Life lately

It seems like when life is going well/things are going smoothly, I post on here a lot less. I feel like I don’t have much to write about at the moment — in reality, nothing could be further from the truth…but I’m just struggling to find the time to sit down and write quality posts on some fairly in-depth and detailed topics.

So what’s been keeping me so busy?
-Finishing my last semester with a full course load. I’ll begin student teaching in the fall (for an entire year!) and only have one course left to take during that time.
-Exercising. A lot more. I’m finally starting to run again, and making slow but steady progress in that area. I’ve also begun regular strength training – as with most things I get excited about, I’ve been overdoing it a bit and had to take today off to give my body a break. But that’s okay.
-Trying to be more mindful about what I’m eating. While I want to make ED recovery my top priority, I do want/need(?) to lose some weight for health reasons. I feel much more at peace with my body now than I have at any point in the past four years or so. But my doctor would like me to lose a little weight. I’m not so focused on what the scale says…but I want to feel fit/strong/healthy/badass again. I don’t care if I never get down to my lowest weight. I just want to be physically active consistently, because almost nothing makes me feel as good as regular exercise does. I could definitely make a very long post (or series of post) on the challenges of losing weight with a history of disordered eating. So to be continued for this one, I guess.
-Summer job search. While I won’t be broken-hearted if I stay in my current job for the summer, if possible, I would like to make more money and do something different the summer before my internship. I’m currently looking for a full-time nannying position and have a few leads so far. I feel kind of guilty about the possibility of leaving my current program…but ultimately I need to do what’s best for me, my finances, and my future.
-Taking care of myself. Getting enough sleep, taking time to relax, taking time to appreciate the small stuff. Not putting as much pressure on myself to achieve some ridiculous idea of perfection (which doesn’t even exist). My sinus infection seems like it may have returned, so making my own health & stress management a priority is all the more important.

Expect more regular posting sometime in mid-May, but for now I’m guessing my posts will continue to be few and far between! 😛

What eating disorder recovery was really like

I didn’t know I was so far along in recovery until I heard someone use the term “eating disordered” last week and began wondering if that is a term that even describes me anymore.

I’m not free of behaviors/symptoms 100% of the time…but I’d say about 80-85% of the time I am completely symptom-free. I don’t obsess about food as much. I don’t plan out my binges in advance, and hide the packaging and trash from my husband. When I’m stressed, I am able to remind myself that eating to the point of physical pain is not going to make me feel any better.

I am finally at the point where I can focus on making healthy choices, and eating things that will make my body feel good, without entering the cycle of restricting, binging, then restricting to compensate for the binge, and so on.

The weird thing is I can’t pinpoint anything specific I did to move myself so far along in recovery. Rather, I think I’m in the place I am today because of what I STOPPED doing.

I stopped thinking about food as the enemy. I pretty much stopped thinking about food entirely – or at least, I only think about food in a normal way now (when I’m hungry).

I stopped making my entire life about my recovery. I tried to focus more on doing things that made me happy, and less on recovery/food/weight.

I stopped telling myself that I could only be happy once my eating disorder was gone.

Basically, the more and more I lived my life to the fullest- despite my struggles with food, despite being overweight, despite being “un-recovered”…the easier recovery became. For me, finding life — and an identity — outside of and apart from my eating disorder was the most crucial step in my recovery.

I used to have a blog about food, fitness, weight loss…and later, about my eating disorder. Now I have a blog about my life…and I only write about the aforementioned topics when I feel like it. I don’t think of myself as a person with an eating disorder before I think of myself as a student, a wife, a friend, a writer, a teacher, etc.

Some Monday thoughts

  • I need to start doing something creative again- whether that’s writing fiction, painting, drawing, or making music. Even just once a week.
  • My most recent ex (I mean, like my ex from five years ago) is engaged. I remember when he called me right after I got engaged. Seems like forever ago.
  • I have a nasty cold on the first Monday in the past three weeks that is NOT a snow day. Since my Monday classes haven’t met for the past two weeks, I feel absolutely obligated to go. But yuck. I should take some Dayquil.
  • It hit me this morning that this is my last semester (for a while, anyway,,#PhDsomeday) with a full course load. I’m going to be student teaching for a year starting in September, and while doing that, I’ll take my last class and do some kind of research for credit.
  • I have a lot of relationship stuff on my mind- family and friends. It’s not all very positive. I’m not sure what to do with all of these feelings. I should probably write about them some more, sometime. But all at once, I’m worried, sad, and feeling kind of neglected.
  • If we get significant snow accumulation tonight/tomorrow, I’m just going to hop on a plane and head down south. For real.
  • I should take a nap. I have plenty of time. But that never goes well for me … a 30 minute nap always turns into a 2 hour nap. Instead I’ll probably go to the gym.
  • I’ve been keeping a food/health journal of sorts for the past two weeks, and it’s really working well for me. I’ll maybe do a more in-depth post about it sometime.

That’s about it. Really feeling that nap right now.

Notes from the doctor’s office

I am so freaked out right now I have to keep reminding myself to breathe. I don’t like this doctor’s office so far. I don’t feel comfortable here. I don’t want to talk about what I’m here to discuss with the doctor. I don’t even want to write about it here. It’s kind of embarrassing and not the most pleasant of subjects to write/read about.

I’m frustrated because the reason I’m having these issues is probably my fault. And they’re not going away, which also seems like it might be my fault. I’ve been doing everything my primary care doctor told me to do, and it’s not working. No one is supposed to deal with this particular issue for as long as I’ve been- maybe a little over a month now?

