Backseat Driver

Imagine you were on a road trip with some friends.  Someone in the back keeps telling you how to drive.

Go through the red!  Go faster!  Forget the stop sign!  Have a beer!

Would you listen?  Would you do those careless things?

I bet you wouldn’t.  But the voice continues.

Finally, you have had enough.

SHUT THE F$%^ UP!  I’m fed up.  Keep your mouth closed!

An Eating Disorder is exactly that.   A backseat driver.  You get to take the lead, you are in control and you get to make the decisions.  The commands coming from the back are not smart, rational and are extremely dangerous.  They may keep yelling at the top of their lungs but you don’t have to listen.

Your eating disorder is trying to dictate how you should live your life.  How to destroy it.  But you have the power to do right from wrong.  You are in charge of you.  Forget the backseat driver.  The voice might be loud but your hands are on the wheel.

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An Extra Blog Today. In Honour of my Mom.

Last night my parents came over for dinner.  I always love our time together.  No matter how old I get, I know in their eyes I will always be their little girl.  And that’s fine by me.

I told them how today was a big day.  An accomplishment.  Something I haven’t achieved in 8 months.  They were so happy.  So proud.  Elated.  That made me feel good.

As they were leaving my mom turned around and said, “I’m so proud of you.  Keep it up.  I can’t wait for you to tell me it’s been 6 months.  We will do something to celebrate it when you get there.”

She didn’t say if you get there.  She said when you get there.

One small word can make all the difference in a sentence.  She doesn’t hope or think that I can achieve sobriety for 6 months.  She knows I can.  She is confident that I will beat this thing.

Imagine for a moment being the mother to a grown women with three kids.  Someone that should have all of their shit together and be able to live their life with strength and make the right decisions.  But we are human after all.  We make mistakes, we experience triumph and tragedy.  It doesn’t matter if you are male, female, young, old, wealthy, poor, tall, short, underweight or overweight.  We are human.  We will live and learn.  We will learn and live.

So my mother was telling me that she is proud and praying to gd that I will continue down the path to recovery.  Life is about  learning from the lessons you experience.  Making your life a happy one.  You get to decide.  You get to wake up in the morning and determine how you will manage your day.  You.  Nobody else.  And this is what I have chosen to do for the past 21 days.  I have had several opportunities to take laxatives.  Today would be a great day.  Accessible.  Opportunity and certainly motive.  But I take the lessons I have learned from the past and decide that I will cope and use the strategies I need to manage my day.  And make it a good one.  I get to spend time with my kids, enjoy the extremely summer like temperatures, take my middle son to baseball tryouts and probably squeeze in a visit to Dairy Queen.  I choose that over taking laxatives, feeling nauseous, ending up in the washroom, getting to bed early and missing out on bedtime stories.  Again.

So mom, (even though she rarely reads my blog – still too difficult for her).  We will celebrate when I reach the 6 month mark.  Not if.  When.

I F’ing Did It!!!

Three weeks.  21 days.

Holy fucking shit!

My last milestone was completing 18 days.  I vowed that moving forward I wouldn’t “start” over because one slip up doesn’t erase the successful days.  But it just didn’t feel right.  I want my milestones to be based on a series of good days without any backwards steps.  That works for me.

And I did it.

Three weeks ago, I did have a slip up.  Not a big one, not a bad one – but still a step backwards.  But three weeks!!??  Are you kidding me?  In the grand scheme of things that isn’t a lot.  I’ve been doing this for 20+ years.  But, you have to begin somewhere and every time I complete these milestones I celebrate a step in the right direction.  And three weeks is huge for someone that use to take hundreds of laxatives every 2-3 days.  So instead of looking at it as something small and insignificant, I praise myself for working my ass off to recover and to save my life.  I feel strong.  I feel confident.  I feel happy and I feel a sense of accomplishment.

It certainly hasn’t been easy.  Giving up a part of yourself never is.  But if it’s something that is killing you, it’s something that is worth every struggle, every tear and every heartache.  The rewards are so much better.

A New Year. A New Start.

On December 31st, 2016 I tried to not bring ED into 2017.  I wanted a clean slate.

I failed.  But, that doesn’t mean I give up.  There is always time and there is always room to make changes and to start again.

So today is that day for me.

It’s been a great couple of weeks for me.  The start of the end.  The end to my demons. It’s the Jewish New Year and is a time to reflect on the past 12 months.  Make changes. Continue with good habits.  I’ve been making changes.  Little ones that are turning into big ones.  The light at the end of this tunnel is called recovery.  Every little step I take helps me reach that goal.

My little brother said to me a couple of nights ago, “Seems like you are having more fun than the monster lately.”  Monster indeed.  Demons.  Devil.  Hell.  There is no better way to describe an eating disorder.

Pain, torture, distress, torment, horrendous, affliction, agony, horrifying, misery, depressing, suffering, anguish, burden, nightmare.  I think you get the idea.  It is an awful world to live in and a terrible life to give up to such a debilitating disease.

So, as we welcome in the year 5778, I look forward to my new beginning.  My clean slate and my fresh start.  I know it won’t be perfect.  But life isn’t about being perfect.  It’s about the effort you put into it.  And I am giving it everything I have to continue down the path that is much better than the hell I’ve been living.

