 21 was merely putting on a band-aid. There’s a lot of work to be done yet.

I admitted to my therapist that I held back when I saw my GI doctor last week. They asked if I had been feeling sick (nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea) and I said no. I thought – what’s the point? I’m getting treatment for my eating disorder soon.

I hope my writing will expose the process of getting treatment – just how difficult it can be, all the hoops you have to jump through when you already feel like shit. It takes a lot of strength and courage.

My therapist said that story needs to be told.

This was my second round of treatment – nearly twenty years after the first – and I documented every minute of it. 

From time to time I will be sharing bits and pieces of my journals here.

I’m a little fascinated with the paranormal.

The Collingwood Arts Center is a huge facility in West Toledo that was once a monastery and women’s college. The building is fascinating and you can’t help but stare when you drive past. If there was ever a building that was haunted, this would be it. It is huge, old, and super creepy.

When my daughter was two, we rented the building for a family photo shoot. We had a fantastic time and got some great photos – many of which are still hanging in our living room. We were in awe of the building’s beauty as my daughter played running up and down the halls. 

Many of the locals here believe that the Collingwood Arts Center is haunted – some say even the most haunted building in the state. I have been in it several times and have not seen or heard anything. I’m not saying that people aren’t experiencing something when they go there – I just haven’t personally experienced anything. 

Even though I have not experienced anything paranormal at the CAC, I can’t help but feel chills every time I walk into the building just thinking of the possibility of seeing or hearing something strange. Yes, I’m admitting it – I get a little nervous when I go there. 

I don’t believe in souls or spirits but I do think there is something to it – something unknown or unexplained.

A few months ago, the popular series Ghost Hunters investigated the Collingwood Arts Center, and my husband and I couldn’t wait to watch the episode. 

I love watching shows on the paranormal but they are almost always disappointing. You’re hoping for some concrete evidence but it never happens. However, it is always interesting to learn about the history of the places being investigated.

Just like the rest, the Ghost Hunters episode on the CAC didn’t turn up any real evidence. Some noises and movements here and there – may be a few coincidences – but nothing concrete.

Despite the lack of evidence, I am still fascinated by the paranormal. I’m sure some night soon I will once again crack open a beer, put my feet up, and watch another episode of Ghost Hunters. I think it’s really interesting and I hope one day they find an explanation. 

Are you fascinated with the paranormal? Bonus points if you’ve experienced something strange yourself.

What do you want your children, younger siblings, or loved ones to inherit from you?

My daughter is a carbon copy of myself. She’s a picky eater with a short fuse who likes to draw and order things off of Amazon. That pretty much sums up my life. 

There are a few things I hope my daughter doesn’t get from me:

  1. My lack of patience.
  2. My anxiety.
  3. My spending habits.

Then maybe there are a couple I hope she does:

  1. My drive and persistence.
  2. My organization habits.

I hope my daughter doesn’t inherit my mental illness although I know it’s a possibility – mental illness runs in families. She has witnessed my symptoms, my bad days, and the effect it has on our family. All I can show her at this point is hope. I’m in treatment and there are more good days than bad.

My husband is the most stable person I know and I hope my daughter gets his disposition. He’s calm, patient, and good with people.

My daughter seems to take after so many different people in our family. She likes the outdoors like her aunt, flowers like her pop pop, and cats like her daddy. She looks like her grandma. 

Kids are fun when they’re little but I actually enjoy watching my daughter grow up. Every day we learn something new about her likes, dislikes, and personality. She’s a part of our family but becoming her own person as well.

I’m so proud of her.

For those of you with little ones in your life, what do you hope they will inherit from you? If your little ones are grown up, how did they take after your family?

A Couple of Journal Entries: Looking Forward to Discharge (Eating Disorder Recovery)

I wrote constantly during my latest round of treatment for my eating disorder. I have several journals from the experience which I am now typing out to use for a later project. The journals can be hard to look at – I experience a range of emotions. Sad because I remember what that hopelessness felt like. Empowerment because look how far I’ve come. Guilt because I left my family for two months to get treatment four hours away in Chicago. I just wanted to go home. This was written on 1/26/22:

Have you ever been away for so long that you swear you’ll never take your home for granted again?

