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

Advertisements

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

IMG_7323

 

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.

Mean-Girls-HD

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.

Feeling feelings.

“Reality is perception’s twin, but they wear different outfits.”   imgres

My disorder is roaring its powerful presence and feeding on the triggers of tragedy and change.  I’m constantly amazed by how strong and powerful our minds are and how damning they can be to our own health and wellbeing.

I am used to seeing a problem and fixing it.  Having a plan and attacking it.  I like steps, to-do’s, goals and then results.

This long road of recovery is nothing like this. There is a plan… but the disorder doesn’t follow the rules and I can’t just put my head down and power through. My normal “go to” reaction of “all is good and making good progress” just isn’t true.

Reality vs perception right? 

The worst part of this point in recovery… the reality… is FEELING the FEELINGS.  A big part of disorders is learning how (and then perfecting) to separate feeling from your brain.  You disassociate… think about it this way… if you FELT truly as hungry or as conflicted or as tired and you couldn’t separate the feeling from your brain and have something override those feelings… you’d eat, take a rest day or have the non-disorder thinking win out.

So currently the reality of my situation is that reality and perception are battling… constantly… and the feeling…plain and tumblr_mve9f2UQmV1qfvq9bo1_1280simple… is… it SUCKS.  Check out this “feelings wheel.” Recently I was challenged to identify the FEELINGS I was experiencing not the thoughts or explanations associated with them.  I challenge you to take a look at the wheel and practice identifying your feelings – own them, say them and give them value.  DON’T think of certain ones as “good” or “bad,” they are all only legitimate and valued.

A friend said to me… isn’t TRUE Strength all about feeling these feelings?

I won’t go into all of my battles currently going on, as for each of us they are different… but just remember… this is HARD and it can SUCK!!  Own that and own and value your FEELINGS.

I will share two great quotes about feeling those feelings… being scared of them and still pushing forward…

“Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you are scared.” – Eddie Rickenbacker

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela

Stay strong… feel those feelings… and have TRUE Strength. 

Getting through… not thriving

Our minds are amazing animals…

Mine works in overdrive most days and for many years has operated almost as a separate entity – separate from many feelings, creating it’s own reality and truth, putting on a strong smile and a “power through” face.

After realizing that I was just simply getting through – instead of thriving – I started seeking help for a long standing disordered relationship with food and exercise… to be brutally honest the technical term is exercise anorexia.  Although I’ve bounced a bit in and out of healthier stages I’ve never truly been in a state where my mind is quiet and I’m not obsessed with what I eat and how much I exercise.  After my daughters were born I was determined to stop the cycle and set a positive example for them.  I would not wish this constant battle on even my worst enemy and I will spend my days making sure I don’t let my daughters model my disordered behavior.

SO… why put this all out in such a public way? For me… saying it out loud makes it real.  My mind is REALLY good at separating my reality from real reality.  It can tell me I’ve eaten SO much or that I’m getting really flabby… it can tell me that I’m not tired and that if I stop to relax I’m being lazy.  But saying it out loud brings in logic and truth… and I can’t hide once it’s out there.  For a long time I have been … “ok” I’ve not been sick per se, I haven’t been too under weight… but I haven’t been right or healthy.  I was getting through but certainly wasn’t thriving.

When I started seeking help one of my counselors talked about the constant dialog in my mind.  If you have experience with disorders you understand this concept, if not… imagine a drill sergeant in your mind constantly questioning every thought and action, every bit of food you’ve even THOUGHT about eating, every bit of exercise or every moment of rest… constantly.  From the precise moment you wake to the point you finally, finally fall asleep.  It is exhausting.

This counselor said that not everyone has that constant dialog… I still am in disbelief but I’m dedicated to seeing for myself if this can stop.  Part of that process is being brutally honest to myself and part of that is putting it out there in public.

This blog has served as a motivational device, a place for snarky fun, and as a way to share real life challenges and successes.  I’ve heard from some of you that some of my experiences have helped you and I’d like to ask that I have a shot of doing that again.  I’ll be sharing some real truths about the process to become healthy – for real.  And not just become healthy but THRIVE.  I have two beautiful little girls who are my biggest motivation and an amazing support system around me.  I hope if even for one other person, I can help add to your support system.  It’s a long and challenging journey… but one that is worth taking.  Who wants to just simply get through?

If any of this rings true to you… I hope my future sharing and messages can help give you TRUE Strength.  

“Actually”

A family member of mine… we can call him “George” (remember the old abominable snowman cartoon with Bugs Bunny where he’d “hug him, and stroke him, and cuddle him, and sing to him, and call him George, duh.”) uses the word “actually” in a way that grates on my nerves.  Be prepared, now that you’re reading this, you’ll hear it more and I promise it will drive you crazy.

This person, when asked how the day was, will respond – without fail with… “Actually… not too bad.” Or, “Actually it was good.”

Why does this drive me crazy? Well think of it in the same light of our justice system… we are innocent until proven guilty.  This use of the word “actually” implies that the person assumes that the day is going to be bad and then is surprised… it wasn’t too bad, “ACTUALLY.”

Why come at a day with the assumption that it will be a bad day? hugo-the-abominable-snowman

In my most snarkiest voice… suck it up buttercup!  

Remember … you ACTUALLY do make each day what it is… watch a little Bugs Bunny, run around outside, laugh at yourself and have a good one!

TRUE Strength

 

Brutal Honesty

Sometimes the hardest TRUE Strength is honesty.  stronger than this

And the chart topper is honesty with yourself.  It’s amazing to me how easy it is to lie to ourselves and convince ourselves what we want to see as reality.    

My lie… the reality that my disordered thinking and tendencies have started to resurface.  In my experience, and I don’t dare speak for everyone, the harshest reality as a person who has battled eating disorders or disordered thinking is that it never really goes away or is officially treated.  It’s my addiction. Compared to someone’s alcohol or drug addiction. As odd as it sounds… restricting, over exercising, controlling is comforting to me.  The scariest part for me is that my disordered thinking comes under the veil or cloak of doing something healthy.  It just goes too far.  It’s enticing… alluring even.  Always under the best of intentions… and then slips.

It’s very easy to say there’s nothing wrong or I’m all under control.  

But the TRUE Strength reality is … honesty is harsh… and it’s time to get honest.  

My friend, Meggie is someone I really look up to.  She is brutally honest and open about her struggles and as a recent first time mom has been experiencing all the amazing ups and downs and blurred reality of newborn life.  All while still being honest about these ever present disordered thoughts.  Her article about Orthorexia encouraged me to seek more guidance and to acknowledge I may be loosing control and need to be more honest with myself.

Meggie writes for Saltyrunning.com.  You can read her full article HERE.  

Perhaps, such an honest post is not all that fun to read… but, if it can encourage even one person to get some help, it is vital.  Thank you for sharing your TRUE Strength with me.