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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Today feels like it  might be a high emotion/high drama type of day.  I woke up sort of in a funk...feeling like I'm not "good" at this whole recovery thing.  I need to remember that it's progress, not perfection.  I also need to remember that licking the spoon I used to pack my lunch does not count as breakfast.  *sigh*

First thing when I got to work today a coworker (aka: ex-friend and emotional vampire) tried to strike up a conversation about exercise.  She's thinking of taking a spin class and asked if I had any experience with that.  Several years ago I helped her get started with cycling.  We rode together on Saturdays and I coached her along and kept her company.  We also discussed food issues and nutrition.  She knows all of my history, she watched me decline into the cesspool of bulimia and self harm.  She didn't see me at my worst though. She abandoned the friendship before then.

Anyway, so back to today.  The conversation struck a weird chord with me.  Right away I got a bit competitive....and had the desire to show her....lose a bunch of weight, have the willpower to skip meals, blah blah blah.  It's all bullshit!  I know this.  Why do I do this to people...to myself? 

It probably affected me the way it did because of our history and also because I woke up feeling like I'm not recovering in a perfect way.  I'm not glowing with rainbows all the time.  I still struggle.  In fact I struggle MORE now than I did while in the depths of my addictions because now I'm actually committed to fighting it.  It's harder to fight than to lay down and accept the beating, you know?

So.  Today I will choose to fight, even though I don't feel like it.  I'm going to fight for positivity.  I'm going to fight for self-acceptance and self-care.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

This is gonna be a fast post...mostly because I'm on a time limit because of work, but also because I haven't updated in what seems like forever.  I really am doing okay, just slogging through and taking things one day at a time.  :) I have so many things I want to write about, but not enough time to really sit down and write them exactly as I want to say them.

I had a sudden realization this morning on my way to work.  I was praying that God would show me what to fight for today...(that's a "thing" that I need to explain when I have more time) and I very clearly heard structure.  So I'm milling in my head over structure and why God would want me to fight for that.  I don't know that structure is really something I struggle with.  And then...I heard foundation.  Ding ding ding!  OH!  Structure means nothing without foundation.

While walking into the building at work I was thinking about the relationships I have with coworkers.  Last week I heard some of the things that had been said about me while I was in treatment.  It wasn't anything horrible, some of it was the truth.  What bothered me was the motive behind it.  It's the way people view me.   This lead me to think about my dad.  His opinion can make or break me.  I allow him to have a lot of power over me with this.  I need to stop caring what he thinks of me.  Right now, my dad's opinion is that I'm a criminal, that I've strayed away from God, I'm doing things (have done things) that he disapproves of.  I need to get back to a place of not caring what my dad thinks of me.

I feel like I've been slipping with my recovery lately.  It isn't anything huge, it's just little stuff.  I think that working on the foundation behind my daily/weekly/monthly structure will help with that.  Feeling unproductive tends to put me in a funky place mentally.  I'm lazy and unmotivated though, and that works against the whole productivity idea.  I think I need to make a to-do list for today and also for this week. 

Anyway.  Back to work I go....

Monday, March 21, 2016

moody monday

I'm in a funky mood today, not sure what my deal is.  I'm at work and wishing I was in my "happy place" in a corner at my favorite coffee shop.  I kinda just want to hide away today.  I think part of it is that I'm feeling uncomfortable with a lot of things right now and that makes me feel out of control.  Textbook ED issue, right?

I just came back to work a week ago and I'm being asked to take on more responsibility.  It's an accounting report and I'm not comfortable doing it, yet I'm the most qualified for it, plus I'm available to do it since I'm at work earlier than everyone else most days.  *sigh*

I'm keeping a low profile today.  I'm not comfortable in my own skin at the moment.  I feel big, too noticeable. That feeling usually triggers the all-too-familiar desire to restrict.

For lunch today we are having pizza brought in so we can do a 401k meeting at the same time.  Gah!  Pizza makes me irritable.  It's one of my "trigger" foods....one of the first things I ever purged.  Plus, I have this superiority complex about it because it's supposedly one of those things that is near impossible to purge, yet I can do it easily.  It makes me feel like I've achieved something.  HA!  Not a healthy mindset to have, I know.

