Trying To Not Think Before I Act

She asks if I’m numb,
                             I’m not really sure how I feel.
                                                                So I guess the answer is yes.
I’m exhausted,
I’m numb,
I’m fearful.
I’m not really sure what I am, but if I had been feeling anything I probably wouldn’t have gotten my running shoes and handed them over with really no fight.
                                                          I’m more fearful of gaining weight than losing my job;
                                                         and if we’re honest,
                                                         only one of them has driven me to starve myself.
Maybe my problem is that I really just think too much.
I question,
I wonder,
I doubt and I worry.
Which in itself isn’t a bad thing, but it is the only thing standing in my way.
I doubt my own abilities.
This week, I was given a menu to follow for food.
Like a meal plan, but really with no options or substitutes, which is what I really need right now.
No gray area, more or less this menu is a list of chores or rules that need to be followed, non-negotiables.
It was a direct: “Wednesday have this that and the other.”
Not a “try this”, or “how about that”, but something black and white to follow, which for some reason makes it easier. Just like when I am reassured that I don’t need to run, or am told to flat out “stop running”. It makes it easier when I’m not able to bargain or weasel my way out, no loop holes, or ways around it.
I find and make excuses daily. Reasons why I don’t need to eat, shouldn’t eat, am too busy to eat.
I think. And it gets me into the hole I find myself in.
With this menu, there are no other options, no thinking, no excuses.
For the next couple of days I’m going to do. Not think or try.
For now, it needs to be something that I just do.
I will always remember the conversation I had with my pastor when I lived with him and his wife.
Me: “I don’t want to.”
Him: “That’s fine, you don’t have to….”
Me: “Really?!”
Him: “….you don’t have to WANT to, but you’re going to.”
So, for this week, I really don’t want to, and I don’t have to want to.

 

Advertisements

One Year Ago

One year ago I was not able to eat real food. I was curled over due to the amount of laxatives I had taken. I was in my senior year of college and school was my main concern.

I lived with my best friend, the most amazing and supportive person ever!

I ate once every few days, and ran every day. I saw nothing wrong with what I was doing. I was shaky, cold, headaches. After reading old posts I can say that I was acknowledging I was getting worse, but had no clue what to do about it because this was my life. If I had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night I had to sit up slowly, if I stood up I got dizzy and would fall back on my bed before finally making my way down the hallway.

The mere thought of treatment had barely been brought to my attention, if it was, I quickly brushed it off by saying, “I just don’t have time for that, I have work and school.”

I didn’t have time for treatment. I didn’t have time to stop what I was doing, it was too much work and too much of a commitment. I was too dedicated to my eating disorder to be unfaithful to it and change.

At the time, my family and I didn’t know how to talk about this. It was swept under the rug, or typically ended in an argument. Mom and I both didn’t want to deal with it, and mom was sure I was just doing this for the attention. I was puking in the toilets at work, school, wherever. In desperate times I would puke into a cup in my car. I wasn’t able to tolerate food, and was eating maybe a spoonful of yogurt.

I had plans to fly to Nebraska to see family for Thanksgiving where I would be participating in a race and enjoying family.

Within a week my entire life got flipped upside down. I had a doctor appointment where she told me I was losing more weight. She scheduled me with a new therapist and a dietitian on campus. The new therapist spent almost no time getting to know me and calling places to get me into treatment. She called Tapestry and put me on a waiting list. Jennie, from Tapestry Eating Disorder Treatment, would call me periodically, to get information on me, and try to get me to come. Part of me brushed this off, knowing I would never go, and the other part was frozen, wondering if this was really happening.

A year later, I have left treatment, and feel like I have done a 180. I eat foods I never would have dreamed of touching a year ago. I still struggle with body image issues and dysmorphia, feeling like I have blown up and gained thirty pounds over night, but I also know that restricting won’t be helpful. There are even some foods that I enjoy and look forward to eating!! My purging, which used to be every day, is now slim to none. It is amazing and I am so thankful for the many people in my life who supported me and helped me though all of this.