I’ve been feeling that way lately.

I love my family but now I’m going to show them I love them even more.

I love my city but now I’m going to be the proudest Toledoan there ever was.

I’m going to play with my kitties.

I’m going to water my plants the perfect amount.

I might even clean my house.

I just want to be home.

It was very exciting when I was finally given my discharge date and had something to look forward to. It was definitely a light at the end of the tunnel.

On 1/28/22 I found out I would be officially discharged on 2/13/22.

This was written on 1/30/22:

Things I Want to Do When I Get Home:

  • Put more effort into my job. It has its moments, but for the most part, I really enjoy my job and I work for people who genuinely care for me. I have the potential to do some great things and really help people. I need to make it happen. I need to show the higher-ups that my program is important and that the grant that funds it needs to be renewed every year.
  • Spend more quality time with my daughter. There are so many times we are in the same room together and I’m not even paying attention to her. That’s got to change. My daughter needs her mom and now I see how much she misses me.
  • Take recovery seriously. I need to get connected with an outpatient team because it’s going to be really hard not to fall back into old habits and there’s no fucking way I’m going through all this again. When the thirteenth comes I’m getting the fuck out and I’m never coming back.
  • Write! Write! Write! That goes without saying. I need to give my blog more love!

Also, when I get home I’m going to be all about personal care. I’ve only shaved once in the past six weeks. I haven’t had a bush in a long time and now I’m pretty hairy. I’m going to moisturize and wash my hair. Pluck my eyebrows. I’ve really let myself go while in treatment and I know I will feel better once I do all of these things.

I can’t wait to take a bubble bath!

I recently found these two entries while typing up journal #5 (of 8) and I just thought they were a lot of fun to read now that I’ve been home for a few months.

Have I kept my promises? For the most part, I have! (Except for the house cleaning part.)

I still struggle in recovery but these journals are proof of the progress I’ve made.

I am learning about gender and respecting pronouns.

I am looking for reading recommendations and advice.

My 40th birthday is inching closer, and while I don’t consider myself old, a lot has changed since I was a young adult.


In the last few years, I’ve noticed people introducing themselves with their pronouns, and while I think it is a fantastic idea, I’ve only encountered it at a small handful of places.

I first encountered this when I took a class at a local university three years ago. I thought it was amazing how respectful everyone was. (Go Gen Z!) If someone didn’t know another’s pronouns they would ask. 

The second time I encountered this was a few months ago when I was a patient at a treatment center for eating disorders. We started every single therapy group by introducing ourselves with our names and pronouns. 

For some reason, I struggled with different pronouns at the treatment center. I used incorrect pronouns a few different times. As soon as I noticed it I apologized and corrected myself but I still felt like a total asshole.

I was one of the oldest patients at the treatment center but that’s still not a good excuse.

I feel bad that I can only remember a few times when people introduced themselves with their pronouns. Shouldn’t this be an everyday/everywhere thing? Maybe it would be different if I was around younger people more often.

Reading Up on Gender

So I just started reading a new book about gender. I apologized for using the wrong pronouns in treatment but I want people to know that I’m doing my best to learn more about it.

Here’s the book –

One thing I am enjoying about this book is its discussion on babies. One of the first things I person asks when you have a baby is if it’s a boy or girl. I remember when I was pregnant complete strangers asked me this question. You really can’t know a baby’s gender so you’re really just asking if it has a penis or vagina. When you break it down like that it’s pretty weird. This book includes gender-friendly baby questions which I think is helpful. I hadn’t really thought of that before.

Looking Back

I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like had gender and pronouns gotten the same attention when I was growing up as they do now. So many of my high school classmates struggled back in the day and I knew nothing about it. There have been so many revelations on Facebook in the past few years — old friends finally coming out in different ways.

Rural Ohio can be a pretty harsh place. Respecting someone for who they are could’ve gone a long way.


Does anyone else have any other reading suggestions on the topic?

