Everything happens for a reason.

Today I had plans to go to a store to pick up some pastries (not giving specifics to protect privacy). I was lazy and didn’t want to go. But my kids love their stuff so I got in the car and went.

I stood at the counter and placed my order with a beautiful young woman. Friendly. Helpful and full of energy.

She leaned over the counter and whispered to me: I saw your video and it really spoke to me.

I was shocked. I was speechless. I was touched.

She asked if she could hug me.
OF COURSE.

She came around the counter and hugged me as if we had been friends forever. She was shaking and I could hear her sniffling.

As I stood there with this complete stranger holding on to me so tightly I was honoured and angry.

Honoured that she trusted me to open up and tell me her most private secrets. And angry that yet another person is struggling and the health care system is failing. Again. This is not right. This is not fair.

She wants help. She wants to get better but doesn’t know where to go and who to talk to.

My video resonated with her. She’s 20. I’m 44. We likely would’ve never crossed paths in our lives. But we have so much in common and a bond that is hard to explain.

We exchanged information. She said she was sent the video from a coworker that recognized me and this young woman was just waiting for me to come in so she could talk to me.

Incredible. Amazing. Terrific. Fantastic.

Having an Eating Disorder is lonely. Isolating. Embarrassing. Shameful and secretive. But today I was able to make my new friend feel less alone and to know that her thoughts and actions are not unrealistic. They are not pessimistic. They are not out of the ordinary. They are exactly what goes on when the beast of ED takes over.

She wants to get better. As so many people want to.

I said to her something I once heard that sums it up perfectly.

We want it gone. But we don’t want to let it go.

I’m not a doctor, therapist or medical professional. But what I can offer to her and others is my experience and the comfort in knowing they are not alone.

The more people talk about it, the more they feel less alone.

So to my very special new friend EB, fate certainly brought us together today. And although you were happy to meet me today, I was elated that I decided to come to your store today.

I still struggle with the demons every day. But today we both gave each other exactly what we needed.

Support and friendship.

Advertisements

I Just Want This To Be Over

I WANT TO STOP RECOVERING.
I WANT TO BE RECOVERED!!

It is so much work. Such tremendous effort. Huge highs and enormous lows.

Every day is so different. You can achieve so much and be so proud of yourself one minute and the next day you feel the complete opposite. You feel tired, exhausted, drained, angry, sad and defeated.

In the back of your mind you’re always thinking how it would be easier to just give up and stop fighting. But giving up cannot be an option for me. I have allowed this eating disorder to steal over 20 years of my life. If I give up, this time will be the last time.

I always think that I can do it “just one more time”. We all do. You think you can do it just one more time to relieve the awful feelings, horrible thoughts and the negativity that surrounds you. But I know that one more time will be an invitation back into my life permanently. And although I think that I can do it just one more time, it will be the last time because this time it WILL kill me.

Taking over 250 laxatives is not something I would’ve ever thought my body would tolerate. It will not be able to handle more. Taking that many brought me as close to death as I ever want to be. My body can only handle so much abuse. I have tortured it, taken advantage of it and not given it the respect it deserves.

I would never allow someone to treat me this way or make me feel as awful as this eating disorder has made me feel. So it is crucial that I take control of myself and my life and I give my body the respect it deserves. It is my responsibility to take care of it, nourish it and love it. Nobody will ever love me as much as I need to love myself.

Today has been a hard day. Why? I don’t have an answer for that. It is part of the recovery process. It is not a straight line, it’s not easy every day. You are faced with ups and downs as you maneuver your way to the finish line. The unfortunate part is that you don’t see the finish line. I don’t know when I will get there but I can never ever stop trying. It is OK to have bad days, it is OK to feel defeated, it is OK to cry, it is OK to be sick and tired of being sick and tired. What’s not OK is allowing your illness to take control and ruin the wonderful life that is right in front of you.

I don’t take for granted anything that I have in my life. My family and my friends are the most important things to me. I have so much to live for. My illness has nothing to live for. It is the one that needs to feel defeated, it is the one that needs to get the hell out of my life so that I can have a life again.

282 days ago I made the decision to change. To get better. To take control of my life. But it is not an easy road. I always want to be honest and let people know the harsh reality of recovery. It is difficult, painful, exhausting, tiring, upsetting and every other awful emotion you can imagine. But I know, that the good days are great and as I have more and more of those – recovery will be fantastic and most of all worth it.

I Weighed Myself

I went to Walmart with Cooper to pick up the usual nonsense.
Aisle after aisle we filled the cart with groceries, cosmetics and frying pans that I didn’t even know I needed.

We passed the home improvement section. I glanced up and saw the scales at the end of an aisle. I was tempted but kept walking. I stopped. Turned around and went back. I kept telling myself what a bad idea this was. Cooper was sitting in the cart reading so he didn’t know where I was headed. I tried to talk myself out of it, but my mind was made up.

I took a scale off the shelf. Took off my shoes and got on.

WTF?

I got off and back on again.

Huh? That can’t be right.

I grabbed a digital scale and stood on it.

Yep. That number was right. I was shocked. I was not expecting that number.

As I put the scales back and walked away, something weird happened.

I was surprised, don’t get me wrong. But I sort of didn’t care. The thoughts that started racing through my mind, or should I said ED’s thoughts that started racing through my mind made me exhausted. I was thinking how tired I am of worrying, obsessing and caring. It just would take too much effort to act upon those thoughts.

So what was the answer? Go buy a pack of laxatives and drop a few pounds? Spend the rest of the night in bed or curled up on the bathroom floor?

Or go to the check out, pay for my stuff and go home to have a pizza and ice cream party for Adam’s 10th bday? This is what I chose…
33D4818D-ECA3-40D8-B8E2-FC9B9B63C5E4

The Bare Minimum

My kids want so little.
They don’t ask me for much.

