child of God, wife, mother, recovering anorexic who longs to see the beauty in herself that she sees in the world around her

Sunday, January 30, 2011

fears and thoughts

I had a fear the other day that was valid but not really.  It was valid in that I understood why this thought hit me but not valid in that I don't think that it is truth.  Big Mike (my therapy friend who I blogged about on Thurs night) is a really nice guy.  He makes me feel safe and a bit less scared of men.  My fear that hit suddenly was an oldie, what if I have misjudged him and I think he is safe but then he proves to not be at all?  In my life, while I know there are safe men in the world, the only one who has ever been in my intimate emotional circle and who I actually see, is my husband.  I have a few close male friends who know my struggle with anorexia or know that I am an abuse survivor or even read my blog and see my heart that way.  I know these men to be safe men  but I don't have to face them regularly and let them prove that they are safe. What I know to be true and what I fear to be true are not the same.  I know that even if I saw these men often, they would still prove to be safe.  My heart believes Big Mike to be safe as well, and yet for an instant I felt fear.  Will that ever go away?  Will I ever be able to meet a safe man and not feel that glimpse of fear? 

I am finding great joy in my family right now.  I feel more at peace with my life as a whole.  It does indeed feel good.  If only feeling good inside made eating easier!  One of my recovery goals for this week (right now a week is Thursday-Wednesday for the length of my therapy) is to eat lunch at minimum 3x.  I have finally gotten to a point that I can usually not look at the calories on my food, and I have been able to eat dinner regularly the past few weeks.  Lunch is proving to be much, much harder.  I succeeded Saturday.  One down, two more to go.  I know it will get easier, dinner did.  I also know right now it is really difficult.

I am struggling with another version of real truth and perceived truth.  I am realizing that my body image is worse than I actually thought.  I squished my "bulge" together today and told my husband that it is bothering me.  Then I looked at my hips which are back to being a bit frail looking.  I know that if my hips and collar bone are looking a bit frail again that I am not in danger of being fat.  And yet, still, I see the bulge and am not ok with it.  Hubby told me he understood that I was feeling insecure but that if I hadn't squished it all together and forced it out, that he wouldn't have noticed it at all.  When I unsquished (I know, not a real word!) it he genuinely couldn't see it but it was so glaringly obvious to me!  Why can't he see what I see?  Or better yet, how can I see what he sees?  I am slowly starting to understand beauty.  I often still don't feel it but I am getting to a point that I believe that others do indeed see it when they say it.  That sounds paradoxal.  I don't feel beautiful much but I finally believe that I am beautiful.  How on earth does that work?  How do I see a bulge, feel inadequate and ugly but yet still know there is truth when someone tells me they see beauty? 

Will I ever be able to approach life without fear?  Will I ever not be afraid of a man getting emotionally close to me?  Will I ever look in the mirror and be happy in my own skin?  Will I ever feel what I know?  Will I ever be (and see) the woman that so many others are telling me they see in me? Just some thoughts.

ladybug butterfly

I have always had a "thing" for ladybugs.  When I was a very little girl my mom and my "I wish she really were" Grandma started (independently of each other) calling me ladybug.  It was something special about me.  I have spent my life enjoying every ladybug picture that I have ever seen.

I have been recently given a new nickname by my friends in my group therapy.  I am the butterfly of the group.  I LOVE hearing this, simply because the reason people have been calling me butterfly is because I am opening up my wings for the first time and showing beauty.  It really makes me feel special.  Anyway, I was thinking about those buggy nicknames the other day.  Ladybugs are pretty but it is their hard shell like wings that make them pretty.  Their wings protect them from getting hurt and make them a bit more "durable" than many bugs. 

Butterflies are also beautiful, but far more delicate.  Their lifespan may be short but it is wrought with purpose and beauty, plus they come from ugliness and become beautiful.  I think in the past, ladybug definitely was a more suited "mascot" for me.  I may have looked pretty but it was really the hard shell like wings that guarded my heart that were pretty.  I also think that now butterfly is more suited for me.  I don't for a million years think that I am "there" (wherever there is) but I feel much more purposed and beautiful.  I'm also emerging from a lot of ugliness.

This weekend I was on a ladies retreat with my MOPS group.  It was really funny because they don't know about the intensive and therapy yet but on Friday evening just as I walked into the meeting room my friend said, "Open your wings and fly, you beautiful butterfly!"  I'm not going to lie, my mouth dropped open.  I asked her how she knew to call me that.  She looked rather confused and said she was just talking and I happened to be there right at that moment.  It was cool.

I have a bit of an obsessive personality about things when I get into something.  Yes, I am a bit obsessive about butterflies right now.  They seem to be everywhere.  And seriously, I love everyone I see (especially this one which was given to me by the first friend to call me butterfly!)

