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

It’s The Courage To Continue That Counts…Or So They Say

This world is kind of cruel.

Yesterday was a shit show. Today didn’t turn out much better, either.

I didn’t sleep well, so I’m exhausted now.

School was really difficult, but not in the usual sense. I had my last day of classes today. In communications class, whoever hadn’t gone yet were giving their debate speeches. The final topic of the day was doctor-assisted suicide, or as they phrased it, “dying with dignity”. Many of their examples were obviously people who are terminally ill. The topic combined with the examples brought up a lot for me. I couldn’t stop thinking about my dad, and his death process, and obviously how it affected me. It’s hard to explain, but the feelings emerged again, full-force. That happens sometimes…it’s not a specific memory that triggers the feelings, it’s the feelings from the entire process/experience. They just emerge out of nowhere. No matter how many times I’ve tried to “deal with it” in therapy, sometimes that just happens. It’s hard for me, because there’s no specific reason I’m crying and shaking…I just am. So I don’t always know how to soothe myself.

I suppose a plus for me today was that I chose to reach out to my professor. I don’t even know her that well, but my options were to ask her for help, or go into the hallway and break out in a panic attack in front of everybody. I said, “I know you’re not a therapist, but can I talk to you?”, and she brought me to her office. I was crying and shaking some but it didn’t end in a full on panic attack. That’s pretty good for me. I took the time I needed to calm down, and went on to my next class.

I made a really big move today as well to pay off all of my medical debt. That was a difficult decision to make, seeing as how my debt was extremely high. I have medical accounts in collections dating back to 2011. I couldn’t even tell the lady at one of the companies what my address was at the time for that account. I did live in Florida for one of the accounts, but I a) don’t remember my living there (besides the main fact that I lived there), and b) don’t have a clue what my address was when I lived there. It’s kind of awful. I still can’t get over the fact that I don’t remember my time living there at all. I really don’t understand how this experience was just entirely erased from my memory. My mom has told me the main facts of the situation, but…it’s just weird. I wasn’t having electric shock therapy while I lived there, so I don’t think that’s the reason I don’t remember. Or maybe it is. Maybe it was a delayed thing? I know I did have ECT around the time I lived there (as in before that event and after that event, in the surrounding years). I’ve tried recalling the information several ways in therapy, and none have worked so far.

There’s other events of my life that have been erased somehow. I went to Ireland with my dad/siblings before he died in high school, and sadly I don’t remember that trip at all. That one I really don’t understand, because I didn’t have ECT until about two years after that event (and I hadn’t had it before). I’d just like to know why my brain erased it.

Moving on, though. I’m pretty tired, and hoping tomorrow won’t be shit as well. Until then, I’ll netflix and chill.

I will add, I’ve decided to take advantage of the Starbucks school reimbursement. I was accepted to ASU online for the fall semester. I looked at the classes they provide there, and I can’t wait. They have so many amazing class options! I want to take so many. Maybe I will, just for the heck of it.

That’s all.

-May 1, 2017

Those Siblings, Though

I’m pretty sure life will never cease to amaze me. Whether it be in a good way, or a bad way, unexpected things happen which change the course of everything.

This time, it’s a good thing. My brother did something for me over the weekend that was totally unexpected, and I’m just amazed at the goodness people have in their hearts. Like I have always said to everyone, having so many siblings in the best thing I could have ever asked for. They’ve always been there for me, always stood behind me, always caught me when I was falling, always loved me when I was convinced I was unlovable. One of my brothers was the first person to come when I had my bad overdose a few years back, when my mom wouldn’t come. I love having them in my life for all of the things I’ve said, all of the advice they’ve given me, and overall just the companionship of having someone there for you. I’ll never take it for granted.

Things at work kind of go from good to bad, depending on the day. Today really wasn’t so bad. I only have to work one more day, then I’m off Monday-Wednesday. Tuesday night is a concert my boyfriend is really looking forward to, so I am too. It’s his favorite band, and he’s excited to see all his friends/introduce me to them. I’m excited to sleep in a little bit. I’m pretty tired today. I open tomorrow, so at least the work day will go by semi-quickly.

Frappuccino happy hour is coming soon. I’m not looking forward to it. Sorry to all of you who really enjoy it- I know I did before I worked at Starbucks. But it’s a pain in the ass. Lol. At least the frappuccinos they have out this year are pretty good. One is the smores, which is my personal favorite frappuccino, and they’ve also got a mint mocha frappuccino. That’s actually pretty good as well.

I went to a vegetarian restaurant with my brother last night in Atlanta, and it was so good!! I really wish they had more of those further up where I am. It’s about a 45 minute drive to where he is, so not something I want to do every time I want to go out to eat. It’s hard to eat vegetarian sometimes at restaurants. There’s not many options, which kind of sucks. But overall, I have felt a lot better physically since I stopped eating meat. I don’t know if I mentioned this, but my therapist has been telling me about Eating For Your Blood Type (the book). It’s pretty accurate.