Praise God!

Trust the Process!

xoxoxox

What Health Looks Like To Me

What does health look like to me

To obtain health, or to be healthy. What does it mean?

Does it mean that for another day your heart and the surrounding organs that are housed in an enclosure of skin and bones are able to keep you going one more day? That for an unknown amount of time the blood circulating through out your system is still able to make the continual crawl from the heart to the limbs and back.

The constant synchronized cluster-fuck of organized chaotic systems all relying on each other; waiting for the day that one part decides to no longer hold up it’s part of the deal and gives in.

The concept of being healthy, can be skewed and vary on individualized needs.

When asked the question of what health looks like to me, my off the cuff answer was reflective of my desires: the idealistic/perfectionistic body image. Toned stomach, toned and muscular arms and legs, be fit, but simultaneously I want to weigh less than what I currently do. I want to lose weight, while trying to gain muscle and become more fit. So, trying to accomplish the impossible.

Being healthy shouldn’t necessarily be all about body image and weight, when thinking about health, in regards to anyone other than myself, health varies. To some becoming more healthy could mean just taking ten minutes to go on a walk, to others maybe it is going to the gym, only smoking a pack a day, or eating several times a day. Health is not one of those “One size fits all” general label that can cover the entire spectrum of people and their needs.

Healthy, in my mind, can be correlated with not only happiness, but I also relate it to being capable. People that are considered healthy, are able and capable of doing many things. Backpacking, hiking, traveling, marathons, etc. These people, regardless of weight, are able to go out and enjoy life, accomplish their goals, achieve their dreams and venture out into their passions.

As a society we enjoy constantly putting people in a categorized box of some sort, filing them away in an organized fashion. Able to decipher who is worthy of this, or qualifies for that; health is also one of the many boxes people get shoved into based on their abilities.  Are there any diseases or illnesses, or is the person medically “healthy”. Even some of the basis that people rely on to conclude if someone is healthy is skewed, such as BMI. Also having the questionnaires of “Is the individual healthy enough to:…..” which categorizes someone’s health based on their physical abilities (ex: walk, swim, stand for prolonged periods).

Mental health, self-compassion, self-acceptance, etc. I think of healthy as someone who is comfortable in their skin, they take care of themselves in whatever way is needed for them. I picture balance. Balance between eating and working out, socializing and eating, being able to do stuff. Nobody can put a general “one fits all”, “all purpose” label on the term healthy. Health, can be such a gray area and vary from person to person depending on their needs.

Future

About a week or so ago one of my friends and I got together. We hadn’t seen each other since she left treatment back in December. We had dinner together, laughed together, caught up, then she came over. We finished off the evening by watching Gilmore Girls and having a couple glasses of wine. It felt great to be able to attempt to be “normal” and enjoy my evening with a great friend.

Recently, this guy and I have been talking, we have been going out together quite frequently and we may even be an item. He is such a great guy and I really enjoy his company.  The few dates my potential boyfriend guy thing and I have done have involved waterfall hiking, walking around a cutesy little town, dinner, lunch. We actually have a list going of stuff we need to do. On that list recently was a waterfall, and I made him try a kale smoothie, that he actually didn’t hate! He is offering to help me move when I need it, and he texts me “Good Morning” almost every morning. He has offered to go to yoga with me and doesn’t judge me for my “hippie dippie” tendencies.

He is so sweet, patient and smart. He tolerates me so well, and I’m not sure if we are an item, or what we are, but I honestly feel lucky. He deals with my quirks and indecisiveness very well. He doesn’t know about treatment or anything like that, he does know I go to dietitian appointments, and doesn’t judge me for that. Actually, today I told him I ate half of a banana which is big for me, and he congratulated me!! Earlier today I sent him a picture of me hand feeding wild baby ducks, he called me a Disney princess and was impressed.