I feel like I just got my headaches under control. They don’t really interfere with my life in any major way anymore. And now I’m hit with something else. I’m so sick of waiting rooms and doctor’s appointments and paperwork and logging symptoms and Googling things out of frustration and fear.

It seems impossible good news will come from this appointment. The likely outcome is that I’ll have to make more appointments and probably have a colonoscopy or some other unpleasant procedure. I’m trying not to only focus on the worst outcomes but it’s hard. The normal treatment methods haven’t worked for me, so.

I don’t want to think about this at Christmas. I don’t want to be sitting in this sterile and uninviting office by myself. Since September, I’ve definitely had more than a dozen medical appointments/tests. It’s exhausting. It’s frustrating. And somehow it feels like it’s my fault.

More than anything, I hope 2015 brings me improved health. I guess everyone always wishes for good health in the New Year and it’s somewhat of a cliche, but it’s all I want.

I want to update, but I’m tired.

So bullets it is.

  • I went from last Monday (10/20) to today (10/27) WITHOUT ANY HEADACHES. I did get a headache this afternoon, and it got pretty bad at one point, but it’s mostly gone now. I’m pretty convinced it was due to rushing around and a stressful afternoon at work. Now I’m at home relaxed and feeling better.
  • I got an A on my first major assignment in my class with the really tough professor. She also asked if she could have a digital copy of my work to use as an example for next semester’s classes. This actually made my entire week.
  • I defrosted the cinnamon loaf that’d been in the freezer for a YEAR and it is still perfect and delicious and amazing. Next up, I will be defrosting (some) of our wedding cake. Eating dessert and cleaning out the freezer = major win.
  • Tomorrow I only have one class, and then I have to attend this symposium (taking the place of my second class). Third class is canceled all week!
  • THURSDAY I have an entire day off. I’m getting my hair cut (er, trimmed) and eyebrows done in the morning. I also need to register to vote.
  • It’s almost Halloween.
  • I regained some of the motivation re: school that I lost in the midst of dealing with almost daily headaches.
  • I have physical therapy twice this week, which makes me so happy. Part of my sessions usually involve a mini-massage of sorts, and it’s wonderful.

So yeah. I’m happy.

Then the sunlight dims

It’s so hard for me to accurately explain to anyone how I’m feeling right now. Physically, I know a headache isn’t far away, so I’m trying to savor the last minutes (or, if I’m lucky, hours) without one. I’m exhausted. I haven’t slept properly since last Thursday. I still have heartburn- my husband has it, too, so it was definitely the result of something we ate for dinner. My eyes are watering. Overall, I just feel incredibly rundown.

But the way I’m feeling mentally/emotionally is worse. I simultaneously feel awful for letting people down and angry because I don’t get much in the way of sympathy/understanding from anyone. I know last night I wrote that I don’t want sympathy, but I’m not entirely sure if that’s true. I just want something more than an “Oh, okay” or “Sorry.” What I’m going through is bigger than those small words.

I really wanted to try and finish a paper by my afternoon class- it’s not technically due today, but it’s something I just want to get done and turn in. I’m having a lot of trouble focusing, and the annoying part is most of the paper is already written- I just need to go back and add some more analysis. I have a million other things to do, but that’s nothing new. I’m so torn between skipping my afternoon classes and meeting, and staying here and toughing it out (I’m on campus now).

I really should stay, as long as I’m feeling mostly okay/headache-free. I might try the whole 20 minutes of working/10 minute break deal. I can’t think of much else that will work right now. I just want to lay down and forget about everything for a while. It’s interesting that I am starting to feel depressed again- it’s not surprising, given everything that’s going on and my history of depression. But what is interesting is that I’m actually on an antidepressant right now- I’m taking it as a preventative medicine for my headaches.

I’ve been listening to the National a lot, which is not a good sign. Although they are probably my favorite band in the entire world, I tend to listen to a good majority of their songs when I’m feeling down. And these lyrics (“Demons” by the National) perfectly capture how I’ve been feeling for the past couple of days:

Do my crying underwater,
I can’t get down any farther.
All my drowning friends can see,
Now there is no running from it.
It’s become the crux of me,
I wish that I could rise above it.

The worried talk to god goes on,
I sincerely tried to love it,
wish that I could rise above it.

Can I stay here?
I can sleep on the floor.
Paint the blood and hang the palms
on the door.
Do not think I’m going places anymore,
Wanna see the sun come up above New York.
Oh, everyday I start so great,
then the sunlight dims.

What I wish people understood

-There is nothing I am doing (or not doing) to cause my migraines
-I cannot just take medicine to make everything better- at least not with my current medications. My preventative clearly isn’t working, and my abortive works about half the time. Alleve helps, but I’m not supposed to take it.
-Every time I make plans to do something, I always make a tentative plan. I should be more explicit about that, but it’s because I can’t predict how I’m going feel on any given day or at any given time.
-I never know how I’m going to feel when I wake up in the morning- and that sets the mood/expectations for the entire day.
-I have received a lot of contradictory advice from my doctors. I’m trying to educate myself so I can form my own opinions.
-I do not have episodic migraines/headaches. I have pain almost every day (12 out of the last 14 days). My pain is chronic, and I wouldn’t use that term lightly.
-I don’t want sympathy. I just want people to know that I understand my body and my pain better than they ever could.