Tag Archives: life

#TruthTellers

Why are we so afraid to tell the truth? Isn’t honesty the key to any successful relationship? It doesn’t have to be romantic relationships, it can be relationships with friends and family members. Instead of being honest, we tend to tell “white lies” and justify them by convincing ourselves we were just looking out for those around us. Half of the time we don’t see white lies as lies at all, so the conscious backlash we feel towards ourselves is minimal at best. Maybe we even start to be honest with those closest to us, but never really give the whole story, out of shame or fear. Again, there’s less guilt attached to this because technically we didn’t lie, we just didn’t tell the whole truth.

But what good does lying or covering up some part of the truth do for us? Trust me, I used to be (or at least I like to think I was) an expert half-ass truth teller. In the moment where your kind of lying but not technically lying, it may seem worth it to keep that arms-length distance. Nobody gets hurt, and your real pain, the shame or the guilt is still protected in this nice little cocoon of deception. Do you want to know what I believe is the number one reason for why we lie to those around us when we’re walking through some hard situations? Ok even if you don’t want to know, you’re here reading this so there’s a 99.99% chance you’re going to hear it anyways.

We don’t want to be vulnerable

That’s really all there is to it. I remember when I was in the depth of my eating disorder and self-injury I would half-ass the truth constantly. Someone would ask me if I was eating (because apparently I was looking like I was losing weight fast, even though I couldn’t see it through the funhouse mirrors that were my eyes), I wouldn’t lie but I wouldn’t tell the entire truth either. I’d tell them “of course I’m eating! I’m just watching what I eat and working out more”. The truth is, what I was eating was more like what I wasn’t eating. I was also working out so that wasn’t a lie either, but the amount I worked out was enough to cancel out the miniscule number of calories I consumed that day. I felt this strange ownership over all of this too; it was mine to have and I’d be damned if someone wanted to take it away from me. To put it simply, it became my entire identity. I was no longer a daughter, a student or a friend; all I was, was that number on the scale that was always too high and the number of calculated calories I consumed and then disposed of. So when I got asked about it, I didn’t want to be vulnerable so I hid behind deception and half-assed truth.

Sooner or later, however, I did start telling the truth and boy was it painful. But I didn’t start being a truth teller until I was on the other side of those things. The “shame about the pain” was too great for me to face when I was plummeting towards rock bottom. I remember the first time I was able to tell the truth and be vulnerable, I was in a room with a bunch of people who were broken just like I was, and man did it suck. The ironic thing is, I had been in therapy for a couple of years before all of this too, but I never once told the honest to god truth. I was 23 and in a residential treatment center, and then again at 24 in an outpatient treatment center (which sucked so much worse than residential! I actually had to deal with real life… ew). Truth telling felt fake at first, because I realized that even I was starting to believe my own crap. The sick part of my mind made up the lies to begin with, but soon they became who I was in a way. But when you’re in a room of broken people who are just like you when you’re being honest and vulnerable, you get a lot of head shakes and “me too” as feedback.

Yet truth telling in treatment is so much different than truth telling when you’re placed back in your life. Like I said, I didn’t start really telling the truth to my family and friends until I was certain I was on the other side of most of my crap. I was ashamed if I was struggling and I was “just wanting to protect them” (another lie my lovely sick mind created). There’s a phrase one of my therapists in outpatient always used to tell us; she’d say that sometimes we just need to sit in it (the “it” being the discomfort and everything else we were avoiding by using our eating disorder). Well, I didn’t want to sit in it, because sitting in it requires facing life and feeling vulnerable. So instead of sitting in it, I’d lie and tell people the half-ass truth so I could continue using the one coping mechanism I found to be most successful in avoiding vulnerability. Yet I realized that not telling the truth to those people in my life when I really should be not only hurts me, but it hurts them as well. I like to think of keeping up those walls and giving the half-assed truth as a nonverbal middle-finger.

