Thursday, March 21, 2013

So it’s Thursday and I can just feel the tenseness that Thursdays always seem to bring. In one week from today my friends will be coming and my anxiety has just amplified. I want to be calm, be still, be thankful instead of being overwhelmed. This is one of the joys in life and yet I turn it into an awful, miserable, scary, self-loathing, dreadful experience. I don’t want to do that. I want to look back and see peace, stillness, joy, contentment, freedom. So today, even though it’s an inevitable stressful Thursday, I need take some deep breaths, and still myself.

I get so overwhelmed sometimes that I literally just start attacking myself. I look down at my arms and legs, or pinch my cheeks or feel my lower back and just criticize myself until I reach a place of exhaustion. But I am thankful that it has been a week and a half since the last time I emotionally ate, and I do not want to travel the road that will lead me to that numbness and the devastating destruction it brings in its aftermath. I know that I’m unhealthy still because although I have no reason to hate my body, although I have been eating extremely healthy and well rounded, I still find areas that I need to improve, I am still disappointed in myself. Most recently I have been hating my body because I have been feeling like my rib cage is too big. I know that means I’m just picking a fight with myself. I have felt that way before, and that hatred has led to over eating. Only after I over ate was I able to see how off that thinking was, how I was truly just trying to pick a fight, choose something to hate so I don’t have to feel so out of control.

And that’s the feeling. I feel out of control. Why do I let myself get like this any time something good happens? I’m scared of the unknown. I’m scared of the silence. I’m scared of being out of my comfort zone. Of not being good enough for these people, for not getting their approval, for being yet another disappointment and failure. I wish I could just let all of that go. Who cares if my fridge isn’t 100% cleaned? Who cares if I don’t have a whole month’s worth of food stocked up in the freezer before they come? Do those things really make me any better of a friend, a hostess? Will those things change our time together? Is it absolutely necessary that I am perfect and have everything in my life neatly and perfectly trimmed and organized for us to be able to have a good time? Absolutely not.

They’re not coming because of the food, or the home, or the amount that I have or have not prepared for their stay. They’re coming to spend time together, and if I’m in some hard off planet too consumed with my own attempt to perfectionism then that won’t even be possible. That hasn’t been possible for years. My priorities in these more stressful times get all jacked up. I value perfectionism and the attempt of appearing like I’ve got it all perfectly put together more than I value appreciating the means behind these things. I value rushing, rushing, rushing, scrambling to get everything “just so” more than being a loving wife.

And let me just pause a moment and address my whole approach to school. Somehow along the way I developed this expectation that I had to complete the entire semester of school before it even started. Why is this so? Do I think I’m really that egocentric to not have to work as far as everyone else throughout the entire semester? Do I really think I am that “above this all” to be expected to be 2 months ahead of schedule? Why am I trying to rush so hard to get ahead? I’m failing to enjoy the process, failing to enjoy the joys and pleasures of education. I feel this huge burden and anxiety of failure because I have work to do! That’s absolutely absurd! Calm down! Breathe! I have work to do because I am a student. I have cooking to do because I value nutrition. I have cleaning to do because I am neat and organized. I have errands to do because I am a good hostess. So I need to stop hating this process, I need to take it down a few notches. I need to breathe. I need to appreciate the gift of every day, even Thursdays. I am blessed beyond measure, I just need to be still to see it.

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Posted in Ed

Monday, March 18, 2013

Last week was spring break and it went surprisingly smooth. Usually breaks in routines are so tough for me. Ed amps up and I fall into a sense of depression and hopelessness. I am so thankful that God has blessed me with my friends’ trips though, because that carried me through the break in the norm. I spent the first part of the week extremely disciplined at school getting work done, and the second half of the week I was feeling under the weather so I did work at home. As always, I didn’t get everything done that I would have liked but I am content with how I spent the time.