You almost have cancer

What if you were told that you didn’t have cancer, but if you continued your life the way you were living it, you would get cancer.

I’ll take a stab at it.

You would stop whatever you were doing to prevent a death sentence, am I right?  You would do anything and everything to make sure this wouldn’t happen.  Anything!

I was at the doctor yesterday to review my test results.  Nothing alarming, but a few things were “off”.  As my brother put it, everything is okay, but on the borderline of not being okay.  I did question why, for example my iron is so much lower than it was 6 months ago when I’ve been doing better recently.  Why are my hormones so out of wack?  Why are my calcium levels dropping?  Why?  I’ve been treating my body better and yet it’s not reacting the way I would want to or expect it to.

Because my body is rebelling.  For years and years I have tortured it and treated it like a piece of shit.  So it maintained itself.  It now has to normalize.  It now has to take the food I am eating and decide what to do with it.  It has to level out all of my electrolytes, blood counts, platelets and everything else.  It has been so use to working one way that it is learning how to work the right way.

But as I sat in my doctors office I thought that this was the closest I would ever come to a warning.  She has told me time and time again that the day she came back with blood work that was worrysome, I would have less than three months left to live.  There will be no warning.  My body will simply shut down.

So there I was.  Being told that everything is okay.  For now.  But a couple more wrong moves and my death sentence is inevitable.  I won’t lie.  Getting those results was disheartening.  It made me feel that my hard work was going against me.  But I had to think logically and listen to what she said about my body trying to work itself out.  I am smarter than ED.  I know that if I continue to engage with him, I won’t win.  I need to let my body normalize.  I need to let my body get bloated to trust that I will continue to feed it and I need to take that meeting with my doctor as a sign that I am on the right track.  I’ve been feeling better than I have in such a long time and don’t want to take a step back.  I have to trust my body!

At work today I was discussing my doctors appointment with my boss.  I’ve been with him since January of this year.  He said that he has noticed the changes in me over the past several months.  “You are a totally different person than you were 6 months ago.”  He’s right.  And he didn’t have to say it, but I know that I’m a better person than I was 6 months ago.  So even though my body isn’t necessarily giving me the results I want internally, I have to be patient and give it time to trust me.  It deserves that.

I would do and I will do anything in my power to avoid my death sentence.  Given the opportunity to save myself isn’t something I take lightly.  I have so much to live for and I will continue the fight of my life.  For my life.

 

I Don’t Want To Fail At Having An Eating Disorder

They say an eating disorder is about control.  I’ve always disagreed.  I feel that you have no control when you have an eating disorder.  You want to make decisions but ED makes other ones; the wrong ones.  So how does that give you control?

The key to recovery is taking back the control.  Gaining control and making the decisions you want to make.  To get better.  To be well.  To live.

When you have an Eating Disorder it becomes a very physical illness.  People see your changes and essentially they see your “progress”.  Sadly, I became great at my Eating Disorder.  I was a pro.  I perfected it.  And that is where the perfection quality ties in to this illness.

So giving it up.  What does that mean for a perfectionist?  For someone that worked so hard to create this ideal Eating Disorder, what does that feel like?

It means failure.  It means you can no longer engage with this illness and you are giving up everything you worked so hard at creating.

That is what ED wants you to think.  That by recovering, you are a failure.  You gave up and can no longer maintain this “wonderful” mental illness.  An Eating Disorder is work.  It is HARD work.  It doesn’t come easy to anyone.  There is such strong physical and emotional efforts that go into this – it becomes exhausting.

So, what’s the payoff?  At what point during my Eating Disorder have I ever said that I was happy? Or proud?  Or glad that I am continuing to engage in this destructive behaviour?

Never.  Not once.  I have never taken boxes of laxatives, spent hours in the washroom, missed out on precious life moments and walked away the day after feeling great that I accomplished something.  Wait a second.  That’s a lie.  I have felt great afterwards on many occasions.  I was relieved that it was over.  That the pain stopped.  That I could get up and walk from my bed to the washroom without feeling like I was going to pass out.  To be able to drink a glass of water without feeling like I was going to throw it all up.  That is the only positive feeling that you get.  From the completion of your efforts and that you are no longer suffering.  Not from the efforts themselves.

There is absolutely no payoff from an Eating Disorder.

You starve yourself, than what?

You binge and purge, than what?

You over exercise, than what?

It’s a cycle that never ends.  So when you engage once, you will continue to engage.  There is not an end to this illness unless you end it.  The payoff is recovery.  The payoff is taking control.  The payoff is giving up.  Even though your parents always instilled the “Do your best” shpeal, in this case, giving up is doing your best.  Getting your life back and giving up something that has no reward, no positives, no payoffs.  Only misery and death.  That is all an Eating Disorder can offer you.

Think about your actions.  Think about your behaviours.  I know you aren’t enjoying them.  I know you don’t like engaging with such an awful illness.  So don’t.  You have the power to change what you don’t like.  You have the power to give up what you don’t want in your life anymore.

Give up.  Fail.  Throw in the towel.

Trust me, your parents would be so proud.