i(NO)Robot

Don’t we hear it all the time?

Our bodies are machines.

Food is fuel.

Train like a machine.

I get it, but, we are not machines. We’re humans. We have feelings, we feel good one day and not so hot the next. We can’t function the same way, with the same output, every single time. But we are not machines, we’re not robots… we feel, change, vary.

We’re real. be you

My disorder drives me to function more as a machine than a person. When I start to deviate from the strict path, I feel the disorder yelling to me to get back in line. 

Right now I’m not in machine like shape. I don’t look “hard” like I used to… which in reality was not hard and healthy it was disordered. But truth be told… I miss it. That’s one of the hardest parts of disorder recovery. We got satisfaction, approval, feelings of success out of it. Perhaps out of functioning like a machine.

All machines break though. Eventually you have to replace parts, they lose functionality, and sooner or later, all machines need to be thrown out.

How many machines at home do you really like? Are you friends with your toaster? Is the fan a great conversationalist? I doubt it. So then, why do we feel this need to be a machine? Why is it that we feel if we’re not machine like we’re a failure?

My disorder is calling for me to fall into line … yelling loud and clear. But I refused to be a machine. I want to feel – the good and the bad, the comfortable and the uncomfortable. Feeling is life. Being a machine is not.

Remember… you are so much more than a machine, don’t hold yourself down trying to be one.

TRUEStrength

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Where the F is the rainbow?

I’ve been in outpatient treatment for my disorder for over a year now.

Am I better?

Sure – on the outside I’m sure I appear to be cured. I’ve gained weight, I no longer look skeleton like… if anything I probably look like I could stand to loose a few pounds.

So all cured right? WRONG.

On the outside you’d never tell, but on the inside it almost feels worse. I still have the negative talk, the controlling drill sergeant and I feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I don’t like how things fit and I don’t trust my body to do what it needs to do… or whatever it’s trying to do.

I fight the urge to quit treatment everyday. I fight the urge to quit the trudge towards healthier life long choices and fight the urge to revert to the disordered behaviors just to feel a little more comfortable.

So where the F is the rainbow at the end of all of this? Not sure… just trying to trust that it really, truly is there…

I guess this applies to so many other times in our life. We can’t always see the rainbow through the storm, the finish line or the celebration. We have to trust and let it happen.

Stay strong!

TRUE Strength

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Two women. One story.

IMG_7017Sometimes I get very angry that anorexia and excessive/compulsive exercising stole almost a decade of my life and that daunting negative thoughts still slip into my days surrounding the simple act of eating, taking care of myself and acknowledging my own worth.

Then I have moments of clarity and hope that shine through the darkness and fill me with motivation and strength, such as Monday night with survivor, warrior and my  amazingly resilient and driven friend, Meggie Sexton. 

I’m pretty sure our paths would not have crossed if we both hadn’t struggled with this demon. And for that I’m thankful for the struggles we’ve had.

We had an incredible opportunity to share our stories and our fights for recovery and life with 300 students at the University of Dayton for NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association Awareness Week 2016.

We feel our message might have touched some lives… Some who were on the verge of the slippery slope; some who had been living the horrific battle already; some who were searching for a solution as they watched their best friends, girl friends, roommates shrink to skeletons.

We were scared to get up on stage and I was scared to be so exposed. But we realized our disorders no longer have control over us and can’t stop us from sharing our battle and our strength to others.

We are winning, we are stronger, more determined. We have a job to do.

In the end… I’m thankful for this fight for my life. It has taught me resiliency and priorities, it’s taught me how much more capable I am than ever thought and it’s introduced me to some of the toughest people I’ve ever met…. Myself included.

TRUE Strength

The space between

I recently found an email my mom wrote to someone who was writing an article on education.

She shared a statement that she had said to me in many ways throughout the years. Rereading it today, I feel many of us can relate in multiple ways.

Hope it helps some with what you have going on.
“Learning always happens in the middle, in the sacred space between known and not yet known. There is intense tension in this space. It is not a comfortable place to be, but it’s where the action and progress takes place.” – Dr. Tobie Sanders
It’s not always fun, but that uncomfortable, “sacred” space is where magic happens, try to embrace it.
TRUE Strength 

 

Mean girls

My drill sergeant (aka my disorder) often acts like the mean girl in school… the one who, for whatever reason has all the attention and still treats everyone like shit.

The mean girl in my life is my disorder, sitting on my shoulder, telling me I’m not as good looking, not in good shape, don’t deserve to eat this or need to do another workout to feel good. This mean girl used to get ALL my attention.

As with most mean girls, as the attention starts to fade the voice gets louder, trying to regain power and control. Often it is hard to hear above the noise and after constant digs, sometimes the knocks starts to feel like truths. When you’re constantly bombarded with these cut downs it is hard to hear anything else.

