Necessary Mood Lift

I’m feeling really good at this particular moment, which is nice. I’ll savor it while I can.

Another semi-stressful night at work…although my boss was very encouraging, which helped calm me down a lot.

Anyway, I closed, and drove home/checked the mail. I got a letter from the college I’ve been attending, saying I’ve made the Dean’s List. Hence my feeling good.

I just had this immediate thought of, “I’m finally doing something right!”. I know I do a lot wrong, but I also know I do some things right…so that isn’t the only “right” thing I’ve done lately. But it’s had the most impact on me. I think because everything else I do “right”, it’s kind of expected. It’s the norm/really isn’t anything special. But upon reading this letter, it’s just something extra that I didn’t really expect. Honestly I didn’t even think about the Dean’s List, or any other awards I might have gotten lately. The surprise helped a lot, I think. It just feels really nice to have this accomplishment. I worked really hard these past few semesters, with not a ton to show from it. Now it’s changed.

So besides feeling that, I am also feeling a little bit of anger. I feel like I’m kind of being used, in some regards. I don’t really want to go into huge detail…just the feeling kind of sucks. I feel like a good part of my meaning to this person is certain things I have. I want to be enough on my own. I also want to be able to say no and not regret my decision.

All in all, it hasn’t been a terrible day. It is 12:42am, though, so bed is getting a little necessary. Until tomorrow. ❤

-May 27, 2017

This World

This world frustrates me. On a constant basis. Whether it’s my friends being shot down by idiot boys who need to realize when they have something awesome, or my workplace constantly pointing out everything I do wrong.

I don’t enjoy living this way.

I feel like I try so, so hard at work. I try to do everything right, but obviously that’s not always going to happen. And then every time I do something wrong, it’s pointed out. I can’t take it anymore. It’s never, ‘oh good job on that whatever’…it’s always, ‘in the future, you really should do ___’. I am one who likes to learn from my mistakes. But I am also a firm believer in praise as well as criticism. I will resent you, like I do now, if all you tell me is criticism.

I hate that I’m even scared to type these words, in fear that someone will read it and alert my work. I shouldn’t be scared to vent my frustrations. But I am. In this world, you’re always wrong, and they’re always right (when it comes to work).

I don’t know how long I can take this for. I need to transfer, or something. I feel obligated to work at Starbucks until I finish my degree, now that I’m doing their tuition reimbursement plan. It’s a really good opportunity, and if I don’t do it, I will be in a lot more debt that I already am. But can I really take this pressure for much longer? Three years longer, to be exact?

I hate that I dread work. I hate that I’ve grown to be cynical of the place I once used as an escape. Starbucks used to be my safe place. Now I don’t even like being in one. I just feel the pain radiating.

Is it possible to look forward to your job? Without getting a degree in something you’re passionate about? I wish I could afford to work less…take more time to do things I love. I feel like my life revolves around that place. Revolves around each paycheck. No matter how hard I work, the paycheck still sucks.

I’m diving lower and lower in my bank account. I don’t have much room to mess around. Whatever comfort space I had in the account, it’s gone. Which makes me more miserable. I work hard and then have to sit at home watching Netflix every single night, because I’m scared of spending money out that I might need for something more important.

I feel lonely. I do spend most of my time not at work alone. If I’m not with my boyfriend, I’m with my cat. I like my alone time, but it’s getting depressing. I want to be around people, but I don’t. I want to be happy, but it’s hard to maintain.

I just wish I knew what to do.

-May 23, 2017

Liking Self Vs. Liking Life

I’ve been going through my old altered books today. If you’ve been to Sheppard Pratt Center for Eating Disorders, you know what that is. If you haven’t been there, maybe you still might know what it is. It’s actually a pretty good coping strategy. You take an old book (I’ve always preferred bigger books)…you cut things out from magazines and glue them in, draw in it, write in it, etc. You take an old book and make it your story.

Since I’m not that great at art, and art groups always kind of sucked for me, I would prefer to work on my altered books (most of the time).

The main reason I’m bringing it up is because I found a paper taped in one of them that spoke to me.

