Losing my Identity

I feel lost again.  Somewhere along the lines I feel like the memory of who I used to be in my eating disorder and the reality of who I am now got smushed together and became indistinct.

I feel like I have lost who I once was, almost like I can’t remember that person anymore.  Frequently I find myself reading other recovery blogs and not being able to identify with their struggles, or even envying the fact that they still have food fears and challenges to overcome.  Why though?  Why do I do this?

As I’m writing this I actually think the answer is pretty straight forward–I miss it.  Honest to God, I miss my eating disorder.  I truly MISS being afraid of food.  I miss feeling skinny.  I miss the constant voice of my eating disorder whispering in my ear, causing me to shun every last morsel of food.  I miss the feeling of power and specialness that I got from being so skeletal.  I miss being anorexic.

But why?  Because I’m sick that’s why.  LOL.  Actually I think it’s because I place so much value and worth into my eating disorder.  I gave it so much power, so much control.  It consumed my being, both mental and physical, until it became my identity.  Truly I feel lost without it.  Lost, alone, scared, and confused.  Like I don’t know who I am anymore.  Sometimes I think that being eating disordered is the only person I can be.  I’m obsessed with it.  I constantly find my attention immediately averted whenever I see or hear about someone also having an eating disorder.

Strangely though, all of this–all of these feelings–is not new to me.  I remember feeling like this before a couple of years ago, and then again after my hospital release, and then AGAIN, the first time I relapsed.  I always feel like I let go of my eating disorder too soon, and jumped into recovery too fast.  I started eating too quickly, I gained weight too quickly, blah, blah, blah.  But…..these are all just lies.  I can’t ever have a perfect recovery because there is no perfect recovery!  It’s trial and error and error and trial and fail and try try try again over and over.  But for some reason I can’t seem to get that through my head!!   It’s like I am looking for the perfect recovery but I can never get there—just like my eating disorder!!!

I realize now that I am terrified of losing it.  I am terrified of forgetting my eating disorder and forgetting what it was like to be anorexic.  Being that sick fulfilled something for me I guess.  It made me feel powerful, special, unique.  And now….I’m not I guess.

I just feel so lost.  Can anybody offer any advice?

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Grocery Run!

I love the grocery store.  It is one of my favorite things to do if I am feeling bored and just looking for an adventure.  I love nothing better than strolling down the aisles, looking at all of the different food products, and discovering new foods I have never seen before.  Since being in recovery from my eating disorder, I have had a lot of fun finding, trying, and then conquering new foods.  This is a huge accomplishment for me because there was a time when I was so terrified of new foods, that I wouldn’t dare stray from my usual fare.  It was safe.  It was calculated into my plan.  It was predictable and familiar.   No more!

In the past couple of months and years I have conquered so many new foods that I would have never thought possible.  It truly amazes me that  I was once afraid of dressing.  Psshh!!   Then one day I picked up a bottle, read the ingredients, and thought, “hey, I’m not scared of you.  I think I’ll give you a try.”  Now, I cannot live without my Goddess.  Amazeaballs.

And sweet potatoes?  With peanut butter?  *Drool* They are like my drug.  Don’t even get me started.

But I think one of my greatest foodie finds was none other than my beloved Fage.  Our love affair began one simple day when I was running late to work.  I had foolishly left the house unprepared and was in need of an easy dinner with protein.  Thinking quickly I ran into the grocery, frantically trying to figure out if I wanted to buy a whole box of veggies burgers or something else.  I was stuck.  Suddenly I spotted a container of Fage, and quickly snatched it off the shelf.   I remembered hearing about this stuff and was curious about trying it.  I was also scared.  But there was no turning back:  I was outta time.

So I ran into work and threw my makeshift dinner into the fridge.  When meal time came around I was still anxious.  What if it didn’t taste good.  What if I hated it?  Anxiously I cracked open the seal, dug my spoon in, and took a taste.

Mi amore.  It was love at first bite.  The taste was sinfully rich and decadent, thick and creamy like sour cream, but not as overpowering.  I dipped my spoon in again and again, devouring every last spoonful until the container was empty.

