Thursday, 6 March 2014

Word Vomit (AKA The Update)

Wow, OK. So.

It's been since my birthday. I haven't had a bit of time to even sit down and think about blogging let alone do it! Usually when an update is due I think about it, and then I never get around to actually sitting down until everything has piled up so much I don't know where to begin.That has definitely not been the case. Since the NEDA workshop, since uploading my speech (which has gotten an overwhelming amount of page views, comments, shares... Thank you so much for your support), traveling and battling some inner demons, I have not had a spare minute! It's been go, go, go! A lot has happened. Adventures, experiences, another "Ah-ha" moment in my recovery. Tons. I guess I'll begin from the beginning.

February 8th -- Birthday Celebration
Because my actual birthday was jam packed with other engagements, I had neither the time nor the energy to properly celebrate. That's what Saturday was for! I've got to say, it was all pretty overwhelming when the moment came around to blow out the candles on the first guilt-free birthday cake I've had in years. But I'm getting ahead of myself... This day really was fantastic! I enjoyed a majorly awesome training session and got to spend the afternoon with my younger brother. He and I baked my birthday cake! Well... He baked it, I sort of watched. In the past I would not have been able to give all of that control to him. I would have to measure and mix everything, so I knew exactly how much of what was going in the cake. Not lately, and not that day. Matty and I made a banana coconut cake frosted with honey cream cheese icing! This cake was consumed devoured shortly after a gigantic roast beef dinner! Jess even got a chance to come over and share a piece of cake! I got flowers, a birthday balloon and presents! It truly was fantastic, and not just because of the cake.

This was the first time in many years that I felt OK with celebrating the fact that I am alive, that I have made it another year. I was very excited to share this celebration with the people in my life that I love most. I actually have no words that describe what I felt that day/evening. I was free to be me. Free to be Heather. To enjoy a day about me, to celebrate me, and to be excited for my future. No, ED was not invited.

This was truly a wonderful moment.

February 11-17 -- Trip to Saskatchewan
A few short days after my birthday celebrations, I was packing up and preparing for a week in the flat lands (courtesy of Mike, the not-so-mystery man in my life). Now, I have mentioned this trip on a number of occasions in past blog posts. As I have previously mentioned, there happened to be an awful lot riding on this trip. I had to throw away everything that made me feel "safe" within my recovery -- having a gym to go to regularly, being able to have moments to myself in case I was having an "ED" moment, routine, regular meals. It meant being flexible, eating on the road, going out, being open, and being brave. It also meant being "normal" for once. Of course, I have done things like this on a smaller scale... Thanksgiving, Christmas, the conference for Aboriginal Women Business Owners I attended in the fall... Each experience left me stronger and stronger. Why not tackle this trip with high hopes? I mean, Mike is great. He's supportive, and he's got my back. I'm strong. I'm capable.

I was freaking the fuck out.

The day before I left, it was as if all of my doubt came flooding over me at once. This was stupid. You seriously thought you were ready for this? You're going to get fat out there. You're going to hinder your progress in the gym. Mike isn't going to like you as much as he did in December, you wait. He's going to see how fluffy you've gotten since then. He will be disgusted, you're disgusting. 

That was just a tid-bit of what was going on in my head during that day. I was certainly having my doubts. Thanks to a few good no-nonsense supporters (namely my mama and my best lady bro), things were put into perspective. They wouldn't have been urging me to take this step if I wasn't ready for it. How would I ever really take the first humongous step in recovery that is travel if I don't do this? How will I ever be able to go abroad and see the world if I didn't at least try somewhere in Canada first? It looked like I was in for a ride, no matter which way things went. So, I was going whether I wanted to or not.

In short, I had an abso-fucking-lutely fantastic week away overall. I did have one day where I was feeling down, had difficulty eating, and was definitely plagued by some ED thoughts, but I worked through it, like I always do.My week away included some fun stuff such as:

