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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Life is Funny Like That

Life is funny like that.

Not funny like when you and your best friend share an inside joke that leaves you both hysterically crying and red in the face. More like a funny that leaves you painfully grinning, forcing fake laughter, while you silently mouth the words, “fuck me” to the nearest person.

Yeah, life is funny that way.

First, I found myself at lunch with coworkers the Friday before Christmas. Looking around, I noticed I stood out like a sore thumb; being, I was the only female there. (Yay a job in the STEM field, AmIRightThough?….)

Today, I had a scheduled phone interview set for 9 am. Arriving to work at my usual time of 5 am, leaving me ample time to check my emails, reread methods, protocols, gather my reagents and prepare for my validation I was testing. Only to find out, half of my stuff was still frozen in the -80˚C ultrafreezer, and half of the method didn’t agree with the protocol. So, at 8:50, I found myself sitting in my manager’s office, checking my math, asking questions about the protocol, while he typed up an email.

My phone on vibrate in my lab coat. Waiting.

I made it out into the hallway quick enough to answer my phone. “Here it is” I thought to myself, and took a deep breath.

Overall, the interview wasn’t bad. Midway through a separate manager comes out in the hallway and whispers, “Do you have a minute?” He understood, and gave me a “don’t worry about it” wave of the hand and walked away.

So, you may ask, What is worse than being interrupted during a phone interview by one of your current managers?

Being told when you return to your desk that the boss of our entire department is able to hear everything people say out in that area because of how the walls were built.

Excellent.

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.

Who, Not What, Are You.

Who are you?

If someone was to ask you who you were what would you say?

Would you identify yourself with your flaws?

Would you identify yourself with the size pants you wear?

“I am _______.”

How would you fill that?

The world has told us to fit molds, stereotypes and to hold certain expectations.

As if your importance and worth in the world is somehow based on how you look; and God forbid we are open about our struggles and flaws, which could somehow make us less human or less worthy.

Who you are is not:

                What you do.

                A label set by others.

                A diagnosis.

                Mistakes you made.

Why would I accept a label set on me by others?

                I don’t walk up to someone and say, “Hi, I am a recovering anorexic.”

“Hello, I am anxious.”

                                “Good afternoon, I am depressed.”

Honestly, to me, this doesn’t sound bad. It would be more real. People may stop hiding behind the taboo shame that comes with these labels.

But, these labels, regardless of what they are, are not WHO we are.

I’m gonna say that again for the people in the back….

                Regardless of what these labels are, THEY ARE NOT WHO WE ARE.

We’ve all got something

I am a firm believer in “everyone has something” and I admire when people are open and vulnerable about their story.

I met a man at the dog park the other day and he also got his degree in biology and works in umbilical cord cells and tissues for a large company.

We talked about his two dogs who were rescues, and how he is now a grandfather because his son and wife had their first child.

He went on to tell me how him and his wife spend their winter in Arizona, but come back to Pennsylvania to take care of his mom with dementia. Through his story he maintained a good attitude and even cracked a few jokes.

His mom had refused to have any “strangers” in their house, which included nurses, therapists anyone, and in turn, every time him and his wife hired somebody, they usually lasted a couple days and then she would fire them.

He told them that the next time  she fired them, to ignore her and come back the next day.

 

My coworker, who has a smile on his face and looks out for me and invites me to lunch with them, just told me the other day that his mom had been diagnosed with cancer in January and was too tired and drained to travel for the holiday weekend.

 

Another coworker deals with his rude wife, while also taking care of his sick mother. He is probably mid fifties, and will take her to her “day camp”. My heart sinks for him when his phone continuously rings through out the day. I feel like he can’t get a breath or catch a break.

 

My high school teacher, who helped bring me closer and stronger in my faith, is unable to get pregnant, and her father shot her mom then turned the gun on himself. Even through all of this her faith is unwavering and I look up to her so much.

 

My best friend struggles with depression, and I love her more than anything.

It may be completely weird, but I love hearing about others’ stories, where they came from, and how they are managing.

