treat yo selves.

Dear Bee, 

On Thursday, I treated myself. As in, I went on a date. With myself. Hokey-dokey, new-age, love-thyself pseudoscience aside, it was amazing.

Yesterday, I had a seven hour comprehensive exam that basically determines whether or not I graduate from my program. I’ve spent a semester studying for this test, hours and hours of writing papers and treatment plans and memorizing that little book we call the DSM. I think I did well, but I won’t know my results for a few weeks.

The day before, rather than cram my life away, I just did self-care. Took the entire day off. Cannot remember the last time I did that. 

Here’s what happened: Woke up, did a twenty-minute guided meditation, did about 40 minutes of flow yoga, went to the wetlands by the beach and went on a wonderful, mindful walk under the California sun, bought myself lunch and ate it outside, and then got myself a massage. Whole day cost approximately $30. And I was worth every single dollar. 

I was just so touch with my inner body. The meditation, the yoga, the feeling of the warm skies beating down my back, the firm hands rubbing and caressing my body. I could just feel the stress escaping from my pores. And I was FUCKING STRESSED.

Everyone deserves a day like this. And it doesn’t have to cost much, if anything. It’s not about having the time- it’s about having the priority. 

I went into that test feeling rested and prepared. And even though it was draining and challenging and a complete toll on both my mental and probably physical health, I did the best I absolutely could.

Can’t believe my grad program is almost over. The ending of one journey is just the starting line of another one 🙂 

 

 

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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. 

Overeaters Anonymous, Pancake Breakfasts, and Therapy

Dear Bee,

I spoke about you for the very first time in an Overeaters Anonymous meeting this morning. It was nerve-wracking (you like to keep our relationship a dirty little secret), but I felt ready to stretch that comfort zone.  This was my third meeting. Before today, I had just listened in, and today, I made the choice to share. I was the last one to talk, and it to be honest, I barely remember what I said. Mostly just some ramblings about the holidays and how I am trying to take this recovery day-by-day and avoid dwelling (and becoming extremely anxious) over future events.

Either way, it was liberating to share. I received an overwhelming wave of support (which I know you hate), and i did not realize how much this positive outpour would affect me. I have been in high spirits all day!

Promptly afterwards, I ate pancakes. Yep. Hypocritical? Nope.

We cooked pancakes as part of a contribution for a work event. I wanted to join. Since I was a child, pancakes have been one of my favorite foods. Unfortunately, Bee, with your conniving ways, you made them a fear food for me. Oh, you’re eating THOSE for breakfast? Great, that gives you logical reasoning to consume an entire sleeve of cookies later!! And after that, we can enjoy pizza, crackers, brownies, whatever you want. All because you ate pancakes. But don’t worry…I promise to leave you alone tomorrow. 

Anyway, today, I ate pancakes with real butter and real syrup, and you were NOT there to interrupt it. Did I physically need pancakes? No. Did I overeat? No. Did I enjoy quality time with coworkers and staff? Definitely. I ate my food, threw away my plate, and enjoyed the conversation. I did not think about my eating disorder once (I know that sounds inconceivable, but it is the absolute truth!).

Seriously, I have lost so many potential conversations, enjoyment, and festivities due to my OBSESSION with you! It feels so good to enter back into the world I turned my back against.

I also had my therapy session today, which has been an essential component in my healing process. I am in graduate school to become a therapist, so personal psychotherapy is mandatory. Still, being “on the other side” of the couch has been strangely challenging for me. Bee, you like to keep me secretive and you like to put a fake smile on my face. I struggle with truly expressing my pain and raw, authentic feelings. I fear being judged. I fear disappointing others and not holding up to my “perfectionist” standard. My therapist knows this and understands. We often discuss the importance of “letting go” of control (in everything in life) and my terrible sense of shame regarding my eating disorder. Shame kept me isolated and afraid to open up to others. Shame made me believe I was a bad and weak-minded person. Shame kept us best friends.

I am grateful for her guidance and nurture. Every week, it becomes easier to express myself and to slowly take down my walls brick-by-brick and reveal my true colors, whatever they may be that week. Being candid and so honest with others is hard; the rigidity and control surrounding eating disorders diminish that spontaneity.  

This evening ended with another yoga class, baking for a work holiday party (This was not even triggering. Bee, are you hiding or WHAT?! I am in a house FULL of candy, cookies, and brownies, and I have barely touched any of it), and a movie night with some friends.

Stop holding on to what hurts and make room for what feels good. 

Well, you hurt me. So, don’t forget to close the door on your way out of my life! 🙂

Eating Disorder Vs. Yoga

Dear Bee,

I have not thought about you much at all today. Thanks to some new, exciting changes at work, my thoughts were occupied with other concerns. Funny how my other passions can minimize my obsession with you once I allow that to happen!

Six weeks ago, I joined a yoga studio thanks to the promotional virtues of the non-commital LivingSocial. Yoga, i know. Does every girl with an eating disorder use yoga to deep-breathe and meditate the anxiety out of her compulsive thoughts? Probably. So cliched.

I liked the theory of yoga for a long time, but as someone who struggled with excessive exercise, I found the movements much too slow. Furthermore, I felt guilty for simply thinking too much in class. Thinking is off-limits. Focus on the breath.

Breathe in calm, breathe out stress. Uh. Okay. Where can I find the happy pills for that? 

Besides, you were always there reminding me of my limitations and weaknesses.

I consider my yoga journey analogous with my eating disorder recovery. For a long time, I flirted with the idea of this exercise, maybe dabbling in it for a class or two, but the training was erratic. Within the past few weeks, however, I have steadily improved.

There have been setbacks and humiliation, clumsiness and awkwardness, definite mat-envy (um, all right, I’ll just watch you do a headstand, while I awkwardly crouch on my knees), and some serious self-doubt. WHY CAN’T I JUST RELAX?!?! 

With yoga, everyone “else” seems to get it. Everyone else appears to be in utmost harmony, meditating in an ulterior existence full of peace, sunshine, and namaste. And that leaves me? Well, collected in my own thoughts…trying to redirect to my own balanced place.

Excessive exercise undoubtedly served a purpose in my world. Just like you, it allowed me to numb myself with pain and torture. Like you, it shifted my thoughts onto one core notion: my body and what it could or could not do and what it did or did not look like.

Yoga takes the idea of “working out” down several notches. I am not beating my body into bloody oblivion or pushing myself into extreme states of physical exertion. Yoga is not about changing your body or burning a certain number of calories. To me, that adjustment is hard. Breaking out of that black-and-white dichotomous thinking, the notion that I can either TOTALLY RELAX or TOTALLY TORTURE MYSELF has been engrained into my mind for so long that it can feel awkward to practice the moderation.

So, yoga and me, yoga and bee. It is an interesting threesome. I have one force trying to introduce me to the engaging state of self-acceptance, true inner peace, love, and mind-body-soul connection and the other trying to pull me back into the toxic cycle of self-hatred, inner turmoil, anger, and mind-body-soul disconnection. 

The choice seems so easy written out like that.