Trusting The Process With a Trust Problem

If not now, then when?

The question was enough to fuel my morning drive to work.

Recovery has been filling my mind and thoughts, probably more than it should.

Life is going great, I have no more stress than the next person,

A good job                                          an awesome dog

A warm apartment                          a running car                      supportive friends

Coffee                                                  benefits                               paid time off

The ability to run

Why does my recovery want to take a sudden stop?

I don’t think it was sudden, it never is, but the restricting became more and more, until my list of foods was as depleted as my ability to fight ED off.

I’ve begun seeing a nutritionist, after months and months of putting it off, not wanting to go, etc. I like her, she is a believer and advocate of HAES, believes in intuitive eating. Overall, I have enjoyed the experience.

Yet the battle in my head is still raging.

It isn’t as easy as the “talking back” that I hear others talk about so frequently. No, for me, it has to be factual.

Which kinda fueled the internal dialogue this morning.

On more than one occasion I have been in a room of people struggling with their Eating Disorders, whether it be in treatment, support groups, wherever.

I look around, (and no, this is not going where you think it is going), and sometimes I am almost the oldest in the room, sometimes I am practically the youngest. When I am at the upper range of age I remember being their age, being so filled of denial, and so full of my eating disorder.

When there are people much older than me, I think of that is how I want my life to be at their age?

Should my life be focused on my body and eating disorder when:

I have kids

Get married

Start another job

My kids are grown up

My siblings get married

So, if not now, then when?

I also have “Trust the Process” tattooed on my wrist, to remind me of recovery.

I’m struggling with following my meal plan given to me, and it is so difficult to listen to my body when I am hungry and not feel the need to run first in order to “earn” the food that my body needs.

I am telling myself that I wouldn’t want someone to tell/question me on how to do my job, so then why am I questioning and fighting her so much?

She knows what she is talking about and is on my side, so why am I fighting her?

I need to focus on Trusting the Process.

I may not always enjoy it or find it easy, but I’ve been here before.

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Exploded Recovery

Lately, my recovery has seemed to just have exploded.

I am not saying this is a happy go lucky, I’m cured, kinda scenario.

On the contrary, I do not eat breakfast every day. I don’t eat 6x a day and track my meal plan. I haven’t measured out my food in a long time. And hell, sometimes I have a bowl of cereal for dinner.

What I am saying though, is that I no longer turn down food based on their calories or power and fear they have over me.

I have eaten cookies for breakfast, but had a salad for lunch, but those two are no longer connected in my mind. I eat what I want, when I want. If I just ate a half hour ago, and my stomach is growling, I drink some water, and pull out a larabar.

I still exercise, and the voice is still there, but it is no longer the loud screaming, jagged tooth beast demanding my every action. It is now like a snide child who hasn’t gotten it’s way and makes jabs when it can, “I mean, you did just exercise, you probably shouldn’t have breakfast.” “Or,” I’d retort back, “I have some awesome avocado toast waiting with my name on it.” It doesn’t always make the voice go away, and I don’t always make the correct choice, but I do the next right thing.

That also doesn’t mean that my body image is all rainbows and sunshine every day, but I am learning to accept my body and realize that restricting won’t do me any good, and eating one cookie won’t hurt me.

I may still turn food down, but it is because I genuinely don’t want it. Not because my Eating Disorder doesn’t want me to have it.

Do what you can, even if it means a snack! Feel free to reach out!

College and Eating Disorder

First, I wanted to apologize.

The days of class I skipped.

The days I couldn’t pay attention.

Or, the days when I would skip your class, and you would catch me running around campus walking back to your office.

It wasn’t that I didn’t care, it was that I was just more consumed with burning calories and making my Eating Disorder happy that I didn’t want to sit in class.

I didn’t want you to take my struggle as apathy or anything like that, and for the professors that did know about my struggle, I’m thankful for all that you did.

