resurrection.

It only seems fitting that as we celebrated the Jesus’ resurrection, I was resurrecting my eating disorder from the grave in which I buried it only months ago. Except I didn’t really bury it, did I?

From the moment my feet hit the ground, I was running. I was trying to move the boulder from the mountain. A grave I didn’t spend enough time on. Instead of burying my eating disorder, I buried myself. Pushed myself inside a crevice. Stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Instead of healing, I found suffering. Instead of sunlight, a black hole. There’s no such thing as beauty here. Silence kept. There was no word to share. No help to be given. Black holes are too destructive. I dug my grave long ago but I didn’t think I was worthy of saving.

The Bible says “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wiped from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town” (Luke 10:9-12)He believes that the power to heal, is in all those who believe. I’ve never believed in healing.

So instead, I have learned how to shrink away. Morph into someone so fragile and small that disappearing seems like the only real option to me. I heard once that God heals through both explainable and unexplainable ways. I guess they meant through science and through prayer. I’ve never asked someone to pray for me; too wary of asking for help – reaching out doesn’t seem to be my thing.

Another way to spell FAITH is R-I-S-K. I heard this in Alpha (Episode 15 | Does God Heal Today?) last night; I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from such an amazing program. Maybe this is something that I can believe in. For me, believing that God has the power to heal through others (both explainably and unexplainably) is a risk. I find it difficult to believe in healing through prayer because I don’t understand how some are chosen to be healed while some are not. In the book of Hebrews (11:1) it says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” 

A risk that I take everyday, is to believe that by the Grace of God things will get better with time. They say that the body heals itself, however it’s all through God. And I hope that through time and the space that I am allowed to embody, I will heal. Keeping hope gives power to believe in the risk-taking that will assure my healing.

I can’t heal without taking risks to better myself everyday. I breathe, pray, and believe that better things are coming.

He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26)

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hit the restart.

I keep restarting this blog post like one of these times, the magic will fly through my fingertips and I’ll finally get what I’m trying to say onto this page – the answer is that it won’t. No matter how hard I try to be poetic about what I am feeling these days, it comes out as if I just write ‘blah’ over and over again. So I guess this is starting over. And over. And over.

I’ve found some good music recently so that’s cool. A lot of new stuff came out on January 26th which was weird but I’ll run with it. That’s also the day that things restarted again. I left home on January 15th and returned on January 26th. I did a lot of thinking and searching while I was gone. I mean I wasn’t really gone but I was gone. I went to a youth shelter and tried to sort some parts of me out. Except I didn’t really sort anything out other than to realize that I have been pretending for so long that I know exactly what I need and don’t want to give that power to anyone else. And that I’ve been running for a while from anything that might actually help me.

Hard to explain but the only solid diagnosis I can run with right now is my eating disorder. I was never fully diagnosed with depression and my GAD (anxiety) was diagnosed at a very young age. So really, nothing is set in stone because mental health fluctuates with time…as does anything else !! really !!  So now I am home and hoping to get a real solid diagnosis and some direction of what to treat it with. I’ve been throwing towels on a flood FOR YEARS and let me tell you something, it’s NOT working. So I’m looking for something that might work better. Something that might hold.

I’ve been losing faith in myself, my parents, the system and God for a while now. I’m really unsure of where I’m going or what I’m doing right now. I’ve been running from what I think is one answer to another and its just making things worse right now. Nothing is getting better and it’s exhausting and all I do is KEEP IT TO MYSELF. How are people so open with everything except what is really happening???????

This is about the time in a post where I would pledge to something but I can’t because I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring or the next day or the next day. I’m not sure how to live for the day but I sure as heck cannot live for whatever life is going to throw in my face. It’s just not ideal.

I just want to be #livingmybestlife and right now, that’s just taking small steps forward. Kicking ass slowly. 

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sobriety is not just not drinking.

Today I am going to write the way I have not been able to write in the past few weeks; honestly.

