Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Breakup

"What if it was ok to be yourself?" asks my therapist.

My heart drops into my stomach. My immediate answer is "No."

I try to wrap my head around it, not only the question but my reaction. Isn't that what I'm all about? I thought I was so independent. Isn't that what all those songs are about? "I don't fuck with you."? What all those Pintrest pins are about? "Just be yourself, everyone else is taken." 

I'm told to sit with this feeling. I don't want to. There's a pain in my chest and my eyes burn. Oh man, here they come. And I ugly cry about the realization that for most of my life by very influential people I've been told I'm not ok the way I am, to deal with myself, that I can't handle you anymore.

Since this session, my nearly year and half relationship  has ended. That question keeps finding its way to the forefront of my mind. "What if it was ok to be yourself?" 

My relationship didn't last because we wanted different things. He knew what he wanted, and he wanted it more than me. And me? I thought I wanted him. I thought I was being so smart and authentic by putting my relationship first, believing in love, fighting for it, dedicating myself to it. Doesn't lifelong happiness matter more than a job? 

The answer is yes, but what I was investing all of myself into was not going to end up the way I wanted. But I kept pushing, it had to work, I didn't leave everything I loved for it to all fall apart. And yet that's what it was doing. Slowly but surely our differences appeared and I didn't want to face them. 

I have spent most of my life thinking that things go sideways because there is something wrong with me. People left me throughout the course of my ED because they couldn't deal with me, because I wasn't good enough, because there was something wrong with me.

That's the storyline (oh therapy) that I've told myself over and over and over. And believed it wholeheartedly because I needed to make sense of what was happening, so that way I could try and fix it. And try I did. I would try to mold myself into the person I thought I needed to be so I could be accepted, and was exhausted because my authentic self was screaming at me that this wasn't right. I got very good at ignoring it.

And after my conversation with my therapist, a couple of TED talks and a fuckton of courage, I'm noticing more and more that I shut my heart up the instant it doesn't make sense. My ex wanted things I thought I should want. So I tried to conform, I tried to continue to push us together as we moved farther away. My anxiety escalated, my drinking and my ED. My body, my heart and my mind were screaming this isn't right but because I couldn't make sense of it I couldn't fix it so I pushed on. Until I was too tired to go on.

And now I'm left with the knowledge that I loved someone so hard and they didn't love me the same way. And that fucking blows. And this human isn't a bad person, he just wasn't the person for me AND THAT'S NOT MY FAULT, it's no one's fault. We've said our pieces and while you'd think that's enough to move on it's not. There is no defiant end point to when I have to be ok. I can process this anyway I want to. I can continue to talk it out. I can think I want him back, I can hate him, there is no right way to do this except to listen to my heart, accept my feelings with grace and curiosity. 

But it's interesting to watch me begrudgingly do so, even though I know it's right, I know it's what I want, what I need, my heart still drops into my stomach when our separation is apparent. 

When people breakup everyone always talks about personal growth, more you time. And at first I was like what the fuck does that REALLY mean? But as I type this I see how much I'm already learning about myself, my past and what can be my future. 

  • I need to make the decision to change the storyline I tell myself.
  • Listen to my heart and my head.
  • Not have judgement on my feelings, rather look at them with curiosity because they have something to tell me.
  • It's ok to not be ok and to reach out to friends.
  • It's time I come first (and I always will).
  • I need to take care of and respect my mind, body and soul now more than ever.
  • I deserve to be loved and that includes love from myself.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I Cried During My Workout, What'd You Do Today?

The gym is empty, it's me and the seniors and the stay-at-home moms. It's lunch time.
I like the quiet because it's so loud in my head.
My anxiety has been debilitating lately.
Constantly spinning, pining, fucking with me.
Behaviors have increased.
I constantly feel like I'm drowning.

Today is chest, triceps and biceps. I started this routine back in the summer. I couldn't curl more than 10lbs and now I'm doing 20s. I never really write about exercise because I am afraid. Afraid of triggering readers, of people saying I wasn't good enough, of people seeing me really as I am: no filter, no angle, no disorder, that since I still use behaviors I couldn't fully own my new body...the list goes on.

But after treatment this last bout I started to lift. A good friend showed me how to do it properly, she got me to go in and keep going in. I liked the power it gave me. I liked seeing results. I liked the exhaustion. My desire to lift is a  different hunger than my ED's need for exercise.

