Friday, April 13, 2012

definition of recovery- comment I left for a friend last year

It is really helping me to look through these :)

I think people, including myself for awhile, have this idea of recovery and what it is like. That maybe the first time you use a slight symptom you aren't in recovery anymore and no one can look up to you. I used to believe that but now I realize it is those people that are the ones that are real and fighting and in recovery. It really IS a process as much as I even hate to admit that. I did SO well the first year and when I started having some slips after that year I hated myself. I was jealous of everyone who was doing "perfectly" and how much everyone looked up to them. But now I realize more each day that this is a fight that will take time and doesn't happen all at once. It gets better. It gets better every time we learn from some type of slip- ED or therapeutic or whatever. THAT is what recovery is. It is fighting this battle every day as best you can. And honestly there are some days you can't fight well. It sucks and it's scary but true. Don't ever be afraid to ask for help- that is when you find your true supports. Don't ever give up no matter how hard things get- it is ok to take a few steps that aren't forward- but that doesn't mean they are back- it means they are sideways and the path is NOT straight. The journey is bumpy and slippery and you need other people and to just not give up.

I used to think I could NEVER go back even in the slightest and it was really hard when I had a slip but I have learned more than ever with the slips because they are telling me something. One of the slips I had last summer was because I started putting other people first and that is still so much of a struggle for me. I felt for awhile like I was supposed to be the one who was the example and I started realizing I felt like I was recovering for everyone ELSE It's not about anyone but US and what lives we choose to lead :) keep working hard

"Stop worrying about what might hold you down, and start paying attention to why you are standing up" - anonymous

This is what I do at 2 am apparently...

Since I can't sleep I've been thinking about what topics I want to blog about and something occurred to me- most of us know we are SO much better at giving advice to others and telling them how amazing they are, than we are at using our own advice or believing that we could be worthy in any way. So I decided I should look at the comments I have given people and maybe they would shed some of the insight I have that I can work toward applying to myself...So here is one I gave a friend who wrote about feeling like she had to have the perfect recovery, something A LOT of people struggle with:

Love the honesty- and I feel lucky that for whatever reason I haven't felt the need to do recovery perfectly. Maybe it's just how many amazing people I see go up and down. I realized a long time ago that recovery is so incredibly hard and if those people can't do it perfectly then it can't be done. And I don't know if this helps at all but I think it is almost kinda cool that things aren't just level after leaving treatment. I like that there are always things to learn- I love having lightbulb moments that make me proud to have put some things together. I like seeing that when an urge gets worse than it has ever been, that I can still not act on it. I like seeing that I CAN still get up no matter how many times I fall. I think it all shows the resiliency of the human spirit. I like slowly getting more and more into a life that I want and know I deserve now. I like knowing I am strong enough to get through anything if I have gotten to this point. And honestly I LOVE watching the hardest work I will ever do pay off. I love watching it pay off for others too. Because ultimately if recovery wasn't worth it there is no way we would put ourselves through even more hell :) I think I'm going to have to blog about this...thanks! :)

P.S. Even Jenni S. wrote a second book and said she thought she was further than she was in her first book and she has grown so much even since then. She is in an even different level of recovery now and she wasn't afraid to admit that things weren't as perfect as she thought they were

Another one about feeling behind in life:

I know that you wish you hadn't spent those years wanting to die and I get that but remember we all get where we are by where we were. And no matter what you had to get through in your past you did. And you got through the working on it too- which is just as hard sometimes. It sucks to be behind but I try to see it as an aspect of life that I had that others won't always experience. It wasn't good- but it was something. It wasn't fun but I learned and grew and most importantly want to LIVE for the first time. So even if it took me seven years to want to live I would rather have gone through it than not experience what I am today :) Unfortunately sometimes we only see the true height of the highest point if we once sat at the lowest.

"Stop worrying about what might hold you down, and start paying attention to why you are standing up" - anonymous

Monday, April 9, 2012


I had a really good session with my therapist yesterday. I was upset that I've been more depressed for the past like 5 or 6 weeks. It's frustrating because It's not nearly as bad as it could be so I'm able to still do a lot, but there is just an underlying sense of sadness that I can't seem to figure out. Maybe it's mostly chemical, maybe it's not. But my therapist did point out that if I look back on the past year a shit ton has changed in my life and I'm about to have even more pretty big changes in my life that could be contributing to the depression. I started thinking about the last year...last march I had two weeks that were some of the worst of my life. I had stopped taking my sleeping meds and then because I wasn't taking a regular night med I for got to take the med I took with them. Besides the fact that it could have had really bad physical consequences, it made me incredibly self destructive. I should have been in the hospital but I really didn't want to risk school or making things worse by sitting in the psych ward... things got better when I realized what had happened, but in general I was pretty dissociative and stressed and just focused on making it to graduation.