I am wearing myself out working as much as I am. I work ten, sometimes twelve hour days, typically 6 days a week, sometimes more. It is exhausting, but at the same time I don’t do well with a lot of free time on my hands, so working is probably the best option. I have gotten a new tattoo, I signed the lease on a house, and have a roommate, we move in together in two days!!! Stuff is changing. I am worried but excited. Feeling so ridiculously anxious about the house and all these changes I’m not sure what to do.

I feel like I’ve been in a pretty good place mentally and emotionally lately and feel like it is silly for me to continue to go to my outpatient appointments, but at the same time it is silly to not go and risk everything falling apart, especially in the middle of all the changes. It has been freeing, even if just a tiny tiny bit, but freeing none the less, to focus more on work, packing, my boyfriend and the new house, rather than every single calorie in my body.

Trust the process!!

xoxoxo

Optimistic Skepticism

Lately, I feel like I have been in a better place mentally and emotionally. The urges are still there, and I still seem to act on behaviors much more than I care to admit. Overall though, I am still trying to eat, I made protein pancakes with a little shove from my dietitian. I am in a better mood and not as grouchy.

It is scary to me though when I am going through a “better patch” because the fear of waiting for the other shoe to drop, something bad to happen, to completely and totally lose it. It is a feeling of slight freedom, unfamiliar to me, yet welcome. I want to believe I am getting better, that the urges are subsiding and I’m not a complete slave to the ED behaviors. I also don’t want to get my hopes up.

It is different, it means change and unfamiliarity. During times of stressful change I always resorted to my ED behaviors- so now what?

I want to believe this is the start of some deep, influential, long-lasting, kick ass recovery; what if it isn’t though? What if this is just a phase? In a few days I’ll go back to hardcore restricting and purging, then what? I become very critical and listen to the voice of ED saying how I am not good enough or strong enough to do this.

I’ve tried a new little motto though, while it may be slightly disordered, it seems to be helpful. “I don’t have to eat, I can choose not to. If I choose to eat something though, I need to choose to keep it down.” It may seem simple and quite silly, it seems to be working pretty well. I am scared of succeeding though, because what if my own success isn’t good enough. What if it doesn’t last? So many what ifs.

Also, I think I am afraid of losing the people who have become my support system and who have become so close to me if I am doing great. I want to get over this, want to not be consumed by the thoughts of vomiting and restricting. What if I lose the people in my life who helped me get to this place though? It was hard enough having to admit I needed to go to outpatient after only being out of residential a few months, let alone what if I relapse AGAIN.

My Fear and Desire for Normalcy

I want it so bad, I crave it, dream of it, wish and hope for it more than anything. I want to be normal.

What is normal though?

This question was asked this week at therapy. Does that mean I am behavior free? That I am not longer exercising? What exactly did I perceive “normal” in this context.  I told her, to me, it would be purging free. She asked me “What about restricting?” I told her I believe that it is normal for somebody to skip lunch every now and then, or skip something, but it is the intention behind it.

I want a balance between working out and eating so fucking badly. I love running, love working out. I just cannot seem to find that balance between the two. When I run and hardcore workout, my eating suffers horribly. I would never want to give up running completely that just isn’t an option to me, but then how do I balance this?

The fear or normal scares me though. I don’t know what my life would look like not constantly revolving around this. What is normal? How much food is “normal”? What is a “normal” relationship? I want it, I want it all, but I don’t get it or understand it, and it scares me because of how unfamiliar it is to me.

Desiring to be normal, live my life. I am not a college graduate, still no boyfriend, and still ridiculously unsure of the future. I would like to be in a relationship, go out on dates, be normal. There is no way that I could drag a guy into this. Currently, I am already in a relationship with my eating disorder, and dragging somebody into this mess would just be so unfair.

I want to work out like a normal person. Run 10 miles because I enjoy it, not to punish myself, think calories and then get reprimanded for running so far. Going to the gym because I enjoy it and want to, not because the voice in my head says I need to and have to.

I want to eat like a normal person. Go out and eat, enjoy it, laugh. How much is too much. Still currently using my measuring cups to attempt and stay on track… normal people don’t do that. I eat practically only Greek yogurt, granola, blueberries, and oatmeal. What do normal people eat? How often do normal people eat?