It’s a list of 67 “confessions” that I suppose those with eating disorders, or even anxiety/depression, can relate to. I starred the ones I had felt applied to me at the time. I will admit, I’m not sure what time period we’re looking at here…but it’s from SP, so sometime between 2009-2015. Probably closer to sometime in the early/middle years.

One of the confessions I starred was this:

“I wish that I didn’t hate myself but at the same time, I don’t know how it would feel to like myself.”

Earlier today, I was showing my therapist some of the books. There’s several pages dedicated to fear foods, skinny models, weight loss quotes from magazines, self-harm-related things, etc. She asked me how it felt to look at all of this. I said it felt weird. It’s kind of surreal, because I’m no longer in that place.

I can’t say I’m completely over my eating disorder, because I’m not. And honestly, I don’t believe that I ever will be completely rid of it. The thoughts still occur, but they’re different now, and more sporadic. They’re more manageable. They’re not the same.

But when I read this quote, something struck me about it. If I am being completely honest, I still don’t know what it feels like to like myself.

I don’t think I hate myself anymore, but I don’t like myself either. Where does that leave me? In a state of confusion, really. I’m in a state of…I just don’t like myself. I don’t like the way I come off, or the awkwardness I can carry. I don’t like my inability to confront people on things that need to come to light. I don’t like that I hardly ever stand up for myself, yet I’m totally willing to stand up for everyone else.

I like my love for animals, though when I say that, I automatically think about how it turns people off. They think I’m weird, because I love animals so much.

I don’t even know what else I like about myself. If I could, I’d change a lot. I like the people in my life, and I like the love I can give and receive. I like several qualities of my life. But I don’t like myself.

It’s strange, really. I thought in the process of recovery, one of the goals was to learn to love yourself. I haven’t really learned that. I’ve learned how to follow through with actions that compliment loving myself, such as eating, drinking water, working hard at school/work, and being social. I’ve made a lot of accomplishments, like paying for school, getting promoted, having my own apartment/moving out. But that doesn’t mean anything about myself.

I guess it would be logical to like yourself for making all these accomplishments. But it’s not true.

Does anyone else relate?

-May 18, 2017

Hopping Fences and Bowling Pins

Update time.

So I was in Baltimore last Wednesday through yesterday morning. My boyfriend and I drove there and back. We got back last night, and I opened this morning. I really thought I would be more tired than I was. For some reason, I was wide awake my entire work shift. I thought about all the things I would do today (meaning cleaning the apartment and my room). Only my room ended up being completed, but that took a few hours, so I’m good with that.

I brought a lot of stuff back from Baltimore (aka why it took hours for my room). I organized, threw out a lot of stuff, and moved a lot of things around. I think it looks pretty good now. I brought some of my dad’s things home, like a few of his bowling pins, his Marine hat, his spoon collection, some decorative stuff, etc., which I put on display. My dad’s spoon collection is actually pretty awesome. He has a lot of really unique ones in there, including a spoon with Kennedy on it, and several ones from different countries. It’s nice to have some reminders of him here.

I had a lot of fun in Baltimore. I got to see a lot of my best friend/her fiance, which was amazing. I love being with them…they’re incredible people. They’ve stood by some of the worst parts of my life, and many of the best. I can’t wait for their wedding. It’s actually in a little over a month. I went to her bridal shower while I was there, and I’m heading back in a few weeks for the bachelorette party. Hopefully that time I can fly and not have to drive 12 hours.

I’m sort of in a funk, and I’m not entirely sure why. I had therapy today and just kind of went blank. I’m happy with things in general, but I also feel stuck. I don’t completely know why. I’m progressing with school, but everything else seems to be weighing me down. Well, even school can do that to me. Now that my three spring semester classes are over, I’m back to working 35+ hours a week. I need the hours, badly, but it is incredibly draining. I also have two summer classes coming up, plus training to be an online crisis text line counselor. That training is up to 5 hours a week, I believe. I want to make time for it, but it’s so hard to come home from work and keep going. It’s nice to come home from work and do nothing for a bit. Or watch Netflix. I miss watching Netflix. How sad.

I got my cat a bow tie collar, and it’s super cute. It’s pink with green fish.

