I look out my picture window and witness the world moving outside. I see cars in the near distance making headway to and from their next and last destination. I walk through my home from one end to the other looking for something to keep me occupied, yet I have no desire to accomplish anything at the moment. My neighbors come and go frequently, why are they always on the go? For the past four months I have been buried in my textbooks, up to my elbows in homework, and trying my best to do a good job at work. Now after the rush of the Holiday season, my life has come to a stand still…I’m having a difficult time trying to keep myself grounded.

Since the winter break, I’ve organized my basement. I set up my sewing machine, and I also created a space for painting. Today I purchased two 24×36 inch canvases so I could put my creative mind into gear. Suddenly the fear of failure came over me like a swath of locust. There seems to be a hole inside my heart that I cannot put my finger on. I’m empty. I’m lost in my own mind, trying to figure out how to get through the rest of the winter without relying on someone to keep me happy. I have never felt so completely alone.

For decades I’ve lived a lie. I’ve hidden my eating disorder from those who know me best. I’ve danced around the truth to myself about who I am and what I do to myself when no one is watching. At times, I just want to go back to Melrose Institute so someone else can keep me in line and I don’t have to do it by myself. I lay in bed unable to turn off my mind, yet all I want to do during the daylight hours is shut my eyes and sleep the minutes away. My appetite is disappearing along with my ambition.

When I think of going into the second semester of my college education I can barely tolerate the idea. I know how difficult the past four months were, and I am well aware that my upcoming classes are even more challenging than the last. I managed to pull off “A’s” and “B’s”, but will I be able to maintain that GPA? Maybe it’s the anticipation that’s killing me right now. Maybe once I get the ball rolling again my thoughts of self defeat will pass. I’m scared and I don’t want to fail… My past has proven to me that even with the shoulders of someone else to lean on, I’ve failed in so many different areas of my life. I’ve relied on someone else to keep me standing, however; I’ve still managed to fall on my face. This epiphany only tells me that in order for me to get through the gray areas of this thing called my life, I have only myself to count on; I am going to have to trust myself and my own decisions. Maybe I need a day or two to do nothing but watch the cars come and go on the other side of my picture window. Maybe I need to get to know the real me in my downtime, and what I’m like when I refuse to let ED destroy my day.

Calgon…take me away.


A Time For Concentration

I’ve been so busy trying to stay ahead of my game. I’ve become a person who is led by the demands of those in charge: my employer, and my instructors. The amount of free time I have is an absolute joke. Never, could I have imagined what I was in for when I registered for college classes last June. I’m beginning to understand the crucial importance of time management. Reality is, my time is not my own anymore.

In only a few short weeks I will be taking all the finals in my first semester. Have I grown as a person? Dare I say yes…or should I be prepared to say, it’s been a rude awakening. My youngest son put it this way, “I know you have a lot on your plate right now Mom, but in the end it will all be worth it, you’re just building character.”

“Building character”,  hmm…As I build character, under the stress of the situation, I seem to fall back into my old habits. I’ve stumbled, and because of it, I’ve beat myself up. Yet, in the middle of it all I’ve managed to get back up on my feet. I’ve managed to face another day in the classroom. I’ve managed to work my shift another night, and I’ve managed to finish my homework assignments with a few minutes to spare. This has been the hardest, most grueling year of my life. One thing I must hang onto is the fact that I am living alone, and I have not allowed the eating disorder to take control of the situation.

Stumbling is something I may very well do for the rest of my life. However, to be able to shut down the thoughts and demands of ED while trying hard to deal with what appears at times to be a hopeless situation, is more “character building” than my boy will ever comprehend.

I made it through Thanksgiving with a bit of secret suffering. For the next few weeks I will try to concentrate on my grades instead of my eating disorder. I find that the more I concentrate on other issues, ED has a way of lying on a soft pillow against the wall…always peering over at me, yet jumping up only when I give her a chance to speak. At this point, I choose to keep her quiet. I don’t need the baggage of ED to drag me down. I don’t physically have the strength to keep up with a full-blown relationship with my eating disorder right now. With the help from God above, at least for the moment, she will have to stay out of my path.

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.

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.

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.

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.

One Week Post Discharge

A week has now passed since the day they bid me farewell from twenty-four hour care at the treatment center for eating disorders.  For two months I was under the supervision of professionals. I had multitudes of twenty-four hour babysitters. I had formed relationships with others in treatment which I’ll treasure for the remainder of my life. I learned that I was not alone in the secret world of unhealthy learned behavior. I was in a safe place and found it to be most comfortable over time. Can I just say one thing about it? I wasn’t ready to leave.

As I turned the key in the ignition of my vehicle, “Three Doors Down” sung the words loud and clear, “Don’t make the same mistakes you did all over, you have to believe in yourself.” It’s as if fate was opening my eyes to the reality of leaving my safe house behind.

