Blogmas Day 21: I am so humiliated

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Today was a really difficult, complicated, confusing day. A day that I was in no way anticipating. I had a normal morning. I had a therapy appt, it went well, I went to work. I walked into work expecting a normal day, so it was to my surprise that about an hour after I got there I was told that I will be learning more about insurance in order to help out Gabby and take on a more active role in that department. I immediately felt the tears well up.

I tried to do what my psychologist taught me and distract my short term memory by counting something or reading some names on the schedule, but it didn’t work. I went to the bathroom and lightly cried and then returned to the front desk feeling a little bit better. However, I that light cry was apparently just the tip of the iceburg. When the idea was brought up again for further discussion, I got very emotional and started to cry. Up front. One of our higher ups (I’ll call her E), asked if I wanted to go to the back and take a minute so I went with her. What I wasn’t expecting was for two of our therapists to be on lunch in the back so I walked in thinking it would be quiet and alone and it wasn’t. So two therapists saw me crying, which is really unsettling for me and made me feel very embarrassed and ashamed.

After catching my breath and settling down, I realized that for some unknown reason I had brought a sticky note and pencil with me. I decided that I was going to tell E what was going on, but I didn’t want to say it because it would have kept me crying so I wrote it down. I didn’t give very many details, but I did say I am in eating disorder treatment and then I will be starting trauma counseling in mid February, so I was just feeling very overwhelmed and to walk in and find out I’m going to have more put onto my plate and more to think about, it just all kind of hit me. I felt very alone and very discouraged and still quite embarrassed because the two therapists could obviously hear what was going on.

Once I had settled down I was able to go back up front and start learning insurance things just fine. I was never against learning them, I’m scared to, because its a lot of responsibility and a lot of pressure, but I wasn’t opposed. I was just in so much shock and felt like I was just drowning in new things and new information and had so much going on that adding to my pile felt like the a ton of bricks just crashing to the floor. I couldn’t handle it.

I still feel so embarrassed, so ashamed and so small because of that event. I did not want anyone outside the two people who already knew, knowing. I especially didn’t want one of the higher ups at work knowing I was struggling. One of my coworkers maybe, like G or C or D I probably would have told because I find them to be very trustworthy and very reassuring, but I really just wanted to handle it. It is inappropriate to fall apart at work, but that’s exactly what I did. I fell apart and I am so humiliated.

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Blogmas day 14: Listening to my gut

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Tonight I got offered to spend the night at my friend’s house. I have done this before seeing as he and I are exes and still very good friends. There was no hidden intent behind the invite, he and I are just very close and there’s still some unresolved feelings, but we’re in a good place. I really wanted to say yes, I really did. I like sleeping at his house and waking up with him. It has never failed to make me happy.

I had this nagging feeling to say no though. I tried ignoring it, tried figuring out why I was having that gut feeling, but I couldn’t figure it out. I try very hard to listen to those feelings though so I did opt out and he was happy to take me home. It was ultimately my choice so he was fine with whatever I chose.

On our way out the door though, it hit me. The last time I had slept at his house was the night I got put into a very uncomfortable, still unidentifiable, situation with a guy I had just met. A lot happened that night and I think my mind was trying to protect me from likely having a nightmare. My friend’s house is now associated with that night, not entirely, and often it doesn’t even cross my mind anymore, but it did right then. I’m glad it did, because had it not, I would have spent the night and potentially had a nightmare.

I don’t think I’m ready for that yet. I am very ready to spend the night with him. He’s someone I trust and am comfortable with, but mentally I don’t think I am ready to be vulnerable again. I don’t think I’m ready to sleep there again yet. He is not a bad memory. He is not a bad thing of any sort. He is my safe place. He is my comfort zone. Mentally, I just don’t think I’m ready to sleep there again yet.

It sucks, it really does, but I’m working on it. I have goals. I have counseling. I will be okay. He is so supportive and so patient with me. He is too understanding and kind to me and I am so grateful for him. I hope he sticks around through all of this because he is someone I don’t want to lose because of something someone else did to me.

