the days are passing.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written. About three weeks. Crazy that it used to be everyday. I haven’t thought about this blog much. But it always feels good to start writing.

I’m living with my boyfriend now. I’m still quasi-unpacking and moving and getting rid of a lifetime of stuff. I’m working a lot. It’s a weird adjustment- not being at home, and I miss my parents, even though they’re only about twenty minutes away. But I also love falling asleep and waking up to my favorite person everyday. It’s been fun- making a budget, figuring out what goes where, calling each other to see who is picking up groceries, etc. It’s the grown-up world, and it’s a world I belong in. I can’t believe after being in school since kindergarten, I’m now completely graduated. I’m completely done with academia unless I decide to continue pursuing even higher education…which I don’t have a current desire to do.

Now that I am working with a school-based agency, my clients are all children and adolescents. It’s a lot of play and art therapy, and I’m constantly reminded how blissful my own childhood was in comparison to the horrors I hear everyday. Adolescents are still my favorite. Especially my girls. I think I’m talented at working with kids. I can relate to them on a very fundamental, humanistic level. I also love the notion of childhood and what it embodies.

I haven’t been bingeing or restricting, but I’ve definitely experienced some struggles. I suppose I thought I wouldn’t be triggered whatsoever once I left home. That, of course, is a myth. Sure, there isn’t all that tempting food around, because we just don’t buy it, but that’s not to say I don’t have the urge to eat an entire package of store-bought cookies in the middle of the night. And that’s not to say I haven’t felt fat or ugly or out-of-control. I’ve felt all of those, and I’ve felt them often. But I’ve also felt the other range of raw emotions: I’ve felt sadness and happiness and fear and guilt and curiosity and embarrassment and excitement.

Day-to-day recovery is so hard, and sometimes it feels like it will always be this nagging weakness of mine, this tantalizing dance on the borderline of health and sickness. It’s not that black-and-white, of course, but in the throes of triggers, it certainly feels that way. Throwing in the towel is so easy, and I can’t lose sight of how easy it is to quit. Recovery will never be the easier choice, but it will always be the better choice. As most things in life are.

I just have to remind myself to breathe when it gets difficult. To forgive. To be patient. To talk about it to people who care. I’m not crazy and I’m not weird and I’m certainly not a monster, despite the negative messages pounding inside my head.

We all suffer with the distortions and the lies and the underlying fears that we aren’t good enough. It manifests in different ways, and for me, it was an eating disorder, but that doesn’t mean I’m not good enough. I absolutely am. The irrationality inside my head does not embody the truth. There is no truth. I am a human, and I am in this universe, and so I just am perfect. It’s kind of a radical acceptance. It’s the philosophy I really believe in.

Life is moving, as it does, and more changes are coming ahead this week. Big job interview lined up for my boyfriend this week and a potential move could happen. And I’m in the process of applying for more full-time work myself. I have no idea what to expect. But the excitement of the unknown propels me.

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writing to write

Dear Bee,

Writing because I made a commitment, and just like working out, I always feel better after I just do it.

Days after rough days are harder than the actual rough days. I’ve said that before. It’s like the body has to recover, but even more, the screaming dialogue and running commentary in my mind also has to recover. During the “rough day,” I’m numb to the world, just totally in the disorder, knowing that I need to “enjoy it” because tomorrow, it’s “back to business.” This is terrible logic, but it is logic that everyone with an eating disorder probably understands. The binges, the restrictions, the behaviors, those aren’t the worst part. Not even close. Those are the highs.

It’s the coming down that hurts.

Today wasn’t that bad though. Yoga always helps. So does good music and love and afternoon naps and coffee. Life is getting busy again. I’m probably moving into my boyfriend’s apartment within the next few weeks (although I basically live there now). So many changes and emotions. I’m doing the best I can.

Kindness to myself is key.

That’s all for today.

easier to blame the disorder

Again, I haven’t been blogging much, but I plan to write in here everyday this week, only because…accountability? It’s cathartic? It’s my own free self-therapy.

The past twelve hours have been hard.

I want to blame food, because that’s easy. I want to blame my body, because that’s easier. I want to blame the eating disorder, because that’s the easiest. And I always want to blame cookies, because why should those exist? How pretty and neat it is to wrap up all my fucking problems and feelings into this one category- this medical diagnosis. How controlling and concrete and nice that all looks.

I’ve struggled for about ten years. I’ve been weaving in and out of whatever this labyrinth called recovery is for about two or three of them. I’m so high-functioning that it’s ridiculous. I’m so good at hiding and lying and secrets that it’s only now starting to worry me. This disorder is SO GOOD at being this secretive lover, fleeting in and out of my life whenever it desires.

I’m still half-assing recovery. I’m afraid I’ve lost meaning of it. I’m afraid that I’m no longer afraid of slipping into old behaviors. The old defenses keep cropping: denial (I’m fine and nothing is wrong; there is nothing I need to be worrying about), intellectualization (I’m just being HEALTHY! Everyone can eat certain things in moderation!), rationalization (It’ll all be over tomorrow; I’ll start again tomorrow), and of course, the best one: minimization (I’m being melodramatic over nothing. People are much worse off than I am. I’m not even “sick enough”).