The pizza issue goes a little deeper than that.  I'll explain more about it later, when I have more time to type it all out. I've had a lot to say lately, but haven't blogged mostly because I don't know where this is going....and I just feel weird sharing what's been in my head lately.  Meh.

I'm sticking to my lunch plan of yogurt with cereal.  I'll probably go sit in my car though.  I need to not be isolating today!  I don't feel like I have a lot of "safe" people around me today, which sort of justifies the isolation.  O_O

I want this day to hurry up and be over so I can crawl in bed with my heating pad and get lost in a cloud of netflix and sleep.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

that moment in the grocery store when...

I had a very weird trigger happen tonight.  To be honest, I'm still fighting it a little.  I feel my mind drifting back into the black swirl of bulimia.  WHY?!  I know better!  Bulimia (plus alcohol) nearly killed me.  I can't forget that.  These are just daydreamy wishes though, I'm not acting on anything.

So I was strolling through the grocery store, hunting for my list of safe foods.  (sweet potato, apples, yogurt, marshmallows)  My mind drifts and my eye catches certain foods that were my go-to purge items, either for safety or for, well...pleasantries?  ha!  That's right, purging isn't always terrible to experience.  Sad but true.  I might not say that once I have more than a few months of recovery under my belt.

Anyway.  I'm standing in the checkout line with my healthy stuff on the conveyor belt....the person behind me starts putting her stuff behind mine.  I could be wrong, but it seemed like she scored a binge haul and was sweating bullets thinking about the night ahead of her.  I felt a mixture of jealousy and sadness.  Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions because of my own history.  In a way I felt judgmental.  If she is indeed bulimic, I would never look down on her for it....I just felt odd for immediately jumping to that conclusion because of what she was buying, how she was acting and what she looked like.  I couldn't not notice the combination of food she was getting.  She looked like me a few months ago.  Sweatpants, stained t-shirt and flip flops, unwashed greasy-yet-dry hair slopped into a pony tail, dry scaly lips, chapped chin and puffy face, bloodshot eyes.....and omg her hands.  :(  I'm bulimic too.  Of course I look at her hands to compare them to how mine look.  *sigh*

What the fuck is wrong with me??  I thought I was fine, that I was just sad because I see things in her that I have seen in myself.  I haven't stopped thinking about her since I left.  There were times at Tiger Mt that my only reason for getting through the day was that I could always plan an epic binge/purge once I got home.  Can't do it now, but I can at least do it later when I'm alone!  I haven't purged since I've been home. All of a sudden though, it's glaringly obvious that I'm smack-dab in the middle of "the later" that I was longing for.

The second I decide that purging anything at all is simply not an option (which means that binges are out of the question), my mind floats to sleeping pills.  I remind myself that it's just benadryl.  It's not like I'm abusing prescription stuff.  I take only one....and then my mind drifts to the possibility that I could lose some serious poundage if I use this healthy eating kick to disguise a few weeks of restriction.  OH....I could just eat once every other day.  1500 calories for an entire week.

Stop it, Ang!!!  Go to bed, Ang.  Bulimia CAN kill you!!  Go to bed, today is over.  Rethink it tomorrow.

Friday, March 11, 2016

I get by with a little help from my friends...

Something beautiful happened for me last night, something that I believe will solidify my recovery efforts at home.  I shared my story with a group from church.  Technically I've been a part of this group for a couple of years.  My "darkness" kept me from participating and really getting to know them.  If I showed up I would sit in the corner in silence, balled up with anxiety.  When food was part of the equation I would show up late.  I only had deep conversations with a couple of them via text or facebook.  Many times I would be on my way to the group meeting and I would end up at the liquor store instead, or at home wearing out the path between my kitchen and bathroom.