I don’t even know what a normal person thinks about. Calories, miles, restricting, purging, chugging water, body dissatisfaction… on my mind 24/7. How freeing it would be to finally have something else on my mind.

Honestly? I would like to have the amount of self-hatred and body dissatisfaction a normal person has. There is so much of that within me, and it is awful. Draining, depressing, saddening.

Normal. So unfamiliar, but yet I want it. I need something new.

Trust the Process!!!

xoxoxo

Outpatient… Getting Back on Track.

I was beginning to slip and slide. Slowly but quickly, making my way backwards to old tendencies and habits. Making excuses and defending my actions, even though I could tell they were disordered.

Because of treatment I missed half of my final semester of my senior year of undergrad. With a course load of virology, biostatistics, biochemistry and ecology, I was positive there was no way I would graduate college on time. It took everything in me not to just withdraw from this semester and finish later. Yesterday, I gave the clinical director my graduation announcements and graduation is tomorrow. My professors and I were in complete shock that I managed to pull that one off.

I ended up going back to treatment, this time just outpatient (Thank God). I met with the dietitian first last week. She rewrote my meal plan and went back over it with me. I was completely honest and told her that it’s a “shit ton of food”. She told me that’s what I was eating when I left…. yeah… well that sure isn’t what I am eating now. I told her I was not hitting all of my exchanges. That was the main goal was to get me back on my meal plan. She asked me how many times a week I am exercising, I told her it depended on what she considered exercise. With yoga, lifting, and running, it was about 7-10x a week…. she didn’t like that either.

Yesterday I had my therapist appointment. I was stressing out so badly, which was weird because I think the world of her, but was so worried about having to be open and honest and the whole “sharing of feelings” bull shit thing. Plus, I love her, but I can’t bull shit her, she has a pretty tight bullshit filter, and I knew she would lovingly call me out when necessary.  I went hiking before my session, saw some waterfalls, it was beautiful and loved it.

Then I got back, sat down in the office and prepared myself for a mental battle.  We talked about my running, I explained that yeah, its more of a “NEED” to, then enjoyable want to. I told her that I was still eating Greek yogurt and she laughed and added…with blueberries?!  I said of course  haha. We talked about my purging and asked me how often. I was honest, and told her that it was discouraging. She told me that I have my good days. T took out a sticky note and drew a pink heart on one and stuck it to the index card of things I’ve been doing right lately, and gave it to me.  Definitely made me happy 🙂 She asked me how much of my meal plan I was eating, I told her only about 50%, I seem to start off pretty good for breakfast and 10:30 snack, then as the day goes on it seems to fall apart. I used the excuse that I was busy. T told me, “You skipped it. If you are going to do it, at least own it.” She was right. I told her it was so complicated, because I want to be normal, but that is terrifying, that I want to lift weights, but don’t want to gain weight.  I told her how disordered it is that I am proud of the fact I haven’t gotten my period.

I was given “homework” to stop by the store yesterday after my appointment and get some more food that would help me “branch out”. Even though I practically live on greek yogurt and oatmeal lately, T wanted me to get quinoa and a couple other things. I ended up getting pb, sweet potatoes, hummus.  Fat and protein, starch, and fat and protein, plus haven’t had those items in a while.

It is very discouraging to see that my list of “ok” foods are beginning to dwindle again, and really discouraging that I am purging as often as I am again…. With the help of some amazing people though, I am back where I need to be, trying to nip this in the bud. I am so thankful for the amazing ladies there an am so happy they are a part of my life. They are nothing but amazing, strong women that I admire and look up to.

I gave T a hug, my graduation announcement then headed home for the evening.

Trust the process guys!

xoxoxo

And do the next right thing!