Blogmas Days 11 and 12: A Simple Bucket List

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Between yesterday and today, I have just been so tired so you’ll have to excuse this combined post. I have never been good at consecutive blogging so a much as I am enjoying this process, it’s also quite the challenge for me to remember to post and have something good to post about.

So tonight, I’m going to make a personal bucket list of 10 things I want to do at some point in this hopefully very long life of mine.

  1. Learn ASL. This is something I have wanted to learn since I was 8 years old when I taught myself the alphabet, how to count to ten, and a bunch of random signs that I have no idea how to use in a sentence!
  2. Travel outside of the country (USA), and I don’t just mean cross the border into Canada. Don’t get me wrong, going there would be AWESOME, but when I when I say leave the country, I really mean leave the continent.
  3. Sing my songs in public. This is also something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child, but social anxiety has made that near impossible. I am also dealing with an unsolved throat problem that has absolutely limited my ability to sing how I know I am capable of. I hope to one day be able to share my songs with the world, even if it’s just via the internet to start. I don’t need to be a world famous singer. I just want my voice to be heard and my songs to be known.
  4. Write a book…
  5. Get a graduate degree/hopefully PhD in Psychology.
  6. Learn how to properly shoot a gun…I can hit a target, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge right now!
  7. Visit an animal sanctuary farm
  8. Grow a garden filled with all of my own fresh vegetables and fruits if I can
  9. Live by myself for at least 1 year, preferably in a city.
  10. Learn. I genuinely just want to learn about this world, it’s secrets, it’s truths and lies, all of it. I want to learn.

Blogmas Day 10: The struggle between looking “too skinny” and looking “too fat”

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So here’s the thing…

I look back on old photos of myself, old videos, read old documents I wrote and saved to a hidden file on my computer, and I think to myself, that girl was so damn broken. She was so hurt. So fucked up. I found videos of me singing and I looked so skinny. So underweight, but nobody saw. Nobody noticed. Likely because I hid it well, but still. I found old documents that listed everything I wanted to change about me physically.  That entire list was nothing but me saying I wanted every single part of my body to be free of fat and to be trimmed and toned. I remember being scared of an apple. An apple. They have, what, 100 calories in them? I was such a mess. I was so broken.

When other people think of someone in recovery, they assume it means that person wants to be skinny. That person looks back on old photos and misses that body. That is not true for me, and probably for a lot of people in recover. When I think of that time period, I get sad. I get upset that I was that girl. I get upset that part of me still behaves in that way and part of me does not want to let go of the eating disorder because I identify with it.

Being in recovery for me is so confusing. The reason being, my brain is not completely healed, it may never be. So, while part of me wants to be skinny, is afraid of gaining weight, the other part of me is also terrified of looking too skinny again, of looking underweight again. There’s also this part of me that is just as scared about looking too heavy, overweight, etc. I am very confused and lost and this is a daily battle that I will likely face on and off for the rest of my life. If I manage to be a lucky one who fully recovers, great, but that’s rare. I get that, but I want to be further in recovery than I am and for the life of me, I can’t wait until the day comes when I can just be comfortable in my damn skin and see things in a way that goes beyond calories, image, social acceptance, etc.

I just want to be done with this, even though being done with this is one of the most terrifying things I have ever had to face.

First day of treatment: Blogmas Day 5

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Today was my first day of “official” eating disorder treatment. I wasn’t going to blog much about today because I felt like this was a very personal topic that doesn’t belong in a Blogmas post, but screw it.

I have been battling with anorexia/bulimia since I was 12. I started treatment for that and some other issues when I was 19, but for whatever reason the ED was overlooked and left untreated. That is, until today.

I started seeing a new psychologist about a year ago (on and off, not consistently for a year) for some completely unrelated issues I was having. At that time, the ED was completely in check and I was good. Recently though, a lot of my old ED behaviors and though patterns have come back and seeing as I never really went into ED treatment, I never learned about the ED. I never learned coping skills or the why of it all. I just kind of taught myself how to live with it and go about my life.