Friday, January 28, 2011

group therapy

I have a lot to process but I also have a 3 yr old who downed a can of Pepsi while I was gone and after Daddy had fallen asleep, and is thumping the floor overhead rather loudly.  So.... short, sweet and to the point and I'll process the rest later.  I have made a commitment to blog at least 3 times a week. Here is the first of the minimum.  I have a unnatural aversion and fear of a certain household object.  I have told my husband though I didn't tell him why that object terrifies me.  Tonight after therapy a few of us went to the pub across the parking lot.  One of the people who I talked with was a safe man, one who I could talk without fear, one who tonight alone brought a lot of healing.  Because of his age and some other things about him, he kinda represents in my mind the danger of men in the past.  It was  healing to be around a man who reminded me of situations with men that were not safe but who was himself safe.  He guessed what I was afraid of and suddenly I found myself saying the words that have stayed in my head forever.  I revealed why it scares me.  So I could put on my brave face and say it was easy and felt good to have it out in the open, but I would be lying to an extreme.  Saying it out loud did not take the sting away at all.  It actually hurt like hell.  It is not a secret anymore to one person in the entire world, and it still hurts.  I'm not sure where to go with the hurt yet, but I will acknowledge that it is there.  I don't swear much but I have to say, group therapy has made me realize that a lot of people have a lot of baggage and we live in a seriously fucked up world sometimes!  So the good news for this week is that though my week fell apart, I did not.  Oh, and I was able to eat dinner this week.  It may only be one regular meal a day but it is still one consistent meal a day. Ok, now off to bed before hubby's alarm goes off or the wired kid wakes up the rest of the house.  I'll be back soon, hopefully fully debriefed in my head and able to compose a decent thought!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

it's me again

Oh dear, blog, how I have missed you these past couple of weeks!  I am sure that it feels longer than it actually was but it feels like an eternity has passed since I debriefed.  Unfortunately, often when I take so long to debrief, I often end up verbally vomiting all over the place!  So we shall see where this goes.  I have a lot to say.  I want to talk about how hard the past few weeks have been, but I also want to talk about how great this week has been.  Let's start with the good, it will give me better momentum through the day because I will likely not have enough time to get it all out in one post.

This weekend I went to an intensive seminar.  My therapist agreed that I was in a strong enough place to do an intensive and the following group therapy.  So last week was my last visit with Carol for a while so that I could focus fully on the weekend and subsequent 7 week group therapy.  I was scared but excited.  Ok, let's be honest, terrified would be a better adjective!  I arrived at the conference completely unsure if I really should be there or not.  I was the most skeptical person (except maybe one other man) about this program.  I grew up always looking for the next emotional or spiritual high, going from seminar to retreat to conference to youth group constantly.  My folks still keep looking for the next spiritual high.  I didn't want to have an emotional weekend and then leave it at that.  I only went because of the 7 week follow up and the fact that they have a money back guarantee if it doesn't prove to be life changing.  What kind of program does that????? 

Ok, so I didn't really expect to get anything out of it but I figured it couldn't make things worse.  What's gonna happen, they send me back to the hospital?  Sure, what the hell, I'll try it.  Now I will say that some of the exercises were WAAAAAY out of my comfort zone and some of the approaches a little too new agey for my tastes.  I crossed my arms, pulled my knees into my chest and let everyone know with my body language that I was NOT going to participate in weird exercises.  A lovely lady who I'll just call my Buddy, sat next to me after one of the breaks.  She started talking to me about the first time she went through the program, talking in front of everyone is what really helped her break free.  In my head I thought, "Like hell I'm going to take that mic and talk to 100 people!" but I smiled politely and thanked her for her advice.

The session started again and the speaker was talking about unhealthy guilt.  He covered different types of unhealthy guilt.  Something inside of me started getting angry and bubbling up.  I raised my hand and suddenly there was a mic in it.  Crap, now I'm committed.  So I informed him that I believed he had left out a type of unhealthy guilt, the big one called misplaced guilt.  He asked me to explain what I meant.  Suddenly words were tumbling out of my mouth about the experience I had with my manager when I was a teenager.  I didn't realize how much I held myself responsible, even though it wasn't my fault.  I was angry that I never told him no.  Now I realize that at that time I didn't know that I could tell him no, he was my boss and I was scared, but I still felt guilty that I never told him no.  I felt like the proverbial "other woman" when people started calling me home wrecker (even though I had no idea he was married when it was all going on).  I realized I needed to let go of the guilt that was destroying my peace before I could ever make progress.  I avoid food because it makes me feel emotionally good.  It makes me feel strong, in control, and even euphoric.  It makes me numb and then I don't have to face the pain.

As I was walking through that I realized something else that was weighing heavily on me.  The speaker asked me about if I had resentment toward my mom. I answered (in front of everyone!) "Uh, hell yeah, I do!" Whoops, wasn't planning on saying that!  Suddenly I was so overwhelmed with hurt and anger and I wanted to know why I wasn't worth protecting all of those years.  I don't know why it took form directed at my mom but Carol once told me that is very common because we associate mom's as nurturing and they "should" protect us from evil.  I was yelling, I was crying, I totally verbally vomited all over the 100 other people in the room.  Why?  That was my question.  Why wasn't I worth protecting all those years when I was being violently raped as a child?  What kind of mother turns her back to the symptoms of childhood sexual abuse?  I would never ever ever do that to my kids!  Sure, some would argue that she may not of known, and she may not have.  But I didn't understand why me begging and crying to not go over there, why the bruises on my arms and legs and all the other radical symptoms weren't enough to at least have her ask questions.  Why did she choose to not see it?  That was my hatred.

