Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Some writings from a few months ago

Sometimes, I like to look back at my writing. I've sent out various text messages, emails, and facebook notes with random thoughts. Here's one I wrote in March, after being out of treatment for almost a year, that I am particularly proud of.

I don't even know where to start with this. I really wanted to write something just because I've been mentally reflecting on the changes to my life over the course of the past year. I mean my physical location and physical condition have obviously changed drastically, but that's the least of it.

The things I've learned about myself, and the things I've learned about others and the nature of life are incredible. There are people who have faded out of my life. There are people who had walked in and then out very quickly. And there are new people in my life who I'm so glad to have there. And each person brings with them something, or things, that contribute to who I am in this moment.

I could go on and on about the incredible people who are in my life at any given time. I have a tendency to see people for the true good inside of them. But for a change, that's not what I'm going to talk about. I'm going to talk about how I see things differently now.

I've learned to be a real person, having a heart and soul, strengths and needs, crisis and relaxation, and most importantly, balance and equilibrium. The idea of balance, equilibrium, grounding, peace always scared me. Terrified me. I didn't want to accept myself, I didn't want to feel comfortable enough to accept myself. I wanted to live in a constant state of discomfort so that I could always have that little monkey on my back nudging me to do whatever it wanted me to do to change myself.

I won't lie. I don't think I love myself. Not right now. But I am working towards accepting myself. I am willing to learn to do that. And from acceptance, maybe I'll find love. I have to accept myself the way I am before I can change anything. If I don't accept myself and try to change, then what am I changing from, anyway? "I can't accept myself because I don't like my current weight." I'll never like my weight no matter what it is if I can't accept myself first. Pain + Non-Acceptance = Suffering. A little DBT for you to think about. I suffered enough. It's time to accept.

I'm finding balance, peace, stability, enjoyment, happiness. I was so afraid of all of these things. But the more I sample them, the more I really want them. It's why I'm surrounding myself with like-minded people. It's why I do yoga, why I work with Andrea, why I read silly little books, why I do artwork and writing and take hot baths and hang upside down and why I go to work and school.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. Every person who walks in and out of our life. Every event, good or bad. Every piece of the puzzle will eventually fit together. I believe in magnetic attraction. I can't explain any other reason why I still ended up studying psychology despite hating my intro class, why I kept going back and trying yoga again and again till it clicked (especially after hating it at RCC, and then pinching a nerve in my shoulder from overextending in freakin child's pose at CEDC, and being bored in a Sunday morning class), why I had a steady well-paying job and sought out another one that I adore, why these people who have been through their own struggles and now are moving forward in their own lives have walked across my path to inspire me at just the right times. I have no other way to explain it. It just happens for a reason.

That's the other thing. That it happens. It just does. It's life and it unfolds itself and while you've got the power to make the best decisions with the given circumstances, life itself is what you do with what you're given. The greatest life can unfold itself before you and you can sit in the corner. Or a life with ups and downs and struggles everywhere can be laid down in front of you and you can get over each mountain and roll down each hill with more and more strength than the time before, and come out of the whole thing with so much that you've accomplished for yourself, so much that you've given to others, and so much value.

So my lessons that I've learned this year?

Live. Try. Grow. Hurt. Accept. Embrace. Reflect.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Writing My Memoir

I'm in the process of writing my memoir. It's difficult, though, because I've only lived twenty-three years. At the same time, it's difficult because I've accomplished a lot in those 23 years. I've kept journals as long as I could write, yet that doesn't help, because the critical things that I want to write about now, are things I refused to write about then. I have an outline, and a few chapters written. I don't want to just write about my life...I want to write about lessons learned, the people who walked in and out of my life, and things so abstract that I can't figure out how to express them.

my intro.

I have wanted to write a book for a very long time now. So why For Melissa? And is it really for Melissa? Melissa, a girl I have never met before, passed away due to complications that resulted from bulimia. In a way, it is for Melissa. Or, inspired by Melissa, rather. More, it’s for everyone else. Everyone still living and breathing. Everyone who’s ever struggled – whether that struggle was with one’s own eating disorder or another debilitating addiction, or whether that struggle was with living with a person who was waging her own internal battle using external means. Everyone who’s ever felt a twinge of, “is this really life? Is this it?” That’s who this book is really FOR. I guess I could have titled it “For Everyone.” Because it is. But it’s for Melissa, because when she left this world, it seems as though her spirit gave me the push I needed to get writing.

This book isn’t my memoir of life with an eating disorder. It’s also not my memoir of life after an eating disorder. It’s not even a memoir, really. It’s more my commentary on my life experiences, many of which were impacted by the fact that I was going through or had gone through an eating disorder.

I don’t know if I was ever close to death. I kept as far as possible away from doctor’s offices for the longest time. I was never emaciated. Never forced into treatment by a third party. Never a “real” bulimic or anorexic. And I always believed that I wasn’t sick enough.

This is for all the girls, and guys, women and men, who aren’t sick enough. Because if you’re sick enough to believe that you're "not sick enough", you’re sick enough to get yourself better and get on the right track. I know that not everyone reading this is sick, and that not everyone who does have an eating disorder will take this, or anything, as a step towards recovering their life.

