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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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.

Looking Back on Life

 When you look back on life, what do you want to remember?

Do you want your life to be a flood of memories, experiences and people?

Is it a timeline of accomplishments/children/or jobs?

What about a timeline of all the programs you have been in?

Thinking back and remembering months at this facility, or when you were in that other program.

Is that what you want your life to be? Just a strung together list of the places you went for treatment?

 

I started IOP at Hershey. It was great for dinner accountability, but I am also thankful that I think something clicked.

Sitting in a room with various people, with different backgrounds, different ages, we shared one common thing, that had us all here for one reason. We, at one point or another, were probably dragged into treatment by the ball and chain that was around our neck, being led into the unfamiliar place by the havoc ED had on our lives.

We went around the room and I listened as people shared their goals.

“Finish school.”    “Get a job.”    “Move.” 

 

Then it came to me.  I wasn’t sure what to say. Something in me clicked. It had occurred to me before, but never like this. I had finished school, I had just started an awesome career as biochemist, and moved about ten hours away.  I felt like this might just be repeat. I needed something bigger, that is not to say these people’s goals were simple, and unimportant, not at all! I had accomplished their goals (which at one time were mine), but now what?   I had moved ten hours to what? Go back into program? 

I cannot have a successful life, or a life at all, while I am immersed in my eating disorder.

It is very disheartening though that there are many people in my life who don’t think I can do this on my own. I have flushed the Hydroxycut, cut down on purging immensely, and am really trying. To hear others say I need to go back to Hershey is discouraging. The hospital food itself is enough to send me into panic mode, when I could be eating stuff I actually enjoy.

That’s about it for now. I have a latte waiting for me.

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!!

Recovering Through Veganism

 

The problem is black and white thinking for me. It is all or nothing. I have the hardest time trying to distinguish healthy patterns from disordered ones.

I try to ask myself what my intentions behind my choices are, but sometimes that doesn’t even seem to be clear.

I am reading “Whitewash” by Joseph Keon, and am in love with it. It is an awesome book, and I highly recommend it. He talks about the dairy industry, dairy products, and its effect on the body. Being educated in various topics is a key goal of mine, especially if it is something that sparks my interests. I am lactose intolerant anyway, and wanted to enlighten myself on the facts of dairy.

During this time, I also visited my aunt, who is vegan. We began to talk about plant based proteins and what she eats.

So, at this time, I have been vegan for about a week. Still, I wonder if this is because I am being health conscious and learning the facts, or is this disordered/orthorexic? When does health conscious become orthorexic? Like I mentioned, I am lactose intolerant anyway. I bloat very badly, get extreme gas, diarrhea, it’s not pretty.  As far as the meat eating, I usually only ate ground turkey or chicken, that was it. Lunch meat scares me (this is a fear food, and I will own it that my ED does not like it!), cheese grosses me out (also disordered though, I will admit), and would only eat feta or parm if I did eat cheese. I sure as hell would never eat that tofurkey or meatless meatball shit. I have no clue what is in it, or the ingredients (yes, disordered).

Overall, I haven’t really cut out anything that I would typically eat, with the exception of Greek Yogurt. Which I found alternatives to anyways. Still, I fear telling my OP Team. Is it disordered or healthy?

I find it fascinating, yet disgusting, what is in our milk, the processes, the bacteria, the hormones. Not just these facts, but the claim that we need milk and calcium for strong bones, when we get calcium from many different foods, including broccoli and spinach, (with a higher absorption percentage, and lower calories). The amount of fat in one glass of milk is crazy, and as Americans’ we consume the most dairy products and also have the highest rate of fractures.

So, as of recently, I have not eaten any meat or animal products. I have eliminated ground turkey, feta, and that is about it. I think another reason I am doing this is to become more conscious of what I am eating. I can find safer alternatives to scary foods, while still hitting exchanges, but not having the overwhelming fear and dread flood over me when it is consumed.

The only exceptions I am making as of right now is honey. I am using honey in my oatmeal and tea, but I also make sure it is local honey. I am still on the fence about eggs, it is a good source of protein, and I know it is an animal product, but I also get them from my parents who treat them very humanely, don’t have roosters, and would be considered organic.

Right and Wrong Emotions

 

Could that be? How is that possible? Could that make sense?

I used to not even be able to acknowledge my feelings or emotions. When asked how I was feeling I would typically respond with a “10.5” 0 being not stressed or anxious, and 10 being absolutely anxious, uncomfortable, emotionally overflowing.

As time went on it became easier. Starting with emotions like, “pissed”, “annoyed”, “anxious”, moving on to ones that I considered more difficult and more vulnerable. “Hurt”, “rejected”, “undeserving”, “shame”.

I was told, “Our feelings are not right or wrong… they just are.” Could that be true? That can’t be correct. I could barely vocalize an emotion, now I’m being told they are neither right nor wrong?? Madness! Impossible!

But….

Wait….