Since that momentous day, I have always treasured those special times when I can afford a few Fage’s of my own.  There are kind of expensive so it is a rare treat.  Sometimes I only get them once a week, sometimes once a month.  And then there was that glorious time when I was sent a package of my own and I was eating it every day for a straight 2 weeks.  Bliss pure bliss.

So today when I flounced into Kings lookin for something to round out my meal, I spotted a glorious sight on the shelves.  What’s this?!!!  Fage 0% in 4 new flavors!!  I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Blueberry Acai

Cherry Pomegranate

Mango Guanabana

Strawberry Goji

I was beyond excited.  Being the mango lover that I am, I immediately tossed the Mango Guanabana one into my basket.

I first tried the mango guanabana mixture by itself to really get a feel for the whole flavor.  Midly put, it was delicious.  The flavor was light and airy and danced on my tongue.  It wasn’t sickly sweet like honey sometimes is, which made it really enjoyable.  I could distinctly detect the flavor of the mango and I loved the little chunks of it that were in the jelly-like mixture.  It made me confident that I wasn’t just eating some highly processed, heavily sugared-up jam product, but was actually eating a real fruit that came from a real tree.  I was also happy to find that it was still just as delicious when I mixed it in with the Fage 0% itself, which gave it a nice sweet flavor.  I really enjoyed it. 

Fage once again you made my lunch stellar!

My only regret is that the cup only held about 2 tablespoons of these yummy preserves. 

And that I am currently too broke to buy a lifetime supply 🙂

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Challenges

This week has been a little bit hard for me.  There have been a few days where I’ll admit I had more than my share of depression.  I hate being depressed because it really affects me.  I feel lethargic, slow, and just totally don’t care about anything.  I don’t even want to move.  It’s on these days that I am so glad I have my exercise because once I get into that gym and start pounding away, all of my worries just dissipate.

Anyways, work has been kind of a major pain.  I really don’t understand why these girls that I work with don’t like me.  I don’t know if I did something or what but they are just not kind at all.  I have tried holding numerous conversations with them but getting them to actually talk back to me feels like pulling teeth.  Eh. whatevs. I’ve just decided to pretty much ignore their rudeness as best I can, and keep as upbeat as an attitude as possible.  Then, once I can find another job, I am OUTTA THERE!

I wanted to highlight on one major thing that has been bugging me lately:  my weight.  No surprise there.

For some reason in the past two weeks I have noticed that my pants are feeling a lot tighter.  It is really uncomfortable and really scares me.  Here, I thought I was maintaining my weight but suddenly I am starting to get bigger.  Augh!! It doesn’t make sense!!  I talked to my therapist about it today in depth.  I almost started crying I was so upset.  I still really attach a lot of self worth and self meaning by the size of the pants that I wear.  I was totally fine with my body where it was two weeks ago.  I thought, hey this body is not so bad and I get to keep it.  I don’t have to worry about gaining more weight because I have reached my set point, and I can have this body forever.

Ummm….yeah…apparently my bod had other plans.  I actually went up about 2 pounds since 2 weeks ago even though I’m still maintaing.   I guess?  So now my pants are tighter.  Ag.  It’s not that I look fat or anything…I just feel bigger.  It’s hard but I’m working through it.  My therapist told me to just calm down, and take it easy, and give it some time.  So that’s what I’m trying to do.  I’m not going to lie though:  it’s still hard and I am noticing my little ed voice creeping back in again.  But Ihaven’t starved and I haven’t skipped any meals.  I have restricted a little by cutting back on my meal plan, minor but still it could be a problem. 

It was definitely good to get everything out though in therapy today.  I was able to calm down, if only slightly, and get some encouragement and hope that was much needed.  My therapist was just as confused as I was about the body change but she did suggest one possible theory:

I might be getting my period.

Yipes!