My apartment complex also stepped up today and started really helping us with our rat problem. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that before on here, but it’s been terrible, to the point of my roommate buckling down and writing a very lengthy email to the leasing office. It had dates, pictures, times, etc., backing us up. It was a great email, and apparently it worked. It would be nice to not have rats in our apartment (dead or alive, really). They brought in some poison traps, which they placed throughout our apartment and on the outside of the building. They also said they’d be coming by every day to check on them, as well as talking to the contractor about repairing the holes where they’re getting in. Fingers crossed that this all works.

I wanted to bring home some of my journals from Baltimore, but there wasn’t enough room. I have a million journals from over the years (since I’ve always journaled, but it was amplified by having way too much time in treatment). Some of the entries I skimmed over were memories I don’t recall, which is frustrating and weird for me. For example, apparently I ran and hopped over the fence at a residential treatment center I was at several years ago. I only came back when they threatened to call 911. I don’t recall any of this. Eventually I will get them all down to Georgia with me, but I really needed the room in my car for more important things.

I’ve also decided that my favorite thing to eat right now is an egg/avocado with olive oil on toast. If you haven’t tried it, do it, because it’s awesome.

Okay, I need to go to bed soon. Signing off.

-May 16, 2017

When You Read a Book That Sparks a Light Inside of You

I bought a book the other day from Barnes and Noble. Well, I bought several, but this one was read first. It’s called, “The Princess Saves Herself In This One” by Amanda Lovelace. While there are several pages I have tagged, and I did make a word document out of all my favorite passages/quotes, I think I’ll talk about these two today:

Pages 96-97: Fuck the idea that there is such a thing as destiny, that there exists some kind of mysterious master plan, that there is a god who simply does not give us anything we cannot handle. The pain did not make me a better person. It did not teach me not to take anything for granted. It did not teach me anything except how to be afraid to love anyone. I am far too young to be so goddamn broken & if I could go back in time & give myself her childhood back, I would. –what was the point?

Page 142: I let myself know that my life doesn’t have to be over just because theirs are & I went ahead & painted the sun back into my sky. –I am allowed to live my life

I’ve been working on this a lot- living my life even though my dad can no longer live his. Living my life despite the fact that several people have lost theirs in the past few years. Living my life despite the fact that I have no idea why it was them and not me.

I’ve always been so angry with the world about this topic. Why did God take my dad? There was no good reason. No one can argue with me that, like she said, there is some “greater plan”. I bought into that for a bit. I believed that there was some reason for everything, some explanation I wasn’t aware of. I thought, maybe it’s (I don’t have a good word, because “tolerable” and “okay” are not it…so fill in that blank yourself), because now my parents aren’t fighting. I don’t have to live a life at home in constant fear. I don’t have to feel on-edge at every moment, because there won’t be any more of the screaming, the banging, the tears, the wasted energy…the hope that maybe one day it’ll stop. Because it has. It has stopped. Silence has greeted this house, for once.

Then the battle began- did I do this? Every year, when I blew out my birthday candles, I wished my parents would stop fighting. I went to bed hoping that tomorrow, things would change. That the chaos would cease.

I battled feeling like God misinterpreted my prayers, to telling myself that I’m really not that important/this can’t be my fault, to being angry with God for doing this, to disbelief in any higher power listening to me anyway.

And that’s where I remain now.

It’s hard for me to believe in any higher power loving me, taking care of me, watching over me, or giving any justice in this world. My dad was a good person. He was smart, he was funny, and no, I will not agree that it was “his time”. He could have done so much more in this world.

I spent years trying to work through this mess. I nearly killed myself in the process. Yes, I am “together” today, for all intents and purposes. I’m alive. I have learned things. But I feel like I could have learned them another way. It doesn’t take my dad dying to make this happen.

People die- that’s life. I understand that concept. But I don’t agree with how it happened for me. I don’t agree with a lot of deaths that happen. It’s not fair. And no, I don’t care that that is a childish statement. Sometimes, it’s just not.

I had to learn the second quote eventually, though. I had to let go of a lot of that anger, the “it’s not fair” attitude. While that statement remains true, I learned I cannot live out that statement. I cannot ruin my life based on the fact that it wasn’t fair that my dad died.

