Monday, March 29, 2010

another step forward

I have realized that I need to write more about the positive things I do towards my recovery on my blog because these steps forward are so important to recognize and celebrate. So here is one from last night:

I went to my grandma's house last night to celebrate her birthday with some of my other relatives. I knew there was going to be cake & ice cream there and so I had decided to myself ahead of time that I was not going to eat any of it. That is how I was going to deal and cope (especially after the rough few days I had had with some feelings being brought to the surface that are very painful... the last thing I wanted to do was eat cake & ice cream). And since I had already made up my mind- I didn't have to worry about anxiety or fear, and I could just relax and have a good time, right? I was able to be talkative and engage in conversations because I wasn't worrying and stressing about having to eat the cake & ice cream. Then the time came for the cake & ice cream (and to make things worse, it was that store bought cake that is even more frightening to me). But "my plan" was still in place so I didn't need to worry or be nervous. But...I knew people would have an issue if I said "no thanks" to the cake and ice cream. I might be able to use that around other people but with my family...it usually doesn't fly because they know why I am saying "no thanks". So I politely took my plate when my aunt handed it to me. I was sitting there with a book I brought (to distract me) and I was going to wait until no one was looking and throw my cake & ice cream away. Then that would be that, and I would be happy and everyone else would be happy because 1) I would be happy that I didn't eat and 2) they would be happy because they would be under the assumption that I ate. But then I started to think about recovery and that I was doing the exact opposite thing that I have learned in all my years of treatment. So... I nervously ate the cake and ice cream.

Now, to most people, this might sound like a small, unimportant, or even silly thing - but to me it was a huge deal. Those are very scary and intimidating foods to me and I still have those thoughts that I am going to explode if I eat certain foods (as irrational as they are... they have been fears for a long time, and they don't just go away). Afterwards, when I finished, I tried to stay positive and happy but I was immediately overwhelmed with my ed feelings and I was so upset with myself that I ate it (and all of it). I kept wishing I had been strong and in control by not eating it... but then I realized that I was strong and in control because I fought off those ed feelings and, in that moment, I chose recovery! And I didn't explode.

I wish I could say that this was the end of the story and we all lived happily ever after - but eating that cake & ice cream pretty much ruined the rest of the evening for me. I was overcome with negative thoughts and feelings and I couldn't shake them. I kept telling myself, "okay if I can sneak off into the bathroom and purge then it will be gone and I will feel better..." But I knew deep down inside, that that wasn't the answer, and that I needed to sit with the uncomfortable (and very nauseous) feelings and wait for them to pass. That is something I struggle with a lot. Whether it is the physical feelings or the emotional, I have a hard time coping with them, sitting with them, and waiting for them to pass. But that is exactly what I did last night. I sat firmly in my chair and tried my hardest to distract myself. I was pretty quiet and to myself for the rest of the evening - but I took a step forward by eating the cake and ice cream and then sitting with the feelings until they passed. Instead of running away from and hiding from that thing which is overwhelming and frightening.

This doesn't mean that I am cured from my fear of cake and ice cream and that I am going to eat it all the time now - it just means that I was able to choose recovery last night and I am pretty damn proud of myself.

12 comments:

  1. This is a great thing to recognize!! What a huge step! Congrats.

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing this - well done...I can totally understand this was a major achievement for you, and you should be so proud of yourself. The more you do things like this, the easier they become, but it takes time and acceptance. You made a very positive step in doing this :-)

    Sarah x

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  3. This makes me feel so so happy, it's such a brilliant achievement and I'm so glad you recognise this. I feel proud for you, it's such an amazing step in the right direction.

    Huge well done
    xxx

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  4. JENN, I HAD TEARS READING THIS!!

    It is SO FANTASTIC and SUCH A KICK UP THE ASS for the ED - I don't even have words to describe what an achievement this was!

    I am IMMENSELY PROUD OF YOU!!
    You not only ate two fear foods,you went AGAINST the ED-plan that you had previously devised,you CHALLENGED EVERY SINGLE LIE ED was telling you, you stuck to what you, the REAL JENN, minus the ED, knew was the right thing for you to do in your recovery - then you COPED, STAYED WITH, ALLOWED and ACCEPTED the negative backlash of feelings and emotions.

    You could have given in to what you knew the ED wanted, and what would have made that part of you calm and safe again, yet you stuck with the KNOWLEDGE that it would be a FALSE SAFETY and an ED-calm, which is CRAP and all lies!!

    Sorry i am rambling, i am just OVERWHELMED WITH PRIDE at your courage and i somehow need to get that across to you!

    WELL DONE,SWEETHEART, AWESOME!!!

    Huge hugs for you,
    Jennifer xxoooo

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  5. So proud of you!!! And don't worry, you still look like shit! See you soooon :)

    And I'll leave it at that, now that everyone reading this wants to throw stones at me. It's a joke...I swear.

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  6. dude, this is amazing. I love you.

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  7. woot! Go Jenn! This is huge!!!!!

    I know it is hard, but challenging yourself like this is key to making progress as an outpatient. For me, seeing that I WAS capable of dealing with fear foods and the intense emotions that accompany them, without purging, was a HUGE confidence booster.
    You can do this, Jenn! You have the strength within you!

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  8. WAY TO FREAKING GO GIRL! i did the same thing LAST NIGHT(maybe not last night still for you...) and i was so frikin proud of myself, however i was also overrun with the "guilt and shame" train all night in bed. but i woke up this morning and guess what- im still alive and i feel freakin fantastic about it!!!!

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  9. From the bottom of my heart - thanks y'all!!!

    It means so much to me to get all of your support and encouragement because it just gives me that extra bit of courage to keep on kicking ED's ass!!!

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  10. You go girl! Your strength and courage are so inspiring. No matter what the steps big or small you are choosing to put yourself and your recovery first and that's awesome! So happy to read about this. :)

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  11. Jenn-
    First of all, congrats! You kicked that cake and ice creams ass. I am so proud of you and it brought tears to me eyes. When you say that you wish you had the control not to eat it, that would not be your control at all. It would be ED. You actually took the control by eating it. This concept is so hard to believe, and I myself still sometimes don't believe it. I want the control not to eat, but who is that really? This is so hard, and I wish it wasn't. Take the control back Jenn. Give yourself what you need to live and be happy. You so deserve it!!! I promise you there are so many wonderful things in life that you want to enjoy, and when ED is in the picture you simply can't. It may be staring you in the face, but he is screaming so loud that you can't see the beauty that surrounds you. I love you and PLEASE be strong. You mean so much to me (even though we may not see each other anymore) but I am always thinking and praying for you. YOU DESERVE TO LIVE!! "It is not about surviving, it is about living." -Life without Ed

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  12. Oh Cid,

    I MISS you so much and I miss the closeness we had at NLC. Thanks so much for your comments, and I want you to know that I am here for you and love you too! I hope you know that. : )

    I love you and I hope we can see each other soon!

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