Posted in Anxiety, binge eating disorder, Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder Recovery, mental health, Orthorexia, Recovery, Self-acceptance, Social Media

“Wow, I’m Not the Only One”

I had another rough day yesterday. Good things happened, I snuggled a toddler. I laughed with my co-worker. I went to therapy and I bonded with my sister.

But my overall feelings toward the day were exhaustion and slightly annoyed.

I wanted to write, I also wanted to do pilates. But, I was too tired by the time I got home-after a 13 hour day filled with screaming toddlers and not very nice people.

I was happy to curl up in bed and looked forward to falling asleep to My Little Ponies.

Shit, I left the remote in the bathroom. I was not getting back up to get it.

I covered myself with the blankets and decided to scroll through my phone.

I have a personal Instagram account and a recovery account. The recovery account is always used for good—I follow inspirational badasses that post about body love and all that good stuff.

The personal account I hate admitting—but can be used for evil. I don’t mean it! In fact, one of my goals when I first started recovery was to unfollow anyone who didn’t make me feel good about myself. This involved people that post constant diet/body posts; people that talk badly of themselves or others. And  those people that tend to obsess over making their internet lives seem perfect and flawless—not to call anybody out but you know the ones. They make an identity out of their insta-popularity, and want to see how many likes they can get on a new photo of their flawlessly positioned squat.

More power to those people for all the beautiful selfies—but your posts sometimes make me feel shitty about my humanly cellulite ass so I don’t want to look at them.

Anyway, I was scrolling through my personal account and I saw a photo of my friend working out. (These pictures usually don’t bother me, because the friends I follow aren’t disordered: they don’t crowd their pages with these posts, and they don’t make an identity out of it.)

But last night the photo I was looking at triggered me. Mostly because (and I hate admitting this, too) but she experienced an eating disorder as well, and I felt like she was winning. Winning what? God, I don’t know. Can she really have recovery and work out as much as her instagram shows?

God, it really triggered me. I missed the high I used to get when I was back on a workout binge. The lightness I’d feel as long as I was eating only low cal and “good foods.”

I kept scrolling through her page.

Then I started clicking on some other pages: I saw bodies upon bodies of perfectly sculpted humans. Working out, accomplished, smiling, flexing: shit that I clearly am not in this m moment.

I, on the other hand, was drained, feeling bloated from ice cream (that I wasn’t feeling guilty about till this very moment), feeling full. And feeling ashamed of my “recovery body.”

I texted my boyfriend the words that ED was whispering in my ear “fat, lazy, shame, guilt, over-eater, emotional, girly, embarrassing, failure, ugly”

Luckily, I am recovered enough to hear my own voice, as well. And I texted those emotions, too. 

I, Tasha, felt: pride—that I listened to my body tonight and laid down instead of forcing a workout after a long day.

Relief—that I don’t have any urges and that I don’t remember the last time I body checked because my goal is no longer to manipulate my body.

And anger—towards this instagram that claimed recovery but mostly shows photos of working out and ED’s old list of “good foods.”

That is not what recovery means to me.

I know I gave into ED last night and looked at a lot of glamorous photos of women. 

And I shouldn’t judge whether they are healthy or not.

I know that the part of me getting angry at the damn internet is the part of me that doesn’t love myself. It should not bother me what other people do. Or how other people choose to show recovery.

Maybe I can add more to this article another day, and finish it on a more positive note. But for now, I’ll end it like this. And I do apologize if there’s anyone I offended. But, lord I hope that I can touch someone that stalks those beautiful, flawless people, those flexed abs and happy faces after their killer workout—I hope you read this and take my advice. Stop looking. I don’t really think recovery should be like that, and don’t feel bad if yours isn’t. My recovery is a fucking hot mess. What do I beleive? That there is always something missing on those accounts. Something about their mind, body or life that they don’t want us to see.

By revealing my shitty, embarrasing, not so pretty parts of recovery, it’s the only way I can help other fighters say: “wow, I’m not the only one.”

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Posted in Eating Disorder Recovery

A Mind That Won’t Shut Off

I love writing about my successes and how far I’ve come. But I have to be real and talk openly about the days I feel like going backwards.

