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

Thursday, March 31, 2011

guilt free breakfast

I would like to extend a huge thank you to the nice people up at Kashi for making this cereal.

It is yummy, has protein and fiber and is conspicuously missing my hugest panic ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.  So from the girl who panics about food a little too often, thanks Kashi for making a food that doesn't send me spiraling out of control with panic!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

reasons I choose recovery

I am still at the stage of re-recovery that I am often having to make a conscious decision to allow myself to recover.  Only someone who has been here can fully understand that comment.  The past couple of weeks have been difficult on the recovery front from a physical standpoint.  Mentally I am hanging in there, some rough days but handling them better than I would have even 2 months ago.  Physically though, I just don't feel like eating.  It just feels like so much work.

The scale numbers that had risen have dropped again.  I want to be motivated and I am so not motivated.  I'm tired.  My medicine cocktail helped at first and now I am back to exhausted all the time again.  I'm also back to being severely iron deficient and my thyroid is wacko again as well.  I know that plays a huge role in why I am exhausted.  I'm just tired of being tired.  I'm tired of being too tired to care whether I eat or not.

So tonight, I am making a specific choice to pursue recovery.  Tonight I am going to focus on reasons why I choose recovery!
hands that still need holding
mirror messages from my son

my boys, they need me and love me and the feelings are mutual :)

being able to enjoy and look forward to Ted Drew's next summer when we go back

being able to fully enjoy silly things like the water mark left by my coffee cup that I could never intentionally create!

Monday, March 28, 2011

normal people

Do you know what sucks about not being "normal"?  Normal people sometimes aren't hungry and so they don't eat and it is ok. Normal people can decide they feel like having ice cream for lunch occasionally just because it sounds good.  Normal people have bodies that will tell them what they need and when they need it.  And while my body is learning to tell me what it needs and I am trying to learn to listen to it, I am far from normal.

Tonight I was annoyed because I got hungry and had to stop to take time to eat.  I had other things that I would have rather been doing than eating.  On the upside though, my stomach actually growls again, something that it hadn't done in quite some time.  I have to make myself see it as an upside.  I have to remind myself that it means that my body is getting used to food again.  Otherwise, I will concentrate on what a horrible and so not attractive sound it is to hear my stomach growl and be angry with myself over it. 

My body is learning again to give me those signals that say, "Hey, you!  Yeah, you!  I need to be taken care of!"  Things that to many of you are obvious signs, but to me haven't been for ages.  Like for instance last week when I hadn't had dinner and I started getting shaky.  Or like my stomach growling.  Or realizing that a panic attack was actually lack of nutrition not actual anxiety.  And I am learning to listen to those signals again.  It isn't always easy.  Actually, it is often much harder than it is easier, but it is slowly happening. 

I've never been the emaciated girl who it is so completely obvious there is a problem.  In high school it used to be easy to blame genetics for my thinness.  Then this summer when I lost 11% of my body weight in 2 weeks time, suddenly it was more noticeable.  Somehow I still couldn't see it until we were at a pool party.  When I went into the bathroom and was putting on sunscreen, I suddenly could see that I had no boobs filling out the top of my swimsuit.  I could see the loose skin on my belly.  Like a too small foot in an old stretched out sock, my body was too small for my skin.  For a moment, I caught a glimpse of what others saw.  No one said anything though, so I still told myself that no one but my hubby had noticed.  It is sometimes scary what we can convince ourselves of when we are in the midst of it.  Then I thought no one could see it, now I realize they did indeed see it but just didn't know what to say.

One day at a time, one meal at a time, sometimes one minute at a time, I am learning how to be ok with me.  I am learning that indulged cravings aren't going to kill me (even though it may feel like it at the time!).  I am learning that I am not my body, I am me and I have a body.  I am learning that my husband likes this look much more than the super skinny me I was this summer.  I am learning to start to like this look more, even though sometimes it is really hard.  I am learning how to live again.  I am (re)learning that there is so much in my life that I love and there is so much more to life than calories and skinny pants.  I am learning that taking care of my body is also taking care of my family.  I am learning, which means I am also growing.  (What a poor choice of words from the eating disorder girl! Ha!)

