Loss and Limes

I’ve learned a lot about loss the past year. As I sit here and write this, I even feel a little bit guilty- why choose to write about the bad stuff when I also have SO much good stuff in my life? I have a tremendous amount to be thankful for, but I’ve learned that the good does not cancel out the bad and vice versa. So yes, in many aspects I’ve had the best year of my life, but it has also been one of the hardest. And I choose to share my struggles, because it is in not sharing our sadness that life gets overwhelming. Unmanageable. Too much to handle. Not worth fighting for. I choose to share my struggles because without them, I don’t know if I would fully appreciate the blessings that God gives me too.

Three days before Christmas I lost my best friend. She cut herself out of my life for reasons I’ll never know or understand. I know her better than anyone, and I know this meant I might as well be dead to her. Two days ago, it was my husband and I’s one year anniversary of our marriage. Five weeks after we got married, my brother in law; my husband’s very best friend; took his own life. The day of his funeral was exactly five Sunday’s after our wedding. One day after my 30th birthday my sweet sister friend from treatment died, leaving those of us who loved her in shock. She had fought SO hard for SO long.

Three. Two. One. Gone.
I didn’t get to say goodbye. I didn’t get to try and understand their pain and help them.

Grief makes us quiet; probably one of the reasons I’ve written so inconsistently. We think grief is like a shell- eventually it hardens and keeps away the rest of the world- but that’s not true. I would love to sit here and say grief is healing but I’m not sure I feel that way just yet. Grief made me unreasonable, bitter, afraid. Grief kept me up with nightmares, it made me worry if I didn’t know where my husband was at every minute, it made me try to fix other people’s problems for them.

Grief is me picking up limes at the grocery store and suddenly having tears in my eyes because limes remind me of how Will showed me how to get the most juice out of them for margarita making, when we visited us 2 weeks before he died. Grief is me seeing Kaila’s happy Instagram life, and knowing what she is hiding- how she is suffering from a severe eating disorder- and lashing out at her in anger. It’s not fair. I tell her. You’re a fake. Emily was fighting and you aren’t and why is she not here. Grief is me dreaming about the beautiful toast Amanda gave at my rehearsal dinner, the night before I got married. It brought tears to almost everyone’s eyes and I never felt so loved, so when I wake up the next morning I roll over and reach for my phone to text her, but suddenly remember she isn’t part of my life anymore.

It’s stupid. I tell my therapist, a dozen times. So stupid. I’m crying over limes in the store, trying to reason with my friend who doesn’t want help, and I should have seen the thing with Amanda coming. She’s crazy. I hate this, it’s stupid, and I hate that I can’t use my eating disorder to effectively cope with all this anymore.

It’s NOT stupid. She says. You say that about anything you don’t want to feel and process. It’s scary and hard but calling it stupid makes it insignificant to you.

The woman has a point. God knows, she has seen enough of me the last several years to often know the truth before I do. And we both know I’m right- I can’t use my eating disorder to cope with all the scary feelings anymore. I’ve tried. But I can’t starve, cut, drink, run, throw up, or over exercise the feelings away. I can’t go numb anymore.

I have to feel.
And it’s hard.
And it hurts.
And I hate it.
But it isn’t stupid.

Stupid is pretending those things that meant so much didn’t matter. Stupid is trying to minimize the losses and cancel them out with the happy, fluffy stuff. Stupid is listening to what the world says and “sucking it up” so no one sees my vulnerability. My God, what would happen if people actually knew people were hurting?!

Maybe there wouldn’t be so much hurting.

I’ll show you mine, if you’ll show me yours. We all have scars. Pain. Heartbreak. And a lot of times, we hide that. I’m not saying to walk around like an open book, professing your sorrows to anyone who will listen.

But grief makes you quiet.
And when we are quiet- we can listen.

If you try hard enough in the listening part, you can hear. You can hear things other people can’t. You can hear others, and you can see others grieve. Before you think what the hell, listen. Look.

That woman in yoga who came up to me before class and thanked me for sharing my story on my blog- she’s suffered with body image issues for years and is trying to juggle being a mom to two little kids. I gave her a little bit of hope.

The older woman I sat down next to at the all day immersion and told my story to- she’s never felt like enough. Now she feels less alone, and more brave.