I had no idea all that was in there until it came blurting out of my mouth.  I was a bit embarrassed but not going to lie, it felt good to have it OUT!  I had to forgive myself for not having the wisdom to put a stop to the sexual relationship with my boss.  I had to forgive my mom for not having the wisdom to protect me.  I had to cry.  I had to cry A LOT. I think I should have bought stock in Kleenex this weekend!  I have never cried so much in my life (and that is saying something because I do indeed know how to cry!). Until this weekend, I did not fully understand the freedom in physically purging a hurt through tears (or sobs).

All of that, to get to this.  As the evening came to a close an older fatherly type of man came up to me.  I pegged him as a safe man instantly when I saw him and he confirmed that throughout the weekend, besides there is no safer man than one who is head over heals in love with his WIFE!  Anyway, this man came up to me before I left, hugged me and gave me a small kiss on the cheek and said, "You are beautiful."  Holy cow, the walls came down!  For the first time in my entire life someone said I was beautiful and I actually believed it!  It was the most amazing feeling in the world!  My hubby nearly cried when he greeted me with his usual, "Hey, Beautiful" and I accepted the compliment.  In 12 yrs of marriage and 15 yrs of knowing each other, I have never been able to accept that statement.  I usually respond with, "You're crazy, but thanks anyway" or "You're wrong, but I still love to hear it".

I have to go kid my kiddo from school so I will end with what I posted on facebook that evening.  I am beautiful, and I am ok with that.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I am exhausted and I know that being tired exaggerates my feelings.  That said, tonight I feel very lonely.  Is anyone out there?  Am I losing my mind?  I am going to head to bed and hope morning makes my world look better.  Besides, maybe laying next to my husband will help me feel less alone.  Someone please tell me I'm not alone and that I am going to make it! 

high price to pay

I once heard my mother say to someone, "Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay."  I heard that again in the hospital but reworded a little, I believe they said addiction (but don't quote me there!).  I am going to reword it myself.  Anorexia will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.  It has easily taken me further and kept me longer.  Today I am realizing that it is costing me more than I want to pay.  Last week I confided in my best friend what the triggering behaviors were that I was intentionally engaging in.  She researched what I had told her.  The end result?  She is furious.

I can't blame her.  I am furious.  What I do is despicable and yet when I struggle it draws me like a moth to flame.  For the first time ever, I have managed to make it to her sh*t list.  She is angry that I am hurting myself.  She is angry that my actions will hurt my kids and husband.  She is angry because I have a lot to lose and yet still engage in behaviors that could cost it all.  And you know what?  She has every right to be angry with me.  It still hurts though.  It hurts to have my husband come home from work and see our house a disaster and see him emotionally shut down.  It hurts to have my kids saying they don't feel like eating (though this isn't all the time, it usually happens when they are frustrated with me). It hurts to hear my best friend say that she has never felt so angry with me.

It is embarrassing to see my husbands boss, the only person outside of family that he told when I was in the hospital.  It is embarrassing to pick up my prescriptions at my husbands work and have the "depression and suicidal thoughts/actions" leaflet in every prescription I pick up.  It is embarrassing to think what my best friend's fiancee must think of me.  It is humbling to hear some people say I don't look that sick and others say it is pretty obvious.  It is costing me a lot.  I don't want to pay this piper.  I don't want to lose the relationships of those closest to me because I kept destroying myself.  I'd like to believe that anorexia wouldn't cost me my marriage, my relationship with my kids or my best friend.  In all honesty though, it very well could cost me those things.  That is way too high of a price to pay.  I have to get better.  I want to get better because I want to live a healthy normal life.  I also want to get better to not hurt those I love any more than I already have.

I'm glad she told me she was angry with me.  It gives me perspective.  She gave me a quick glimpse of what this looks like from the outside.  It doesn't look pretty.  Thank God for His grace and mercy because I have already discovered many, many times that sheer will power is not enough.  Thank God that when I am weak, He is strong.  Thank God that He carries me when I can't walk on my own.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

pro-recovery resources

There are some unbelievably destructive and triggering images on the world wide web.  I want to give some safe places to click that are pro-recovery.  I recently started following a blog called ed bites that I really really like.  The author writes well, with a deep understanding of ed, recovery and relapse, and she deeply touches me right where I am in my journey to recovery.  I also like (I'm pretty sure this came from her blog but possibly not) the term remission as opposed to recovery.  If anorexia is a disease, there is always a chance of relapse as I am so painfully aware of right now.  Cancer goes into remission.  Eating disorders go into remission.  The core issues that I have discovered and am working on will hopefully make relapse less easy but there is always days when it is still a choice. 

I have started a link list on the side of my blog with resources as I find them.  So far, ed bites and something-fishy are the only two on the side bar.  There is another that looks like it should be a total trigger site but is actually not.  I just need to find the exact link again and I have to decide if it should be included since the title sounds like an endorsement site rather than a recovery site. 

