And I’m Off And Running

I was certain I had to move back home to the city I grew up in; the city I had left behind ten years earlier. I had left my family. I had left my friends, my home and my career. In a sense, I had given up everything for a man. I had relocated myself to the metropolis of the Twin Cities, whereas by nature, I was just a small town girl who enjoyed growing up in the woods. Over time, I continued to become more unhappy; depression weaved its’ existence into my mind and surrounded me like a warm blanket. I was beginning to find it difficult to resist the negative thoughts, and constant darkness, which snuck into my psyche as an uninvited guest who simply refused to leave.

For the past two years, I had been living in the house of my dreams. Together, we had designed the home that I had planned to live in for the remainder of my life. My feet had taken up root on the property, and I had no intentions of ever leaving my paradise. However, life tends to throw us a curve ball from time to time, whereas we are forced to slowly pick up our feet and move on into a new direction weather we want to or not.

Regardless of all the efforts we put forth to try to save our failing marriage, we agreed to follow through with the plan to end our twelve year relationship once and for all. Hence, I was face to face with the reality of my second divorce. I carried guilt and shame from my failed relationships, yet in the stillness of my heart, I knew I was never happy. I believe that sometimes we look for happiness through other people, instead of first finding it within ourselves. I had to find peace and contentment from within. I needed to be happy with myself before I could be happy with someone else.

I had spent many hours in the house back in my youth. One of my best friends lived there and I always admired everything about her home. We swam in the in-ground swimming pool in the backyard and basked in the hot sun on lawn chairs perched on the concrete patio. At the time, I could only hope that someday I too, could live in a house with a pool just outside the sliding glass patio door. It was by far the coolest house I had ever been in at that time of my life.

As I gazed through the real-estate listings on the Internet, suddenly my eyes popped out of their sockets! There it was in black and white, the home I had admired so much in the past was now for sale. Not only was it up for grabs, it was in my price range and I still had plenty of money left to bring it back. You see, over the years the house had lost its’ glamour. In reality, the home was a natural disaster zone. It was in need of attention, and I was more than willing to restore its’ beauty, after all, if I didn’t do it, who would?

It was May 4, 2012, the day I took possession of my new palace.  Early that morning I left the driveway of my “Home Sweet Home” in Stillwater, Minnesota pulling a trailer loaded with all my boxed up personal belongings. I managed to fit only two patio chairs and an air bed to sleep on, the rest of my furniture would have to wait until my project was finished. As I drove through the darkness of the early hours of the morning, I cried silently to myself. I cried out of fear as to what was to become of my life. Not only was I moving north, I was about to embark on an entirely new lifestyle. In the past, our decision process consisted of, “Which flight should we take?” or “ How many weeks do we care to be gone?” Those days were a part of my past; now I would be starting a new job while living through a major home remodel project, and I was planning on going back to school in the fall to earn the RN degree I had decided against twelve years prior.

The purchase agreement was signed, and I made my way back to my new digs. I sat in the family room just off the kitchen; staying clear of the kitchen cabinets for fear I would run into multiple rodents who had more control over the home than I did. I sat there listening to the sound of the house, and taking in the aroma of musty air, which was all too impossible to disguise. The magnitude of sweat equity that stood before me was too much to comprehend. I cried, and when I was finished, I cried some more.

It was early in the morning when I received the text message from Joel, “Are you up yet? We’re on our way, will be there shortly.” Quickly, I threw on a pair of shorts and an old t-shirt and started to brew my first pot of coffee. Joel entered my house from the garage. While making his way into the kitchen, he noticed the subtle changes, which had taken place over the past few days. I had torn off all the wallpaper, and painted the insides of all the closets. “It’s looking better already.” He said. “I can see what you envisioned here Lori, I think this is going be a great house when we’re finished.” He continued to give direction in an authorative manner, “Dustin, take that chandelier down before someone gets hurt.” He measured windows and doors, he gave me hope and assured me that everything was going to be just fine.

Day 3 brought about the commotion of contractors and sub contractors. It was nice to have life in the house, and I could see that before too long, I really was going to be living in a home I could be proud of, yet at the same time I was beginning to feel like I was camping inside the confines of an old run down shack. My kitchen cabinets were gone, whereas my toaster and my coffee maker were fighting for space on the bathroom vanity with my blow dryer and curling iron. Most all of my clothes were still housed inside plastic bags hanging in the closets, leaving out only a select few articles to wear and re-ware as I didn’t feel it was necessary to coat all my clothing with sheetrock dust.