I’m now making the forty-five minute commute to and from my home, which is quieter than I care for it to be. History has a way of repeating itself, and so the story goes. I’ve always had a hard time trusting myself when I’m all by myself. No one was watching me, and no body cared. I listened to the dark thoughts inside my mind telling me I was a failure in every form of the word. I listened to the distorted thoughts that sprung into action the downward spiral of depression. I’d spent the past two months feeding myself regularly, and I didn’t fall apart doing it. I had all the support from those in charge and also those who were seen as my peers. With all that behind me, why was it so difficult to continue to move forward? I’ve come to realize the hardest part is still before me, not behind me.

In order for me to continue on this road to recovery, I have to press my restart button. I have to stop in my tracks and try my hardest to overcome unhealthy behaviors. I have to stop listening to my own voice which wants so desperately to get me to restrict. I have to stop listening to the thoughts of getting rid of my food for fear I’ll gain a pound or ten if I don’t. Today before I left my home, I prepared my breakfast for the first time on my own. I sat at the kitchen bar and watched the Today Show as I peacefully nourished my body; uneasy about feeding my face, but happy to know that I was able to do it alone.

I’ve had no communication with my husband and am facing the reality of my next step. I’m in a world of confusion and need desperately to be able to conquer this on my own, without the support of anyone else to hold me up in the process. I have to listen to the words on the stereo, “You have to believe in yourself”

Discharged And Scared To Death

After eight and a half weeks of inpatient treatment for eating disorders I was reluctantly discharged, due to the fact I was doing so well at following the rules. My insurance company was beginning to question the fact that I was still in need of twenty-four hour care. In my mind, I was not ready to leave. I know myself all too well, and I was well aware that if I were on my own, I would fall right back into the restriction habits. I left Melrose on Thursday, February second at noon. I drove without any music in my car all the way to my hometown, mesmerized by the sound of traffic just outside the confines of my car. I made a stop at the local Target store to fill my prescription and purchase a few groceries for the rest of my day. I had to feed myself lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner, and another night-time snack before hitting the pillow. I grazed through the produce section, my mind not having a clue as to what I was supposed to buy… I settled for Lean Cuzine, chocolate milk and Activia yogurt. It would be simple enough to put a frozen dinner in the microwave, and I knew I would be able to eat it; the portions were adequate and I would be safe.

I arrived to an empty home, my husband now on the Caribbean cruise we had planned a year before. I was alone, and the house breathed a sound so cold I wasn’t able to handle it. I forgot about eating, and helped myself to three cans of beer instead. I cried from the inside of my heart, not knowing how on earth I was going to be able to live my life without the companionship of my husband. The following morning I’d lost two and half pounds and was now on my way back to Melrose to start my outpatient program. Upon arriving, I had my vitals taken and stepped onto the scale. I started out the day with an emptiness inside my soul and a longing for my life to take a turn for the better. I miss my husband and the warmth of his arms. I need desperately to regain my focus on the life I shared with Ken…he is my strength.

Dear God I pray that we will find our path, I pray that we will be able to conquer the disruption of the past few months of trauma…Please forgive me for all my wrongs and grant me peace with a long fulfilling life with my husband. Amen

Concentrating…One Thing At A Time

If I ever thought I ate too much in the past, I was mistaken. I’m following all the rules and gritting my teeth as I do it. In order to teach my body how to function properly, I have to feed myself every two and a half hours. It is the most miserable feeling I’ve had to endure. My body was used to being fed once or twice a day, very restricted food at that. I’m learning the value of variety, portion control, and the four food groups including how they work together. I’m full every second of the day, although, I have to trust the experts and believe that they know what they are doing.

My personal life is in turmoil, and I have to try to concentrate on becoming well, free from the eating disorder before I try to conquer anything else. This is far easier said than done. My thoughts stray constantly to a place in my future and what it may bring and or not bring. I pray that today I’ll just concentrate on today. The saddest part of the equation is that I have absolutely no desire to go home for Christmas. I feel that I’m better off in this structured environment, where I have to pay attention to protocol. It makes it easier when someone else is helping me to take care of my God-given body.

There are so many things I have to simply let go of and give it to the good Lord to worry about…I’m just too tired anymore to do it alone.

Alright, I’m Gonna Fight…

With a little help from my friends and family, I’m ready to face the monster again. I was so enjoying the weight loss and the euphoric feeling of control. When I felt like I was losing control of everything in my world, I gained control over my food intake again, the same old song and dance as before. Anorexia has a way of making you feel like you’re doing the right thing, when in reality, she’s  slowly trying to take your life. I don’t want to die yet. I have a beautiful life yet to live, anorexia has got to be burried, not me…Depression has a great grip on me which in turn feeds the anorexic mind. If I continue to resist the temptation to listen to the dark side, they will both eventually be silent again. Thank you God for opening up my eyes, once more, I owe ya.