I’m writing this to inspire. I’m writing this to share. Most of all, I’m writing this to grow. Some of this is my story. Other parts are the stories of people I know. The only other thing I can guarantee is that Melissa will never read this. Be grateful that you are.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Beach Therapy

So I have to say, I'd been on the brink, teetering dangerously close to a relapse. The "Ed voice" and the "healthy voice" in my head were fighting all week long. I hadn't felt like that for more than a few moments, a day at most, in a very long time. Probably a good year. Anyway, to be completely honest, I was scared. I couldn't go back to it! But it felt like that was the only choice. All my standard coping skills seemed to be failing: reading (a great temporary escape, but not longlasting), sleeping (one of my favorite activities but I didn't have time for naps and had trouble falling asleep at night!), yoga (felt good during the class but as soon as I got back into the car and thought about my next meal...terror), arts and crafts (just didn't feel like I had the motivation). I'm back to going to therapy only once a week instead of twice, and going to yoga instead, so I didn't even have the consistency of twice-a-week therapy that helped me a lot (although if I really felt that it was necessary, I know my therapist would've gone for it). I had resorted to safety foods from my disordered days, and numbers were beginning to plague my life. I was behind on my charting at work, forgetting to check the weather before getting dressed and leaving the house, and letting my gas tank run on empty (ironic?). These things were slowly happening for about two weeks before the full-on "OMG this is it...I can feel the relapse coming over me."

I don't know what I would have done if things had gone differently, if my schedule was slightly different. I don't know if something else would've clicked, or if I would have spun out of control and still be spinning right now, but that's not important because that's not what happened.

What happened was the trip to the beach. I drove for two hours with my coworker and four of our clients (adults with severe and persistent mental illness), and another van with two coworkers and four clients followed us, down the shore to Point Pleasant Beach. Most of the clients wanted to stay on the boardwalk, smoke cigarettes, and eat. But two of them wanted to go onto the beach. My coworker and I took them down the boardwalk and onto the beach, where we set up our spot.

The second my toes hit the sand, I knew I would be okay. When I settled onto my towel, and breathed in the ocean air, I felt slightly more at ease. When my client, N, and I walked down and got our toes wet, it was as though the ocean washed away the "insanity" that had been circling my brain for the past week or so.

I got back to work extremely exhausted, maybe from four hours of driving on the Garden State Parkway, but maybe also from allowing my body to get rid of the negative and rebuild the positive, somehow. I'm not really sure how all that inner-self stuff works, but I believe it's gotta be at least somewhat real because I can feel it.

I went to yoga this evening and even the positions that were harder weren't a struggle. They were just a challenge. It reminded me the importance of challenges in our lives, and even the importance of reframing our struggles into challenges. Struggles bring us down. Challenges help us rise above. Any struggle can be a challenge. Likewise, any challenge can be a struggle if you let it, but you don't have to.

I'm still tired, and I'm hungry again and my "ED voice" still tells me that I can do without food even though I know I need it, but I'm signing off and heading up to the kitchen before going back to bed. It's quite difficult to sleep when you're hungry. I am remembering that now. It's quite difficult to function when your life is consumed by an eating disorder. That's one "challenge" I don't need. Recovery, fine. But to challenge myself to be successful and disordered at once, as so many people wish to do, I'm going to aim to not have to do that.

So that's my story. I can't wait to get my beach bum back to the ocean again.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Resurfacing this thing?

Well, I am finding more and more people having and even using blogs, so maybe I'll try this again. It's a little classier than a facebook note, for when I have something insightful to share.

I've been reading, working, and yoga-ing, and enjoying the fact that I do not have classes for the summer. Life's got it's ups and downs as always and maybe I'll write about some various things that strike me on this here blog, both about the ups and the downs.

Maybe I'll even show you pictures.

Also, I've kind of given up on getting into a good sleep schedule, because I end up sleeping past noon on Mondays, since I'm off, then staying up till about midnight and having to wake up in 6 or 7 hours to get to work at 8am, then I usually crash Tuesday evening, sometimes I'm even in bed BEFORE 8pm, and always sleep all through the night...and beyond, because Wednesday I don't have to work till 1, so I sleep late again. Then I don't go to bed until Midnight or so, and have to wake up around 6 or 7 again, since I work 8-5 on Thursday. Thursday evening I guess is somewhat normal, except that the last few Fridays I've had misunderstandings with my alarm cllock and ended up running late, not waking up until well after 7:30 and having to get to work at 9. Then I stay up late because YAY ITS THE WEEKEND, and try to get up by like 10 or 11 on Saturday and Sunday but it rarely happens...and then the week continues. This is my third week of this. before that, it was just plain old 9-5 Monday-Friday but I'm working 30 hours now, since I'll only be able to work 30 hours this fall when I'm interning 15 hours...and am beyond exhausted, so I figured I deserved something resembling a summer vacation.

Well there you go, you get a little ramble and you weren't even expecting it.

I do wonder if anyone will ever read this.