what in the …

hi guys,

so some of you have been following along on my journeying around the west coast, to finland, back again then recent unexpected sudden return home. its been a very interesting last couple of years to say the least. although there have been some truly good times with absolutely unbelievable people and events – the truth is that i have trying to outrun a debilitating eating disorder.

i’m just starting to come to terms with the severity of the disease by starting to take a step back and looking at the wreckage and path of reckless destruction it has left in its wake. it is a long, interesting tale that varies between anorexic behaviors, incredibly lonely periods of bulimia and more recently a close call with reaching the brink of permanently destroying my body and mind through excessive exercise and restriction.

my irrational and fearful mind has been trying very hard to break free from the daily mental hell by moving, running and fighting to get back to the days of clear thinking bliss. it has been nothing short of confusing, scary and sad.

after finally being fed up, i went to finland on a quest for healing – to get back to my regular, happy, healthy self.

i found my peace through the power of exercise and the mental salvation of yoga.

unfortunately, people affected with this disease often have a tendency for excess which resulted in losing 20 lbs in 6 months. (they also have been known to crack their knuckles, have social anxiety and a history of escaping to europe, burning out and coming back – seriously).

all my hair started falling out, i lost my period but i was under the illusion that it was to do with something other than my eating disorder. I had thought that I had made a lot of progress by leaving my self destructive behaviors behind in the States and was just incredibly active and ate incredibly healthy now, right? wrong.

although, i tried to start gaining weight so that i could keep up with my new found love yoga (and have a pair of pants that fit) the weight loss continued and with it the deterioration of my mind and choices. i started got the chance to start working as a kindergarten teacher and absolutely loved it however i had become so underweight that my cognitive abilities and focus were (and still are) significantly diminished.

it became so hard to focus at work (took me 10 minutes to wipe down a table) yet i couldn’t stop utilizing the gym as a way to break free from the constant stress, worry and anxiety about food and weight. my life was a constant state of shakey nervousness and obsession – it was incredibly difficult to be social or be anywhere other than my church – aka the gym.

things spun more and more out of control but i couldn’t see clearly that i was killing myself. thankfully to a few amazing friends that saw my illness, physical and mental state decreasing – i finally looked into getting help and decided to come home where health care and family would hopefully help me to understand what was happening.

upon my arrival (really not sure how i even made it on my own) my phenomenal family was waiting with open arms – even after years of horrible, impulsive decisions impacting us all.

since being home I have thankfully been checked into a partial hospitalization outpatient eating disorder treatment program and finally don’t have to be alone in fighting this demon anymore. i am more grateful than words could say.

currently weighing in at 94 lbs (up a few lbs from my worse state), my resting pulse is 48 (a male athletes should be around 60), can wrap my hand around my bicep, barely able to focus for even a short conversation, am incredibly nervous and obsessive around food and am in constant state of feeling like im on a spaceship. there is nothing funny or cool about this. i have been so disorientated and the only thing i have been able to think about or focus on is food. i haven’t even really been able to listen to music anymore which is probably the saddest thing in the world.

the effects of semi-starvation are incredibly real and the doctors have helped to explain some of my weird behaviors through a study that was done in WWII on a group of men:  http://matchstickmolly.tumblr.com/post/3261188113/starvation

although today was my first day of recovery, i am already feeling extremely hopeful. it will be a very long journey before my health and mind restored – but being in amazing hands with an incredibly supportive family around me makes it finally clear that i don’t have to move, run or fight this demon in my head on my own anymore ( but that suddenly clear thinking might just be from all the food they are feeding me).

eating disorders have nothing to do with food or weight. they are tools of control that usually mask something much bigger and deeper and often help guide us to finding our purpose and what we are truly here to do. Exercise (even though I am banned from doing any right now), yoga and meditation have already shown me that there is a part of me that is untouched by all this, a part of me that is infinite, perfect and beautiful (and guess what, it is within you guys too! 🙂 ).

sorry if this bums any of you out that like to think that my life is rainbows and sunshine, but i find it far more important and fulfilling to be real since i am certain now that i am not alone in having this internal sadness and emotional hunger that is creates an inability to deal with reality. if any of this rings true with any of you, or if you have struggled with this or any other type of mental suffering and pain – know that you aren’t alone. the moment you surrender and let others in is the moment you can finally get the tools you need to break free and find the inner peace you so seriously deserve.

back to work at crazy girl camp. see you guys in saneland soon ❤

love, peace and joy –

c

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so close, so far.

up days. down days.

up day: job offer from an adorable kindergarten that would provide the creative, fulfilling stable work I have been seeking.

