Tuesday, February 23, 2010

our secrets keep us sick

Even though I am still feeling empty & confused about so many things in my life at the moment... I think a huge step for me was to admit here on my blog that I have been struggling because as we know all too well - our secrets keep us sick! Even little secrets! Because little secrets can eventually turn into big secrets, just like this one did! Sometimes, we feel the need to keep certain secrets to protect (?) ourselves, but in reality we are actually hurting ourselves and pushing ourselves further away from recovery!

I thought that if I kept this latest struggle with eating to myself I could keep it under control and not have to worry the people around me... (will I ever learn that I can't control my ED!?!?) I know people in my life are so sick of this endless cycle that I seem to be in with my ED. They want me to "move on already!"  And I do too, I just haven't figured out how to do that quite yet... And so for me to admit to them that I am still struggling is hard. So hard. Because I feel like I am letting them down and disappointing them...again! I hate that feeling so much! It makes me feel weak and like a loser... more than I already do.

I know that people are thinking "this has gone on since she was 13 years old, why can't she let this part of her life go and move on already??" I wish I had the answer for you, but I don't. I wonder these things myself. I hope someday I will have the answer for all of you who feel this way (especially me). I need the answer. I need to know there is a better life out there for me. I need to know how to move on - I don't want this to be my life. But I am terrified that it will be my life. I am so scared that I won't be strong enough to recover. That is my biggest fear and my biggest secret. (well, I guess it's not a secret anymore...)

Repair What Is Broken In Me


Dear God,

I know that with You nothing is impossible.
But sometimes my life feels like an impossible project.
Old wounds, crumbled dreams, and
Missed opportunities litter my path.
Some of me lies in ruins.
Some things feel as if they can never be fixed.
But You are a relentless redeemer, Lord.
Even now You are kneeling in the rubble of my life,
Looking for ways to turn bad to good,
To restore what is broken,
To renew what is worn out,
To revive what is dying or dead.
Today I invite You,
Builder of temples, healer of hearts,
To have your way in repairing what is broken in me
Until that day when I leave
This damaged home
And I become perfect in Yours.

Amen.

Monday, February 22, 2010

struggle to eat

I am struggling to eat. I am hardly ever able to eat enough anyway (according to treatment team), but lately the eating is slowly starting to disappear again. My "safe" foods are becoming very limited again.

I am coping with the emotions that are going on in my head by numbing them out (or trying to). There is just too much in my world right now that I am unable to cope any other way it seems.

Sorry if this post is such a downer... I just feel I need to express this instead of keeping it hidden away and to myself.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I Love...

...being outside! I love spring, summer, and fall. I love going for long walks and listening to my ipod. I love laying outside in the sun. I love sitting outside and reading or sketching. I love hikes, rock climbing, swimming, the beach. I just love to be outside in the warm sunny weather!

I also love to sit outside at night (when it's not too cold) and listen to the rain and feel the moist air on my skin.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

dedicated to ALL my girls out there who are struggling... I LOVE YOU!

word of the day

This is how I feel most of the time about recovery and dealing with life in general. Especially in regards to my eating disorder.
---
Maladaptive: is a term used in psychology to refer to patterns of thinking and behavior that cause and maintain emotional problems. A maladaptive thinking pattern sometimes can be accompanied by "irrational beliefs," that are held even though they are not true. It causes the person to be unable to cope.  Maladaptive behaviors refer to types of behaviors that inhibit a person's ability to adjust to particular situations. This type of behavior is often used to reduce one's anxiety, but the result is dysfunctional and non-productive. For example, avoiding situations because you have unrealistic fears may initially reduce your anxiety, but it is non-productive in alleviating the actual problem in the long term.  Maladaptive behavior: Two aspects to this are 1) maladaptive to one's self - inability to reach goals, to adapt to the demands of life, 2) maladaptive to society - interferes, disrupts social group functioning.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

can I leave the door open a crack?


I am feeling a lot of emotions. Today I filled out application forms for a local college... am I really doing this? Am I really letting go and giving up that dream of finishing up at the Fashion Institute and having a career in fashion? Am I really closing this door? 

Can I at least leave the door unlocked or keep it open a crack??

What if I am making the wrong decision? I don't know what to do! Do I follow my heart and do what I love or do I follow the realistic and safe path and try to find something else I love to do as a career?

I know finishing school at SLFI will be a huge trigger to my recovery - especially since I am still struggling as much as I am - but what if I am strong enough? What if??? Or what if I just need to accept that this is not the right environment for me and move on? I am so confused and feeling very sad (to be quite honest). I just don't want to make the wrong decision. I have made too many in the past and I am not getting any younger, I need to move forward with my life... I just don't know which road to take.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

L.O.V.E.

Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday, and even though I am single this year - I still love it!!! I am a hopeless romantic and I love love! So from me to you... happy valentines day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Devil In The Details

(I love this book, and I love this part especially because even though it's about OCD - I feel like this describes how our eating disorders can take hold of us and control us in the same way! I do struggle with OCD but I think that most of my OCD behaviors and impulses are in direct correlation to my anorexia. Anyways, I thought I'd post this on my blog because I know there are others who feel this same way about their ed's and I really like how the struggle is described in this part of the book.)
--
My mother found me in my bathroom, holding my nightgown by the hem to form an apron filled with water. I was worried an insect had touched it while I was gone.

"Don't," she said softly.

I thought for a minute, letting the water flow over the hem and all over the sink top. I knew she was right; this wasn't going to get me anywhere. But it had simply never occurred to me that I could do anything else.

Having an obsessive-compulsive impulse is like standing on red-hot coals. Every cell in your body is screaming for you to jump off. To keep standing there is so hard. It's just so hard. Leaning over the sink that night, I suddenly understood that that's what I had to do. I had to stand on the coals and take a tiny step forward. I had to feel the impulse and move past it. I got it, all of a sudden, just like that.

Maybe going away had given me some distance from my disease. Maybe, as I would soon write in my college application essays, the trip to Europe had changed me forever. Or maybe the years of checking sockets had paid off. Here, finally, was my light bulb moment. I understood how I would get better. It was a fire walk, a circus feat, a high-wire balancing act of a thousand tiny steps. It would take ages, but all I had to do right now was turn off the faucet. Then tomorrow I would inch forward some more.

But right now, it was just the faucet, a simple twist to the right. "Okay," I told my mother, and turned the water off. "Okay." I was so tired. I wadded the soggy flannel into a ball and offered it up to my mother. I was a tightrope walker charging forward, a flying Wallenda in damp underwear. Then I shuffled to my bed where I slept, and slept, and slept.


excerpt from the memoir: Devil In The Details (scenes from an obsessive girlhood) by Jennifer Traig

I Love...

...wrapping myself up in all of my blankets, with a cup of hot chocolate or hot apple cider (yummy!), and watching my favorite daytime soap 'General Hospital' (I always tape it if I am not home BE-cause I am a dork).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

MY HAPPY LIST (for the week)


1- I am praying daily; and not just for other people, but I am starting to believe that I deserve to be included in these prayers also.

2- I have been able to gain a few pounds over this past month. (yes jenn, this is a positive thing!! And you need to keep it up and keep gaining those pounds! Because weight loss and even weight maintainance are not options for you right now! And deep down you know this - so don't let your ed sneak in and continue to convince you otherwise! please!!)

3- I am excited to hang out with two of my pals tomorrow after group and partake in the yummy goodness that is Jamba Juice!

4- Slowly but surely, my spirituality is finding its way back into my life.

5- I am being more pro-active and brave in my search for a new job.

6- I am really working hard on the inner issues that I like to avoid in therapy/treatment. (I would tell you how much it sucks and how scary it is to face these things - but this is a positive list!!!)

7- I have started to exercise again, much to the worry of the "professionals" BUT I have managed to keep it at a very low-pace (meaning it hasn't gotten out of control or obsessive and I am being careful).

8- I am trying to be more honest with my parents, treatment team, ect. I know they can't help me if I lie about behaviors I am or am not engaging in. So, even though I know there will be consequences, I am trying to keep that honest communication open with them. Trying is the key word here.

9- I am helping my Grandma out with some geneology stuff. (this has been an on-going project). I like helping her out because I love her and I know that she appreciates it.

10- I am going to start volunteering again!, hopefully starting this week or next week. I was volunteering a couple days a week at a certain hospital but then ended up in the ICU of that hospital because my body started shutting down, and I nearly died (thanks ED) and ended up being there for 8 days. Then when I was discharged, it took a couple months for me to get more stable health wise. I was supposed to call and start up again in December but after everything that happened, I felt embarrassed that I would run into all of the people who knew about my "situation" (why did I have to be admitted to that hospital!?)...so... I kept putting it off and putting it off - until last week when I made the call. Better late than never right? She was out of the office last week so I left a message and I am waiting for her to call me back. I am excited to start volunteering again but it's going to be hard to try to avoid all the doctors and nurses who know about me and my "troubles".