That Instagram post where I hash-tagged “eating disorder recovery” and boldly declared that despite the struggles, recovery is worth it- someone saw that and maybe for the first time, started to believe it was true. They messaged me and we exchanged stories, and that person is in recovery now. They’re struggling but they’re trying and that beats the hell out of living with no hope.

That time I changed my profile on Facebook to the eating disorder recovery symbol- someone I was in Girl Scouts with saw that and decided that if I were brave enough to do that, then maybe she was brave enough to to try to fight.

That time a nurse from another unit asked me what my tattoo meant and I told her- she has a daughter suffering with an eating disorder and doesn’t know how to help her. Her daughter is the same age you were when things got really bad and no one said anything.

That patient I admitted who overdosed and starts crying then I helped her get dressed- she wishes she would have died; but no one means it more than me when I whisper to her I know it feels that way now, but there are so many people who are glad you’re still here.

Those parents I handed their dying child to- I ignore the rule that says “There’s no crying in the PICU” and dammit, I cried with them because I’m freaking human and death sucks and life is completely unfair.

Grief makes you quiet, but do not let it make you hard. Don’t let loss silence the one thing God gave us that we don’t ever use for evil- compassion.

There is so much sadness in the breaking of our hearts, but there is beauty too. It allows us to relate to other people genuinely. We can grieve without stopping time and looking like the fool so many of us are afraid of others seeing when we feel our losses. Maybe when bad stuff happens, I can listen, and I can hear someone in their grief, turn to them, and say: Me too. I know. There isn’t a need to create a fake Instagram life; to take yourself out of this world with no explanation; to end a relationship to punish someone else; to lose this fight we call life. You aren’t ever alone. Ever.

So I try to own it. I try to own the mess that I feel like I am sometimes but rarely let myself be. Like it or not, deny it or confirm it, admit or hide it- we all have our stuff. I’ve been through a season of loss and it isn’t stupid. I can be sad. I can be angry, even if I’ve had amazing things happen to me along to way too. I can hate having the loss there to dim the amazing. Pain is pain is pain. You and I do not have to justify that at anyone. But in the silence, when grief slides in and covers all the light- because we know sometimes it will- be still and listen. I can’t save the people I are lost, but I can do the best to help others find healing in my wounds.

It’s not stupid. I say. Even if I don’t really feel that way. I’ll make myself say it. It’s not stupid that I’m sad, and angry, and hateful. It’s human.

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Life Right Now

I haven’t posted much at all lately, sorry guys! Life has been nonstop busy so I thought I would pop in and show you a little of what I’ve been up to. Life healthy is great- yes, I still have struggles daily, but for the most part, I am living how LINDSEY wants to. That is worth every hard day in recovery, hands down.

Spending time with the people I love is one of the most important things to me. I’ve been to lots of fun social events that would have been miserable for me if I was still letting the eating disorder rule my life.

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Nashville Predators wine festival.

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Being silly with my favorite humans.

Traveling is also something I’ve started to get to do more and enjoy. No longer is it am opportunity for me to use travel as an excuse to restrict and lose weight. I’ve been to visit my brother in Florida and road tripped to a wine festival in North Carolina.  Later this week I leave to visit my college friend in New Orleans!

Chill in' at a winery in Boone, NC

Chill in’ at a winery in Boone, NC.

 

Who run the world- GIRLS

Who run the world- GIRLS!

For anyone who does not think the hard work is worth it- it absolutely is.  For anyone who doesn’t believe in freedom- is it there waiting for you. Do the hard work. Make the scary decisions and step into the fear. Accept hope and support. Recovery is for everyone; I will always believe that now that I have seen healthy. It’s never too late, you’re never too far gone, you’re never the exception to the rules your eating disorder gives you. You CAN be better. I’m proof. Recovery will eventually become DISCOVERY.  You get to see what you really llove and enjoy. You find favorite foods. Relationships with people deepen and are more meaningful. You feel experiences, not just exist through them.

“You have the power to heal your life and you need to know that. We think so often we are helpless, but we’re not. We always have the power of out minds…claim and consciously use your power.” 

Celebrate life

Celebrate life

Creek walk days with my lil sidekick

Creek walk days with my lil sidekick

 

Vulnerability

“Rather than deny our vulnerability, we lean into both the beauty and agony of our shared humanity. Choosing courage does not mean we are unafraid; it means that we are brave enough to love despite the fear and uncertainty.” –Brene Brown

I didn’t go through life thinking vulnerability was a good thing. I actually associated it with negativity. Being vulnerable automatically means you can’t handle your emotions, and you’re just one of those dramatic people that cry all the time about stupid shit.

