Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day.

Ironically, the days leading up to the infamous Fourth have been anything but independent. I hate to be the downer, but I haven't been feeling like myself lately - thus my lack in posting.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about the way things used to be. Reading through my old journal and seeing the occasional photo of myself from when I was sick. It frightens me how bad I looked. I had taken pictures before I went inpatient in 2008, of when I came home and when I ultimately relapsed. In 2006, when I was at Pratt and I realized I'd lost weight - I took those same kind of photos. I sent them to my mom, asking her if I was OK. She called me within the hour, in tears, begging me to talk to the administration and see about getting myself help. Turns out I didn't even have to. My suitemates had already spoken to the RA, and he talked to them first. This quest to be free from my eating disorder has been a really long one. And it's had many, many set backs. I think about it sometimes and wonder what I did wrong, what I could have done better to not have relapsed so many times. Maybe I just wasn't ready those other times. Maybe I just didn't have the ability to take that leap of faith, or the confidence in myself. I don't know. People often ask me how I got myself to recover on my own, from the shell of life that I had come to know. I don't think there really is a "how". Only a "why". I did it for my family, because I knew I couldn't make my parents bury me at 19. I told myself that I had to get better, repeatedly day in and day out. I have an obsessive-compulsive personality, and once I get it into my head that I am going to do something - I damn well do it and I do it well. It's a bit of a dangerous mindset to have, and I'm quite sure that's why each relapse was always worse than the one before. Its one of the things I need to work on therapy - allowing myself room to breathe.
Anyways. I think that even if who I was, and where I was last year frightens me, its good to look back. It keeps me in check and it reminds me that I need to stay strong as I possibly can right now. Because there have been so many time when I thought I was better, and I truly wasn't. When I went to community college in September 2007, I was up to a fairly decent weight after the '06 slip-back. Thought I'd do perfectly fine at school. :sigh: So many times I thought I would be okay, that I was free from my ED. Apparently, I wasn't.


When I came home in April 2008 (if you look *really* good - I still have the hospital bracelet on my wrist lol - certain friends of mine were incredibly anxious to see healthy me). After seeing this picture, a great deal of my friends and family have asked me why in hell I relapsed again because I "looked so great." I wish I had the answer to that question, but I still don't know. I don't think I ever will.

About six weeks later, I dropped to my all-time low. This was actually taken after the first five pounds gained back.
I never realized how bad I got. How quickly I could slip. When I came home from inpatient last year, I thought I was going to be free, that I'd never have to look back. Its funny how that happens - always when you think you're safe. I remember how incredibly proud of myself I was - gaining that first five pounds. I thought it was the biggest deal in the world. My mom looked at me that morning and was just like "Five pounds is a drop in the bucket for you right now." I didn't appreciate it at the time, I got very upset. But looking back now, I can see why she said that. It's really frustrating and frightening for me to look back at that time. When I came home from inpatient last spring, I honestly believed it was going to be the last time I ever put myself through it again. I thought I was going to be okay, that I would be able to hold on. It frightens me to think back at that because, well....it didn't hold true. And because of that, I question myself now. It's a huge part of why I still count calories, even though it drives me NUTS. I have a very, very hard time trusting myself and I wish that I could feel more secure in my ability to nourish myself appropriately on a day-to-day basis. But the history I have...I've never maintained a weight above X pounds for more than maybe two, three weeks before. So I guess its a good thing in a way, for now. I really, really hope one of these days I feel secure enough in myself that I can just eat, without needing to measure to make sure my portions are big enough, or counting calories to make sure what I want to eat is sufficient. I suppose that no longer counting how many grams of protein/fat/carbohydrate I'm getting in each meal or snack is a big step foward in and of itself. It's been quite freeing to be able to just sit down and say to myself "Breakfast has to be 800 calories and this is what I want."

And today, what I wanted was a bowl of this goodness:

Kashi Autumn Wheat with vanilla chai, sliced banana, dried cherries and two tablespoons of Simply Jif natural peanut butter. Nuked it up in the microwave since it was a bit chilly in the house this morning. I wonder if my need to heat almost everything up is an ED thing? Hm. Oh well. Also had a glorious cup of fresh coffee with Cinnamon Bun coffee creamer. looove that stuff. For real, if you haven't tried it - you should.

Please don't take this post the wrong way. I am not sliding back, or reminescing the "old" days. I just think its important to remember what we've grown from. I think its important, at least for me, to realize that no matter how much better we think we are sometimes, no matter how much we tell ourselves that we don't have to worry about relapse - that possibility is always there. And I know for a fact, the longer one has had anorexia, the easier it is to slip back without even meaning to. In my mind, freedom from anorexia no longer means not caring about the calories I eat or how much I weigh because I have learned that when I do not care, that is when the eating disorder seems to step back in. Maybe it won't be like that forever, but I think that for a long time, freedom from ED means that you are able to eat and maintain a healthy weight without guilt, and it means caring enough about yourself to keep it that way.

