I Moved

As in, apartments.  This was a really big deal for me and I am still in a little bit of shock.  Every memory, every dashed hope for the future, every good time came rushing back at me as I packed up my things and took my “last” walks through the neighbourhood.

My new place is literally a 10 minute drive from the old.  So really not such a big distance physically.

Over and over again, though, I am contending with the panicked thought that “what if he needs me?  He won’t know where I am.”  Logically, I know that doesn’t make sense.  We are broken up, he doesn’t need to find me.  If he does, he has many other contact routes.  But I can’t help mourn that feeling of looking down from my window and seeing him about to cross the street.  Then the sound of the buzzer ringing and knowing he’s on his way up.I really miss him.  Most of the time I know that it is my rose-coloured glasses doing the missing.  That I would not, could not go back to how it was.  But there were a lot of good times too and I often just wish I could feel his arms around me.  I keep reading the “missed connections” section of craigslist and it reminds me that there are lots of people in this state of longing.  I can never decide if that is comforting or just really sad.

He told me before we broke up that if we did, we could never go back because he couldn’t get over the time apart.  That fear kept me in for far too long.  That fear is also what keeps me from actually making any contact.  It hurts knowing he’s out there somewhere, but it would hurt more to try to connect and be turned down.

I know that I am just processing and this too will pass (though even that makes me sad, that intense feelings can fade so completely).  So I will ride this wave and know that change is hard for me.  When it happens, I naturally gravitate back to the familiar, good or bad.

Thank you to Purple Dreamer for your recent post – you reminded me that although there may be things to miss, there are far more to look forward to.  We can allow ourselves to be sad about the lasts while also being open to many new firsts.

With that said, I think I will head out to find myself a new local coffee shop… <3

1, 2, 3

Of course I start back up just before the holidays which means I may be sporadic in posting.

Today I celebrate three recovery “wins”…  And the challenge for me, is not to put qualifiers or diminishers on them (you know “I did this… but this is why it doesn’t REALLY count”) – I am going to own my successes without needing to defend why they aren’t enough to my eating disorder.

1 – I ate fries.  Truffle fries.  They were good.

2 – I said “yes” to plans without knowing exactly what they were.

3 – I felt the sadness and loss of the time of year and in response, I didn’t use unhealthy coping.  What did I do?  I cried and felt sad.

May you all feel what you feel through the holidays and may those feelings include at least some fleeting sparks and rays of hope and light.  And preferably, of course, fireworks of joy!

 

Frazzled

My life feels discombobulated right now for so many reasons…

… Dealing with feelings regarding my ex and the dissolution of that relationship.

 

… Frustration in dealing with my diabetes and the inconsistent ups and downs.

 

… A distressing medical appointment that pointed to dismal prospects for recovery

 

… Lots to do for my final semester at school

 

… Anxiety about my qualifying exam for counselling

 

… Unfamiliarity in my return to work

 

… Internal pressure to complete creative works along with academic ones

 

… Summer events on the go

 

… Missing my family and wishing we all lived closer

 

… Feeling like I do too much and too little all at the same time

 

… Uncertain of so much in myself and my life.

 

 

Distortions

I  had a moment of clarity about my mental distortions today.

I have known for quite some time that I am a perfectionist and that pervades much of what I do.  It is a large component in my overall anxiety and likely in my eating disorder as well.  Today I managed to step outside myself and see it in full-on, dysfunctional action.

This morning I offered to help with the hot meal program where I am doing my internship.  They were short on volunteers and I had the time.  I was given the task of squirting the ketchup on the eggs.  Should be no big deal, right?  There were a few minutes before the meal began and so I sat down with some of the clients.  It was quite illuminating as I observed how my mind immediately turned to figuring out how to do the task perfectly, and, along with that, how I might would mess it up.

We’re talking ketchup on eggs here, people.

Suddenly, though, my mind was ricocheting around like a caged bird.   Should I wear gloves for this?  How about an apron?  There are two bottles, which one should I use?  Do I squirt it over all the food or just the eggs?  How much is enough?  What if I spill some?  Are the regulars that I chat with going to think I am avoiding them?  What if I forget to say hi to someone I know?  Am I being judged by the coordinator for not offering to help more often?  Am I going to be expected to do this every time now?  Should I apply the ketchup immediately or wait until I get the nod from each client?

Seriously, this is how my mind works.

The good news is that I noticed.  As I’ve written about before, I really do believe that noticing is the first step to being able to alter my habits and my thinking.  What’s more, I was able to laugh at myself and how I was reacting to this simple task.  In doing so, I relaxed a little and tried to just focus on being there in the moment and trusting that I could navigate this situation.  Or, if for some crazy reason I couldn’t, it was, after all, just ketchup.

This awareness is good… it is helping me to remember to keeping turning a kind eye inward in these moments.  To have compassion for my experiences.  And, once again, to revisit mindfulness.  When I am able to truly be present, I am not worrying about messing up.  In being mindful, I distance myself from the obsession and rumination.  I am able to accept myself whatever the moment or the outcome.