Monday, March 21, 2011

to do list revised

I made a to do list this evening of things I wanted to accomplish before I went to bed.  I also, knowing myself a little to well, added in when I wanted to be in bed so that there was a time frame rather than an unending list that kept me up half the night.  I budgeted my time to have 3 hours from the time my last child was in bed until I wanted to be in bed.
My original list looked like this:
mop floor
tie up trash bag
switch out the laundry
bring up/set out tomorrow's work and school clothes

That sounds like a reasonable list, right?  Maybe to a normal person.  For me though, one very important thing was missing on my to do list.  Wanna guess what that is?  I'll give you a hint, it goes under the "me" category.  Yeah, it was eat dinner that I had missed writing.  How many people actually have to put "eat" on their to do list to get it done?  Seriously?!?

After a rocky night of bedtime with the boys, ending with my oldest in bed an hour late, I had to give myself some grace and re-write my list.  So now I was down on time by an hour and I have added in another thing to get done, one that simply must get done. I had also already been mentally adding to my list things I had forgotten, like make school lunches.  So what is going to give and where?

my revised list looked more like this:
-load/start the dishwasher, the pots and pans will have to wait till morning
-skip making the school lunch and spend the extra $2 to let him have hot lunch (besides, tomorrow is pizza day, he'll think I'm a hero!) 
-re-sweep the kitchen floor that I just swept last night (sadly with a family of 5 was already gross again) while myson is brushing teeth and getting ready for bed
-get crying child in bed and promise I will write a note for Daddy to see when he wakes up to not check the computer to find out what happened in Monday Night Raw (wrestling) so that my son can tell him the details
-get other child back in bed after his foot fell asleep
-think about dinner and nearly cry because I know that if nothing else on my list gets done, this one cannot be missed but I really don't feel like eating
-pop a potato in the microwave to "bake" while I begin the mopping
-stop mopping to eat said potato, by this point I have decided a glass of wine is in order as well
-finish mopping floor
-head downstairs to gather laundry and blog

whew!  Somehow my simple list became really, really complicated (at least to me) all because of a stupid meal.  How many people actually have to schedule eating into their to do list?  How many people would be totally thrown off schedule by having to sit down for a few minutes to eat?  Sometimes recovery is a pain in the butt!  Tonight I ate dinner instead of exercising and showering.  Still taking care of me, just not in the way that I wanted to be taking care of me. 

I had to get my dishes at least started.  My husband says I do this thing he calls "subconscious sabotage".  When my kitchen is a mess, I don't like to cook.  When I don't like to cook, it is easy to make excuses to skip meals.  Every time I start to spiral, my kitchen does too.  Since he pointed this out to me, I have been trying to make a concentrated effort to keep up with it.  It is way harder than it sounds.  I love to bake, can tolerate cooking and despise cleaning the kitchen afterward. Keeping up on the dishes is a very simple and very difficult way that I help myself keep up with recovery.  The dishes couldn't be the thing to slide either.

The kitchen floor?  Well, think to what I just said abut the dishes and now add that my 3 year old spilled apple juice all over the floor last night.  Though I wiped it up, there were still some sticky spots on the floor.  That is just one more thing to try to keep me out of the kitchen, and it often works.  So that also couldn't slide.

Bedtime?  Well, I usually do push that one out but I am trying really hard to get on a sleep schedule.  I am getting over an ear infection and I know my body needs the rest.  Tomorrow my kids want to be at school 40 minutes early for an event.  That means that I could get everything done on my list but I would still not be taking care of me because I would be in bed really late and getting up really early. 

Tonight I am opting to show myself grace and take care of my body.  My brain is screaming at me that my living room is still a disaster from the "toy tornado" that swept through.  My brain is wondering why I am  on the computer blogging instead of any other number of things that need to be done.  My brain is a wee bit pissed off that I am slowing down/stopping for the night.  But I know my body will thank me even as my brain flogs me. I chose to eat dinner tonight, I chose to rewrite my plans, I chose to listen to my body over my brain.  That is indeed a step in the right direction!

so what about you?  Do you have any chore that helps keep you on the right road for recovery?
How do you listen to your body's needs instead of your brain's punishments? 