8 comments:

  1. tori!

    i am so glad you are going forward with recovery. i have had some baaad days recently as well. and today is the 4th and momentarily people will be arriving and there will be tons of food and alcohol and i am freaking out. BUT i'm gonna just try to take deep breaths, relax, and ENJOY the holiday w/ my family. because you're right--one of the main reasons i decided to get better is for my parents and brother. i didn't want them to have to bury me before my 21st birthday. and i turned 21 and i'm still here so you can be too!

    also, i LOVE the cinnamon bun coffee creamer! are we soul mates or what?? my parents were like EW it tastes nasty and i was like whateverrr i love it! haha

    also it's hard for me bc my mom has terrible body image, always bashing herself. and she's trying to lose 10 pounds while i'm trying to gain 10 pounds. VERY tough living in the same house.

    anyway, you can do this. you are much stronger than me. i can't imagine what you've been through but just think of how far you've come! kudos!

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  2. Hey lovely!

    I'm glad to see you're taking a look back while moving forward. I agree and think it is very important to be aware of where we came from, and to remind ourselves of why we are working so hard to recover in the first place. Like you mentioned, it gets easier and easier to slip back into old habits, and having a reality check every now and then can help keep that from happening.

    I'm also thrilled the no fat gram/protein/carb counting is working for you. I can imagine how much time and energy keeping track of that must have taken up!

    Take care, and um, I'll be coming to your house for breakfast soon. Expect it. :)

    Much love,
    Rachel

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  3. Tori,
    Looking back into the darkness that was the past is something that offers learning and life lessons. I know that there exists this huge level of fear that you could slip back into that place but you have every power in the world not to let it happen. For every moment that a thought comes into your head and says "you can't do this, give up now" or "you can't handle this" just tell that voice that you made a decision and being the type person that you are, you are going to follow through with that decision. You ARE going to recover. And not just "recover" but recover fully. You ARE going to live your life the way you want to, the way that screams freedom, and the way that allows you to be happy and healthy and vibrant.
    Everything in life happens for a reason. Sometimes those reasons don't make an ounce of sense but they still happen because something or someone intended them to be that way. In your case, you learned what could ultimately be your biggest demise. You learned that strength comes from within and with enough self determination and mind over matter, you can do ANYTHING and achieve the most difficult of goals. There are millions of people in the world who could NEVER ever go through what you did. But you, you have done it and you are still doing it and you amaze people on a regular basis. That's another thing. You must remember that through this experience you have become an advocate and a voice (a very powerful one) to remind people of the dangers that ED embodies. Youl hold a significant presence in sharing with others how to avoid getting tangles in the web and how to look out for the signs and recapture one's life.
    So yes, it may be easier to slip back into old habits and give up but you are not a quitter and you certainly will not accept the association of a quitter with your name. You can get through this and you WILL gret through this. You've already made leaps and bounds and continuously make strides, for example the stopping of the obsessive gram counting. Sooner or later, you will come to a place where the calories don't matter anymore. I mean, I am the same way with the cal counting. When I stop I immediately lose. It's annoying as hell that I can'tjust seem to get it down but right now I have to keep doing it. With practice and time and more trust, I think it will change. But we're still swimming in the deep end so we have to keep our floaties on otherwise our head could go under. ONce we get into the shallow waters and our feet touch, then we'll be okay.
    All in all, I am so proud of you. Keep your head up, Keep the positivity alive, and keep pushing.
    love always,
    Ruthie

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  4. I absolutly love your blog.
    All of your words are written so soulfully, from the heart, and true. You are beautiful, and strong beyond anything. I know you are capable to overcome any struggle. Really. You are incredible.

    I also warm up pretty much everything.. could it be an ED thing? I also ask myself that. ha :)

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  5. I also read my old journals to see where I was and how far I've come. I find it very therapeutic to reflect, even if that means accepting sadness.

    I think you're proving the world's expectations wrong :) And that every day you come closer to finding the place where you will feel right.

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  6. :) I think you're at a much better place now. I hope you can see how far you've come. From my perspective, and I barely know you, you are SO strong and such a fighter, and you've got so much spirit in you to keep going! I admire you a lot. Some times you have to suck it up and just do it, and you do it! I love that so much.

    Oh and I dunno if it is an ED thing, but I think heating up cereal makes it extra yummy. I swear it brings out the flavors! Especially in the Island Vanlla :D

    Have a wonderful holiday!

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  7. Looking back, it just reinforces how far you've come. You've had such a rocky history with ED, and yet you're still here. You've been strong enough to overcome it, you're doing so well right now. Even just the fact that you no longer count fats/carbs/proteins etc is an incredible achievement for someone suffering from ED for so long; you are such a fighter and I admire you so so much. xxxxx

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  8. Hey my beautiful, wise lady!!

    ED recovery is definitely rocky. I too struggle with that sudden swoop of ED's voice, that sly encroachment of ED's devices and deceivments, that cause me to spiral back into all that ED thoughts and habits and anxieties. But each time, I'm getting faster and faster in catching myself from falling back. I get more and more wary of ED, and my intelligence is starting to take over ED's cunning wiles.

    I'm sure the same is for you. You've suffered so much from ED, and he's taken so much from you, but you are now enjoying taking back a bit and a bit of that power and liberty each day, and you're delighting in that. You already know what you need to work on (counting calories, etc) and I have faith that you WILL get there. Each time you fall, you climb back up stronger. Don't be afraid of a relapst, Tori, because ED will use that fear against you. Just declare yourself independent forever from it! That way, YOU have the authority over ED!

    You've come so far, Tori, and I probably already said this but YOu are a huge, big-ass inspiration for me and your courageous battle is a testimony that will ring far and wide throughout the whole world. So congratulations ahead of time! :-)

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