Anniversary of Anxieties

When your heart rate still spikes when you get calls and messages from unknown numbers. Holding your breath every time you open your email or Spam folder. Yet being confused when your therapist mentions that it can be normal revisiting traumatic past experiences. PTSD? No, that is for soldiers and people that survive natural disasters.

Well, yes, maybe I do still wake up from nightmares and find it hard to go to certain places and feel comfortable. I get frustrated that I’m not completely “healed” despite all of the work I have done.

Today marks another year of when I finally got up the courage to leave an unhealthy relationship with my ex-fiance. I am frustrated that I’m not completely “healed” despite all of the work I have done.

This time of year can be challenging. With him not respecting my wishes to leave me alone have escalated over the past few months. I have received so much love and support from family and friends, yet I spend most of my time drenched in anxiety.

I have turned to food and alcohol for comfort. I know that I need to continue gaining back the weight I lost, but become uncomfortable (and frustrated) when the old clothes that used to fall off of me are too snug.

How much longer will this last? I thought he was gone. I thought my unhealthy relationship with food was done.

I have found myself relying more on prayer and taking solace in the saints. Praying for peace, healing, a life of renewal.

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Day twenty four: advice

What piece of advice would you give to five year old you? Sixteen year old you? Twenty-one year old you? Right now?

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Five year old me:

Keep playing. Never stop learning. It’s okay to be shy, but don’t let it stop you from making new friends and trying new activities

Sixteen year old me:

Stop comparing yourself to others. You are not “fat” – don’t be so hard on yourself. Research and visit as many colleges as you can – start soon. Don’t worry so much about what other people think

Twenty-one year old me:

(See above and add…) Don’t settle – on a job, boy, etc. Stand up for yourself and be firm in your beliefs. DON’T GIVE UP. Trust in God’s plan and everything will work out.

Right now me:

Trust the process and enjoy the “now.”

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Onwards & Upwards…

Day twenty three: in a year

Let’s jump forward a year. What would you like to have achieved in the past year?

Piggybacking off of my previous post, below are areas of my life outlined in the seven dimensions of wellness that I want to have achieved (or be close to achieving) in a year:

Social – Reconnect with friends that I’ve grown apart from, hangout with people I’ve met through my young adults group outside of our normal meet up times, and host more gatherings (my social anxiety has got my heart rate up just typing this)!

Emotional – Not take out my emotions/bad days on other people, more yoga/meditation, write and communicate my feelings with others, and see a counselor as needed.

Spiritual – Deepen my prayer life, attend church weekly, and stay active with my new women’s group.

Environmental – Stop getting plastic bags from the store (I am pretty good about bringing in my cloth bags, but could do better), start an herb garden, and refurbish older items around the house or from thrift stores vs/ buying brand new.

Occupational –  I want to continue to grow into my new position at work and take on more responsibilities.

Intellectual – Read more books, become more fluent in Spanish, and complete a crossword puzzle without cheating…

Physical – I want to  have more self-confidence with my changing body as I continue gaining a healthy amount of weight. Build more muscle mass and cardiac endurance

 

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Onwards & Upwards…

Day twenty two: areas of life

 

It’s a little bit weird that this 25 day challenge is coming to an end. But I guess it makes sense that I am being asked tougher questions!

What area of your life, right now, makes you feel the best? Which area makes you feel the worst? Why?

Best:

After being jobless, and for the most part directionless, for the past five months I feel like I am finally on track career-wise. I started my new job two weeks ago.  I’m still transitioning to the new routine and adjusting to having to focus at certain times. So far everything is going great and I have no complaints. I’m looking forward to the next few months and seeing what life has in store for me!

Worst:

Body image. I’m struggling with my old clothes fitting tighter, stop my eating when I’m full, and not comparing myself to others. I have “better” days than others, but adjusting to a new schedule does make me anxious. All I seem to do is eat and work out and think about eating and working out…

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Onwards & Upwards…

Day ten: afraid

What are you most afraid of?