It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to go to class, I physically didn’t have the energy to be there. I was freezing, exhausted, and all I wanted to do was go out and run this anxiety off. Running was more important to me than school, studying, or any sort of life.

Classmates would comment on how athletic I am, and how impressed they were at the distances I was running and how often I went to the gym. (Little did they know I had eaten an apple in maybe two days, and the violent shakes were from the Hydroxycut, not the coffee like I told people.) They didn’t see the girl who laid in her bed crying because of her electrolytes and her legs were locked up again, or the girl who ran to the toilet at 2 am because I had taken the laxatives too early and was up in the middle of the night.

College just seems like one big blur to me. Life was a half-hearted perfunctory routine of get up, run, go to class, run, go to work, maybe go to the gym, and start all over again.

Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with one of my professors. I had her class during the semester that I left for treatment. We sat outside, laughed and caught up on all that we had missed. She told me that I looked happy and she was so proud of me. That, was what I needed to hear. That I didn’t disappoint her, or had somehow failed at being a “normal” college student.

She went on to say that she talks about me frequently, how I never asked for special treatment, and did continue to show up and do well in her class. The only thing I ever asked was if I could take my final early, (I was admitted on finals week).

I was honest and told her that while I was in her class I was consuming more diet pills and laxatives than actual food, she shook her head in a concerning way.

The most difficult was a male professor, only because my senior research also included a food log, which I was sure would lead to me failing my senior research if I didn’t have any data to actually document. He was very understanding, and I missed half of the following semester since I was still in treatment. Returning in March to his Biostatistics class, he was shocked and surprised to see me walk in the door. I had three tests to make up, multiple practicals, and I was determined. He was willing to work with me and said I could take an incomplete and finish the semester when I was feeling better. I told him I was supposed to graduate this semester, and I wanted to catch up.

I did, I finished school on time and graduated on time, missing half of a semester of Biostatistics, Virology, and Biochemistry.

I am very thankful to have the support I did through my academic career. Both of those professors actually wrote me letters of recommendation. They believed in me, even when I didn’t think I could.

Eating Disorders Impact Loved Ones, Not Just the Individual

I’ve been told, more times than I can count, that I need to “get mad at ED.”

The crazy thing is, I just can’t get mad at his impact on my life. It helped me cope, for years! Gave me something to cling to.

Would I go back in time and change it all? No, I’ve learned a lot.

Would I voluntarily go through it all again? Not Likely At All.

I am annoyed though. For the hell and havoc it put the people close to me through.

Unable to go out to eat with my best friend. Her standing outside the bathroom door while I puke on the cruise. Her concern for me and watching me day in and day out run and abuse her best friend. Watching me pick at the salad during our family dinners, or the look on her face when I make eye contact after I come out of the bathroom, ashamed of what I had just done. On our beach trips, when I would still get up and force myself to run, or would leave the hotel room at ten at night to go to the gym in an attempt to burn off what I had consumed.

To my brother, who no longer went on sushi dates with his sister because I was no longer able to keep it down. Fear of rice, cream cheese and by this point, foods in general. I never meant for this to get to you. You would ask me when we would go out, I would make up any excuse in the book. Please know, I was never avoiding you, I was avoiding food.

My dear sister, I hope you learn from my mistakes. Our 5k races were the highlight of our weekends. Do not run and work out because you “have to”, I want you to love and enjoy it. I hope and pray I never pushed you too hard or too far.

Mom, we had our ups and downs, many downs. You didn’t want me to go to treatment, I know this, you made it clear. ED became more important than you, or even life. I skipped Thanksgiving this year, and it meant a lot that you were understanding of it. Knowing I was in a good place, but didn’t want to put myself in that situation.

YOU, on the other hand, I’m not sure if I can ever forgive you. As long as I can remember you were my life, I was your princess. Grandma, you supported me when, at the age of 5, I wanted to be a vet. You believed in me at 13 when I wanted to become a lawyer. Thrilled, when I decided at 19 to pursue dentistry.

