Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Where's Home?

Keeping it short because its late, but wanted to share this with y'all.

I was really struggling today realizing part of me still want me ED. I don’t know why…I mean I hate whenever I lapse or when I reach that number that always leads me to lapse…and whenever I am in a lapse I pray (literally) that it will be over soon so I can get back to recovery. So I know a greater part of me wants recovery, but there is still that part of me scared to let go of the security and identity and pride I have found in having an eating disorder and getting to the weight I am.

With this I got scared maybe I will just be stuck in this gain/lose cycle. Because how can I push towards recovery if I don’t 100% want it. Won’t it just be like all the times in the past where I recover, gain the weight, and then lapse. And I don’t want to recover only to have to spend forever getting back to this sick weight..I don’t want that long of a relapse. So what I do is recovery and lapse in a small weight window so I can have the “best” of both worlds. But really…I hate it and want to choose either to recover or my disorder. And honestly…I know inside I want to recover…at least 51% of me does…and I know God will provide the 49% of the rest of the strength I need to get through…it just scares me to completely turn my back on ED.  And it’s in that the Lord revealed to me and analogy to what I do.

It’s just like hide and go seek. I was always the “smart” kid when it came to this game. Why run forever away and find best hiding spot when you can find a mediocre hiding spot near “base.” That way when the person who was it got close and you got scared…you only had to dart a small distance to safety. It wasn’t quite as thrilling or exciting as venturing far away, but it was a heck of a lot safer…and that’s what I do now. I venture a little bit into recovery…but still keep my ED in sight…and then when I reach that magic number that always scares me…I run back to base…because it’s nice and close. So I am scared to break past that weight barrier because it will mean getting further from ED and thus further from my “base.” But today God revealed to me that I need to distance myself from the ED “base” that provides illusion of reality…I need to venture out in the open where I feel there is no place to hide…because there I will find the true “base,” true “home”, true place of security with Him. But as long as ED base is in sight and I stay in this tiny weight window…I will always run back to ED “base” because its closer. I will still want it because I can see it. But if I take tiny steps further and further away…push past the fear…ED will become a distant base and my eyes will be able to focus on my true home and the will that God has for me. And then when things get tough…I will run to the base that will bring security: The arms of my Father.  

Friday, September 20, 2013

RIP My Angel

I was going to do an inspiring post tonight, but I got horrible news and just can't get it out of me. So instead I am being honest. Today, the guide dog puppy I raised was put to sleep. She had a heart condition we didn't detect...and it got worse over the past few weeks. She apparently had a faulty valve and there is nothing we could have done to save her pulse went to 200 bpm and she was given 1-2 days to live. We knew it was best to release Angel to be an angel and the choice was made to put her down. When I got the call...I will admit I broke contract and used my food scale. I wasn't going to eat the food I weighed because it was too much...but I remembered that cold, wet nose. I remembered those beady eyes staring back at me. And I couldn't let Angel down. I love you and miss you sweet at peace.

I also realized that another reason I weighed it was I wanted to eat a huge bagel tonight....but after all this with Angel I didn't feel I should or could do something good. So instead...instead I decided I could have it if it was a punishment for behavior. By using the food scale I did something "bad" that could be punished but not something that would interfere with my weigh-in Monday. However, I see I should have bagel because I want it not because of punishment. I also didn't want to reset my day counter for days on contract, but knew by excusing this I wasn't being honest. So I reset my ticker and am about to go have the bagel, not to punish myself...but because I deserve it. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

New View of New Contract

So today was the day…the day to start the new contract for my new life. I already have been overcome by fear and backtracked into my old ways of just bearing it and not enjoying the recovery, but luckily a run-in with my nutrionist as well as an amazing therapy session helped me to see I need to take the time to enjoy, or at least realize the importance of the steps in the contract instead of just blowing through them.