I think it’s funny how Dictionary.com defines “fear” as a noun – person, place, or thing. When I think about fear, I tend to think about fear in more “abstract” terms. A lot of “what ifs” versus being afraid of heights, spiders, and other phobias. I fear missing out, making the wrong decision, making mistakes, rejection, what could go wrong, the unknown… 

I’ve always been a chronic over-thinker which heightens my anxiety and create problems that don’t even exist (and most likely won’t occur). Lately I have realized just how much my thoughts have been counter-productive. I have actually ended up missing out on certain opportunities because I was afraid on the what could happen and trying to “predict the future.” Now I work on challenging the legitimacy of my anxious thoughts (a lot of rationalizing self-talk), being proactive, and having faith that everything will work out. I will leave you with a few of my favorite quotes about fear:

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What threatens your mental and/or physical well-being? 

Onwards & Upwards…

Day nine: proud

What are you most proud of?

Most proud of? Another tough question… I think an all encompassing answer would be my strength – both mental and physical. After battling eating disorders for over 10 years, I have kept my maintained my weight the highest it has been in seven years. Keeping the wight on has led to many other gains. The ability to run a 5K and develop muscle mass by weight training are a few physical feats that concurrently increase my mental strength.

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What are you most proud of?

Onwards & Upwards…

Bouncing Back

 

I wanted to follow up on my post from yesterday. Although, no, it wasn’t a “full on, hardcore” binge in my book doesn’t mean that it didn’t impact me. I left the previous post with a few questions and wanted to circle back to show how I handled the rest of the day.

Since my current living situation consists of me bouncing back and forth between two houses, I don’t keep a lot of food on hand because I have been throwing a lot of uneaten food out – and I hate wasting good food. My “binge” began after I ate lunch. I had a healthy lunch full of veggies and protein, but I was still hungry.

*Side note* I was annoyed with myself for still being hungry because I intentionally ate a slightly larger breakfast. I had run a mile before taking my mom to get our nails done (early Mother’s Day present), but I still didn’t feel like my very slow mile warranted a big recovery meal…

I went to get fill up on gas since I was taking my parents to the airport in the afternoon. Still “emotionally” and slightly physically hungry, I swung by the store on my way to pick up ONE of my favorite protein bars. Being financially cautious, I bought two at once, afraid that the sale price wouldn’t be honored if I only bought one (it was a 2/$4 deal). I told myself  that I could save one for later in the afternoon after my workout when I knew I’d be hungry. But just like my “failed” day(s), before I hurriedly ate both before the time I made it back home.

That’s when the loathing, guilt, and shame set in. I knew eating both would make me feel bad, but I ate them any ways.

 

When and how much I’m going to work out?

I wanted to immediately head to the gym after my airport, but I swung by my boyfriend’s house and passed out for almost two hours in his guest bedroom while he worked from home.

What will they have to eat at the meeting? – I already overdid it while I was on the retreat with them last weekend. I don’t want that to happen again.

I showed up (late) to the meeting and wasn’t craving/hungry when I got there. I had had a small snack on the way home. We had a break halfway through where I caved and had some “healthier: salty snacks, but it still irked me that I wasn’t able to measure/count what I was eating and therefore know the calorie content.

I didn’t go out with the group afterwards. I went back to my boyfriends where I thought we were going to work out, but he was exhausted after being up since 3 am to catch a flight. I went home where I had another balanced snack and tea and tried and failed to go to bed earlier.

Healing

Good Things:

  • I didn’t go to the gym specifically to “work off” my day of (in my eyes) unhealthy eating
  • I didn’t beat myself up when I didn’t go to the gym
  • I reached out to a friend earlier in the day to share my feelings

My main takeaway from all of this:

Always have enough healthy foods stocked, prepped, and with me

There is still A LOT more work to be done, but my day could have ended worse…

Onwards & Upwards

 

Whoops, I binged again…

Another “binge.” Another bout of eating extra and extra when I’m not even physically hungry. Another failure of my plans to prevent this kind of episode.

I know that I NEED the food. Especially since I’ve been exercising more, but I would feel physically and mentally better if I was able to STOP and spread my intake out.

Now I’m mad at myself because I knew beforehand that I’d be stressing about what I did and trying to “plan” out what I’m going to eat/do for the rest of the day to “stay on track” with my goals.

