Monday, September 13, 2010

It's good to be alive.

Today was a day I felt it was good to be alive. The sun was shining, I had a yummy breakfast and I picked up some cheap fresh produce at the local farmers market. Three cheers for organic, healthy food!
Call me weird but I like seeing dirt on the veggies I buy. Not caked mind you, but just enough to differentiate it from the shipped, frozen and sprayed with God knows what chemicals supermarket bought stuff. It's weird, but it's easier for me to eat food if I know that it's good for me, or that will bring my body some benefit nutritionally. It's easier for me to see it as "medicine" then, especially on the days I can't eat because I enjoy it.
But today I felt genuinely happy. I took a walk with my two youngest brothers, and they were just enthusiastic and happy about everything in life that I guess it must have rubbed off on me. I love kids, I really do. Especially loud, hyperactive, 3 year olds :P. Then we came home and baked an apple cake together. And I ate some! The first time I've baked something and eaten it. It was a bit too sweet for my taste, but instead of putting it away I ate it all. The first while afterwards I felt guilty, but I REFUSED to think about it and now I feel great and proud of myself.

So today I tried a new food - apple cake and I like it - I'll just make it less sweet next time.
Oooh and I put a whole banana in my oats today and sprinkled some strawberry bran flakes on top - yummy.

Getting weighed tomorrow, a bit anxious about it but I'll try to push it from my mind. Hope everything goes well with my doctors appointment.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The future.

I've been thinking about my life for the past few days, and more specifically what the future holds for me. I realized that one of the main reasons I struggle so much with my ED and am at times unwilling to let it go because I have no "back-up plan". Meaning that I have nothing else to really pour my passion, time, effort and energy into. My ED is a way I (and this is going to sound really weird and pathetic)give my life a sense of purpose. My life revolves around counting calories, exercising and watching that number go down. It's broken into simple 1-2-3 goals that I know very well how to achieve. But long term goals are harder. I've had so many shattered plans and dreams that I'm scarred of planning ahead. It's much easier to go back to my 1-2-3 goals and rely on them giving me the purpose and sense of fulfillment I need.

I would divide my ED into two "phases" pre-hospital and post-hospital. Pre-hospital I was completely powerless to do anything to recover myself. This is a fact. I couldn't imagine forcing myself to eat more, or not purge, or not exercise. I needed all those rules and guidelines to force me to move in the right direction. At that point I had pretty much come to grips with the fact that I would die from my ED, and that's the way my life was going to go. Then I went into IP, reached a healthy weight and experienced a bit of life without my ED. But once I left I started slipping and I gave up fighting. I figured it was impossible to be fully recovered and the best I could hope for is a symbiotic relationship with this disorder. It didn't bother me too much, at least not most of the time, so I just hung onto it. Slowly but surely it started dawning on me that I was slipping more and more into my ED reality and slipping away from the real world. My life revolved around work and not eating - that was pretty much it. I could see the weight rapidly dropping off, and even though it was scarring me, I COULDN'T change. Finally, one evening, I sat down with my family and told them what was wrong. It might have been the most difficult thing I've ever done. It started a cycle of events totally beyond my control : full of fears, tears, tense family relationships and numerous doctor's visits. But right now I can say with full confidence that I did the right thing. My weight didn't get low enough for me to be put in the hospital with an IV, and I've been given this unique opportunity to try it again and get it "right" this time around. In some ways it's easier then the 1st recovery; I more or less know how this is supposed to go and I know it IS possible. It's harder because I don't have anyone forcing me, I can't make plans to lose just a little weight once I hit my goal. I'm doing all this on my own, no one is forcing me. And that is as terrifying and it is empowering.

Back to the original thoughts of this post. I wanted to find something to do with my life now that I am in recovery and will be healthy very soon. I needed to find something that will make my life seem worthwhile, that will motivate me to fight on days I feel I just don't have it in me. And I decided that I want to become a dietitian and work with anorectics. There was one nutritionist I spoke to at the beginning of my current recovery who had been bulimic in the past, and that enabled her to reach me and reason with me in a way that no one else could. I felt like I could trust her, because she had gotten out of an eating disorder and she didn't look fat or unkempt (unlike the therapist in the hospital). She looked fit, happy and healthy. And I said "If she could do that, I can do it too". I want to be that kind of inspiration to other people as well. I've been given a chance make something out of my life, I can't let it slip by. If through this pain I can somehow help someone else, it'll be more then worth it.