And this afternoon as I stood there in my Seahawks cutoff-that yes I made myself-and I for whatever reason actually look at myself. i see that my shoulders have shape and my arms have definition. I for once feel a connection with my body. I for a fleeting second looked at myself and felt pride. And it's not pride from losing weight, or defying the scale--it's pride because of my hard work. That's me eating. That's me taking the time to treat myself right. That's recovery.

I finish my workout and go to my favorite place in the gym--the classes room. When not in use all the lights are off and the mirrors reflect the light outside. I put on my newest obsession  and I dance. I poke fun at myself, I try to twerk, I do my model walk, I try a new move I've seen online. I feel so authentic, happy and centered. 

And on this particular day I started to do this and the fleeting thought came back, "I look good." Usually I've brushed the idea off, it's uncomfortable and something I don't want to deal with. I stopped what I was doing and tried to stay with the feeling (therapy at its finest). And suddenly the calm curiosity exploded in a million directions. 

I apologized to my body, this deep sorrow I've buried for who knows how long came to the surface and I legit sobbed. I crumbled to my knees and forced myself to look in the mirror. 

I so often do not want to be connected with my body, for reasons I've discussed time and time again. And it was so strange to me that I could feel such emotion for this thing that is right in front of me, that is me and still be so distant from it. I'd like to say that I had some spiritual connection, but I basically just kept crying. When you don't know how to handle your emotions they come out all sorts of ways. 

I looked at my face and my eyes and my lips and I held myself. 

The apologizing stopped and it was like I wasn't doing the talking anymore. It was like there were two of me and one was telling me they get it, like I was forgiven, and I can just be sad now and that's ok. And so I cried and tried to not hold it in, releasing, feeling. And then I felt an anxious excitement, like "Oh shit! I'm getting it! I've got it!" 

And then more sobbing. The end.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Morning Ritual

Listening to: Kito Views From SW2 Mini Mix

I've got to keep this quick as I'm 5 minutes over my morning time.
I give myself a half an hour to settle in and get my mind right before writing. Usually goes like:

Inhaling coffee
Socializing
Watering my rose plant which has not had any roses on it since I got it (sad face)
Reading Daily OM
Checking Facebook
Pintresting until I realize I've gone over my time
And occasionally reading JCrew (delightful clothing and copy to match)

However, oh how do I summarize the last couple of days?, ED has been extremely loud to the point where I was skipping full meals and unable to focus on anything but the voice in my head. I drank that night, engaged in behaviors, spiraled, fought...

Woke up so fucking over it. I want recovery so badly but I (and this isn't fully true) don't know how to obtain it. I can't get to the other side of the street. I need a million and one things to hold my hand to get there: friends, BF, therapist, changing habits, a higher power...calorie free food? haha I AM SO FUNNY.

I somehow, blessedly, found the fire in me that I had at the Emily Program. I am sick of being stunted in my growth because of this back and forth bullshit with the eating disorder, the judging voice, the anxiety. I've been spiritually asking for help and with friends and slowly my old coping skills, thoughts and determination has come back -- not fully people,  I'm not fixed, i didn't just find the answer (even though I'm sure they'll invent a pill to fix me soon -- my ED humor is alive and well today).

So going along with this spirituality comes repeating my values to myself, journaling more, telling the voices to shut up and go away instead of being entranced in them. It goes with being in touch with myself my authentic self.

When I became unemployed it was clear I needed direction and ritual which came in the form of journaling and listing my values (acceptance, authenticity, balance, connection, respect, gratitude) and going on a walk.

I wanted ideas for a new one so I googled and came across this. It's gold. The smiling in the mirror at myself thing for 30 seconds. Like wow. It seriously worked.

I've got spinach and other green smoothie things on my grocery list, I'm going to buy a body brush...

Basically instead of wanting or wishing or feeling blocked I feel like I'm able to take action against those things that once paralyzed me just days ago.

I believe it's because I'm finally acting in alignment with my values.

Boom.

Ok, morning meeting time.

Love.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Change is Hard.