I could be wrong. I grew up playing competitive sports, and I’m an ICU nurse. There isn’t a whole lot of room for vulnerability in those two things. Suck it up. Work harder. Don’t cry; don’t let anyone see you cry.

I remember when I moved to North Carolina, where I started my recovery journey, and my best friend there jokingly labeled me as a “crier.” I remember feeling like SUCH a loser. Shame crept in as I told myself, “How can you look so weak and needy to other people? How embarrassing. What the heck has recovery done to you?”

Recovery has made me vulnerable. It has made me dig through times in my life I am ashamed of. It has made me expose parts of myself I’ve kept hidden from everyone. It has made me cry IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE- like, more than once. Or twice. Or more times than I can count. Snot-nosed, red-faced, ugly crying in front of all sorts of people in my life. Vulnerability has come with owning my story, and with sharing it. Vulnerability is messy. It is uncomfortable.

I know it’s just not me that feels this way. How many of us were raised with the “don’t talk about it and it doesn’t exist” mentality? Isn’t avoidance easier? We call it “not liking confrontation” to justify tip-toeing around the things in life that make us uncomfortable and emotional. For many, addiction (eating disorder or otherwise) takes the place of being vulnerable. Example: Someone hurts my feelings…like legit hurts my feelings. When do I cry? When no one is looking. How do I cope? I restrict, exercise, and/or minimize.

I wonder if we are afraid of vulnerability because deep down, we know what power it has. Emotions are powerful- they can determine the course of your life. Vulnerability seems more out of control, and who wants to feel out of control in any part of their life?!

What I’ve learned about vulnerability in my recovery is that it means I am brave. I have the courage to share and show my feelings, even when the opinion is unpopular. It allows me to admit I am not perfect in a world that is constantly trying to define and redefine perfection. I had this idea in my head about therapy- that once I talked about something, everything I felt about it would simply melt away. It’s the idea I started recovery with- give it a few months of treatment, and I’ll be all better. But, treatment is not a cure. It is a band-aid, and the medicine is vulnerability. Being brave enough to sit on a couch in a therapists office for an hour a week going through all your shameful shit- that’s hard stuff. Sometimes I have to count to ten really slowly in my head so I don’t just get up and leave a session because I’m so frustrated. And honestly, I spend more time bullshitting in therapy because it’s easier than owning my stuff and having feelings. Writing posts like this and putting myself out there for whoever the heck wants to see- it’s not easy. I worry about what people might think, how they might see me differently, etc. I am afraid. I am uncertain. Vulnerability is hard.

Being vulnerable allows others to learn from your life. When I write a post on Instagram about how I’m doing so well but BAM, one day my eating disorder decides I need a FitBit, and I jump on a scale, and I want to go back to being unhealthy- I have people thank me for that. For me, vulnerability has had a lot to do with admitting everything is not rainbows and roses. Being vulnerable ties us together as humans, because we all struggle. Being vulnerable creates meaning between people who don’t even know each other- “Hey, I feel that way too.” What a relief to know we aren’t alone in our crazy, irrational minds. What a blessing to know we are not alone in life.

So, I challenge you. And, I challenge myself. The next time someone you care about genuinely wants to know how you are, tell them the truth. When a friend calls you out, own it. Don’t just own it, but really think about if what you are doing serves you and the people around you. When you’re too anxious or scared to do something you know needs to be done, do it. Don’t wait. We always think we have time. If someone hurts you, tell them. Instead of holding a grudge or cutting them off, talk to that person. Admit you have feelings. They do too. The next time you want to lie in therapy, skip a meal, or run that extra five minutes- don’t. Take a look at why you’re avoiding vulnerability.

Note to self: To have vulnerability is HUMAN. It is not weakness, it doesn’t make me a wimp, it doesn’t mean there is an absence of strength. The ability to be vulnerable, and confident in such a place- is it actually a sign of strength?

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Recap: Baptiste All Day Immersion

by Lindsey 0 Comments

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One Saturday, I got up at 3 a.m to do yoga. Last weekend actually. I went to Louisville, Kentucky with several people from my yoga studio to an all day immersion, led by Baron Baptiste, the son of the founder of Baptiste Yoga.