I went to a meeting this evening, only knowing a few familiar faces. I am new to sobriety. No matter how many months I have under my belt, I do not consider myself significantly sober nor do I think I may ever. Tomorrow is my 6 months sober. Something I definitely never saw coming before today. These past months have been just that, the past. I can no longer look back and think about all the things that I did wrong because those cannot be changed.

Tonight, I opened up about something I had been dealing with for weeks, maybe even months; willfulness.

I have been halfassing my sobriety for months now. There is no other way to put it. In treatment, I was only sober because I had to be. Honestly that was the only thing that kept me from picking up a drink. And after that, it’s only been because of the amount of time that has lapsed since I stopped. But back to the willfulness okay?

My sobriety has not been about taking my will back from a higher power. It has been blaming every bad thing that comes to me on someone else. I have blamed my family for all my shortcomings. I blamed my early discharge on my lack of control & the team for believing my lies about being safe that weekend. I blamed my parents for the lack of control I have in my life right now. I blamed my friends for wanting to drink at a party. I blamed the guy who brought his beer into the crowd. I have blamed everyone except myself and my addictions for my own shortcomings.

These past two weeks have certainly not been easy AND I have not done anything to make it easier on myself. I have purposely put myself in vulnerable situations and continued to risk my sobriety for others to have a good time. No matter how many times I try to justify my actions, there is no good that comes from any situation.

On Friday, I attended a friends birthday party knowing alcohol would be available. And although I can attest to staying dry, I did use as a way of feeling something else.

On Saturday, I attended an all ages concert knowing alcohol would be available. And although I did keep my sobriety, I was offered it multiple times. I know that without the friends who knew of my sobriety being there, I probably would have accepted it.

On Sunday, I celebrated my birthday with 10 other people of whom I was the only sober person and decided upon as the designated drive. I did keep my sobriety but not without constant thoughts of relapse.

Finally tonight, I got myself to a meeting where I honestly shared these faults with others at AA. I shared about my shortcomings, the untimely struggles of my sobriety, and my lack of willingness to commit fully to the program. Sharing is hard. I don’t enjoy sharing my struggles with others.

Step 3 is accepting the help of God or of a higher power. I like to pretend that I have done so, yet I struggle to ask for support when needed. I can only fully commit to this rigorous program when I start to work wholeheartedly towards my own sobriety. This belief that all is well if I attend meetings and admit my powerlessness goes nowhere if I don’t work towards a better life value.

Today I am accepting the help I deserve. Today I am making a self-conscious decision to stay sober. Today I am grateful to be sober.

Gratitude List (December 25, 2017):

  1. Tonight’s meeting
  2. The ride home a kind soul gave me
  3. My warm bed
  4. A hot meal
  5. My sobriety

“Cast all you anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” – Philippians 4:13

addict? alcoholic? both.

I’m home this weekend for a change. This time it’s different though, I’m not trying to figure out what I want out of treatment and I’m not neck deep in an eating disorder. I am home because I am doing well, I am recovering. And it’s strange, I feel heavy yet light. I feel like my hopes have been lifted, that my dreams are no longer muted.

I’ve been reading the Steps in hopes that I will begin working towards something more. I haven’t been able to say it in a meeting yet. I can’t even fathom saying it to my therapist but I can put it here. Something to look back on in a few years.

Back when I came home in November, my mother had gone through my room and searched for all the things that I had hidden. And when I came home, I found the items that she had not found; the blades and laxatives. So this time, she came to my room and I took it all out, I handed it all over. I surrendered to recovery, whole-heartedly. It was hard. So hard that I wanted to cry or scream a few times. It was when I found the last cigarette that her trust in me really crumbled. She was disappointed and worried; I understood. I had been smoking on and off since grade nine, I was relying on alcohol to get through some days since grade eleven, and I was using marijuana just to cope with the underlying chaos. All of this took a toll on me, all the missing memories, empty wallets. If you thought just having an eating disorder was bad, imagine restricting so hard and then getting high just to eat before coming down and purging just to light another cigarette to ease the empty feeling and drinking to forget it all again. This was my life for a while; on and off for years.