I am going to recover and I invite you to join me as I do.  For those of you who know and love me, this is how to support me.  For those of you who struggle along side of me, I invite you to find support and join me in getting well again.  We can get past this.  It will hurt and it will take a lot of work, but it can be done.

the skinny fat girl

Once upon a time I couldn't understand how the twig of a girl thought herself to be fat.  I laughed when I would hear her say she could feel herself getting fatter.  I have become what I have made fun of.  When you don't eat often, the meals you do eat can easily be seen.  It is like a snake eating a rabbit, you can see where the food is sitting.  It's not that I am actually gaining weight, and I know that, but it is that I can see the buldge where the food is sitting.  I don't like it.  When I was in the hospital, I knew I was skinny.  I could count every one of my ribs, my hips and colar bone stuck out.  Now I feel average.  Not that there is anything wrong with average, it is just a little difficult when I see the food sitting in my stomach.  I've come a long way, and I still have a long way to go.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

dot to dot pictures

If only you could actually hear the big sigh that I just let out.  I had another "aha" moment today.  I connected the dots again to find I'm not crazy about the picture they draw.  BUT at least I know what the picture is and can finally work with it.  So if you have followed me from the beginning, you know that my struggle began when I was 14.  At that point in time it was a body image, want to be what someone else wants me to be, supreme insecurity issue.  I was 17 when things got really bad.  There was something significant going on in my life then, something that triggered me.  I was being sexually molested by my boss at work.  He would follow me into the freezer and talk dirty and fondle me.  He was disgusting but because he was my boss I didn't know how to make it stop and I was scared.  The only way out that I could see was to leave my job and I did.

I know I have shared some of this in an early blog but for the sake of new readers, I'm going to condense it and tell it again.  The day I came in to pick up my last check, this manager was there.  He followed me out to the parking lot and started making lewd comments.  I kept walking.  He forced me to turn around, violently kissed me and then slammed me against the car.  As my mind was racing looking for a way out, he started to grope me again.  When I started to cry, he informed me that I shouldn't be crying because I obviously liked his attention because my body physically responded to him.  I was so incredibly furious with my body and felt like it had betrayed me.  How could my mind so forcefully reject what he was doing but my body still react to his touch?  I was disgusted with my own body.

Now fast forward a bunch of years later to me as a grown woman sitting in a mental hospital.  While in the hospital, I was required to speak with a therapist.  The therapist who I happened to be paired with was a very right vs. wrong, abrupt, older man.  He was actually quite a jerk, to be honest.  I answered his questions.  I told him my history.  I told him about this situation.  And being a dumbass, he asked me what I meant by my body responded.  Really?  He's older, he wore a wedding ring, and yet doesn't know in what ways a woman's body could respond to a man's touch???????  So in my most annoyed and sarcastic tone, I bluntly looked at him and crudely  informed him of what had happened.  The response infuriated me.  He informed me that I should not have felt guilty for that response.  It is an "autonomic response" that I had no control over so therefore I should not feel shame or guilt for having such a response.  What kind of therapist tells their patient that their feelings weren't valid?  Who tells you how you should feel? 

Ok, another rabbit trail to lead to my "aha moment".  About a year ago, I realized (rather suddenly and surprisingly) that I had allowed some of my intimate moments with my husband to be highly influenced by this intense need to be in control of my body.  So, at that point I wasn't acting out with my eating disorder but I was still acting out and needing an obsessive amount of control over my own body.

Today I saw my chiropractor.  He does acupuncture as well as adjustments.  When he was about to start the acupuncture, I asked him if his little magic needles could cure anything.  I asked if there were points that would stimulate appetite. He originally said he would do a few to help with food cravings.  No, no, no, I don't need to get rid of cravings, I need to gain a few!  He told me that was quite a bit more difficult because the body's automatic response is to desire food especially when under stress.  It is what my body should naturally do for itself.

Have you connected the dots?  All three of those stories have to do with automatic physical responses.  I was so traumatized by my body responding against my will all those years ago that I have fought it since to maintain a high level of control that my body "cannot" (be allowed to) have an automatic/autonomic response.  If my body acts on its own, I lose control and it could hurt me again.  I fight tooth and nail against anything my body may want to do that doesn't first have my permission.  Being hungry is just one more thing that I don't allow until it is on my terms.  Somewhere deep inside I think I am wondering, "But what happens if my body betrays me again?"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

dam of emotions

Interesting day.  I finished another chapter in my book.  This one was about placing blame in the proper place.  The author mentions that often people get angry when they remove the false responsibility from themselves and place it where it truly belongs.  There is a period of anger of realizing you have been carrying unnecessary guilt.  There is also a period of anger directed at the people who should have been bearing the responsibility of wrong actions all along.  There is also a period of grief.  Grief is not exclusive to death.  You can grieve the loss of a dream, the loss of a friendship, the loss of innocence, the loss of relationship, or even the loss of a childhood you deserved to have. 

Carol told me today that I am like the little boy holding his finger in the hole of a dam to block the leak, afraid to let go because it could flood over you but feeling the pressure mounting and knowing that sooner or later the dam will break whether you move your finger or not.  Yep, that is me.  I am terrified of the rush of emotions that I am starting to be aware of below the surface.  I am terrified mostly by the intensity of them.  What if I pull my finger out of the dam and the flood washes me away.  How do I handle the intensity of the anger that I feel starting to bubble just below the surface?

more lessons from being a mommy

How would I react if one of my children came to me and said, "Hey, Mom, I hate myself."?  Or "Hey, Mom, I don't like eating and I wish I never had to eat again in my life."?  There is a billion things out there that could hurt my kids.  What if I heard...
I want to kill myself
I am depressed
I struggle with an eating disorder
I'm never going to be good enough
I just don't matter
Some one molested me
My girlfriend is pregnant and I don't know what to do
I've been drinking a lot
I'm addicted

Would any one of those things make me love my kids less? NEVER! And yet I come to God with some of these same issues, expecting that He cannot possibly still love me.  If only others knew my heart, they could never love me.  I can barely love me.  And yet, anyone else in the world could tell me exactly what I have gone through and I would extend grace immeasurable.  I find it easy to love lost and hurting people.  I find giving grace to others to be a way of life for me.  And still, I judge myself with a harsh hand.  And still, I expect both God and others to judge me just as harshly as I judge myself.  Can I give myself the same grace I would extend to my children if they were hurt?  Can I accept the grace that God so freely gives me? 

