Let me preface this post by saying thank you. Thank you to everyone who comments, e-mails, and just overall provides encouragement, support and love. You have no idea how much it means to me to be part of a community that is helpful and compassionate about a subject that is very personal and ultimately pretty scary to discuss. So thank you for reading, writing, and being awesome bl-ends!
With that being said, I have to confess the difficulties I have faced in the last week. I have mentioned them in a variety of posts but haven’t gone into much detail about the eating disorder behaviors I used in order to cope. This was WRONG, very WRONG, so please do not think I am condoning, or even happy with myself for these actions, especially since I knew what I was doing, and why.
Enough with me being vague…there were days last week I over-exercised. Not necessarily distance wise, but as far as intensity goes, I did more than walk. I took a jog a few days, and although I knew Ryan wouldn’t be happy, I justified it because I was eating to compensate.
And that’s true. I was eating to gain…I didn’t restrict or neglect my immense feelings of hunger; I tried a variety of new things, and baked delicious muffins I thoroughly enjoyed. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that I did not tell my husband I went over my permitted speed on the treadmill, and after I confessed to my dietician yesterday, asking for advice on what I should do, she helped confirmed what I already knew, and that was that I had to tell him, which let me tell you did not make for the most fun ride home.
On the positive, however, my appointment yesterday went really well, in the health sense. I had the results I am supposed to, aka, a weight gain, so at least I did make up for the extra activity with the proper nourishment.
…This is all true in theory. Notice I said I got the results I was “supposed to,” rather than sounding a little more enthusiastic about the higher number on the scale. The truth is, as much as I KNOW it needs to go up, and how much I want to run races, and participate in different activities that I haven’t been able to for a while, it is still difficult to hear numbers that just a few months ago were in my mind, completely out of the question!
My nutritionist could tell I was having difficulty with my situation, with the running, the gain, and all the body image issues that continue to curse me, and she gently pointed out how contradictory I am/was being. I have written about this before but you really cannot have A without B…no recovery (and all the good stuff that comes with it!) without weight gain. And as much as I have convinced myself in the past that I could totally have it all…health and happiness, while still maintaining a ridiculously small frame, it’s just not true.
Well there are a ton of reasons, but I am going back to science since that is the most helpful reality check I can find…
It has been proven that starvation causes this effect on the brain…and unfortunately starvation is typically what your body is in, when it is not at a “normal,” natural weight for YOUR body….
Inability to concentrate
Lack of interests other than food
Minimal to no Libido
These are just a FEW of the many things that occur when your mind and body are begging for food!…and overall, they lead to a pretty dull existence, no social life, friends, etc. But since I have known these things for a while (and I’m sure most of you all know them too!), and still haven’t been fully convinced to change, I have concluded that I (and perhaps you) have to find something more personal as motivation…
Enter the phrase “everything happens for a reason…”
This morning I was walking down the hallway at school, running an errand before the middle school homeroom, and I hear a small voice say, “CJ! CJ! Wait!” I turned around to see my younger cousin, Skylar, waving and speed walking toward me.
I was so excited to see her.
Another unfortunate thing that has occurred because of my ED behaviors is a distance between me and my Uncle Stu’s family. Uncle Stu was my father figure until Poppy came into my life. And even then, he still has, and always will be, the most influential male in my life. He lived with my mom and I when I was little, is very close with Ryan, walked me down the aisle at my wedding, and has always been there for me in every type of life event.
When I began pushing people away, he was pretty much the first to go. I pushed him the hardest because he was the first to be totally honest with me. You see Uncle Stu can be quite controversial…he is a tell-it-like-he-sees it kind of guy. You will always know where you stand, what he is thinking, and his opinion, regardless of if you want to or not. So when he would notice me slipping, he would be one of the first to bring it up.
I (CJ) secretly liked this because it showed me how much he cared, but my eating disorder did not. Ed did not like that he questioned me measuring my cereal when I lived with them after being in residential. Ed did not like when he questioned what behaviors I was still engaging in. And ED certainly did not like when Uncle Stu text me the day I came home from my last inpatient stay, and asked if it was necessary that I lift weights (THE DAY I GET HOME FROM BRANDYWINE HOSPITAL) in front of his impressionable pre-teen daughter, when she was already starting to have body image issues of her own.
That was the beginning of the end of our super-close relationship. What the eating disorder part of me heard was an accusation…
“See, no one believes you can actually recover…he is telling you that YOU are responsible for people saying Skylar is getting too thin, that she is following in your foot steps, and you are ruining the lives of all those you love most…Don’t you get it CJ, you need me because I am the only one that cares…”
So because I was still too engulfed with myself and my disorder, I totally listened. I believed every sick and twisted thing ED wanted to tell me. So when he whispered those nasty sentences in my ear, I intercepted that as “stay away from Uncle Stu and his family…”
And I am sad to say I listened.
Like I said the other day, when you push hard enough, for a good amount of time, people will eventually back off and take the hint, even though these are the times you need them most.
Seeing Skylar today was awesome, because I really miss her and she is growing up to be the most beautiful young woman! I swear she has grown a foot, has full, layered, blonde hair with bangs that make her look so much older than a 7th grader! And her smile just made my heart melt.
Instead of focusing on things like wanting to get back into running as my incentive to do well, or negative things like my Buddha belly, and pants that are getting tighter, as things that keep me down, I need to remember what is truly important to me, and what should be the ultimate motivation…that for me is family.
I want Skylar, Uncle Stu, Aunt Steph, little Stu, my sister, my mom, Ryan, Poppy, and numerous other people to be back into my life, fully, and I can’t achieve that without higher numbers of the scale.
It’s not like biology is trying to punish me, or provide me with even more self-hatred. It is simply trying to protect me, and all I hold dear, by making me understand how much I need to love myself, through nourishment and positive self-talk, to truly love others and let them love me.
So Skylar, thank gosh I saw you this morning. Someone truly must be watching over me because it seems as if anytime I needed an extra boost, it’s been there, plain as day for me to see. Or perhaps I am just more open to seeing it now.