The worst is the justification: “I’m a responsible addict. I’m a responsible alcoholic.”

There is no way to be both responsible and an addict. There is no way to be responsible and an alcoholic. It’s not a lifestyle worth living. It’s fucking hell. It’s planning out your day just to use without being caught or needing to go home. It’s missing social outings because you’re too weak or hungover to move. It’s having to do more and more each time just to numb any feelings. It’s the pain you feel when you come down.

I was warned for years of the dangers behind addictions. I was first addicted to the pain, and then to the numbness. I was never able to believe that I was worthy of anything else but the pain. I still struggle to see that I am worth it on a day to day basis. I was told it was hereditary, and I replied that it “wouldn’t happen to me”. I was the good kid. I was the responsible kid.

Addiction and mental health walk hand in hand. Both are deadly. Both can be silent killers. But they are best friends. At some point, I forgot what it was like to actually feel anything. I’ve missed so much because I was just working to numb the pain; a full time job. Something I couldn’t quit, EVER.

Somedays I am ashamed of what I have done and the fact that I can never pick up a drink without falling down a rabbit hole. I’ve dug myself out as best I can by myself and now I surrender everything to a higher power and begin a journey to feeling. I know I can’t do it alone any longer, too many slips and relapses to point it out. I can only be me; unapologetically. I can’t reminisce for who I was in the past and I can’t worry about who I am going to be tomorrow but just for today, I can be myself.

I was 4 months sober last week. It’s going to a long and hard journey but here I am, doing it.

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” – 1 John 1:9

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” – James 4:10

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pass.

I’m home. Oh boy, I am home. And I am terrified. A 48hr therapeutic pass is not how I wanted to spend the rest of the week but it’s also not something I wasn’t expecting. Yeah I’m struggling. But struggle is just another word for GROWTH. So I guess you could say that’s exactly what I am doing; growing. It only fits that the card I chose earlier this morning in Horticulture was “growth” and what I wrote while I had felt drawn to this card, speak for themselves. That’s the cool thing about vibes and stuff, they really speak to you when you need them to.

I guess it’s the same thing about God, eh? He’s there when you want him, and there when you might not but He doesn’t push His wisdom upon you. He lets you wander without worry or fear but He also lets you make choices that may make life harder. It’s all a learning process. Honestly I’m not processing as I write this post; something a staff member told me to do while I journaled during these next 48hrs.

While I recount today based on when I awoke to now @ 10:30pm, here are some victories I’d like to share and remember:

  • got out of bed and dressed before breakfast
  • wasn’t late for groups
  • took team meeting well and was mature about decision
  • called mom and asserted my needs about needing a ride home
  • figured out 2 days of meals & most of my pass plan for 48hrs
  • owned up to mistakes and told the rest of the community
  • fucking pissed ED off and ate dinner!!!!!
  • talked to mom in car about recovery needs/goals
  • went grocery shopping with mom
  • had snack on time (+extra fruit) cause hunger!!!!
  • felt full & planned on showering but instead did some work and didn’t isolate
  • used “check the facts” skill effectively
  • refrained from body checking in mirror when i went to shower
  • did not body check after shower or follow urges to find scale & weigh myself
  • did my laundry
  • took nighttime meds!!!!

Yes the car ride home was over 2 hours long and it pushed some things back but I still managed cause sometimes that’s what happens and you just gotta roll with the punches!! So yeah, ya gurl is back.

FUcking 4 hours home and the motivation is already building. Also did something cool and reached out to my youth leader, J, about coming by to talk/visit this weekend since I won’t have a pass once I am back!!!!

Also getting my hur did tomorrow morning #recoverygoals

 

decisions.

I have so many decisions to make and I have to make most of them by Friday….eeek…..to say I am anxious is probably an understatement. Honestly, these decisions will most likely decide how the next year and a half end up going. SCARY.