For the last year I have pretty much been in this funk of binging/overeating/emotional eating once a week, every single week. When I was at my worst in restriction, I would plan to overeat once a week, and that anticipation would help me to starve myself the rest of the week, but also be able to survive as well. It’s hard to explain and I certainly wouldn’t have understood it until I experienced it myself, but it was once a week where I soothed myself, where I accepted myself and my craves to food that I was forbidden of, where I released myself from the judgment and criticism of restriction and made myself feel better by the comfort of food. It was hallow and short lived, but it was certainly a high. It became a drug that I craved, needed, urged for, dreamed of. On my worst days, especially after my dad’s death, I would be in watch Gilmore Girls in bed and eat, and eat, and eat some more until I was so intoxicated by my drug that I couldn’t think straight, I couldn’t think about doing anything else but being numb and in pain, and as crazy as it sounds, that’s exactly what I wanted. It was such a dark period in my life, and a period that extended far beyond what I would ever want to admit, but it was truly the one time a week I ever felt okay, soothed, at peace, still. As it used to be on Fridays when this “therapeutic” time took place, I get such high anxiety when Friday approaches, and over the entire weekend, every weekend.

I am so excited and proud to say that I did not emotional eat this past weekend! The last time I had engaged in emotional eating borderline binge was last Sunday, March 10. It seems like a small success when I write it out, but for me it’s huge. Since I habitually engage in overeating once a week (even though I am desperately trying not to and it’s become something I absolutely hate as I no longer restrict like before so it’s no longer a positive thing to me, but rather very negative because I can’t soothe myself with restriction afterwards), my therapist posed the challenge of not overeating in TWO weeks. I would really, really like to not do it ever again, but most especially not before my friends come (starting next Thursday). I feel so bloated and awful and it takes me into a really dark place and it takes days to get out of it. I am not able to be mentally present, but I am trapped and isolated and I feel awful. It’s like an urge that develops though, that grows and grows and the only way I can get relief, release, my high, is to give in to the seemingly inevitable and hurt myself with what I put in my mouth. I hate it and I feel so much better and clearer even from just ONE week of recovery.

It scares me that recovery is a process, that it’s typically two steps forward, one step back. I don’t want to go back, it scares me so much. I feel like the phrase, “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic, it’s just one day at a time” is so fitting to me too. “Once an anorexic, always an anorexic, it’s just one day at a time.” “Once a binge eater, always a binge eater, it’s just one moment at a time.” It’s scary to feel so vulnerable and on edge.

The amazing thing is, is I’m liking the way my body looks now that I’m not starving or binging more than I have in a long time. I stopped restricting badly many months ago, and since then it’s been more a process of just gaining weight back. While this has been good, and I know I needed it, it was scary to see it gain back in fear that it will all gain back. The phrase that that the real challenge of weight loss is keeping it off has never really sunk in until recently. It was seemingly simple to starve and loss the weight (although I’m oversimplifying and glorifying that process, no doubt), but it’s the day to day, it’s trying to live life normally again while maintaining a healthy weight that’s extremely difficult to me. One crucial thing that I need to continue to put more and more emphasis on is taking time to myself, taking moments off, often throughout the day, to myself. I need to listen to my body and to my brain, to my feelings which I have not listened to since I was a little girl. I need to give myself rewards and encouragement, not just live my life by such rigidity, structure, rules, and punishment. I need to find joy and relief and contentment in the ins and outs of everyday life. I need to not feel bad taking time to myself, not maximizing productivity. I am not a machine, I am a human being with, surprisingly, feelings that must be acknowledged, loved, cherished, and managed. I have lived like a machine for so long where of course I am setting myself up for failure, I don’t take care of myself. And the biggest question to me that matters is how am I going to be a good mom if I can’t even take care of myself? If I don’t even know how to feed myself? Express my own emotions? Handle my own thoughts? Listen to my own body? How will I possibly be able to do all of those things and teach them for infants, toddlers, children, teenagers? I’m only going to repeat the generational cycle of all the problems that wound me up to where I am now if I don’t address these things now. My entire future, as well as my loved ones futures, is on the line now. I can’t escape to self-destructive coping tendencies and live the life that I want. I pray for strength, because it’s a strong drug to resist.

Wise Mind Exercise

Write down the emotion mind thoughts and feelings, the reasonable mind thoughts, and the wise mind thoughts and feelings. 