What makes one feeling more “acceptable” than another? Has society and our own minds created standards of how we should feel?

Is it more acceptable to be Happy or Angry?

Love or Hatred?

Conceited or Depressed?

Envy or Pity?

Smug or Humble?

Why do we have to censor our emotions to make them more acceptable to the ones around us? Why is it more ok to feel one emotion, but shocking to express another?

Damn, I love it when T is right. Makes me process.

Fearfully Recovering

I used to be afraid of recovery. Not so much the action of recovering itself, but more like what happens after the fact. When I am out, on my own, and recovered.

I was fearful.

My life had revolved around this huge elephant in the room that nobody talked about. Some people refused to acknowledge its existence, some knew about it but was unsure what to do about it.

  • What would I do when I wasn’t catering to ED every moment of every day?
  • Who would I be if I wasn’t completely immersed in my eating disorder?
  • Who would I be when ED was no longer able to tell me who I was?

First, I was afraid of letting go of the one thing in my life that was constant. The ridicule and critical comments that came from ED daily, but yet, found comfort in it. I clung to ED because it was what I knew. There was no other way of life, I gave in to every demand ED threw at me. “Run more.” “Eat less.” “Throw that up.” With everything else going on in my life I didn’t have time to slow down or focus on anything besides my disordered habits.

Then, during treatment I feared me.

  • What would I do when I wasn’t acting on ED behaviors?
  • Who would I become?
  • How would I handle it?
  • What would I eat?

I feared everything and nothing simultaneously. Putting my trust in my team and in the process, yet fearing the change and the unknown that laid ahead.

After treatment I feared relapse, but feared gaining weight. Still scared about who I would be and how my life would turn out. I began to cope and try to find balance.

While I feared relapse and being a “failure” at recovery, I also feared doing it well.

I was scared that if I did better people would no longer care about me and some of the people closest to me would kick me to the curb.

I feared rejection.

Fear of being rejected because of my slip ups and relapses and feeling like a disappointment to others.

Also fearful of no longer being cared about or acknowledged.

There are still uncertainties that come with recovery that I question and struggle with. Disordered thoughts and counteracting them are something I haven’t yet mastered. I do know, that I no longer fear the idea of being “normal”. The days I have had without ED are some of the most fun and freeing ones I have had.

The people that I fear will leave me, I have tried to shift that and think about how they want me to get better and not struggle. I want to continue on and make them proud of me. I want them to turn to other people and clients and say something along the lines of, “She has come so far.” “I am so proud of her accomplishments.” “She is doing great.”

I want to recover, without fear.

ED, You Can Wait In The Car.

                I was having a stressful two weeks. Stressed over my future, my roommate, guys, my job, family, so much on my plate.
                So, instead of going to OP because I needed a swift kick, I skipped last week.
                It was a poor decision, but instead of dealing with the stress and emotions I wanted to completely bury it and avoid it all costs.
                I fell, and I fell hard.
                I messaged T and we talked for a bit. She was concerned, I was pissed at the world and slipping. The ability to name my feelings and acknowledge them wasn’t fathomable.
                Later that week I drove to OP.
                Annoyed, upset, guilt-ridden, overwhelmed, regretful, and just emotion-over-full, I pulled into the parking lot. At some point it was then that I decided to not be difficult. I was struggling, it didn’t mean they needed to.
                They knew I was struggling, I knew, so why would I waste their time deflecting, being snarky and mean, when we could just get down to business. It was then I decided to make the choice to leave ED in the car for this one.
                I walked into my dietitian’s office and talked. Admitting my slip-ups, the difficulties and my stressors. I told her that I didn’t go last week because I didn’t want to own up or acknowledge my screw ups.
                After that appointment, I went across the hall to my therapist’s office. For the past month or so, T and I had been going on walks during our session- Not this week. I was honestly grateful and relieved. T told me we weren’t walking today, but could go sit outside, that worked for me. With so many thoughts and emotions flooding me I knew I would become too wrapped up in walking, than opening up. We sat outside, I got comfortable on the grass, T sat on a bench.
                “So, what’s up with all these guys?” she went right for the throat with the first question of many to come.
                What usually would have been me shrugging and saying, “I don’t know.” Became an actual honest answer. Talking about the married guy I was talking too, but didn’t realize he was married, the one who only wants to hook up, my stalker, the hottie with the temper. The honesty began to just roll off my tongue with little hesitation.
                Continuing our conversation about guys, then talked about me moving, talked about my roommate, my best friend, family, exercise, feelings and self-harm.
                This led to the next challenge with leaving ED in the car and the next challenging question. “Can I see your leg?” Everything in me wanted to scream, “No. Fuck off. I screwed up, I know.” Up until this point I had been sitting in such a way that covered my leg from her being able to see it. I obliged and gave in. I was more ashamed and embarrassed than actually mad, annoyed or even pissed.
                After a few seconds of silence T spoke up, “I’m so proud of all of your progress, months ago you wouldn’t have been this open and talking about feelings. Honestly, K and I weren’t sure what to expect with the week you had.”
                I told her about me trying to leave ED in the car and not be difficult. T was glad to hear it and mentioned my progress again. She had talked to K before I got there and didn’t want to talk to ED and my attitude, but me instead. So, I’m glad my appointment went so well.
                When our session was wrapping up she asked me to have the nurse check out my leg. I didn’t want to, I argued and objected, then hesitantly followed T back to the house and down the hall. We went to the nurse’s office and shut the door, T told her that we needed her assistance. I wanted to curl up into a hole, I was already so embarrassed, guilty, shameful, and nervous about my mistake…. So much shame. The nurse said she would take care of it but wanted to see all of it and asked T to leave, she got ready to stand up. Like a three year old I squealed “No!”, T sat back down and looked at me. They looked at my leg and the nurse opened her box. She cleaned the area around it, and got some iodine glue mixture to help close up the gash. The nurse explained that she worked at a jail, and that there was no judgement, which made me feel some relief.
                The area was cleaned, wrapped and fixed up. I turned around and gave T a huge hug. I explained to both of them that I hate falling back on being so destructive, and that in genuinely bothers me. T said she knows it bothers me. The next day I went to neurofeedback, and I honestly believe that helped tremendously with the anxiety. It is the craziest thing, but I am so glad T pushed me into going. I may not fully understand it, but I do know that I feel better afterwards, and can feel a difference anxiety-wise.
                All I could think about this morning while making my oatmeal with an egg and peanut butter, were T’s words regarding my recovery. I never would have eaten these items before treatment. I also know how right T is about my progress. Able to acknowledge feelings, name them, and sometimes, if I am lucky, even tolerate them.