I don't stop loving my kids because they get hurt or even when they hurt someone else.  Even when I'm frustrated or angry with them, I still wouldn't ever dream of not loving them with everything in me.  If God is the ultimate parent, then I'm guessing His feelings are even stronger than mine.  I'm sure that He also loves me, even when I am unlovable.  That's what parents do, they love unconditionally.  We love our kids when they are sick and we are cleaning up vomit.  We love our kids when they have a potty accident. We love our kids when they fall off the bunk bed and get a black eye.  We love our kids when they "poop Picasso" all over their bedroom walls.  We love our kids when we are exhausted and certain we have nothing left in our resevoir to give.  We love our kids through sleepless nights, through failed spelling tests, through big and little mistakes, through illness, and everything else that comes their way.  Doesn't God love us the same way?

Doesn't He love me through anorexia, through self judgment, illness, poor choices, temper tantrums, addiction, self pity, and everything else that comes my way?  If I can love my children this deeply, how much more God can love me!

another "aha" (aka holy crap) moment

I realized something yesterday that as I start explaining, I am sure you will see the conclusion much, much sooner than I did.  But here goes anyway......

I grew up in the typical Christian home and Christian schools where sex was pretty much a bad word.  During pre-marital counseling we discussed the difficulties in changing thinking patterns from "Sex is wrong, sex is dirty, sex is bad" to suddenly "Hey, go for it!  Have fun! You are supposed to have sex now."  It is difficult to make the switch in your brain from sex is sinful to sex is accepted and expected.  I have made it a point as a parent to make sure my kids know that sex is a beautiful gift from God that is a special way for a grown up man and his wife to express love.  I never want my kids to view sex as a bad word, a dirty act or a sin but I also don't want them thinking that it is ok anytime with anyone.  It is a gift.

Here is the mind blowing, rather painful realization I came to yesterday.  I grew up believing sex was dirty.  I grew up having some form of sexual relationship several times a week for 7 years.  I projected that onto me.  I was dirty.  Sex was bad and I was experiencing sex, therefore I must be bad. 

Until yesterday, I didn't realize why it is so important to me that my kids view sex in a healthy manner, as a special loving relationship between a husband and wife.  Until yesterday I didn't realize that it was more than wanting them to see it in a healthy light, but also that I didn't want them to see it in an unhealthy light. 

Now to change my stinkin thinkin. I am not dirty or less deserving of love because of the actions that were taken against me as a child.  I have worth outside of my sexual being and my appearance.  It was not deserved, it was not ok, it was not my fault.  Now if I can internalize those words, I'll be doing good!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

attribute or definition

I have a friend who was diagnosed with HIV several years ago.  During the early days after her diagnoses someone in her support group told her something very wise.  "HIV is not who you are, it is a characteristic about you.  It is like saying you have blue eyes, it doesn't define you, it is just something about you."

Remember a few years ago the commercial with the young girl living her life.  She is an artist, a friend, a woman.  At the end she says, "I have cancer, it doesn't have me."?

Today I realized something.  I am not anorexic, I have anorexia.  Anorexia does not define who I am, nor am I willing to let it any longer.  I have blue eyes, I am a wife to a great man, I have 3 amazing kids, I love my friends, I am fiercely loyal, I believe in God, I know that God's ways are not our ways, I know that this world does bring sorrow but the hope of glory keeps us pressing forward to the goal, I love the color purple, I hate to clean, and I struggle with anorexia.  All of those things describe me, none of them define me.

So if you hear me say I am anorexic, please feel free to remind me that anorexia does not define who I am, it is currently just something I struggle with.  I'm not going to be labeled by this disease any more.  I am not going to feel trapped into a destructive pattern by allowing it to define me instead of describe me.

I am not anorexic, I have anorexia.

Monday, January 10, 2011

things I am learning from my kids (or from being their mom)

Last summer my oldest son got mad at his little brother and threw sand in his eyes.  My middle child was pretty hurt.  As his mommy, I did the best I could to wash his eyes and I held him tight when he cried.  I rocked him to sleep in my arms only to have him wake up screaming about 30 minutes later.  I pulled down his eyelids and saw that there was still a small amount of sand in there that I could not get out.  I called the pediatrician and she sent us straight to the e.r.  At the e.r. I held my hurting, crying boy.  And here is a duh moment for all of you.  I was never for a second mad at him for needing to go to the hospital, for being hurt, for the money the e.r. would cost, or for inconveniencing my evening.  I was mad, but not with him.  I was mad with my other child who hurt this child.  I was angry that my oldest could be so mean and spiteful and intentionally hurt his little brother but I was never angry with the little brother for being hurt.

