Sunday, April 7, 2013

I’m struggling so much right now with my mom, my responsibilities, my endurance. I’m tired. It’s 3:30pm and I have a paper to cram in for tomorrow that’s worth a lot of my grade. It’s not a hard paper and the subject matter is interesting, but it’s still something that I have to get done at a time where I really don’t feel like getting it done.

The last few days have been really rough with my mom. We’ve gotten into our second fight while she’s lived in Austin and that really wears me. I’ve realized how deep rooted my bitterness and frustration is in my heart, which has spread into hatred towards both my mom and my dad. It’s exhausting. God is so merciful and I have to believe that He will use this as a story of mercy and grace, of redemption and His beauty, but it’s tough nonetheless.

The stress is wearing on me. It physically damages my health. It emotionally takes its toll. And it comes out in my relationship towards food. I have impulses, thoughts of eating, bingeing when things get rough, when I’m faced with conflict, stress, and turmoil. I cope with distress by numbing out, and do so by bingeing. It is that bingeing that leads to restriction, which leads to a living hell. I’m writing right now because I started to feel those thoughts, feel myself tighten up and plan how I was going to intoxicate myself from all this pain, how I was going to eat my worries away. I don’t want to handle conflict that way. I want to look it dead in the eye, acknowledge it, and handle it with God’s grace and compassion. I want God to be in all of my relationships, so it is always a three-party interaction, because I now know that I cannot do it on my own.

At the end of it all though, it is absolutely beautiful how God is working. He’s answering my prayers. It’s beautiful and I wish it will never cease. I pray that Jesus romances me, captivates my soul, claims me as His very own. I pray that this is not a distant wish, a momentary thought, but a deeply rooted cry that fills my soul until my very last breath. I know now that I cannot make it that way however. I cannot save myself, my loved ones, my situations, my pains. I can only surrender. I can only surrender it all. I pray for courage to willingly, and unwaveringly, cry out to Christ to save me from this mess of a reality that we have been in since Eden.

Tuesday, April 2, 3013

We’re into April! It’s been a while since I’ve written in here and I feel it. Blogging really helps me to stay grounded and on-track. I am proud to say that I did reach my March goal, I did not overeat at all the rest of the month. That’s such an accomplishment and a long time in coming. I am so happy to feel like I’m moving forward from this crippling and fatal disease. It’s scary and even as I write this I feel Ed’s apprehensions, but I am in a different place and I am really glad about that. I have also recently increased my running to twice a week, which is exciting to think that I’m moving forward in this goal as well.

My life has been a bit out of sorts lately, but for good reasons. My good friend visited me for an extended weekend this past weekend, and another good friend is on a plane right now to stay with me for the rest of the week. It was so great and refreshing to spend some time last weekend with her, and I want the same to happen now. It is so generous of them, both time and financially, and I want to be fully present with them. I am overwhelmed with school right now, I have an exam on Thursday that I do not feel prepared for and that could have a major influence over my grade, and I have a paper due next Monday that I have not started at all either. So the school stressors are still there, but even with those, I want to find myself feeling refreshed and grounded. This is her vacation that she has been so generous to share with me, I do not want to burden her with temporary stressors. I find myself feeling the urge to binge, overeat, and yell a lot lately. I have not been doing as good of a job as I would like checking in with myself and soothing myself. Time is so limited for anything extraneous like that.

My goal for April is to keep moving forward. Particularly, I want to broaden my array of stress-reducing techniques that I reply on. I find myself falling back on two urges: food and TV. I learned these behaviors from my parents, and while they are so engrained in me, I do not want to live my life in that manner. I do not want to look back and only see a blur of nights watching Friends in bed. I want to see life and fullness and richness and exploration. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with tv, but when that’s your only source of comfort and happiness, that’s a problem. There is so much goodness and joy to be found in life and tv just simply cannot bring those things. This month I want to get in a better habit of going on walks more, playing tennis, reading, going to the park, and playing games. I believe these things are truly energy producing and life giving, and though they feel so unnatural and against the grain, I must go out of my comfort zone if I am going to break this cycle. I do not want to numb my life away, I want to live it vibrantly. My intention for April is to look back and see many nights well spent, many corners of seemingly ordinary days brightened and enriched by a simpler, quieter life.

I feel I am becoming too Americanized.

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.

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.