Honestly, I’ve come to see I usually just blow through them because I am scared I will end up being right and just want to get it over with so I can just go back to my old way of life, but that isn’t sustainable recovery. Instead,  I am taking the positive, trusting approach to recovery and choosing to accept I am wrong and there is possibility of a new way of life.  So first step is seeing the positives of my contract and then tacking the fear (and lie) of unknown and loss of control it brings.

The Contract

  1. Weigh only two times weekly on Mondays and Wednesdays. Brighter future: I don’t want my life to revolve around what I weigh. I want to be able to just weigh once a week or maybe even eventually not at all. Plus, daily weighing makes me give up on my challenges without giving my body a chance to trust me. I allow fluctuations to hold me back from my future, so by not weighing daily, I give myself a chance at freedom.
  2.     No diet foods (ie no light bread or anything labeled fat free or sugar free). Brighter future: My nutritionist mentioned that in the future these things can become part of my diet, and it was then I realized I didn’t want them to. I don’t want to buy light bread or sugar free syrup because I don’t really like those things. I want to be able to go out to a deli with friends when I am in Denver and not be scared the bread isn’t light. I want to have breakfast with friends and use whatever syrup is provided. I don’t want to be scared to go out with people because I don’t know if things are sugar-free, fat free, or light. I want to be free.
  3.    Food scale can only be used for meats (this one has been very tough). Brighter future: This and number 4 go together, but basically I want to be able to go out and eat with people. I want to feel normal. I don’t want to have an emotional breakdown anytime I go out to eat because I can’t precisely measure or weigh the food. Plus I want food to be fuel, not numbers or measurement. I want to be able to eat whatever size piece of fruit I grab or am given without worrying about the size. I want to trust my body, not numbers. I want to hang out with people and there be food and me be FREE to eat it and not need it measured. Plus, heck, I just want to be able to eat my whole meal in the dining hall and not have to sneak food out to weigh it or have to pull out measuring cups to measure it. 
  4.  No measuring cups allowed in the dining hall, only my tablespoon.See above
  5.  Meal timing as set by my nutritionist which means eating something within 30 minutes of waking.Brighter  future: I want to learn to fuel my body throughout the day, not restrict food in the morning because I am scared eating will awaken my hunger. I need to fuel my body and my metabolism. I don't want to fear hunger, I want to honor it by feeding it when I feel it not controlling it. Also, I don't want to feel ashamed about eating as I am when I have to eat a ton at night to get me meal plan in. I want to be able to eat b-fast with my husband or even just roommates and not be worrying about what that means for eating the rest of the day. 
  6. No changing plans between sessions. Stick to challenges set.Brighter future: This keeps my ED from taking over and manipulating people. It makes my true self be able to speak, because my true self is what gets pulled out by my nutritionist and thus my true desires (removed from EDs fear) come out in session, and EDs fears creep in in the week. I want my true self to dictate my life and that means sticking to my gut and what my true self wants.
  7. If stuck between choices must choose riskier one.Brighter future: usually if I am stuck choosing its because I want the riskier food but am afraid to give myself permission to have it. But I want to be able to eat according to my cravings not to fear of false rules I have set up. I want to go to the dining hall and see a food I want and just be able to allow myself to have it. I don't want to make every decisions such a war, I want to learn to just allow myself what I want. To go by desire not by rules. This makes that a reality. Plus, choosing a safer option always only brings glory to ED not to God or my true self. 
  8.   3 meals and 3 snacks Brighter future: This is my meal plan and I am not in a position to change it. I need to learn to trust others and my dietitian to provide me with a plan with the right nutrients for the right amount of weight restoration which I need for my health.  My meal plan is that right plan and I need to trust and obey it.

Tackling the Lies

So there are two big fears for me with this plan: fear not being in control and fear of the unknown. This plan gives over all of my ED behaviors…all the things I thought were control in my life. No measuring, no weighing, no manipulating….just trusting and obeying…and that brings up a lot of fear. Even when I was weighing things but not tearing them it was easier because I knew the number..or so it seemed. But really it would just haunt me how many “big” vs “small” items I ate. The fear of the unknown is that for tom, Sat, and Sun I will have to eat this plan not knowing what it is doing to me…just trusting my nutritionist. Going from daily weighing to biweekly brings a lot of fear of the unknown…so my therapist thought up this activity of listing the things I still have control over instead of focusing on my inferred loss of control over my weight and food due to the inability to measure both. I am going to do the same thing with what I know instead of focusing on the fear of not knowing how my weight is changing due to the plan and if it’s too fast.  