What is Baptiste Yoga? It is a practice that is built upon a physical yoga practice, meditation, and inquiry. The goal is transformation- into full potential, creativity, passion; and development of confidence, autheticity, and possibility. Yeah so…what does that mean? In my own words, Baptiste is a practice that will change your life- if you are willing. In this practice, I have found anxiety relief, physical strength, breath, FUN, new goals and intentions, and confidence. More importantly, I have found community. Friends! Like friends who like the same exercise as I do! For the first time in my life, I’m not just exercising to burn calories or “earn” food; but I am practicing to be a better version of myself. I am practicing because it gives me peace. I am practicing because yoga plays a huge part in my recovery.

Anyways. In classic Epic Yoga style, the group I carpooled with arrived approximately 10 minutes before the programs start. We grabbed our mats, straps, and blocks, and made our way to the very back of the room. Music was blaring and the room had so much energy! Baron Baptiste appeared shortly after, thanking us all for coming.

250+ yogis!

Until lunchtime, we were led through several fundamentals, breaking down parts of the practice we frequently do. It’s amazing what looking at something in great detail can help you change the way you do it…and leave you sore in muscles you didn’t know existed the next 3 days after! During lunch our Epic tribe took the opportunity to snap a few group photos as we ate outside in the beautiful weather.

I Am...EPIC

Since Baptiste Yoga is not solely about the physical practice, we spent the first part of the afternoon in “Inquiry.” For these exercises, we partnered up with someone near us and got pretty personal with some self-exploration (wait, this is supposed to be YOGA OMG). The room was filled with vulnerability, but also hope, as some brave yogis stood up and shared with 250+ people where wanted to give up being “stuck” in their lives, and what would be available if they let go of what keeps them stuck. Think of it this way:

Q: Where are you stuck? What would be possible if you let that go?

“I open myself up to the possibility of ____ and I let go of ____.”

What would you fill in the blanks with? Some of the things I heard were:

“I open myself up to the possibility of love, and I let go of being hurt and angry.

“I open myself up to the possibility of being enough, and I let go of insecurity.”

I open myself up to the possibility of deepening my practice, and I let go of expectations I have for myself.”

Baron Baptiste had us repeat these statements over and over again to are partners. You could see the tears and hear the laughter as people dropped what they knew. I could straight up FEEL the lightness, relief, confidence, and joy that came from this. One of my teachers is a firm believer in not putting labels on yourself and speaking what you want out loud. To be in a room of 250 people doing just that was pretty powerful stuff. Try it. See what comes up.

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After Inquiry we moved on to Meditation. Personally, this aspect is my biggest struggle. I have a hard time quieting my mind and focusing on being present! I fidget, my legs all asleep, my back hurts, my mind wanders, etc. I can’t say I was particularly moved by the meditation aspect of the program, but I know many yogis were. Meditation is something I want to work on, because I am aware of the benefits it will bring.

Then…PRACTICE! It was SO neat to practice a yoga sequence with such a large number of people. Breath and flow filled the room, and I for one forgot about the outside world and its stressors. It was just me and my mat and my heartbeat and my body moving. Peace.

 

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My teachers say “Yoga is about life.” I have to agree with them, even though some days I wonder if I “drank the Kool-aide” when I feel in love with this practice and the people I share it with. The weekend taught me to never say never. Had you told me a few years ago I would spend my time doing something like this, I would have laughed. If you told me I would be healthy enough to do this, I wouldn’t have believed you.But God knew what I needed in my life so much better than I did. Everytime I have said NO, He has helped make me a YES. Epic Yoga- the practice and the people- they’ve helped save me. I can see that there is life beyond my comfort zone, and that I can thrive there. I can see that letting go of fear and insecurity is healing. If you don’t change, you don’t grow.

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So do something that scares you. Give something a chance that you’ve written off. Let people into your life. Be emotional. Be vulnerable. Fight for what you want. You might just surprise yourself- your life might just be transformed if you remove what isn’t supposed to be there in the first place.

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Contentment

I’m sitting here on my bed, with the window open and my sweet pup at my feet, occasionally barking at sounds in the neighborhood. It’s just cool enough (for me!) to cover myself in our comforter. My husband’s Discipleship Group is meeting upstairs and there is the occasional breakout of laughter. My belly is full from a dinner we and I cooked together. Today was beautiful and sunny, and I took a long nap to prepare to the half nightshift I’m splitting with another nurse in a few hours. I’m playing music from my “Chill and Write” playlist on Spotify.