Monday, February 8, 2010

Letting People In

I was talking to one of my roommates over the weekend and she asked me "How do you do it alone?" It really got me thinking a lot - because I do try to do it alone. I know I shouldn't, my therapist is always trying to encourage me to reach out and let people help me. But I can't seem to do it. I am so used to just being alone with my thoughts, with my struggles. And I also think I am a lot more guarded too because in the past when I have tried to reach out - I have been hurt, and I have been embarrassed (because people don't know how to help or what to do with the crazy-making my ed brings to the table). I tend to just feel more safe(?) being alone with my thoughts and my struggles. I am not saying this is the right way, because I know it's not - I am just saying that this is the way I feel safe from the hurt, rejection, embarrassment, shame, and guilt that I have felt in the past when I have tried to open up and reach out. 

Pretty much, the only people I seem to be able to fully let in are my treatment team, treatment & support groups, and the friends I have met throughout the years (and in the blog world) who also struggle with ED's. I feel like I can open up more to them because they understand and they "get it". But I realize that I need more support than this. I need support in my everyday life. I know there are people out there who love me and care about me and truly do want to help me... but I just can't seem to let myself open up. I even have a difficult time opening up with close friends and even my family. -------- And it's not them - it's me! I don't want this post to be misunderstood. I am the one with the problem here, it's not my friends and family's fault because they are amazing! It's me and my trusting incapability's. -------- : ( I can't do it. And it's frustrating because it ends up keeping me very isolated and lonely. ED's are a very lonely illness and that's why it is so important to let people in. So why can't I do it!?!? 

It's tough to go out and be social with people because I am so worried about fitting in and being accepted. I worry that they will think certain behaviors I have towards food are weird, therefore, making me weird. I worry that my ED thoughts will be in my head too much and that I will have a hard time being present in the conversations. I worry about whether they will like me or not (insert here: all my self-esteem & self-confidence issues). I worry about what I am going to eat if there is food there and if I can even force myself to find something I feel comfortable eating in front of other people... Let's just say... I worry... about everything! I can't be myself because I don't even know who "myself" is anymore! All I know is the person that my ed has molded me to be and that is not the person I want people to get to know!

I don't want to leave this post without a positive goal firmly in place so: I am honestly going to try to open up more to friends and family who love me and want to help me. As I am trying to figure out who "jenn" is, I am going to try to allow others into my world as well. I know this is going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of time - but I am willing (I think) to give it a try. I might not be brave enough today to let people in - but hopefully, in time, I will be able to and my life can be a whole heck of a lot less lonely place to be.

Friday, February 5, 2010

is a boring job all i can handle right now?

After talking about it and processing through all the fears I have about working full-time again (as mentioned in previous post), I have come to realize that I don't need to find a stressful, fast-paced, a ton of responsibility on my shoulders job. Even though that is the kind of job I love. I realize that a lot of my fears about my physical and mental health at the moment is directly related to my previous job. But I don't have to find a job like that. I can s l o w things down and work at a job that is a lot more chill. I could find a job where my responsibilities are pretty minimal, where I sit my bum in a chair most of the day (instead of running around so busy like my previous job). I have to say that even though I love being busy all day and having a lot of responsibility at work - that is not something I can do very well right now. I need to accept this fact and be okay with it. Why get a job that I know is going to trigger ED behaviors - that's like walking right straight into a major relapse if I were to do that right now. I do struggle with jobs that don't keep my attention and I think that is why I gravitate towards those fast-paced busy jobs. I get bored easily when it comes to work and the days seem to drag on, but when I am running around and busy all the time - the work day flies by and I love that!! I don't know what to do... because even as I am writing this, I am feeling bummed out that I am going to have to find a boring job that is going to drive me crazy...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

sitting on the floor in my room...

this morning with all my school and fashion stuff next to me. It's a bittersweet moment as I packed most of it up and put it away in my closet. Not forever, just for the moment. It needs to be this way right now. I need to focus on my recovery. I need to heal. I need to strengthen my body. I need to strengthen my soul. I need to take a step back and evaluate the things in my life that might be causing this vulnerable girl to fall. We all have "hidden" triggers and it's so important to try to find those things and remove them from our lives. And it's not necessarily forever - it's just until I can get a better hold on my recovery.

facing fears

Why am I so afraid? What is holding me back from finding a new job??


* I am afraid of getting fired or laid off again.

* I am afraid that I am not healthy enough physically (to have the endurance and the energy - If I am struggling so much right now to get through the day without feeling exhausted how am I going to manage with a full time job?)

* I am afraid that the health problems (stomach and digestive) I am currently dealing with (as a result of me trying to eat more and gain weight) will cause me to be even more sick.

* I am afraid that I am not healthy enough mentally - and I will struggle to do my job well (my concentration & memory is horrible right now).

* I am afraid that my ED behaviors will get worse... (the stress of work is a huge trigger for my behaviors to flare up and out of control) And I haven't learned how to prevent that from happening - but I am working on it.