down day: realizing the residence permit requires 500 euros and that the processing time could take to long in order to be able to start work in time.

up day: realizing the marriage route would be quick enough to be legally allowed to work in time and having an amazing guy in my life that I would actually feel safe enough to do this with.

down day: the new exciting relationship becomes a bit paralyzed with fear and pressure from discussing actually having to do that, the threat of losing everything I am so close to achieving sets in and I get a potential job offer from one of my former self’s dream jobs.

i repeat affirmations. i get an idea of what i want.

then the universe throws curve balls to shake it up a bit and the disorientation/fear take over.

i’ve been in survival mode for so so long.

after I left L.A. in search of what was missing I didn’t have a very good financial plan.

I’m going to throw in some quotes from the amazing book “The Women Who Run With Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estès as they completely align with what I have been experiencing.

“It is worse to stay where one does not belong at all than to wander about lost for a while and looking for the psychic and soulful kinship one requires”
― Clarissa Pinkola EstésWomen Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

So that’s what I began to do. Wander.

 

I ended up in Portland, because it felt a bit like Finland. It was rainy, colder than L.A., green with nature and mass transit. Also the biking and vegan friendly community seemed like it would be the perfect fit for my hippie – leaning tendencies.

I had gotten there started setting up a little life. Moved into the cheapest place I could find, sharing a studio with some strange boy. It was right down town. Easy, cheap, cute. And going to give me the shot to find some work and start a new life in a place that on paper fit what I was looking for.

If there is one thing I do, it is sign up for more than I am ready for. I like to tell people (and especially myself) that I am tougher than I actually am. In reality, I do have a hell of a lot of stamina and mental agility but too often do I close people off and say, “I can do this. I don’t need your help.”

I left L.A. sad and small and scared. Then I moved into a new, sweeter city but I was still in that mode. No healing had taken place. And to make matters worse I did not have the financial security in place to assure a feeling of safety and security in that new location.

So things were tough and money was tight. I couldn’t really go out and “make friends” because a) my social skills had been damaged from half a year of avoiding humans b) I didn’t have money to spend.

so with that scenario, I felt incredibly alone and stuck. I didn’t get the insta-happiness fix I had been expecting and this just made matters worse. So it made sense that when my former life and ex from Finland came blazing through, I instantly regretted my decision to try to start somewhere new and allowed (more likely encouraged) him to help me pack up from the shared studio and ride with me south to San Francisco on their tour so I could sell everything and move back to Finland like I originally wanted. Even though it hadn’t worked with him before it was something familiar and Portland wasn’t filling in the hole Finland had left (even though I had only given it about a week).

This probably would have been an entirely different story if we would have stuck with that plan. However, because of the nature of partying with Finns we got just drunk enough in San Francisco (where I was supposed to stay and then meet him back in Helsinki) but ended up thinking it would be a good idea to leave my car with all my belongings, my bike chained in front of the venue and my drunk mom left to wander the streets to jump on the bus and head to the next city – Loss Angeles.

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It felt so good to be with the Finns, have fun and not be in the isolated state I had been in for so long that I acted without thinking. What happened next was waking up, extremely hung over, back in the hell I had fought so hard to leave. Not only that but we were parked in front of the freaking Rainbow aka The Saddest Place on Earth.

I snuck off to sneak in to Equinox gym nearby and revitalize. I’ve come to realize that gyms have become a very safe place for me. Like a church.

The realization of the irresponsibility of my behavior / that I have no money or way to get home sets in.

What the hell am I thinking? What am I doing back HERE again? Why didn’t he think about the consequences of this and stop me?

I went to the show, saw all the sleazy/fake people I had just left behind, and felt like my soul was being devoured so I decided to stop drinking and left to go

sit by myself on a random Hollywood hill. The lights over Los Angeles at night are endearing.

These people didn’t care about me. They cared about partying.

They didn’t care about my wellbeing, how I would get home or if I even had a home.

It made me sick. Being in Los Angeles again made me sicker. My soul was nauseous.

After ignoring my phone for as long as possible, I returned to the party and saw V. I was so angry at him for letting me do this to myself, for being incredibly selfish and for destroying my life – again. Even though all of it was exactly what I had wanted and designed without even knowing it. I screamed and cried for hours with nowhere to go. I convinced my mo

m to buy me a greyhound bus ticket from Santa Ana, borrowed a few bucks and broken phone charger and headed through the Latino concrete jungle to find my way back north to build a new life.

Once again.