I am content. I am thankful. I can sit here and appreciate my breath and my heartbeat and everything my body does to keep me alive.
It isn’t always this way. I haven’t decided what I hate most about my eating disorder, but one thing I know I really hate is how nothing is ever enough. I’ve been battling with thoughts of not being enough more than usual the last week or so. I can blame it on a longer break than usual from therapy, or anxiety from not exercising as much (because um, excuse me, I’m having fun LIVING), but either way, it is there. The discontentment. The disappointment with myself.

Want to know what my mind sounds like sometimes? Well here ya go: I’m going to be the fattest, ugliest, sweatiest person at the yoga immersion this weekend. Oh my God, no wonder I’m going to have to end up riding alone. Who would want to be friends with the girl who says she has an eating disorder but isn’t even thin anymore?! I shouldn’t have signed up. How the heck am I going to eat Zaxby’s as my challenge food this week? Why did I say I would work a nightshift; when am I going to exercise tomorrow? I need to do more abs. Oh my God I have to go shopping for spring and summer clothes; I can’t live in yoga pants. Trust me, I could go on.

In recovery, I am learning a lot of truths. About food, about exercise, about MYSELF. Those are the hard ones. It’s a weird feeling, to still feel like you’re growing up when you just tuned 30 years old. One of the big truths I’m facing right now is that I AM INSECURE. What??? Me? Geeze Linds, now the whole world knows. Ok actually just like the random 5 people who read your blog, but still.

Since I was a teenager, I have placed my confidence and certainty in my eating disorder. There’s just a few things wrong with that (HA), but the biggest problem with it is that I have not learned to place my confidence and certainty in God. I’ve been a Christian since middle school, but honesty time, my eating disorder has been my god with a little “g”. My eating disorder is no doubt TERRIBLE for me, but it has served many purposes. It protected me, gave me purpose, comforted me, made me calm, and helped me deal with the tough stuff in life.

The thing is, GOD can do all of that. And more. I just have to let Him; and believe me that is quite the learning curve. Some days, I’m pretty OK at it. I have the word “grace” tattooed on my wrist but dang do I sometimes with it was on the inside of both my eyelids. Some days, I am miserable. I have mini-meltdowns over my clothes because I’m finding my worth in my jeans. I want to crawl out of this body God gave me, because it is twenty-something pounds more than it used to be and I want to cut off all my fat.

I recently saw a quote by C.S. Lewis. “You don’t have a soul. You ARE a soul. You have a body.” Cue all the feels. What a reminder of how I am to live. As a soul, not a body. My body is just a home for my soul. What does God want from me? To love Him, and to love others as I love myself. I do love others- I love my friends like they are family, I love broken people, I love knowing people’s stories; but I also pretend I don’t- because I’m insecure and what if they don’t love me back. What if they look at me and see what I do when I look in the mirror? I am reminded of a verse: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14) When God said this to Moses, it wasn’t a “feel good” comforting kind of instruction. God actually wanted Moses to what we would probably call “sit down and shut up” so he could truly hear and accept the plans God was giving him. Moses didn’t want to be the one to lead the people out of Egypt- he was scared. Just like I am. I don’t want to let go of the security of my eating disorder- I am scared. BUT, it’s important to note that “do not fear” is written in the Bible over ONE HUNDRED times. The God of the whole freaking universe is telling me that He is on my side. I am here not to manipulate and abuse my body; but travel around and share my soul with others. My sole purpose in this life is not to be thin and eat “clean” but to be an example of Jesus the best I can, and love others. Some days I’m really going to suck at this, but because of grace, that word on my wrist, I get to try again every single day.

Contentment. When you get in your head like I so often do, try gratitude. Try re-framing what your purpose is and where your worth comes from. I can promise you it is not an addiction, a disorder, or a label. And I can promise you, even on the hard days, it is worth knowing your value isn’t measurable in pounds or sizes or the amount of minutes you exercise.
You are enough. Because He says so.

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Cheesy Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

Honestly- I hate cooking. Recently I’ve been making more of an effort to plan out my grocery trips and cook meals for the week so I don’t end up eating cereal 3 nights a week. Even though cereal is my favorite food, I know my husband doesn’t enjoy it for dinner every night. If you follow me on Instagram, I know I promised a recipe for you all of a dish I made this past week: Cheesy Quinoa Enchilada Casserole. I found it on Pintrest (duh), so here is my “how to” for you all!

