Temporarily Done!

Ten weeks ago I placed a request for some magic dust. I needed the help from someone divine to get me through to the end of the semester. My magic dust arrived in the form of my youngest son. He seemed to know all the right words to say at the time I needed to hear them most. My son knows me and he knows my heart.

During one of our intense conversations, there was a moment of silence…”Are you still there?” I asked. Michael then made a comment which I will never forget. “Mom, I don’t think I’ve heard you say one positive thing about this class since it started.” He wasn’t afraid to tell me that I had best change my attitude or quitting would be my only option.

I can say that I hung up the phone, tucked my tail between my legs and retreated to my dark bedroom to try to muddle through my attitude. I really didn’t like who I had become. I had nothing inside my mind but the horrifying realities that before too long I’d be tested again on things that just don’t come easy to me. Six classes, all expecting more out of a person than it may seem possible at times. Yet, somehow I managed to do it.

Three Saturdays ago, I sat down to compose a research essay. I took the entire day and did my best. I had to include references and quotes from others. It’s not the kind of writing I enjoy. Sunday morning arrived and I was about to put the finishing touches on the last couple pages. I turned my head to the left, looking for my notes, then turned back to my computer which was suddenly a blank screen. The small words written in the center inside of a box read, “pages has unexpectedly quit”… Due to a malfunction in  a computer program, I’d lost a full days work. My heart sank inside to the bottom of my bowels, I screamed a wretched scream that seemed to come from somewhere in another universe. Choking on each word I tried to type, I spent all day Sunday rewriting my once nearly finished essay, and therefore, was forced to put all other studies on the back burner.

The week started out with a swift slap in my face, and continued through to the end without losing a beat. By the weekend I had experienced a tire blow out, and, I was also locked out of my own home. I had to crawl through the attic via the garage, find the trap door in one of the closets inside the house, then maneuver my fifty year old frame down the nine foot drop to the floor without breaking a bone in the process.

Two weeks were left of the semester, and more studying than I knew what to do with. My son and his beautiful Bride stayed with me the night before Mothers day. I was up early studying for my final A&P exam I was to take on Monday morning. Tears continued to fall and I continued to try to concentrate on the insane amount of information I was to be tested on. Mid morning Michael walked past the living room where I sat with my open book. “Good morning…Happy Mothers Day…what’s wrong?”

“I think I’m having a nervous breakdown.”  He walked up to me, gave me a warm and inviting hug, and he said, “Put that book down.” He convinced me that I did not need to pressure myself as much I do. “A”,”B”, and “C”, are only check points. They mean only what you want them to mean.

We spent the afternoon together; we went to Fleet Farm and I purchased forty-eight bags of top soil to fill in sink spots in my yard. He took me to lunch to a nice restaurant, we laughed and I was in seventh heaven. Later on that day I received a call from my oldest boy who was in transit from Florida to Minnesota. I thank God for my boys. Spending quality time with them is actually more therapeutic to me than anything one could ever pay for from a professional in the medical field, if you know what I mean.

Monday morning came, I sat down in the same spot I’d claimed as my own since day one of the semester. With only a pencil in hand, I began to feel the pressure. It was go time, and I did my best using my power of elimination for most of the exam.  I looked over the exam only once after I’d filled in all my chosen answers. I changed nothing, and I reluctantly placed it on the desk at the front of the classroom. I never looked at the instructor, my chin sank to the “superior” portion of my chest. I was done. I was thoroughly and utterly finished, spent, and positive I had failed the exam.

I earned a C, I made it. When all was said and done I had somehow, by the grace of God, earned the final grade of “B” in the hardest class I’d ever taken in my life. I worked harder for that “B”, and lost more sleep over that “B”, and spent more time than humanly possible worrying about that “B”, than anything else…ever. Funny thing, For seventeen weeks that “B” kept me more captivated than my eating disorder.  That damn “B” almost caused me to lose my mind, but it also gave me something to be proud of.

Throughout the semester, I stumbled several times with ED. I stumbled and I cried, and I felt more failure than I have ever felt in a way that I have never experienced before. Yet somehow, someway, I have now come to the conclusion that I am far more capable of attaining a bench mark than I ever knew possible. As far as I can tell, ED will always be there in the shadow of my accomplishments. But I can also say with a gust of fresh air from deep within my soul, that ED will not gain control of the power over the rest of my days.

I am woman, hear me roar…

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.

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.

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.

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…

Week Three Post Discharge

I’ve now reached my  forty-ninth year, and I’m still trying to shut down the ugly side of myself called ED. The eating disorder is really only a negative force inside my brain which tells me fictitious lies about myself and others, all while trying to be my only friend in the process. I have to begin trusting in the positive persona of myself, yet it is the hardest thing in the world for me to do. For years I’ve listened to the negative thoughts, and believed them to be true. I’ve listened to the negative distortions of how others perceive me to be, without the addition of their thoughts or words expressed by themselves. I’ve been a fortune-teller and a professional mind reader for decades. I’ve believed the eating disorder to be my own personality, yet it’s an entity all its own. If I could just believe in myself, and be able to trust the person I know I am on the inside, I can overcome the negativity; I’ll be able to distinguish the differences in the two voices inside my mind without concentrating so hard. My new thought pattern will become as automatic as my old one, and my freedom from the eating disorder will be shut down for the rest of my life.

I’m coming to grips with the reality of going forward without constant support surrounding me. My weekend was difficult at times, although I continued to press through the learned behaviors of the eating disorder by being accountable to my husband who is still temporarily playing the part of my coach. My future is unsettled yet, as my belongings are slowly being divided and packed into boxes. I want to save my marriage but I’m afraid it may be too late. The bond of trust is a terrible misfortune to lose in a marriage. Even though countless others have strayed from the vows of marriage far more than I did, the trust has been dissolved and my chances to save what is left is more of a fantasy than a reality.

All of the personal struggles are weighing heavy on my mind. To mix it all up with the thought of shutting down a life long eating disorder is like that of holding down a full load in a College Semester, all while keeping a full-time job to boot. I’m shooting for the Deans list, but would be happy at this point with a B average.

The sun continues to shine and the seasons too, shall continue to change. With that thought, I too will emerge out of this mess with a greater understanding of myself and what I’m really made of. I pray I’ll find a silver lining in this big grey cloud covering my head. With perseverance it will happen, and it will be worth the wait.

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”

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.