Then, practically disowned me at the age of 21, when I went into treatment. That was when I needed your love and support the most. We still haven’t talked and I’m not sure if our relationship will ever be the same. I think you hated ED more than I ever could. You were angry with my eating disorder and took it out on me.

To my professors, I never meant to worry you. Commenting on how I’m getting smaller, passing me on campus while I’m running, even though you just left the class of yours that I skipped- again. Some of you went so far to physically drive me to a restaurant for lunch just so you could watch me eat and help. I picked at the veggies. There was the time you offered me your lunch, “as long as you’ll actually eat it.” I declined your offer. Your support to keep me on track while doing school while in treatment. The shock some of you had when you realized I hadn’t dropped my classes, and was still scheduled to graduate on time. Yet, you guys believed in me and sing my praises to current students.

T, the times I was doing well, and the times that kicked my ass, you were there. You are so supportive, encouraging, and my biggest advocate. Sometimes it’s all I can do to not call you just crying, so unsure of myself and decisions. I fear you will think I’m too wishy-washy for recovery. ED has dug his claws into our relationship too many times. I visualize you doing the dance and cheers when things are good, and a disappointed lowering shake of the head when it’s bad. It is scary to question you own (well, seemingly own) thoughts and doubt your own capabilities.

You’ve seen the scars, the tears, the successes. We’ve gone on walks, gone to breakfast, lunch, given me reading material. ED still wants to fuck with you and I’m sorry.

There comes a time where you have to want recovery for yourself and your life- I’m there. I want a happy, fulfilling life, without an eating disorder. I’m scared to be given up on, lose faith in me. One day you will wake up and no longer care. ED will pipe up and blame my weight for the reason you left.

I can’t even write down the words, “I’m sorry” doesn’t cover it, and guilt doesn’t fully describe it.

When I take a step back, it hurts me to see how much ED has impacted you all.

That is what bothers me the most.

I was unable to hide it and protect you all from the ugly wrath of ED.

Left only to my imagination of the exhausting feelings you are left with after an encounter with my eating disorder and I. Being annoyed and hurt by my blatant snarky sass. Wanting to help while simultaneously wanting to throw your hands in the air in defeat. The uncertain feeling of helplessness. Wanting to help, to make it better, wishing it to go away for me. Yet, unable to do so. Knowing that through it all, it is left to me and my decision.

When your support and influence impact my next decision, I hope you feel a glimmer of hope, knowing I’m still under there.

 

Orthorexia or Veganism

 

Where is that line between health conscious and orthorexic? Where does that line become crossed?

Yes, I am a huge animal advocate, I believe in not being cruel to animals. The way they are treated, mishandled, neglected and abused is awful. The hormones that are not only in the food, but that are also given to the animals (such as cows).

I also know I suffer from an Eating Disorder and have many fear foods, some of which are cheese meat. I have an issue with knowing what is in my food and the ingredients in it. When I was eating meat, I would lean on the side of caution, and was cautious of what went into the products. I was finally beginning to eat some certain cheeses, until I read “Whitewash”. It made me think, as well as a new perspective on dairy products and the dairy industry.

It really made me think what the intention behind this decision is. Am I doing this out of a disordered mindset, or for health conscious reasons? So I began to explore the internet for articles. One of them is called Mindfully Bliss, and she says, “Even some healthy foods frighten you and it takes up most of your time thinking and stressing about it.” Which is so true, then she says, “I know I am fine because I can eat raw vegan one day, then have vegan cupcakes and cookies the next.” (http://mindfullybliss.com/veganism-or-orthorexia/).