 

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Mmm, quinoa!

 

Cheesy Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

1/2 cup (canned) black beans

1/2 cup of canned or frozen corn

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 (4.5oz) can of chopped green chiles

1 (10oz) can of enchilada sauce

1/2 tsp. Chili powder

1/2 tsp. Cumin

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro leaves

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Toppings as desired: avocado, salsa, Roma tomato, sour cream, etc.

Directions

In a large bowl, combine black beanstalk corn, quinoa, chiles, enchilada sauce, cilantro, and spices. Mix well and add both of the cheeses. Grease an 8×8 pan and pour the delicious mixture in. Top with desired amount of extra shredded cheese, because you can’t go wrong with more cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees in the oven. Cover with toppings such as avocado and tomato, and enjoy!

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Ready in 15 minutes!

For Anyone with an Eating Disorder and Anxiety

I’ll admit it- I am an anxious person. Actually, I’ve come to realize that I am an extremely anxious person as of late because I no longer really use behaviors to cope. Restriction numbs. Over-exercise burns off adrenaline and quiets my mind. Orthorexic behaviors give me a sense of peace and control over my food and body. No longer using these behaviors to the extreme degree I am used to has honestly thrown me for a loop. I want to yell “NOT FAIR” at my treatment team and anyone who helped make me healthy. Like, GUYS, no one told me that eliminating behaviors consistently was going to make me feel like an actual crazy person. I don’t like to admit it- I’m a nurse, and we are terrible patients. I’ve always been independent to a fault and I feel weak needing medication. Not only that, but I am TERRIFIED of starting any new medication because of the experience I had with anti-anxiety and sleep meds in treatment.

If you haven’t ever struggled with anxiety, let me describe it to you. It’s laying awake until 3AM and having a headache for 24 hours straight after that. It’s a cramping stomach- that kind you get when you’re way past hungry- only hunger isn’t the problem. Constant anxiety is feeling like you drank just a little too much coffee, and your nervous system and brain are in overdrive. Anxiety is shockingly exhausting on the body. It’s sleeping because you’re so worn out from the constant hyper-alertness of your mind. Anxiety is napping all the time because of the tiredness, and to avoid feeling like you’re going to explode. Don’t confuse anxiety with worry! Worry is concern over actual events or potential events. Anxiety is all of the above for seemingly no reason.

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As I wrote in my last post, the urges to choose my eating disorder are strong. The thing is- I KNOW my eating disorder will work. I will feel better.

Temporarily.

Then what? As much as I don’t want to feel this constant unsettled feeling, I know my eating disorder can’t be a long term solution. It just can’t. I love my life and the people in it. Life is good; I don’t want to lose everything I care about.

Being healthy and nourished forces me to feel. Emotionally, mentally, and physically. My eating disorder took care of those things for me. I was a walking robot (well, with anxiety). Truth be told, I am ten times as anxious now as I was at my sickest. Recovery has a lot to do with choosing what is hard over choosing what is easy. Which honestly, sucks. I want a quick fix. I want an easy button.

But, I have to be patient. I have been through a lot in the past year personally, including the loss of three people I loved dearly. The brain doesn’t just forget that pain and trauma. We live in a world that teaches us “big girls don’t cry, suck it up, get back in the game, keep your head high, get your shit together, and don’t let them see you hurt.” We are HUMAN BEINGS- God created us to FEEL. Some of us feel things more deeply than others and I’ve learned that’s me. I HATE it. I like being the strong one. The tough kid. The one who doesn’t cry; who can shut off her feelings. Recovery has completely blown that safety next for me. I am trying so hard to be ok with it. I feel vulnerable. I feel stupid, I feel like a wimp, a sissy, you name it. Sharing my story about the journey I am on has helped me realize that hiding and walling myself off isn’t as great and helpful as my eating disordered mind made me think it was. I am an emotional person. I am learning to accept that. Next comes learning to deal with that. Baron Baptiste, the founder of Baptiste yoga says: “We hold the past in our bodies.” What a statement. What truth. For me, this statement is freeing. It means that I can heal and someday my anxiety won’t be so present. For now, that means TRULY sitting in the anxiety. “What’s the worst that will happen? Take it one step at a time,” my therapist says. So, I will be present in my feelings. I’ll stop trying to “stop” them. Everything eventually passes.