I had to endure the discomforts of living in the midst of chaos and disarray. I had to try hard to keep my negative thoughts hidden safely inside my mind and make the most out of an uncomfortable situation. I grew to look forward to my text message from Joel each morning telling me they were on their way, as that meant progress. For the better part of two months, I had no kitchen. For a few days inside that period, I had no kitchen floor. It was totally exposed to the crawl space below, which made it difficult to sleep through the night. I’d lay there on my air bed only six inches off the floor wondering if a four legged friend would be making any unplanned visits during my hours of slumber. All the while progress was taking place inside, outside; the pool was under construction along with the tear out of all the old concrete so they could pour new.

In the middle of it all, I started my new job working the graveyard shift at the Care Center seventeen miles from my garage door. I found it incredibly difficult to sleep during the day, but managed to get my rest one way or another. Dustin was quick to hang my new bedroom door first so I was able to close it when they were busy installing all the others. Throughout the summer, Joel and Dustin became my new best friends. We were able to get to know one another on a different level, and they offered their assistance in helping me move all the rest of my furniture home after the carpet installation.

They were waiting for me when I returned home from work at 6:45 am. I took a 2-minute shower and hopped into the back seat of Joel’s king cab pickup truck. We made our way down to the city of Stillwater, filled up the 20-foot trailer with all my furniture and headed back home. I was on borrowed time as I had been awake for the past 36 hours straight. We had a great time, we stopped for lunch at Famous Dave’s, had a few good laughs and a couple of beers. There was a bit of sadness growing inside me, as I knew that my project was winding down. Suddenly, I realized that my new best friends were going to be working elsewhere, there would be no need for them to keep me company anymore, and I was going to miss them.

Multitudes of transformation had taken place since May 4. My home was now finished, like Humpty Dumpty; it was put back together again. I was settled, and I was comfortable. Living among the chaos had taken a toll on me, yet I believe that I would do it all over again if I had to. I found out that I am made of a very strong substance. My roots have been planted in new soil, and my boys have adopted my new home as their home to come back to, where their mom lives, where they can find food and a bed to sleep in if needed.

I started school on August 27, 2012. At the ripe old age of forty-nine I am sharing the classrooms with those who just graduated from high school. I have my work cut out for me, yet I know in the end I will be better off. I needed to find peace within, and each day I am able to accomplish the next task at hand, gives me the satisfaction I seek from myself.  For the first time in my life, I am in charge of making my own decisions. My desire to go back to school and earn my degree has given me more strength from within than I could imagine. I am woman, hear me roar…

Published in: on September 28, 2012 at 8:49 am  Comments (3)  
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My Diamond In The Rough

ImageIt’s been three months since I moved into my new neighborhood. I’ve struggled, I’ve laughed, I’ve worked hard and I’ve cried…Now I’ve come to the end of my project. Through it all I’ve learned how to find my inner strength to make important decisions on my own. I’ve also had to search for peace within myself. Many, many nights have been wasted on negative thoughts clogging my brain. Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am at a place in my life in which I am destined to be. I have relied on the strength of other people to provide me with happiness and comfort. I’ve never been able to face my own demons on my own, yet now I’m forced to do so.

I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life as I am confident that it will be a positive experience for me. In less than three weeks I will be a full time student at our local College. I’ll be working the night shift and sleeping throughout the afternoon. I’m scared, I’m nervous, and I’m extremely excited to move on without the behaviors of my past interfering with my plans to reconstruct my future. Ties from my past have been severed, therefore the only thing I’m able to do at this point is to move on, move forward and excel in ways I’ve not yet done before.

My biggest cheerleader is that of my youngest son, he has given me hope in every form of the word, and I am the most fortunate mother to have been blessed with him. I thank you Michael for all your support, I love you dearly and unconditionally.

Mind you, moving in the forward direction without my eating disorder is the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced, always struggling and fighting the distorted thoughts. In the same breath, my strength is even surprising to myself as I’m gaining ground every day that I pass over the desires to give in to old habits. Absolutely none of my success has been achieved on my own account. Dear God, I thank you for helping me to keep my eyes open and to realize my true potential.

Focus On My True Purpose In Life

As I pushed the wheel chair down the corridor, he stretched his left hand over his shoulder and placed it on top of my right hand. We had been introduced earlier that same morning. It was just past 1:00pm after the noon meal when I strolled him back to his room, the one which he shared with his wife of forty some odd years.

Upon the arrival of our destination, he looked at me and took hold of my right forearm with both of his hands. He proceeded to thank me for being so kind, and then he kissed the back of my hand. In doing so, the tremors took over and he slightly shook uncontrollably. I helped him transfer from the wheel chair to his bed, as now it was time for rest.

I couldn’t help myself, I walked out of his room and tears began to well up in my eyes. Never in my life have I felt so alone with myself, yet all in the same breath, so needed by someone who didn’t know me from Adam.