A lot of it too has to do with how we feel society wants us to be. Go on Facebook or Instagram and people have their lives displayed like it’s a freakin’ Hallmark movie where everything is just peachy. I’m pretty sure we all know that that is a load of B.S, but that’s how we feel like we should act and portray ourselves even offline. Everyone has their crap, but we put our stage lives out there to hide the behind the curtain reality of what’s really going on with us. We get this feeling that people don’t want to hear about our struggles so we bottle it up and say nothing, only revealing the scars after the wounds have healed. Is that fair to those who love us unconditionally? Nope. Is it fair to us, who deserve to be loved unconditionally, supported and valued for being who we are? Nope. So here’s what I’m learning lately:

  • Being vulnerable sucks
  • Hiding behind shame and fear is easy
  • Being a truth teller is hard
  • Covering up the truth with lies is easy
  • Shame only amplifies the pain
  • People closest to you in your life won’t judge you for being honest, and if they do they’re not the people you need walking the path with you
  • It’s better to be vulnerable with others when you’re going through hell than to be vulnerable alone

When You Have Nothing to Say

I was never really that good at writing, but it was always something I found to be therapeutic. For me, and I’m sure a lot of you reading this as well, being vulnerable was never something I was really good at either. But whenever I would journal I was able to let down the mask of “I’m fine” and expose the “for the love of God please somebody help me” side that was shameful for me to verbally express.

Now it’s been a while since I’ve written anything, and it’s because I always feel as if I have nothing of importance to say. Even writing this, all I can think is, “Ok Jess, where the hell are you going here?” So without trying to do linguistic acrobatics and paint a nice pretty picture for you all, I’ll just get right down to it.

It’s not that we never have anything to say, I think it’s that small little voice of insecurity that makes us believe what we have to say isn’t worth saying. I’ve been listening to a ton of podcasts by one of my heroes, Glennon Doyle Melton, lately. She always talks about being vulnerable, authentic and being a truth teller. If you haven’t heard her speak before I really encourage you to go find her TEDx Talk she did. Writing for me was always my way of being vulnerable. If you’ve read this blog for some time now you know this is the place where I can lay it all out there and say “here is my pile of garbage I carried around for years, I hope you like it”.

So lately, being in one of the most vulnerable states I’ve been in in my entire life (I guess living in a foreign country does that to you), I’ve been really struggling to find anything to write here. But really what it is, it’s that stupid little voice in my head saying “what you have to say doesn’t matter or isn’t important”. Ok so here’s where I get all knowledgeable and preachy. You can stop reading now if you wish….

Still here? Ok brace yourselves……..

We were all born with a voice, an opinion, a personality, and insurmountable value. We all have things that stir us up, get us excited, anger us, make us question things, and so on. So going back to being vulnerable, when we feel these things and they don’t fit in with what is “normal” to those around us, what do we do? We shut up. We don’t say a word, and we walk around making ourselves believe that we don’t have anything to say. But we do have so much to say, it’s just one of two things. Either we’re too scared to be vulnerable out of fear of being judged, or it’s because we know what we have to say isn’t something others want to hear. It boils down to those two factors.

Some of the greatest movements started and changed the lives of so many because someone took that chance to be vulnerable. If MLK never spoke out against civil rights, who knows where our country would be today. Imagine what voting rights for woman would look like if people like Susan B. Anthony never spoke up. Mental health awareness movements would be nonexistent if people let vulnerability hold them back.

Ok so I feel like I’m running out of steam here for this so I’ll wrap this up and you may continue on with your days. I probably could have just used the next sentence as my entire post:

It’s not that we don’t have anything to say, we just have that small voice we listen to that is scared of being vulnerable and authentic.

3 Years

Today is kind of a weird anniversary for me. I was scrolling through TimeHop this morning (people still use this app right?) when I came across a post from 3 years ago today. I left for treatment for an eating disorder/self-injury that day. I remember (vaguely, however) being terrified to go out there and have all my vices of coping and not feeling stripped away from me. I was incapable of feeling anything besides numb. There were no plans for a future in my mind, no hope of things ever not feeling as if though they weren’t going to get better. All I remember is being exhausted 24/7; emotionally and physically.

