Why My ARFID Makes It So Hard To Say, “I’m Proud Of My Self.”

So I spend a lot of time on the internet, which I don’t think that is much of a surprise to anyone. If you know me personally then you must know that I’m a photographer who loves getting visual inspiration from as many resources and mediums as possible. But I am also a millennial, and we are all expected to fit into this little box-one that is filled with technology, screens and wires alike.

The other day I realized that I was searching on the internet for something very specific. But it didn’t turn out to be your typical quick Google search-I was searching for hours. I kept changing search engines hoping to find what I was looking for. I adjusted my wording, hopped between different social networking sites, and then-I finally stopped. I realized at that moment that I wasn’t going to find what I was looking for. Because it simply did not exist.

Have you ever thought about the amazing inventions that preceded our birth? Such as, planes, trains, cars and even rocket ships? Or even something that’s even simpler than those things-possibly even created in our lifetime? Creations like, Facebook or Amazon. How many of us have had that face-palm moment like, ‘why didn’t I think of that?’

During my failed attempt to complete my internet search, I had a that moment where I realized, that maybe this is my chance to create a space to talk about the things that I was looking for. And that’s how this blog was born.

Little webpage, welcome to the already-crowded internet hemisphere! I hope that in all of the chaos-someone who needs to read you, will find you. I will admit that I have thought about sharing my story before, but I didn’t realize that after doing so, I would find myself actively creating content and writing about my life. But I can’t and won’t stop sharing my story for a few simple reasons.

It all goes back to what I mentioned earlier. I couldn’t find a blog that talked about what I wanted to read, ARFID- an eating disorder SO NEW to the DSM that most doctors don’t know how to treat, it let alone what it is. In fact, you can forget about anyone outside of the immediate community having any knowledge of ARFID either. ARFID patients have been given a disservice for too many years and it’s not okay. If I can have a hand in pushing the 10,000 ton bolder up the mountain, then I’m in. And I will be the first one to volunteer to roll up my sleeves and push.

I can’t stop sharing my story since I opened my mouth due to all of the amazing people who have reached out to me. Contrary to popular belief-not all millennials are internet gurus. I, myself, am one of those millennials who is not an internet guru. My blog reached the number of people it did because I used the tools provided to me through Word Press and shared the link on my personal, business and blog Instagrams. Even with those limited tools, I somehow managed to reach people in need of this message-a woman who I have known for years and had no clue she struggled with ED, a new friend on Instagram who told me she believes that God spoke to her through me, a teacher who had a student in her class two years ago and now understands their struggles a little more, and a bright young lady fighting though her journey JUST LIKE ME.

In the past year and a half, since I began my recovery, I have only been able to say these words a handful of times and truly mean them. I am proud of myself. I am my biggest critic, I set unrealistic expectations, spew negative words all over my self-esteem, and very rarely speak kindly of myself outside of direct intention. I know that goes hand-in-hand with my eating disorder, but it’s not healthy for me to have passive role in the mental hurricane that is stirring at my eating disorder and my spirit.

Lastly, I can’t (and won’t) stop writing my story is because I owe it to myself. This blog has accidentally become a valuable tool in my recovery. I never realized the therapeutic potential behind the journaling of my own thoughts and past experiences. I spent my 24 years of my life pushing and repressing past memories that were tainted by my disorder. And because of this, I haven’t had the chance to completely process them in a healthy way. There is a big difference between Cassie at age 6-struggling and being triggered with foods even categorized as “safe”-and Cassie at age 24. Not only do I have a better understanding of the ARFID monster, but I now have the resources to turn to when fights are too big for me.

I wanted to take this last part of my post to thank you. I want to thank every single one of you for your kindness and support. Whether you were one of those who reached out and sent me kind words, or you are only reading this, or liking my post, please accept my most heart-felt thank you, and a virtual hug.

 

Written by Cassie Ann Cando
Edited by Lynnette Alonso Capote

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