Mixed Messages: My Secret Taste in Music

I have a secret – I like country music.

That’s right. I put it on in the car sometimes and my husband and daughter just groan.

Tim McGraw and Alan Jackson are probably my favorites.

Listening to country music (especially from the 90s) makes me think of my childhood back in rural Henry County. I’m not going to lie – growing up in the country was a lot of fun so I see no harm in wanting to relive it a little.

Obviously, I don’t agree with a lot of the messages in country music – god, guns, conservative views, etc. – but I still like the music.

In an atheist group I belong to on Facebook a woman said she listens to gospel music. She missed the music from when she used to go to church. She’s an atheist now but still likes the music. 

I’m just curious – does anyone else listen to country or gospel music? 

Does it bring back memories? I like the sound of country music but I think I listen to it mostly for nostalgia. 

Is it okay to listen to music even if you don’t like the message?

What other music are you into that may seem questionable?

Sharing My Fight: Why Reading and Writing are Crucial to My Recovery

I’ve had mental health struggles for most of my life. I like to write about it because I often feel lonely and isolated with my symptoms. I just think there are others out there who can relate and that’s always reassuring. 

Making It Through the Day

My most recent battle with my eating disorder revealed that sometimes the smallest things are the hardest. Just nourishing my body – something that should be instinctual – is difficult. 

As miserable as it was to be at a treatment center, it was somewhere I could catch my breath. It’s a safe place to let go for a minute. Everyone already knows you’re crazy – you don’t have to hide it. Trying to function and live a normal life is exhausting when your eating disorder has taken over everything.

It’s been nearly five months since I was discharged and I’ve learned that the real world is not as forgiving as the treatment center.

The emotional impact of going through treatment has definitely taken its toll. Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a dream but I’m actually awake.  I’m stuck in my head and I can’t always tell what’s inside of me and what’s outside. I talk to myself. I have very little attention for anything else.

It’s hard to focus on the positive when you feel you are being ruled by the negative but somehow I grab on to the light in my life with everything I’ve got and make it through the day.

Reading and Writing

In the past few months, I’ve learned that reading and writing are crucial. I mean, they should be anyway but especially now in my recovery. Reading has become an act of mindfulness. It’s a distraction from the mess going on in my head and it keeps me present. It gives me something to focus on. Concentration is very difficult but I feel it has improved with reading.

Writing on the other hand is not only an outlet, it helps me process my thoughts and feelings. It’s how I organize and express what’s on my mind and it’s one way I have allowed myself to really experience my emotions. Sometimes it’s painful but other times it’s just a good release.

Reading and writing have both shown me that there is a world outside of my head — and a world outside of our little house. I’ve always carried books and journals with me everywhere I go but now it’s even more meaningful.

As I continue to see a therapist and dietitian, my eating disorder has slowly loosened its grip. Things are getting a little easier. 

A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter — No. 31 “Swimsuit Season”

Dear daughter,

As I write this it is summertime…which also means swimsuit season.

Now that you’re older, I’m going to let you in on a secret; I never liked wearing a swimsuit. Every time we’ve gone to the beach or pool you’ve seen me in a swimsuit and I’ve never complained.

Before you were born I very rarely wore a swimsuit. I was always self-conscious about my body. I was embarrassed and ashamed.

But then you came along and I decided that I would wear a swimsuit no matter what. You love to swim so it happens somewhat frequently. 

I never wanted you to see me unhappy with my body. I never wanted you to think you have to be a certain size to wear a swimsuit.

The truth is swimsuits are for everyone and come in all sizes.

So many women despise swimsuit season but having an eating disorder can make it even more difficult. 

But still, I put on that fucking swimsuit. 

You’re six years old right now and have unfortunately witnessed my struggle with food, anxiety, and weight. However, you have also witnessed me in treatment. I just feel that wearing a swimsuit is one way I can make a difference and send a message.

My hope is that no matter what changes your body goes through as you get older, you will always wear a swimsuit as well. I hope you will send a body-positive message to those around you — especially to those who are younger — just as I’m trying so hard to do right now.