I still hold some of that anger inside of me. It’s extremely difficult to ditch all of it. And I did learn that I have to “paint the sun back into my sky”. I can’t live my life in anger with something that I can never personally change. I can’t will my dad back to life…but I can progress in my own life and try to make him proud.

Sometimes I forget that intention. The more I was sucked into the eating disorder, the more I believed I had already disappointed my dad- and there was no way out. I imagined him looking down on me, wishing I wasn’t his daughter. Or worse, not even recognizing me.

I was someone completely different after he died. And I am someone completely different now. Some things stay the same, and I know he can see that. All things I learned from him…people-watching, cat loving, getting lost in books, writing poetry…they’re still there. And I’m proud of that. And if I’m proud of that, I think he would be too.

My dad was an amazing person, when it comes down to it. I got the pleasure of spending 16 years with him. While I have a long list of regrets, I always have the love in my heart that I need to believe he can feel. I choose to believe that if he knocked on my door today, we would smile together instead of feeling shame.

I still don’t agree that death like this is necessary…but the ability to keep going despite it, is.

-February 22, 2017

 

What Was On The Tip of My Tongue

Today at work, two of my coworkers were talking about diets. I’ve gotten more used to tuning out this sort of talk, since I work at Starbucks/this kind of talk happens all the time. I usually respond to their diet in my head with the wealth of information passed onto me by dietitians over the years. No, your no-carb diet isn’t going to work out…carbs are energy and you’re going to feel like shit when you eat ____ calories a day. No, using a shit ton of splenda when you can’t have sugar is probably not that great either. But go ahead, have fun with that.

Seriously though, you can’t eat fruits or vegetables because they have sugar and carbs? Really?

Okay, I’m done commenting. Moving on to my main point.

They were talking about how much weight they’ve gained, what they used to look like, what they want to look like. And then they crossed the line.

“I would kill to look like Carly”.
“Yeah, I know, right?”

Hi, 24 year old with an eating disorder here. You’d kill to look like me? I am killing myself to look like me.

Granted, they probably don’t know what I’ve been through. I am open (to a point) with my coworkers. I talk about my struggles and my past, but I’m not really the one to bring it up. I don’t go into much detail, but I’m honest.

I don’t think they knew what they were saying. But I so wish I could have spoken up.

I think society needs a reality check. Many people believe that being underweight is a goal, or it’s healthy, or it’s just something that everyone should be striving for. Just as being overweight can have its complications…so can being underweight.

I believe this upset me so much today because of how much I’ve been struggling lately. It’s not helpful to hear compliments, or hear people say they envy my body. I know in reality that I am torturing my body trying to get it to reach the point that my eating disorder deems “acceptable”. When people say these things, it’s adding fuel to the fire that is the ED. It confirms that my actions are necessary. It confirms that my behaviors are just. And it angers me, all at the same time.

I don’t want people to envy a disordered being. I don’t want people even looking at me like that. I am not a goal you should reach.

I am not okay.

I grew up watching America’s Next Top Model in my teen years. I posted the pictures of the girls on my walls. I wanted to look like them.

They were not healthy. They were not goals I should have been trying to conquer or achieve.

I understand the desire to live a healthy lifestyle. I understand that dieting can be necessary or beneficial. But not when you have other people’s bodies as your goal. Not when you are cutting out important food groups that are necessary for your body to function efficiently.

You will never look exactly like me. I will never look exactly like you. We are all different. Two people can be the same weight and look completely different. That never ceases to amaze me, but it’s the truth.

Go ahead, set goals for yourself. It is important to do that. But do not set my body as your goal.

It was painful to hold all this back today. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to tell them just how much I’ve been struggling lately, and that the conversation wasn’t helpful.

And I didn’t, because it wasn’t the right time, it wasn’t the right place, and I know it wasn’t said maliciously.

I just wish they knew.

-January 21, 2017

Because We Don’t Need To Be Alone

I, by myself, am not a powerful person. I cannot take sole credit for my accomplishments, nor my downfalls. I did the actions, I made the choices, and what happens is my responsibility. But in this life…we are here together.