Running, or Running From

“Just write” she says, yeah fucking right, I want to run. Run far away, nothing but asphalt under me, sky above me and the sun on me. My feet keeping tempo at the same beat that floods through my ears. Ignoring everyone and everything, completely tuned out from the world. Being able to numb out and ignore my problems that wait for me as soon as I stop running.

Even temporary freedom, no phone, no people no commitments or small talk- this is one of the only times I’m perfectly content being with me. Not comfortable being me, but being with me.

I am not thinking about Zach and how he wants to come over so we can fool around and have no interest in a relationship. I’m not stressed out about the fact I was accidently talking to a married guy, or how Colby wants to go out. Or about Matt, oh dear God, fucking Matt and his excessive amount of unnecessary bull shit. Sending me letters in the mail. Letters?? Really?? Why are you sending me stuff in the mail? Letters, a package? Why?

My main concern when I am running is how many calories I am burning and how many miles I can get in. There is nothing standing in my way and the feeling is one of freedom and relaxation. It is my own version of therapy. I’ve told people before that, “Only the Lord himself could stop me during a run. He would have to come down and stand right there.” There are very few circumstances where I will stop what I am doing mid-run to cater to something else.

This, is where it all gets complicated though. I also run because I absolutely love it. The feeling of my pony tail bouncing, my hair blowing in the wind, the sweat dripping down my back, feeling my heart beat- I love it. My knee and hip begin to ache, but I can feel the smile across my face, watching passing cars wave and even cheer me on. It is even a prideful thing, being able to push my body from starting with three miles and working to be able to do a half marathon. It is a sense of accomplishment. Thrilled that I have made it to this many miles.

Am I running to run and for enjoyment, or what am I running from? Am I running away from my feelings and running from stuff? Where do I draw the line? It’s such a grey area for me. Running because “I have to” or because “I want to”?

Taking the Whole Package

I’ve been mentally struggling recently with my self perception, body image, and comparisons. Lately though, I’ve been doing really well with sticking to my meal plan. It’s different, challenging, scary, but slowly becoming the new norm for me.

I no longer have to justify eating that one apple based on how far I ran. Or mentally weigh out the consequences if I drink soy milk instead of water. It has been relieving yet slightly unnerving.

So today, rolling around in my head, I was fighting with myself about my body image and the daily struggle. How fat I am, how I need to lose this that and the other, how I want to be as skinny as ________.

Then, I remembered something that T had told me while I was in treatment, “If you want to be as small as _______, you can’t just pick and choose, you have to take the whole package.” She was right. Maybe I wanted to be thinner, smaller, whatever, to look like somebody else. At the same time though was I willing to accept the whole package, to be like her? Taking on not only their body shape, but everything else, whether it is their quirks, annoyances, whatever it may be. Would I completely give up me to look like that?

To not be able to run as far as I can, or lift what I am able to and squat, in order to trade to be smaller, more fragile looking. To give up the relationships I have in order to not be as big as I am? Would being smaller and thinner be worth that trade to me?

Would you give up your boyfriend, dog, hair, legs, friendships, relationships, laughter, whatever it may be, just to look like someone else and lose more weight?