Weeks past, and the more familiar I became with Archie, the more my heart opened up to him in his hours of need. He never seemed to remember my real name, although I appeared to him to be someone he admired throughout some period of his life. He’d press his call button several times during the midnight hours. I’d check on him, knowing each time I entered the room would be the same as the last. Archie would take hold of my right arm with his shaky grasp. He’d tell me that I was his sweetheart, and he would do anything for me that he could to make me happy. I’d sit with him for as long as I was able, then I’d tell him I’d be back momentarily to check on him.

“How long before you come back?” he’d say.

“I’ll be back in about a half hour, you close your eyes and try to get some rest.”

“Do you promise you’ll be back?”

“Yes, I promise, I’ll be back, now you sleep like a baby, goodnight sweety.”

There was something about Archie that gave me a feeling of peace. Even though he didn’t have a clue who I was, he seemed to need me, and I felt comfort in attending to his emotional needs. In a sense, he too, was attending to mine.

Throughout my life, I’ve isolated myself from so many people because of my affair with an eating disorder. Now I’ve come to a final crossroad that is taking my life down a different path. I am trying so pitifully hard to figure out a daily routine to keep me on the straight and narrow. I’m losing weight but I’m still gaining ground in recovery. I know this, because I know in my mind that my thoughts are changing. In the past when I’ve experienced this much depression, I’ve come completely unglued in both starving myself, and using bulimic behaviors. Even though it’s been difficult for me to eat, I’m still pushing myself to feed myself. I count that as progress.

In many ways, I feel just like Archie. I’m afraid, I’m lonesome, and I don’t know what is to come of my future. Having my office set up has been a blessing in disguise. I can no longer have the excuse to delay my time set aside for writing. I’ve procrastinated finishing my book; I’ve procrastinated writing down my thoughts, and I’ve suffered the consequences because of it. Writing is a wonderful release for me. It puts things in perspective and I can clearly see where I lack confidence and what I have to work on in the moment. At this point, I know my lonesome heart is in need of nourishment. I’ve been looking in the wrong places, and finding more sadness with every step I take.

Last night I sat at Archies’ side. As he rested on the recliner, he held onto my hand and continued to tell me how much he cared for me. As his hands trembled, he reached up to caress my face.

“Oh please sweetheart, sing to me.” He said.

I began to sing softly into his ear, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…”

I would sing a line, and Archie would sing back the same words. When we finished with the verse, he begged me to sing to him again…then he cried as he held tightly onto both my hands. He needed me, and I needed him. It was a beautiful moment I will never forget.

Feeling The Loss

My heart seems to go into hibernation for a split second. It’s as if I have a mini heart attack, momentarily, quick and short. My mind takes me to a place that I don’t want to go, yet the urges to roam into that direction are far too strong to ignore. The reality of what my life has become is too much to bear at times. I feel the pressures of paying bills that seem to arise when I least want or expect them; the ones that pop up out of nowhere when something goes wrong with the remodel plan making it impossible to bypass.

It’s been close to three months since I left my husband and my home. At this point I know my reconciliation with him is only another dream which will never come true. The process has been draining, although it’s been an experience I’ll never forget. I chose the right contractor for the job and have been able to develop a solid friendship with him who is soon to be my son’s Father-in-Law.

They’ve been my only companions for the past several weeks. They start the day with a friendly hello, and continue on with the task at hand. Now that the end is near, I sit here in a beautifully remodeled home…alone, with absolutely no one to share it with.

My lonesome soul is aching for human touch. I’ve never in my life felt so completely alone. I’ve even longed to be back at Melrose Institute for the pure satisfaction of being with people who understand me, and people who will take care of me.

Eleven pounds have melted off my body since the day I moved in. Food is no longer a staple in my daily routine. I tend to eat my scrambled eggs with cheese, or a simple  smoked chicken, deli style, on wheat bread. My freezer is full of the foods I planned on preparing for myself. I had good intentions of freezing individual portions of roast beef and potatoes, roast chicken, spaghetti, and the like. After my first attempt at a home-made dinner of Lasagna, I managed to rid the first portion the old-fashioned way, undigested, and flushed. The remainder made its way into the garbage can, so I was not tempted to do it again. I stumbled, and once more I’ve become afraid of my kitchen.

I need help, and I don’t know where to turn. The pressures of being alone are weighing heavily on my mind. The dark place is gaining ground and I am fighting with all my guns loaded to fend it off. Dear God, please don’t give me more than I’m able to handle.

Twenty Five Days

I drove the Tahoe, pulling behind me an enclosed trailer full of boxes filled with all my personal belongings, two patio chairs, and an air-bed, still in the box it came in. I left early, before the daylight was able to show itself. As I drove, I cried. I cried because of the finality that had set into my psyche. My twelve-year relationship with my husband was now severed from the likes of an unnecessary divorce.