* I am afraid that I won't be perfect! I am afraid that my perfectionism will push me and I won't know how to set boundaries in that particular area.

* I am afraid of the unknown, I am afraid of having to learn a whole new job, I am afraid of making mistakes...

But yesterday, I was able to face my fears about getting a new job and I made huge progress in this area! I realize that a lot of you who are reading this won't be able to understand why this is such a tough thing for me to do. You won't understand why it's so scary for me to "just go out and look for a new job" - but I am (unfortunately) an expert at letting my fears cripple me. I let them overwhelm me and I let them hold me back! Ugh, I hate this part of me and it's something that I have been working on with my treatment team to overcome.

I went out yesterday and met with some people at an employment place and we worked on my resume and sent it to quite a few jobs. I won't lie, I sat in my car for quite a while before I was able to get the courage to go in the building. But I went in! I just need to learn to breath and take it one day at a time, one moment at a time. I don't need to look at the whole picture right now. I don't need to worry so much about all these fears (and health concerns) that come with me working full-time again. Right now, I just need to focus on finding a job. My therapist is always trying to remind me to not worry so much about everything at once, and that we will tackle issues and problems as they come up ...easy for him to say! He isn't the one who ends up in the hospital multiple times from using ED behaviors to cope with the stress, pressure, out of control feelings that this girl here tends to allow into her life.


But maybe this time can be different. Maybe this time - I can have a healthy relationship when it comes to "me & my job". Maybe I can find other ways to cope. Maybe I can realize that I can say no, that I can stand up for myself, and not let the stress and pressure get to me! I haven't been able to do it yet...but there is always a first for everything. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

whistling in the dark

Mr. Dave musta got something in his eyes cause he took out his handkerchief and took some time to wipe 'em off. "You know, you were really brave today. But the next time you need someone to believe you, come to me."

"But I wasn't brave," I said sadly. "I was scared to death."

"Brave doesn't mean you're not scared, Sally. Brave means you're scared and you do it anyway. Everybody gets scared."

"Do you?"

"I was scared for a long, long time," he said, squeezing my shoulder. "But I am feeling a whole lot better now."

(excerpt from Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen)

for a moment...i felt peace

This past Sunday, while I was sitting in church listening to the music and the talks that were being given, (I know, I know - me at church?? I am trying to make that a regular thing in my life.) I felt this overwhelming feeling of peace come over me. At first, it took me by surprise because it's been a long time (too long really) since I have felt this kind of peace. But I quickly recognized what it was and felt so grateful that it had found me - because I know I am not an easy person to find when it comes to spiritual things. I felt this warmness spread through my body (which I gratefully welcomed) and I just felt a sense of peace and the feeling of "everything is going to be okay." I got teary eyed and I just wanted to savour that moment, I didn't want it to end! And even though, just moments later, it did start to drift away and was gone again - I felt it and that means that I can feel it again...right? I truly feel like it was an answer to my prayers and something that I desperately needed to feel in my life right now.

I have truly been feeling lost and overwhelmed as I am trying to find my way through this illness and into that place of recovery and also trying to find my place in this world, what I am meant to do in (and with) my life. Which hasn't been an easy thing considering my illness has been my life for so long, the main thing in my life, the thing everything in my life would revolve around. And I have also been fighting those doubts about my career choice. Is is really a good idea for me to finish up at the SL Fashion Institute (and finally graduate from there.) and pursue my life in the fashion industry? Am I strong enough of a person and can I be strong enough in my recovery to not let it affect me any more than it already has? 

I love fashion! I love every part of it with all of my heart and soul!! It's a huge part of me - it's my passion and my love...but sometimes, we need to give up things that we love and let them go because they might not be good for us. These are the feelings and fears that I have been trying to push away ever since I began my recovery three years ago. Because when I started down this career path - I was already so deep into my illness that I didn't think there was anything wrong with the way I was living (and unfortunately, my schooling and the fashion industry just fed into my anorexia and those two became entangled together feeding off of each other). And so, during my recovery, I have kept trying to convince myself (and my treatment team) that I can do it and that I am strong enough - despite all of them having major concerns about it and trying to get me to think of other paths to pursue - but I am trying to be honest with myself and though I try to act like it doesn't affect me and that I am strong enough... am I...really? Or is there really something else out there that I am meant to do? I have been struggling a lot with this thought that... if I am not working in the fashion industry...Who am I? Who am I meant to be? 

A desperate prayer was answered a couple of days ago and I feel so grateful to God that He brought me that comfort and peace that I long for. I just hope that the next time I am able to find it again amidst all of this craziness, I hope that I will be able to hold onto it for a little bit longer. And I hope it comes back really soon - because I need it in my life!