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

Monday, February 21, 2011

NEDAW, raw emotions and exhaustion

This week is national eating disorder awareness week (NEDAW) which is an interesting time for me.  Hearing others stories is often healing, but sometimes it is triggering.  I can attest to that because it was during NEDAW last year that I realized how much anorexia had a hold on me.  I realized how much I looked to it as a coping skill and how much I used it to bring comfort or numbness to my pain.  Awareness, for me, was a bad thing last year.  This year, I can be more objective.  This year, I am enjoying the partial recovery that I have already achieved.  This year, being aware means seeing how far I have come in the last 12 months.

What exactly does being aware accomplish though?  Maybe for those on the outside of an eating disorder being aware could help someone to get treated sooner because those around her know what to look for and spend less time in denial.  But honestly, what do you look for?  Not everyone who is sick is emaciated.  Not everyone who comes near to death looks the part of an eating disorder.  Hearts stop and kidneys fail at "normal" weights too.  The balance of electrolytes can be deadly with not a soul realizing the extent of the disease.  Does being aware of eating disorders prevent them?  Probably not.  I was aware of eating disorders long before I dealt with my own.  Being aware, at least in my case, most certainly did not prevent or even discourage me from dealing with it.

Is NEDAW helpful or not so much?  What is your opinion?

I am four days into my new med and am finally starting to feel the rawness.  I am not sinking but I am aware of myself more.  I am aware of my raw emotions and my desire to isolate. I have not, however, had to deal with the anxiety that was predicted.  I have not had any of my anti anxiety medication in about a month.  Yay, for a good step!  I am completely physically drained as I adjust to the new medicine though.  I took two naps today and still am about to fall asleep at the computer!  Along those lines, I am going to sign off for the night and rest!  TTFN, ta ta for now.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

new doctor, new meds, new type of control

In the craziness of life, I haven't updated.  Some of that was indeed just not knowing what to say or exactly how I was feeling.  Thursday was group therapy night.  The discussion was taking care of yourself emotionally and physically.  It was a difficult evening for me.  I cried for the entire session until we broke off into our smaller groups.  I am grateful for those around me who love me and were so kind during the whole thing.  A friend sitting in front of me passed me a note telling me she was praying for me.  A friend sitting next to me squeezed my shoulders a few times.  I got a lot of hugs which was a good thing.

Someone told me later that his wife didn't have a hunger trigger and had to set a timer to remind herself to eat at appropriate times.  He thought that was what was going on with me and was trying to be supportive.  The look on his face when I said, "Oh, I have a hunger trigger, I just choose to ignore it!" was classic.  So I had the opportunity to, as well as I could, explain the disorder part of eating disorder.  I appreciated that though he completely could not comprehend how it is possible for me to like the feeling of being hungry, he was still compassionate.  There was no judgment, only support.

If it were as easy as "just eat" or "just stop hurting yourself", it would not be a disorder and would be completely a non-existent issue.  I am not absolving myself from the choices that I make that do indeed perpetuate my disease; I am, however, saying that if it were as easy as some think it is, we would live in a perfect world.  Disordered thinking and eating must be met with healthy thinking or the disease will only get worse.  Some days are more difficult than others to have healthy thoughts instead of disordered thoughts.

Friday I saw a new psychiatrist to manage my meds.  Dr. R is awesome!  One of the things I really liked is that he didn't try to change my "should's".  When he asked me about my suicidal thought and why the last time I didn't take it to more than a thought, I told him about my family.  One of my children was in the car with me and my husband and other two children were in the car behind me and my friend and her husband and three kids were in the car in front of me.  I don't want to hurt any of them.  So Dr. R asked me if I love my family.  OF COURSE I DO! Do I love them more than I love myself?  Uhhhhhh, yeah!  So rather than try to tell me that I need to think better about myself, he simply said, "Ok, so eventually you will want to do this work for you but for right now, let's work with every positive we have.  Right now your love for your family is a driving force, let's use that to our advantage in this process."

I felt heard and validated and understood.  He is a great doctor.  He also changed my medications to one that sounds more in line with treating majority of my symptoms not just a select few.  I am pleased with the new meds decision and that I was informed and asked my opinion about everything.  I feel like I am in control of my treatment, something I haven't felt in a long while.