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I guess I should do a quick update on my emotional and physical well being after losing a friend.  I'd be lying if I said I've done awesomely (I thought I was making that word up but spell check isn't correcting me! Who knew that awesomely was a real word?) since it happened, but I am ok.  I did skip dinner that night.  I was crying too hard to want to try to eat.  I nearly skipped breakfast the next morning.  I looked at the beautiful faces of my kids that morning and realized that I have some amazing reasons to keep getting better.  I let a friend know that I didn't want to eat breakfast and then, I ate it.  I did panic a little, but I was also able to talk myself down when I did.

I cried a LOT.  Every person who hugged me and asked if I was ok brought on a new wave of tears.  In discussing the situation with another close friend, and doing some analyzing, I realized some things.  I am not mourning the loss of a friend, I am mourning the loss of an ideal.  I am mourning that the friendship was not what I had thought it to be not the actuality of the friendship. As I realized that the friendship was going sour for quite some time and that it wasn't giving me mutual friendship, I am able to accept it a little easier.

I am so grateful for the amazing friends and support that I do have around me.  I am so grateful for the progress that I have indeed made.  I am so blessed to be loved by an amazing and supportive man who might be just a tad protective of me when it comes to people hurting my feelings :)  Thank you for being there for me!

And Holly, when a friend of mine asked me if she could make me a cup of tea, I smiled and said sure.  I laughed that this happened the day that I received your comment.  I drank it and thought of you sitting here with me trying to make it better.  The thought made me smile, thanks!

Friday, March 18, 2011

I miss and I don't miss

Something that I miss because of recovery:

my favorite summer pants that are now too small (yes good thing, but they were so cute and comfy too!)

Something that I don't miss:

hair loss

Something that makes me smile now:

my tattoo.  the scripture reference is Psalm 45:11

Monday, March 14, 2011

the shift

It has been coming for a long time.  The shift started nearly a year ago.  It was often subtle little things.  I felt it though.  I knew it was coming and I hoped it wasn't.  I felt the shift in the dynamics with my friends and support.  I hoped I could keep it from happening.  I couldn't.  And so I sit here with my tears and have a myriad of thoughts.
~this stupid disease caused this!
~if I would have made different choices, it wouldn't have happened.
~if I could only give more and take less......
~if only.....
~what did I do wrong?
~why isn't it ok when I am the one who is weak for a change?
~it really hurts.

And even more thoughts.
~I'll restrict and not feel the pain.
~I won't restrict because I won't allow them to have that much power over me to be able to hurt me deeply enough to make anorexia feel like a good option again.
~I want more control of this situation.
~The harder I try to control this situation, the more I allow them the control of my life.
~I really want it to not hurt like this.

Someone else got tired of the drama involved with eating disorders, depression, PTSD.  Someone else got tired of me.  Someone else walked away.  And I am hurt. Really. Really.  Hurt.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

once again, I must overthink EVERYTHING

I over analyze everything.  It's just what I do.  I am currently over analyzing a lot of piddly stuff and my sweet hubby is kind enough to let me hash it all out over and over again as I try to figure it out.  He knows I over react.  He knows I obsess.  He knows that since today started my obsessing that it will come up several more times before I can make internal peace with my decisions, and yet he still let me vent for an hour and a half.

I have recently realized that my life is not actually invisible and that I impact many people.  I was starting to realize it a little but then I read The Five People You Meet In Heaven.  If you haven't read it, this is not a spoiler.  In the book the main character Eddie meets five different people who have been affected by his life. Most of the people he meets, he was unaware of how he affected them but he changed each of their lives in some way.  So now I am even more aware of the fact that my life, while not lived to please everyone around me, does affect everyone around me.  It is a heavy and sobering thing to go from a perceived invisible life to one that makes a difference.