Food. Clothes. Help with homework. Carpooling to activities. Arranging play dates. And the most important thing they want from me is simple. Attention.

They want to show me their school assignments. They want to show me the Lego they built. They want to show me the drawing they created. They want me to give them a thumbs up when they make a great catch at their baseball tournament. They want me to snuggle on the couch, watch a movie and eat popcorn.

Seems like a lot of things they need, but these require no effort. Zero. And all it means is for me to be present. It requires no work on my part. No effort. Just love. That is the easiest thing to give and the rewards you get are priceless.

Engaging with an Eating Disorder takes time away from you enjoying those moments and giving those things to your kids.

Instead of tickling your sons arm while lying on the sofa watching A Bugs Life, tell me how lying on the bathroom floor in agonizing pain provides the same rewards?

It doesn’t. It never will. And that memory you loose will be gone. Missing out and having to come up with an excuse for not being able to do something with your children is not worth anything.

Your child may not remember that particular moment, but they remember an accumulation of ‘Mom’s too busy or Mom’s in the bathroom’.

It is not worth it. Nothing will ever give you the satisfaction you get from being with your kids.

Yesterday I took my three boys out of school for a skip day. We went for lunch, go karting, mini-golfing and ice cream. They will remember that day. And I will never ever forget it. I was present. In the moment and being the mom they deserve and the mom I want to be.

It was far more memorable than engaging and worrying about my Eating Disorder.

Aha Moments

People have moments in their life when they are hit with an epiphany. They come to realize something and it changes their action, behaviours and thoughts.

I have been asked when that was for me. How did I decide to recover? When did I have that aha moment?

I didn’t. I never had one.

I should’ve.

Lying on the bathroom floor in agonizing pain barely able to move. That should’ve been one.

Sleeping with the phone beside me after I took 255 laxatives fearing I would go into cardiac arrest and need to call 911. That should’ve been another one.

My moments came at times that were the most unexpected.

I was making eggs for lunch. I sprayed the pan, poured in the eggs and waited for it to turn into an omelette. While standing at the counter I picked up the spray and noticed I didn’t use the one with zero calories. It had 4 calories per spray. I panicked. How many sprays did I use? How many calories was that? I need to track it but didnt’ know how. So I threw it out.

As it went into the garbage – I had that aha moment.

What the fuck was I doing? I threw out a perfectly good meal because of some extra calories that I didn’t ‘know’ or ‘plan’ for. Is that what my life had come to? Is that what had become so important to me? Maybe a dozen calories? Maybe? And who cares. O. M. G.

I was mad. I was sad. I was angry. I was confused. And I wanted to kick my Eating Disorder in the ass. How did this happen? This was not the Lisa who is strong, determined, motivated and powerful.

This was the Eating Disorder that turned me into someone I hated. Someone who would worry about calories. 12 calories made me throw out my perfectly good lunch.

That was not okay.
That was not alright.
I wouldn’t stand for that. Not for another second.

And that was a huge aha moment when I knew I would not live like that. I could not live like that.

So I began to change.

276 days later I will use whatever spray is handy when I make an omelette .

Help for everyone

Update:
I had a call with the events team at the organization I’m looked to partner with.

They loved my idea.
What I need from you is feedback. Your name won’t be share st all.

This event will give friends, family and caregivers the tools they need to better understand the illness, and how to help them.

Send me topics you want to learn about.

shynz10@gmaik.com

One Year Ago

Today marks the anniversary of when Cooper broke his elbow and had surgery at The Hospital For Sick Children. When I think back, I remember how brave he was, how we spent three days together roaming the halls, playing games and meeting new friends.

Sadly, I also remember taking laxatives that same night. It was around 8pm when Rob called me from the park to say that Cooper hurt his elbow and he was going to take him to the hospital. I picked the boys up, put the bike in my car and Rob headed to Mackenzie Health while I waited impatiently for some news.

“I have good news and I have bad news”, Rob said. “The good news is the doctor said it’s a clean break, the bad news is that he will have to go to Sick Kids tomorrow and have pins put in his arm to repair the damage.”

I almost fainted. WTF! I told Rob to ask if it was something we could do that night. Would they be able to go downtown and get it all taken care of sooner rather than later?

Why did I ask that?
I had just taken so many laxatives I wouldn’t know how I would be in the morning. I was afraid to make the commitment to say that I would take him to get examined and prepped for surgery. What if I couldn’t stand? What if I was too nauseous to console him? So many what ifs.

Isn’t that just awful?
When they came home later that night, Cooper, as always had a smile on his face and was, in a strange way looking forward to this experience. The laxatives still hadn’t taken effect which had be extremely worried. The later they started the longer I would feel like shit the next day.

But, I didn’t have a choice. I had to take Cooper. His health is and will always be my number one priority.

My body protected me somehow. I can’t explain it, but I slept through the night and drove down to the hospital without feeling the effects of the laxatives. There was some nausea and trips to the washroom, but certainly not to the extend that I am use to.

I was grateful. Confused, but grateful. How did my body know that I needed to be present for my son? I guess it’s something I will never know, but am so glad that my Eating Disorder didn’t sabotage a time when it was crucial for me to be available and present.

It saddens me to think that Cooper broke his elbow and had to have surgery. It saddens me to think that I remember taking laxatives that night. That should not be part of my memory. But unfortunately when you are so wrapped up in a mental illness it somehow creeps into every part of your life. Whether you want to or not.

Today it has been 274 days. 274 days of creating memories without an Eating Disorder. I don’t look back at special occasions and remember how they were ruined. I look back at special occasions and remember how great they were.

And that, is what life is suppose to be about. Remembering the fantastic moments that are shared with friends and families.