So here is where today finds me emotionally:
~I feel in control of my treatment, which in turns gives me part of my much needed control obsession.  I am in control in a healthy way right now.
~I am tired from the new medicine but have not experienced any of the predicted anxiety or emotional "rawness" often happens when switching medication.
~I am strong.  Even when I am hurting, I am still in a better place than I was even a few months ago.
~I desperately want to recover and have anorexia a part of my history not a part of my life.
~It is ok to find things that I like about me.  This is actually taking care of myself, NOT  being a traitor to myself.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I have learned some ways to help manage stress.  I am doing a bit better in responding to stress in ways other than restricting.  Now I need some ways to help manage depression that don't involve restricting.  I am happy with my life and yet I feel sad.  Circumstantially my life is going really well.  Emotionally though I feel as though each day is a chore to get through.  I want to laugh and jump up and down and cry uncontrollably all at the same time.  So what do you do to make it through times of deep depression when you want to be happy but can't?  How do other people cope?

Monday, February 14, 2011

blog to avoid isolation

I am here blogging for one main reason, I desire to isolate in an extreme way.  I want to curl up in my little safe spot and never come out.  Isolating = not healthy = stress = unhealthy coping skills.  So here I am, not isolating.  This sucks!

I have no reason that I can think of to feel suddenly insecure and lonely.  I just spent an amazing weekend away with my husband.  We were able to connect physically, emotionally and spiritually.  It was a wonderful time of being together.  I came home refreshed.

I got my tattoo over the weekend and I absolutely love it!!!!!!! It was a fabulous experience, not particularly painful, and it is gorgeous.  I left excited.

I ate 3 meals on Saturday.  Go me.  Breakfast and Dinner were both small, but nonetheless, I did indeed eat them.

Sunday at breakfast I may have had a stupid panic moment.  I grabbed a yogurt at the hotel.  I was 2 bites in when suddenly I freaked out and refused to eat the rest.  Hubby asked if I was ok.  I wasn't.  I was shaking.  I couldn't eat that yogurt if I had begged myself to.  Oddly however, eating part of a waffle with maple syrup did not panic me.  I gave my hubby insight into my head.  The yogurt was loaded with sugar.  The waffle was too but the yogurt said so on the package whereas the waffle did not.  The yogurt had high fructose corn syrup.  I could read the ingredients on the side if I had allowed myself to.  The waffle, I knew that wasn't really healthy.  The waffle, though, didn't pretend to be healthy and try to trick me.  The waffle was unhealthy from the beginning.  The yogurt, however, goes under the assumption that it is healthy even though it is loaded with sugars and preservatives and such.  The yogurt made me mad, I felt as though it was lying to me.  The waffle never misrepresented itself.

Ok, I know I have way too much free time to feel like food can deceive me or to panic over such idiotic things.  Yet, it is a glimpse into my disordered thinking. 

Today we were out and about and drove past the street that my best friend lives on.  I have not actually been to her house since September when she made me go to the hospital.  We have talked, she has briefly been to my house but in the chaos of both of our lives, I have not been back to her house.  I have driven past the street a few times since September.  Today was different though.  Today, my feelings were hurt.  Though I do believe that the hospital was a good step in the right direction for me, I was still hurt that I had to go.  I cannot fully describe how I felt passing her street.  The words just don't seem right, but for lack of any better way to sum up my feelings, I felt lonely.

I do believe that, as Rascal Flatts puts it, "God blessed the broken road".  Without her sending me to the hospital, I would have never found Carol.  Without having hit rock bottom, I would have never reached out to the group that I am in for support.  Without the hospital a lot of the progress I have made would not have happened or at least would have been longer in coming.  Yet it was still a painful and traumatic experience.

I am grateful that tomorrow is a new day.  I am not going to shut down.  I will keep fighting, even when it is hard.  I am not going to isolate, even though nothing in the world sounds better right now.  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

happy with me

I would be naive or an idiot if I did not know that my body will never be perfect.  Even if I maintain the "perfect" weight, I will still be able to pick myself apart as far as my appearance goes.  I will still see the acne on my face.  I will still see the stretch marks on my body.  My boobs will still look like I have carried and nursed 3 children.  So what is the remedy? 

The remedy is to be happy with me.  I'm still working on what that looks like as a lifestyle instead of a momentary glimpse.  As a momentary glimpse though, it means that I need to be ok with imperfection. So here is where I am working on perspective changes, when I look at my stomach and legs, I will see that God allowed my body to sustain life 3 times instead of seeing the scars of stretch marks and surgeries.  When I look at my face I will notice that I have beautiful eyes not flawed skin.  When I look at my hands I will notice how these hands have held my children and my husband and brought love, not that the polish on my nails is chipped nearly completely away.