Emotion Mind

  • I feel fat.
  • I feel overweight in my stomach and my lower back.
  • I feel like my face looks too big.
  • I feel like I am ugly because I am fat.
  • I feel like I am not capable of being close to others when I am fat.
  • I feel like I am not loveable when I am fat.
  • I feel like people like me more when I am skinnier.
  • I feel like people are prouder to be around me when I am skinner.
  • I feel like people treat me differently based on the way that I look. Specifically, I feel like people are more considerate of my feelings when I am skinner. I feel like I am overlooked/ignored when I am fatter.
  • I feel like in order to be loved, there has to be less of me.
  • I fear giving up, so I rigidly control how I eat so I know I am still trying.
  • I fear emotional eating, and retracting to how I used to eat, completely emotionally.
  • I feel more attractive when I am skinnier.
  • I do not feel like I am capable of good things when I am fatter.

Rational Mind

  • I want to be healthy.
  • I want to have my period.
  • I do not want to starve or binge.
  • I do not want to spend so much time thinking about food.
  • I do not want to be constantly hating myself.
  • I want to spend my time focusing on more important matters.
  • I want to nurture my body with nutritious food and healthy exercise.
  • I want to be stable with my nutrition, exercise, and mood and I know that binging and restricting will not help me to achieve those goals.
  • I am negatively affecting the lives of those around me when I “act out” in eating behaviors.
  • I am negatively affecting my relationships when I “act out” in eating behaviors.
  • The people closest to me were in my life when I weighed the skinniest, but they were also there when I weighed the fattest.

Wise Mind

  • I commit to stability.  I commit to stability in my nutrition and exercise.
  • My eating disorder is hurting my life. I will no longer use food to solve problems. I will stay committed to stable nutrition and exercise. I will tend to my mental health and stop judging my feelings.
  • I do not have to starve myself to be skinny.
  • I do not have to be 110 pounds to be skinny.
  • I can be 110 pounds but still FEEL fat.
  • I need to change the thoughts I have about myself in order to change the way I see my body.

 

Posted in Ed

March 5, 2013

We’re into March. I am really trying to appreciate these days, to take them slowly and carefully and preciously. It’s easy to let the mundane carry us away and have our lives simply defined into the broad folds of “trips” and “work” but I am really trying to appreciate the in between, the life that really makes up our years. I am a student, I have had a long path of being a student and even though it is going to come to a close sooner or later, it’s always felt like “later” so I’ve become trapped in a rut of feeling inadequate, incapable of real, tangible accomplishments other than seemingly arbitrary high letter grades. I recently learned and contemplated the statement, “meaning and truth develops over time.” I am really trying to listen to my life path, see the story from a distance, and clearly see how that statement can apply to my educational marathon and find peace and assurance in that. While I’d like to say that I have and I’m now comfortable and confident in the way that I’ve spent my time, I can’t. But I will say that I don’t like being in a place where I look back and I reflect and I’m ashamed and embarrassed by my decisions and my decision making process. Educationally I know that when I made the decision to move across the country and not finish my degree my prefrontal cortex was not fully developed, which is the part of the brain that makes decisions and higher end thinking. But all that just seems like nonsense to me, an excuse to pass off bad judgment as being okay. Whatever the case, I am determined to not continue on the path of not thinking wisely and fully and then look back with regrets and uncertainty as to how I spent my time. Thus, here I am, on a Tuesday afternoon in the dead of midterms, trying to fully and cheerfully appreciate the ins and outs of “life”, which currently means tackling a paper that I’m not quite interested in.

I’m writing not out of procrastination, although that could easily turn in that direction, but rather because I am desparately trying to apply my therapy into my daily life, make some real progress in March, and “make a space for my emotions.” More applicably, FEEL my emotions. Recently I was asked if my life has any safe spaces and people where I feel like I can authentically feel my emotions. The question was something I would find myself asking others. My life is 100% filled with places, people, and safety to feel and express and explore and grow and for that I am sincerely thankful. That has never been the case and I am so blessed and grateful that God blessed me with an amazing husband and home to feel comfortable and safe. Frankly, my entire life right now is in the stage of self exploration and development. I want to have kids but we’re not ready for them occupation wise. This has been a perfect time to develop ourselves and our lives together and dig deep. The problem, as it usually is, is ME. I don’t allow myself to feel emotions because I don’t want to deal with them. But I’m determined to not sustain the cycle of generational mis-parenting, so I must suck it up and face the facts.