I was vulnerable to the voices in my head telling me that if I only lost a little more weight I’d be happy, I’d achieve that goal of wanting to disappear, to live a life unnoticed. Only the thing is, the more I tried to disappear the more I stood out. That’s where the lies came in. I lived a life of lying, skirting around the truth that I was slowly killing myself. My closest friends would ask what I was doing to lose the weight I had, or if I was eating. I didn’t exactly lie to them, but I wasn’t telling the whole story. I was simply working out daily and watching what I did eat (although a piece of toast with a very miniscule amount of peanut butter isn’t exactly eating). I hid my eating disorder so well and didn’t disclose information about it that my therapist I was seeing at the time didn’t even catch on to what was going on with me (which led to a lot of misdiagnoses, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder) until a month or so before I was sent to treatment.

All these memories came back when I saw those posts from TimeHop this morning. It’s still kind of mind blowing to me that it was 3 years ago, because it honestly feels like it was yesterday. I have come such a long way in my life since going to treatment.

I feel content with my life and where it’s going. I’m now a senior in undergrad with a pretty killer GPA. I’m graduating with research honors next May and hopefully will be going off to grad school after that. Yes I still struggle with my weight, appearance and eating disorder thoughts sometimes but I don’t let them consume me anymore. I have so much to offer the world (that didn’t sound conceded did it?) and after years of struggling, have a pretty good sense as to who I am. The areas of my life which I lost to my eating disorder and mental health struggles, I have either gained back or am working on gaining back. There’s relationships I’m hoping to still amend and the friends I still do have I appreciate them and no longer take them for granted.

There is so much that I have gained over the past 3 years, that it’s incredible to think about how my life has changed for the better. The road here absolutely sucked and was painful. One psychiatric hospital stay, a month in inpatient treatment and a year in outpatient treatment (which sucked more than the hospital or treatment center) are now on my track record. I hated the things that beginning recovery entailed, but if I got my life back in a better way than I could have imagined, I guess I’ll take it.

So today is the anniversary of the day I began the long journey of getting my life back. It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve last self-injured which is huge after engaging in it for 10 years. Being in recovery from an eating disorder is something I feel like I’ll always have to deal with. Every day I have to make choices and check in with myself some days to make sure I’m going down the right path because it is so easy for my emotions to take over and run the course of my life. But I genuinely love my life right now, and I’m so glad I am still alive to have these experiences.

Life After

With it being National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I wanted to take the time out of my night to sit down and write something meaningful about this week. Reading post after post of individuals’ stories about life in the grips of an eating disorder and how they’re now on the other side, I decided I wanted whatever I wrote to be a little different. But how do you make your writing different from the thousands out there that are writing about the same issues?

I have noticed a theme over the week within those posts, however. There’s always that silver lining moment at the end where the writer describes how much life has gotten better since they entered recovery, and I have to agree that it’s a fucking incredible thing being in recovery and not having the obsessions about food and weight on your mind 24/7. But the posts always end there, leaving a sort of cliff hanger, especially for those of us who know what going through the recovery process is like. But what I want to touch on is something I haven’t read much of in the posts:

            The bad days of recovery.

Because guess what guys, it’s not always an easy task and some days those thoughts and desires to once again self-destruct come running back to you. People expect you to struggle while you’re getting back on your feet while in treatment, whether that be inpatient or outpatient. But what I’ve noticed in my own life is that nobody really talks about the struggle so many of us face after we’re discharged from a treatment program and are fully integrated back into our lives. That’s when, at least in my opinion, real recovery starts and is tested on almost a daily basis.

I’ve gone a couple of weeks without the intrusive thoughts about my weight and calories, but something I’ve noticed is that it always comes back. We learn skills to fight those thoughts out, as well as behavioral components to engage in to not fall back into the very thing we were once so comfortable in. My own therapist has told me countless times that yes it may be so much easier to just say ‘fuck it’ and go back into living a life of an eating disorder, but there’s so much more to lose at this point in your life now that you have experienced what living is supposed to be like.