9.3 Mile Run…Backwards

Overall, I have been doing fairly well with my attempt at recovery. Slip ups here, restricting there, purging now and then. Even with this, I am doing much better than I would have if I never would have gone to treatment.  Saturday I did a 15k. I found out just a few days earlier that I have a small tear of my meniscus. Against numerous opinions and comments, advice, what have you, I still chose to run the race.

I had been slipping, I knew that. Throwing up more frequently, eating less. My meal plan has become more of a suggestion than an actual guide. So, Saturday morning came, I was told by someone from treatment to make sure I packed extra food, even though the staff there all thought it was a bad idea for me to do the run.  I wrapped my knee the best I could figuring if nothing else, for some stability. It was pouring the rain, my knee was in a lot of pain.

It was definitely a pride thing. I wanted to accomplish this run, finish, be proud of what I had done- even if it was self destructive and disordered.

I finished the run even though by mile 7 my knee and hip were in so much unbelievable pain. Afterwards, I ate a snack, but never added anything else to it to make up for the calories I had burned off. I got home and my best friend and her family were making tacos. In my head I thought, “Ok, cool. Protein, fat, veg, starch.- perfect.”  I attempted to eat some, then I began to freak.

The disordered thoughts came back twice as loud, demanding, screaming, threatening, belittling. I went to the bathroom and threw up everything. Ed was screaming at me, “You did the run without any extra food, you are fine. Think of all the calories you burned off today during that run, I bet you are back in negative calories. What the hell did you just do actually eating?! Why the hell would you even choose to run if your fat ass is just going to eat?!?!” The following day, I skipped breakfast, restricted for snack, then attempted to eat lunch. I heard it again, “You barely ate at all yesterday, you did great. I bet you could have gone all day today without eating too….but NOOOOO, had to go and ruin that one too, didn’t ya?”  So, then I threw up the little lunch I had consumed.

It occurred to me, that running the race wasn’t probably the smartest idea I had. I knew how badly I struggle with exercise addiction. Everyone else from treatment knew as well, plus with my knee. I was just so stubborn I didn’t want to listen or believe it. Running over 9 miles, and puking twice, all within 24 hours… this is not a good sign, I thought.

So, I emailed treatment, was honest and told her about how I did the run. It reignited some major disordered thoughts. That was late Sunday. She responded, and set me up with an appointment on Monday for outpatient services.

It was stressful and embarrassing to walk back into treatment for help. I told my dietitian that I had really begun to slip lately. She knew I was going to struggle with working out, and I explained I would make up excused to avoid adding anything extra to my meal plan after working out because I hadn’t, “worked out long enough, or hard enough, or just wasn’t hungry.”  She told me her main goal was to get me back on the meal plan.

After that, I went and spoke with the clinical director and she asked about the run. I told her that it probably wasn’t a good idea. Besides limping with my knee, she quickly realized that it had probably set off a domino effect with my eating and the thought patterns

So, here I am. Trying to get back on the meal plan, going to treatment now for outpatient guidance and help. I have said it for months now, I so desperately want a healthy relationship between eating and working out.

Trust the process!!

Making an Omelet, Touching Your Toes and 11 Other Things I learned in Treatment.

There are so many things I learned, and skills I obtained while being in treatment. Some are just silly and enjoyable, others are deep long lasting skills and opinions and mindsets I acquired.

1. How to make an omelet

Ok, this one is just kinda silly, but I had been doing it wrong for years. Now, I can make beautiful omelets, that taste amazing and hit all of my exchanges. It wasn’t only learning how to make an omelet, but the bonding over meal prep and meal time. It was always a stressful time for all of us, but being able to bond, teach, learn, and make cooking something more than just a chore, was great!

2. Yoga and how freaking kick ass it is

I am very, very competitive and very into sports. Of course, I was denied exercise privilege for weeks. I was going completely insane, I would workout in my room, doing crunches on the rug, step ups on a chair. It got to the point where I was climbing the stairs almost 20x a day because I felt so cooped up and antsy.

