Aloha. I’m Z Zoccolante, an author, actress, fairytale dreamer, born and raised on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. I’m excited to be joining the writing team on Surviving ED. My eating disordered past began with anorexia the summer I was 15, and shifted to bulimia soon after. Anorexia brought crippling anxiety, while bulimia sunk me into depression. On the outside I smiled, but for 11 years the voice of my eating disorder ruled my internal world like a vicious dictator. Although I wanted to be free and happy, I was terrified that getting help meant getting fat. Through recovery I realized that the eating disorder had me believing lies. Today, I live recovered from all eating disordered thoughts and patterns, and food is a non-issue. I fully believe complete eating disorder recovery is possible. I know the recovery journey because I’ve battled it, on my terms, and emerged on the other side. I’m fully recovered and I’m committed to helping others fully recover and get their lives back.
My Eating Disordered Past
For 11 years I had a best friend who never left. She was even in my dreams. She promised me that I’d be happy and I’d have everything I wanted, if I was just a little thinner. She lied.
Life with her—my eating disorder—was an abusive addiction. She promised me the world but her incessant words broke me, then mended me, only to break me again. I was her toy. She was my secret I protected at all costs.
She introduced herself as a healthy diet and I invited her in because who doesn’t like a healthy diet? Soon, I was anorexic. Then she morphed into bulimia. It was all part of her yoyo of anxiety and depression.
When she lured me in, I believed I was special, the way beginnings of relationships swoon with the excitement of all the possibilities. After she’d hooked me with sweet smiles and candy-coated lies, the fangs came out. But by then, I already believed everything she said.
I was weak, worthless, and a failure. I was never good enough.
Addiction is a fascinating creature. Leaving it seems possible at the beginning, but constant choice makes it hard to walk away.
How I Recovered from Bulimia and Anorexia
I wanted my life back for years, before I was able to do anything about it. I lived in cycles, engrained neural patterns, and dark corners of my head. On the outside, I smiled and laughed and everyone thought I was having a grand time.
After years of trying and failing on my own, at 24 I admitted myself to an inpatient eating disorder program because my addiction was destroying the man I was with. I only went to appease him, although a little voice in the back of my head whispered, “maybe I could get better.”
The hospital was the first time I’d ever told someone out loud that I had an eating disorder. It was terrifying. I hated it. It was wonderful. I met others like me. I had a therapist who asked the right questions and my world began to crack open.
Currently, my memoir of my journey to recovery is in the process of finding a publishing home. It’s the story that I wanted to hear during my recovery. I use the familiar term recovered, but to me it means that she’s gone, and I am free.
I’m excited to write for Surviving ED. My heart for this community is to provide a home for you along your recovery journey, when you’re struggling or inspired. Leave comments and ask questions. I love questions and want to write about the things that you want most to hear. May this be amazing.