It feels like a chore to write when I’m sad and urgy—of course because the seemingly easiest thing to do is give into the urge.


With recovery, we learn very well that binging, purging or restriction isn’t going to make us feel better—it actually makes things worse. But somehow, 7 years later, I still tamper with the idea of doing it “just this once” to make my anxiety go away.

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“Just this once” is nonexistent to an eating disorder.

Therapists have called it a “quick fix” if we give into urges. By binging all day, I’m temporarily distracted from my anxiety. They  say I’m “putting a band-aid on a wound.”

And then if I skip dinner because I ate too much today or I feel fat, I’m told “it’s not the right thing to do.”

Well, it’s actually not a band-aid. That is way too simple. I’m literally injecting myself with Novocaine and then pouring gasoline on the wound. I’m making the original problem worse, and adding more levels of pain. And I’ve chosen to numb myself the whole time.

And sure, it’s “wrong” to deprive myself of food. Because my body needs nutrients and yada yada yada.. But more importantly, when I wake up tomorrow and still think I look fat, I will spiral into a deep depression. I will feel like skipping one meal isn’t enough—I’ll stare in the mirror and expect to like it because of the deprivation. But I’ll scowl at my stomach and pinch my imperfections (so I’ve now indulged body dysmorphia). What if I wake up and DO think I look thinner?  Now that’s where I get fucking addicted and never want to stop skipping meals. I’ll compete with myself to eat “better” (an old ED term-all food is good food) or less than the day before. Because I don’t want to undo what I did to make my body look like this (obsession sets in).

Why am I going into such detail about giving into urges right now? It seems unhealthy to talk about it with such scrutiny. But Renfrew does say: “approach, don’t avoid.” And I’m being real.

I really need to acknowledge what I avoided tonight. I almost spiraled down one of those paths and gave into binging and purging. Thankfully, I didn’t.

I had just gotten home from a full day of work. I had 45 minutes to decompress (or in my case, worry) before I had to leave for training at my new job.

I have so many concerns about my new job, I love it, but I’m so scared of (god forbid) making a mistake.

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As these thoughts were playing on a loop in my head all day, I chose to continuously eat and ignore my fullness cues at the daycare.

Going through recovery helps keep logical thoughts like: “EATING WILL NOT HELP YOUR ANXIETY” front and center of my brain. Then I am usually more prone to pick a healthier coping skill than what ED wants me to do.

But today ED was yelling back at me: “you don’t have time for another coping skill. You have a full time job, and then you have to go to a new job that you clearly aren’t good enough for. When exactly are you going to find time to cope. You’re going to be so exhausted this week… Oh, by the way, you’ve gained weight…You’re hopeless and worthless and fat. So, here’s some food, at least it will help shut me up…”

I walked in the door when I got home from work and immediately went to the kitchen. Rummaging through the cabinets; opening the fridge 4 or 5 times; “should I go right for the binge and purge or should I pretend ‘I’m just going to have a little’ for the next hour until I get so full I have to purge.” If I chose the latter I can say: “It happened so quickly. I just wanted to have a little.”

(BTW, this sounds like I’m manipulative and don’t really want to get better. But, I’m only capable of this raw honestly in retrospect. I, of course, didn’t want to binge and purge when I got home. In that moment when I walked into the kitchen, my brain was moving so quickly I couldn’t think about logic. I didn’t care about the outcome of my actions. And I would have sworn up and down that ‘I’M JUST GOING TO HAVE A LITTLE!’ …and I will genuinely mean it.

But I’m going for food, not out of hunger, out of anxiety. And when I take that first bite, that’s like an alcoholic smelling someone’s unattended glass of whisky. It’s impossible to stop there.

But addictions are all about breaking the patterns…defying impossibilities…)

I took my first cup of granola upstairs. Many times before I would have finished that first cup, gone back for more, again and again until I purged. Today I finished the food and said NO. I laid my head down, set my alarm for 45 minutes, and closed my eyes.