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Stepping into the Past

Instead of exercising at my usual joint today, I decided to be eco (a- hem) ,wallet smart instead and opt for the rec center.  I  have to admit, I was more than a little nervous at first.  For starters I haven’t stepped foot inside of this place in over 7 months.  I had no idea what to expect, and if the place had changed at all or not.  Plus, I was worried about what other people might think when they saw me.  The last time I left that place I was at my lowest weight ever and an exercise freak.  I was pretty sure I would be turning some heads with the new weight-gain and all.

I was also afraid they might throw me out.

Anyways, I eventually mustered up the courage and walked inside. 

It was like stepping in a time machine.  Not a thing had changed about the place.  The same people were working at the front desk, the locker rooms remained the same, and the old familiar smell of the center wafted through the air.  Even the guy with the black beanie who I found extremely annoying because he constantly walks by the room every 5 minutes to catch up on “the game” was there.  And yes, he did walk back and forth just like always.  Ugh…so annoying.

  I immediately hopped on one of the ellipticals in the cardio room (the only room, I might add that had seen any change) and began pounding away at my workout.

I’m not gonna lie.  The instant I started exercising I was overcome with some very strong, very powerful emotional feelings.  That rec center holds so many memories for me. 

Pain. 

Struggling.

Desperation. 

Hopelessness. 

Fear.

 I remember day after day I would trudge into that room,  dreading the workout ahead of me but still slogging through it all the same. 

Countless calories were burned off in that room.  Pounds melted away from my alread extremely-famished body.  I incurred my first and still prevelant knee injury in that room. My premature arthritis started in that room.  I was always in that room, a slave to my eating disorder and my exercise addiction day after day.  I killed myself there.

At one point whilst ellipticaling, I was so overwhelmed with the pain of those memories I just wanted to take off and run.  I can’t believe how far gone I was then and I never ever want to go back there.  Nothing was worth the pain I caused myself there.  Nothing.

My workout today ended up being pretty invigorating though.  I marveled at how quickly I can pound out a 60 minute workout and at how strong and energized I felt.  It didn’t feel like the workout was never-ending as it often did 7 months prior.  I even indulged in a little weight training and was pleasantly surprised to find that I can lift at least 20 pounds more than I could earlier in the year.  I also couldn’t help but…well…smile at my reflection in the mirror, and (dare I say it) EMBRACE my new body.

I kinda felt sexy too 🙂

So what did I learn today?

Well, for one I learned that in the case of extreme snow it is better to spend a mere $4.50 on rec center fees than it is to drive 30 minutes on the highway just to get to MY gym.  I do love my gym but sometimes I just gotta be smart.

I also learned that I have truly come a long way in my recovery.

  I learned about the pain I went through and the journey it took me to get to where I am now. 

 I learned how much God really does love me, and how He saved me from death. 

I learned that I absolutely do not regret cutting back on my exercise time.  I still can’t believe the “norm” used to be over 2 hours.  Craziness.

I learned that I really do love exercise, when it is at an acceptable not crazy-out-of-control level.  One hour and 45 minutes today felt good.  It felt blissful.  It felt like just enough.  Three hours felt like torture. 

I learned that even though I have my “fat” days, my extremely “fat” days, my “I-hate-everything-about-my-body-days,” and my “I-really-just-want-to-be-skinny-again” days,  I never want to be back in my eating disorder again.

Overall, I’m glad that I stepped back in time today because it gave me a new appreciation for my recovery process and a newfound hope for my future.

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New Year, New Me

Renewal. Rejuvenation. Rebirth.

This year has certainly marked a major milestone in my life.  For the first time in 6 years I was able to completely abandon my eating disorder and leave it behind.  In fact this was actually the first Christmas since I was 15 that I was at a healthy weight.  Never before have I done this.  Not even when I was released from IP at 18 years.  Usually right around Halloween time is when I start getting scared, anticipating colder weather and generally just losing it to stress. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around I’ve already dropped about 10 pounds.  But this year I held on. I held tight.  And Christmas came rolling in and I was still holding strong. 

I didn’t lose weight. I didn’t lose ground. I didn’t restrict. I even had a couple of Christmas Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies that I made myself.