I tried to save my marriage, I tried but I failed. My husband was adamant about ending our marriage for the sake of saving himself from any more financial ruin that may occur in the future, should we have another unforeseen episode of irreconcilable differences. My heart was broken, so was his. We had lived a very fulfilling life together. We had traveled to both far and exotic places together. I was adopted into his family as one of their own, always feeling the warmth of  welcoming open arms from the moment I’d met them. My life with Ken was picture perfect.

The funny part of the scenario, is that regardless of how picture perfect my life had become, I had an emptiness inside my heart for something I’d lost in the past. Not only had I lost my self-respect at the ripe old age of fifteen, I’d also lost my boyfriend who basically walked out of my life without my desire nor my consent.

Throughout my life I carried that empty feeling along with me wherever I roamed. I married a man who is the father of my two grown boys. For many years I held on to the comforts of my family life, paying very close attention to my boys but disregarded the love of my husband, thus the marriage dissolved. Throughout the entire time, my eating disorder played front and center fiddle, taking up almost all of my free time, and kept me busy enough to stay clear from any close friends and or acquaintances. You see, it never seemed to matter how much love I was given from anyone else, it was never enough, because I had no love for myself. I hated everything about me due to what I did when no one was looking. I hated my life and how I had no control over what I did in secret. No matter how hard I tried, the eating disorder had all the power, thus I was left with no self-esteem, and a hatred for myself that simply would not disappear.

When Ken entered my life, I felt everything would be different. I was happy, I was loved and I had no needs that were not met. We melded together like cold butter on hot toast, his sense of humor was astounding and very infectious to me. We shared likes and dislikes and lived together, giving one another strength through the loss of his beloved Father.

All the while, my heart was still aching inside. I’d moved away from my boys to marry Ken. I had a feeling of failure inside my soul out of guilt from abandoning my own offspring. I’d left my Dad, my sister, my brother and I’d left my career. I left everything behind to start over in a new city with a new man who was going to turn my life around, and I was going to be able to leave the eating disorder behaviors behind….not so…

As it turns out, the only thing I was able to hold onto after the move, was the eating disorder. Not only did it follow me to my new life, it also became stronger and more pronounced than ever before. Over the nine-year period which I lived with Ken, he became more and more aware of the strength that the eating disorder had over my psyche. He stood beside me through some very difficult times, always making sure that I had all the help I needed right down to the dental reconstruction of my eroded enamel from years upon years of self-induced vomiting.

Sometimes I wonder if I had it too easy with Ken by my side. I find myself looking back at what I had, and how I took everything for granted. I took the love from Ken and stuffed it inside myself somewhere, unconsciously trying to make more room for the behaviors that continued to feed me regularly, my eating disorder. You see, if I tried to refuse the commands of ED, nothing else seemed to function. Yet, in like manner, if I listened to the voices of ED, nothing would function in long run anyway. My life was unmanageable no matter how I tried to live it. My frustration level inside myself was as combustible as a jet engine in flight. I fought hard with my own thoughts daily, always falling short of resisting the behaviors of the dreaded ED.

About seven months ago, that old boyfriend who had walked out of my life when I was fifteen, re-entered and open Pandora’s box. My heart was jump-started, and that emptiness I’d felt for over thirty-four years was filling fast. We communicated via telephone, reconnecting just where we’d left off so many years before. All the while, I knew in my heart of hearts that I was a very happily married woman, yet somehow I couldn’t resist the temptation to talk to my old love that I never was able to forget over the years. I was suddenly more engulfed in my anorexic behavior than ever before. The less I ate, the better I felt. Before I knew it, Ken had me sitting inside the office of my old psychotherapist, who in turn, convinced me to admit myself into a treatment center for eating disorders as an inpatient.

My husband was at his wit’s end, now wanting nothing to do with me other than to make sure I had the help I needed. His intentions were to get me the treatment I needed, and then wash his hands of me. After hearing those very words come out of his mouth, I was convinced that my marriage was over, I had to regroup and concentrate on what was to be my next chapter.

I continued to converse via telephone with my old flame, becoming more convinced each day that he had entered back into my life for a good reason. I suddenly felt whole for the first time in years with the addition of his presence again, thinking that this was the end of the full circle battle which I’d been living for years. With the completion of he and I being able to finally re-unite, my eating disorder was certainly going to be silenced for good. I had no desire to continue the relationship with ED, as the eating disorder was finally losing it’s power.

After months of regularly feeding myself in the confines of the treatment center, I became more aware of the fact that I was a very strong woman. I was now able to control the eating disorder instead of the eating disorder controlling me. Yet the world I was heading back into was beginning to unravel at a fast pace. My husband had given up on me, he no longer wanted me as his wife. I ended all communication with my old boyfriend. I had come to my senses, and knew with my whole heart that I was in love with my husband, I’d simply been in love with a memory of the past at the same time: a memory that wasn’t going to be anything more than a memory.