Of course, now without any food to comfort me, my thoughts got excruciatingly loud again:“You are so fat. Think about how much you ate today. OMG, you didn’t go over your notes from last week’s training.You’re going to make a fool of yourself when you try to help a new client today. You’re a mess. You need better priorities. You left work fifteen minutes early today, you are so goddamn annoying to your co-workers at the daycare. Remember what the scale said at the doctor’s office last week, I bet your more than that now…“

Sleep. Alarm.

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annnnnndddd ED doesnt skip a beat: “…Oh you feel that? That’s your stomach because you filled it with so much crap today. You have to get up now and put on nice clothes. You’re going to look gross in them.”

I got up, knowing that I no longer have to be alone in my house with the potential to binge. All I have to do now is get ready, get out the door, blast some music in the car to shut ED the fuck up, and make it into my new job.

I put on some pretty lipstick and looked at my full length mirror. No, I didn’t see my body: I saw the beautiful artwork I made in Renfrew. I saw the vision board of my future home, I saw a collage of women I admireimg_94091.jpg

all of whom have smiles and absolutely beautiful bodies. I grabbed my keys and went downstairs to go to work. Just then I got a phone call.

“Hey Tash, you don’t have to come in. The day has been really slow. By the time you get here, we will be closing up.”

I couldn’t believe it. 

Can you imagine if I binged and purged and then got that phone call?

I would have slipped backwards (which is ok, it can be forgiven and it helps us grow sometimes) but I would have felt so defeated.

Using symptoms to get through the anticipation of facing something that, in the end, I wouldn’t have to do?

I am so grateful I didn’t have to say “I binged and purged for nothing.” I am so grateful I didn’t have to learn this lesson the hard way.

Instead I got to say: I slept off the urges, I ignored ED as best I could, I pulled myself together and NOW I can even act on the “better” coping skills I wanted to do earlier.

So here I am. Writing my feelings and being a badass.

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I know urges can come on strong when I work long days, and they will probably be there as I transition into my new job. It’s not pessimistic to say this, it’s being prepared.

So tonight, I stayed in and I ate dinner: I had salad.

Then I ate ice cream.

Fuck you ED if you think the ice cream was a bad choice.

Fuck you ED if you think the salad was a good choice.

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 10.17.10 PM.pngI need to remain non-judgemental, but I just love Ron Swanson.

If I’m going to beat these urges I need to stop letting ED dig up old beliefs about food. I need to stop letting him dictate what I eat.

Avoiding certain foods will not make me happier with my body. And I am not a walking, talking balloon that inflates every time I eat. I’ll eat what I crave when I’m hungry. And when I’m done, I’ll be in the moment, coping with whatever tools I can find. That can mean a baby at the daycare, a funny friend at work, my notebook when it’s naptime, a friend to text when I’m vulnerable. I can find other coping skills if I look for them–even if I’m working myself to the bone. 

Less ED, more LIFE.

Posted in Eating Disorder Recovery

Coping with Change

I’m listening to the wind howl. I love any sound the weather makes.

And I hear my fingers typing on the keyboard. I usually have some sort of cartoon on in the background, but right now the silence is encouraging me to write.

I’m laying down with a stuffed puppy perched between my arm and my cheek. Laying like this is hurting my neck and I can only use one hand to type. But the comfort of holding my puppy is worth the awkward position.

I wonder why such childish things bring me peace of mind (for instance, my stuffed animal, Eve, yeah she has a name).

I could find a fun series to watch on netflix, or I could try being an adult and watch the news. 

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But instead I choose to watch the same cartoons I’ve seen hundreds of times.

There’s still a kid in most of us. It’s that carefree attitude–that says nothing else matters except Ash capturing another pokemon. Children do not carry a worry in the world. They find joy in the simpliest of things. A child will cry about a scrapped knee, but be distracted by an insect two seconds later and forget the pain. 

So, I’ll pet my fake puppy and watch My Little Ponies. I know that it’s weird, but it’s  what I like. No shame in finding your happy.

But I do find it curious how different people decompress after a long day. My boyfriend watches sports, or literally flips through channels until he stumbles upon an action movie he’s probably already seen. 

My sister is addicted to “Shameless.”