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The movie Mean Girls came out in 2004  

Mean girls are only as powerful as the power you give them. The drill sergeant and this disorder are powerful – sometimes crushing – because I give it power.

Lately I’ve had brief moments or flits of a kinder, gentler voice saying… you’re doing great – keep it up. Often the mean girl bats that away quickly but the fact that this voice is poking through is encouraging.

Do you have these competing voices and influences?  Real or just swirling in your mind – they are valid and real to you. Who would you rather choose to spend time with… the mean girl group… who usually peak in high school or the friend who lifts you up?

It is not as easy as simply kicking the meal girl to the curb but it has helped me realize I no longer have to continue to give the mean girl all my attention and power. Slowly but surely she’ll peak and and go away… now I’m just actively helping move that along!

Stay strong, be kind to yourself, and honor your TRUE Strength.

Be present

Something I continually try to remember is to be present.  imgres-1

Be where you are and be engaged.

All too often I find myself thinking two miles down the road… what do I have to get done, what is stressing me, what do I need to accomplish.  OR I’m left thinking in the past… did I exercise enough, eat too much, say the right thing.

What happens when you’re always living in the past or future… you miss the gift of the present.  <— Too corny?  Yes, maybe, but it is true.  Each moment is a gift that can be taken away so quickly.

My personal eating disorder thrives on “fortune telling” it’s the what ifs and the very unrealistic cause and effect thinking.  An example… if I can’t workout today and didn’t workout yesterday and actually eat everything on my meal plan I’m going to gain weight… This type of thinking takes me away from the present and causes me to miss the great gifts all around me.

Recently I was instructed to just breath.  The instructor said… the beauty about breathing is that you cannot breath in the past or in the future – you can only breath in the present.  It reminds me of a comment my mom once made to me in the middle of a very stressful situation.  She said… “Take three deeps breaths, splash water on your face three times, and then keep breathing.” Much later I asked – why three times…she laughed and said she had no clue why it just came out. The point is it brought me back to the present. I could handle the situation if I was in the present but only then.

I am learning, I can battle the disorder, be a better wife and a better mom and a better professional if I’m in the present… but only if I am.  

Take a few deep breaths and BE PRESENT.

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TRUE Strength

Practicing non-violence against yourself

Yesterday I took my first real yoga class.  I’ve done a class here or there in the past but never with the intention of really trying yoga.  It was more because the instructor was a friend and it sounded nice to do for a class.

I’ve been searching for something… something different… something maybe kinder on my body…. something.

I’ve also been talking a lot with my counselor that I’m seeing that I’m healthier and stronger but I don’t feel comfortable feeling so thick.  **NOW remember – this is a disordered perception but the question came out… well maybe it’s time to change something.

Ever heard this?  “The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Well… yes – time for a change.  

I’ve been doing CrossFit for over six years now.  As my story on TRUE Strength has shared – I’ve been a competitive athlete and no just focus on having fun and working hard. I don’t think I have a desire to stop CrossFitting but I do have a desire to challenge myself in different ways and try new things.

This was a hot power yoga.  I enjoyed the sweat and the challenge of a brand new routine, method and flow.  I was physically challenged and mentally challenged. I am not very good at quieting my mind but can see how in yoga it’s not just an aspect of the practice but is a principle of the practice. The importance of feeling the breath and whatever is released within when you do the moves is a challenge.  As I’ve shared, a large part of my disorder is an ability to NOT feel and block out feelings, needs, or desires.  Yoga may just help open that guarded door.

I enjoyed that I wasn’t competing with anyone else… which was surprising because I like the competition side of CrossFit.

But above all of this, the thing that stuck with me was a comment the instructor made.

She said…

“Yoga is about the practice of non-violence against yourself.”  

WOW.  

What is my disorder if not violence against myself? 

The instructor encouraged us to try different poses and binds but said… if it doesn’t feel right … don’t do it. “In yoga… pain NO gain.”  Coming from a workout like CrossFit where you train yourself to not feel pain and to just push through this was so refreshing AND uncomfortable!

At the end of class I’m learning that it is typical to have several minutes just being still on the floor.  Someone more experienced in yoga could tell you the name for what we did but I can tell you that afterwards I found it almost sad that it took someone else telling me and leaving me with no other option than to lay down and be still to actually do this.  It wasn’t like I could get up and fold laundry… I had to just BE.  My body felt heavy with satisfaction and almost as if I blended with the floor.

As I lay there all of a sudden my eyes welled up and I cried.  I was thinking of my mom.  Thinking about how she wasn’t very kind to herself until much later in life. She always ran herself ragged, she did everything for everyone else… and herself was left folding laundry.

Let’s all try to practice non-violence against ourselves.  No matter our struggles or if we are battling a disorder or not… non-violence… be kind to ourselves. 

TRUE Strength