Two months have now passed since I left the treatment center. In turn, it’s been twenty-five days since I drove away from my second failed marriage and the house of my dreams.

I am living in a home under construction, I have no kitchen, and only two patio chairs and an air-bed, now out of the box it came in, all blown up. One would think that with all the depression that has followed me throughout the last twenty-five days, I’d be fully engulfed in anorexic behaviors and hanging on to the voices of the eating disorder as never before. Not so…you see, for the first time in my life, I’ve managed to exercise the tools in which I was given at Melrose Institute. I’ve managed to “manage” my eating disorder and its uncanning behaviors instead of it “managing” me. My focus is now on trying to find my strength to live alone and continue to strive for a successful, fulfilling and desirable future. I have come to realize that pain, frustration, confusion and self-hate is all I ever received from starving myself. Food has become a staple in my daily routine and I now am able to eat freely in front people I have only recently met. If the old me was in control, I’d have resisted each mealtime possible. I’d have had great incentive seeing as I have no kitchen. But I’ve chosen to follow the path in which I will continue to recover: I’ve somehow managed to finally leave ED in the background of my mind. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a daily struggle, but it’s getting easier.

I’ve started my new job as a Nurses Aid in The Care Center in Crosby, Minnesota. I’ll be earning Union wages and regular pay increases over time. I’ll receive good benefits and my needs will all be met. I can truly say that throughout all the disruption in my recent past, God has had mercy on me, he has come through on every level. The hardest part is trying to focus on the future, instead of remembering all the good things in my past I shared with Kenny.  I miss my husband, and I miss our lives together, but I’ve come to the realization that we have both moved on in our own ways. He made sure I had the help I needed, then he washed his hands of me.

Twenty- five days…depression has taken hold, but I’ve left the eating disorder behaviors in the back part of my mind. They try hard to make me listen, but I continue to resist. I’ve heard said that inside every grey cloud there is a silver lining. It’s what I have to hang onto at this point. Out of the demise of a good strong marriage, at least I can say I’ve moved on without the eating disorder in center seat. God is good, and I thank Him for his mysterious ways.

Just Wait…

It doesn’t look like much now, but just wait till I’m done! For weeks I’ve been anticipating the demolition and remodel that will keep me occupied, keep my mind tied up so I won’t feel the sadness anymore. In the same breath,  my stomach is churning at the mere thought of living alone. I find myself content with my life and whats become of it, and suddenly out of nowhere I panic from inside of my soul, trying to figure out how I will be able to come home from my new job, and have absolutely no one to talk to about my day. I panic because of the insecurities I still feel that I harbor within myself.

I bought a home, I managed to get a good job with full benefits, and I have a huge project before me. My huge project is to, in a sense, become my own contractor…I’ve hired a great carpentry crew to do all the hard work, but I will be in charge of painting, staining, organizing, decorating and moving…

I walked around Menards one afternoon looking for new toilets, lights and tools. I added up all the items in my mind as I waltzed through the store, when suddenly I had a phone call. It was a call from my old faithful personal Psychologist, Kathy Kater. She was worried about me, I hadn’t yet called her since I was discharged from Melrose Institute back at the end of March. I apologised to her for my distance, not to take it personally. I had been busy taking a class for CNA certification, I’d been busy trying to find a home and it had taken up more of my time than I realized. I assured her that my life was going well and I would certainly call her if I needed to talk to her…She listened and then she spoke.

“Lori, I just hope that you don’t become so busy that you forget to eat and or let down your guard.”

Point well made…I know myself, and I think she knows me too. I tend to get totally wrapped up in a project, and become so fully engrossed in it, that all the bulimic behaviors subside and go dormant. What I fail to realize, is that it is then when the anorexic behaviors excel, it’s then when I am in the most danger. It’s also the time that I most favor. I feel strong and I feel invincible. I feel as though all my problems are gone because I am behaving the way anorexia wants me to behave. When she is control, my life is a perfect and most satisfying place to be.

Lately, out of nowhere,  I panic and I cry and I beat myself to a pulp verbally inside my mind. I have paved the way for my future and it’s all up to me as to how everything will pan out. The cards are falling and I must say that I am scared. I will be as busy as a beaver for the next month trying to put together a little piece of heaven, my own diamond in the rough. I’ll be starting a brand new job, wearing scrubs and entering a whole new world. Among all the newness I have to keep my sense of awareness about me as I trudge through the days. I enjoy hard work, I enjoy a challenging project…but I still have to respect the sleeping bear that is more powerful than I am…With Gods help, I will be OK, I cannot do it alone.

One Day, Three Interviews?