I denounce the lie that I am out of control of have lost control. The Truth is I Am Still In Control, but over the things I should be in control of. The rest I hand over to God and my team. I know I still have control because:
  1. THE TOP ONE: It takes way more control to not use behaviors than to use the behaviors. Just think how many times you catch yourself about to weigh something because its routine. That is because ED is controlling you and your behaviors. By not using the behaviors, you are in control and using the willpower and strength of God to hold back from the urges. This is real control, my ED actions are but an illusion of control, while ED controls me.
  2. 2. I am in control of my control and what I choose to have it over. I decide to turn things I don't need to control, like my food and my weight, over to God and my nutritionist who can and should control those things. 
  3.   I am in control of which foods I eat and get to eat what I want instead of having food dictated to me by my eating disorder.
  4.   I am in control of my grades. In fact, by fueling myself better I am helping to ensure I have the energy to study and keep my grades up.
  5. I am in control of what I do with my day. I choose when I get up, if I go to class, and what activities I want to do.
  6.   I have control over giving my control of food and weight over to my team and God where it belongs.
  7.    I am in control of going to my sessions.
  8. I am in control of how I let my emotions affect me. I choose to let them happen and not react to them to make them go away, but just to feel them.
  9.       I am in control of my car when I drive. I steer it where I want it to go.
  10.  I am in control of my finances and choose what to spend my money on.
  11.   I am in control of my blog and choose what topics I choose to share and type.
  12. I am in control of the time I spend with God. I choose to honor our relationship and spend time with Him, but He is a gentleman and let’s me choose that time.
  13. I control my future by choosing recovery and choosing to let weight gain happen. That is the only way I can live.
  14.   I control which fears I face to allow for victories. This is why I chose to write the contract part about choosing the riskier item, so I face fears instead of letting them control me.
  15.  I am in control, because I agreed to and wrote this contract. Thus it is what the authentic me wanted and gave me back control from my disorder.

I feel I am trapped in the unknown because I don’t know by weighing daily what this plan is doing to my body and if the weight gain isn’t happening too fast. The Truth is there are much more important things that I am sure of and know. I know:
  1.     My nutritionist has a degree and is educated in nutritional counseling. Thus she is much better to trust with my food decisions than ED or myself. She is an expert, and I am still stuck in preschool.
  2.   I know my nutritionist wants what is best for me and doesn’t want me to gain too quickly. She is not out to get me or make me gain weight.
  3. I know if I gain more than 2 lbs in a week my nutritionist will decrease my meal plan. She is not trying to get me to gain weight super fast.
  4.   I know God made my body to use food as fuel and not to gain weight rapidly. It will gain as much as it is supposed to.
  5.  I know I need to gain weight for health reasons and that with me tracking my weight daily I get in the way of that.
  6.   I know that weight fluctuates daily and thus the only true way to see a pattern and know if you are gaining or losing is to weigh weekly.
  7.   I know my body needs nutrients just to function and thus I need this meal plan so my body can function.
  8.  I know that even if I was weighing daily it wouldn’t change what my weight is Monday. Come tomorrow, even weighing, I wouldn’t know what my weight will be Monday because weight fluctuates.
  9.   I know I can’t change my meal plan, only my nutritionist can and that can’t happen till Wednesday, so even getting to know my weight Monday is a compromise from nutritionist.
  10.   I know God doesn’t want me to be a slave to the scale and thus by not getting on scale I am praising Him over ED.
  11. I know I have done this exact meal plan before and nothing drastic happened. There is no reason I can’t trust it now.
  12. I know I will be able to enjoy my weekends more without having to worry about weigh-ins.
  13. I know I will never be able to see I don’t need to weigh daily unless I stop weighing daily.
  14. I know my friends in recovery only weigh 1-2 times weekly and say it was the best decision they have ever made and that it made weight gain be less scary. It didn’t make them gain rapidly or make it harder, but made it easier.
  15.   I know with God and my team I can and will be able to not weigh and that it will make Mondays weigh-in a victory no matter what, because I waited for it. And Monday is a chance to see I can trust my body…that’s something I really want. And good things are worth waiting for. Instead of getting caught up in fluctuations, I can get “caught up” in trust and believe and trust (or at least try to) that I am not gaining rapidly. 
Wow! I didn't even realize how much that would help. In fact, I was about to weigh my banana because I figure what could it hurt, but then I saw that the way it could hurt is because I would be handing ED back control. I would also been saying that in the future I must always weigh bananas. I would be robbing myself of the chance to go to the refreshment table after the 5ks I run and just grab a banana to eat. And I deserve to have that as part of my future...starting with this banana tonight :) 