There will always be food. There will always be my body. But there doesn’t always have to be an eating disorder.

I have to keep preserving. I want to. I really, really, really want to keep onto the path of healing. I have to take care of myself. I’m taking really good care of everyone else. I’m holding the woes and worries of my clients. I’m doing killer therapy. But none of that matters if I’m in shambles.

None of that matters if I don’t choose active recovery.

To be continued…

Vanity over Sanity

I’m realizing now just how long I’ve been battling with these inner demons, with this nagging eating disorder creeping into my thoughts and mentality, with this constant up-and-down, twisted labyrinth of “half-recovery” and “full recovery” and “no recovery.” I give labels to everything, I realize, and that makes it so much easier to be harder on myself.

I don’t feel like I’m doing the best job in recovery. I feel like a facade most of the time. I’m still really afraid of gaining weight. I still have designated safe foods. I still alternate between bingeing and restriction on occasion. 

I haven’t chosen sanity over vanity. Looking and seeming better is more appealing than “feeling” better, and that scares me. Because that’s such unhealthy thinking.

An eating disorder snapshot looks likes this: waking up at a time that “feels” too late and instantly feeling guilty and unproductive; trying to delay breakfast as late as possible, making it into a quasi- breakfast/lunch type of meal, working out for the dutiful fifty-five minutes, comparing every other glistening body in the gym, eating a safe Greek yogurt and apple as a quasi lunch/midday snack, feeling like the day is still being wasted, overeating on ice cream as comfort, as familiarity, as a way to punish for being so useless. These are the thoughts and actions filtering into an ordinary Tuesday.

What if it continues to stay half-assed like this? What if I continue beating on myself? What if it’s another five years of obsessing over food and exercise and weight? Sometimes, I feel like it’s an eating disorder, and other times, I rationalize, telling myself that every fucking person I know seems to be on some kind of food/workout craze.

Is my eating disorder my individual, mental instability? Or is it a cultural phenomenon? I’m starting to feel like it’s more of the latter, like I’m almost part of the norm, like it’s strange and uncanny for people to be normal and neutral about their diets and weights. 

I continue to sabotage myself, though, and that’s the important part. Nobody can do this recovery for me, and these problems don’t just go away at the stroke of midnight or when a new day starts. How many “new days” have there been? Infinite, it seems. So many broken promises to myself; so many overarching goals about what I will eat, what I will weigh, what I will do for exercise; all these just lead to disappointment. I make goals unrealistic simply because if I succeed them, they were “too easy” to begin with.

I’m young. It is very likely that my body is the best it can and will ever be. I need to preserve it, love it, take care of it like I would take care of a young child. With patience, unconditional love, and acceptance…I need to do more of that. 

Another update.

I never saw my therapist.

After confirming date/time and everything, I get a text a few hours later…
Her: how much can you afford for the session?
Me: Is ___ (rate I ALWAYS paid) still okay?
Her: Really need 70. Rent has gone up quite a bit (as if I care?)
Me: I understand. I just can’t honestly afford anything more. I just need a session. If this is possible for you, I’d appreciate it, but if not, I understand.
Her: Wish I could, but I have to pay $20 for the office hour (TMI. I DON’T CARE)…I’d really love to meet with you. I’m already lowering my fee from _____ an hour. (quotes an insanely high price that she’s NEVER charged anyone as far as I’m concerned)
Me: Okay. Can’t do it. Never mind then.
Her: Sorry 😦

Why did she fucking ask how much I can afford for the session? Why didn’t she just tell me, straight-up, that she had a change in fees, and this was what I needed to pay? Who does this? Unethical therapists who can’t keep boundaries, that’s who does this.

I felt so betrayed. So livid. This all happened on Thursday. Couldn’t even think straight. Take a risk, want to reconcile some unsaid things in therapy, want to process our journey, but no. This happens. And it’s not the money. It’s the PRINCIPLE. I faithfully saw this woman for a year and a half- I was a consistent client and one who she said could always come back. I’m not trying to act like I’m entitled. I recognize that people change rates; I recognize that this is common in my field.

But, I would never do that to a client. Thursday, as a matter of fact, I had a client text me out of the blue…he needed a session. It had been six months since termination. He wanted to talk; I saw him the next day.

She never instilled boundaries before. And people warned me. It’s not normal for therapists to routinely text/call their clients, to self-disclose so much about their lives, to complain about office rates and coworkers, to offer me a job after graduation…none of this is ethical. Now she decides to tighten up? Whatever. I’ll process this–if I ever really do process it–with another professional.

Eating has been off-and-on this week. Job training everyday. Lots of candy and sugary snacks and free lunch and junk food provided. Sitting all day. Boredom eating. Or refraining as hard as I can…only to overeat later. I’ve had mini episodes of overeating three times this week. None escalated into a full binge, but I’m on the black-and-white pathway of “good” eating and “bad” eating. In fact, I want to just “binge it out” right now…like get it out of my system.

That sounds so distorted. It’s fucked up. It’s the reality I’m experiencing.

