Theraputic Outcome

Yesterday morning was obviously not the ideal way to start an anniversary, and we didn’t spend the evening fawning over each other at the table of some nice restaurant either.  We actually spent it in counseling, which, when we told our therapist the significance of the date she looked at us and asked “what the hell are you doing here!?”

Good question, but I was thankful we had an appointment at that time because we needed it.  It was actually one of the hardest sessions we have ever had together, and I feel like I have so much I want to write about that I/we learned, but my mind is still processing the depth of our discussion and the million things we covered in one short hour. 

I do want to address some things from yesterday that are/were bothering me, and before I do so I want to stress that these are completely my opinions, emotions, ideas, and it’s ok if you disagree.  In fact, I encourage it, because without having some devil’s advocates I would probably still be very stuck (or I guess even more stuck?) in destructive habits than I am right now.

So I will try to organize my thoughts the best I can, but like I said I am still pretty mind-jumbled from a really difficult, but productive session.

Many of you had suggested I get rid of my treadmill, sell it, put it in storage, or other things of that nature, and you all have valid points in regards to me having a past problem with exercise and using it as a calorie burning mechanism rather than for health and in moderation.  BUT at this current time (even though I am still a bit TOO regimented) I am not using it to negate the food I eat. 

I have accepted the fact that I need to gain and that means eating more than my body “needs” per day, including physical activity. 

Exercise to me at this point helps me feel strong, because I do see some muscle coming back into my body.  It also means one hour of my mind just shutting the *uck up (excuse my language), when all I do during the day is think how can I help my sister when I know nothing about motherhood or babies, how can I make a better connection with my dad when he is so busy at work, how can I find a job that makes more money so Ryan can go back to school next year with fewer worries, how can I make my mom proud of me again, and how do I fix everything I have messed up in the last few years…

These thoughts just go on, and on, and on and I don’t know how to turn them off, but for one hour in the morning I put on my headphones, turn on the news, and  am immersed in the stories of the world, the beats of David Guetta and get to escape the hamster wheel of my brain. 

It brings me peace, and is it right?  No.  We discussed last night in our session that I need to find other ways to find inner quiet, but so far I have learned, for me, that stillness can only come when my mind, and body are engaged, typically meaning a physical activity. 

I have a lot of work to do in this area, and I plan on continuing that work, but right now, the answer is not to sell my treadmill, but instead perhaps try to change the patterns.

Rather than always having to wake up before the roosters and complete my entire routine before work, I can try doing a shorter time, perhaps exercise at night, which has always been a no-no in my book because I never felt like I could be as “intense,” or try something completely different from a stationary machine. 

Many of you can rest assured that jogging was taken completely off the table, since I know that was a point of concern, but we did “compromise” on continuing with my walks, and for now, I am ok with that.  I am not happy about it, as you can imagine, but I am thankful for the opportunity to move, and I suppose I will try to stay positive rather than dwelling on something I can’t control. 

I think I was so bothered by the situation yesterday, my argument with Ryan, feeling ganged up in counseling, and honestly even by some comments on a relatively controversial post, for many reasons.

I know none of you had an intention of hurting my feelings, nor did Ryan or our therapist, but all I kept thinking was:

“Oh my gosh I am letting everyone down!”

“I am a huge disappointment and failure!”

“I am not making any progress at all and recovery is going terribly!!!”

But these things aren’t true!  It is just my own personal, past experiences manifesting now that I am no longer numbing my feelings. 

I have a HUGE fear of being substandard.  Many of you can understand the “people-pleasing” mentality that often results in an eating disorder or other addictions, because we put immense pressure on ourselves to be perfect, and help make the lives of others easier.  But that is not realistic!!! Despite what I may have thought before, I am not, and cannot be perfect! It’s impossible and there is no real definition for perfection so how could I ever live up to such an idea?  Well I couldn’t and that is why I was/am constantly feeling like an inadequate human-being.

But I am not inadequate, just as I have not failed any of you. I have made major strides in my recovery, even in the last few months, as I am no longer scared of certain foods, I am much more “comfortable” expressing my emotions and needs through mechanisms other than self-harm, and I am accepting the consequences of my health and trying to amend the problems. 