I spent a lot of my time in the past several years feeling very alone. I felt that those who could understand more clearly what I felt, didn’t have the answers that I sought. We all felt miserable. We all wished for change. We all felt stuck. None of us, sitting inpatient, had the key to “success”. Nobody really had a lasting answer for what I had to do to be able to eat something without feeling like absolute shit.

My loved ones and those around me could tell me things all day. You’re beautiful already. You don’t need to lose weight. You don’t need to punish yourself. You are a good person. You have so much to live for. You can do this.

As much as I was told that, “I can do this”, I felt none of it. I felt paralyzed by the disorder that I unwillingly gave permission to to run my life.

Sometimes I wonder where it really began. Was it wanting to be a model? Looking up to the thin girls on America’s Next Top Model? Was it the fighting that happened at the dinner table that took away my appetite? Was it the fact that I was constantly pointed out as being “the skinny one”, like that was my only claim to fame? Or was this bound to happen, one way or another?

Maybe all of it. Maybe none of it. Either way, it happened.

Anorexia didn’t slowly take over my life. It swooped in, told me it was my savior, and tried to cling on as long as it could. If certain things hadn’t have happened the way they did, anorexia would have taken my life.

That was always it’s goal. To run me into the ground. Because, like it convinced me, “I wasn’t needed here”.

I felt strong isolation while amidst my disorder, even though the world is full of people. Many say the world is over-populated by people. So, why couldn’t I see that? Why wouldn’t I see that?

My behaviors stemmed from messages I received or interpreted throughout my life. I began to believe the disorder more than my friends and family. I worshiped anorexia like a relentless god.

And one day, years into the battle…I looked over, and there were the people. The people who were tired of watching this battle, tired of watching me die. People who stopped trying to say what they always say, because I wouldn’t listen.

I heard them, but I didn’t believe them. A hundred people could tell me I have worth, but the one voice that told me I didn’t, I believed. The disorder.

It takes a lot to really, truly listen to the other people around you. To try with all your might to take what they have to say into consideration. To not immediately fight their words in your head. To give the thought that, maybe they aren’t trying to hurt me, a chance.

We need each other. I thought I was better alone, not hurting the rest of the world. If I sectioned myself off, I wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone. I wouldn’t cause them any more pain.

What I didn’t consider was anything positive I had to offer. I believed there was nothing. But I also believe that everyone is here for a reason. It was so much easier for me to say that to the rest of my peers in treatment…but me? Nope.

Every person has value. Every person has reason. Things, situations, lead us astray. But we will always have something to offer.

I am a good listener. I love to write, and believe it’s my best method of communication. I love animals, and want to help save them from being put down for no reason. I aim to protect, and build up…not to crush or put down.

These traits are necessary in this world. If I died years ago, who would be the one with my boyfriend right now? Who would be the one in college, speaking up for the rights of others? Who would be writing what I could have written, reaching people in some form? Who would be my best friend’s best friend? Who would take the place of my mom’s daughter?

I am supposed to be here, because I am still here. I could have died many times throughout the past 24 years, and I didn’t. You, reading this right now…you are reading this for some purpose. Maybe you find nothing helpful from it, but you’re reading it anyway.

Maybe I can help that other person. Maybe you can. Without us, we’d all break. Think about the people you love most. Do they have purpose? Why wouldn’t you?

Beauty comes from the fight. I aim to spread what beauty I can. There needs to be people out there who have made it through. Who can help those who haven’t yet. Who can try with everything they have…because that has meaning. It means that not only have I made it through, but I made it through to be here right now, helping you.

We don’t know what the future brings. It will probably bring both pain and triumph. What I’m getting at is, I can no longer merely survive, trying to find a way out, to avoid the pain. Pain can later have some purpose, if you can make it. Maybe to help someone. Maybe to give you strength for other things that are thrown at you. Maybe to show others that people do survive.

This notion doesn’t make things less painful as they’re thrown at you. But it does give a reminder that not everything needs to crush you. Not everything is meant to kill.

We need each other. A solitary life is not one that can last. We are stronger together. And I won’t give up.