Friends, you are who you are. You are wonderfully made. Emotional, messy, chaotic- there is no shame in what makes you yourself. We all the the rest of our lives to either learn to accept ourselves and get along with ourselves; or fight ourselves. You choose.

Grumpy cat, talk to my mind!

Grumpy cat, talk to my mind!

Bad Days and Choices

Being in recovery doesn’t mean you never have really bad days.

Being weight restored doesn’t mean your mind is healed.

The past few days, I have wanted to choose my eating disorder over everything. It started with a change of plans one day that didn’t allow me to go to yoga. Although I’m no longer a compulsive over-exerciser, I still struggle with the lie that I HAVE to exercise to be “allowed” to eat. For me, exercise is a security blanket for eating. Going out with friends for dinner? Having a glass of wine? Eating ice cream? Totally cool- as long as I’ve been to a power hot yoga class or taken my dog on a long walk. I’ve functioned this way for so long, and it is a hard habit to break.
My therapist said it best a few months back: “Just because you body isn’t anorexic anymore doesn’t mean your mind isn’t.” So true. Despite the weight gained, the fear foods challenged, and the food rules broken; my brain is still somewhat sick. I look fine on the outside, but it does not always match what is going on inside. My mind can be the worst enemy I have ever known. The past few days I’ve been consumed with anxiety about my body, food, exercise, etc. Thoughts to restrict, lie to my support people and treatment team, and sneak in extra exercise have been strong.

“Today I want to choose anorexia,” I told my husband in a text the other day. “Today that seems like it will feel better. I know that’s not true.”
Yes, my brain is still somewhat sick. But, it is also healthy too, for the first time in a long time. I know what choosing anorexia means. It doesn’t just mean losing weight, numbing grief, and fitting into smaller clothes. Relapse means losing what matters to me; a list that I could go on and on about. I don’t want to be sick. I think a turning point in recovery is deciding you want to be well more than you want to be sick. Being sick, honestly, it’s more comfortable. It feels like shit but dang is it familiar. Being sick is miserable, and I used to live in fear that I would NEVER ever get better. It was terrifying. My first morning in day treatment, the therapist made us journal. “I would rather die than live the rest of my life with an eating disorder,” I wrote.

So the really bad days- I’ll take them. I’ll take them over threats of residential treatment and crying over meals and almost passing out in yoga and drinking freaking Boost three times a day. In the moment, it is easy to forget that the bad days are better than what being trapped in my eating disorder feels like.

I have to constantly remind myself that although there are bad days, there are also good days. And the good days are so so worth it. Being healthy is hard, but it is also amazing. It means my relationships are genuine. It means my body is strong enough to attend yoga teacher training. It means I can love and support my husband fully. It means traveling and being present and living life in COLOR. Being healthy means much more than being sick ever did.

When you want to choose your eating disorder, give yourself some grace. It happens. Maybe some days you make the wrong choice. But you KEEP choosing life and choosing health. And believe that one day, it won’t be a choice any more. Healthy will be the normal.

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Life is too short not to smile!

 

What I Know

by Lindsey 0 Comments

young yoga woman sit meditation on sunrise mountain peak rock

My dietician always has this thing she says to me in what I imagine is an attempt to “peel me off the ceiling”- if you know what I mean. “What do you know to be true about that?” She asks. Usually, this question is related to an eating disorder thought. What is an eating disorder thought? Well, the best way I know how to explain it, is that an eating disorder thought is a false belief about food, exercise, weight, body image, or eating. FALSE. Meaning the “healthy” part of me that’s hidden away somewhere knows that this eating disorder thought is pretty dang irrational, but because it’s been a part of my thought pattern for so long, it seems normal. For example: “I need to exercise so I can eat.” Taking it a step further, my dietician pushes on- “What evidence do you have that supports that?”

Conclusion- dieticians are actually therapists disguised as food geniuses, and have both an incredible knowledge of nutrition and the ability to get under my skin.

Usually, there is nothing true about the eating disorder thought. I have no evidence to support it. It’s false.
Over the last several months, I have had to do a lot of thinking on what I know to be true about my eating disorder and recovery; and what evidence I have to support those truths. I wish I could flip a magic switch and engrain these truths into my brain- maybe if they were there I’d be able to overlook the irrationality of the eating disorder and follow my true healthy self 100% of the time.

I know that recovery is hard. I know that I was not prepared for the process it takes and is taking. I know that recovery is not something that gets a day off. It is full of choices to me made every day, sometimes hour by hour.