 

Use Your “Science Mind”

There are umpteen articles out there that are titled, “What Not To Say To Someone With An Eating Disorder.” Or “What to Say to Someone Recovering.” “How to talk to someone with an eating disorder.” “What is acceptable to say to someone with an eating disorder.” Etc, the list goes on and on, some are probably titled the same thing, with a different font, different capitalization, different spelling.

One thing that I have been told, on more than one occasion, is to use my “science brain”. Some background on me, I hate compliments, hate positive affirmations even more, and was able to finish school and graduate, while spending half of my final semester in residential.

I am a Biology Major, with a Chemistry Minor. After graduation I got a job offer several states away, after interviewing, weighing my options, and looking at the hefty benefits that went along with it, I took the offer. I am currently working as a Biochemist, specializing in HPLC Method and Development. All of this to say, I have been called “smart” for as long as I can remember. I am nothing more than average. I got a C in Inorganic Chemistry, passed Virology with a disheartening B, and that is nothing to the hell I endured through Cell and Molecular Biology, with a professor I referred to as “Dr. Douche Fuck.” (Only behind his back, of course).

So, when people tell me to use my “science brain”, it, well, it pisses me off.

Yes, I can tell you that carbohydrates are needed for the cell, as well as lipids, protein, etc. I can tell you glycolysis, the one letter amino acid codes, the vitamins and what the body uses each for. Logically, I know food is fuel, that you can’t gain anymore than you consume, I know basal metabolic rate.

I know people die from eating disorders.

My science mind is great and useful for information about health, bacteria, the works. My mind is also great at using denial and deception, along with ED. I believe that I am the exception, I believe that it will never happen to me. I spent years in denial, I craved my morning runs and the lifting, I still don’t believe I’ve done any long term damage to my body. To some morbid degree, that bothers me.

I wish I could sit here and tell you that I was the frail, feeble, weakling with the feeding tube. Knees knocking as I wait for the elevator because I am unable to climb one flight of stairs. That I had some miraculous story to tell.

I don’t.

I fight with myself and my body daily. Wishing I was thinner, that my stretch marks would go away, that my thigh gap was more obvious and my collar bone would protrude a little more.

It is very difficult sitting in program, in a room full of sick people, comparing my body to theirs. She may not be allowed to take the stairs. He may need help carrying his tray.

Me? I did 5 miles before program. I did push ups, I did crunches. You name it.

I am the heaviest patient in the room, I am nearly sure of it.

I wouldn’t say I am “ok” with it- but I am accepting of this fact.

I could probably also dead lift their body weight no problem.

It is this morbid sense of comparison that is so difficult to me. You are the heaviest one here. Yeah, but I lift and run. Or are you justifying the reason you are fat? No, I tell myself. I wonder how they see me though.

ED’s never ceasing manipulation.

Hershey- Not the kisses

Hey guys!

It’s been a while. Life has continued, the dog and I are still getting settled, and not sure where I left off on the blog.

So, I think I officially have a boyfriend, he is super great, super supportive. Also good looking. We talked about ED, figured I’d give him time to jump off the crazy train, but he hasn’t. We will go out to eat, he has spent the night. I really like him. He went to Florida this week, but will be home soon.

I found an ED support group and have been going to that once a week. Life has been great, my eating- not so much. After going to the group a few times, and enjoying it, I checked in with a few people, and didn’t think the group was enough support and accountability for where I am. My restricting got worse, my purging became the worst it has been in a long, long time.

So, with a loving push, I made an appointment at the Hershey Penn State ED facility. I wore my heaviest boots, three shirts and a hoodie, and walked into the office. We talked for a while about the usual introductory stuff, my family, my eating disorder, the behaviors, treatment, etc. She thought I needed to stop running and eat “at least add a tiny bit more…”, stop taking the diet pills. You have othostatic hypotension….. yeah, that was fun.

I finally thought I was about done. ED was still sitting in the front of my mind reminding me of how fat I was, how I didn’t, and shouldn’t, be here. The doctor turned to me, handed me a gown and asked me to change for a blind weight.

Ah, FUCK. Nobody said anything about a gown.

So, did that.

I was expecting some kind of nice rejection speech, “You don’t fit the criteria.” “I am sorry, but…” Anything that would reinforce the fact that I’m not sick nor skinny.

