In April I brought this incredible book called Bloom, I was so excited when it arrived at my house and like all good blogger, I posted about it on social media with the promise of when I was done with it I’d write a review.
The journal is meant to be three months long, what puts this review well over due but there is a reason for that (what I’ll get into later).
The author of this book is a lovely young woman called Caralyn who has a blog called Beauty Beyond Bones. I feel like I don’t have to write much of an introduction about her blog because I have a hunch so many of you will already know about her and are possible already following it.
My own blog here is based on very similar things, I share my faith and how God has helped me overcome anorexia in my own life. So if you’re following me and like what I write, I’d really recommend you check out Caralyn’s blog if you’re not doing so already (I’ll link it at the end of the post).
So what is Bloom?
Bloom is an interactive journal wrote to help those suffering with anorexia. It’s based off scripture, the authors own experiences during her time as an impatient getting treatment for anorexia and her current day reflections as a young woman living a fully free and recovered life.
Questions I had before I brought it
I’d known about Bloom for over a year before I actually brought it. In short if you’re new here, I’ve suffered with anorexia for two years and recently recovered from it. The reason I put off getting this journal was because I was worried about it being very triggering, there were so many questions I had about this book and no real FAQ or explanations to answer them. So I simply didn’t buy it as I was scared this book will trigger me and make me worse. Eventually I did get it and I do want to go over some of the questions I had before I brought this book and answer them from my experience.
Will I find this book triggering?
I see no reason for you to find Bloom triggering if you’re suffering with an eating disorder.
I really respect Caralyn for the way she shares her recovery without turning it into a recipe book for anorexia. She never goes into details about the number of calories she ate in a day and on her blog there is only one photo she’s posted of her when she had the ED and that is a head shot that shows non of her body. She has this balance of sharing the right stuff and leaving out the things that could damage someone who has an eating disorder. Just like her blog, Bloom had this same balance.
Do I have to be an inpatient to have this book?
The short answer is no. However, there are a few things I want to address and speak specifically to people who are suffering with an ED and are not an impatient.
I was never hospitalised and for that reason alone I never felt like I had a real eating disorder. There is some sick unspoken rule that to have a valid eating disorder you have to land yourself in hospital. This is untrue and anyone who says otherwise is lying. You can have anorexia, or any other ED, at ANY weight. You do not have to be dying to have a valid eating disorder!
I said above that Bloom isn’t triggering and I stand by that. But I did find myself getting very upset at the first journal entry because I wasn’t an inpatient and that first entry feels like it’s specifically aimed at people who have just entered hospital. I understand why she wrote this first entry this way and I think it was the right thing to do. I do wish that there was a little section or even paragraph that spoke to people who were recovering at home and empowered them that they are valid and worthy of recovery even though they weren’t in hospital.
I am writing this recovered from anorexia but I am still sensitive about never being hospitalised because of it. One thing that isn’t addressed in Bloom is that if you’re not an inpatient, it’s ok. The fact that you are trying to recover without being in hospital is a very brave thing and that should be celebrated. The rest of the book is awesome and doesn’t really go back to being specific to people who are in hospital, but just watch out for that first entry.
How is the book laid out?
This isn’t a dear diary type of journal, it’s more of a daily task or workspread. Most days start with a quote of scripture that the following passage is based on. Under that is a short snippet of that was in Caralyn’s own journal at her time as an inpatient. This is then followed by the most helpful bit, a reflection. This reflection is wrote by her as a fully recovered adult. The combination of the scripture and that reflection is what got me back fighting on some days. Finally a small call to action or response is there for yourself.
It’s a nice lay out that allows rooms for notes and responses.
Does this book scream anorexia?
Despite blogging about my recovery, not many people in my life knew I suffered from anorexia. The eating disorder is still one of my best kept secrets. I didn’t want to be known as Arabella the anorexic, I didn’t want it to take up any more of my identity than it already had. Sure people weren’t blind, I had people close to me approach me on my weight several times, I just never told the truth.
My recovery was just as a quite affair too. I very much struggled with the fact that I wasn’t ill enough to recover, so I didn’t want to look like I was putting in too much effort to getting better. I brought Bloom in secret, only letting my boyfriend know about the purchase.
When it arrived I had the journal out in the living room where my brother was also lounging in. He didn’t bat an eyelid at the new book I was happliy flicking through. Unless you open up the journal and have a read, there is no reason you would link the appearance of this book to eating disorder help. Something to note is that the spine of the book does have Caralyn’s blog name, Beauty Beyond Bones, on it. There’s no way anyone in my house will recognise the name so unless they opened it up, there’s really no way of telling what’s inside. It looks like a nicely decorated journal and nothing more, so if you’re going to be buying this book for yourself don’t worry about it exposing your eating disorder to the world.
Is this a self help book or is it based in faith and scripture?
The best part of this book is that it’s rooted in God’s word.
I still very much belive that the only route to true freedom from anorexia is through God and this journal does help you find that route again. I won’t pretend for a second that I was emerging myself in scripture during my recovery, I didn’t exactly pick up my bible all that much, what was a real problem. This journal is rooted in scripture, it’s not an after thought or a quick copy and paste job either, the word of God is at its core what really helped me get back to God with my recovery.
I said earlier that this journal was designed to be three months long. I started it in the April so in theory I should have been done by July at the very latest. It’s now November, so why am I only reviewing it now?
Well truth be told, I never finished Bloom.
All in all I did about two months of the journal and loved every night of it. Some nights it felt that the page had been wrote personally to me, it was exactly what I needed to be hearing at that exact point in time. I highlighted every page, added in big READ ME text by things I needed to remember. This journal was so important to me, yet I didn’t finish it.
But there’s the thing, I didn’t finish Bloom because I didn’t have to.
Two months in I relapsed, it was a slow slip up that no one really saw coming. I was doing really well but I started to go easy on the ED, I let my guard down. I pushed anything to do with God away. I missed a night of sitting down with my Bible and Bloom, then I missed another and then another. Before I knew it, it was August and I was heading off to New Wine to serve on team.
When I got home from new wine the anorexia no longer existed. I was recovered and to this day I still am. I saw no need to go back to Bloom and bring back painful memories that I was trying to move on from.
I titled this post, a book that shaped my recovery pt 2 (you can read pt 1 here) because I belive that Bloom did shape my recovery. Despite blogging on here I was drifting away from God, I still had my faith but something was missing. Bloom spoke to me in a way no one else could – it was wrote from someone who had anorexia. Some nights I cried simply because I had finally found someone who knew EXACTLY what I was feeling, Caralyn put into words what I was feeling when I didn’t even know what I was felling.
If you’re suffering from anorexia or any other eating disorder then please, give Bloom a go. You won’t regret it.
Check out Caralyn’s blog here – Beauty Beyond Bones