Friday, August 31, 2007

Need to purge (in a healthy way)

I need to get some things out...


The below may include triggers (food with some amounts, urges, etc.) Proceed with caution and care for yourself.

****End Warning****

I've been sitting (knitting furiously while watching Charmed DVDs) with the urge to throw up all night. Not that I know (or have ever known) how to make myself throw up at will. I physically can't do it.

It's not that I really binged either. Granted, I challenged myself today. I gave in to my craving for really good steak fries and a chicken wrap (I highly recommend Red Robin.) And I still ate dinner and I still had a homemade sundae with 2 scoops of ice cream and whipped cream and sprinkles and almonds.

And now I feel full. Not stuffed. Just full.

And I hate it.

But what I hate more is the incredible sadness that I'm feeling.

My son starts kindergarten on Tuesday. We (Todd and Jack) met his teachers today and saw (and played in) his classroom. And then we went out for lunch (afore-mentioned Red Robin) then we went bowling. We had an awesome time, despite my son slipping and whacking his head. (Did you know that the reason you stay in front of the line on the alley is because the lane is oiled for about half of the way to the pins? I learned that today... I had always thought that the fould line was just to keep things fair among competitors. Whoddathunk?)

So anyway, all day, I've been fighting back tears. I called my grandma and talked to her for about a half hour. She sent me a card and I wanted to thank her. My grandma is 94 years old (well, at least for another few weeks...)

Until around 4 when I couldn't hold them back anymore. I went to the bathroom and cried.

My son is going to school.

Time is going too quickly. Way too quickly.

If I'm lucky, I'm about a third of the way through my life.

One third gone.

Never to return.

And how did I spend this time???

Up until recently, I've spent it hating myself. Torturing myself. Punishing myself with feelings of shame and disgust for something I didn't do. For something that happened TO me. Was done to me.

And I feel incredibly sad.

I just want to cry.

As I mentioned, I've been watching episodes from Charmed. One of the Charmed Ones* (Piper) had the power to freeze time.

How I envy her sometimes. Sometimes I just want to freeze everything but me, if only for a few minutes, to give me time to truly experience everything. Give me time to cry when I'm in the moment of feeling sad (without anyone else seeing.)

I'm embarrassed by how sad I feel. I mean, really, what happened to me happened over 20 years ago. All kids start school. Everyone grows up; it's natural. the way of things. Everyone gets older...

I have no intention of ever wishing for Jack to stay small. And yet, I can't help but wish that time would Slow. down.

Give me time to process. Give me time to feel. I'm new at this feeling all feelings thing. It takes me a long time to process what I'm feeling, let alone let myself show it.

Give me time to live. After spending 30 years frozen.

and what really sucks. The thing that makes me so angry?

I never got to enjoy the time when one can let her/his feelings flow and everyone else be damned. That time, as a kid, when you can cry when you are hurt and sad, laugh outrageously when you are happy, stamp and kick and scream when you are angry. Like today, when my son whacked his noggin on the floor at the bowling alley... He seemed to carry on and on. I held him and rocked him (Todd sat next to us and held his hand.) And I just let him cry. He was scared more than hurt, really, but you know? That was okay. Eventually, he stopped. (after only a prompting from Todd and me to take a few deep breaths.) And he felt so much better. Because he let it all out. He wasn't worried about people staring at him or what someone would think. He felt and let it out. And then it was done.

I was proud of him.

And Todd and I, too. Because we let him. Even though we were brought up to think that "one shouldn't make a scene."

We did good.

Sorry... brief pause there (not that you noticed. lol) My son wanted a hug. He asked me, "Does everyone close their eyes when they hug?"

I never noticed before that moment, that I always close my eyes when I hug or am hugged. I asked Jack, "why do you think that is?"

"I dunno."

I told him that I think people close their eyes so that they can focus on feeling the hug without being distracted by sight. For me, I focus on feeling the love flow between me and the other person.

Okay, I admit, it's rather cosmic, karmic, metaphysical. But if you've never tried it, try it. It really is amazing the glow you feel when you imagine the love flowing back and forth. Strengthening. Comforting.

My son is tired... Time for bed. For mommy, too...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Spades are trump

I just had to post.

I'm proud of myself. Shocker, I know!

