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A Formally Impossible Weekend

Posted May 07 2012 4:38am

It was a hoot and a half reading some of your answers to the questions from yesterday’s post! I love how many similar things I had with people, always great to know I can relate to others and you all feel the same on some issues too!

Alright so let’s get right into it today!

So yes this past weekend… overall it was just a great time, and it was a weekend that really needed to happen. It needed to occur in order to give myself a reminder of why I continue to challenge myself each day and work towards freeing both my mind and body of the clutches of this constricting illness. The past few days were a bit of a nudge, a poke to keep on going, and now I will be able reflect on such days during the times that become hard once again, the times that old habits feel so “good” to fall back into.

**Picture-heavy and wordy post coming your way, just wanted to preface this… even though I said otherwise yesterday, whoops. :)

Graduation day is looming and right now I am here, on this campus, a young woman, a senior in college who deserves to enjoy her last moments as an undergraduate student. For most people this involves being with friends, going out to eat and sharing a dining experience, drinking, partying, playing games, going on adventures… all fun stuff that gets you out and about, and making memories with the people you are going to be leaving so soon.

Unfortunately my college experience has not been a typical one, as I have been living with a disease that simply will not quit. We are all aware of the physical health effects of an eating disorder, but what about the mental ones? How about constant sadness, depression, isolation, almost intolerable anxiety, constant stress, anger, angst… an ability to be around others or go out anywhere for fear of being judged, or not having access to your safe foods, not being able to eat when you “need” to….

These inevitable effects are terrible to experience, and you so badly want them to just go away so you can finally feel normal again, but when it actually comes to making the necessary changes to get better, it becomes overwhelming and seemingly impossible. The habits, rules, restrictions, routine, and foods you live by are the most important thing in the entire world, and breaking any kind of connection from these is the path to failure, weight gain, destruction, and unfathomable sadness.

When you are so tightly controlled by your own self, having any sort of fun is just not possible. Even during the rare times when you go get the nerve to venture out, be around others and try to act “normal,” it’s mentally exhausting, scary, and not okay. Running back to your “perfect” routine feels so much better and you settle in nicely there, not needing anything or anyone else.

This is what the disorder does to you, takes away your life, your happiness, your friends, any memories you might have made, adventures you could have gone on, interesting foods you might have tasted… stolen away until you are left with nothing but the satisfaction in your ability to control yourself in some way around food and your ease in manipulating your body. Joy, delight, a passion for life… what and where are these things when immersed in the depths of the disorder? They are nonexistent.

I am so scared to have life pass by before me. Existing and going through the motions, but not really living, not ever experiencing all that a lifetime on this Earth has to offer. This is a terrifying thought, and something that could become a reality if I don’t continue working toward a freedom that I deserve.

As I said earlier, this is my last few days on campus, and I refuse to look back on this time years from now and remember nothing special about it… other than eating my “safe foods’ sticking with my special routine, and not ever really engaging with others because I cannot handle it. So I am doing something about it, and have been for the past year and some months now, making the effort to get better so my fears of living a lackluster life do not become my reality.

This past weekend I went out, was with my friends and family constantly, ate out to dinner, went to events and parties during my preferred eating times, made plans during parts of the day I prefer to be alone, didn’t get as much sleep as I like, drank a lot of alcohol one of the nights because I can, danced, partied… I was “normal” for a change, and goodness did it feel good.

I was able to do these things because of my own determination to beat this thing down, to prove to myself that I can be out and about, act young and normal, without sacrificing everything I have worked hard for. It’s still possible to live a healthy lifestyle and also have a life that is beyond the rigid control that I have so long believed to be required. That whole balance and moderation thing actually yields legit results… who wouldaaa thunk?!

Thursday night I dined out in Amherst with the rest of my RA staff- at a restaurant I was unfamiliar with, during a time that is absurdly (to me) early to eat at, with people that may make comments about food… and guess what? It was fun, and I loved being with these people, my friends who I have been working hard with all year.

Friday was fantastic! It was the senior “commencement” ball, formal attire required, dancing guaranteed and which I happily payed 25 dollars to attend. The dance started at 9 pm, but I started to get ready at my friends around 5:30 so we would have enough time to beautify, take pictures and pregame before going (cash bar= no bueno)…. but oh no, this is during the time I like to eat dinner, not talk to anyone, and do my own thing! Oh-friggen-well, life happens sometimes.

It was fine of course, I just brought a sandwich with me to eat there, got ready, hung out with friends… so normal, no big deal- must keep proving to myself that this is in fact true (because it is!)

Thank goodness my friend helped me with my hair as it started out as this:

Hhahaha. To this!