Let’s be real here for a moment though guys, sometimes the idea of living this new life, for the rest of our life mind you, seems overwhelming. Some days I wake up and don’t want to continue living this life of recovery. Some days I want to jump right back into the arms of an eating disorder, because coping with the emotions that come from every day life experiences can really fucking suck. They talk about the ebbing and flowing of motivation for recovery in treatment all the time, but just because you’ve been discharged from a program doesn’t mean that ever really stops. It becomes less frequent of an issue, but an issue still nonetheless.

You can go weeks feeling on top of the world and loving the life you worked so hard to get, but some days those thoughts and physical feelings can come back and come back with a vengeance. It’s in those moments though, that you really have to put all of those skills that were drilled into your head into use. It’s a struggle, because now you have insight. You know you can kick those thoughts’ ass, you know you can hold off on engaging in whatever behavior it is your head is telling you to do, and you know all of the things that you could lose by letting yourself get engulfed in those thoughts and actions for even just a day. Because I think we all know that a lot of the time, that one day is all it takes to flip that switch and you’re plummeting backwards.

But unlike the days you were in treatment, there’s not that team of people right there to catch you before you smash into the ground. So it’s all you, and you know you can do it if you choose to. It’s those choices that can either make or break you. It all comes down to choice. There’s this internal battle you enter into with your old self and the new, more insightful self. So what are you going to do? The guilt of fucking up and having to explain to either your doctor or your therapist as to why the scale says you lost weight when you go in for your next appointment or session can be overwhelming enough. To be honest, that has been something that has kept me on my toes a lot over the past year. Having to come up with some lie that seems like a legit excuse isn’t really worth it, because if your therapist is good at their job, they’ll dissect the shit out of what you just told them until they reveal the truth behind the fact you lost weight again.

But I guess I should probably end this post on a positive note, eh? I mean shit if I stopped right there we’d all be fucking depressed and not want to continue trying our best to live a life of recovery. So here it goes, that silver lining moment we all love:

Some days of recovery suck. I mean really fucking suck. But it’s only a day, or a moment or a thought. It doesn’t have to become the catalyst that slides you backwards. If you’ve made it this far to where you can say you’re in recovery, well dammit you can make it past the shitty days too. Without trying to sound like one of those cheesy motivational posters that are scattered all over the place, you’ve already proven to yourself that you can do this. So when you really feel like recovery is a joke and you can no longer keep it up, remember the way you fucking rallied to get to where you are now, even if in that moment it feels like you didn’t make as much progress as everyone around you is telling you’ve made. It’s always hard to see the progress you made for yourself, but you did it yourself. So keep calm and stay strong.

Up to MY Standards

I’ve always been a perfectionist, I mean just go ask anyone who is close to me and they’ll tell you just that. Maybe it’s because of my childhood (all the Freud lovers will give a fist pump at that) and living with that nagging voice placed in my head by those who bullied me and the teachers who never really believed in my abilities (High school guidance counselor, I’m lookin at you!).

So as I got older and became a young adult, I saw a shift in my mindset. I found things I was good at and considered it my pride to excel at these things. Some were healthy, such as my ability to play guitar and make music, and some not so healthy. Those who were seemingly better at whatever it was I too was good at, were seen as a threat to me. I know, it’s absolutely ridiculous to say out loud but it was the truth. But that truth has dangerous consequences.

Musicians around me became the enemy, a source of jealousy and viewed as yet another individual rubbing it in my face that I was in fact not as good at music as I thought I once was. I no longer wanted to learn from them, because when they tried teaching me new things, in my head all I could hear was them saying “look what I can do and you can’t”. Relationships that could have been so enriching never had the chance to grow because I pushed them away. I felt insignificant in who I was as a musician when I compared myself to them, even though a majority of these individuals had been playing music longer than I had even been alive.