I got a cruddy night's sleep last night between weird dreams (no they haven't gone away, they are just more restful now, thankfully) and a dog that wouldn't shut up. This morning, I worked out with my personal trainer (a day earlier than normal, since I won't be at work tomorrow.) I had planned on going to the kickboxing class at noon in addition to my dance class tonight.

At 11:50, I opened my cupboard and started shoving my (still sweat-soaked from this morning) workout clothes into my bag. And I sighed. I asked myself, "Do I really want to go to kickboxing?"

The dialogue that ensued went thusly:

"Not really."
"But I should try to use the class to connect with my anger; and I told my trainer that I had planned to go."
"But I'm tired. And I really don't want to be exhausted at my class tonight. We perform in groups for each other tonight - I'm "graduating" from level 5 after all! I'm going to need my strength - the routine is strenuous, after all."

So, I'm not going to kickbox today.

And I feel GREAT about my decision!
For the most part, anyway.
ED, damn him, is always there to whisper (but you should, you should - mentally, emotionally, and physically... And you have been eating and eating, you know...)

But you know what?

Fork you, ED!

Fork you!!!

I'm almost done reading the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. Many of the principles are things I've already been incorporating (or trying to) into my life, like rejecting the diet mentality, honoring your hunger, making peace with food, challenging the food police, feeling your fullness, discover the satisfaction factor. Pole dancing is helping me to respect my body. And I'm really working hard to only exercise when I feel up to it and to only do what I truly enjoy. Today, I scored massive points!!

It's hard for me to give up those "shoulds," though. Damn hard.

But I see it as this - I'm not getting any younger. I must take care of me.

Must trumps should.

Has to.

Every time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Instincts? Use 'em if you've got 'em...

So, I saw John tonight (Tuesday.)

I told him about my conversation with my brother, Johnny. My thoughts/feelings about it (see previous post) as well how I think my brother is underestimating my parents' ability to handle things (details.)

Basically, he told me that my instincts have been right all along in this process; there is no reason to think they would be wrong this time.

He told me that I was brave. That many people wouldn't have fought this hard.

He said that anytime someone goes into something knowing its the right thing for that person to do, the outcome is usually good. The fact that I know that I need to tell my parents is enough to bet on a good outcome.

We talked about why I need to tell my parents; what I need from them. I said that I just need them to know. It would be nice if they understood - especially if they understood my anger towards Tom. I don't need them to believe me - I know that the abuse happened; Tom confirmed that. It would be great if they hugged me and said that they loved me and all that, but I know that's a fairy tale. And I'm okay with that. I don't expect emotional support from my family anymore. Sad? Sure, it is, but it's healthy for me.

He taught me how to break bad news to someone - just like cops are trained. John confirmed that telling someone this kind of thing is all in how you spin it.

So, basically, I tell my parents something like:

Mom, I have something difficult to tell you. I talked to Tom about it last fall and he confirmed that it really happened. I talked with Todd and even Johnny, and now I need you and dad to know. [pause]
When I was around 11, Tom sexually molested me at least twice. It's the reason I have an eating disorder, the reason I almost lost my marriage.
I just need you to know.

From here, I can tell her my feelings - anger at Tom which is normal and may last a very long time; I can explain how Tom and I can be civil when necessary. And if needed, I can remind her that eating disorders are deadly diseases - I could have died. I almost lost my marriage because when Tom did that to me, he caused me to lose trust in others, in myself. I have every right to be angry.

So, now, I wait til my parents come to visit me. (John agreed that face-to-face would be best for this kind of thing.) Hopefully, that will be sooner rather than later... I'm the kind of person who likes to get things over with as quickly as possible. Especially when the things stand in the way of my health and happiness.

One disease to diagnose us all?

The Washington Post ran an article today by Maia Szalavitz called, "So, What Made Me an Addict?"

The article is long and involved (and rather convoluted, in my opinion.) Here is my thought:

What if alcohol/drug abuse and eating disorders are merely different symptoms of the same disease?

The more I read about sufferers from alcohol/drug/etc. addictions/abuse and eating disorders, the more similarities I find. Most sufferers find a behavior to use as a coping mechanism. Most sufferers need to find other ways to cope to recover (usually by reaching out and connecting with others.) Most sufferers start out with low self-esteem which needs to grow in recovery.