My good friend of whom used to be my second husband, drilled into me the fact that when life brings you lemons, you practice the art of making lemonade. For weeks now, I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around the idea of being single again. I know myself all too well when it comes to being alone in a world that is constantly dishing out stress, confusion, and missed opportunities. I can look at the world with that same attitude of frustration and self-pity, and my life will certainly follow suite. I’ve come to a crossroads that has been more eye-opening than any before. I’ve come to realize that I am able to trust myself more than ever. I’m not as afraid of myself as I used to be.

Life did bring me lemons, and now I’m making lemonade much the same as my ex-husband has been trying to do in his spare time. Instead of dwelling on everything I’ve managed to lose, I’m trying my hardest to make the best out of a poor situation. A few years back, my husband and I went through the process of building our dream home together; only the best of the best would do. We enjoyed the process and had no problems with the unforseen stress that so many people warned us we would encounter. From day one of our project, we breezed through the process unscathed by stress or frustration. We trusted the builder and all the steps he took along the way. At the end, we moved into the most desirable home I could ever imagine…and it was all ours…it was home sweet home.

However, life does give you hic-ups from time to time. Kenny and I experienced a hic-up out of absolute outer space that we were not able to work through. Since then, I’ve had to begin paving a new road on which I travel. In the past, my intentions were always to have become a nurse. The more time flew by, and I continued to age and turn grey, I put the desire to become an RN on the unfinished list. My days are numbered as I’ve reached my forty-ninth year. Am I crazy to believe that I could one day become that RN I’ve always wanted to be? Well, for starters, I earned the CNA title only a short time ago. I put the cart before the horse, so to say, and purchased a fixer-upper in my old hometown. With no job in hand, I signed a purchase agreement and planned to move back home. Suddenly, I was mortified by the fact that it was possible I may never even get a job, people my age are having much difficulty nowadays trying to find employment, not to mention someone who is young and fresh out of college! Had I made the most monumental mistake in life so far? Had I been out of my mind to put that cart before the horse?

Yet, among all the advice I’ve been given over the past few weeks, I listened patiently, and tried to be calm with my response. I had to bite my tongue and keep my cool when I heard people tell me I was making a giant mistake. You see, there has never been a time in my life that I have ever believed in myself as much as I do right now. For most of my life I’ve not had an ounce of self-respect and or self-esteem. I have relied on others to take care of me because I’ve never felt I could take care of myself due to the distorted behaviors of the eating disorder. I never trusted myself for any length of time to be on my own, always needing the guidance of someone at my side to help me better decide my next move. The funny thing about it is even among the closeness of my marriages, ( two failed ) I managed to sneak in the learned behaviors of ED and give them top priority.

Now after months of treatment and therapy, I’ve come to trust myself and the strength I have inside my core. I managed to make some lemonade and become a CNA, prerequisite to RN if I do so wish to pursue it. Something inside me told me if I had faith in myself, everything would eventually fall into place. I did put the cart before the horse, I bought a house without a job in place to cover my monthly expenses. Even still, as I went through the motions, there was a stillness inside my mind, a stillness that gave me a secure feeling when in reality, it looked to everyone else as if I hadn’t an ounce of it to behold. Somehow, I trusted my gut feeling that I was going to be OK. I trusted my instinct and believed that in good time, everything would fall into place.

On May 4th, I will be signing all the necessary papers and paying the final bill on my new home.  I am scheduled for three separate job interviews on the 26th of April. No, I haven’t managed to find a job yet, but I feel my chances are pretty good. One out of three is a fairly good percentage when it comes to odds. I had faith in myself, and I had faith that everything,  in good time, would fall into place…I’m not afraid to be alone anymore, there’s a new force inside my mind that grows stronger each passing day. I believe in me, and it feels good.

Happy Easter?

I woke up this morning without the enthusiasm I’m accustomed to on Easter Sunday. Every year of my adult life I’ve prepared a giant feast for my family and managed to make it to church to exchange “He is Risen!” with everyone in their Sunday best. This year was different, no family…no excitement…

All I’m able to elaborate on is the fact that ED never won today. I made it through another holiday without the disruption of the unhealthy learned behaviors of the eating disorder takeing control over my actions.  However, I made adjustments to my diet throughout the day, but only because I wanted to have some ice cream for desert…and I wanted to feel good about it… What I know for real, is that I didn’t have any business restricting my food early on. An occational ice cream treat is not something I do often, therefore, there’s just no need to make adjustments. I made the adjustments so I wouldn’t feel the fullness which I simply can’t stand. I made the adjustments because I was listening to anorexia as she silently scolded me as I conjured up the idea of indulgence. I didn’t have to listen to her voice and I don’t have to listen to her complain about the fullness now. I don’t have to….but I can’t shut her down either.