I was blown away by their response.  Several of them said they were shocked by how much I had changed....my countenance, my body presence, even my voice!  Only a few of them were aware of the extent of my struggle.  It felt really good to talk about it, and it felt amazing to hear about the change they could see.  The fact that I was even speaking at all was a drastic change in their eyes.

I've always been pretty forthcoming about my struggle when asked about it, but I'm more apt to be open with strangers than people close to me.  I'm sometimes afraid that I'm too honest.  What if I give someone else the idea to do what I do?  I couldn't bear for that to happen to somebody I truly care about.  That's how I justified talking so much online to people who were already sick and had no desire to recover.  Somebody who gets the idea to purge because of hearing my story is probably headed down the path of an eating disorder anyway.

Another thing that struck me was that everyone genuinely cared and expressed a desire to support and help me in whatever way possible.  I'm beyond grateful for that....because I desperately need people in my life who can remind me of the truth when I get sucked into my addictive mindset.  It's difficult for me to do that on my own, at least for now.  Plus, I need friends!!  I crave relationship!  I want deep, human connection.   I need people to laugh with, cry with, bullshit about every day life with.  Living at Tiger Mt for three months opened my eyes to the beauty of REAL friendship.  Living in a house with other women....we saw each other at our ugliest moments, both physically and emotionally.  Even spiritually! These women helped me remember that farts are hilarious, everybody wakes up with dragon breath, and belly-laughs are amazing.  We had no choice but to run the gamut of emotions in front of each other.  They reminded me that God uses relationships to break us, mold us...and strengthen us.

Writing this is making me homesick for my Tiger Mt relationships!  I miss and love them all so much, staff and clients both.  My room mate (best friend, platonic girlfriend, and soul sister) is an artist.  She did a painting that she donated to the lodge.  Both the process and the product were stunning!  In a way, we all were able to leave a piece of ourselves at Tiger Mt through her painting.  She asked each of us to give her a negative and a positive word about our recovery.  She incorporated those words into the painting.  She also put the quote "With a little help from my friends..."  I'm not sure any of us had any idea just how much of an impact we would have on each other.

So here I am, in a transition of relationships.  The connections I made at Tiger Mt will likely look much different than they did while I was there...and I'm okay with that.  To be honest, I don't want to let go of ANY of them!!  (I have abandonment and attachment issues, ok?)  It really sucks to suddenly be so far away from all of them.  This first week has been lonely.  I'm seeing that these people are still part of my life, but that God is also cultivating other relationships in my life.  I will never forget my Tiger Mt peoples and I hope to stay in contact with them FOREVER!!  But...I am excited to see what happens with new friendships.  And who knows?  Maybe my Tiger Mt world and my home world will start to overlap.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Life is but a Vapor

I'm realizing that it's nearly impossible to put the last three months in a nutshell and catch people up on what is happening in me and in my life.  It's too overwhelming, for you and for me.  With that said.....

For a long time I have felt as though I have nothing to live for.  I would say that I wasn't suicidal, but I didn't see the point in staying alive.  I was too lazy and apathetic to kill myself, and yet this was the very thing that almost killed me.  Having nothing to live for, no passion....those things kept me sick.  While in treatment I met (and grew to love) several other ladies who struggled with addiction.  Our lives looked very different, yet there was a common thread of pain running through all of us.  The only thing that ever made me feel like I was different was my lack of any reason to get better.  I wasn't there because I was trying to get my kids back or be a better mom.  I'm not even trying to be a better wife.  I don't have (or desire) a lot of contact with my parents or sister.  My job stresses me out.  I don't get a lot of satisfaction from career goals.  Essentially, there is nothing in this life that I truly care to LIVE for.

I wish I could say that my attitude has completely changed.  In a way, it has.  In other ways though, I am still very much stuck in the rut of indifference.  The one thing that propels me forward is death.  That's right.  Death is my reason to live.

Several times over the last few months, the phrase "life is but a vapor" would come to mind.  I was just now flipping through my journal and couldn't help but chuckle because every couple of weeks I wrote about this as though it was the first time it had happened.  Ha!  Life is but a vapor...what does that even mean?!  Life is but a vapor...I've heard this before, wish I could remember where.  Life is but a vapor...is that a Shakespeare quote?  Life is but a vapor...what is this from, is it in the Bible?  Life is but a vapor...I need to google that when I get home.