We had yoga twice a week, I always figured that yoga would be dumb. I had no clue what the hype had been about that my aunt had told me. At first I walked into yoga, skeptical, expecting this to be a crock-a-shit. I unrolled my mat, and attempted to breathe, “sit tall”, “lead with your heart”, “clear your mind.” I could not get into it, my mind was going a thousand miles a minute. I even attempted to do six-inches while we were supposed to be doing Shavasana. She came by and gently pushed my feet back to the ground.

After a week or so, I began to really enjoy it. It wasn’t competitive, but I enjoyed challenging myself with different poses. I wanted to see how far I could go into forward fold, which eventually turned into the teacher showing me scorpion pose and letting me try that and dancer pose. Part of my disorder was definitely over exercising, so being able to do something challenging and that demanded some sort of muscle, was amazing.

3. DEAR MAN the hell out of people

You need something? Have a problem with something? Dear Man the hell out of them. I also thought this would be a crock of shit, for the first month or so of DBT I was not very receptive at all. Once I began to listen though, I realized how absolutely amazing and helpful it really is.

Describe the situation

Express feelings and opinions clearly

Assert your needs

Reinforce you are listening and being receptive to their ideas

Mindful of the outcome you want

Appear Confident

Negotiate

4. Get off the train

The director is one of the greatest ladies I ever had the chance to meet, and I am so grateful she has had such an amazing impact in my life and my recovery. During my stay in treatment some of my family enjoyed attacking my progress and and making me feel like a terrible person. I received phone calls that left me in tears for hours afterwards, practically “Fuck You” letter, blaming me for everything and how I screwed up our family.

It was so ridiculously difficult for me to hear all of this and not let it effect me and my progress in my recovery. Hearing so many negative things directed at me. The director taught me to “get off the train.” Whether it was allowing all of the negative, hateful, nasty comments just float down the river and out of sight; Or getting caught in the negative comments and being trapped on my family’s bull shit train. I was taught to “get off the train.” and work on letting it continue to just fly by while you sit there and just watch.

5. Support isn’t always family

Kinda ties in with #4. Between letters, calls, texts, even emails, from some family members, I quickly learned they were ignorant, and not supportive. “You do realize walking in there they thought your mom was the patient and not you.” “How much longer do you anticipate on being here?” “You treated me better when you had an eating disorder.” “You shouldn’t take this ‘disorder’ so seriously.” “Is it because of school, you are probably just stressed out…oh, but please tell me you still plan on graduating.” Being told, once again, that what I do is nothing more than an inconvenience, selfish, etc.

It hit me hard that sometimes the people you want to be supportive, aren’t the people you NEED to be supportive. While my blood family was not advocating my recovery, I had amazing support from people. First of all, the clinical director. I cannot say enough amazing things about her. My best friend, she was there during my struggles, completely supportive of me going into treatment, and she continues to be one of my biggest cheerleaders through everyday in recovery. Her parents too, were both amazing, and continue to be there for me. They know how my family have been treating me, and try so hard to reassure me that what I have been doing is worth it and is my life.

6. Self care is not selfish

Growing up practically everything I did was selfish. If I did my own laundry, trying to be independent, I would get yelled at for only doing my laundry and not everyone else’s too. If I did anything for myself it was always selfish, get myself a drink before anyone else? Selfish. Didn’t ask if my brother needed to shower before me? Selfish. I would have to call my parents for a ride home after a soccer game? Selfish and inconvenient.

Through treatment, I learned that not everything I do for myself is selfish. Taking care of myself is necessary. Without self care I would end up right back where I was. Feeling selfish, worthless, all of the lies I was fed growing up. Yes, it is polite to see if anyone else needs a drink, polite to ask if someone else needs a shower. It is NOT your responsibility to ALWAYS look out for everyone else and their needs. Taking care of myself is something that has to be done. I cannot take care of others and help them if I am not willing to care and help myself.

7. You are worth it

You may not think you are, you may not feel like you are… feel again. I believed I wasn’t worth it, wasn’t worth the time, effort, attention. I walked into treatment because others were much more concerned about me than I was. I didn’t believe I needed help, or to be totally honest, I didn’t think I deserved it. My self worth and esteem were practically non existent. I was told, “If you aren’t ready to do recovery for yourself, then do it for your little sister.”