Then, my favorite, which I have probably read four times already, it is on neontommy.com. Titled, “Orthorexia is more than vegans gone overboard.” Find it here and see for yourself! http://www.neontommy.com/news/2014/11/orthorexia-more-vegans-gone-overboard

“Orthorexics may even eliminate foods from their diet that aren’t necessarily unhealthy, but are blamed for weight gain, such as fats or carbohydrates.” It states,

Sorry, but this entire paragraph is just too good to not use:

However, there are many major differences between the two eating styles that people fail to note. One, is that there are many products that are vegan that are not necessarily “clean.” Companies have created vegan chocolate bars, vegan ice cream and many vegan baked goods. In addition to this, numerous “junk” foods were made vegan unintentionally, such as Cracker Jacks, 7-Eleven snack pies, Fritos, Lay’s potato chips, Swedish fish and even Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili flavored chips. Vegans who choose their diets for ethical reasons will have no problem indulging in guilty pleasures, as long as they weren’t made at the cost of animal wellbeing. A person suffering from orthorexia would not touch many of the foods that are fair game for vegans. Likewise, there are some things that an orthorexic person may deem okay, like nonfat milk, cheese and low sodium meat that a vegan would decline.

I hate to admit this, but this entire paragraph didn’t just speak volumes to me, it screamed, yelled, sent off smoke signals and even fire alarms. I definitely understand the ethical reasons and making sure that they weren’t made from animals, because of the way they are treated. At the same time though, I also have an enormous fear of “Cracker Jacks, snack pies, Fritos, Lay’s potato chips, Swedish fish…” you get the idea. “A person suffering from orthorexia would not touch many of the foods that are fair game for vegans.”

This is what I ultimately aim for, “It was bad, but it wasn’t until I discovered veganism that all these negative thoughts and obsessions went away and my mind could finally be at peace.” I can eat, be mindful and enjoy what I eat, without all of the stress associated to meat and animal products. Does this mean though that I am just using this as an excuse for my orthorexic tendencies? Or am I merely a vegan who is recovering from an eating disorder?

Lunch With My Professor -Take 2

As my last class of the day came to a close I made my way across campus and up the many flights of stairs to Dr. A’s office. She sat there, waiting for me to arrive. Much like the first time we had lunch together she asked me if I had decided where I want to eat, much like the first time I said I wasn’t sure and hadn’t decided. I mentioned a few places where I knew I could manage to eat something.  She threw out one place, not far from campus at all. I said I hadn’t gone there before but to me it looked like bar food that would be really greasy.  Dr. A nodded in agreement and said ok, then that other place sounds good, with outdoor seating.

With that decision out of the way I offered to drive this time, that way she didn’t have to give up her parking spot. She caved and said ok.  We weren’t even to the car yet and she started making comments about my run tomorrow, how her sons both do triathalons and they “carb load” before their stuff and asked how that sounded.  I told her it sounded stressful.

So, anyway, skip ahead to lunch. We were sitting outside at a nice little place. She ordered, I ordered. As I sat there eating my grapes and pineapple and Dr. A was snacking on her salad, the waiter brought us a basket of rolls. She had one and mentioned how good they were, how soft and warm they were. I smiled, acknowledging I heard her, and continued on my grapes. After another few minutes she made another comment about “These great rolls, and you really should….”  I grabbed one just to shut her up. After our meals came I picked at the chicken and fruit and the roll, Dr. A began to eat her lunch. We talked about my siblings, her travel, dogs, sports…. then it came. I was blind sided, back handed, taken back and shocked at the same time.

“Have you heard of Karen Carpenter? Probably not, from The Carpenters.”

“Oh yeah! I’ve heard of them.”

“She was so pretty, a singer, died really young because of a heart attack brought on by anorexia. You don’t want that to happen to you.”

“Yeah. I know. The last time we got lunch, sitting just next to us was my cardiologist I was referred to a while back.”

“Good! Well, not good, but…”

“I know. My best friend is trying to get me to go get blood work because of my leg cramps.”

“Are you taking vitamins?”

“No. I’m figuring it is just potassium.”

“Oh. Gosh.  That’s what I was thinking, but you don’t want problems with your heart.”

After I picked at lunch a little more she made a comment about not eating a lot, I once again, told her I couldn’t, but that I would get a to-go box.  Overall, this lunch outing was also very nice, and I appreciate having someone like Dr. A in my life, even though she cares more about me than I do.