As far as my goals from my previous post go, my short term goals include introducing a greater variety of foods into my diet on a regular basis and letting other people cook for me. Broken down that means I will try to eat a "different food" every 2-3 days. I might not like it, but I will eat it even to remember if I do or don't like it.

Yesterday it was yellow cheese - and guess what? I quite like it :) I'm still not 100% comfortable with eating it, but I will slowly try to incorporate it more and more.

Today it was cottage cheese in my oats - not impressive at all. But hey, I tried something new and that's something to be proud of :D

I CAN do this, I've proving it to myself more and more every day. And I will continue to fight because I have a full life ahead of me, and I will not waste any more of it on being selfish and self-centered.

To have suffered much is like knowing many languages, it gives the suffer access to many more people.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rubbing salt in a wound.

I'm writing this post about as eagerly as I would rub salt in a wound, and writing it is probably going to feel the same way.

I've decided to do a recovery exercise - to see just how far I've come since the beginning of recovery and what I need to do to keep moving forward. I've realized that I have stagnated a bit. I've gotten to a place where I feel comfortable and "safe". Yes, I DO uncomfortable things, but for the most part I stay in my own little bubble and don't want to venture out of it. I realized this because while talking to my mom about my recovery and the steps I'm taking I felt defensive, scared and anxious. And I asked myself : "Why am I feeling this way?" The first response that came to my mind was "She doesn't understand my ED. She'll have unrealistic expectations of me and my recovery process." But deep inside I know this isn't the real reason. So I dug deeper and realized that I'm afraid of stepping out of my routines, I'm afraid of pushing myself farther then I have been. I don't want people to get involved because deep inside I know I'm not pushing myself hard enough. These feelings of anxiety and fear are the same feelings I had before I went into recovery and people spoke to me about my eating habits, and that is a warning sign that something is seriously wrong.

This is hard for me to admit to myself, because I like to pat myself on the back for the little steps I take and feel proud of myself. And yes, I should feel proud of my accomplishments, but small accomplishments need to lead to more long lasting progress. Have I been seeing a lot of that? - Not really. Do I want to see more? YES!!! Am I scared of what pushing myself harder might involve? I'm terrified. But I'm willing to do this because no one is going to do this for me. No one can force me to progress, to achieve my goals, to live life. No one but me. Is this a daunting thought - in some ways. But I might as well accept the fact that I am no longer a child and that it's time to take responsibility for what I do and don't do instead of excusing myself.

Alright so I'm going to start this exercise by listing the things I have made progress in since the beginning of my recovery. It's not fair to say that I haven't been making progress, because I have made some steps. And among others these are:

- I have introduced greater variety into my foods. My portions have grown as has my calorie intake.
- I have stopped obsessively planning meals, portions and meal times. I eat much more intuitively and I try as much as possible not to count calories.
- I have broken many eating rules such as: not eating past 6:00 PM, eating slower then everyone else, timing how long it takes for me to eat my food etc.
- I no longer need someone to FORCE me to eat. I choose to eat on my own.
- I have stopped purging.
- I have stopped looking for ways to burn more calories.
- I drink my calories.
- I no longer regard sugar as "the spawn of the Devil"
- I allow myself to enjoy meals and I admit to other that I do.
- I admit to others when I am hungry and no longer see it as a sign of weakness.
- I choose normal over diet products.

I'm sure there are more, but these are the most memorable that come to mind. Now I'm going to make a list of the things I need to still accomplish before I could consider my eating habits more or less "normal".

- I need to keep introducing variety into my meals, and STICK to eating a variety of things. (I tend to eat a "fear food" once and then pat myself on the back and keep eating the way I am "used to")
- I need to learn to eat what other people cook.
- I need to stop obsessing over eating only "healthy" foods.
- I need to learn to admit to myself when I like certain foods, even when I feel they are "unsafe". (Case in point. I like cheese. I know I like the taste of cheese. Do I eat cheese on a regular basis? Other then cottage cheese- nope. I tell myself I don't like it, but I do. My ED tells me that I don't)
- I need to learn not to fear social situations and what I will face in them.
- I need to stop thinking about my food so much.
- I need to stop looking at my stomach in the mirror after eating food.
- I need to stop analyzing each meal after I've eaten it and wonder if I've eaten the suggested portion size.
- I need to stop alienating myself from people. I need to force myself to go out and be sociable.