Let me preface this post with some background on what’s happened in the past 24hrs: 

  • I had my assessment with the main eating disorder program in my city
  • I had my original diagnosis change from anorexia or OSFED
  • I was given 2 options for day treatment programs in my city
  • I used some specific behaviours (binging) for the first time in weeks
  • I went home and laid everything out on the table with my mom
  • We discussed different treatment options and what I could potentially do in the fall
  • We discussed reaching out to a friends family about their experience in the system
  • We discussed going on the list for both treatment options but also looking into a residential program
  • We discussed my passive suicidal thoughts and what those mean
  • We discussed coping strategies and putting supports in place for the summer
  • I went to group and brought up a lot of my uncertainties with having options now
  • I talked to my group facilitator and based on what I’ve described, she thinks one of the programs would be most improving of my health

Honestly it was a lot and I haven’t fully processed a lot of things that were said. I need to work through it but in reality, I have until Friday to make my decision about what I want to do in terms of treatment. It’s no secret anymore that I am struggling and that I need the treatment. It’s the decision of taking time off of school for an entire year or semester and entering a day program where a lot of the control is still on me.

In reality, residential is not ideal because I’ll just be leaving my home environment and learning how to act in another environment which can be detrimental to my mental health because I will more likely come home after and relapse right away.

One of the day programs only runs 3 nights a week for 4 hours and includes a lot of meal prep however this would mean stepping up and taking responsibility for eating meals on my own — something I struggle with everyday.

The other program runs everyday from 12-6pm and includes 2 meals + 1 snack. More ideal. They also help transition back into the real world after a month or so and if I’m being honest, it seems scary but also includes what I most likely need. The waitlist for this program would most likely have me starting in the fall instead of going back to school and as much as not having the structure of school in my life, the stress would most likely be too much and cause me to relapse again (something I really don’t want).

Here’s some background on OSFED otherwise known as Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder. Defined in the DSM-5 as:

A person with who presents with many of the symptoms of other eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating Disorder but will not meet the full criteria for diagnosis of these disorders.

Being diagnosed with this eating disorder made me feel like a fake because I didn’t feel that my eating disorder was serious enough to need treatment. I’m not underweight nor do I purge anymore or frequently take laxatives or diuretics. I am no longer as obsessively weighing myself or walking long distances for no reason other than to burn calories. So to hear that I need treatment was difficult. I was ready to be turned away and told that I don’t need the level of care any treatment facilities in Toronto offer.

Having OSFED kind of changed my perspective on my eating disorder. The fact that it is constantly shifting and metamorphosing the longer I progressed deeper into my eating disorder. Since the beginning of my struggle to have a relationship with food deemed /normal/, my symptoms and behaviours have changed each time that I relapse. And I usually relapse yearly….like clockwork. It’s exhausting yet even my eating disorder is structured lol can you believe that?

And to be honest, none of the rules that come along with each relapse make any sense. The things that I can and cannot eat change every time. Sometimes pasta is my only safety and other times it’s blueberry muffins. Sometimes I’m allowed to have liquids while I restrict and other times it’s full on restricting with nothing but a few cups of water.

Where is the compromising? Where do these decisions come from?

Honestly I wish I could pinpoint it in my mind but I am unable to do so. It’s so messy and entwined with my depression and anxiety. Having really bad depression days means I am less likely to leave the house and I can restrict in peace without worrying about most likely binging on my way home at night. Bad anxiety days mean I am more strict with what I eat and get increasingly anxious the longer I go into a fast because I am more likely to binge at the end to “ruin” everything. So I guess neither option is really an option because both ways end in negative reactions. Most days I have been stuck in a restrict/binge cycle that can only be broken at the end of a breakdown where I usually use other behaviours to counteract a binge like laxatives/purging/diuretics.

What am I actively doing to help myself cope as I make these decisions and face the outcomes?

