come visit over there as recovery moves forward!
ok so its mid-april. big whoop. it’s been busy and crazy. and amazing. and intense.
i’ve been riding around on a magical carpet of life, love and kombucha since we spoke last.
doing backflips and floating in a sea of cash while simultaneously feeding homeless children.
ok we’ll maybe it hasn’t been quite that dramatic. or even remotely as inspiring. but there has been progress… and that is what is important.
i’d like to thank a special lady for inspiring this post. i got to talk her through her dancers pose on a sunny rooftop in overlooking all of seattle today, read her blog after and felt compelled to come back home to return to my writing roots. so hi, hows it going?
i know this blog turned into a bit of an eating disorder tale as i used it as a means of journaling throughout treatment.
and as much as that was a part of where i was – it isn’t where i am or how i define myself now. i am more aware than i have been in a long time and realize that wherever i choose to put my focus is exactly what i will create. with that in mind: i am more healthy, strong, and accepting of myself than ever before. ED is reminding me that i must point out that through this journey of recovery i have put on a good … 30 lbs…. since returning home, going to treatment and rediscovering my love for chocolate (and even pizza !!?!). does that mean i am at my healthiest? well much healthier than i was when all my hair was falling out. does that mean that i have healed my relationship with food, body or weight? nope. but it means that i am where i need to be and i am going to love the shit out of where ever i just so happen to be. this goes for whichever demon of a number that chooses to show itself on silver scale that determines my worth on the bathroom floor (sarcasm) or whether it be that silly number in my bank account that tells me just exactly how much i have been spending on yoga/pants/training and coffee. i am ok with all of it. and im not sure why.
i wanted to check in and say that – i love strong, funny women with a passion for pursuing life. i love late nights with myself, wine and ram dass movies. and that i graduate yoga teacher training tomorrow. im not exactly sure what that means. i am growing roots. getting to know myself. and learning to love myself and others a little more each day.
till the next time.
it’s been a while.
and a while it’s been.
not sure where we last left off. probably about a month and half ago and 10 lbs lighter ago?
not that the latter information is pertinent whatsoever. well, unless your name is Ed. then it is very pertinent.
“she asked me a lot of very pertinent questions”)
so that would be the major shift that has taken place recently on my eating disorder recovery journey – acknowledging that I have one and then starting to distinguish between my healthy voice and my annoying, abusive roommate that lives in my head – Ed.
Ed is freaking nuts. Ed sold my car, flew me across the planet, locked me in a gym and continuously tries to convince me that my worth is determined by the size of my thighs. He is also the one that tells me I can’t function or think unless I do two hours of intense yoga, kickbox or run my ass off. He also finds it quite amusing to make the majority of my thoughts, feelings and habits focus around food – namely food I am not allowed to have. No wonder my self esteem has plummeted and I lost all drive, focus and creativity in my life – I’ve been in an extremely abusive relationship which has smashed my spirit and starved my soul.
Luckily, I have some amazing friends and therapists that have been trying their hardest to turn on the light in the dark room of my mind and point out all of the betrayal and lies the sick side of my mind has been feeding me. Turns out I do deserve to live a full life and that I do not need to be rail thin in order to be loved.
So details – Although I have yet to go a full week without exercising I have managed to reintroduce “scary foods” and because my metabolism was so run down with my body being in semi-starvation mode I was able to pack on the pounds quite quickly. This is good because it means I can get back in the gym soon! (pretty sure that was Ed speaking there). My dietician and therapist have been slowly picking apart my “religion of thinness” and bringing my twisted world-view into my awareness.
I felt the need to write today because now that I am at a “healthy weight” (although still dealing with amenorrhea and bradycardia), I still deal with a lot of anxiety at meal time, my thoughts are still consumed by food and exercise and I still feel like I am in a prison I can’t escape. Today I was working at the yoga studio – even though my dietician thinks its like a recovering alcoholic working in a bar (side note: i did apply for a job at a bakery, welcome to the black and white thinking of a bulimic) – and I was going to take the 9 am Hatha Flow class (probably punishment for last nights first glass of egg nog in years) but it was full so I decided to lock up the studio and go on a quick run around Petaluma while the class was in session. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a run and now that my thighs are jiggling again, I am sure it won’t do much harm – regardless to the fact that the people in charge of restoring my weight strongly advise against any cardio whatsoever. Anywho, I decide it won’t hurt and it will help distract me from my compulsive thinking about muffins at above mentioned bakery – so I get on my headphones, rocking tunes and bright pink tennies and hit pavement. Awwwww. The familiar release of seratonin, the brisk cold Northern California winter wind upon my face, the beautiful blue heron on the town center lake and that beautiful, bright shiny sun beaming down. Finally, I feel free again. I try my best not to look at my chubby tummy in the town shop windows as I pass by feeling light and beautiful.