I also shared my contract with my parents, something I would never do before, because I don't want to have a "break" this weekend. I want to stick to the contract and know their accountability will help. I also have packed and my scale is not included...out of sight, out of mind..or at least out of the way of tempting me to weigh early. I know I am not strong enough to do this, but with my team, my friends, my family, and my God...I can conquer this contract. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

New View Recovery

I am so sorry I have been MIA from the blog…I was gonna come up with some excuse to tell you all…school, work, etc…but the truth’s because I (since Tues) had slipped back into my disorder. It came from a lot of things…GI issues, a doctor telling me some triggering info and literally giving me permission to lose weight, and just my own anxiety seeming to be too much. All of these (especially the GI issues) made it seem like a perfect time to relapse. ED painted it out to be perfect…it would just be a nice little break and I would come out of it feeling stronger and more at ease with recovery…I even wrote a new stricter contract I would agree to.

Well…let me just tell you that’s a freaking HUGE lie. If ED ever tells you relapse will make things easier if you set a certain time length you will take a the other way because he is so freaking lying. I am going to write about that in a later post…but for now just know that. Onto my super long post for today..I broke it into parts, but I really, really hope (and would love to hear through e-mail or comments) it brings healing to others. 

Instead of looking at my relapse today I want to look at the decision I made today to come out of the lapse…to add back the snack I took off and to not exercise like I had planned. Also, I have decided to come out of this relapse with a more positive spin that I really hope will help me in sticking to recovery.

So this morning I just had enough. I was tired of feeling miserable, tired of all the health complications that had come back up since Tues…and tired of the relapse. I also had a terrifying weigh-in that showed me just how quick relapse can take away any progress you made…in that moment…filled with fear..I realized I didn’t want this ED anymore…I just wanted to get better. So I decided, on my own, to add back the snack I had taken out and even gotten approval to take out just for this week while GI issues subsided.

But then came the fact that I had told myself I would do a walking video….looking back I see that the fact I was doing walking video was what made adding the bagel back so easy. Ed creeped in: “It’s only walking it’s not that big of a deal. You can just wean yourself off…you are only doing yoga tomorrow. And if you add back this snack…you will just get scared and balloon..unless of course you do this walking video. I am just looking out for you.”

I knew in my heart this was a lie…but just couldn’t bring myself around to making the commitment not to do the video…so I reached out to the person I knew would guide me in the right direction…my good friend (and 2nd mom) Allison. She told me what I didn’t want to hear…that I shouldn’t do video and that it was ED. But I was so scared. I spent an hour texting her back and forth, freaking out, crying….but texting instead of doing the video…and in the end…the results were suprising.

ED Masks our Needs

I ended up realizing I didn’t want to do the walking video. The desperation I felt to do it was a mask for a deeper, more emotional need. What I wanted was someone to hold me and to tell me everything would be okay. That I had slipped…yes…but it didn’t mean I couldn’t pull myself out and keep moving forward. That I felt like I was in a tailspin, but I had the strength through God to get back on track. That I could trust my N and move on…that this slip didn’t define me. That is what I wanted..but it’s much easier to think that you just want to walk than to realize you are scared and need comfort.

