Underwater

I promised myself I would start posting when I am in not so great place, so here I am.  This will probably be a short post, because I feel like a long one would be wallowing in where I am, but to be frank, I feel like I am drowning.  I feel this heaviness most in the mornings and evenings.  B hasn’t been at it’s worst lately, but it creeps up on me as the day wears on.  I have lost the desire for a real binge, which is a godsend I suppose.  But it’s as if this monster is looming over me, when finally it wrestles me to the ground by the end of the day.

For the moment, I’m blaming this muckiness on the time of year.  My birthday is coming up… in my head 32 seems so much dramatically older than 31… but honestly the only thing I can focus on is that I’ve been at this battle against B for over a year , and it feels like I’ve made no progress.  As if I have wasted the last 12 months of my life.  I have made progress in therapy, I think?, but the fact that I have been struggling with this for 15 years is mind-numbing and I go back to feeling like I’m choking under the weight of this illness.  I just want it to be over — I want the things I know in my head to be true (that I am loved, that I am unique, that I am WORTH my recovery) to start playing out in my life.  How can the disconnect be this vast?

I have no answers in this moment, but I’m praying for relief and begging God for mercy.

 

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in the moment

I only want to post when I’m in a good place with my eating disorder.  And I really hate that.  I think it’s our human tendency, to only want to show the best side of ourselves, but then again, this is a blog about my eating disorder so I think I’ve left the “everything is roses” by the wayside a long time ago.  For me is it’s much harder to full-on face what’s going on in my head and go into detail about how messed up my thinking is.  Because on the good days, I can see how messed up my thinking is, but on the bad days it’s much cloudier and easy to rationalize.

As you may have already guessed, things have been pretty good the last few days.  But I’ll give you a recap of when they weren’t.

First of all, I keep a paper calendar where I write out meetings/dinners with friends/events/birthdays, etc.  It has also morphed into a log of my “good days,” keeping tabs of when I’ve worked out, my weight, etc.  The last two are borderline unhealthy, and at some point I am confident I’ll let them go, but for now they’re part of the calendar.  The past three days have been good, and by God’s grace I will make it to four.  But the days before weren’t so good, and here’s a little about that (and how I still see growth).

Vacations wreck me.  Leading up to it, I feel like I have to be a certain weight in order to go on vacation– I have this fear I will look terrible in pictures– and during vacation I feel like I have to be an an “it’s vacation!” mentality, so I eat and drink whatever I want (or even sometimes don’t want).  So there is usually purging involved.  I look back on so many trips and, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the destination, being with friends, etc., but there is always this cloud over the weekend as I remember the purging during the trip.

But everything I am learning about my eating disorder is starting to change that.  I have been doing a lot of reading lately about addictions (another post) and accepting myself (ok – now starting a list), and it’s totally shifting the way I look at my eating disorder and myself.  I went to Vegas this weekend with a friend (ha, yet another post), and it was the first time I didn’t have this crazy overeat/purge mentality.  It’s not to say I didn’t purge, because I did, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it normally is (I’m actually going to call that a win), and I felt like when it happened, it was my f*cked up security blanket more than a need to get rid of anything.  I walked away from the weekend feeling like I can actually go on vacation without it becoming a downward spiral of guilt and self-loathing– and I had a great time!

Ultimately it’s all about living IN THE MOMENT.  Loving who I am, where I am, and with whom I am spending my time– and if I don’t like any of it, I have the power to change it!  I’m an adult!  I can choose my surroundings, I can choose what I think about myself, and I can choose to not let this ED rob my joy.

the journey

So many of my posts include this theme of recovery being a journey, a tunnel or something requiring lots of steps.  It brings a smile to my face as I think — where the heck am I going anyway?  Once I get to destination: recovery what am I going to do when I get there?  I know it won’t be easy, and it’s not like I cross the finish line and the marathon is over.  But I do know, I will have a lot more time to do things that actually serve me, than consume my life with things that deplete my energy and thoughts.

Anywho, Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets and I came across this poem that was so appropriate.  Hope you enjoy as well:

journey

 

one day at a time

When I recommitted to my “fight” last week, I was convinced I would never have another run-in with B.  I woke up on Friday with a renewed spirit, and fresh energy behind beating this beastly eating disorder.  I had a really good weekend until Sunday night, when I felt like I had eaten too much and the whole thing went down the tubes.

