I can

So what do you do when you’re afraid? You face your fear head on. With the facing of this fear comes power and a peacefulness that tells you that this is the right choice.

Yesterday was a day of “I can’t” and “I won’t”. I fought and fought, yet nothing changed. I fought a war in my head, and in my body.

I know I’ve been slipping, and I know I’ve been hiding. 

Thanksgiving morning came and went. I slept in until noon, and only left the house to run a few errands. A cloud of shame and exhaustion followed in my footsteps.

I was torn, knowing that I was giving in when I made excuses and closed my eyes. I avoided dinner, and ate my “safe” foods, asking over and over again: why me?

My head is full of questions and my heart is full of answers, and yet the two never collide. I feel as though I am in a dream, and I honestly cannot see beyond this minute, this second.

Two days have passed since Thanksgiving. I am slowly forgiving my mistakes, and trying to make better choices.

I realized I have an appointment with my dietitian on Monday, and I considered calling to reschedule. I also have an appointment with my therapist.”I can’t handle two appointments next week!” I told myself.

I can.

Today, tomorrow, and Monday I am determined to use my skills for good. I know how to cope best by using Ed. Today, I am looking to my true self, whoever that may be, and choosing compassion. I am doing all I can to drown out Ed.

I wrote down countless quotes last night, building up my backlog of encouragement. I may feel weak, but I know I am strong.

I woke up today with a sense of determination and love. Today, I will choose to be kind. Today, I will nourish myself. Today, I will listen to my hunger.

I am struggling. And I have been.

Recovery and ambition comes and goes. Today I am reminding myself that I can. And even though I didn’t meet my own expectations on Thanksgiving, I am showing myself today that I can make progress in other ways.

Yes, I made decisions on Thanksgiving that I am not proud of. I like to think that I learn from my mistakes, and I have a goal now.

My sights are set on Christmas. I may not find the traditional Christmas meal as tasty as pizza or a burger, and that’s ok. I can eat a meal with my family in the name of tradition, personal goals, and celebration though, and that is what I hope to do next month.

The skills I am using to get there are compassion, accountability, self care, and nourishment. Any and all thoughts, words of encouragement, and prayers are greatly appreciated.

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The battleground

I woke up today with a question tugging at my mind…why do I hate myself? 

I closed my eyes and lay in the bed. Trying to sort through my thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

I imagined a battleground. Though there were others milling around us, I knew this fight had to come down to a war between me and Ed.

I saw Ed rushing me, sword thrust forward for a harmful blow.

And then…

I saw me. I was wearing chain mail and little leggings and a long sleeved top. I was on my toes, ready and waiting. And I saw myself block Eds attack and slash his throat.

I didn’t see the aftermath. I know how this story ends though. 

I win.

I have to.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my dietitian. I knew the day was coming when I’d have to seriously get back on track.

Holidays are looming, and I’m so scared. Because last year felt like a dream. I ate and celebrated. I even had a slice of pie.

This year I already feel the struggle. I gave some power back to Ed. He sweet talked me into unlocking the padlock on his cage, and though I have some armor on, some tools in my belt, Ed is so sneaky.

He tells me I don’t have to eat a meal just because everyone else is. That I don’t really want that food anyway.

This past week has been tough. I’d like to blame it on my hormones, and though I’m sure some of my emotions are being dictated by that, I know I have to take some of the responsibility.

I don’t feel good. And I’m really struggling with knowing who I am. I don’t know who I am supposed to be, and I am afraid.

Why do you hate yourself?

I countered this with the query: do I hate myself? 

If I don’t fully know who I am, how can I really, truly, hate myself? 

When I asked myself these questions, I listened to my heart. 

My heart answered that I don’t hate myself. I hate how Ed makes me feel, and I am afraid of finding my true self.

I am not constantly thinking negative thoughts about myself, rather, if you were to approach me and ask me how I really felt about myself, deep down? 

I’d say I don’t really like “myself”.

I’m realizing how many of my emotions can be connected to fear. I am afraid, no matter how much I try to convince myself that everything is ok.

I am constantly reminding myself that I am safe. I am constantly feeling like I am in danger.

This leads to anxiety, which causes me to think of food, instead of really feeling my emotions. I drown out the feelings of fear with concentration. 

I count more, I question more, I listen to Ed more.

It’s “easier.”

Than what, you ask?

Than feeling my true feelings.

However,

I know what I need to do.

I know how I need to do it.

My heart is beating a million times a minute. As I crest the grassy hill, I catch the first glimpses of Ed’s army.

I remember this place.

I tighten my grip on my sword, and square my shoulders. 

It’s time for war.

It’s the milk

Sometimes it can be hard for me to be totally honest on this blog. I’m not always sure if my progress is relevant. However, this past week I had a “proud moment” and wanted to share it.