Group therapy just ended on Thursday.  The number of people who came up to me and told me that my sharing had forever changed their lives or had encouraged them to pursue the healing they needed was overwhelming.  My life actually matters to more people than the handful I thought it mattered to.  That is a weird and almost cool feeling.  God used me in the lives of others, even though I was scared and wasn't expecting anything at all.

In all of my worrying, hubby said he thinks I am having to define my 30's.  Ick!  He asked me if I ever had to pull down things and start from scratch in my 20's.  Suddenly I realized that I did indeed have to figure things out, many times in my 20's.  Oh my, do I have to do this with every decade?????  Will I have to figure out from scratch as many times in my 30's as I did in my 20's?  I am hoping that there will fewer times of rediscovering myself, my faith, my life, my passions in this decade of life than in the last decade!  I am hoping that with life experience, this rediscovering and redefining gets easier.  Anyone older than me care to comment on that?

I am also in a place of having to define my boundaries of what is ok to talk about and what isn't.  I grew up unable to ask many of my questions and way too many subjects were off limits.  The biggest of those off limits subjects was sex.  Now I am an adult and I decide what is appropriate to talk about.  I view sex very differently than I was brought up with.  I walk a fine line between being modest and being "sexually liberated" and sometimes it is difficult to explain.  See here is the deal, I don't think sex is a bad word or a dirty act (I know shocker to hear from someone with my background).  I think sex is as normal as breathing and was designed to be a beautiful act.

So we humans got in there and messed up what God intended to be beautiful.  Our sinfulness brought dirtiness to God's perfection and because of that sex causes more emotional scars than probably anything else in the world.  I get it, believe me I do.  I am trying to define the line of what is ok to talk about with sex.  I don't view sex to be the bad word I was taught it to be.  I view sex to be a beautiful gift from God, an amazing special way for a husband and wife to love each other.  I view it to be sacred.  I also, though, don't think it is as big of a deal as what some do.  Let me rephrase that, it is a big deal, it is a huge deal.  It is also not a bad word.

Am I even making sense with all of that?  I guess I am trying to say that talking about sex doesn't bother me at all because I believe it to be a beautiful thing not a dirty thing.  How on earth did I come from a place of violation and filthy sex to believe that sex is beautiful?  God brought me an amazing husband who helped me heal in so many ways.  God alone deserves the glory, I defy the abuse odds.

Because I don't view sex in a bad light and I don't ever get a visual when others talk about sex, sometimes it is difficult for me to remember that apparently that is uncommon.  Others get visuals when they talk about sex?  Really?  Now for my poll, Do you get a mental image if someone talks about sex with you? One says not everyone does, one says everyone does and I just dissociate because of my past, one says it is a stereotype to think everyone gets a mental image, one says they cannot believe that I never get a mental image.  So what is the consensus?  Am I a freak because I don't visualize?  Can I talk openly about sex and not cause others to stumble?

Where do I draw the line?  What are the boundaries supposed to be?  I know I am opening myself up to a wide variety of comments with this post and I hope to hear just opinions not judgments!  Is is ok to esteem sex highly and still talk about it openly?

So that is just a couple of my over analyzing things for today.  My brain feels clear for the first time in ages.  While that is an amazing feeling, it also gives room for even more sides to every story and more things to take into account when I over analyze.  I know, I am crazy, got it!  I just think too much and over think and over process and over analyze until I come to where I need to be.  I will be hashing these out for at least a week so I'm sorry if that spills into my blog and gets annoying!  Someday I will maybe be able to process without over processing every minute detail!

I believe.....

This was sent to me in an email and it was just too beautiful to not share.

I Believe...
That just because two people argue,

It doesn't mean they don't love each other.
And just because they don't argue,
It doesn't mean they do love each other.
I Believe...
That we don't have to change friends if
We understand that friends change.
I Believe....
That no matter how good a friend is,
they're going to hurt you,
every once in a while
and you must forgive them for that.
I Believe.....
That true friendship continues to grow,
even over the longest distance.

Same goes for true love.
I Believe...
That you can do something in an instant
That will give you heartache for life.
I Believe....
That it's taking me a long time
To become the person I want to be.
I Believe...
That you should always leave loved ones with Loving words.