I get very anxious whenever I have down time, I don’t know what to do with myself. I tried figuring out what was going on within me when this happened this late afternoon after my ride home from Seattle dropped me off by going on a walk—to the grocery store.
All of my recovery thoughts raced through my head. You only want to binge because you are ____ . Tired, actually hungry, emotional (about what we do not know), avoiding…fill in the blank.

It reminded me that I always resolve to ‘never do it again’ after I do it. Then the voice comes back at me with you don’t give a flying fuck right now.
You need to save for a car and you spent WAY too much this weekend.
Ashamed I say I know and I just don’t want to care (realizing late aka now that I don’t want to care because I want to avoid the shame of ‘failure’ or / and? The feeling of going against my values.
It’s such a waste of time and you always hurt after.  You’ll regret it long after the effects of the binge have worn off.
Clearly it still does something for me like the therapists say so I’m going to do it. It’s too much dealing with all this back and forth shit so, fuck it I’m doing it. This is what I know, I’m a failure, I fail. I’m not better now and I never will be. Just fucking do it. You always do and you always will.
And then I went and did it. And now here I am ashamed and regretful, wishing I had listened to the smaller voice. Feeling a bit defeated. But proud that I am journaling about it instead of further avoiding it.
Then the good ol’ BF calls and says he’s having dinner with a coworker of ours who I haven’t met and that is female. I hear her talking and laughing in the background. My teeth grit and my responses to him are short. I hang up with no I love you.
I feel worse, like that little voice said I would. I regret what I did and now he’s off having fun, making money, being social and I am just alone, sad and wasting money and time. Fuck me.
The binge started because I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t have anyone to call to hang out with and I felt that I had ‘ruined’ the day by being so lazy and tired that I couldn’t be ‘productive’ by going to the gym / fearful that was eating disordered (HA ironic I went to the other side of the spectrum on that didn’t realize that til now) so I can’t start being productive on my to do list of taxes and classes and budgeting. So I did what I know.
And I’m realizing that to change (I know this is on a zillion Pinterest boards) I have to do what I don’t know. I have to not listen to the voices and try something else to get that relaxed feeling, to release.
It also hit me that I am still pretty lonely here. It’s getting better but I do not have that core group or even one person who I can call up and be completely honest with where I’m at and know that they are probably down to Netflix it in sweats and sit in silence and it’s not uncomfortable. In order to change this I need to start going out on limbs and asking my new found acquaintances to do this. I don’t really know what that looks like.
The idea of being that vulnerable with someone scares me, what if they were just too drunk at that party and they really don’t like me ? Why did that one person not try to hang out again after I tried to instigate a friendship? Oh lord. I sound like I’m dating but like friend dating (not weird it works).
So that’s where I’m at. I have texted some of my friends from home and it feels so good to have that connection again and to be pulled out of this, without them even knowing what they are doing for me.

So I’m going to go play with my cat and probably watch a Disney movie, because today isn’t ruined, I didn’t fuck it up, I learned from it and I’m starting stronger than I was before.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

White Booty Shorts & Eating Disorders are Equally Unforgiving.

The words seemingly so profound within my head are complemented by the lyrics in my headphones. The energy that's radiating off me is manifested in phrases mirrored by moments in my mind. Oh shit that's good, I should blog.

I came in my room with every intention of dancing. The energy pulsing through me is steady, a cunning calm. It feels like power, it feels good, I want more of it.

The thoughts keep coming, morphing into a conversation. ED is talking with me. Fluid we move around my room in discussion. Even though our tones level with some contempt it is not a fight like it usually is. Just old friends catching up. Don't you love those friends you don't see for a while and when you do it's like you never parted?

Ah she wants me to tell you that I will probably fail, as I do every time she takes a hold, I will succumb to the food, my body will be too exhausted to do anymore reps, I will put on my safe pants...I will act as though she is not there. But she will not let me go easily.

Viciously we cut my body with strong succinct words and a rage that I have not felt in a long time. Together we avoid dinner (an omelet) and the urge to cry. I cannot lose the power.

I want more of it, because I feel as though I have none.

I suddenly softened earlier when writing when I realized the above. My life, while better than it has been in a long time, feels out of control. I have my hands in a million things. From a busy work schedule to another job on the weekends, a set workout schedule, two blogs I support, therapy weekly, taking the thousand of steps to get a car and still trying to enjoy myself ... everything I try to accomplish grows two heads it seems. I feel like I'm drowning, flailing to keep my head above water.