There are plenty of things I have done that are the complete opposite of failure and I cannot let one day make me feel otherwise, because then I would be once again trapped in the cycle of striving for flawlessness, which is simply unobtainable. 

As I said the other day, recovery is messy, confusing, disorganized, ugly, and pretty much sucks most of the time

Yesterday sucked.  I felt like I was being scolded as a child, and being told what I could and could not do by my husband, which seriously aggravated me and made me feel inferior.  I was feeling like a horrible person because I was expressing the truth through writing and it seemed like I let down anyone who was nice enough to take the time and read through my morning struggle, and I had a lot of conflicting emotions toward myself because I never know what the right thing to do is since there are so many different pulls within my mind that tend to cloud any accurate perception of right, wrong, healthy, or sick.

This post was completely discombobulated, and I actually had an entry all ready to publish for today, but it seemed appropriate to go with my heart, and articulate as best I could, my reactions to yesterday and last evening.  So I apologize if it was difficult to follow, but I hope at least some of you could relate. 

Thank you again for reading, always being supportive, and helping me through this rough patch in my journey.  Seriously, the blog world is fantastic and I couldn’t ask for better bl-ends!

I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday!!!

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16 thoughts on “Theraputic Outcome

  1. I enjoyed the post and the honesty of it. As for being hard to follow, I feel like my mind races from one point to another all the time, so no worries!

  2. I really enjoyed your post – I actually like when you just write from the heart, whatever comes out – you may think it’s hard to follow, but it gives a really good idea of what’s in your head and heart and you are feeling.
    One thing reading your blog has highlighted to me is how my eating disorder may be affecting my husband. I find it wonderful that you recognize his thoughts and reactions and are trying to work through them. My husband is very supportive, and very encouraging, but I have to wonder – does he ever lie awake at night and wish he had married someone who he could do normal things with? Like drive down the road and randomly stop at an ice cream shop without me freaking out? Or go to a restaurant without seeing my panicked face and watching me try to calculate every calorie of my meal? Or be able to book a hotel without a fitness center? Or go on vacation and not have to wait for me to work out every morning before we start sightseeing. He insists he loves me, and that I am beautiful and special and the only woman he’d ever want…but I have to wonder how long I can be like this before he gets fed up. We’ve been married two years (our anniversary is next week). However, I did have anorexia when he met me so he’s been dealing with it longer.
    Sorry to steal your post by throwing my thoughts here. Just your words made me think and reflect a bit.

    PS – I used to run marathons and only walk and bike now. Running pretty much is gone for good – not only for mental health, but I killed my body with over running and under-nourishing for years. Be grateful for what you have and take good care of yourself.

  3. Good for you for saying this. I believe that some people can get too carried away in the idea of recovery and “behavior elimination”, forgetting in the process that this is supposed to be about developing a way to be healthy and happy long-term. Exercise IS healthy, and incorporating it into your lifestyle is something I’m sure you want to be doing forever–so if your team thinks it’s safe for you, why not start now? You’re choosing to live on your own (with your husband, that is!) and manage your meals independently each day; why shouldn’t you also be able to manage your own exercise, following your team’s guidance?

    While running 10 miles every day probably isn’t a great choice for you, neither is eliminating all exercise. And throwing out the treadmill, or outlawing exercise until you’ve reached your target weight, isn’t an effective way to solve the problem (even if it’s straightforward). You’ll have to deal with your tendency toward exercise addiction forever, and working slowly back into HEALTHY exercise starting now makes a lot more sense than deeming all exercise as “bad”, which could easily trigger major issues down the road.

    Off my soapbox…haha. Just know I totally support you and I know you have the strength and insight to identify problems and work on them without bannign any potential “trigger” from your life. 🙂

    • Obviously I agree with you. I feel like ive played sports, or done something physical pretty much every day since I was a little girl. That is me and that is my lifestyle! its hard to completely change or eliminate something that was such a big part of my existence! thank you for being supportive, and I appreciate that you recognize my progress because sometimes it really hurts my feelings when others discount all the things I have done well with, just because I have an area that i dont.
      its all about learning balance, and i really think im on my way! so thanks for having faith girl! it means a lot!!