“Just curious, what was your lowest.” Uhh, I don’t know, probably between xxx and xyz.

“Ok, well you are sitting at xxx right now.  I don’t think outpatient will be enough. I’d strongly suggest PHP.”

Oh hell no, I thought. I don’t have time for that shit. I moved to PA to start a life and career, not go back into treatment.

I explained that my work schedule would not allow that.

“Well, I think IOP would be a good start. They have dinner together, group….”

 

Sorry guys, I’m getting bored and stressed writing about this…. I start IOP tomorrow.

On my fun-o-meter, IOP is sitting somewhere between Dentist and Gynecologist….

Besides ED, my life is great. Support group, making friends, boyfriend. I feel kinda useless at work still, but I love being a BioChemist…. Dang, so nerdy. Love it.

 

Anyway,

Trust the Process!!

Terrible Twenty-Twos

 

Overall, life is going great.

I can throw on the fake smile and explain to you how crazy it feels to have a career starting.

A career as a Biochemist.

Honestly, How fucking cool is that?

I can sit here and tell you about this guy. Not just the first date we went on, but two, within three days. How he makes me laugh, his gorgeous eyes and teeth.

I’ll go ahead and tell you how I love my apartment.

Candles,

Decorating,

Cleaning.

I’d even go so far as to take a picture of my fridge and all of the fresh produce in it and post it on social media, with the caption, “Not gonna lie, my fridge makes me happy.”

I can also sit here and tell you I ate under 800 calories today.

That the thought of buying laxatives and diet pills flooded my brain, more than once.

Feeling constantly torn and pulled in two completely opposite directions.

Thinking about higher calorie foods I need to                                                                                                       get, so I can get the calories in.

Then making a bet with myself                                                                                                                           I can go the rest of the week without eating.

It has gotten to the point where I just don’t want to talk about it.

It annoys me,

it annoys K,

it annoys T.

I am waiting for them to say the “Just fucking eat.”                                                                                                                 Cure all remedy.

Not to be mean, but just because they are out of things to say.

This is how I imagine a two year old would have a fit.

In this case, it is a recipe, of pure denial, mixed with shame, sprinkled with a dash of apathy.

But hey, I can act like a two year old, ignore it, get upset when it gets brought up.

Then, act like a twenty two year old and completely immerse myself into my work to avoid anything else.

Beginning of the Year. 2015 vs 2016

1/7/2015

Monday was weigh in, new admits, and a lot of nothing.

Tuesday, Vanessa woke M and I up early for another weigh in. We were both freaking the hell out.

After Treatment team had their meeting M found out she was going home.

They had searched our rooms and M got caught water loading. I was pretty upset about it and miss her.

It is so weird to be the person here the longest. I miss B too, but guess I need to focus on me and getting better.

During T’s group yesterday I got slightly defensive and sassy. Another resident was arguing with T and talking shit about this place. T and everyone here have already done so much for me, to hear someone brand new come in and talk shit really pissed me off.

I told her we were going grocery shopping, everyone has to go, to calm down, etc. T thanked me for piping up.

So, anyway, today. We had yoga and I got super antsy. Yoga Kathy caught me trying to work out. I so badly want to run

We tried to make a grocery list, but it was a chaotic clusterfuck and I got stressed.

Got to carry the Sam’s stuff in through!

Was also put on anti-anxiety, just makes me feel tired.

Sometimes I wonder and get discouraged. Am I even making progress?

1/8/2015

I woke up this morning, I had been dreaming about my kids. I got really melancholy, miss them so much, their hugs, their love, their smiles.

I’m slightly discouraged that people are “passing” me in recovery. I know it isn’t a race, but people that came after me are leaving before me.

The guilt of water loading is still killing me. I had a realization this morning, I miss M, but I’m glad she is gone. I think I miss the familiar faces and the thought of her. She breagged about how many cups of water she had before weigh in, what she hid or smuggled in. I got defensive for her, when she was hiding cups of vomit in her room.

I think I realized I am only cheating or hurting myself and my recovery.

1/9/2015

Today is Saturday, I’m going on pass.

Yesterday, we had a group with T about feelings, emotions, etc. I tried so freaking hard to not cry. It was the hardest group yet, my mind went to New Years, how much I fucked up, all the memories, my home life and the voice of ED.