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“Though fairy tales end after ten pages, our lives do not. We are multi-volume sets. In our lives, even though one episode amounts to a crash and burn, there is always another episode awaiting us and then another. There are always more opportunities to get it right, to fashion our lives in the ways we deserve to have them. Don’t waste your time hating a failure. Failure is a greater teacher than success.”
― Clarissa Pinkola EstésWomen Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

illusion.

the beauty of obsession is that it takes you away from being in the now.

“in obsession your life becomes a movie where you are the star, the director, the producer and everyone else is just a stand in. cardboard props.”

this is what happened to my mind. it became to more difficult to cope with my reality then to be at war with my body so I cheerfully donated 90 – 100% of my thoughts and energy to that.

needless to say, it got exhausting. and boring. and sad.

i was so used to being the happy, life loving girl of my past and knew something had to change.

i couldn’t bare the mental cage i had built and fled. there were a couple people that had come into my life in L.A. that i had let into the hallway of my life rather then immediately shutting the door. one of them was actually pretty perfect – smart, cute, talented, into swords. I probably could have been quite happy with him if I wasn’t already in a deep committed relationship with my sadness and eating disorder.

the other one wasn’t right for me at all but provided interesting enough distraction to push me into making a big change. as i struggled daily, i started to plan my escape. on one of my “better weekends”, i was introduced to an immigration consultant by a lovely friend from overseas. i became desperate to change my hellish reality and get back to “where i was happy” so i was incredibly intrigued with the proposal to marry for a european passport.

i was already down there with the goal of saving up for my student resident permit (requiring 8k in the bank) but was going through such trauma and depression that I started being unable to comprehend sticking it out to save that up.

in my diseased state of mind i thought: yaay! the answer to my prayers! an italian gucci model that i can marry for citizenship so i can get back to happyhealthy land! he would get to live in LA, become a star and i would get my ticket to freedom. it was perfect!

fortunately (/unfortunately), i found out after already getting the paperwork and looking up local chapels that it wouldn’t really work since we would both be required to live in the same country. shit.

so instead, i started dating Fabio. maybe because he was different from the LA types, had the fire and passion for life that I used to have or maybe it was because he barely spoke English. anyway, it was brief relief and made it seem like LA was a bit more bearable. however when you start off a new relationship confused, then date someone so incredibly different from yourself – you are bound to look in the mirror one day to the realization that you have a spray tan, fake nails and hair extensions and are everything you ever hated… so that fell apart.

i had finally had enough. i knew that i was capable of happiness, just not there. with the inspiration of the italian star-to-be who came over without a plan, i packed up for somewhere more me. i had loved living in europe, minus the whole being an immigrant thing, and thought that perhaps there was somewhere in the US that I could try to be happy in before jetting back across the pacific. i was so desperate for a “sign” of where to go that when i encountered an amazing band with rad, real girls and they told me that Portland was “much more my style” I decided to go try there.

i convinced my landlord to let me out of my lease a month early. i stopped going to work. i went to the doctor to try to get some sort of medical leave so i would have some sort of income but just ended up bawling the entire time and leaving with no help. the end of my days in L.A. were incredibly dark.

it seemed so strange at the time because even though i was excited about my departure and the happiness that awaited me up north, my anxiety (and correlating disorder) was worsening. my brain felt like molasses. i could barely gather the energy to pack and clean my studio/hell. this just reassured me that i need to get out of there – faster!

thankfully my ex of 7 years/eternal savior/former roommate/life partner helped me hold it together enough to manage to dump all my furniture on the curb and fill my car with all i owned.

needless to say, my parents were concerned. my mom had been along for the ride with my struggles, listened to me cry, called the police when she thought i was dead, tried to help by telling me to be an actress and had finally given in to my idea that moving would make me happy. i gave my dad just enough information to justify my erratic behavior  “well i don’t know dad, i’m just going to move to portland because i hate L.A.” “well, ok i’ve been depressed.” “well, ok i’ve been REALLY depressed and been having eating issues.” “it’s fine, i’m excited. i’ll find a job” “no i don’t really know anybody there but i don’t have any friends here anyway.”

they of course persuaded me to take a break on my way up, be home for a bit. but honestly i was so embarrassed of my mental state that i didn’t want to burden anyone with the unbearability of my presence. even more though i thought they would judge my body and not believe me because i wasn’t even very skinny. the nature of the disorder i had been plagued with by is periods of restriction followed by anxiety induced exces so most people affected with it either normal or 5 – 10 lbs overweight. interesting stuff, huh?

so i passed right by any comfort or support from my family and friends in northern california, headed directly for my “temporary salvation” determined to make myself well. or in retrospect: fall deeper into my black hole.