Honestly, that worked. Every time I wanted to give up, or not take another bite, or just walk out, I pictured her. In my mind my sister was right beside me asking me what I was doing, why I was quitting. I visualized telling her I was coming home and her responding with such excitement, “Yay! Are you better now?”. I would have to look into her young, beautiful face and tell her no. Even if you don’t feel like you are worth the shit to be shit on, there is somebody out there who has faith in you and believes in you.

The director sure did. She believed in me on a daily basis, even when I wasn’t able to believe in myself, she was there for me.

8. Hugs are pretty great

I hated hugs. I had a bubble. Nobody was allowed in it. Hugs were for the weak, the sissy, the girly. I didn’t want to mentally, emotionally, or physically allow anyone close to me.

That too changed, I would receive two or three hugs a day. They meant a lot to me. A demonstration that they cared. Even those few seconds of embracing, that was time they could have been answering their phone, meeting with a resident, typing an email. That time was time they agreed to allow me interrupt their schedule and acknowledge me.

9. Be open, honest, and vulnerable

One of the only saving graces I was able to stay in treatment so long was because of the honesty I possess. I was known around the facility as the honest one. I despise lying, hate being sneaky, plus, if I am going to treatment to get help, I need to be honest. Upon admission and for the weeks to follow, I was involuntarily throwing up food because my body wasn’t use to the amount I was consuming. I was throwing up at the table. I would receive a text from family, I would voluntarily purge in the bathroom. I would come clean, express aggravation, discouragement, regret. I felt like a lost cause with all of my slip ups. I was honest though. I told them when I made a mistake, I wasn’t being sneaky, and there was still a part of me that wanted to recover.

Being vulnerable was something I was never good at. The director looked my mom straight in the face when she came once and told her, “It has taken us nearly 5 weeks just to get anything out of her. We weren’t getting anything besides sarcastic comments and snarky replies.” Piece by piece though, I was being chiseled away, opening up about my family, assault, my disordered behaviors. I was ready for help and guidance.

Once I left treatment, I continued to be honest and open. Telling my best friend when I skipped, if I purged, she would check in with me. Honesty is key.

10. The sky is not purple

Growing up, if my mom said jump- I jumped.

If she said we had a yellow dragon named Frank. Then by God, we had a yellow dragon named Frank.

I defended her and my family, regardless.

The problem? You can only be told the sky is purple for so long until you begin to believe it. Whether it is being told you are stupid, lazy, selfish, fat, etc. It begins to stick with you.

I am learning that if my mom says the sky is purple, I am allowed to politely disagree and have my own opinions separate from her. Pretty sad it took me 22 years to realize this.

11. Trust the process

You may not understand the process, you may not WANT to believe in the process (I sure didn’t.) No matter how many times you fail or fall though, just continue to trust the process. It never set me astray, or messed my progress up.

Was eating 6x a day really necessary?

Not being allowed to work out, are you kidding?

I didn’t believe in any of it. I quickly learned that it isn’t my place to understand it or question it, but to just accept it and trust it.

12. Stick to the meal plan

This is so ridiculously important. I am still eating 6x a day even though I have been out of treatment since late February. It is a struggle everyday and I still fight the thoughts of restricting. I tell myself that the meal plan didn’t fail me for the past 3 months, why would it start failing me now?

I still don’t WANT to eat so often, and stick to ALL of my exchanges, but I do it because I want recovery and refuse to let 3 months go down the toilet.

13. Do the next right thing

I will slip, I already have. The key, is to not let one slip snowball into relapse. Recovery isn’t a poof situation, it is a process and a journey. When I purge, spend too long at the gym, or restrict. I don’t allow that one circumstance to impact my next day, or even my next meal.

Get up, dust yourself off, do the next right thing. Eat the next snack, meet your exchanges. A slip isn’t a relapse sentence.