So my next question is this: why is the medical community spending lots of time and money trying to figure out the details of each "symptom" separately? Is anyone investigating the whole disease?

Personally, I think changing the name of the National Institute on Drug Abuse to the National Institute on Diseases of Addiction would be wise, perhaps they could "prove" that there is one disease which encompasses all these things. And then, maybe with the combined numbers of all sufferers put together, treatment options will open up for everyone, especially for those whose insurance won't cover at all or not enough of the treatment needed.

Just a thought...

Monday, August 27, 2007

My journey, thus far - what recovery means to me*

J.L. posted some very thought-provoking questions on her blog today. Instead of filling up her comment box with lots of "me, me, me," I thought I'd post my answers here.

"But when do you get to say that you’re fully recovered? Is that ever something that happens?"
I don't know. For me, I'm not sure I'll ever be "fully" recovered. However, I do think that I *am* recovered now. Although I pine for the days when I could use my ED behaviors, I don't use them. I find another way. I suppose, for me, "fully" recovered will be the day when I don't consciously have to talk myself down from my gateway behaviors (like keeping a food journal, using exercise as a way to compensate (punish myself) for eating...)

"Will there ever be a time in my life (for longer than a few months) when I will be 100% happy with my body, and eating/working out?"
To be honest, I don't know of many people who are 100%, 24/7/365 okay with their bodies/eating/exercising. That doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. For me, my goal isn't to be always okay with my body. My goal is that on those days when I don't feel okay with me, that I still take care of myself - by eating what I need, by moving how I need, by resting as much as I need, by being gentle to myself.

"When will I not turn to my ed if I’m stressed out?"
For me, I still turn to my ed when I'm stressed, I just end up turning away immediately - for example, today at work. I have a zillion projects with various deadlines. As I started to pick one, I had a sudden and strong urge to write down everything that I've eaten today. I pulled out a sheet of paper, got the pen, hunched over both on my desk,... and stopped.
I wrote in my private diary instead - about the stress that I felt and why. I reminded myself to breathe, to stretch. That it will all get done in time. I had (and have) plenty of time.
I think someday, I won't turn to my ED anymore - I'll know to breathe and stretch and cope in other ways without turning to ED first. I'll know all the reminders that I don't need my ED to deal with my feelings. Even the emotions that seem overwhelming.
I'm still practicing. Everyday. Sometimes every minute. Sometimes I get it, and sometimes I don't. But the point is to keep moving forward, keep striving to be better.

This isn't a question, but...
"[Talking about events in the past is] not going to change anything. It’s only going to make me think about it more, and that’s something that I’m trying NOT to do!"

For me, when I am feeling a lot and trying not to (whether the feelings come from here and now events or ones that happened decades ago,) that is when I want to use my ED the most... I've learned that letting some (if not all) of the feelings out does help. Sure, thinking about events in the past won't change them - the events are done and over, but the feelings are in the present. Those feelings are HERE and NOW and they won't go away until they are given "the light of day."

And that is incredibly scary. Bringing feelings out in the open. Sharing them. Feeling them.

I'm still working on that - my anger, my sadness - especially surrounding my abuse, especially letting others (and myself) in on the rawness of my emotions. And that is probably why I still turn to my ED in times of crisis (even though I don't use it anymore.) I'm looking for comfort. For numbness. For oblivion.

But oblivion doesn't cut it anymore. Not for me. Not now.

I've found so much more strength in the arms of a loved one, in the words of a friend (that includes everyone on the cul-de!,) in the thoughts of my true self. I just can't go back to ED's cold and empty promises. That incredibly lonely existence that I lived for too many years of my life.

I won't.

Recovering, for me, means learning to enjoy life in the gray.**

Living, for me, is about sharing myself - my real self - with those who love me (myself included.) My true thoughts. My heartfelt feelings - whatever they may be.

I'm learning that people who truly love me, who truly care, won't run away from me. The real me isn't a hideous beast after all.

She's just human.

*okay, so the title sucks. I can't be clever all the time.
**And now that I think about it, "fully" recovered is awful black and white, isn't it? Why do I have to be "fully" recovered? I'm getting better, not striving to be best. And isn't the point of recovering to get better?