To get you allll caught up on the situation:

I’ve had a phobia of liquid calories for almost as long as I can remember. I know it’s not logical, and it’s one of the fear food categories I know I will need to do a lot of work on.

So….

This week I decided to challenge myself. One night I skipped my snack, and I made a deal with myself, kind of using the “if/then” method of flexible thinking backwards. 

I told myself that if I didn’t have my snack that night, then I would try some almond milk in my coffee the morning at work. 

I know that might sound pathetic to you, however, to me it’s the equivalent of being phobic about spiders, and then telling myself that to get over that fear I should touch a spider every day.

So the first day was hard, especially because I felt a little sick after sipping on just a half cup of coffee or less. This got me to regretting even trying the vanilla almond milk in my coffee in the first place!

Then I changed the rules, in a good way. I know myself better than anyone else. So I know I have an all or nothing view of the expectations I have of myself.

 I know that when I take a bite of food, I have basically just comitted to finishing that food. I know I avoid liquid calories at all costs, because they cause me to be uncomfortable, and why feel discomfort if I don’t have to?

I gave myself permission to toss the coffee if I grew tired of it, or it became old and cold. I ended up being very caught up in the coffee/milk before drinking it, and when deciding I had had enough. I kept sipping it even after it had become tepid, I was so “attached” to the coffee and the all or nothing mindset, that it was hard for me to jump over that last little hurdle.

Once I threw the old coffee out, I didn’t stew over my consuming it (or lack thereof). It felt nice to confirm that I could face a huge fear and stressor without using behaviors after the fact.

While this is a small victory for me, and I am still obviously working through my feelings and emotions, I wanted to share this story with you, to really illustrate the effects of small events and their impact on someone in recovery. 

Facing things like this is stressful, because even approaching the idea makes me begin to feel uncomfortable. However, I am going to choose to sit with my emotions and feel them. Because, as my favorite saying goes, This too shall pass.


Cultivation

I’ve been going to bed with a headache.

Maybe it’s my new glasses?

I have a feeling that it’s not.

I look deep inside myself and see a little girl, curled up in a ball.

Waiting.

Waiting for strength, wisdom, and truth.

My mind is a bed of dirt.

My memories and experiences are artifacts.

Digging the trowel in is difficult, and I know it will bring some pain.

What I find in the loamy earth intrigues and saddens me.

All of these things over time have collected and formed who I am.

I touch each found item, marveling at the way it changed me.

Pain, love, beliefs, people.

And who am I?

I have a hutch where I go to gaze upon my life thus far.

All of the trinkets and pieces of myself others that have been laying forgotten in the soil.

It is the only way to heal and receive answers.

I am afraid. And curious.

Some days it is difficult to face what I find.

Accepting my story is an ongoing process.

I look at my collection of experiences, memories, pieces of my life.

Some of the items aren’t pleasant. I acknowledge them, and thank them for the growth they offered.

Every moment has its place. Every coincidence set in place before I could ever conceive it.

I am a conglomeration of time. Moments and years.

You cannot judge a book by it’s cover and you cannot measure a life’s worth by accomplishments made.

I am finding my place. I am discovering peace.

Like. Care for. Fancy.

I began to write in this blank space, and the first words that I typed were pretty sad.

I realized I was writing about how hard everything is and how I’m struggling.

And the words my therapist spoke came back to me, about how powerful words are. About how the way we narrate our stories matters.

I could write about how my day is dragging and I’m tired of fighting and I just want a group of strong women to talk to because I have so many thoughts and questions.

I could write a hopeless post about how I don’t feel like I’m moving anywhere and how my heart is so tired.

Instead of focusing on all of the things I feel like I am doing “wrong”, I’m going to try to put a different perspective on things.

Yes, I’m tired. I’m also exhilarated. 

I’m learning so much, I’m packing my bags with tools and new ways of thinking.

I’m becoming more aware. Of the words I speak, the actions I make, of my own voice.

All of the little changes are adding up.

Limiting beliefs are being ripped away, leaving space to be filled with curiosity.

I’m trying to put everything into perspective. I’m learning to feel and be unafraid.

I was so out of it, for so long. I often look in the mirror and study my face, not quite recognizing it.

Reading Brene Brown and finally understanding her words fully.

Questioning the language I use around food. Why is it always “need” for me?

 I have to need food to deserve it. I have to be light headed, tummy grumbling, diet soda sipping hungry, to even think about asking ed for a bite.

This is what I became, a girl, shackled to a monster. He told me I didn’t need anything.

So I set out to find a new word, in its place. I chose 4. 

Like. Care For. Fancy.

These words are pleasant, even fun! Asking myself “would I care for more” instead of “do you need more?” sounds much less threatening.

Words hold emotion and power. 

I never realized before now, just how much.