Nothing. I know that I need to call one of the programs tomorrow and ask some questions. I also need to talk to my mom and really lay out the possibility of taking an entire year off of school – something that I have never done and really struggle to make happen. I need to make time to self care instead of relying on keeping myself as busy as possible because that makes me more likely to restrict and then end up binging. I am reaching out to my social worker and getting referred to a psychologist who works with eating disorders and anxiety/depression. I talked to my support group facilitator about private practice support as well (people she trusts and would recommend) and I am trying to be more open about my mental health with my mom.

I am so lost and calling out to God to help me through this difficult time. I don’t have much direction and I am not sure where to find it as I continue to struggle with who I am and what I want in life. I have so much that I want to accomplish but I know that I cannot do it while so wrapped up within my eating disorder. I am thinking that it might be time to take a step back from the music and photography communities and focus on self care in the simplest forms of sleep and other things that I used to do. I am neglecting so many things because my drive has me making last minute plans to shoot shows and then not being happy with the outcomes because my mood is fluctuating constantly. It would be a really tough decision and definitely not one made in haste but honestly it has been a long time coming. My heart might be there but my mind is not and I need to get back on my ‘A’ game. Honestly I need to take my energy, time and focus away from photography and put it towards my mental health.

I am not taking care of myself. I am coasting down a mountain side and the longer that I go, the faster I speed and eventually I am going to fall off.

This spiral has been going on for way too long and I really need to reassess the constants in my life.

For You are my rock and my fortress; For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me. – Pslam 31:3

Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. – Pslam 119:105

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16

Some resources on OSFED and other eating disorders:

time.

It’s been awhile…probably not the amount of time most people would start a blog post with but for me, a week is a long time. A lot can happen in a week. My mood can soar, dip and maintain; all in a week. Why? Why has it been awhile? Why have I not been here? I guess the simple answer is: time. I have no time right now. I guess that is technically a lie since I watched Greys Anatomy all day instead of studying for either of my finals but who cares….

This past weekend was Easter Sunday. I know…a really important weekend in the Christian faith. And I even pondered the idea of attending church on Sunday morning since I missed the Good Friday service at my church. However I don’t really view it as ‘my’ church anymore and I have yet to find a church that makes me feel comfortable so right now I am “churchless” and that’s okay. I am not without God even though I don’t belong to a congregation. That’s not how this works. Instead, Sunday morning I woke up and went downtown to the local children’s hospital and visited a friend who was admitted earlier in the weekend. And I think God might have been okay with that because instead of sitting in a pew praying for myself, I was sitting bedside praying for my friend. So I think it’s alright.

Time. I’ve been taking a lot of time for myself recently. 

I’m not sure I find the same solace in my friends as I used to and this scares me. We are drifting and yet I am somehow okay with it. I have spent so much time fighting against God and what He has planned for me that I forgot to listen to His messages. And there have been messages. Like the pit I get in my stomach before I get home and my parents are upset with me, or the headaches I get when my mental health is sinking. All these signs are because God is helping me find my path. He knows that in order for me to be happy, I need to attend the school that is right for me and that might mean not getting into the University my parents would rather I attend. I am grateful for the love and support that He gives me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have been taking time and it is helping me. I am realizing what I want and who I would like to become. I know now that I need to better myself as a human being. Instead of doing things to better myself, I need to help better others. It’s not a one-man show, it’s a community play and I am ready for that. I want to lead a life worth living and that might mean finding the strength to let my parents meet the real me.

It’s strange to try and separate the two sides of my life but depending on who’s around, that is who they see. A half person. Lonely and half-filled, while I long for more. I recently bought a ticket to a concert in a city 7hrs away (in another country) where I will drive to with a friend. And I haven’t told my parents. At first, I blamed the fact that Mercury was in Retrograde (I believe in it) but I know that it was more of God’s plan. He knows that no matter how much my parents love me, they need to start letting go of the control and this is the first step. I believe that I am living for Him. Not my parents and not my friends or professors or even really me. I know that I need to stop working against His word because he has a plan. 

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. – Psalms 16:11

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – James 1:5

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