That little 6 year old did the same thing when she thought she needed the tub of icing…when what she wanted was the embrace of her parents…for the yelling to end…for her family to be one of love. It’s the same thing that drove the 14 year old me to run non stop…to push her body to its breaking point…all because she felt stressed and wanted someone to tell her it was okay to not be perfect. And today…I felt the drive and need to do this video…when what I really wanted was the comfort of someone telling me it would be okay…and today…today I chose to ask for that comfort and not to walk.

I am hoping in the future days and weeks to come…when these desperate drives to act out in ED come I can take a step back and ask myself what I really want…is it love, peace from stress, a conversation with a friend, time with family, comfort, a break from school…what deep need is ED trying to distract me from and what can I do to treat that real need. I know walking would have never given me peace, because it would be an ED sized block trying to fill a heart shaped hole. But getting the comfort and love from a friend…that was the heart shape block that filled that hole and gave me peace. Giving into what ED is telling me I desire will never give me peace, because its not the true want. Only by finding the true want can the right piece fit into the hole.

New Spin on Things

Another important discovery I had is my view of recovery and its challenges. My therapist actually confronted me on this yesterday. Instead of enjoying recovery I hold my breathe and white-knuckle my way through it and its not sustainable. I am never going to want to give up my ED for something that seems horrible. Of course ED will look like a better choice if recovery is miserable.

Today I saw this because I kept telling my friend that if I added back bagel and didn’t workout then what if ED was proven right and I ballooned and then felt hopeless and worthless. Thankfully she doesn’t let me run down those rabbit holes and in the end I reframed it. ONLY by eating the bagel (snack I took out) and NOT exercising could I prove my nutritionist right and give myself a chance at recovery. If I were to add back the bagel but work out…then ED would just be proven right..that I had to earn my snack. But by resisting the urge ED could be proven wrong..but even more important, the truth my N speaks into me could be proven right.

Instead of looking at my food challenges as ways to prove ED wrong (and thus keeping the focus on the lies and leaving an open door for ED to come in and scare me into focusing on him being right)…I want to see what aspects of freedom they can bring. What truth my nutritionist has been trying to teach me that they would help validate. Looking at the positives they could bring, not the negatives they help avoid. Even though looking at how ED could be proven wrong is a good thing…I’ve noticed its much easier for ED to come in and try and bring up the insecurity of him being right. But if my focus is on the truths that my N tells me…that I need food, should trust her intake, can eat freely without exercise…then the focus isn’t on ED and its hard for him to refute what a professional says.

Plus it helps me to see the positives of recovery. Where it is taking me instead of the fact it is keeping me from ED. Again…keeping me from ED is a good thing, but it’s easy for ED to come in and try and show me it’s a bad thing. But when I think about the fact that it would be nice if I could see I can eat bagel and not exercise..then I can think of how that would mean going out to bagels with friends in Denver. Or being able to just eat a bagel in dining hall instead of in my room.

So I want to take a new spin on recovery. Instead of looking at it from proving ED wrong or keeping me from ED or keeping me from going back to treatment I want to look at what it brings me. And not just generally but with every step. Every goal I set with my N I want to see how that gets me closer to the life I want and what truth it is meant to support. That way I am looking at where recovery is taking me,not what it is keeping me from. You can’t move forward if you are always looking back.

Plus…heck…its what ED does. ED has never framed my view to be what my ED keeps me from…its always been what my ED seems to bring…and I want my ED more than recovery most days…so why not frame recovery this same way…that way maybe I can at least want recovery as much as my ED.

Worth the risk

The other thing I realized my fear of ED being right gets me to do is to avoid pushing myself too much. I get so scared he will be proven right…that the lies spoken into me (that I have been told are lies) will be proven true…that I get paralyzed in fear. But now…with this new positive spin…and looking at challenges as a CHANCE to have truths proven true and to trust my N more and to claim the future I want….I am seeing that its worth risking the small possibility ED will be right.