Then there were the not so good things, body image being the main thing. I got sick in my early twenties with an eating disorder, after I decided I was going to go on a diet to lose some weight. Needless to say, that car soon spun out of control and took over my life. But there was something about it that made me feel so in control and on top of my world. Finally, I remember thinking to myself, I had found the one thing in my life that nobody else could be better at than me. I would listen to people all around me telling me that they found it so hard to stay in a commitment to the gym and stick with their diets. That losing weight was not as easy as I was making it look. That was all I needed to hear to give me that little extra push to keep going. Not to mention the fact that my perfectionist attitude always made me feel like crap about myself when I would finally reach that goal weight, because anyone who has ever had the misfortune of having an eating disorder knows that the original goal weight never stays the same. Once you get there you know you can go lower, and suddenly that number on the scale that you once would have killed someone to see, is no longer the number you feel happy with. There’s always more you can do to get lower. That perfect number just barely out of reach.

But where I really want to go in this is the recovery aspect of an eating disorder. Those perfectionist attitudes never really left, and I’m not sure they ever really will if I’m being honest. It’s a long road ahead of me, probably something I will struggle with for the rest of my life. Because I live in such a small town (we joke and call it ‘Smallbany’) I have run into people I went to outpatient treatment with at school, some of them in my classes. I remember the beginning of the semester someone who was in treatment with me, who I never really cared for, walked into my class. One look at them and I saw what I wasn’t any longer. They, in my mind at least, looked good. They had the features I so badly wished I could have because to me in the most fucked up way were what I consider attractive. Suddenly my body image was out of whack and I once again felt inadequate. Sure I have come a long way in recovery, but seeing others look the way that I never had the chance to look, really kind of triggered me. To me, they looked perfect. I, with some weight restored, did not look perfect.

Sure I had my schooling and the fact that I am really freakin’ good at it, but all of that was negated by the fact that I was no longer the best at the one thing I spent so many years being proud of. Someone else could lose weight and be thinner than I am. Suddenly, I was no longer up to my standards of perfect.

But what is perfect? I honestly don’t know if perfect even exists. I remember last week after taking tests I received the grade for one and it was below my expectations. I knew I could have done better, and kicked myself all day for the fact that I didn’t get that grade I knew I could have. My mind took over and I began hearing that voice in my head that told me I wasn’t ever going to measure up to the standards I once believed I could. But this voice carried over into every area of my life. I was no longer good enough at anything, whether it be school, the way I looked, or good enough for relationships (not romantic but friendships and the like).

I know this is all negative, but I think I finally found the silver lining. My standards for my whole life have been set at a place that is almost unreachable but not totally out of sight that I can’t see the end game. I can see it, and that only fuels the need to live up to my own standards. So I’ve been working really hard on giving myself a break, and it’s not as easy as you would think it was. It’s a daily internal struggle, and at times it’s absolutely exhausting. But maybe, just maybe, my standards can change, or I can at least give myself a break and some grace for not reaching that bar that is set so high. So I didn’t get a mark on a test or paper I knew I could have gotten, in the long run will it really matter? So I don’t feel like I’m the best at things I once did, who really cares? I’m not the best musician? At least I’m not the same as I was a few years ago. I’m not the best student? At least I’m not the same student I was when I was told I wasn’t good enough for college. I’m not the best looking? First of all, what does that even mean, and second of all, looks are the least of everyone’s concern at the end of the day. I realize that sounded shallow, and being the best looking wasn’t what fueled my illness. It was the need to disappear and not be noticed. But as I entered recovery, looking good, meaning healthy, became important for some reason.

I may not be perfect or up to my standards, but I realize now that nobody on this earth is perfect. We all have something that someone else wants, but at the same time we are all so completely different, and now in my life I’m trying to accept that and believe it. So maybe now I will try to set a new standard, a standard of giving myself grace.

 

2016: Questions, Faith & Reevaluating

I’ve written a lot on here, regrettably, about my anger towards the church over the past year. As some of you know who have been following this blog for a while, I actually ended up leaving the church about a year or so ago, because in those days I felt as if I was being judged not only for who I was, but how I was choosing to live my own life.

