(Photo credit: Libertee Musyka)
This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.
Candice Sand is a recording artist, songwriter, and eating disorder advocate from Toronto, Canada. She has spoken out about her struggle with symptoms of anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder, classified in the DSM-5 as OSFED (Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder), a commonly diagnosed eating disorder. Recently, Candice released a song inspired by her personal experience of overcoming the eating disorder that she struggled with secretly for most of her life. We caught up with Candice to ask her some questions about her diagnosis and path to recovery.
TEP: I understand you were diagnosed with OSFED, formerly known as EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). What was that experience like for you?
CS: I actually struggled with my eating disorder for 15 years and when I was diagnosed and started treatment, I slowly began to look back and realize how my different symptoms slowly evolved and stacked onto each other. I was a bit confused when they first explained my diagnosis to me, but they reassured me that it is quite common. By the time I received help, I had symptoms of anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating, but they were all serving the same monster: unhealthy body image. For me, I was treated through cognitive behavioral therapy, which really did help me step away from all my “bad habits.”
TEP: Was there a turning point when you decided to reach out for help?
CS: I decided to get help after reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I’m a big self-help book person and it is a book about cultivating as much happiness as you can in your life. The thing that got me was that book starts off by talking about our essential needs and how they contribute to our happiness. It mentioned how making sure you are well fed and not hungry contributes to your overall happiness and sense of well-being. At that moment, I remember feeling so guilty because I knew that lived my life hungry all the time. I knew that I was exhausted from constantly trying to navigate around it. It took up so much life energy and left me uncomfortable and distracted on a daily basis. That book really made me confront the issue and truly think about it. It motivated me to search out more information on eating disorders and eventually get help.
TEP: What advice do you have for someone else who is struggling?
CS: Talk to your doctor. I was terrified to tell anyone close to me because I felt so embarrassed. I went to my doctor and she was the first person I told. I’m so glad I did it that way because she not only commended me for reaching out and comforted me, but she also was readily equipped with resources to get me help.
TEP: How has recovery changed you?
CS: Recovery completely changed my life. I lived for such a long time obsessing over my weight and appearance and recovery has given me freedom. It’s not like I walk around with zero insecurities, but I don’t count pounds or inches or calories. I use that mental energy to fill my life with things that I like to do and that make me feel good. It’s realigned my goals. I don’t want to be skinny, I want to be healthy. Most of all, I think it helped show me how strong I am and that if I am willing, I can change my own life. I always tell people… getting to the other side of recovery was easily the hardest thing I have EVER done but more importantly, it is easily the best thing I have EVER done for myself.
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