Ran into my ex

Ugh.  Double ugh.  And many stronger and viler words as well.  It has been almost four months and I was out for a walk on the weekend and there he was, walking the same waterfront route but clearly on a date.  I know he has every right to do so but I swear my heart stopped.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  He didn’t.  He made eye contact and kept going.  I know it was probably the right thing for him to do but it was so awful to watch the man I have loved so deeply walk past me and not even say hello.

I stopped and sat down and I didn’t get up for almost an hour because I didn’t trust my legs would hold me, feeling simultaneously terrified he’d walk back the other way and terrified he wouldn’t (he didn’t).  It was a surge of emotion that rocked me.  I know I’m sounding dramatic, but hey, this is my blog so I can!

Lost love is brutal.

I am picking myself up and I will go on and recover (in so many ways) but I am not there yet.  So my “win” for today is simply allowing myself to feel the grief and the loss.

Terror

This one is a big win, but a terrifying one too.  I entered a contest in my hometown to win $2000 worth of eating disorder treatment from a specialized team.  And I won.

Breathe.  In.  Out.

My first reaction?  Abject terror.

Why me? I only entered for the appearance of making strides.  I never win.  And now I know I should be happy and joyous… bring on the guilt for the stark reality that fear is the primary emotion I am feeling.

I know I need this but that doesn’t mean it feels easy or celebratory.  I am holding both my gratitude and also my fear close in my heart.

I am working to trust that this is what I need and that I will one day look back on this with a full heart and a full stomach.

Coconut Oil

I decided to jump on the coconut oil bandwagon 🙂  I tried out a little for my stir fry yesterday.  I’m working on keeping momentum so I’ll try for a bit more today.

I am holding in my mind the wise words of my therapist “I need to gain weight in order to be well”.  Plus, I remind myself “I want to be well to fully live and experience my best life”.

I’ve got a whole jar of coconut oil (scary for me!) – let me know if you have any favourite uses…

Whew!

I made it through New Year’s Eve… and I didn’t call him and he didn’t call me.  It hurts like hell and it also deserves a HUGE place on my accomplishment list.  It’s good to acknowledge the positive aspect of that step in order to keep myself moving forward.

And… I made a cake for my mom.  I licked the bowl. <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!

 

Fresh Air

index

Source

I feel I am a cliche in stopping for so long and then shyly creeping back, but here I am.

It’s been quite the few months… an amazing vacation to Europe, a desperate try at reconciliation with my ex, a new business venture, and the ultimate break-up of the relationship (no contact for over a month – crazy!).  Lots of ups and downs.  The break-up has hit me hard (you’d think this time would be easier, but it’s not.  More familiar, yes.  But not less painful).  The new career activity is exciting and terrifying and exhilirating and overwhelming all at once.

Then there is the eating disorder.

I’m both embarrassed and proud in that respect.  Embarrassed that it is still a very active issue.  Proud that since the break-up I have actively devoted time and energy to recovery (the relationship would always pull off that attention).

The busy-ness of life means I am choosing to spend much of my time in areas of my life beyond this site.  However, my therapist has been encouraging me to resume celebrating the wins in my recovery journey.  I decided the place for me to do that is here.

I plan to use this space to record my little wins and my big wins. I have lots of places and people that help me to process the challenges and this will be my place to acknowledge the successes.

 

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.

 

 

Potluck

To go or not to go, that is my question?

Next week is the last class of the semester for what has been one of my favourite courses of this degree.  As part of the culmination, we are set to have a potluck to celebrate.

Oy.

It’s over a week away and already my anxiety it through the roof about the whole thing.  Even before my eating disorder, these events were difficult because of the diabetes… trying to crunch the numbers in my head and adjust the insulin during an event that is usually grazing over a few hours – it’s not easy, I tell you.

Throw in the recovery process and the whole thing becomes a bit torturous to navigate.

So why go at all?  Because I want to be able to do it.  I want to be free of this weight pressing down on me and preventing me from engaging with others.  I want to feel connected to people rather than feeling so alone in this illness. And yet I don’t know if I am there yet.

I find this part of recovery hard.  Well, I find all parts hard, but this is the part I’m talking about today. 😉

This stage where I am becoming more and more committed and I know that I want to change (and AM changing) and I want my life to be different.  This stage where I am not recovered yet, though, and I know sometimes I need to accept there are limitations and know it won’t always be this way.  While I am in this place, it seems that every decision about events and food become laden with double meanings… is it something that will affirm my choice to recover?  Or is it something that will set me back because at this point the anxiety is so high that I make poor choices?

I know there isn’t a *right* answer and yet my mind keeps turning it over and over again as if there is.

As I write, I am channeling my therapist and imagining what she might say.  I believe her advice would be to table it in my mind for the time being.  I don’t need to decide today and so there is no point in agonizing over it.  Instead, I will set it aside, discuss it with her during our therapy and make the choice with her support and assistance.  Just like the ketchup, this are no dire consequences to this and so I can take the pressure off for now and work to rest easy and know no matter what, I am okay.

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 😉

Choice

I had a tough and intense session with my counsellor two weeks ago.  With my relationship ending, our focus has often shifted to dealing with the aftermath of that crisis and last week we finally got back to looking at my eating disorder.

I had not been doing well in progressing my recovery.  The stress of the breakup had stalled me out and I was barely maintaining any previous gains, and forget about going any further.

She pushed me to choose.  Do I want to choose recovery and the unknown that goes with it?  Or do I want to choose the same behaviours that have made me unhappy for the last 10 years?

Seems like a simple choice.

It wasn’t.  I felt trapped and exposed and challenged.  I felt bitter and resentful.  I felt like I wasn’t ready to have that kind of tough love and I wanted to run away and not go back ever.  I wanted to blame her for forcing me to look at myself plainly and accept that I have responsibility for what happens in my life.  I was armed with excused and reasons why, etc, etc.  I left the session not sure I would go back.

Then I lived for two weeks.  And, sometimes, I noticed when I was making the eating disordered choice and I chose the opposite.  Not every time but far more than in the last 3 months.  I did some things that were risks (for me) and I engaged with friends and family from a place of acknowledging that to live the life I want, I have to change.  It didn’t always work, this wasn’t a miracle cure-all, and yet… there were some moments of hope.

I wonder how much of my sense of peace last week came from accepting that my life is up to me.

At the same time, I am terrified of that responsibility.  I believe Viktor Frankl was right when he described that awareness of our own responsibility is one of the most difficult facets of being human.  It is empowering but also daunting when, like me, you don’t quite trust yourself to make good decisions.

And yet, I’ve done okay.  More often than not, I’ve noticed the joy of making decisions from a place of love and trust even when it does scare me.   Even better, I’ve made some mistakes and it’s not been the end of the world!  I credit part of this process to handing over some control to god/spirit/love/source.  I’ll write more about that at some future point.  Here and now, though, I see that I needed the push.  I needed someone to tell me, in kindness, what I already knew: nothing changes if nothing changes.

In each moment, I have a choice.  I want to choose life and love and connection.  I will need to make that choice a hundred (a thousand!) times each day b/c my eating disordered side is loud and insistent.  I CAN make that choice though – I CAN hear the quiet calm healthy side of me.  I’ve silenced her for so long that she only wants to whisper but I can feel the breath of those loving murmurs spurring me to move on with hope and humility.