“We don’t have anything here to fit you.”

“Are you shopping for you or someone else?”
Uhm, us, well, me.
“Oh, well, we aren’t going to have anything in here to fit you…..”
My eyes darted from her body to mine, and back to hers. “What was I missing?” I thought to myself. I thought her and I were about the same size. I don’t understand. No, this isn’t some Abercrombie and Fitch fat shaming. 
“….our store starts at a size 12.”

————-

Shopping sucks, I haven’t eaten in about a week. Even with this ED I recently fell into a great article about thin privilege.Unfortunately, it is so true. I don’t get judged for eating something, hell, at this point people praise me and cry when I eat. I get attention at stores. If I want pants or a shirt it is almost always in stock, and I have the ability to get it for fairly cheap. The only one who judges my body seems to be me. Yeah, I’ve heard it all from “fat ass” to “chicken legs”. I have never been called petite or tiny until this year. I have lost quite a bit of weight.  I don’t have any pants that fit, no bras besides sports bras.
I am jealous.
Jealous of the girls who wear whatever they want.
Jealous of the girls who see food as food and not as numbers.
Jealous of the girls who are bigger than me, but radiate, just absolutely RADIATE self confidence.
I want that. I want confidence. To not wake up in the morning and hate myself.
To wear something other than yoga pants, running shorts and sweats and not hate my body.
 
 
C, called me today to see if I had pursued anyone/anything/any place else for treatment or made an appointment. I didn’t have much to say. I slept all of maybe four hours last night. I ate for the first time in six days yesterday. My best friend kinda forced me to, then told me, “If you have to go to the bathroom it’s ok.”  Wait, did my best friend just give me permission to throw up? Should I be pissed or thrilled? Excited or appalled? ….going off on a tangent, oops…. So, I ate a little, threw up what I could, but woke up in the middle of the night with muscle spasms and my stomach being pissed as hell that I had eaten. I was curled up in pain, regretting eating at all. Fucking food. So, anyway, C, called. I told her I hadn’t much thought about it, the ED specialist was only there one day a week and because of work and school that is literally the one day I can’t go. She threw out a couple of options. I mentioned possibly going to something on campus, she threw out the idea of coming to her office. Either way she was really pushing the fact that I need to go somewhere or do something. My best friend was standing right there while I was on the phone. Didn’t bother me one bit. She sat there silently as C went on about scheduling an appt, dr appt, something. I told her that my best friend was really pushing residential during December, “That would be great, if we can keep you healthy that long.” gee thanks…. 
On the plus side, I actually bought pants yesterday. Bought my plane ticket for Thanksgiving! I am so tired. Hate headaches. My legs are still cramping. Dysmorphia and ED are both bitches. 

—————-

Employee at another store:
“Can I help you find something? Oh girl, try this. These would look great. What size pants are you?”
“I have no clue.” 
“Well, it’s gonna be itty bitty whatever it is.”

There Is A Good Chance I Didn’t Eat

I had almost like a realization today. 
I spend a lot of my time sassing people and telling them, “I EAT!” “I DO EAT!” “I ATE!” 
Something like eating should go without saying.
If I have to say it, stress it, reiterate it so many times during the day to make a point, then chances are, I probably am not eating. 
If it is to the point that the people around me during the day have to make a point to say something, then I’m probably not eating.
If my boss has to check and see if I ate, I probably am not eating. 
My potential boyfriend messages me after the gym to see if I ate. 
He pushes food on me, she pushes food on me, they want me to eat.
All of these people don’t see me eat. 
Yet, I will swear and stand by the fact, “I did eat! I do eat!” 
Smokers don’t have to tell you they smoke, you know.
My sister doesn’t have to tell me she showered, I just know.
An alcoholic doesn’t have to tell you they are sober, you know. 
If I have to reiterate the fact that “I ate!” When these people have been around me all day.
There is a good chance that I didn’t eat.