I am learning to be happy with me, with who I am and how I look.  I may not be perfect but I can accept that I will never be the perfect that I desire.  I am still deeply loved and accepted, flaws and all.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

small successes

Those of you who have ever dealt with addiction know that the small steps must be celebrated to achieve the big steps.  If I only concentrate on how far I have to go, I will quickly get discouraged and probably give up again.  So today I am going to applaud myself for a baby step.  Today is the second day in a row that I have had lunch!  Ok, so in the grand scheme of things, that is the tiniest step ever.  In my disordered world though, it is the equivalent of the angels singing Hallelujah.  I also enjoyed my lunch today!  I couldn't finish it but I didn't beat myself up with guilt over eating it or enjoying it.  Any amount of progress is progress and I will celebrate my small successes because eventually if you put enough small successes together, you get big success.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dear Anonymous

Dear Anonymous Blog Reader,
Though I appreciate your concern for my health, I am not posting your comment.  Please don't judge my hearts intentions about getting well.  I have come a long way in the last 4 months and am continuing on the right path for recovery.  I have an amazing support network in family, friends, therapy and my medical team.  I am making progress, even when it is slow progress. Those who know me deeply, do indeed see that progress.  Those in my group therapy have agreed to not discuss specific numbers with me, which I greatly appreciate.  I am committed to recovery and I am sorry if you do not see that in my writing and sharing my heart.  I will one day be whole again and I will do it with those who love me by my side.
Thank you,

sleep, triggers, encouragement, it's all in there

I need sleep.  I said I would be off of the computer and heading upstairs for bed by midnight.  Yet here it is 12:01 and I am here with you instead of upstairs in my warm bed.  I don't want to sleep.  I have no idea why I am almost as afraid of sleep as I was of white bread last week.  I am not having nightmares right now.  I just don't want to go to bed.

I am doing well with remembering my medications and supplements regularly again.  I am aware of the difference it makes to be consistent with both.

My butt bone hurts from sitting here.  It has been a while since that feeling.  My wrist and collar bone ache a little.  My lower ribs don't feel great either.  I know this feeling.  Am I losing weight again?  I don't see it in the mirror and dare not step on the scale right now. 

I am in a fairly strong place emotionally, though I also know that triggers are just a breath away.  I went from feeling like I was on a tightrope to feeling like I am on a balance beam.  If you go from the floor to the balance beam, it doesn't feel like there is much room to balance, but in going from a thin string to a balance beam, there is suddenly a lot of balance to be had. 

I am successfully avoiding intentional triggers.  It is some days harder than others.  A friend of mine is a recovered compulsive eater.  He sent out an email about his testimony and his success with Over eaters Anonymous.  It was amazing and I am so happy for him that he was able to break the cycle of disordered eating.  I did not, however, click on the links that would hurt me like the calorie counters and such.  Not going to lie, I am proud of me for that.  I even sent him a message back telling him how happy I am for him and that I for my own recovery process I could not look at the links he sent.

I read an AMAZING blog today. I loved how she gave both the truth of anorexia and the emotions of it.  I would be lying if I said I found it on my own.  Carrie over at ED bites linked it and I just had to share it also.  I am amazed at how many recovery supportive resources are out there.  The only resources I had found before were not recovery supportive and very damaging.  It is comforting to know I am not alone and that though our struggles all differ, the emotions are roughly the same.

I have also found some other blogs I like.  One of them is Holly.  Her posts are short, sweet and to the point which makes them fun and fast to read. But really what I love most is that her comments on my posts have been most encouraging lately.  Thanks, Holly for your support!  I had no idea that a complete stranger could bring such encouragement and comfort.  

Ok, that is about all my brain can comprehend for tonight.  I guess I'll go get that sleep after all!

Friday, February 4, 2011


Last night at group therapy, we were going around talking about how we did with last week's goals and talking about this week's goals.  I like the program I am doing because it is lots of different problems and we all help each other through life.  I do not like the program I am doing because it is lots of different problems and therefore not always e.d. recovery sensitive.  For instance, in my smaller group, there are four of us.  I am the youngest by at least 20 years.  All three of the others have a goal to lose weight.  The goal itself didn't bother me when they each said it last week.  What did bother me was talking about how we did with last week's goals.

I found myself getting frustrated when one said he had exercised 6 times last week.  I couldn't figure out why it bothered me so much to hear these nearly strangers talk about having a goal of losing weight when it doesn't typically bother me when someone I know and love says it.  Big Mike suggested it doesn't bother me with those close to me because they have taken the time to hear my heart and understand (as well as they can, anyway) my struggle.  It made sense but didn't resonate with me.  I was still frustrated.  I was on the verge of a panic attack last night listening to it all.  My tell tale right leg started shaking beyond my control.  My hands were shaking and I had to remind myself to breathe.