I graduated from Wash U and started relapsing around that time. I decided I needed to go to River Oaks, did a ton of work there, and had a traumatic experience as well. I came back and did terrible in every way until August. I started Graduate school at a new place with new people and new ways of learning. Instead of exams I had papers and presentations. I had classes I loved more than previous ones because they were more focused on what I love. I made a ton of new healthy friends and got out and did things a lot more. I started iop and did a lot of work there. I realized that as much as things were amazing on the outside and in some ways internally as well, there was still something that was keeping me stuck in thinking I was still going to die and in some ways I didn't care. I did more intensive stuff and finally got to the bottom of what was behind a lot of the things that still weren't going well internally. I did more work than I ever have before. I was able to get mad at my parents and work through things around them that I never even thought was really relevant, and I sure as hell didn't really want to talk about. I worked on challenging my core beliefs, realizing where they came from and realized that most of them are not true and never were. I continued the work for the last three months back in iop, where there have been tons of changes and many people I will never really know, which makes me sad. I have had a much different experience with school this semester- my friends are much more busy with practicum so I'm not able to see them as much. I have lost two of my closest friends because I did not agree with the things they started doing. I've had a lot more time on my hands because I have less due in classes, which is hard because I don't know what to do with myself sometimes. I started rock climbing which I LOVE and is the only thing since volleyball that I really love for it's sake and not because I'm good. I love working to improve but I do it for fun and don't beat myself up if I feel like I'm not doing well or working hard enough or improving as fast as I want. I have had a few friends who went through some pretty big crises this semester, which really affected me as well. I'm about to discharge from iop in a few weeks and start my first practicum which is exciting but terrifies me at the same time. In the last year I have also dealt with the death of my aunt from a brain tumor, a high school friend from alcohol poisoning, my cousin's suicide, the almost successful suicide attempt of a best friend, the almost death of another best friend, heart attack of another, death of a mentor from undergrad, and one of the most important mentors in my life- the person I first told about the abuse and ED, the person who made it safe to talk about and cared about me as a person- not because of what I could do- suffered a stroke and has been in a semi-coma ever since. So when I look back there really have been a lot of changes. Many for the better, but still I have to remember that change is always hard and puts some amount of stress on people.

So maybe that's a factor in the depression, I know there are other things, but I know that I will get through this just like everything else, it will take time. I will have to keep doing things I don't necessarily want to do- push myself to be around people, do things I love and keep doing the food and taking care of myself. I just hope it gets better soon.

I'm excited about the changes. I know how much better things are because of all the ones in the last year. I know how much I've grown and learned. I think I'm ready for the ones coming up, but I am also very very scared.

"Stop worrying about what might hold you down, and start paying attention to why you are standing up" - anonymous

Saturday, April 7, 2012

and I'm also working on figuring out my religious beliefs...

I'll write more later but for mow since it is Easter in a few hours I will post something I saw my friend Sarah post on facebook. Food for thought...

Most of our lives are spent in Holy Saturday. In other words, most of our days are not filled with the unbearable pain of a Good Friday. Nor are they suffused with the unbelievable joy of an Easter. Some days are indeed times of great pain and some are of great joy, but most are…in between. Most are, in fact, times of waiting, much as the disciples waited during Holy Saturday. We’re waiting. Waiting to get into a good school. Waiting to meet the right person. Waiting to get pregnant. Waiting to get a job. Waiting for things at work to improve. Waiting for diagnosis from the doctor. Waiting for life just to get better.

But there are different kinds of waiting. There is the wait of despair. Here we know--at least we think we know--that things could never get better, that God could never do anything with our situations. This may be the kind of waiting that forced the fearful disciples to hide behind closed doors on Holy Saturday, cowering in terror. Of course they could be forgiven; after Jesus was executed they were in danger of being rounded up and executed by the Roman authorities. (Something tells me, though, that the women disciples, who overall proved themselves better friends than the men during the Passion, were more hopeful.) Then there is the wait of passivity, as if everything were up to “fate.” In this waiting there is no despair, but not much anticipation of anything good either.