Maybe God feels the same way?  My heart ached for my little boy and his pain.  I did everything I needed to do, including holding him down while he was screaming so that two nurses could flush his eyes out, and then holding him down while they put the glow in the dark drops in his eyes to see if his retina was scratched.  He didn't like it AT ALL.  I knew it to be something that had to be done to prevent further damage and to heal the damage already done.  I didn't cause his pain.  I didn't "allow" his pain.  Someone else hurt him.  And yet for his greater good, I still held him down through discomfort of removing all of the debris. I was never once angry with him for being hurt.

Maybe God feels the same way?  He isn't angry with me for being hurt, just as I wasn't angry with my hurt son.  He is angry that I was hurt by another, just as I was angry that my son was hurt by his brother, but He isn't angry with me.  The things that happened to me are not my fault, they are just my injuries inflicted by another.  I can come to Him hurt and crying and He will hold me just as I held my son.  He will even, when necessary, hold me in discomfort to get all the debris out if that is what healing my heart will require.  It wasn't easy to subject my son to additional pain on top of his original pain.  It wasn't easy to hold him down and hear him scream, but it was right and it was done with loving intentions not harmful intentions.  Ok, there is more but I am falling asleep at my computer so I'll have to share part 2 another time.


Both Nine Inch Nails and Johnny Cash have done a version of this song Hurt.  The opening lyrics say, "I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel."  That, my friend, is where I have been the past several days.  The ache in my soul went far deeper than the ache in my stomach.  I deprived myself of food, just simply to know I am still alive.  Sounds crazy right? 

This past week I finally understood something that I have railed on celebrities for doing.  I have forever yelled at the t.v. when you hear of a death occurring because someone was dumb enough to mix Valium, pain killers, sleeping pills __________ (fill in the blank.....) with alcohol.  This week I understood why people do that.  I am sure there are times when suicide is the intention but I don't think it always is.  I didn't do it, nor did I feel that I was ever at a point of danger with it, but this past week when I was debating if I wanted to take my Valium or have a drink I realized something.  Valium helps calm the anxiety and nerves, alcohol deadens the pain.  I can see how someone takes both and maybe even too much of both/either. Sometimes hurt actually does hurt that badly.  I think that sometimes the effort is to not feel but the amount it takes to stop feeling is also the amount it takes to stop breathing.

Yep, it is selfish.  Yep, it does cause others to hurt.  But let me tell you this of suicidal intentions, they are not intended to be selfish.  Sometimes hurt is so deep and chemicals are so imbalanced that you can convince your mind that what you are doing/attempting/contemplating genuinely makes sense.  Few understand a depression so deep that death makes sense and even seems welcoming.  Few can come to a place of giving grace to the ones who "could possibly be THAT selfish."  I can give that grace.  In the midst of pain and anger when I hear about a suicide, I still feel sympathy for anyone who has to deal with that amount of pain.

We all deal with pain.  Some of us have learned healthy ways to do that.  Many of us haven't.  I quit eating.  I punish my body.  Someone else shoots up, drinks till they pass out, engages in sexual addiction, cuts, eats compulsively, over exercises, gets lost in the t.v., is a workaholic, etc.....  Today I have hope in my pain.  Today I know that nothing touches me that hasn't first passed through the hand of God.  I know that though I hurt, God is still good.  Today I am so grateful that even when I am unfaithful, He remains faithful.

Today in the midst of my hurt, I will give glory to God.  Today I will bring a sacrifice of praise to my creator.  I finally understand that old song, "We bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord."  Praise isn't always from a happy place.  Sometimes praise comes from the depths of darkness.  Sometimes praise is a sacrifice, something that actually costs us.  Praise, like love, is a choice not a feeling (though you do also often feel it).  Today I choose to praise the Lord.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I have lost my cooking skills, hopefully not permanently!

3 post, 1 day.  Must have been a rough one, huh?  After all, writing is processing for me.  With no desire to cook dinner tonight but knowledge that my family must eat dinner and we are too broke to buy pizza, I sent my dear friend a text.  "It's family night so I can't exactly need your presence but I could use a cyber hug. I so don't want to make dinner bc I so don't want to eat it."  Her "Hugs!" message back was exactly what I needed.  I can do this.  I can make my family dinner and there is someone on my side rooting for me to succeed.  I start on dinner but forgot to turn down the burner heat when I should have and so dinner was rather overcooked.  The pasta was gummy and the chicken was tough.  Hmm, not so tasty.  I looked at my husband and cried.  Now what?  The kids are still hungry and we are still too broke to order a pizza.  He asked about eggs, nope I made those this morning for MOPS.  Sandwiches?  Well I could do Pb&J or grilled cheese.  He says grilled cheese. 

While getting out the pan for grilled cheese, my 3 yr old decided to try to pour his own apple juice from a nearly full gallon container.  Any guesses?  Yep, all over the floor and table and chair and well you get it.  I simply sat down on my kitchen floor and stared at my pans.  I didn't cry, I just shook my head and then buried it in my knees and wrapped my arms around my legs.  I finally got up off the floor and started on sandwiches.  I have a trick burner on my stove and unfortunately, it is the most convenient burner to use so I still use it.  Sometimes, however, when you turn the burner on, it doesn't heat up and you have to turn it off and then back on again.  Tonight I stepped away for a few minutes only to return and see the sandwiches were NOT cooking, the burner never heated up. 