I love how God is so persistent.  I just googled it.  Turns out, it's in the Bible.

James 4:14  "...you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.  You are just a vapor that appears for a little while then vanishes away."

This puts a whole new spin on the recovery idea of taking things one day at a time.  Sure, I can rest easy knowing that the only thing I really need to tackle is staying sober today.  That means nothing to me without the threat of death.  Living a life free from addiction is manageable when it's taken one day at a time....but this is not only about freedom from a vice, it's about the freedom to live a life of passion and purpose because addiction no longer holds us back.

Monday, March 7, 2016

settling vs. unsettling

I don't know where to start.  I've had all of these grand ideas for what direction to take my blog "post-recovery" and now I'm overwhelmed.  SO...we're gonna just take this one day at a time and see what happens.  I'm realizing more than anything I just need to write, get my thoughts out of my head.  Transparency and honesty in writing have always been attractive and safe for me.

Here goes nuthin'!

Settling back into real life has been overwhelming so far.  I suppose I'm doing a satisfactory job of it, given the fact that I'm sober, haven't purged or cut, and my dogs and husband are all still alive.  So far I've conquered a mountain of unopened mail, 342 unread emails....and lots of dust bunnies!

I'm a little shaky at the moment, mostly because I'm feeling really uncomfortable in my own skin.  I've healed a lot over the last three months, but I know that bulimia doesn't just "go away" in a short amount of time.  I feel chunky and gross.  I think this feeling is probably just a mask for the fear and anxiety over going back to work soon.  I don't really know how to handle people's questions.  According to facebook and text messages from friends/coworkers, I'll be facing a tornado of rumors and gossip.  I'm hoping and praying that my coworkers will receive me well and with open minds.  Trust and love are so fragile....I don't want to go back to the hardened state that I was in a few months ago.

At Tiger Mountain, I learned to love again.  It started with letting myself be loved by other people.  I didn't realize until the day I left that I had actually started to love others in return.  I don't know why that came as such a shock to me.  I walked in the door with a stone-cold heart that was determined to not get attached to anyone.  Three months later, I'm a blubbering mess of smiles and tears....and hugs.  That was a HUGE change.  Despite the rule about no touching, my time at Tiger Mt has turned me into a hugger.  LOL!!!

I'm a bit stir crazy tonight.  I'm considering a trip to the grocery store.  OH...something I didn't expect to face....being triggered at a grocery store?!  Ha!  Duh, Ang.  Cash Saver was my go-to store for binge food because everything was ridiculously cheap and they carried all of my staple stash items.  I quickly realized that I need to find a new place to shop.  I found myself mindlessly finding things...standing and staring at a wall of boxed pasta....then turning the corner toward the diet pills.  GAH!  I made it out of the store with only things that were my safe foods at Tiger Mt.  I was pretty proud of myself for that.  :)

On another note...

I've been reading back over the blogs I posted the two months before I went to treatment.  I was in a VERY scary state of mind.  It was depressing to read, yet a good reminder of just how far I've come, and how much I have to lose.  Every time I consider purging or drinking...I remind myself that I died.  My heart stopped beating.

Friday, March 4, 2016

I'm back!!

Helloooo!!!!  This is just a short post to let the world know that I'm back at home.  I'm feeling a little like a fish out of water right now.  Three months living in the safety of what I call the "Tiger Mountain bubble" has been a life changing (and saving) experience.  At the moment though, I'm trying to readjust to life at home.  I promise I'll post some longer updates soon.

For right now....my plan for the day is to unpack, go to my first meeting (in an hour and a half), shop for some groceries, then grab a friend for a coffee date.

I have 92 days of sobriety under my belt, and 27 days free from purging and self harm.  I feel strong at the moment, but I know that my recovery is fragile and needs to be protected.

I can't wait to make the rounds and hear how everybody is doing!  Love you guys!!