It may be the last time you see them.
I Believe....
That you can keep going long after you think you can't.
I Believe....
That we are responsible for what
We do, no matter how we feel.
I Believe...
That either you control your attitude or it controls you.
I Believe....
That heroes are the people
who do what has to be done
when it needs to be done,

regardless of the consequences.
I Believe....
That my best friend and I

can do anything or nothing
and have the best time
I Believe....
That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're
down will be the ones to help you get back up.
I Believe...
That sometimes when I'm angry
I have the right to be angry, but that
doesn't give me the right to be cruel.
I Believe...
That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had
And what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.
I Believe.....
That it isn't always enough,
to be forgiven by others.

Sometimes, you have to learn
to forgive yourself.
I Believe...
That no matter how bad
your heart is broken,

the world doesn't stop for your grief.
I Believe....
That our background and circumstances
may have influenced who we are, but,
we are responsible for who we become.
I Believe...
That you shouldn't be
so eager to find out a secret.
It could change your life forever.
I Believe....
Two people can look at the exact same
Thing and see something totally different.
I Believe...
That your life can be changed
in a matter of hours
by people who don't even know you.
I Believe...
That even when you think
you have no more to give,
When a friend cries out to you,
you will find the strength to help.
I Believe...
That credentials on the wall
do not make you a decent human being.
I Believe...
That the people you care about
most in life are taken from you too soon.
I Believe...
That the happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything they have.

Friday, March 11, 2011

rough day in recovery

Rough day.  Not helped by sleep deprivation, but not caused by it either.  My day........
Started with a phone call from a dear friend who is hurting deeply as she supports her friend through a pregnancy caused by rape.  My friend was nearly raped a few years back.  She is having flashbacks and nightmares and waking up screaming.  I get it.  There is a weird trigger in those of us who have been assaulted that when someone we know is dealing with their trauma, our own trauma is triggered 1000 times over again.  I am here to love my friend as she loves her friend.  Together we will all get through this.  I'm probably the farthest along in handling my own grief process and trauma.

I was an hour late for my meeting this morning because of the phone call from my friend.  During prayer requests at the end of the meeting, I mention how crappy I've been feeling and that I have a doctors appointment and blood work to determine if my fatigue is the new meds or my thyroid again, or iron or any other number of things that could cause my symptoms.  The only problem?  It was 11:20 and I suddenly remember that my appointment is at 11:30!  I raced to pick up my kids and get them loaded in the car.  Driving, I called the doctor's to tell them I was running behind and they informed me that my appointment is at 12:30 NOT 11:30!  I breathed a sigh of relief and proceeded with no luck to try to find someone to watch my kids.

I had to bring the kids with me to the doctors.  NOT a good idea!  My younger two kids had the behavior of hellions at the doctors.  I'm also up a bit more weight, NOT my favorite part of the day!  I knew I had to be gaining, I've actually eaten over the last 2 weeks, but seeing it in front of me was difficult.  My hubby met me on my errands list to give me my debit card.  He let me vent.  Then I looked at him and said, "Plus, I'm back to _____lbs.  It may be a good thing, but it makes me feel crazy."  He held me close while a few tears slid down my face. 

Oh, and Dr. R decided to add another med into my medicine cocktail.  It should be helpful but it was just one more thing to do today when I really wanted to not do anything. I want to curl into a ball and cry.  I want to sleep forever.  I am so emotionally exhausted. 

Can I be honest and say the new numbers on the scale are terrifying to me?  Why?  I tell everyone that age and weight are just numbers, not who you are.  Why can I not believe for me what I do indeed believe for those around me?  Why is someone else's number just a number and yet my own number is vitally important to me?  Why does the thought of dinner make me feel like vomiting right now? 

Like I said, rough day.  But rough day and all, I still know that God is still God and He is still good. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Brain, just shut up!

Weird day in the life of me.  Physically didn't really struggle food wise, emotionally didn't struggle food wise, mentally completely did struggle food wise.  Others recovering, does that make sense to you? My brain tried to convince my body and emotions that I should be restricting.  I told my brain to shut up.  Is that something you struggle with in your journey?  Just wondering.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I didn't hit the panic button!