And ED is back lashing at me for crying and writing instead of doing my never ending to-do list.

I can't seem to control my weight like I used to. I used to be able to accidentally lose weight, scaring those around me and delighting myself. I have let myself go and I can't seem to stop. Right now in this moment I cannot see how eating, not working out and doing what I (instead of ED) wants to do is at all progress. It's pure weakness.

At first with the whole control / lack of control / ED realization I felt soft. As I realized it I forgot to breathe, clenching my jaw I tell myself don't let the tears come, I'm not done writing. Get this emotion out of me, ironic I wrote a post about giving them room last time she snaps at me, see failure? The control thing is textbook ED. You don't feel you have control or you don't so you create it with something you can control, your food or lack thereof.

All of this started because of a fucking number on the scale and the fact that I tried on XL boy shorts in hope all my hard work at the gym would pay off. I would look sleek and sexy in white boyshorts at my next rave like all the other girls. And while the shorts were made for women they might as well be made for little boys by how they fit me. I bulged out of them. Standing there pasty white, slightly sweaty, under the unforgiving Fred Meyer dressing room lights I saw myself, I turned around to see just how bad it was and the tears flowed. I am a disgrace. How could I even think I was alright? How could I let go of what was 'working'? I hung my head through the store after I left the dressing room, the feeling of shame all too familiar and welcoming.

And that's where I'm at.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Six Months. That's Half a Year.

I realized I've been here six months. The idea brings me to tears, I'm not sure what kind of tears but I don't think they are over joyed happy ones, more like I really miss home tears if I'm honest. And not like a super depressed I can't take it anymore but more just genuine heartache for the city and my friends. I can't believe it's been that long and yet I can, I guess that's how time usually goes. October feels like forever ago and I just want to hug my old self and show her she's ok and will be ok.

One thing my therapist here has taught me (or well I'm sure I was taught it but now I'm listening / seeing it) is that I will be ok. That my feelings are not something to fear but to welcome and listen to. That I do not have to fear sadness or anger or the future because I can handle whatever happens. 

When I get mad or sad or have some 'unpleasant' emotion I run from it. I subconsciously distract myself by thinking of how my thighs have grown, seeing what needs to be cleaned, have a physical impulse to get away from myself. My therapist has shown me that once I calm down from the emotion using grounding techniques (music, meditation, ice, petting my cat) I can stay present with the feeling. I can see what is happening in my body, if I'm clenching my jaw, if I'm sweaty, if I'm hot (all of these genuinely happen) which makes me want to escape more---making me more sweaty. Nice huh? When I feel the emotion, and I do not run from it I begin to learn what the emotion is telling me. It, like happiness, or fear, has a purpose. 

When I shun my feelings thinking that they are problematic, shameful and hurtful I just begin to spin. I know I'm not supposed to feel this way for one reason or another and then I get more mad I'm feeling it and then I see myself making it worse and I get more mad until I explode. Not productive, yet natural.

Now that I'm learning to give space for my 'unpleasant' emotions I am able to learn from them and calm them and not fear their return. This kind of mindset has also shown me that no matter what happens in my life I will be ok. I am learning to not live in fear. I am learning to live in the present. I like to say to myself something like I have this negative emotion but I do not want it, this is ok. We can listen to that emotion give it room to tell us what is going on and then appropriately move on. Yes I really do this. 

​I'm almost on my period (you so wanted to know that) so I'm super emotional and holding back tears as I'm at work. I haven't BP for a week and three days which is a record since moving here. I fought off the thoughts all night last night using softer language on myself and understanding. I've been thanking my body for what it does for me instead of hating it and I've been trying to be open to the idea of my rose-gold heart even though it feels very far away. ​

 I've already began to see myself in a different light and appreciate who I am rather than compare and contrast myself to others, seeing what I should do differently, what is wrong with me. I've been able to validate myself when no one else will. And try to accept the apology I was never given. I do not believe I'm fixed and I don't know how long this road will be but I feel like I've found my footing again.

The end.

Monday, February 9, 2015

How The Fuck Am I? How the Fuck Are You?