And my mom (like most moms) watches HGTV.

The truth is, I have a hard time finding anything to do without my mind wondering.  Plus, my phone usually gets all my attention anyway.

We might all have that problem, especially before going to sleep. 

And most times (unless I’m being super aware and seeking out helpful articles and positive instas) the phone isn’t healthy for me. I usually end up seeing a picture that makes me mad like a photoshopped fitness model. Or I’m suddenly stalking some random person I met once.

I wish I knew how to meditate. How to melt into my pillow and just breath. It’s allegedly great for you, but I always end up passing out.

I also wish I could muster up the energy to do some yoga right now. It is so peaceful, and I love feeling my body stretch. But doing anything besides being under my covers at the end of a long day feels like toooorture.

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It’s just so strange that I don’t always know how to relax. Especially since, I’ve literally thought about nothing BUT this moment all day at work. Being at home–able to do whatever I want. 

And then it’s even weirder how the things I planned to do can feel like even more work (like moving to do yoga)…

Or blogging. Now that I started, I’ve genuinely found peace in writing tonight. But every moment leading up to this was spent whining to myself: “Ughh, I don’t want to write..that means I have tooooo thinkkkkkk…”

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The ironic part is: if I don’t write, I’m thinking about everything and anything anyway, at least by writing I get to choose my thoughts (and I usually like to keep it positive).

So tonight, before I picked up my computer, my mind kept going back to one thing:

I’m in a transition right now. I’m learning new skills—being trained for a new position in a completely new career path. They are using words I don’t understand, and a program I’ve just been introduced to. I’m feeling overwhelmed. There’s so much that these people know, and I don’t. It’s like a foreign language.

My friends all tell me they’ve experienced this in their current jobs. Everyone goes through this transition period. That helps. But still…

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 1.49.39 PM.pngI’m looking; I’m listening; I’m taking notes. My chest is tensing up even as I talk about it.

I’ve had this passing thought: “What if I get fired? What if they don’t like me? I need to quit everything and pop out some babies.”Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 1.17.32 PM.png

My boyfriend pointed this out to me earlier: “you have AMAZING patience. But none for yourself.”

I need to KNOW EVERYTHING THEY ARE TRYING TO TEACH ME NOW!

But the truth is: I want to stick it out. I can’t wait to retain and understand everything. I know I can be close to my new co-workers and form great bonds and make them smile. And I cant wait to look back and be proud that I now know everything I didn’t IN THIS moment.

I’ve been sick with a nasty stomach bug. And in some ways I believe that was a saving grace. When I wasn’t in training, I was resting. I had to, my body was shutting down. I couldn’t even overthink.

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There’s something about trying to look like you aren’t about to throw up, that takes your mind off of worrying if someone new likes you.

Life is great. There’s no such thing as coincidences. And there’s always another perspective to take.

This past weekend when I got sick. I first thought: “REALLY?! For my first week of training?!”

But, as you can see, it clearly worked out.

I don’t know how I was able to get through everything. Well, no, actually I do know…

Supports. Faith. Positivity. and a little bit of sulking (I don’t like to bottle shit up, in recovery I learned it isn’t healthy)

Supports will get you through anything.

Unfortunately, I’m alone tonight. My boyfriend has stayed with me the past few nights because I’ve been sick and I’ve been nervous about my new job. But I told him I’d sleep home tonight, that I’m doing better and I’ll be ok. Because I want to be. Sure, its easier with him, but goddamn, I’m an independent woman.

I’m having a harder time falling asleep since I’m no longer so sick and drained. So my worried thoughts aren’t shutting off so easy. My puppy, the wind, and keyboard clicking will hopefully fill me with the peace I would like to find on my own.

No ED tonight. No ED the past few days: thanks in part to my sickness, my loved ones, my excitement, but most importantly—my strength.

I’ve had to deal with very intense emotions in the absence of ED. But then I remember how exciting it is to not constantly have to fight him. I’d rather feel genuine emotion than the distraction of urges.

And how exciting to look back one day and realize I learned everything I need to learn in my new job, WITHOUT using ED to cope. Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 1.27.01 PM.png