Wow, quite a list. Now it's time to do something about it. I'm going to let all this information settle in and I'm going to work on tackling each of those points. Not all at once of course - small definite goals that I will post here.

Back to the title of my post. Why do people rub salt in a wound? Well one reason is to disinfect it, to help it heal. It's excruciatingly painful, but it does help. Just like taking these steps. They will hurt, cause anxiety, push me past my comfort zone. But they will heal me and help me live a more healthy, happy, productive life. And if it takes a little pain, so be it.

If you find a path with no obstacles, it's probably a path that doesn't lead any where.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Challenge to change.

Gosh, I've been soooo tired lately by the time the evening rolls around. I've been feeling pretty good recently, no strong stomach pains, so I run around all day and by the evening all I feel like doing is vegging out and reading a good book or watching something (such as SYTYCD :P). But today I feel like it's a good day to get some of my thoughts on "paper", even if it's just for the sake of crystallizing them in my own mind.
My mom asked me about my weight today. I honestly don't like my family being SO involved in my recovery, because it makes our relationship strained and tense. They don't really understand all that an ED entails, and they tend to "lecture" as opposed to offer support. So although I love them to no end, this is a part of my life I prefer not to share with them. At the same time I imagine myself in their shoes and I can't help but understand their view point. Of course they worry. If my child all of a sudden just started loosing weight drastically, with serious medical consequences involved, I wouldn't be able to just walk around and pretend like everything is ok. Especially if I knew that it wasn't something I could just "stop" and that there was a serious mental illness that motivated her actions. An illness that a hospital couldn't cure, and that I was completely powerless to stop.
Here's the thing, in my recovery so far ( a little over two months) I've gained very little - 1 kg to be exact. Now I know I'm doing better eating wise then I have since I developed an ED. Maybe not so much in the foods I choose to eat (I'm still scarred of a lot of foods) but more in my attitudes towards it. I allow myself to enjoy food now, instead of eating because I'm forced to (like I did when I was in IP).I WILLINGLY CHOOSE to eat. I'm slowly letting go of my controlling attitudes and rituals, unlike in the hospital where I simply "modified" my eating habits so that they complied with the rules. I developed some new habits too, like timing the amount of time I would eat certain foods, eating only at certain times and needing to be the last one sitting at the table. All those rules are out the window now, and I feel much freer. On the other hand, it's not showing with my weight. To my parents and friends I might as well not be making any progress since I'm not really gaining. I know about these barriers I'm breaking, but they don't. My mom and I discussed this today, and she said it's important that I do both - overcome my controlling mindsets and gain weight. But I feel right now that I can only really focus on one at a time, or at least I need to rely on supplement to help me with my weight gain. I get the impression that she thinks I'm not trying hard enough and I should get over myself and "just eat everything already" so I can gain some weight. She thinks using supplements is like "cheating". But it's unfair to just generalize my struggle like that, because there's so much going on that they don't see. On the other hand I might not be pushing myself hard enough, because if I was I should see progress. So where's the balance? What should I do now? I WANT to make progress, not only with my mindsets and habits but with my weight gain too. I want to show the people around me that I AM fighting. It's just so frustrating because it seems like no matter what I do, it's never enough. There must be a way...

I'm open to any suggestions you followers might have to offer. I really do want to be better and do better, so feel free to share anything that might be helpful to me at this point. I appreciate it :).

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Don't have much time, but I hate to leave this blog on a negative note for so long.
Things have been better- I have been fighting and some new possibilities might be opening up for me in the near future. So I'm looking forward to tomorrow and all it will bring.

Also a good friend got in back contact with me. I've been feeling sort of "abandoned" recently, and my ED mindset of taking every situation with a negative slant on me made me think that she didn't want to be in touch with me because of all of my issues. BULLSHIT (and I'm so happy to be saying this)! She had issues of her own to deal with, so we'll be supporting each other through our rough times. She's a wonderfully positive person, so I'm hoping some of that good energy can rub off on me.

To summarize I'm still here, I'm still fighting and the future is looking brighter then ever.

Friday, September 3, 2010

How I'm feeling.