I guess with all of the anticipatory grief I was experiencing at that time, the feeling of being an animal cornered by its predator was starting to feel smothering. There was no way I was going to be told how to live my life or be molded into a person I wasn’t. So, I left. But something over the past month or so has been making me reevaluate my life and the choices I made over the past 2 years.

What I’ve come to realize is this: the people I spent so much time and energy rebelling away from, feeling hurt by and being angry at weren’t actually who I was mad at. These people, who I still love dearly by the way, were just the messengers.

Since I was 17 I considered and called myself a Christian. I served in ministry, devoted my life to the church and God, but I realized over the past month that those 6 or 7 years were never really faced with the amount of pain, grief and loss I experienced when I was 24. I can see now that during those 6 or 7 years the little bumps in the road that almost veered me into a ditch were nothing compared to the gigantic road block I hit once my Grandma had her stroke and heart attack. I don’t think I ever really knew the weight of the term pain and suffering up until then. So I did what I felt at that time I had to do once the doubts seemed like absolute truths and I was living (unbeknownst to me at the time) every day in fear, anger and pain: I left all of my beliefs in God at the door.

The people I loved became the enemy, and I would argue back and forth that this God I served for years was nothing but words on a page. I let that little flame of anger spiral out of control, and at this time in my life it served its purpose of having people leave me alone.

Yet like I said at the beginning of this post, I realize now why my friends at the church that I considered part of my family became the enemy in my eyes so quick: they were the face of the God I was angry with. It gets pretty old pretty quick yelling and screaming and arguing with a wall or a being you cannot see or reach out and touch.So the people in my life, subconsciously, became the faces of God and something I could lash out at. Looking back now I feel terrible about my behaviors, even though they were all a result of my grief. It’s still no excuse, and I take full responsibility for my actions and words.

Christmas eve I ended up going back to the very church I left. Something inside of me wanted to go, and I gathered up the courage to get myself there and sit there during the service. It wasn’t awkward or shame inducing walking through those doors. All of the people I had left seemed genuinely happy to see me, and it made me feel happy knowing that my actions and words did not cause an irreversible damage. This past Sunday, I went back. It was the same thing with those people. I’m not sure what it is about that place or those individuals that drew me back in, but I feel as if it was almost a fresh start.

I feel like in 2015 I lost my self in the pain, yet in a weird way I also found myself. Yes, I am secure in who I am now and am continuously learning to love and accept myself for the woman I have become and am continuing to become. Maybe I am learning how to cope with the things that life throws at me in a more healthy way than I had my whole life. I still don’t know what changed in me over the past month or so, but being able to reevaluate some things in my life has been refreshing. To be able to look back and see some of the things I did or said and realize that I no longer want to hold onto that is something I never really saw myself capable of doing. Yet here I am.

There’s still a lot of beef I have with God, although I’m not so sure those are the right words to use. I guess I have more questions than anything else. Walking through the pain of my Grandma being sick and then dying made me lose a lot of my faith in God and it also raised a lot of questions in my life. Now, I sit back and try to clearly find answers to things I want to know, yet I have yet to have these things answered.

I’m glad I have reached this point in my life of being able to feel ok with having questions and wanting to actually work through these things in my life.