The only way I am able to shut her down is to refrain from purging up my Easter Sunday ice cream treat. I have no desire to give in to the bulimic urges to get rid of it, and I have all the intentions of standing my ground for the rights of me to be able to enjoy something I love the taste of…So shush up anorexia, go to hell bulimia…I’m in charge now.

Yes, I made it through another holiday in spite of my personal dilemma of the demise of my marriage. One step at a time, and a bit of patting myself on the back…I’m extremely exhausted, but kudos to me for winning today.

Bigger And Brighter Days Ahead

A few days ago I was in a hurry to leave my house when I accidentally dropped my new Smart Phone face down on my ceramic tile floor near the garage door… As I knelt down to pick it up, I found the face of the phone shattered into a million pieces.  How on earth was I supposed to survive without my phone in working order? Needless to say, a quick trip to the Sprint store was my first stop. Today I experienced the pleasures of  my  little disaster. Unlike my old Smart Phone, with an alarm which caused me to jump to my feet out of a dead sleep, in turn causing my heart rate to catapult into a near cardiac arrest, I was now peacefully awakened by the soft sound of a beautiful melody from my new alarm app… It started out quiet and slow, then  began to crescendo ever so slightly to wake me from my slumber.

I’d set my alarm to be sure I was awake in time to get ready for my last therapy appointment at Melrose Institute. Yes, my last “scheduled” therapy appointment.  If I refuse to give the eating disorder the respect it needs, I’m sure to set myself up for failure. Therefore, I have to remember the power it possesses over me, that of which I’m not able to resist at times when I’m weak. I say my last “scheduled” appointment, leaving the door open for future needs, should I find I’ve forgotten EDs’ powerful persuasion.

My therapist and I talked about the day I arrived and the state of mind I was in at the time. I listened to him praise me for my efforts to shut down the behaviors I’d trained myself to live with for the better part of my life. I listened to him tell me how he witnessed how I’d managed to recover from the ups and downs of life’s highs and lows which continued to play a large part in my months spent in treatment. As I listened, I felt somewhat proud of my efforts…proud and at peace with myself for the first time in many, many years.

I recalled to him out loud, as I walked through the process of my stay at Melrose. I reminisced how it began all over again with my obsession for treading water…My semi-recovery from the last treatment program became interrupted. I was caught up in exercising to lose weight, not for the benefit of my health, big difference. My obsession for treading water, again, took control of my eating habits. I failed to support my caloric intake with regards as to how much I burned off in the water. My body was a shrinking shrine to the likes of anorexic thoughts and behaviors. I was falling into a trap which would have held me captive through to the end of my life at the rate I was going. Once more, I had been in denial, and refused to look at what I was doing as unhealthy. I was in the arms of anorexia and loving every minute of it.

That November day, the day before Thanksgiving, I was mad as a hornet. I wanted no part of seeing anyone who would try to get me to feed my face. I wanted no part of going to a treatment center where I’d no longer be in charge of what I placed into my mouth. I’d been hijacked, brought in to visit my therapist against my wishes, whom I hadn’t seen for several months, and had no intention to visit again anytime soon. My therapist was persuasive enough to make me realize at that time, how important it was for me to surrender to inpatient treatment at Melrose, if they were so kind to accept me. There was an opening and with reluctance inside my core, I agreed to give it a chance.

Melrose did admit me. I remembered in detail, how I would make my way into the dining room at the treatment center and find myself scared to death as to what was on my appointed tray before me to consume. Every time I sat down to eat, I cried out of fear, going against everything I’d believed in, everything I’d programmed myself to trust. Tears came to me as I picked up the knife and fork to slowly begin to shovel it into my mouth to make its way down to my stomach… I had to refrain from ridding the forbidden food from my body, enduring the agony of fullness and the fear of becoming obese in what I believed would be only a matter of days.

Over a period of time I began to feel less fearful of food, and I was able to actually enjoy some of the contentment brought on by the taste of real food. Real food, the stuff that didn’t only consist of chicken Cesar salad,  yogurt, or a smoked turkey sandwich with no cheese. I was now feeding myself a variety of foods which I’d forbade myself from doing for years. The kicker…I was still wearing the same jeans, they fit a bit more snug, but they were the same jeans nonetheless.

Throughout my stay at Melrose, my personal life was in an uproar. I was facing the reality of my second divorce and trying to shut down a lifelong relationship with ED all in the same breath. All the while, I was communicating via telephone and email with someone from my past, whom I’d always thought to be my soul mate; most likely, I always will.  I was torn between so many different emotions, all which seemed to just evolve around my new daily ritual of eating on a routine basis. In a way, I felt as though the routine eating pattern was a distraction from the issues of my personal life struggles. In equal measure, the personal life struggles were a distraction to all the routine eating I was forced to participate in.  Melrose became my safe place from the rest of my troubled world. I was safe from myself when I was in the treatment center, I was safe from making rash decisions that would surely change the path of my future. I didn’t have to worry about working or socializing or shopping or cooking or laundry or cleaning or anything ordinary while I lived in Extended Structural Living. Therefore, when I was discharged and  expected to do all the work on my own, I was scared out of my mind.  Thankfully, I still had the opportunity to utilize the outpatient treatment program; it gave me the stability I needed for transition into the real world again.