To say that I am proud of myself is not just an understatement, it is a lie.  I am floored. I am overwhelmed. I am completely awed and humbled and speechless at the power of God this year.

To be one hundred percent completely honest, if it wasn’t for his divine intervention in July by placing me in this forsaken job that (although I hate) pushed me to change my ways, I would be dead.

Let me repeat that:

I would be d e a d.

Just 6 7 months ago, I was at my lowest weight ever, even lower than IP.  And I made it through.

I am just so completely awed at how much God loves me.  I don’t know why He does, or what He sees in me all the time that is so beautiful, but He does. He loves me. That’s all I know.

And I love Him back just as much.

In the New Year, 2011, may this be the year in which I finally leave my blasted eating disorder behind once and for all.  May it literally be trapped in the realm of 2010, the door slammed shut in its face so that it is forever condemned in the hell of the last 6 years and can never cross over to the New Year.  I want no part of it. I am ready to live my life. I am ready to see just what I can do for God, and how to use my story, my experiences, my life to help others.

May this year also be the time where I finally learn to trust God more fully, to surrender my entire life to Him, and just be able to step back and let him have the reins.  May my relationship with Him blossom, and flourish, and grow so strong that nothing can shake it.

And so, with absolutely no regrets, I am forever leaving anorexia.  I used to think of this moment as bittersweet but now I really don’t care. I just want it gone.  I want my life back.

Here’s to one last goodbye: 

 Anorexia,

 rot

in

hell.

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Just Jump!

As I sit here, dwelling in yet ANOTHER night of self-induced insomnia and sleep starvation, I can feel the butterflies in my stomach begin to churn.  Their little wings flutter incessantly inside my body, as my mind frantically races in endless circles.  My heart begins to pulses wildly and I find myself gasping, desperate and lost for the solution to my problem.

I want to change jobs.  I need to change jobs.  I need to get on and move on with my life. I deserve to be happy. But there is just one tiny little obstacle standing in my way:  Me.

I am afraid of change.  Deathly afraid.   I am afraid to make new decisions because I fear that they will ruin my life, screw up my exercise, and plummet me further into depression and stress.  I can’t even begin to describe how terrified I am.  I just know that I would absolutely freak if I made another bad decision on a job transfer.  I’m really scared.  I do not handle stress well and I know that if the next job I chose was a bad one then, well, I actually don’t know what I’d do.  I would just freak.  And that’s not good.

Usually when I am overcome with stress I completely break down.  Like literally I do not know how to handle stress so I immediately retreat back into my eating disorder.  It has happened before, it has happened numerous times.  It could very well happen again.  But this time scares me more than all the others because of the progress I have made.  Because of the desperation for food I put myself through last year, I really cannot deny myself food any longer.  I need food. I deserve food.  Food is my life source.  Furthermore, because my exercise is limited to low-impact machines due to my knee injury, I cannot afford to up my exercise anymore.

So what do I do?  I am so afraid that I can’t stand it.  I really do not know how I will react if I make another bad decision.  I might just spontaneously combust because I am so freaked out.  Sometimes I think it would just be better for me to stay where I am because it is safe, and familiar and I do not have to worry about anything changing.  But if I do I will NEVER GET ANYWHERE in life.

I have to move. I have to change. I have to jump.

God, please will you catch me.

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Pick Up Your Pallet and Walk

Last night, at a very late hour, I completely broke down.  With tears streaming down my face I sat awake in bed and cried to God.  I told Him everything that has been bothering me over the past few weeks.  All of my hurts, all of my pain, all of my fears, all of my anger. 

To be honest I really feel as if I have messed up my recovery.  You see, even though I have broken the physical chains of my eating disorder by allowing myself to eat again, I still feel very very lost.  Many days I find myself in such a depressive state that I do not want to do anything.  I don’t want to get out of my bed, I don’t want to get ready, I don’t want to put the effort into cooking or anything.  The very thought of taking the time to do these things just overwhelms me somedays and I really just wish that I could press a button and have it all be done like “that.”