Livin’ The Dream

It started out as a joke that whenever someone would ask how I was, I’d respond with “livin’ the dream!” Only now if you know me, you know that when I get down time and get into my head, I wonder some really deep almost philosophical shit. I’m not sure what brought this on tonight, but I’m sitting here wondering how do you know when you’re actually living the dream?
It’s easy to say it when you’re joking and you’re actually working towards your dream, but do we ever wake up one day or look around our world and realize we are actually living it?
Here’s what my dream looks like:
Have my degree in clinical psychology/mental health counseling
Have a job as a psychologist
Own my own place
Have a gentleman caller in my life (yeah, I called a boyfriend a gentleman caller so deal with it).
I’d say my dream is pretty black and white. Right now I’m starting my senior year of undergraduate (eegats! so exciting!), working two jobs to get by and all the while keeping my eye on the prize. I know what my dream is, what the end game is but like with a lot of things in my life, I wonder if I’ll even realize it when the time comes.
Do we ever really live the dream? I mean, time moves so incredibly fast that I feel like half the time I don’t realize the significance of things until they’re just a memory. What if instead of living the dream, I’m missing out on parts of my life right now that were once a dream to me? Bare with me here guys, I know this is all getting to be some Twilight Zone thinking shit in here.
The fact that I’m even in college (and doing well might I add) is a dream come true, but it took me sitting down to write this to realize it and have it hit me. Shit, the fact that I’m alive is a dream. If you know my story you know the meaning behind that last sentence, but my past dream was to live a life of being happy, confident and motivated. To 20 year old Jess, this time of my life is a dream.
I’ve muttered the phrase “livin’ the dream” countless times over the past few years, but I never really meant it. We live in a constant state of future chasing. In different times of our life the end game can change drastically, and as we get older we see it alter greatly. So I guess to answer my own question here (sorry, us psychology majors who love research do this all the freakin’ time!), it takes reflection of your past self to realize if you are living the dream or not. Only it’s not living the dream, as much as it is living a dream; because let’s be real, you’re dream life a few years ago is more than likely not the dream life you wish for now.

Recovery is not a straight line

pss-recovery

A lot of people with or without eating disorders can fall into the trap that once you’re “in recovery” everything is so much easier when it comes to food. For the longest time I too thought that once I was out of treatment life involving food would be easy peasy, but I’ve come to realize and even accept that it’s more like a wave. Like every other normal person on the earth, we all have our good days and bad days. But over time you find that those bad days aren’t as bad as you once would have seen them as. Sure it may suck, you may be more vulnerable feeling in front of food but you realize it’s only 1 day out of your entire life. That bad day no longer dictates the rest of your week, and once you view it as just a bump in the road you’re better able to adjust, pick yourself back up and dust yourself off.

What I’ve learned over the past few months from being in my life without the guided hand of a team telling me what to do is that I am stronger than I once believed I was. Yes some food challenges I face cause me to stumble a little bit but when I wake up the next day I try and go about my day like the previous days challenge didn’t happen. It’s in the past and really it doesn’t have that big an impact as I thought it would when I was faced with the challenge.

For me recovery has also been (and still is) the process of learning how to love and accept myself for who I am. When I look back on how far I’ve come over the past year or so I see that I am not that same woman who entered into treatment (whether residential or outpatient). I see the future for the 1st time in my life, I have the drive and motivation to succeed and the further along in undergrad I get, the more I am able to realize I can do what it is I want to do .

There’s still so many things I need to work on when it comes to my recovery, there’s still so many challenges I have yet to meet and make myself do and some distorted beliefs I still have. I’ve still yet to figure out what’s an acceptable amount of time to spend at the gym which is why I have been sticking to home work outs and outdoor activities now that it’s nice outside to actually do them, but getting back into the gym is something I want to have happen for me this summer.

Everyday when I wake up I find myself motivated to do life and be healthy about it. That is a huge change from a couple of years ago. When I first began outpatient treatment I was under the impression I needed to do everything right, but over time that became exhausting. It took me a good year to finally release the ropes on doing recovery and learned to relax. I began giving up a little control here and there, tried trusting my treatment team a little more and found that recovery wasn’t perfect, but when I had those wins in my life that recovery was easier than staying sick and being controlled by food.

It’s not perfect. Trust the process and have a little grace towards yourself.

RecoveryRoad

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener

always-greener

Hellooooooooo my friends! I hope you are all having a super-dee-duper week so far and I wanted to congratulate you all on surviving yet another Monday. Seriously, it comes like once a week and is never pleasant or short. But anywhooooooo.

Ok so what I wanna talk about today is comparisons. Before you shake your heads and let out a sigh thinking this is going to be some body image post, let me just say you’re wrong. It’s not about body comparisons, but life in general. I once heard it said “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel”, and let’s be really honest with ourselves for a moment. At least sometime in our life we find ourselves wishing to have someone else’s life; we think they have it all together, have everything they always wanted and seem to be doing far better than we are. But the reality of it all is that you may see their grass as greener, but the same sunshine that brings out the green grass on their lawn will soon shine over your yard. Was that too imagery-ish? Sorry. The truth is that at a glance, said person may in fact “have it all”, but you really don’t know what they went through in order to get it.