Thus, I am writing. I was starting to feel on-edge. Last week I put on a bit of weight. The trigger was I had to get weighed in for my last assessment for the eating disorder group therapy experiment I was in last semester. Things had been going really well for me, I was on the upside of things, I was feeling GREAT about my body (truly) and I was eating very well, and then I got weighed. I weighed the same as I had a month ago. That somehow triggered me and I slowly went downhill into a several day overeat cycle of feeling completely out of control and hopeless. I was thinking how could I weigh the same now as I did before? I thought I weighed so much before and now I’m suddenly feeling so happy with that, that cannot be okay. The cycle lasted and now it’s thankfully over. Again it’s the weird balance of trying to find the in between, trying to find health. Also, I have realized that snacking all day is not for me. Ed uses those times to tease me and hang out in my mind and that’s super harmful to me. Rather, I will have three nutricious meals a day and a dessert to ensure I’m getting enough fat. I am slowly starting to feel better about my body and I know that in a week or two I will even out and feel much better. Next Wednesday I have an appointment with my doctor and I am really hoping I weigh 120-121. I would ideally like to stay 120, but I will be compassionate with myself if I weigh 121 (the same as I weighed last time I went to the doctor).

Spring break is next week and that’s causing a lot of stress. Additionally my good friend who I never see is coming the first week of April and I really want to be skinny for that visit. I know though that restricting and bingeing are not the ways to do it. My goal for March is that it can be different. That it is not just another month with Ed, another month of highs and lows, but that it can be distinctly different than the rest. That I can live in health most of the days. That I can keep my thoughts on food and exercise mainly on how to give my body nutrients and take care of myself, rather than what I don’t like about my body. I am hoping that by the end of the month, I can be running 2 times a week for one mile reguarly, and that that’s a really good thing. I have been loving the endorphines that it’s been giving me. Absolutely loving them! I am hoping that running can continue to be a good thing for my health, mentally and physically. Additionally, I have a goal to decrease my sweet potato consumption and increase my protein and fat consumption. I did not get my period last month and I know it can take a while for it to be regular again, and I have always been somewhat irregular, but I do take that very seriously. I got my period when I was in Florida when I was not eating what I normally do. I want to know how to take care of this body myself, not having other people do it for me. I think the part of the problem is my sweet potato consumption. In Florida I was getting a variety of foods, but here is not the same.

Anyways, that’s all. I hope the next time I write I can share some progress that I have made. I hope that little by little, through the mundane of life I can be moving forward, finding the middle ground called health.

February 12, 2013

Today is a new day. To be perfectly honest, it feels dullingly like an extension of other crappy days. It’s cold, wet, rainy, and drapped in gloom. It’s perfectly suited for my mood, yet our compatibility makes me even more cranky.

I have been having a really hard time with Ed’s changing demands on me lately. Binge, restrict, , restrict, run as fast as I can for as long as I can. I crave my old runners high, I crave feeling impressed by where my body can take me. I crave the high of consistent restriction. The security, the purpose, the feeling of being lighter, more capable of floating away.

I miss my dad so much. The gravity of his death is slowly sinking in and the pain and despairity that it brings is terrifying. At times I feel such an overwhelming hysteria that all I can do is remain painstakingly still, for any more interaction with this fucked up world will push me over a limit I have never crossed before. The hole in my heart cannot be filled by binges and restrictions, and while I never lose sight of that truth, they serve as a numbing distraction, and for that I am grateful. I am not ready to accept this, I am not ready to cry, to scream, to let go, to say goodbye. I am not ready, never ready, refuse to be ready, refuse to, refuse refuse refuse. So I will hold Ed’s hand and try to keep our relationship under the rug, because I refuse to let that rug trip me, to admit that that rug was brutally torn out from under me many months ago.

In just a few weeks, it will mark one year since the last time I saw my dad alive. The last time I hugged the man that raised me. The last time I said goodbye. And though that weighs on me constantly, though my sleep is haunted by that shattering reality, I refuse to feel it. I don’t can’t won’t. So I’ll starve myself until I can’t feel again.