Time heals, and the reality of putting one foot in front of the other has had a way of helping me continue to stay in recovery. Over the  past few months: more than once, my heart had been broken, my future as I saw it, had been destroyed in any scenario I was to look at it, and my hopes for a life without ED at times, seemed to be somewhat of a pipe dream. Getting a grip on the realities I’m faced with, took much concentration and strength. Now I am in the process of practicing all that they have taught me on a day-to-day regime. Some days I’m still consumed with sadness, yet other days I’m finding myself singing along with the  radio as I go about my daily grind.  The eating disorder thoughts will likely never go away. It’s possible, however, to try to teach myself to refrain from acting on the behaviors, or listening to the thoughts that are destructive to my health and body. In the past month I’ve been able to witness changes in my behavior. I’ve begun to notice that whenever eating disorder thoughts enter my brain, an obstruction, almost in the form of a grey wall, appears inside my mind. This obstruction gently stops my thought pattern and replaces the destructive behavior urges with a halting caution sign. It’s as if I am coerced from within to refrain from “going there”, in reality, I’m actually retraining my brain and it’s working.

I’m back in my hometown visiting my sister and brother-in-law for a couple of days. I have to set my splendid new Smart Phone alarm tonight because tomorrow I have planned  to spend the day with my Realtor friend.  I pray he will help me find a house to call my very own… I’m hoping to find a house that’s just the right size for me, but too small for ED to enter into. I’m starting over in every direction of my life, so I may as well try my best to leave that pesky old eating disorder behind. There’s no bigger and brighter days in my future than those which are free from ED.

Here’s to waking up without the fear of heart failure from my alarm clock, thank you rock hard ceramic tile floor, I owe ya one…

A Brand New Day

I continue to look forward to the darkness of the sky so I am able to shut down myself for the remainder of the night. I look forward to the solace of sleep so I no longer have to deal with the reality of what my life has become. Yet, in the early morning midst of a very confusing dream, I was drawn to the idea of reaching out for a cup of my most favorite beverage before my body had a chance to even realize it was awake. I could smell the aroma of fresh brewed coffee at my bedside nightstand, and the pleasure it gave me to open my eyes was more willing to wake me than my dream was at keeping me asleep. My morning coffee, placed there by my husband, the same man who is ending our marriage. The difficult part of this moment was when I had the chance to look around, rub my eyes and take a few deep breaths, I knew that all my unsolved problems were still there staring at me. They were still alive and willing to challenge me throughout another day…That’s when I felt that feeling of struggle, frustration and depression once again come to life… A brand new day, with the same old complications as the one before.

I am struggling with more issues than I care to describe. I am struggling with the morals I believe in, the lies I’ve told myself, and the distortions of my outer appearance. I’m struggling with what I am going to do to try to live through the disarray I’ve managed to place in front of my daily grind. I’m face to face with the demise of my marriage and the start of a new adventure. Am I strong enough to endure all this that is placed before me, or will I crumble as I’ve done so many times in the past?

I’ve gone through the necessary steps to learn the differences between myself and the mind patterns of the eating disorder. Although with the addition of dealing with a divorce, and feeling the worthlessness of yet another failed marriage, I’m afraid I’ll lose my mind. In many ways I’ve already lost it; my integrity is shattered, my self-worth is next to invisible and my focus on becoming free from the haunts of the eating disorder are somewhere in outer space. At times I just don’t have the strength to fight it anymore. I’m tired and I want to rest. It’s become too much for me to handle and I have to give it all to my maker…I’ve lived through harder times, however, I was much younger then.

They say time heals a broken heart. They also say that you must give yourself time, time will pass, and time is on your side. I feel as I have wasted so much precious time throughout my life that, I’ve almost run out of time. If I could only make the next right decision, time could become the result of something positive for me. I have to get myself together, I have to concentrate on my future and what I desire it to look like. I don’t want to live the remainder of my life with the baggage of bulimia taking center stage. I do, however, have the desire to continue my relationship with anorexia…I have the desire, but I know in my own mind if I continue to hang on to the beliefs of the disease it will only hinder, disrupt and destroy any chance of a happy and fulfilling future.

Dear God, I wish I had a magic pill to make everything destructive in my life go away, and everything beneficial to my health and happiness blossom, like that of the wild flowers of the fields in Spring.