Finally, there is wait of the Christian, which is called hope. It is an active waiting; it knows that, even in the worst of situations, even in the darkest times, God is at work. Even if we can’t see it clearly right now. The disciples’ fear was understandable, but we, who know how the story turned out, who know that Jesus will rise from the dead, who know that God is with us, who know that nothing will be impossible for God, are called to wait in faithful hope. And to look carefully for signs of the new life that are always right around the corner--just like they were on Holy Saturday.

"Stop worrying about what might hold you down, and start paying attention to why you are standing up" - anonymous

I won't be able to function in life

In the past few weeks I've worked on one of my beliefs that has always terrified me. The belief that I CAN"T FUNCTION IN LIFE. I have been trying to ignore this belief for so long and yet I know I have to work on it or it will become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Here's what I wrote about why I think I won't be able to function and I'll post the responses from self that I have later.

My worst fear and one main core belief that I still haven’t really been able to work on is that I’ll never be able to actually function well in society. I feel like I have a ton of reasons to believe this and these are some of them. I have had several jobs and I guess they all went ok before the one at sports authority. BUT my first one as a model- not hard and it was fun. Anything I did with vball reffing or coaching was also easy and fun. Working on Pikes Peak I was way over-functioning. For all of these I was in my ED- ironically except them modeling… I’ve had two jobs since I left treatment in 2009- crazy bowls actually went ok- maybe it was the shorter hours, the fact that I was alone a lot, that I was a manager after a month, that I got to make stuff?… I’m not sure why I was ok there- but I was as far as I can remember- plus I feel like I must have been stressed while working there because I was at Wash U. But at Sports Authority I don’t think anything changed- if anything my senior year was easier than the others because I wasn’t premed anymore. Im not sure when I started having trouble going- and I sure as hell still don’t know why- all I know is that I started panicking every time I thought about going to work- I couldn’t think about anything else- just when I had to work next and how much I didn’t want to or couldn’t handle it or something. I guess it was anxiety- all I know is that because of my mental issues I couldn’t keep that job and I had to take time off or had to leave to go to river oaks. All I know is that I have no experience in what I really want to do. I have people at CBW who I can ask for references but no one at SA because I screwed them over so many times. I can only imagine what they think of me. If I couldn’t handle fucking SA, how am I supposed to hold down any job? My mom says I should work at starbucks bc I cant handle life- but honestly I don’t think I could even work there. I am so fucked up how am I ever going to work with child abuse or in the ER or anything? I can’t function at a job if I have mental breakdowns and end up in the hospital every few months…

SCHOOL- Yeah I can do school. But school isn’t life. And school isn’t practicum-I’m terrified of not being able to handle practicum this summer- that is if I get one…I’m behind on applying because I’m fucking irresponsible and cant do shit I need to when I get overwhelmed. Honestly if I can’t keep a practicum I’m afraid I’ll be done. Seriously this time. If I can’t do this this summer- I’m going back to using and my ED. I would rather die slowly because at least I can do that. At least it’s a way to cope with being a failure, even if it’s a shitty way to cope.
One of the most frustrating things is that I cant fucking manage to figure out how to time manage. I can’t figure out how to have a social life while being able to cook and workout and go to school and have a job. I have never been able to do all of this together- and if I cant I will never truly be in the level of recovery I could be.

PEOPLE- I’ve gone out with three guys since I left treatment but either they turned out to be creepy or were too immature. I really liked Joshua but he made everything about sex and even when I talked to him about it he was too used to doing it. I’m afraid I will never be able to have a relationship. All I’ve ever known was stripping, child pornography, or rape. I have no idea how to have an actual relationship and I know I would have to take things slowly- but I’m afraid I’ll never find anyone that is ok with that or who doesn’t terrify me as soon as we are on a date- its just that everyone terrifies me now. And I’m not going to find anyone if that continues to be true. Plus I just attract creeps and I don’t know why. With friends I’m getting a lot better- but when I’m depressed I still caretake a lot. I still have a lot of friends who are more concerned with themselves than me. And I do have some that are real friends, but my anxiety and dep still cause me to cancel plans or feel shitty and I feel like a terrible person when I’m not ok and it affects them. It makes me feel shitty and it makes them mad. When im depressed or anxious I cant hang out with them or be there for them and that affects our friendship a lot. I feel like it’s not fair to other people to have me as a friend- I think that’s why its been so hard for me to open up to people. Plus a lot of my friends do stuff at night and I can’t because of the narcolepsy and my anxiety about wasting time.

MENTAL- I know in many ways I am able to function pretty well for someone with all my diagnoses, but seriously I just have so much shit wrong with me how am I ever going to be ok enough to work and manage my life?