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Today is a busier than usual day. I took my mom out for a mani/pedi for an early Mother’s Day I was supposed to go to a new church group tonight. Instead of focusing on crossing things off my lengthly to do list my energy is being sucked by thoughts of:

When and how much I’m going to work out?

What will they have to eat at the meeting? – I already overdid it while I was on the retreat with them last weekend. I don’t want that to happen again.

I’m really disappointed in myself.  I wanted today to be different. I wanted to defeat the urges. I kept my trigger foods out of the house. I physically had to drive to the store and purchase them.

Now I am ashamed of myself and want to stay home tonight. Not see my boyfriend. Not see my new friends. I don’t feel like I deserve it. I will just binge again and end up hating myself more…

I’m so exhausted of this cycle and my failed attempts to break it.

April Action

April has been so busy, but in a good way. I’m starting to fall back into a routine after an intense few weeks of filming in March. It was a month full of new opportunities, spending time catching up with friends, and making new connections. There were no trips this month, but May kicks off the “trip a month” season for my boyfriend and I. Stay tuned for more!

Babysat J’s nephews

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Still job hunting and had many phone interviews – none of which have panned out…

I began struggling more with my eating disorder (the awful “binge and purge cycle”)

Attended our friend’s brewery’s 2nd anniversary party

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Began weight training with J’s brother

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Filming ended (hallelujah)

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Began coaching youth tennis

April (hail) showers

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Started a running regimen

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Some of J’s friends were in town for the weekend and we went to “The Revivalists” concert, brunch, and the park

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Easter

Saw a local production of “Singin’ in the Rain” (my favorite musical)

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Fell and hurt my knee…

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Movies/TV

Parks & Recreation, Seasons 2 – 6

Deep Water Horizon

The Theory of Everything​

Singin’ in the Rain

Armageddon
Books

A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

The Wonder ​by Emma Donoghue

The Children by Ann Leary

Triple Digits

The past month marks the first time in SEVEN YEARS that I’ve hit (and kept on) triple digits. I can’t believe that I’m typing those words. I’m 27 and just now weigh over 100 pounds?! The past year and a half has been particularly difficult. Sometimes I coped well and got stronger, but there were MANY times in which I felt like I was failing…

Initially when I posted this accomplishment on Facebook I was overwhelmed by the positive feedback, “likes” and “loves” left by friends and people I haven’t communicated with in years (or ever, really). The encouraging comments left me in tears – I actually was proud of myself for once.

Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for my own criticism enter my brain. Despite re-reading comments and encouragement from my beyond-wonderful boyfriend, I have been struggling to shake the feelings of disgust I have with myself. How can I go from feeling so “free” and proud of myself for all I’ve overcome to literally loathing myself?!

“My pants are all too tight, nothing fits right anymore”

“Your thighs look HUGE in those picture from this weekend – I need to increase my time in the gym”

“You’re weak. Why can’t you stop eating and say just say ‘no'”

“You used to be so self-disciplined and in control. What happened?!”

This goes to show how scary and debilitating this disease is. No, it’s not just “about food.” For me, it’s always been about control. When I feel out of control in certain areas of my life (typically my career) the eating disorder behaviors and thoughts are stronger.

It’s good that I can recognize this pattern, though it does not necessarily make it any easier to treat myself with kindness. My therapists reiterates the need for me to practice self-compassion. It’s hard to engage in those kinds of exercises – I don’t even know where to begin. The thought seems so foreign; I’ve been my biggest enemy my whole life.

Maybe that’s what scares me. My eating disorder has been my “identity” for so long that It’s hard to picture who I am without it – who I want to be. I know I need to be more open-minded and put myself out there. It’s overwhelming to know where to start, but the important thing is to actually start AND give myself credit for putting in the effort.

I few things that I have tried to shift my focus to lately:

  • Cooking healthier meals from scratch
  • Blogging
  • Reading
  • Running
  • Weight lifting

I know that I still have a long way to go. Right now it’s important that I don’t backtrack and keep moving forward by focusing on what I want my life to look like in the future:

  • A runner ( half-marathon)
  • An artist
  • A healthy lifestyle blogger/figure
  • A mother

One day at a time – onwards and upwards, my friends!