The day was generally good, the evening has been worse. I'm feeling triggered, sad, depressed. I didn't even eat all that much, but I'm feeling guilty over a cup of juice. JUICE!!! I thought I was past this point. But I realize something - my "guilt" is triggered by something other then food. Right now I feel like my life is pointless, unimportant and going no where. More terrifyingly I feel strangely distant; like I'm watching someone else going through the motions of life. I want to be alone, I want to sleep and not wake up till all my problems are gone. I'm distancing myself from people. Not physically as much as mentally. I just sat for over half an hour in a room full of loud, laughing, ALIVE people, and that just made me feel more lonely and numb.
There is something to be learned from this though. I am now able to analyze my feelings and figure out what is triggering me. I also am thinking logically enough to figure out that purging or exercising will not make me feel any better. This goes deeper then just eating and food. Something in my life has to change and it will. Today I don't feel strong enough, but tomorrow I will.
I WILL be strong, I will fight.Maybe I don't believe I want any of these things now, maybe in some dark corner of my mind I long for the relative comfort of my ED. But when all is said and done not eating and exercising till I was exhausted did not make me happy. It never has and it never will.

Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow will be better. Every day as I ignore these voices they will fade just a little bit more and some day they will be gone - forever. And I will be free.

I Believe

I believe in the sun
even when it's not shining;
I believe in love
even when I feel it not;
I believe in God,
even when He is silent

Loving this song right now:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I am a fighter – and the feeling is AMAZING.

So today I am officially proud of myself. Today I took a massive step toward recovery, a few in fact. For one, I tackled a major fear food – pasta. Not only that, but I was faced with a choice between whole wheat and white. I chose the “white pasta” because I knew that it was one of my biggest fear foods, especially since it's not “healthy”. But I ate it and I discovered 3 things :
- pasta fills me up very quickly
- it gives me horrible cramps and stomach pains
- and I don't like it all that much
But I ate it, without anyone in any way prodding me. And guess what, it's a damn good feeling. I was so full afterward I felt like purging – I didn't. That feeling lasted all afternoon, I fought on. And yes, I still ate afterwards even though it wasn't a good feeling. I've been in bed almost all day with a water bottle pressed to my stomach, and I've been taking pain killers. But so what! Today I looked my fears in the eye and said “Fuck you!”, and they pretty much disappeared. I'm so happy I took that step and proved to myself I could do it.

So I guess that's all for today, still struggling to get through a cup of juice so I can get my needed calories. Can't wait for tomorrow and all the new challenges that await (not to mention that this nasty feeling in my stomach will disappear) – and I really mean that.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I think I'm stuck in a rut.

I haven't posted in a while, but I've been away. I spent the weekend over at my friends and then I've been sick since I got back :( The weather here has been horrible (verrry cold and rainy) and I don't deal with both those elements very well. I was feeling so weak yesterday, it was horrible. I was shivering and I couldn't get warm. And yes, I think that is a result of my low weight (I'm working on that for the record). I came home and ate some hot soup and felt a BIT better. I have no idea what was wrong with me. I did something pretty cool yesterday though. I ate a ham and cheese sandwich - two of my fear foods- without any guilt involved. I think I was too cold and weak to care really. Whatever the reason was I broke a big barrier and I'm happy :)
I think I'm in a bit of a food rut. I eat pretty much the same things day after day. Granted, they're not low calorie foods, but they're still foods I feel secure eating. They don't push me past my comfort zone and so I know I can eat them without guilt. But isn't that bad? There should not be "good" and "bad" foods. All food is the same, it's all good because it's something your body needs. There are healthier and less healthy foods, but that doesn't make them good or bad. Plus a lot of healthy foods I am scarred of such as: avocado, nuts, olive oil. All these foods have numerous health benefits, but I'm still scarred of eating them. And that is something I have to change.
I need to work on challenging this mindset and keep pushing myself to try new things. I can't simply stick to my safe foods, I need to keep pushing myself. But how?
If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, I'd appreciate the input.

Tomorrow I'm going to try overnight oats soaked in juice with full fat yogurt (sounds scary). We'll see how eating them goes. To be honest I'm not sure if I'l be able to because the yogurt has a weird consistency and it looks a bit unappetizing, but we'll see if I can get past the looks and enjoy it.