Today in talking about it with my friend from MOPS I realized what bothered me.  I wasn't bothered by the fact that they had goals of losing weight to be more healthy.  I was most bothered when one said he had exercised 6 times last week and one said she was down 2 lbs this week.  I was frustrated that they were allowed to and applauded for losing 2 lbs in a week.  If I lose 2 lbs in a week, my husband starts to worry and keeps an eye to see if I need to go to my doctor or nutritionist.  If I lose 2 lbs, it is a bad thing.  I know that, but it doesn't make it easier to hear someone else say it and hear everyone praise her.

I am jealous.  I am jealous that my friends can concentrate on their weight and diet without it ravaging their bodies.  I am jealous that my friend can lose 2 lbs in a week and be on the right track.  I am jealous the my friend can exercise 6 times a week and not have anyone think he is obsessive or get reprimanded. I am jealous that I am not supposed to want to or worry about losing 2 lbs, or 5 lbs, or 15 lbs and yet those around me are allowed and encouraged to.  I am jealous that I have to be wary of my knowledge of nutrition because I use it to harm myself instead of help myself, but those around me can count calories or eat healthy meals without it harming them.

I am hurt to look at my body and wish it were ok to be just 5 lbs lighter.  I know where that thinking leads me though.  Soon enough 5 turns into 7 and 7 turns into 10.  It never stops.  Even when I was much sicker than I am now and occasionally could see how horribly ugly it was on me, I still wanted to go lower.  I wondered what it would be like to be ____ lbs.  Even when it hurt, even when it was ugly, even when it hurt those I love, I still wanted to go further.  It is an addiction like no other.  Even when I didn't want to continue, I still wanted to go further. 

And now here I find myself, frustrated, jealous, hurt and lonely as I listen to those around me tell what for them is a success story and for me is a relapse story.  Anorexia is a lonely road, somedays more so than others.  I need to feel understood.  I need someone to know that it was hard and somewhat hurtful to hear others achieving the goals that I am not allowed to pursue.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

over analyzing bread

Yesterday I fell in love with bread making all over again.  There is nothing quite like the feel of bread dough coming alive under your hands.  It is therapeutic to knead and throw this little ball of flour and yeast.  I also learned how much I love to hate bread.  I love to make it, just not so keen on eating it.  My entire house smelled comforting and yet somehow all I could think of while mixing the ingredients was "This is what goes into my body?????"  Flour and water make glue, and so I eat something that will stick to my intestines just like glue.  I know it doesn't help that I veered from my normal whole grain recipes and made white bread (insert horrified gasp here!). 

How is it possible to find such comfort and such guilt in the same activity?  Bread baking makes me feel safe, it makes me feel like I am providing healthy options for my family (it may be white bread but there is no high fructose corn syrup or preservatives), it warms my house and makes my entire house smell comforting.  At the same exact time I find myself stricken with guilt that I made white bread out of store bought flour.  It wasn't the whole grain that I usually prefer, it was the light bread my family prefers.  I didn't grind my own flour like I usually do.  I did use organic unbleached flour but it isn't quite as fulfilling as making my own flour and then my own bread.

I know, I am such a dork!  I just completely over analyzed my bread dilemma.  The problem is that it really shouldn't be a dilemma.  How many people have been amazed that I take the time to make bread and yet I'm mad at myself because it wasn't perfect.  I really need to get better at this whole grace giving thing.  It is ok to use store bought flour.  It is ok to serve my family white bread.  It is even ok for me to eat said white bread.  I'm going to get there.  I have made progress, I allowed myself to have a piece fresh from the oven and even put a touch of butter on it. 

Maybe someday I will make even more progress and be able to make and eat bread without guilt overriding all the lovely things about homemade bread!  I'm trying to remind myself how much I do love the feel of dough beneath my fingers as I knead it and how much I adore the smell and warmth of bread baking.  My goal is to someday see more of the positives of it and maybe be able to silence the negative guilt voice that nags in the back of my brain.

Here's to the day when we eat white bread without guilt, cheers!