Thanks Libby for helping me with my hair did ;) . We met up a bunch of other people (I didn’t know more than half of them, but oh well) and did a prom-style shoot before leaving for the dance, just for fun!

She was my hot date ;)

There was a time that I debated even going to this dance because of the usual reasons- don’t want to be out late, spend money, eat unfamiliar food, have to plan rides, make an effort to be with others, and so on. Umm good lawd what was I even thinking?! I could have missed out on this night by being safe and afraid and letting the disorder dictate my weekend. Nope!

The entire night was great- I errr may or may not have consumed a bit too much booze and then proceeded to have a rough day on Saturday… worth it though. Worth the fear of the calories, toxins, “bad stuff” yadda yadda, because going nuts like that and dancing like a mad woman every so often is just awesome, well in my opinion :)

Like I said, I was not feeling too great on Saturday, so decided fresh air would do me some good. I walked to the farmer’s market an used book sale (heaven for me!) in town by myself, as alone time is something I still very much need, yet I am understanding that is not a constant necessity.

It is okay that there are moments that I need to be by myself, just figuring out what the core of those moments are is the task at hand… is it stemming from the eating disorder or my personality? A question that I am always seeking to answer correctly.

It's Emily Dickinson! These statue people always impress me.

I went to the gym at one point later that day (not in the morning, woah, and it was not a big deal… just a part of my day… so much less angst around this) and then that night met up with my dad for a lacrosse game!

The UMASS Men’s lacrosse team is doing quite well this year, they are ranked in the top three in the country right now and yesterday they were playing against Drexel at UMASS. My dad is a major lacrosse fan, he played himself in college and helps to coach it, so going with him to the game was wonderful.. plus he can explain to me what the heck is going on. I know so sad that I don’t know haha.

Oh and cannot I just say... the lacross game reminded me how mcuh I like men, woah baby ;)

They won, 18-12! Fantastic game, made even better by watching it with dad :) For the record, this game started at 7 pm, also during my special eating dinner time. It was fineeee, I modified my schedule, ate earlier and was able to enjoy my experience there without being so damn worried about what and when I was going to eat.

After the game ended, I drove on over to my friend’s house, the same people I went to the dance with, and helped to celebrate birthdays for two of the people there :)

Silly pants :) I was hungry when I was there and instead of leaving and consuming “safe” foods of mine, they offered me some chips, dip and guac, which was just fine for me… was hungry, ate food, did not feel guilt, and moved on… how normal, love it!

I didn’t stay out too late that night, as I was exhausted from Friday, but of course it was still lovely to see them, hang out with others, and just have a nice time without over-thinking every damn detail and plan.

And here we are on Sunday, where I am currently sitting in the library writing out this epically long post and realizing what a just… nice… weekend I had. I was able to enjoy these few days because I was mentally allowing myself to have a good time. I chose to push myself, give the nudge I need to get out there, make schedule changes accordingly, eat food but not obsess, and most importantly, have a FUN time, a weekend that I so deserve to have.

It would be a blatant like to say that the thought were not there… the anxiety and stress that is scary and tempts me to isolate, stick to what I know and remain “safe.” Just.can’t.though.

If I give in to the disorder, my “fears” of food, weight, friends, losing control of my environment, being out of my comfort zone, and so on, this will prevent such a weekend, heck a life! I get upset even thinking about this… reflecting on the fact that if I had not started letting go of this debilitating mental illness, what I would have missed out on. I have already missed out on so that life has to offer, but I have the ability to stop this from continuing.

I know that everyday is not going to be sunshine, butterflies and rainbows. I was in a great mental state this weekend and enjoyed myself. But there will be days that are just “blah…” where I feel fat for no freakin reason at all, that I won’t want to eat what I need to, where staying in my comfort zone seems so much easier than stepping out of it. And then I will think of what I missed out on, the opportunities and adventures I turned down, the people I could have met, the memories I could have made….

You know what those sort of thoughts give me? A major wake up call and the drive to keep this recovery process going. That’s what I plan to do, and when the tougher days occur (which I know they will) I will be ready for them- ready to counteract them with the decisions that I know are right.

I would love to hear from you…

-Do you ever worry that your choices, whatever they are and wherever they come from, has led to miss out on parts of life?

-Do you have regrets about past or present decisions? Is this worth dwelling on or do you actively work to move on from such thoughts?

-To the college grads out there, did you have any senior festivities for the last few weeks on campus? What was your favorite event/memory during this time?

-When was the last time you dressed up formal for an event?

-How was your weekend? Share any and all things that you did!

Have a great Monday my friends! :)

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