This is what recovery is, running.
It is also impromptu yoga sessions on walks at Lake Ralphine after delicious, energizing lunches:
Unfortunately, as my body is getting healthier and stronger my desire to push it physically increases simultaneously.
I say unfortunately because after that brief moment of freedom – running with my music – my heart began to ache.
Literally. I felt its weak beat trying to keep up with my over zealous attempt to push it once again.
My disorientation returned, I felt scared lost and “ill”. 25 minutes. That was all it took to put myself back in that scary, familiar detached reality of a body struggling to keep up with a manic mind and restricted eating.
Recovery is a tricky, tricky path. My eating disorder continuously psyches me out. I am certain I look well and feel well enough to jump back on the pavement and begin to cut out carbs again – but obviously I am not there yet. I need to figure out how to find the feeling of lightness, freedom and peace without the destruction of my bodily temple.
Anyway. That was my day. I ate a tempeh sandwich and finally started feeling less “out of it”. But the battle continues.
Off to support group with the girls that can help me to keep my butt in the chair and chin up.
“Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
ain’t that the truth.
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 –
so the hair loss has gotten increasingly worse as of late.
i’m sorry for being so antisocial but currently the only things holding me together are , yoga kickboxing, nature and the limited amount of people that i feel comfortable around.
please don’t think that if i don’t respond to correspondences that i am rude or distant. i am incredibly focused on figuring out/preserving my health/sanity at the moment and merely hanging out in front of mirrors makes me cry – let alone hanging around with other people.
finally getting a bunch of blood and hormone tests monday (thank odin, my incredible roommate and 21st century medical technology) hopefully there will be some light with the results that will help me in continuing the fight to accept the situation and surrendering to it.
anyway, fall is approaching and the trees are going to lose all their leaves and i have yet to see one start crying, having a panic attack or attempting to leave the forest in search for a cave.
they remain still, strong and calm all the way through winter knowing that spring will come and with it new leaves.
if i can learn something from them and their presence i know everything will be alright.
the deeper part of me knows that this body, this life and this current state of loss is all temporary but sometimes we just need to fall to our knees for a bit.
i hope when i stand back up my perspective will have shifted for the better.
with infinite amounts of love and strength,
“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”
― Hermann Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte
it’s not that the fear goes away. i don’t think it ever does. it just becomes a part of you. you get to know each other. you start to form a twisted relationship of dependency, competition and affection. one moment it gets to run the ship, steering you away from your hopes and dreams then other times, usually in the early morning after it has finally fallen asleep – you get to the take the reigns for a bit. undoing the damage. righting the course.
the faint knowledge that at any moment all your hard work will most likely be undone. at any moment, usually late in the evening – it will rise from it’s coffin to wrong all your rights, destroy all you create and cremate your confidence.
you know this. you accept it. yet because the spirit is a persistent force of nature – you press forward again and again with the perpetual drive to create, to continue, to win.
to win the war with our fears we must befriend it first. talk to it. ask it questions. critique its automated responses. sing it a lullaby. rock it to sleep. acknowledge its existence then give it a kiss on the cheek and continue on anyway.
ignore it’s lies. ignore it’s repetitive song. some days it will win. that is a promise. but the more you rise up, the more days you will win and the smaller it’s power shall become.
love fear with all you have. listen to its lies. they tell us exactly where to go, exactly what to do. it teaches us how to be a fighter, how to be a loser and how to win the war ourselves.
if we are one with our fears, we are one with our dreams and closer to that horizon of success.
when the war is finally over, when we learn how to win the war with our fears – we reach a mountaintop of freedom and are finally able to do our work and allow our souls to shine.
the key is to continue. continue to make our art. dance our dance. sing our song. build our project. raise our child. nurture our souls. be in our being. love with all we have.
we must allow ourselves to win that war between our higher self and the tragically misled ego – we must silence the resistance, silence the fear so that all that remains is a still, eternal moment of bliss.
let go of your fears and let yourself win.
let them fade away with the past until they are barely a speck to behold, barely a memory in mind.
let yourself win the war, bathe in the light, bask in the now and finally allow yourself to become all that you created yourself to be.