Even in the life they have now, do you really know what they’re dealing with? Sure you may see the perfect life, just like the one you want, but in all reality, a perfect life is never really perfect. Here’s what I’ve learned over the years: if someone appears to have it all together, they’re probably living some sort of lie. Nobody in the history of the world has ever had it together 100% of the time. It’s human nature to hide our failures and weaknesses; it’s one of the things people hide.

To put it some other way, it’s like comparing yourself to a marathon runner when you just started running yesterday. That person didn’t get to the physically fit condition they’re in now by running on a treadmill for 20 minutes yesterday. Everything takes time, and gosh darnit sunshine your time will come! I used to hate hearing that patience was the key to success, but as I grow older and live more life I’m starting to realize that it’s true. The end goal for my academic career is to get my PhD in clinical psychology and be a pretty boss psychologist. It may sound lame to some, but it’s my dream. Now I know several individuals who are living this dream, and I myself find it hard to not compare myself to them. Some are not that much older than me and are already successful, or at least they seem to be. But thinking about it, I have no idea what they went through in order to get there. I don’t know how hard they worked to get into grad school, how long they had to study to pass tests and exams.

So to wrap this all up in a nice little package for you all, try and focus on where you’re at and what you have in life. This may sound super motivational speaker-ish, but those bumps in the roads aren’t failures (at least they don’t have to be), but they’re learning experiences. I can almost promise you that the person you’re so badly wanting to be had to face very similar bumps, and hey, maybe they didn’t learn from them. Maybe they’re still struggling with something you figured out a year or so ago. So chin up kids, and just remember the cliche phrase “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side”

The Real World & My Distorted World

**Possible trigger warning**

How does everything come back around to my eating disorder? As far as recovery goes, my mindset lately has been anything but recovery based. It’s frustrating as hell for me that I’ve been having such loud eating disorder thoughts the past month or so (god that’s such a cliche eating disorder treatment thing to say.. I apologize for that), and as the stress of life escalates more and more I find myself “not having time to eat” or simply being way too busy to eat breakfast or even a snack before leaving for class. It’s not too glamorous might I add. But like I said, everything fucking thing is coming back down to my eating disorder and I hate it.

If I do shitty on a test or quiz, I resort to counting calories again or simply not eating. I’ve talked about it in therapy tons and I know the reason I do it is because I know in my heart that without a doubt I am great at my eating disorder. How sad and pathetic is this? Call it a Type A personality, but my perfectionism has always gotten the best of me in life and as I’m fully in my life now it’s reared its head again and it couldn’t come at a more inconvenient time.

As I write this I know of everything I have going for me but when I lay my head down at night or am stuck in my head throughout the day, none of these things seem as promising or even significant as compared to things like my weight, how I look that day or other stupid and exhausting thoughts I have. That’s right, it’s fucking exhausting living in my head.

Even my relationship with my boyfriend is impacted by this stuff. I love spending time with him, but every time he touches me all I can wonder is what he really thinks of my body. My therapist would tell me he’s not even thinking about the things I’m thinking he’s thinking about but that feeling of disgust scares the shit out of me and when we’re together and doing things that couples do, I don’t enjoy any of it because I’m so inside my head. I don’t know if he even realizes that I’m not present and that I’m in some fucked up world where the staple in my stomach comes undone and he can see what I feel I really look like.

I always thought that after I got out of treatment I’d have a better mindset and things wouldn’t be this difficult. I knew that the day I got discharged from treatment that I wouldn’t be fixed, but shit y’all I at least thought I’d be able to manage my recovery in the real world and was strong enough and had enough of those lovely CBT skills that were drilled into my head, to be able to manage life stress without slipping down that slope that only leads to being sick.

Life thou art a heartless wench.