I've always had an issue with the question "How are you?"
Generally this is a very nice thing to say to someone, but if you say it to me, I will not be happy with you. This is because I am ... I don't know. That's the problem. It's not that I'm not happy, it's that I don't know what I am, I am every emotion, every minute a different one. I cry a lot, let's start with that.


Everything makes me cry. As soon as I have to stop my routine, my constant doing, listing, thinking about what I did, what I didn't do, and what I have to do, I fill up and I want to explode. I don't know why and I don't know what to do to calm down, all I know is I need relief. 

I picture it like this. But more tornado-y and in a very sterile, high-tech building. It's just me, this ball of color, loud, vibrant, swirling and nothing around me, nothing to latch onto or to anchor me.

(These are underwater ink plumes documented by Italian photographer Alberto Seveso)
It's ironic because this is beautiful, and my recovery self tells me that all of these emotions and confusion is actually beautiful because it is life. And I am FEELING because I'm alive and blah blah blah.

The anguish I feel and the racing thoughts, and hyper-sensitive body response (getting really hot, clenching my jaw, muscle tension) is actually information, it's telling me something. If only I could calm down long enough to listen to it.

But generally that scares me. Calming down requires to look at what's happening. And I do not want to poke the beast (ED). It generally makes me very mean, makes me regret my actions and I'm constantly left trying to please it. It is never satisfied however.

Even now, as I try to make sense of this so publicly, so honestly trying to see what is going on, it's getting mad because I seemingly cannot do it. I can keep typing and keep pushing and searching and asking questions and I do not have the answers. And the shame of not knowing. Of being so lost in this seemingly endless turmoil is just so exhausting. And then I don't even remember what happened or why I am so upset in the first place and I feel more out of touch with myself and life. More lost. More far gone. Worthless.

If I try to go get ice cream because I thought I craved it. It will tell me it's not ok, I'm at my highest weight since recovery and I better not go over. I should be running away from the ice cream, in fact run home fat ass. 

Then it will tell me that I'm weak for not knowing how to just eat ice cream like people do every day. I'm pathetic for breaking down in the grocery store again. And I'm selfish for asking my boyfriend drive me there before he had dinner. So I succumb and I go workout. And yet the physical release and exhaustion helps. . . was I just giving into it or was I helping myself? The thoughts, and the tornado pick up again. . .

Another thing I am is anxious. Constantly. To the point of where I feel the need to finish everything that is in front of me. You text me I have to answer then. I get a like on Facebook I have to investigate. And when I go online I remember that I didn't contact the bank. And that I need to see if I got a measles shot. And oh I have a work email. And I never cleaned my dishes. I should brush my teeth. Is it time to eat yet. Oh ya my food journal. It never stops. I haven't slept well in weeks. 

I am also sick, I'm sick and tired of making everything an ordeal. I can't just make my boyfriend dinner, I have to tell him how it makes me feel, how he should feel and how I am justified in my feelings. I will leave the room and then come back in to tell him more of my thoughts. In reality I realize I'm just trying to get them all out so they can no longer be stuck in my head. In doing this I then feel guilty for once again bothering him with these things, because I do this with everything. 

But I can't seem to help it. I can't be without spinning inside my head and I'm exhausted. I just want to be. I want to be left alone. What's the answer? Why can't I just figure out the answer? What is so wrong with me? 

I ask that question a lot. And with therapy I'm slowly finding the answers. It seems as though I've become a very anxious person in order to ignore the sinking hole inside of me. The tornado distracts from the imploding that's happening underneath it. 

But learning that each emotion I have is valid, and has a purpose helps. I'm learning to hold different parts of myself, the tornado part and the sinking hole, and still find myself within it. I'm learning to make room for that self-doubting, critical voice. Separating it from myself has really helped, well kind of haha 

I was never really taught how to deal with emotions when it was important. I was met with silence, or anger, or frustration (and this is because of how my parents were taught to deal with emotion). Then the eating disorder manifested, helping me to 'cope' showing me distraction from the emotions--relief in twisted way. And now 13 years later with a couple of years of hard work in recovery I feel as though I've only scratched the surface. Only now learning to just be aware of all the things I'm doing out of habit and only just now being aware of all I do to distract. The dealing with them part seems so far off. The normal part of life seems so far off. 

And that's where I'm at.

Also, I need to build my support system back up. If you feel inclined to reach out to me I would greatly appreciate it.