Sadly right now I base my right vs wrong on weight…on how much it increases (since I am on weight gain). I will work on my therapist with this because I probably need a different measure. But for where I am now, that is what I use. But I think the risk of one scary weigh-in is worth the chance to see I don’t ballon and that I can eat freely. The chance to claim the future I want is worth the slight possibility that I do balloon that all my worst fears come true.

I will come to an analogy that reveals an emberassing fear I used to have…I used to be deathly afraid of escalators. I am not sure where the fear came from…but all the sudden, one day..I woke up petrified that I would fall down an escalator and die. So instead of facing escalators I avodided them time and time again. It’s just like after this lapse…I feel I woke up with all these food fears again…but I just keep avoiding them. I was just so scared what if I rode the escalator and all the sudden I fell…then I would have to live the rest of my life KNOWING I should be afraid of escalators. So instead I just lived out the fear of escalators and avoided any possibility of finding out they weren’t to fear out of the fear of finding out they were.

But then one day I was with a group of friends and we were at the mall and about to get on an escalator. I
was flipping out, but in that moment…the possibility of being normal, of riding an escalator and seeing it was okay…it was worth the risk of finding out they were to fear. So with silent fear (none of my friends knew)…I rode the escalator…and guess what…I didn’t fall. Nope. Instead the fear I had lived in for years (literally I took stairs/elevators for probably 5 years because of this fear) was proven wrong. And now…now I ride escalators without fear. But it was only because I decided it was worth the risk.

So that is the new thing for me this go-round. I want to reframe my view of challenges and see they are worth the risk of one scary weigh in. The possibility of getting to be normal of eating normally….of seeing that food isn’t so scary just like I saw with the escalator…it’s worth the risk of falling on my face…of seeing the fear I am already living out as truth is true. Because heck…if the fear is proven true…doesn’t change what I am doing…but if it is proven false..opens up a new pathway to freedom.

And as slight as the chance was that I would fall to my death on the escalator and see I should fear them…that is just as slight as the possibility ED is right…that my N (with a degree and education) is somehow less knowledgeable on food than a disorder driven and formed out of lies spoken into me. That is maintained by the effects of a starved brain. So really…the risk isn’t even that great…there is more opportunity present than risk J

Wrapping it Up

I hope this isn’t confusing and actually makes sense but basically here are my take aways from all this. I want to look beyond the surface desires ED brings up and look deeper…into what need that is masking. Instead of acting in my ED behavior…to meet that true underlying need…as scary as that may be.

And I want to reframe my food challenges and recovery choices to look at where they are taking me and the truths they are highlighting. I know recovery is something I will have to fight for…and in order to maintain the fight..even on the hard days…I need to WANT to fight.

And I want to see it’s worth the risk by reminding myself of that every time ED tries to creep in with the fact he may be right. I want to , in those moments, say: “So what. I already live out that you are right…and this is the only way to possibly live free…and I will take the risk.”
 So here it is in action today:
  •   Deeper needs: I felt the desire to walk…real thing I needed was the comfort to know everything was going to be okay even though I felt so out of control. To hear that I deserve to eat and am worthy. To feel loved and comforted…instead of the anger I was throwing at myself. I met this need by talking to a friend.
  • Positive Recovery: Today I am going to be eating bagel and not do any exercise. This helps align with the truth my nutritionist told me that my body needs the bagel and that I don’t have to exercise to be able to eat. It aligns with the truth I can trust my nutritionist and her choices for my food and should give those choices to her. It also helps so I can get a bagel with friends in the dining hall no matter the day, that I can trust my nutritionist meal plans, and that In Denver I could meet up with people at coffee shop and be able to have a bagel with them.
  •  Eating the bagel and avoiding exercise is worth the risk of possibly seeing that ED is right and that I should fear bagel. I already live my life afraid of bagels…so I’m not risking anything by testing the point…just giving myself possibility of freedom.