I got the burner fixed and started the sandwiches. My husband was talking with my oldest son about his attitude and I left to go join the conversation.  I came out, flipped the sandwiches, they looked perfect.  I went back in and was explaining the "front side and back side of the circle"  (my MOPS friends will understand and I'll explain another time to anyone else who wants to know).  The good news?  My son totally got it and his attitude was a complete 180 after that.  The bad news?  Suddenly I could smell grilled cheese.  I race to the kitchen and the previously perfect sandwiches were now black on the bottoms.  Oh no!  Hubby asks how bad.  I recall a statement from my childhood, "Is it true that when it's brown it's cookin and when it's black it's done?"  Then I finally started to cry.  I was DONE.

My super awesome hubby came to the rescue.  He came in and scraped the burned parts off of the sandwiches and informed me that they may not be pretty but they are still edible.  He so took care of me.  I needed that because I was about to pull out the Apple Jacks for the kids and call it good.  My oldest informed me that if I had been playing Cook or Be Cooked tonight, I would have been cooked twice in a row.  Thanks, Son. 

And my goofy or random observations for the evening.  I have a cholesterol test tomorrow morning and I had cheese and butter for dinner.  That's healthy!  I couldn't eat much of my sandwich, less than half and hubby asked me to eat more.  I held his hand, let a few tears slip and then put my plate where he couldn't see it as we finished family movie night without me finishing my food.  The movie "Despicable Me" was adorable and just the cure I needed for a blue evening.  Somehow I have only 3 "followers" and almost no comments but have 44 page hits in the last week since I started the hit counter.  I'm not thinking you 3 people have logged on 44 times in just over a week!  Not entirely sure why that thought hit me, as I said, my random or goofy observations.  And with all of that said, I am now going to flee the temptation to act out destructively by going and taking a hot bubble bath.  If you see me on the computer in the next hour, feel free to remind me that I'm supposed to be taking care of me not surfing the web!  Good night all.

something worth fighting for

Today at MOPS we had a fabulous speaker.  He gave a story that I'm sure few eyes stayed completely dry (even those of us who didn't cry, still felt the mother emotions in us get a little teary).  In the summer time in Florida a boy asked his mom if he could go swimming.  Mom says yes and watches from the window as he tears out the back door, shedding clothes as he ran to the pier.  As he is swimming she sees a "log" in the water and realizes it is a gator and it is headed for her son.  She runs out and screams for the boy to swim back in because there was a gator.  He swims to the shore and as she grabs his arm to pull him out, the gator got his legs.  A vicious tug of war was going on.  A sheriff passed the scene, realized what was happening, pulled out his gun and shot the gator.  The boys legs were mangled and they weren't sure if he was even going to make it.  He did indeed pull through and it was the hot news story.  A reporter came to interview the boy and being all boy he asked, "Do you want to see my scars?!?"  The boy pulled up his pant legs and showed the scars where the alligator had mangled him.  Then he pulled up his sleeves and said, "And these scars here on my arms are where my mom wouldn't let go of me!"

The story choked me up a little.  The question after made a tear slip out.  Our speaker pointed out that the mom of that little boy held on to him and wouldn't let him go no matter what.  Then he said it.  "Don't you think there is something inside of you that is worth holding on to and fighting to save?"  My single tear slid down my face.  The answer is no.

I see the gold in everyone around me.  I see the beauty in the amazing moms I see around me at MOPS.  I see the strength in those around me who may not see it in themselves.  I would fight tooth and nail to save any one of them.  I see something worth fighting for in them.  And while a part of me still wants to fight for me, an equal part of me doesn't see something worth fighting for.  What a double standard I live! 

does the dog ever catch his tail?

Carol gave me a book to read about a month ago.  I had to put it down over Christmas because it was stirring up too many emotions and I needed to be able to make it through Christmas in one piece.  I've started reading it again.  The first half of the book is identifying different control issues, people's power over your life through what they did.  The second half of the book is as the author states, "our focus will shift from what [they] did to you to what you can do for yourself to lessen their power over your life."  The author is also clear that these steps are to be done in conjunction with professional help if you have experienced deep trauma as I have.  Here is the disclaimer that she gives though.....

"If you abuse drugs or alcohol to deaden your feelings, you must deal with your compulsion before attempting the work in this book.  There's no way to gain control of your life if you are being controlled by an addiction.  For that reason, I insist that any of my clients who are substance abusers also join a program such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.  The work in this book should be undertaken only after a minimum of six months of sobriety.  Your emotions are extremely raw in the beginning phase of recovery, and there is always the danger that uncovering and exploring painful childhood experiences during this time may cause you to slip back into substance abuse."

I am not sure about my personal sobriety.  I am acting out right now, not with chemical dependence but still in a way that per recovery terms does not constitute sobriety.  I already have a lot of raw emotions coming through.  I am already not handling them well as it is.  Do I keep reading the book because I have great support around me and am in professional counseling?  Or do I work on getting "sober" first?  Or is it like a dog chasing its tail that they both just circle each other over and over again?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

what defines a line?