Last week could have been devastating to recovery, but it wasn't.  What I thought would be a week wrought with food panic was a week covered by the grace of God.  I did not one time panic about the food I was eating!  Let me repeat that because as many of you know it is indeed HUGE. I did not one time panic about the food I was eating! 

I have had several people notice the ribbon in the wing of my butterfly tattoo.  One asked if it was a fish, I said no it's an awareness ribbon.  She asked if it was for breast cancer.
After a quick pause I answered, "It's actually for Eating Disorder Awareness."  Her response was interesting to me.  "Do you have an eating disorder?"
"I'm recovering from one."
"Wow, so that explains how you lost all that weight so quickly this past summer. I wanted to be like you and then I decided you were maybe a getting a little too thin."
"Oh. Um, so you noticed that too?"
"Yeah, how could we not notice?"

In thinking about it, I find it to be funny the difference in men and women.  Women around me noticed.  Men did not (or if they did, they pretended not to.)  My pastor was surprised, his wife nodded and said, "Yeah, you are looking a bit thin, Missy." My husband noticed, of course, but that is not a fair call because he sees me naked so of course he would notice!  Many of the women around me were concerned.  I got comments like, "You're not eating with us?" more than once.

I thought I was being discreet.  I mean really, how could it be obvious to others?  It wasn't obvious to me until I went to the hospital.  Isn't it funny what ED does to your brain?  I would easily notice it in someone else and yet I expected no one to notice it in me.  I didn't see it in the mirror (remember Why does the mirror lie?) so it seemed unreal that others would see it.  In looking back though, I don't know why I thought my disease was invisible.

I guess because I felt invisible, I felt that my disease was also invisible.  If they can't see me, then surely they can't see my hurt both physical and emotional.  I know that triggers are always a breath away.  I am so grateful for the online support I have found with others who struggle.

Here is what I have learned about eating disorders (especially anorexia).  Way too many people suffer from ED.  Many more people are committed to recovery than I had ever realized.  Many more people are afraid of recovery than I wish to mention.  We all suffer differently and yet the same.  While one is doing in-patient care for months, another is finding support groups nearby.  One trusts God, another trusts self.  We all hurt.  Some look the part of the emaciated little girl, some look normal and healthy while slowly dying.  Some were smaller than me some were bigger than me and yet we all felt like we were not small enough.  It is not age confined.  I have talked to young girls, teenagers, college students, newlyweds and even other 30 something moms like me.  While the media may give an age range that is more likely to struggle with ED, it is not something that ends when the stress of grad school ends or the days of up all night with the baby end.  It is not confined to the poor or the rich.  It crosses every socioeconomic barrier, every age barrier, every religion barrier, every time zone.

Recovery is harder than the hardest work.  It is harder than giving birth, harder than surgery, harder than any physical condition I have ever had to overcome.  Recovery is harder than giving in to the addiction, it is harder than meeting a deadline, it is harder than the most daunting tasks I have ever undertaken.  It is harder than parenting and harder than loving.  Recovery opens up a part of you that you never want to be seen and then you have to keep it open in order to allow healing.

Recovery to me means I have to keep letting people in, even when all I want to do is shut them out.  It means believing my husband when he says I'm beautiful.  It means knowing that I really do want to be around for my kids and my hubby even when I think I don't want to live.  It means not looking at calories or sugar grams when I indulge.  It means giving to others even when I am afraid that I have nothing worth offering.  It means trusting that God has a plan and a purpose for my life, even when I can't see it.  It means being willing to let go of my hurt rather than let it control me.  It means being happy for every baby step I make.  It means rejoicing when I have a week that I didn't panic once about food.  It means telling people I am a recovering anorexic, not that I am anorexic (big and difficult distinction there!). It means finding ways to cope with fear, pain, anxiety and stress in healthy ways not destructive ways.  It means not allowing myself the euphoria that I experience when I restrict.

I'm not foolish enough to think that one great week means no more bad weeks, but I am happy to know that I have finally reached a point where I can have a great week not just a great day!