I don’t know. It’s just been emotionally difficult. And I don’t want to do recovery. I want to turn it off for a bit…and go back later. But I can’t even do that.

the desire to restrict

Dear Bee,

Things have been hard with the food today. I woke up and weighed myself. I didn’t like the number at all. Then, I went to the doctor, still on an empty stomach, and weighed myself about two hours later. Still wasn’t satisfied. I don’t want to fall into the weighing myself obsession again. Rationally, i know it’s just a number and not a reflection of my beauty, self-worth, or recovery. And yet, I’ve been stepping on the scale more and more frequently. I’m aware that I’m punishing myself. I need to start believing again that I don’t have to do that!

I woke up still feeling full from last night, even though my binge was probably only 1/4 of what I’m used to bingeing on. I had to force myself to make breakfast at 10:30am, because I know I need to eat. Now, I feel absolutely full and bloated, and I don’t like that feeling right now. It’s uncomfortable. I want to restrict this week. That urge is strong. I was already calculating skipping lunch and just eating a light dinner. With the Prozac, I can do that. I don’t get ravenous hunger urges, and it hardly takes anything to fill me up. I can lose five pounds by the weekend if I really wanted to, and right now, I want that. 

The crazy thing about my eating disorder is that even though I hate the bingeing, I don’t mind the restricting. In fact, I hardly think of that as part of my disorder. I feel so much more empowered when I eat less than I need to than when I more than I need to. I’ll take a hungry stomach over a full one. Swinging on this pendulum is a dangerous one. I’m just free-writing my thoughts. I don’t want to act upon them. I will eat normally today. I will listen to my body.

All morning, I’ve been listening to you. And you’ve been harsh! Skip breakfast and have a late lunch. Keep weighing yourself and watch that number go down. Drink a ton of coffee so it’ll become a diuretic and you’ll at least lose some water weight. Forget your presentation and project due this afternoon and get your ass to the gym. God, you’re fat. You’re hideous. You think you’re doing well in recovery…ha! Let me prove you wrong! You’re no better off than you were when you started.

Sometimes, I’m grateful for you. Sometimes, I love you. Sometimes, I don’t mind your voice or distorted logic.  But today, I’ll just say FUCK YOU. 

I am worth recovery. You’re not going to bring me down today. 

2am Rants: hiking, bikram yoga, beer, and bingeing.

Dear Bee,

I’m buzzed right now. I don’t even care. This is my blog, so who cares what state of mind I’m in when I write my deepest and most pensive thoughts and feelings? Despite the ridiculous binge I just had (seriously, WHY DIDN’T I JUST GO TO BED?!…okay, forgiveness is key right now), the past few days have been good. 

I’ve been making such a conscious effort to fill my spare time with pleasure. I spent all morning yesterday hiking with one of my best friends. It was gorgeous; the air was clean, our conversation flowed naturally, as words tend to do between close people. You weren’t anywhere to be seen. And afterwards, I went to an afternoon Bikram Yoga class to stretch out my muscles and relax my body and that felt so, so, so good. And I went out for Happy Hour with my coworker just before work…we’re wordlessly attracted to each other and the sexual tension is obvious. The only caveat is that he’s almost twice my age and married. Disaster. 

Today, I kept the good vibes going. Lunch at this awesome vegan restaurant with a friend from school. Again, not a peep from you. Thanks for that. Browsing around the shops. Someone complimenting my body. Not triggered. Awesome. Another hot yoga class (I did experience some more self-consciousness, but whatever). Came home. Took a nice, looooooong bubble bath and that felt amazing on my sore body. Went out for drinks with another good friend. I think this girl may trigger me. Something worth exploring. I have noticed that I have binged after hanging out with her before. And then, I came home.

Binged. Sugar for days. 

What. The. Fuck. 

I know alcohol is a trigger. I get that my inhibitions are lowered. I get that alcohol is a diuretic and can therefore create physiological symptoms of hunger. But seriously!?!?! 

Why?! Ugh. I know why. That’s not the problem. But, I have to stop this. Because it’s getting old. When I fist made this blog public in December, I was so sure of my recovery process, so abstinent from these behaviors, so sure that relapse wouldn’t happen to me. Now, I’m just full of more skepticism. I know what I need to do: I just need to keep doing it. 

And this pharmaceutical treatment idea? Honestly, I don’t know. I have my next therapy session on Monday, so we’ll talk about it. I guess. I don’t really want to talk about my feelings…I feel like they have been so beyond my control lately. Up until a few months ago, I felt stable with my emotions…just mellow, kind of numb. Now, they just seem ALL over the place, constantly changing and not necessarily matching the situation.

 I don’t even know what (if anything) is really wrong with me. I thought all my core issues stemmed from my eating disorder, but I’m discovering that may not just be the case. Who knows? And I hate being that person, but I never thought this kind of thing would happen to me. And while mental illnesses are never a bad thing, not by any means, the pain can be excruciating. But like I always say, pain is inevitable…the suffering is optional.

Anyway, for a half-drunken post, this turned out all right. Goodnight, Bee, you sweet, but conniving little trickster. I’m going to keep you away for awhile this time. I just can’t deal with your bullshit anymore. I deserve better than that.