I wonder how much my bones will continue to ache before things change again.  I wonder how long before my boobs disappear again.  I wonder how many more panic attacks I will have before we figure out which medications/dosages work best for my body.  I wonder why I continue to do this to myself. I wonder why addiction is easier to cope with than change.  I wonder if I'll ever be part of the group that gets better and never looks back. Today I meditated on Psalm 19:13 "Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression."  Where is the line between willful sins and addiction?  I stayed away from triggering activities today, which did take significant discipline.  I didn't intentionally do anything to make it worse, but obviously I am not completely better either.  Is it the desires of my heart that define the fine line between willful sin and addiction?  Is there actually a line at all?  I am tired and irrational so I'm going to go to bed before I start babbling. 

I am not a poker player

There is a reason I don't play cards.  I have a terrible poker face.  To both my dismay and my relief, my husband knows this.  He just saw me look at a paper and make a face.  What was the face?  Nothing. What was the face? Nothing! Fine then, what was the paper?  I had my annual woman exam today and each time I see my doctor they give me a paper with my current medical status (current meds, active diagnoses, body measurements, vitals etc).  That was the paper.  The look came that I am down 4 lbs since my last visit to my doctor which was only 2 weeks ago.  Hubby is a bit concerned.  I told him I like the numbers.  He doesn't.  So for the sake of healing, I am glad I don't have a poker face and my hubby can read my face like a book.  But for the sake of not eating nor wanting to, it sucks.  I now have accountability again as well as the prayer support that I have already had.  I hate accountability.  I also love accountability.  My husband loves me.  My God loves me enough to put people in my life who won't let me slide.  How does one get the desire to eat back?  Why on earth are so many people so supportive of me as I journey through this?  Don't any of you realize how crazy I actually am?!? I'm so glad that I have the love of so many to help me back up when I fall and to bring me before the Father when I can't seem to get there on my own.  Thanks.  I still think you are crazy for not knowing I'm crazy but I still appreciate it! 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

3 steps forward, 2 1/2 steps back

Probably the easiest way to update is to copy the email that I sent to my Bible study and a couple of close friends.
Hey my dear friends and prayer partners.  The past 3 weeks in my battle with anorexia have been really rough for me.  I felt like I was making good progress but it seems like 3 steps forward 2 1/2 steps back.  Yesterday I intentionally engaged in activities that I know to be triggering for me and I'm really struggling.  Just wanted to ask you to continue to cover me in prayer. Please pray for grace and strength for each day as it comes, to be able to give myself grace when I blow it (like I totally did yesterday), and pray for healing both mentally and physically as I am retraining my mind and my body to appreciate food again. This is one difficult journey! Thanks ladies for your kindness, your support, your prayers and your love.  You make this journey bearable.  Love you!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

new layout same blog

Trying out some new and different blog layouts.  Yep, it is still me, still the same blog, just new pictures and layout.  Does it work or was it better the old way?  What do you think?

does familiarity really breed contempt?

I read this story a few days ago.  I cried for the girl who wanted out and couldn't get out.  I got angry once again at the recent movement that claims anorexia to be a choice and a lifestyle rather than a disease.  I got angry at the people in my own life who have viewed this as a choice of sin rather than a physical battle.  Yes, some of this is a mental health issue but so is schizophrenia, ADHD, depression, anxiety, insomnia and many other things that plague people and yet they still need and get medical treatment.  Anorexia really isn't that different.  Some of it is indeed retraining my brain and some of it is retraining my body.

  I remember after having babies thinking (see, I'm finally going to give a number) that 135 was my goal weight and I'd be happy there.  Guess what?  I wasn't.  I won't tell you what the numbers said when I was at my recent worst but I will tell you my doctor was concerned.  I was the only person in the mental hospital who was never once weighed the entire time I was there.  Others daily compared that they had gained weight because they were eating more than at home or lost weight because they were eating healthier.  I had no comparison, they wouldn't let me on the scale.  I also won't tell you my current numbers but they sometimes terrify me.  My doctor and husband are both finally happy with my numbers.  I am not.  Me, the same girl who tells others that weight and age are just numbers and not defining characteristics, I hate my own numbers.  It is just a scale, how on earth can it have that much power over me?  I don't actually own a scale for that reason.  I have however been to the doctors more times in the past 6 months than in the last 3 years combined.  I think the last time I saw a doctor this regularly, I was about to deliver my 3rd baby!

If I considered yesterday a success, I must consider today to be much less than successful.  I won't call it a complete failure because I did eat an actual meal today but it was definitely not successful either.  Baby steps.  Two steps forward and one step backward is still a step further than my starting place, right?  I've been promised that you don't hit rock bottom twice.  I disagreed because this isn't my first go round with this.  She told me that the last time things got bad but not rock bottom.  I certainly hope she is right because sometimes I miss it.  Sometimes it feels like an old friend not the enemy trying to ravage my body and steal me from those I love.  Sometimes, just like an alcoholic avoiding the hangover by staying drunk, it is just easier to keep up with the anorexia.  In the long haul, just as I know that sobering up is the better choice (albeit significantly more difficult) I also know that eating is the better choice, even though sometimes it is the much more difficult road.

Starving is familiar.  Feeling full is uncomfortable.  I just have to remind myself that being out of my comfort zone is healthier. God grant me the courage to try again tomorrow.

Monday, January 3, 2011

baby steps

Today I will consider a success simply because I actually ate 3 times today.  Courage is the small voice at the end of the day that says, "I will try again tomorrow."  Tomorrow starts our post-Christmas break routine again.  I have no idea what tomorrow holds but tomorrow I will get up and try again.  Maybe tomorrow will be a success also?