But that’s just the line of thinking that keeps me tripped up for days/weeks/months at the time– the idea of “the whole thing went down the tubes.”  Thinking like that keeps me in this defeatist mentality, where anything less than perfection isn’t a win.  And that’s just not true.  Some days it’s two steps forward and three steps back, but as long as I get up the next day and take one step forward, I’m making progress.  I’m continuing to learn about my disease and about the things that will give me strength.

As far as strength-builders, I’m really stopping and enjoying the small moments in life.  Having lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while — focusing on her and her family and our friendship rather than what I was eating (that is really a huge leap from where I would have been a year ago).  Being outside and really loving and appreciating the beautiful weather.  All of this sounds like a super cheesy motivational speech at which I would normally roll my eyes, but any moment when we can get outside of our negative self-talk is really a moment to be cherished, no matter how cheesy it seems.

So She Did

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The past few weeks have been… interesting.  It’s amazing how fired up I can be for recovery, and then fall into a total relapse and just not care anymore.  I think a lot of it is my thinking that everything has to be perfect so any small slipup turns the whole day into a downward spiral.

In my head and my heart, I know that life (and ultimately the key to my recovery) is all about balance.  I have to make small steps every minute of the day, but I can’t let a slip up turn my progress upside down.  Bulimia is a joy stealer and a hope killer.  There are times when I literally think I will deal with this the rest of my life– WHAT THE HECK?!?!  How can I possibly be so self-deprecating that I don’t think I can achieve or deserve freedom?  Bulimia is a nasty disease.

But I woke up this morning with renewed fire and a conviction that I deserve freedom.  I know I can do this!  I love that quote that has been over instagram for a while: “She believed she could, so she did.”  I believe at the pit of my heart that I can do this, and I’m determined to quiet the voices in my head that speak otherwise.

And it’s all about balances.  Making the better choice in every moment.  This morning, though I knew this would be the first day of a new life without “B,” I almost talked myself out of working out.  But I knew that would be the first step toward the tailspin, that I would beat myself up for not working out and then think that purging was the only way to “make it up.”  So I got out of bed and went to my spin class, and I felt so good afterward and so proud of myself.  May being proud of my progress become my new addiction.

P.S. I’ll be updating my instagram account (shechoselife) to allow everyone in on my daily, better choices (and let’s be honest, it’s also to help keep me accountable on this fresh journey).  Please follow!

tunnel vision

As anyone who has ever struggled with addiction or an eating disorder or any other annoying habit knows, the process of freedom is not an easy one.  I have been actively working with my therapist for over a year to “beat” bulimia.  To say it has been a hard, up-and-down journey is putting it lightly.  As I mentioned in a previous post, my therapist is trained in somatic experiencing, and a lot of our work has been focused on how my body feels.  Which a really odd thing to hear the first (thousand) times, but I’m finally getting the hang of doing what feels right to me and not putting myself in situations that don’t feel right in my body.  Our body is really intuitive and we have this really beautiful opportunity to put our trust in a powerful, intelligent force that wants what is best for us.

There have been many times over the last year when I’ve said “I see the light at the end of the tunnel.”  I was thinking that my battle with bulimia would be over soon, and I would be able to wrap a nice little bow around it and be glad it was out of my life.  But over a year later, it’s still something that occupies space in my life (albiet a smaller one than it did a year ago).  And the control freak and perfectionist in me finds that really annoying.

My problem is — I didn’t realize this is a really long tunnel.  And once I get in the frame of mind that the long, hard journey isn’t meant to rob me of my hope, but to strengthen me, I am actually a tiny bit grateful for the person I am becoming.  I will be stronger because of this battle.  This tunnel will prepare me for the next one, and one day, I hope I’m in a position speak life into someone else’s struggle with bulimia.  My “tunnel vision” is not one of despair, but one that sees the glory that is on the other side.

grace

As I mentioned in my last post, we often have to give ourselves permission to treat our bodies/hearts/minds with the same grace we so easily extend to others.  I love this quote from Tich Nhat Hanh, and when I first read it, it made me realize how often I blame myself as well :

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce.  You look for reasons it is not doing well.  It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun.  You never blame the lettuce.  Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person.  But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce.  Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument.  That is my experience.  No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding.  If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.”