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:

healing.

This past week has been busy. I finished my second year of university, accepted my college offer, and spent a lot of time at the children’s hospital visiting a friend. A friend that I hold very near to my heart and pray to God to give her strength constantly. Nonetheless, this meant visiting the hospital.

Hospitals. 

Oh how I wish I didn’t have to step foot in one ever again. Although there seems to be a difference between visiting others and going for yourself. You see, I spent a lot of high school in waiting rooms and doctors offices. I know hospital layouts like the back of my hand and can tell you the exact layout of the rooms I frequented the most often. But I would never go back in time and relive any of that. For a while, visiting friends at hospitals felt strange. Like I was going through a time warp and all of a sudden, I needed to be sick again. But the truth is, I was never sick enough to be admitted so I don’t need to be now.

My friend is sick. With many different chronic and mental illnesses who bounce behaviours and symptoms off each other erratically to create a dangerous tornado of issues. It’s sad to see her lying in a medical bed, hooked up to an IV with a tube down her throat to eat. But I know that she is strong and courageous and trying to live through it. She’s still surviving and staying strong, so I will stay strong for her. Today we were told that they are moving her to the locked psychiatric ward to deal with her eating disorder a little more focused and supported which means I will no longer be able to support her physically. I will only be able to send thoughts of strength and love and courage through God. I wish that things were different right now but I know it’s something she needs and I think deep down, she knows this too.

This week I laughed as I thought about all the changes that are happening in my life currently. Both negative and positive changes of course. This week I am going back to the high school that I graduated from and telling my teachers about the changes that I am making to my life. Like how I’m changing programs “drastically” or about my booked tattoo that I am getting next week or my trips into the US for concerts next month. What about how I passed an exam that had math on it? Or how I got a full-time, well paid job for the next 4 months? That I am a year self harm free? All of these are amazing things and definitely changes to be proud of. So I am.

I am also visiting a hospital on Friday though. Shocker I am sure lol. The hospital that I attended 5 days a week for 9 hours for 4 months during senior year. The place that helped me learn how to cope with gaining weight and completing school work and eating 3 meals/2 snacks all at once. The place where I completed a fucking journey and pulled myself out of my eating disorder two years ago. I am so happy to be going back and seeing the CYC’s that helped me so much.

Healing happens constantly. Shape shifting as we move from one part of life to the next. It can be messy and upsetting and difficult and slow, but it still happens.

Change is inevitable. Live it. 

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6

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

tumblr_okr1n7gTmO1ueupvwo1_1280

 

intentions.

I just received an email from my school regarding courses for next Fall. I laughed. I don’t think I’ll be needing those. My school calls them “Course Intentions”, like what we intend to take in the coming semester if we don’t flunk out or fail something. I think it’s hilarious right now. My intentions are forever changing. Daily.

I’m making a change next year, therefore I do not need to choose my courses. If it was up to me, I would drop out of university and take some time to focus on myself. I would enter a treatment facility and get a job and take my mental health more seriously. Unfortunately, I don’t have the power to do that right now. I’m a second year Child and Youth Care student (not the same as ECE – I swear). I am a second year student who’s giving up all that hard work to attend art school. Imagine my parents (who are both lawyers) opinion on this ??!

Art school. Somewhere to learn to express myself while also creating a business out of it. This decision has to do with my end goal. My life plan of starting my own music venue that doubles as an outreach centre for youth. Sounds so far away but with everyday that I learn something about the music industry or how to work with youth, I am getting a step closer to that goal.

I’m still waiting to hear back from the University I applied to. It seems annoying and silly because I’ve already been accepted to my top choice. A digital communications program at the college just an hour away. But my parents (again, lawyers – ugh) want their daughter to attend a University and receive a degree. Fun Fact: My college program is four years in which I’ll receive a degree at the end. So maybe it’s not about where you get your education. Or where you work. Or who hires you. Maybe it’s about more than that. Maybe it’s about being happy on your path through life.

Life is this journey. And I think we all just pretend that we know what’s really going on. But the truth is? Life is different for everyone. It’s constantly changing and morphing into something else. There’s no world where we don’t face difference and pain and truth. This is the universe that we were given. It’s all that we have. So why fight what the universe has planned for us? I chose art school over community services. I want to produce art whether it be on a screen or a stage. I want to make people happy. I want to find those who don’t like they fit and make sure that they know there’s a place here for them.

It took me years to realize that I could do something with the art I made. I wanted a way to connect my love for live music and my passion for photography. But I didn’t know how to get involved. No one teaches you that. It’s all about the lock and key of the universe. In a rapidly moving industry, it’s about the people you know, and I didn’t know anyone. That’s a different that I’ll tell eventually.

Intentions. We all have them. We all want to do something with them. Sometimes it just takes a bit longer than we want it to. Setbacks happen. It’s okay. We move on. Forward. Leave the past where it belongs, behind us. I’m still facing setbacks. It’s true. And I’m not quite sure when they’re going to stop. But I know that I can’t stop fighting them. I’m going to break through and when I do, I’m going to know what my intentions were. 

a searching.

Recently, I’ve been longing for some place to write. Share my dreams, thoughts, likes/dislikes. I have this vision for my future but it’s going to take a lot of time, patience and effort to reach that point of life. And to get there, I’ll have to give up parts of my life that I love just to find my own little piece of the universe. I have a lot of ideas that never get shared because to share them would be letting others in on what my mind looks like; a mess tbh. So this is a space for that I guess. My own space. My own piece of the universe.

I’m currently tucked into a small study space meant to be sat at but instead sitting on the table, my mother has just texted me to let me know that my pup was put down this morning, and I just failed a midterm. I guess you could say this is really not my day. But I take it all with a grain of salt because I know that everything happens for a reason and whatever this reason may be, I’ll roll with it. If I’ve learned anything in the past six years, it’s that rolling with what comes takes patience and strength yet in the long run it’s the best idea yet.

I am reaching a milestone in 2 weeks. In 2 weeks, I will be one year self-harm free. Ask me in high school, if I could have reached this and I would tell you it’s impossible. It still feels impossible. But I’m doing it. I’m reaching that point because I know I need to stop harming myself. It’s not to say that I’m anywhere ahead of where I’ve been the passed few years. My mental health; a mountain side of sheer ice and my ice picks are just barely breaking through right now. Who’s to say I won’t fall at any moment?

Yet here I am. Trying again and again. My dreams are not too far off. There is so much I am doing to grab just a little bit of the universe that I long for. Just under 10 months of 2017 left to get my start on things. I finally left the program I’ve been stuck in and got into my top college for next year. I’m still waiting on some other things right now but I am insanely excited for what is to come. The summer of adventures and road trips that I am planning. The year of self-recovery and exploration that I am taking. So much is happening and so much will happen.

It’s 2017 and I vow to live in the word of God. To live by his word and know that what happens is by His actions. I am only given what I can handle and if this is that, then that is His word and I will live by it.