I’m happy to say I successfully managed the ketchup application with no customer complaints 😉

Dating

I am SO not ready and yet I found myself posting a profile on an online dating site yesterday.

I’m sure anyone who knows me well would be a little completely horrified, as I am clearly still figuring out who I am and how to move on past my recent breakup.  But I went ahead and did it anyway and now I am slightly completely terrified.

I’m terrified he will see it and misunderstand.  I’m terrified that my description was too raw. I’m terrified that I will see he is doing the same thing.  I’m terrified that someone will contact me and want to meet.  I’m terrified that no one will.

Why am I doing this?  It’s a good question.  I guess I am aware that I want to share my life with somebody.  I want to be known.  And right now I am in extreme danger of simply reaching backward to my ex in order to fill that void.  Which would be a mistake for both of us.  We each have proven that we need to take care of ourselves, for ourselves, before any kind of relationship with anyone is possible.  I miss him, though, and I miss being part of a couple.  I miss the familiarity and the closeness and the good times.  Everywhere I go, I see memories of us.

So now you’re thinking, okay, if that’s the case, my presence on a dating website still sounds wonky.  As I said, the current risk of relationship relapse is at a major high.

Let me say that I have no intention of actually pursuing anything that comes my way out of this endeavour.  This is about me knowing that I am worth investing the time in.  It’s about acknowledging what I want for my future.  It’s about figuring out what I would write in my profile b/c that helped me to clarify what is important to me.  It’s about readying myself to one day make new memories.  It’s about putting the feeler out because doing so at least feels like facing forward even if I am not yet prepared to actually move from my position.

Sometimes merely looking in the direction you want to go is progress.

Life is short

Happy 2014 to all!

I’m not sure if it’s just my overall mental state, or the holiday season, but I have become quite aware of the fleeting nature of life.  The past few weeks everything feels painfully delicate and precious and fragile.

I would like to say that this awareness has brought with it a new embracing of life.  Everywhere else I read, that’s usually what such realizations are followed by.  For me, though, it has just made me feel desperate and scared.  I am constantly vigilant and fearful and worried.  I hope that this highly anxious state passes quickly because it is not making me live my life more fully!

Of course it’s not all bad.  There is unquestionably value in realizing that perhaps the way I am living my life just isn’t working.  It isn’t aligning with my values.  However, it’s frustrating to me that I don’t quite know how to proceed.  I know things are “off” in my life and yet I still feel paralyzed as to how to move forward.  And I feel that weight of time ticking by and knowing that I can’t get these moments back.  I can’t get this time back.  Which fuels the anxiety and leads me again to feel the “stuck”ness of it all.

It was a real blessing to be home with my parents over the holidays.  This is where part of my indecision and angst comes in.  It was good in many ways and it made me realize how much I value my relationship with them.  And how they are aging and I don’t want to miss a moment.  It was safe and healing and part of me wants to move home (or at least to the same city) and just melt into that comfort.  At the same time, it also made me see that I want to have a family of my own like that and I know that won’t happen if I am hiding under the covers at mom and dad’s house. 🙂  I am getting older too and that does limit the time to have healthy children of my own.

For now, I will try to reframe this whole experience as one that will lead to growth.  Sometimes just acknowledging that something is wrong IS the first step.

But do let me know if you have any ideas about that second step… 😉

 

Christmas parties

I have always loved Christmas – it is pure magic to me.  I could (and have) spent hours simply sitting beside the tree and staring at the twinkling lights.

However, my eating disorder make it hard to relax and enjoy the holiday season.  I want so badly to be able to relax and enjoy the festivities but the abundance of food-based gatherings throws my anxiety into major overdrive.

This year, I’ve been trying to be kind to myself while also pushing myself a bit.  Of the 4 parties I was invited to, I went to 2.  Which is a big for me.

Each holiday event is preceded by at least a few days of exceedingly anxious thoughts.  There’s the internal battle between starving myself so that I can “indulge” at the party vs. maintaining a more normal eating pattern so that I’m not famished but then not allowing myself to enjoy the holiday foods.  There’s the obsessive planning and internal bargaining… “if I work out for an hour first, then I can have a glass of wine”, “if I stick to the veggie platter, I can have a sliver of dessert”, “if I skip lunch, I can have an appetizer”.  There’s the worry about how my eating will be perceived.  Sure, I *know* that no one really pays much attention to anyone else, but somehow I still, at 34, fall victim to that imaginary audience, full of criticisms and judgement.  There’s the fear that everything served will be simply too triggering and that I won’t be able to eat anything.  There’s the equal fear that I will want to eat, but just find myself too paralyzed.

Throw in the fact that I have social anxiety, and you can see why the holidays can threaten my peace of mind monumentally.

But I made it through two parties.  And while I can’t lie and say they were easy, or that eating disordered behaviours didn’t factor in, at least I was able to be social at this festive time.  It’s a small step but an important one.

I believe that one day the holidays will resume their magic and this disorder will be only a distant memory.  That I will enjoy Christmas baking and mulled wine and there will be no regrets and no torment.  That I will have happy and joyful holidays.