  • Going out for dinner with, and meeting Mike's friends: I was overly impressed with how well I handled the stress of not only going out for dinner, but going out for dinner with seven other people! I got a "safe" meal that I was comfortable with (and ended up eating more when I got home). Most importantly I laughed, met some amazing people, and got away from the idea that this is a situation that I would normally struggle with a great deal. None of Mike's friends knew I had battled ED, so I kind of avoided that "pre-judgement" that I find comes with knowing a person you are with has had or is currently struggling with a mental illness. I don't know.. People "treat you different". I'm not going to get into it, but that's just my experience. I know it's just people trying to care and be sensitive for the most part.
  • Hanging out with Mike's roomate and her dogs: Mike lives with his two good friends who also happen to be a couple. While the fellas were at work, I was able to get to know Mike's female roomate. She's really great, sweet, kind, and was fantastic company! The two dogs were great to have around too (even though I was a choice target to be barked at in the middle of he night when I was on my way to the bathroom).
  • Training: There was a gym about a block away from where I was staying. Now, working out was NOT a priority for me that week, but it was nice to take a bit of time out of my day while Mike was at work in order to work out, get into my own little routine, and do something that made me feel good about me. I also bought some sick zebra print leggings while I was away, and let's face it, they needed to be shown off.
  • Cooking some lovely dinners: I was able to prepare a few great meals for Mike and myself. It made me feel so extremely good to share my love for cooking with someone who means a lot to me! I'm sure he wasn't complaining either, I made some pretty tasty stuff.
  • Valentine's Date: I hate Valentine's day for a myriad of reasons I am not going to explain because that needs a blog post all in itself. But V-Day was the day I was having a real tough time mentally. Either way, I got through that day as I get through all the other ones. We can't be on our A-Game all the time, and that's ok. But anyway, it was the 15th of February, and I was about to prepare dinner for Mike and I. He got home from work and informed me that we had reservations for dinner in Regina. Now. This freaked me out for a few reasons. 
    • I usually need a little while to mentally prepare myself for an outing such as this
    • I like to plan ahead, make an eating plan to fall back on
    • I'm not that spontaneous
  • It was at that point that I had to say "fuck it, and fuck ED" and jump in with two feet. I got ready, I didn't look at the menu ahead of time. I got to the restaurant (which happened to be a steak house. A house. Devoted to steak. I was in heaven). I ordered wine, shared an appetizer, and ate the most fantastic fucking meal I have ever had. Something about a 10 oz top sirloin steak, extra bloody, just makes a girl happy, yahknow? I couldn't finish the potato and veggies on my plate I was so stuffed, and I was a little disappointed I didn't have room for dessert, but it wasn't worth over eating and feeling sick. I had a chocolate bar when I got home, anyway (hehe). The main accomplishment here was that I was spontaneous, I took a chance, I ENJOYED myself, I enjoyed Mike, I enjoyed the FOOD, GOD DID I ENJOY THE FOOD. It didn't kill me. I didn't "get fat". I didn't fell guilty. I was proud. I was happy. I was full to bursting, and that's OK.

Myself and the Mama, before I left

Valentine's Date
Since making it home I've started work, and made some lifestyle changes that are really making a positive impact in my life. These changes include cutting my training time at the gym and eating bigger in order to sustain the massive gains I've been working toward! I celebrated four months without the scale and six months of eating on my own. I've also tried to include more "fun" into my continuing journey with food by trying as many new recipes as possible (So far, since February, I've tried 29 new recipes!). I'm not sure exactly how to put it, but going away has made me learn so much more about myself. I really have no excuses to fear a situation anymore. I mean, why not jump in with two feet? It isn't going to kill me.

 Over this past week, however, I was pretty sure this ongoing battle was going to kill me.

Another reason why I haven't been blogging is because I have been having a few struggles over the past little while. Yes, things went extremely well out West, yes, I learned a lot about myself, yes, I'm bringing it to the table when it comes to devoting my life to recovery. However, I guess ED was waiting to pull all the stops. Waiting for me to get tired, to show signs of weakness. I've felt fat, I've felt useless, I've felt pretty terrible. Saturday was the worst day. I was Anorexic that day. That's what I told the Mama. I had to set food alarms again. I hated what I saw in the mirrors. I had to force myself to brush my teeth, shower, interact with people. I had no desire to eat, took a panic attack and even sunk so low as to think "well, if you lost a few pounds here...". I realized very early on in the day that these feelings could lead me in one of two ways:

  1. Fight ED like the mother fucking she wolf that I am
  2. Relapse
I chose the former. I'm not a fan of dichotomous, black and white thinking, but at this point in time, it was necessary for survival. My brother seriously stepped up that day. He helped me eat, he did meal support, and he spent the evening trying to distract me. We watched Frozen, it was amazing. In the end I keep in mind how strong I was to fight a day like this -- a day that came out of no where. I never miss a meal or snack. Ever. I know how important eating is, and I don't want to mess this up. I lost so much to ED, I don't plan on losing any more.
A year can make a lot of difference

Four months without the scale

So where am I now? Still a little messed up, but strong enough to kick some ED ass. That's all that matters, isn't it?

Sorry I disappeared. I'm back now. Back and better than ever.


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