I think that’s about all I have to update on. Just going to have a relaxing night. I ordered take out and it’s time for Netflix.

-April 29, 2017

The Stubborn Pull

Everything seems stressful right now. Work is stressful…everyone’s hours are being cut, and of course everyone wants more hours. I now have to be even more super careful about money. There’s also some drama at work right now (I mean, there always is, but it’s getting more involved). I feel like work is my life. I don’t want it to be, but it is.

Maybe school starting will help? I don’t know. I do know that school can be very stressful…but I am taking one less class this semester. And one of the three is online. I’m testing out how that goes (I’ve never taken an online class before). I’m excited for zoology, at least.

Triggers have been high lately, too. It’s really difficult, because mentally, I would really like to restrict. I keep having severe urges to lose weight. As usual, it makes no logical sense. My entire treatment team tells me it’s not necessary. It’s just hard to believe anyone else, sometimes. It’s odd to me, that I trust my therapist so much…yet when it comes to behaviors, or ED-stuff, I’m stubborn. I give her sass. I don’t want to, but there’s a wall I’m holding up, and I won’t let it go. I can’t let it crash, because I’ll be left with a disastrous mess. I want to let it go…somewhere inside, I want to. It’s more complicated than that.

I hope that one day, I won’t respond to life’s stress with the thoughts of restricting. I wish I could just be okay with taking a bath, or a walk, or any other healthy behavior. I don’t know.

Also, if anyone believes in praying for cats, that’d be lovely. My furball is having some health issues…it’s also emotionally-taxing. I love her lots.

Carly out. ❤

-January 4, 2017

Something About Death

Hey, just a thought I’m having today. 

Carrie Fisher died yesterday (I believe) from a heart attack at age 60. I’m sure if you’re on social media, you’ve heard/seen posts about it. 

Carrie Fisher was bipolar, and open about her struggles with mental illness. Everybody seems to be posting quotes from her, articles she’s spoken in, interviews she’s done…etc. 

I believe it’s good that these quotes are being so widely publicized. My only question is…does it really take someone dying to make what they’ve said so relevant?

I’m not trying to bash anyone…it’s just something that happens when people pass away. You think about what they’ve said, or done, or impressions they’ve made on you. With someone famous, their lives are spread across social media. 

I believe what Carrie Fisher went through and what she has to say about it is very important. I think my point is, I wish what she had to say was of relevance and utmost importance every day of the year. 

When you have a mental illness, it is not your fault, and there is nothing to be ashamed about. Yet so many of us feel such intense blame, guilt, and shame over what we go through, and the actions we make because of it. I desire most that we live in a world that is constantly making us aware that we are not alone. One where people who have been through what Carrie Fisher had been through, or anything similar, could freely come forward and be secure in sharing their stories. One where someone’s death doesn’t have to be the reason we’re aware of mental illness.

I hope what I said here portrays what I’m actually trying to get across, and not anything offensive. If not, I’m sorry. 

And Rest In Peace, Carrie Fisher. 

It’s about that time of year where you sit down at your computer, and start typing a Facebook status of how 2016 went, and maybe even some resolutions for next year. 

So I was like…why would I do this trend? I’m going to be different. I’ll post mine on WordPress!

Mostly kidding. Anyway, I think it is useful to consider how your year went. Not to berrade yourself in useless anger or regret…but to think about how things will change with the new year. While not everything does change, many things will. That’s just life. Some of them are in your control, and many are not. 

So how did 2016 go for me? My first proud thought was that I didn’t go to treatment once this entire year. That’s a first since 2008. But then I thought about that statement…and I’m not really just proud of not going into treatment. That’s all nice and well, don’t get me wrong. But I think I’m more proud of the fact that I faced this year without such hell from my eating disorder. I didn’t need to go into treatment. That’s what I’m proud of. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it, so the “no treatment” part is less relevant. 

I spent this year working very hard. I began working full time, going to school full time. I took two semesters of college. I moved into an apartment. I stopped seeing a dietitian. I started dating someone new. I brought my cat from Maryland to come live with me. I interviewed for a promotion. I volunteered at a cat rescue. I switched my residency status to Georgia and voted in the primary and election. I’ve dealt with health issues with my cat. I’ve traveled to a few different places. I started taking more responsibility at work. I’ve gotten sick multiple times. I’ve cried, laughed, been happy, been sad. I was free from any self harm actions. 

Overall, I’d say this year is a success. It’s been one of the better ones in a long time, at least. I like where I am, and do desire some change, but I’m also grateful for what it is. This year could have been better, or worse…but I’m glad it happened. 

Unless I update again before the new year, peace out 2016. It’s been real.