You are beautiful and always remember you can wear whatever the hell you want no matter what size you are. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. 



PS In just a couple months, we will be taking our annual trip to Kelleys Island. I look forward to watching you play and splash around at the beach!

Dreams and Memories: Our Brains are Fascinating

I want to share a strange experience I had a while back.

First a little back story – my mom was killed in a car accident when I was five years old and my dad was a single parent for most of my childhood. I don’t remember my mom – what she looked like or what her voice sounded like. I have to rely on photos and stories from family and friends.

My earliest memory is of the day she died. I remember getting picked up from daycare and my dad telling my sister and me what happened. Those memories are actually quite clear. My older sister can remember things from when she was a toddler and preschooler so it seems odd that my memories stop there. 

So now my strange experience…

When I was in my twenties I had a recurring dream. I was a little girl in the backseat of the car. It was storming out. All of a sudden the car parks at our neighbor’s house. Someone pulls me out of the backseat and holds me with one arm like a sack of potatoes. This person starts running through our neighbor’s yard and into our yard. I couldn’t see who this person was and I was aware that there were others running.

That’s where the dream ends. 

I had this dream several times and I finally told my dad. To my surprise, he said that really happened. My family had spent a day at the lake in Indiana and we returned home to strong storms. There was a tree that had fallen across the road and that is why we parked our car at the neighbor’s house. Dad said it was raining heavily and that’s why we were running.

Who was carrying me? While this happened long ago and the details are fuzzy, it could be a memory of my mom.

This is proof that I have memories earlier than age five and possibly of my mother.

This wasn’t my only recurring dream about my mom. Another one happened a few years later.

I think this is absolutely fascinating. I am sad that I don’t remember much but it’s a tiny bit encouraging to know the memories are there – somewhere in my brain. These dreams prove I know more than I think I know. 

I would say brains are mysterious but I’m sure there’s an explanation for what I experienced.

Have any of you experienced something like this? How old were you in your earliest memory?

Curiosity of the Topic of Suicide — Religious vs. Secular

I should probably start this post by saying I’m in a safe place and doing well. I am not suicidal I just have a bit of morbid curiosity on the subject.

I was watching a documentary the other day that mentioned the Suicide Forest at Mt. Fuji in Japan. (If you haven’t heard of it, I would suggest Googling it. It’s dark and sort of fascinating.) This had me thinking about views on suicide.

My Own Experience with Suicidal Thoughts

As a mental health worker, I would obviously do anything to prevent that final outcome for myself or anyone else. 

I have only felt suicidal a couple of times, and both times I had an overwhelming feeling of being stuck – like nothing will ever change and there’s nothing I can do about it. Somewhere along the line, I asked for help.

I’ve always had a lot of help with my mental health. I have continuously seen a psychiatrist since I was twenty-one and I have seen therapists and other professionals off and on throughout the years. I feel very fortunate for that.

One thing that has always helped me is knowing that feelings are temporary.

Breakfast with My Husband

I’ve noticed I feel a little more passionate about this topic than many of my friends and family. Some of them feel it should always be the person’s choice, especially if they are truly suffering.

Sitting over breakfast at Bob Evans, I told my husband about this post and he had a few thoughts. My husband is a dispatcher for our local 911 where they receive many calls regarding people who are suicidal. For these calls, they always send police and EMS and the police are always the first to enter the scene. The police obviously are going to use force to try to stop someone from killing themselves and you can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a better way. Is force really necessary if they’re not hurting anyone else?

He also pointed out that we value free will and suicide is the last free choice a person can make.

Also, if you stop someone who is truly suffering from dying by suicide, is it for you or for them?

We both agree with assisted suicide in the case of a terminal illness.

It was an interesting breakfast. I miss having conversations with my husband like this.

Your Thoughts…Religious vs. Secular

I’m just really curious to get your thoughts on the topic. I think in Christianity it is a sin to die by suicide. Do you think that ever prevents anyone from doing it? Also, if you take religion out of it, should people view it as a viable option for ending their suffering?