      • Seems like you are not counting walking as exercise….but no one is saying you can’t move.It would be an absolute mismanagement of your treatment if anyone condoned your previous level of exercise. We are very invested in your overall health. You are working so hard on the intake part and that is absolutely recognized as a plus. When we express our concerns about one thing it does not negate your progress in another. You are NOT failing us…you are stuggling! Recovery is not an all or nothing process…
        Please quiet those haunting thoughts sweet girl…i love you, you know i do!

  4. I can only walk too. Just a simple, lazy walk
    😦

    So I know…its been SO LONG CJ…and it can be so agonizing and inflict such guilt…maybe it helps to think u aren’t alone?

  5. I have to ask…why do you use a treadmill? Maybe I missed that as I haven’t been reading long. But why don’t you just go outside and get some fresh air? Just walk to walk or to the post office, store, do some errands. That way your out of the house and your thoughts.

    Honestly – I think you need to stop identifying yourself as your disorder. You -YOU – are not ED. You are not defined by food! You are a real person – when you let it go…like really just let go of all that negativitity, judgements, fears, etc…you realize how stupid it all is. This puts you in a bubble. But that’s not life! Getting out with friends, joining a new group, eating out, finding something your passionate about, volunteering – all that stuff takes you out of your head.

    Suffering comes from attachment. Let it go. Let it go.

    (and yeah…I KNOW that is so easy to say – trust me I do). Take care hon.

    • I use the treadmill out of habit, because I exercise before its light out, and I live in a super rural area so there is really nothing to walk to. Sometimes I walk in a park by my school but dont go in the a.m because I am a scardy cat and dont think its safe to be alone, a female and walking around in a wooded area.
      And thank you for advice about my identity. I honestly need a reality check most days as far as deciphering me from it…
      I am working on finding some friends, devloping interests, and finding a true identity, but its all part of the process. i have done well in certain regards but the journey isnt going nearly as fast as i would like.
      thank you for being honest and supportive. I really appreciate it 🙂

      • “All part of the process” – exactly. We ALL need reality checks girl…trust me – keep your support system close and start taking leaps.

        I was once told – “It’s going to be uncomfortable. If you don’t feel discomfort every single day in trying something new or facing a fear – whether it’s something big or super tiny – then you aren’t living to your potential”. We only grow and change by getting out of our comfort zones…

        And yes I KNOW that’s so much easier said than done!

  6. I totally understand EVERTYHING you said!! I too am a people pleaser and I used to hate being “ganged up” on in counseling!! Its important to remember they are just trying to help you and your disorder is making them seem like the enemy. As far as the treadmill goes, if it helps you stay sane during the day maybe you could eat more to counteract any exercise you do. I know that without my daily runs I would go insane too. Sending hugs your way 🙂

  7. I just want to point out that if you’re seeing muscle, it does mean you’re gaining! That’s a really good thing to keep in mind. And my therapist actually recommends exercise… it clears my mind from those negative thoughts and makes me feel much better about eating. And once I began seeing muscle again it made me feel great, like seeing that physical strength proved that I was strong inside. Cheesy but true!

    • no, its not cheesy because i totally understand and agree!!! thats why im so adoment about working out…at least i can find some positive in gaining if i at least feel fit!!! thanks for the support girl, i needed it 🙂

  8. I’m super glad that you don’t use the treadmill as a way to “pound off” extra calories! Thanks so much clarifying that (not that I’m some authority figure you have to explain yourself to lol, but it was just something that from an outside perspective at first seemed like you were indeed using your treadmill for burning calories). So I’m really proud that you’re able to make the compromise of no more jogging and just sticking to walking… it’ll be a healing change in many ways I think (and I can say so from my own experience).

    It’s also awesome to hear that you accept the fact that weight gain has to take place in order for you to get healthier… sometimes, it’s easy to fall into the trap of telling yourself you’ll “get there” but you end up cutting corners when it comes to calories or increasing your level of activity — something I constantly have to remind myself NOT to do because I sometimes get tempted!

    And maybe your anniversary wasn’t entirely “romantic” by strict definition, but I’d say it was a success in the fact that going to therapy together highlights what an awesome bond you guys have!!! 🙂

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