Due to my recent slipping back into the ED, my new psychologist has decided to do ED treatment, which is about a 20 session program. Today was session 1 of that treatment, as I did very well. I learned how the process will work, why it has to work that way, and was told what things we will be targeting throughout the treatment. I’ll be learning about nutrition, coping skills, how to properly handle any strong urges I have. We’re going to target my anxiety over food/body image and talk through my thoughts. I’m actually quite excited for this process because I’m going to learn so much about myself and how to go about my life happier and healthier.

So far, I am doing very well. I am a very motivated patient and I am already eating a wide variety of foods. A lot of my problems lie in the visual aspect of food, partial restriction, and the urges I get to purge when I feel full or stressed out in general. So, as the treatment progresses we will target those areas along with others and I will continue to grow and do well because that’s my only choice. There is no option B, there is only Option A.

Finding that balance between watching how much I eat and “watching how much I eat”.

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I find that one of the hardest parts of recovering from an eating disorder is watching what and how much you are eating without actually “watching what and how much you’re eating”. I never realized how hard this was going to be. Granted…that’s probably because I had never thought about getting into recovery before…so…there’s that.

Recovering from an ED is really about achieving a healthy body weight, and accepting it, The ultimate goal for whoever is helping you through recovery is not to get you to love your body, although that’s an amazing bonus. Their goal is to get you to accept the weight and to treat your body right. This process involves gaining weight, sometimes that through a simple guide on the right nutrition for your body, other times it involves a strict meal plan, really depends on you and your treatment provider. Regardless of how you are getting your nutrition though, you kind of have to watch what and how much you are eating in order to make sure your body is receiving the nutrients it needs and the caloric intake that is required for your height/weight and body type.

So, in recovery, we’re watching what we eat, but we aren’t allowed to really watch what we eat. We are told to be aware, to monitor, to weigh in during the beginning of the process, but we can’t calorie count. We can’t read labels. We aren’t allowed to weigh our food or go on any diet pills or restrictive plans. All of that is great, it’s so good for us, but it’s confusing because we’re told not to watch how much we eat, but we also have to watch how much we eat and make sure we’re feeding our bodies properly.

I guess the line is really drawn when it becomes obsessive? People watch what they eat, it’s part of living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight and healthy body. It’s just a little more difficult for someone in recovery or someone who is currently post-recovery because we have to watch that fine line. We have to be just a little bit more aware than you do because of our history. It just always made me chuckle a little bit because we’re entering recovery for watching what we eat (of course it’s to an extensive degree and our lives are probably at risk…) but when we’re in the recovery stage, we have to watch how much we’re eating, just for a completely different reason.

Does anyone else see what I’m saying? I don’t mean it in a bad way by any means. I absolutely understand how the process of recovery works and why it works that way, it’s just interesting to me because, personally, that’s always been the hardest part for me. Finding that balance between watching how much I eat and watching how much I eat.

ED Goals?

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The ultimate goal in recovering from an eating disorder is to of course not be afraid of food anymore and to live a normal life. For me that’s not the goal, because it’s very hard to reach so I set simpler ones. My personal goal for recovery is to be healthy and to be happy with my relationship with food. When or if I have an eating disorder related thought, if I am able to have that thought and not act on it, I consider it a win. I consider that to be a goal accomplished. In my opinion, I have reached that goal in terms of bulimia, which for those who are unaware is when you consume an excessive amount of food and force yourself to throw up. I have not binged or purged in a long time. I do not know the exact time line, but it has been at least a year. So to me, I consider that a goal accomplished.

What I haven’t totally accomplished is the calorie counting and restricting behavior. Whereas I have not engaged in those behaviors full force in a long time, again probably about a year, I have been very self conscious and borderline obsessive over what is going into my body. I have not been looking at the total calorie number, but I have been focusing a lot on the amount of sugar, fat, carbs, protein, etc. I have not engaged in this behavior for quite some time, so it’s hitting me fairly hard. Recent events in my life certainly haven’t helped the matter, but I am aware of the situation and will be working very hard to get myself back on track.

I do not think I have failed at a goal, but rather I’m kind of stuck in limbo at the moment. I just wanted to share my thoughts on this and I hope it made some kind of sense!