I am not

This morning while in the shower, I for some reason thought back to the days of taking scalding showers and scrubbing my skin till it bled in the name of trying to get clean.  Back then I didn't realize that clean was not about soap and water; I was trying to wash away the filth of the abuse.  Who cared if it hurt, it didn't hurt as badly as inside of me did.  Today I was thinking about that little girl I used to be.  I realized how hurt, lonely and afraid she really was.  I wondered today, if I had really scrubbed my skin off back then, if I would have felt clean.  I know the answer is no, but it still passed through my head.  I was told something last night that made today's thoughts feel actually kind to myself. 

"The beauty that God placed in you cannot be taken away by the evilness that was done to you."  That profound statement has carried me through today.  I am not what happened to me.  I am not a number on the scale.  I am not the clothes I wear.  I am not the friends I have or the man I love.  I am not a disease that fights to rob me of joy and peace. I am me.

I am a child of God.  I am a woman.  I am a lover.  I am a mamma.  I am a friend.  I am beautiful.  I am loved.  I am cherished.  I am me.  And nothing that has been done to me by others or even my self afflicted pain will ever change who I am or take away my value.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

degrees of pain?

***starting with a sidenote first *** Tonight I was reading some of Carrie's old posts on ED bites.  Guess what?  I'm not the only one who feels like I do!  I felt like I was reading my own story and emotions at times.  I am so grateful to know I am not alone!***


I have recently discovered that I am getting annoyed at the degrees that people compare on.  I recently had a friend telling me of her painful divorce, only to follow it up with, "But it is nothing like your story or the pain you have gone through."  I call bullsh*t on that one.  Sure I understand a stubbed toe doesn't hurt as bad as a shattered bone and there are indeed degrees of pain.  Some pains heal quicker than others.  A stubbed toe, a few minutes of healing; a broken little toe, months of healing.  A painful misaligned neck, a few weeks of healing; a fractured C5 vertebrae, a few months of healing.  I get it.  I know some hurts heal faster than others.  Some hurts leave you never the same.  My grandfather had his colon removed due to cancer.  While the cancer was gone, his body was never the same again and he had the marks of his illness until he died.  Nonetheless, I say hurt hurts and I'm tired of people making my hurt huge and minimizing their own hurt.  Her divorce tore her heart out.  My abuse tore my heart out.  Her divorce made her question her worth and lovability.  My past makes me question my worth and lovablilty.  Her divorce has left her life forever altered, even when through the painful part.  My eating disorder has left my life forever altered, even when I am in remission not relapse.  Hurt hurts, no matter where it hurts.  Can one really compare open heart surgery with years of chemo and radiation and say which one is worse?  Can one really compare a broken foot to a broken arm? 

I don't minimize their pain.  Why do they?  Why do people assume that you only have a story if it involves deep tragedy? Why is the fact that I went through violent sexual abuse worse than the fact that my friend was betrayed by the man she loves? We both know the depths of pain and brokenness just through different avenues.  I have a friend who as a very young woman had an abortion.  We were talking about it once and she felt like she didn't have the right to feel her hurt when I miscarried because she had chosen to end a life and I had experienced a life being ended without my choice.  I don't know, I see it as we were both moms.  We both lost a child, one through choice, one through chance.  We both hurt.  I know that there was more to hers because there was also guilt on top of hurt but we were both still as broken as we could have been.

Am I even making sense?  I guess I just want to throw this out there, that though one persons pain threshold may be higher than another persons, both will break when pushed to their threshold.  Whatever your breaking point of pain is, you feel immense pain.  Whether your threshold is a fight with your kids, an eating disorder, the death of a loved one, guilt from past mistakes, a divorce, being disowned, whatever it may be, once you cross your personal pain threshold, you know what pain is and how badly pain hurts.  Or in more medical terms, I smashed my foot under an old fashioned teeter totter this summer.  It swelled instantly and I was certain that I had broken it.  It hurt soooooooo badly!  I was in the doctor's office within a couple of days.  My husband however, dislocated his ankle a few years ago.  As much as I told him he was hurt and needed to see the doctor, he genuinely didn't think it was as  hurt as I was certain it was.  It took more pain for him to feel overwhelmed than it took for me but we both reached a point of overwhelm in our pain.

No one thinks rationally once the overwhelm hits. The fact of the matter is that whether you hurt from your choices or your circumstances, we all know deep hurt.  Whether it is incest, adultry, divorce, abortion, assault, betrayal, or any number of other things, hurt still hurts and is highly personal in how it affects you. I'll never be the one to tell you that your hurt doesn't hurt as badly as you think it does, that it is nothing compared to my hurt or any other stupid answer like that.  Hurt hurts, and we all hurt, period end of story.