LIFE- I don’t feel like I can function in the important areas of my life already. I can’t keep a job, I can’t keep my apartment clean all the time or my kitchen organized enough to cook, I can’t manage my time or have real relationships, I can’t do stuff for my insurance fast enough, Its hard for me to pay bills on time or even send a fucking package to my sister. I feel lazy when I’m depressed, I don’t self care as much as I should and I can’t keep my physical health ok either if even just self harm wise. I don’t take good enough care of my guinea pig- I don’t play with her enough so she is going to die sooner than she should- it’s not even really a legit pet! And one of my biggest problems still is my compulsive shopping. I spend all my money as soon as I get it and it’s not on stuff I need- it’s to make me feel better. I need something right then to make me feel better. So even if I had a job I would end up on the street…

When I say I’m afraid I cant function in life people bring up everything I have done- got thru abuse, did well in school and vball, was in every social group, developed dissociation to survive, graduated from the IB program, went to WashU, was the 11th player on the vball junior natl team even though they never actually needed me.
----and you know what? Even if this is all true it’s not the same as being out in the real world. I don’t know what has happened since I’ve gone to treatment, I feel like as much as it has saved my life a few times- maybe it is starting to prove that I cant function without my coping mechanisms…

my biggest fear is that I will not be able to function in the world and I will have to go back to stripping and using and my ED. After all the work I have done I’m still not sure it changes this one thing. And if it doesn’t- I’m still going to die, even though I don’t want to for the first time in my life.

"Stop worrying about what might hold you down, and start paying attention to why you are standing up" - anonymous

Life moves fast and that scares the shit out of me

I really need to write more- but I've been more depressed recently and things start to seem way too energy consuming when that happens. It's interesting actually that I can even say I'm feeling more depressed because I don't think I have been since I've been on depression meds... it caught me off guard. A lot has been catching me off guard recently. When I came back to iop in January I was in such a good place. And it's not that I'm in a bad place at all, I'm just frustrated because I had a picture in my mind about how things were going to go when school started again and that hasn't been what's happened. When I left I wrote about what was different this time. I had a plan and was so sure everything was going to fall perfectly back into place. Looking back I want to laugh because seriously?! Because that would be awesome but is SO not realistic. School is going really well. I LOVE my classes and classmates and am doing well- I may even actually get straight A's....weird but cool. I think I've been depressed because I expected the way things were last semester to continue. But now my friend's have practicum, which means I'm almost never able to see any of them outside of class. One of the best things that happened last semester was getting to know all of those people. I really get a lot of my happiness from my relationships and it has been so hard just feeling more alone again this semester. One of my classes ended after the first five weeks so I am also in only three classes right now with nothing else except iop so I get really really bored. And I can't stand being bored- especially when there is a lot to do but I can't because I'm too depressed.

Anyway, things have been up and down even though the backdrop of my life is better than it ever has been. That's the only way I can think to explain it. That I'm realizing how many ups and downs are in everyone's lives, the variety of severities, and that I CAN be both good AND not great or bad or scared etc. I have a hard time being able to feel more than just one way. If something was wrong I was doing terrible and if something made me happy I was at the top of the world. Now it feel strange but when my therapist asks me how I am I never say good or bad or terrible...I say good and bad or not too bad but overwhelmed. I'm feeling the stability of my general mental health and seeing that things that happen build on that. So the better my backdrop is, the better I usually am, and the harder for me to go too far down.

So at the same time as most aspects of my life are going pretty well, I realized this week that I'm wanting (and had started) to give up because I'm worried if I can't do recovery the way I think it should be done now, how could I ever do it? Now is when I have time and should be able to make sure I cook and workout and follow my meal plan and get all my hw done at the perfect time etc. I had a schedule when I left. I had a color coordinated highlighted schedule of what I was going to do every day. And that hasn't been happening. I'm not doing exactly what I meant to when I left and somehow that started to mean failure to me. But I'm trying to remind myself that most of the time things don't suddenly become perfect in one day. Recovery as with almost everything else in life isn't supposed to be where I wake up one day and everything is done exactly how I think it should be. I guess I'm just so used to either doing terrible or really well food-wise. I don't understand how struggling a little makes any sense so if I start to have trouble I just start to give up. The food hasn't been very good the last week and this is why. I'm not exactly sure what to do about it either. I seriously can't seem to picture how you can struggle but not be at an extreme of perfection on either end...I'll be working on that...

"Stop worrying about what might hold you down, and start paying attention to why you are standing up" - anonymous