I looked at T as she lovingly drilled me with uncomfortable questions. Trying so hard not to cry.

I went to my room and just began to bawl.

T came in and saw. We talked for a bit about her group and how it helped, but was so hard.

Everyone left, I went outside and played with Chloe. It was so great to be outside laughing and playing with the dog.

 

2016

This week has probably been one of the hardest.

I went to back to residential, but only to visit and say my goodbyes. I walked in the familiar door, where a bunch of unfamiliar faces greeted me in confusion and curiosity.

Standing right in the doorway, staring through the hall of the house, T came out into the hall.

Literally everything else faded.

I headed down the hall.

Straight into her arms.

T expressed a lot of concern for me moving, and desperately wanted me to take care of myself and eat.

I talked to K, and she was excited for me. I gave her a hard time, and a couple hugs as well.

It is so crazy to me that someone I started off wanting nothing to do with, let alone hugs from, has become my biggest supporter and practically a mom to me. I love her so much, and don’t think I can ever fully express my gratitude for everything she has done.

I have moved from NC to PA.

I knew the transition would be the hardest, but I wasn’t anticipating it to be this rough.

After packing everything up, and an excruciatingly long drive, I am now sitting in my apartment.

It is odd, and still nerve-wracking. I do feel some peace about the situation though.

I am having a very difficult time eating though.

I strongly believe that I am just worried, stressed and nervous, and am restricting to compensate.

It isn’t smart, but it is what I know.

The dog and I go on runs frequently, and I am restricting pretty badly.

I am also fairly certain that my veganism is another way to hide my orthorexic tendencies. It isn’t only about the animals, or just the environment, it also has a lot to do with the chemicals. I have a huge fear of the preservatives inside the food, what else is in the food, and gives me an excuse to avoid fear foods like lunch meat and cheese.

I start my job Monday in a biopharmaceutical lab.

I’m not where I was, but I’m not where I want to be.

Trust the Process!!

xoxox

All in His timing pt. 2

That job I talked about in the last entry, well, I thought I didn’t get it. I received an email that led me to believe they were going with another candidate. I was a little upset at first, but tried to reframe my thinking, and put my trust in God. I told myself that I was to trust Him in the good and the bad. I can’t pray for His will to be done, then get mad when I don’t get what I wanted. I figured He had something better in store, was thankful for my job I currently had, and went on with my life.

Shortly after that email, I fell in love with a rescue dog at the shelter. She was to be sent away just to be put in another shelter. My landlords have a strict no dog or animal policy. I sat and talked with them for a while, promised nothing would happen, was respectful, and the couple gave me the ok. I was shocked honestly, I feared they would say no. The last people in the house had let their dog ruin everything, they would never go for this, especially when they had just remodeled so many aspects of this house. They said yes though!  I was thankful for God’s timing, and that I was able to get her. Figuring this was part of the plan, new job or not.

Then, I received a phone call Monday. I saw that it was from my potential employer. I figured they were calling to make sure I had received the email. I was already preparing myself for the, “We appreciate your time and coming in to see us, but unfortunately we have chosen to go with another candidate….” Speech. So, to my surprise when the voice on the other end said something to the extent of, “We would love to offer you a position here at our company.” I was shocked.

I asked if I could have a couple days to think it over. During this time I prayed that if this wasn’t right to shut the door, or to give me peace about this decision. I made a pro/con list, made a worst/best case scenario list, went over it a thousand times in my head.

Worst case of going, I hate it, I move back.

Best case scenario of taking the job, I love it and so does the dog, and I get a house.

The worst that happens here is that my roommate becomes a total bitch, I lose my dog and things stay the same.

Best case scenario of staying here…. Things pretty much stay the same…

Woah, wait what…. That was pretty much the deciding factor.

Taking this job would mean moving about nine hours away. So far though, everything has been amazing with God’s timing. By not getting the job to begin with, I was able to get my dog. My landlords actually said yes, and I got her. Then. I get offered the job. I hesitated, and still do hesitate about going, but I am trying to keep my faith that this is the right thing.

 

Trust the Process

xoxoxo