I know that my eating disorder feels safe. I know it is harmful. I know that each time I make a choice that supports ED, I am putting myself in danger. What seems to be “just a few” behaviors can lead me farther away from recovery than I thought was possible. I know that I miss using my eating disorder as a coping mechanism, but I no longer want to starve myself or compulsively over-exercise.

I know that my life is an incredible gift, and the fact that I am still on this earth is too. I know I have done things to my body that I am absolutely ashamed of. I know that I can keep fighting. I know some days I feel like going back to my eating disorder, but I know nothing good will come from it. I will shrink, but so will my life.

I know that my eating disorder will never just completely disappear one day like magic. I know that I would never wish this illness on anyone. I know that there is no real cure. I know it is my own personal hell. I know that this makes me feel discouraged sometimes. But I know that HOPE is stronger than fear.

I know I am loved and supported. I know I cannot comprehend just how much.

I know that my treatment team has my best interests in mind. I know there are times I still won’t listen to them. I know there are consequences. I know that I disappoint myself. I know it is ok to struggle- but not to give up.

I know that I have come farther in recovery than I imagined possible. Yes, I have days where every bite of food I put in my mouth is a battle. But I also have days where I truly believe full recovery is possible, because I’ve been able to do things I didn’t think I could. My life doesn’t revolve around exercise and running anymore. I don’t take my own food to every social event, or pretend I’m not hungry at restaurants. I don’t use to size of my jeans as a scale anymore. These are little things, but they’ve made a big difference in my life.

I know recovery is worth it. Even on the bad days. I know there is life in color, and it’s there waiting for anyone who wants it.

What do YOU know to be true?

 

I Choose

by Lindsey 0 Comments

I have this book called Grace for the Moment. It is written by Max Lucado, and I got stuck on the preface. Here, Max Lucado writes an affirmation for himself. He talks about how the day will be filled with demands, but he must make a choice. Max says that not only must he make a choice, but because of Jesus he is FREE to choose. I read the following pages, which go through Galatians 5:22-23, and they hit home with me. I took what Max had written and made it my own. I do my best to read it every day because it reminds me that I can choose.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” Galatians 5:22-23

I CHOOSE LOVE. I cannot justify hating what God has created. I choose to love me and let others do so too. I CHOOSE JOY. I will let God be in charge of my circumstances. I will refuse to be self-critical and damaging. I will not see myself as anything less than fearfully and wonderfully made. I will refuse to see the journey ahead of me as anything less than an opportunity to see God and see good. I CHOOSE PEACE. I will live knowing God has forgiven me. I will forgive myself for what I’ve put my body through. I will forgive myself when I fail. I will not stop trying to get better, so I can live. I CHOOSE PATIENCE. I will choose to overlook the inconveniences of treatment. Instead of stressing about the changes in my body and life, I will allow them with thankfulness, because I am getting healthy. I choose to face the challenges and time consuming process with courage. I will thank God for hope. I CHOOSE KINDNESS. I will treat myself well. I will show kindness to my body by resting it and feeding it, even when I am afraid and frustrated. I refuse to beat myself up if I don’t succeed every day. I CHOOSE GOODNESS. I will be good to my body and mind. I refuse to listen to the eating disorder that tells me I am worthless and should give up. I will be honest in counseling, even if some days that means just showing up. I will get all the bad stuff out. I cannot believe the negative thoughts I have about myself, because I have a God that shows me grace. I CHOOSE FAITHFULNESS. I will keep the promise I made to myself to recover. I will trust Him in order to trust myself. I will not question God’s love for me even when I feel like a giant screwup. I refuse to fear that recovery is impossible. I believe I have a Savior who has gone before me and goes with me now. I CHOOSE GENTLENESS. I will not win this battle with force, but by standing with my feet planted in peace and confidence. I will focus on prayer and praise. I will learn to be kind to myself. I CHOOSE SELF-CONTROL. I will not punish and abuse the body I’ve been given here on earth. I refuse to let the eating disorder rule my life. I choose to control what I put in my body in order for it to be enough and healthy and helpful. I choose to continue when I want to quit. I choose to be influenced and taught only by God, not by the eating disorder.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Every day I remind myself and try to encourage myself with this. There are days when I want to replace all these great, positive things with the negative, opposite things I know. But I have a choice. And so I do my best to choose.

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