I have a hard time making decisions.  This is not a new thing but in the past year or so it has become quite vicious. I think it mainly stemmed from worrying about how to organize my day so that I could get exercise in, because if I couldn’t exercise, well, the world was going to end.  END.

I’ve gotten better at that, but still I find myself struggling, wrestling with the constant back and forth of the issue.  “Should I do it now, or later, well what about this well what about this.”  In short, this has applied to every area of my life lately and some days I just do not know what to do. About what food to eat. About what clothes to wear. About when to eat.  About when to exercise. About what to buy.  EVERYTHING.

I hate it. It is a very OCD, which I admit I have always struggled with, but this, THIS, is out of control.  I recently discussed it with my therapist and she said that it manifested itself from issues that have not been dealt with.  I can understand that.  I also know that the main reason WHY I cannot make decisions is that I am afraid to make the wrong choice.  Before, it was that I was afraid to screw up my exercise (major freakout).  Now–I am afraid to screw up my life.

And truly, I believe I have.  This summer I made a crucial decision to quit the job that I loved but at which I was frequently verbally abused my a mean coworker, to undertake a job I had no idea about.   On the surface it sounded great:  younger coworkers meant friends, a more professional facility, a slightly higher paycheck, flexible hours.  I felt that I could do it all and that if I took on this job I finally had a reason excuse to begin recovery.  Nice input from my anorexic brain huh? Boy was I messed up then….

Well, needless to say.  It didn’t happen like that.  Basically this job has turned out to be the worst thing ever.  I haven’t made any friends–the girls are mean as all get-out.  I am not getting the hours I wanted.  The pay I was promised never happened.  And there are so few residents in the place that sometimes I literally have nothing to do.  In fact, the first day on the job I FREAKED OUT! Or rather, the eating disorder part of me did.  I hated that we just stood around doing nothing.  Where was the freaking exercise?!  How was I going to maintain my tiny weight?!  It was the end of the world.

But strangely, I stuck with it.  And stuck with it.  And things didn’t get any better. But still I stuck with it.  This job has been painful. It has been tortorous at times and many many days I have come home so depressed.  But even though it has hurt me in so many ways, it has also stretched me farther that I ever though I could go. It taught me to accept times of inactivity, to drive to multiple locations in one day, to travel distances in the car of over 30 minutes, to move around my exercise, to eat my meals even when I thought I had barely moved at all. 

It has allowed me my recovery.

Still, I can’t help feeling tricked. Like I made a bad decision. I keep looking at the “before” and thinking I could have learned all of that at the other job, but, I guess, well, I KNOW, I couldn’t have.  I think that, very gently, God had to almost hide the truth of my new job knowing I would have never gone through with it otherwise.  Is this mean? No. I believe it is only the works of a loving, caring Father. He didn’t want me to die.  So he saved me.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah.  Anyways after my cry fest last night I went to bed—even more depressed.  I mean c’mon people, it’s not like my situation is going to change overnight!

But this morning I woke up and immediately a verse popped into my mind.

“Pick up your pallet and walk.” 

In these words I believe that God was trying to communicate to me that, yes, He is listening and He hears my words.  It’s like He is saying, “Daughter, you no longer need to be crippled as you are, and live in that way. I have released you from your chains.  I have freed you from your eating disorder.  Why do you continue to live your life as if you were still held captive?  Take up your pallet and walk.  Live in this way no longer. You are free.”

Amazing huh? I’m only paraphrasing what I believe He has told me but it has inspired me to look up that story later and reflect on it.  He is right though. In a lot of ways I still hold myself captive by not pushing myself to go further in my recovery.  Truth–I have been making the same dinner every night since about June.  Why?  Because it is safe, I don’t want to cook anymore, I’m tired of people commenting on my meals, and I’m tired of deciding what to eat every single freaking day.  But I am only holding myself back by doing this, essentially keeping me in my eating disorder.  It’s like I am at a healthy weight but I still have the anorexic behaviors. But I don’t need to! I am free!

What areas of your eating disorder are you still holding on to today that you maybe don’t need to anymore?

P.S. It’s Christmas Eve!  Go out and celebrate!

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