/little/ girl.

I picture myself as a little girl, smiling…no…tight lipped, almost a frown and not happy being at school. A place I never really fit in but did I really fit in anywhere as a child? Camp? No. Home? No. With others? No. I guess there’s the answer. Constantly as a child I was condoned for being tall and slim. It was a constant compliment. And all I wanted to do was stay that way. So when the comments stopped, my first thought was to become small again. If I could just go back to being a little girl, others would want me present again. To be honest, thinking about those statements make me tear up. Is there trauma hidden behind that statement? Why am I no longer my parents little girl and why does that thought bother me sososo much?

I question this a lot now. Specifically the more I think about how much I dislike being stuck somewhere. Especially now that I don’t like being home. I can’t be a little girl when I constantly want to escape. Why do I want to escape from here so badly? What is keeping me stuck here like a magnet? A negative attraction that I so badly want to escape. What is this pull?

Recently my mum asked me about the underlying issues behind my eating disorder. Why had I turned to restricting so harshly and tearing my body apart all those years ago? Why did I start attacking my skin with a blade? Why was I so upset with myself? She thinks that I know the real reason and I’m not telling anyone. And as much as I almost wish that was the case, I know it not to be the truth. I wish I could understand why I am so anxious and paranoid all the time. I wish I could understand my feelings and thoughts and some how piece together this puzzle to reach an understanding.

What trauma did that little girl face all those years ago? What hit me so hard that my mind needed to hide me from it? What is my eating disorder protecting me from? All these questions I want to ask yet I am not sure I really want the answers to. Do I want to open this can of worms and reach around in the darkness? Not really. Do I want to stay invisible and long to be a little girl again but also long to escape from this city completely? No.

The more it weighs down on me, the more I become tight chested and choked up. It’s exhausting and emotionally testing to believe that something happened as a child that has caused me to become a shell of a person. I am no longer a shell but I am because all I want is to be their little girl again.

 

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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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unknown.

I keep searching for somewhere to go or someone else to become because I’m not happy in my current situation. Sounds big headed or close minded when I think about it in depth. But I am truly unhappy with my current standings in this universe. It could be from many factors though:

  1. I just took a 9-5 summer job working in an office deleting data.
  2. I’m 19, living at home and I still have to ask for permission before I go anywhere.
  3. I am in school.

No matter how grateful I am for all of these opportunities, there is so much of the universe I have yet to find and I feel trapped because of those factors. I want to travel across Canada and visit the West Coast. I have dreams to visit multiple National and Provincial Parks. I want to tour with bands and sell merch. I want to get my photography published. I want to take photographs for magazines and websites and companies. I want to live a life worth fulfilling.

But I am not there yet. And I know that I should look at everything happening right now as a stepping stone in the river of my life. God is sending me in this direction because something good will come from it. However, sometimes it feels like I’m being tossed off the side of a mountain. With every fight my father and I have over a concert or travelling to a new place. With every night that I don’t sleep and every class I am too tired to attend. The world feels like it’s ending and I so badly want to escape.

So where is the escape hatch? Where is my little pod to eject off the side of this planet? How do I get away?

The answer is: I don’t. 

Is it even possible to be somewhere you didn’t choose to be? I guess that’s the thing with making choices. Until you are an adult and you have cut ties from your parents in financial ways ????

I guess I have to trust Him for this path. Someone once told me that if God didn’t want me to go in one direction, it would be difficult to get there. I wish I could trust in that thought but there is so much left for me to do and being held back due to career or family isn’t something I can dig. I am grateful for all that my family has provided me with yet I so dearly want to discover the universe on my own terms.

I want to visit multiple parts of Southern Canada this summer and I’ve got plans to do it. I have two weeks between my last exam and my first day of work. I have about sixteen weekends to explore the universe before I enter a new part of my life. School.

I’ve been thinking about how I want to fill my time these days. As I write this, I am sitting in my teenage bedroom surrounded by walls; half torn down, on my bed. I recently had some friends over who commented on the fact that I still sleep in a single bed. As if it mattered? As if I should sleep in a bigger bed now? Where do these ideas come from? If I purchased a larger bed, I wouldn’t have as much room for my desk and record player and book shelves and guitar. All these things that seem so small and unimportant but they mean something to me. Crazy…I know.

So I took this summer job and I changed my availability to be able to explore the universe but I did it to create some relationship with my parents again. A relationship that I have been tearing apart since grade nine. And it’s not like it was very strong before that anyway. Sad. A lot has happened since I found God and a home within His universe. Sometimes I’m not sure I am wanted by Him either but I know I have a place somewhere. I guess it will just take some time to find that place.


Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change. And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea. – Psalm 46:2

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direction.

I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching recently. In a rather abrupt turn of events, I realized my draw towards life and love is lacking. I am disconnected from the universe. I want more. I want love and wisdom and strength and courage. I want to give myself to the Lord, a saviour, to move forward. It’s hard to be stuck here. I reached out a Rev yesterday in search of some direction.

When I was seven or eight, I attended a Baptist overnight camp. The place I was at during the summer was a religious area and each camp was run by a different denomination however there were no United camps so I was sent with my cousins to that one. I was given a Bible on the first day of the week and we did a bible study every morning and evening before bed. Everything was tied back to the message of the Lord. I only attended for two summers before going to a camp with no religious ties. Sometimes I wish I had stayed there and worked with my journey but I realize this was a stepping stone in my story that I needed to follow.

Yesterday, I messaged my old youth pastor who lives in another city nowadays and asked for some direction as to what kind of bible may be good in terms of searching for some direction while making my way through recovery from an eating disorder. He told me that I had made his day because of this. Because I was reaching out and asking for guidance from someone who has devoted his life to serving God in one of the highest ways. I want to believe that the Lord wants me in His life the way that I want Him in mine. The Rev directed me towards a ‘message’ Bible or ‘study’ Bible. I’m sure to him it doesn’t mean much more than someone wanting to follow in the word of God. But for me, it’s direction. I am so lost right now. I’m not quite sure what I am going to be doing next week or next year but I know that God can be a part of my life and that means so much.

I wasn’t baptized until grade 11. My parents decided to let my siblings and I decide if we wanted to be a part of a faithful community and I am happy that they did. I don’t believe I would have found God if I had been forced into his word from the beginning. I am happy that I was fortunate to make that decision on my own. My decision to get baptized didn’t come hastily. It took a lot of careful thought and discussion. It wasn’t until after all of my friends continued through their journey with Christ through Confirmation that I realized I wanted that life, however I didn’t have the time in my schedule. I still have a chance to be Confirmed and I want to be. I want this life. I want to give my life to the Lord and follow him in life.

It’s hard to explain what’s been going on recently. A lot of time spent wondering where I am going on this path I am walking. I want to be free and happy and strong. I want so much for the universe, I’m just not sure how to do it yet.