Tag Archives: mental health

Doing A Transformation Challenge (or Maybe I Need To Change Things Up)

I’m currently in the middle of a transformation challenge at Orangetheory. This time, the challenge is 8 weeks long instead of 6 weeks and it is the same as how the weight loss challenges worked. You have to work out a minimum of 3 days a week during the challenge and there are official weigh-ins at the beginning, middle, and end of the challenge. Sometimes the winners are based on fat percentage lost, but I think this challenge is based on weight loss (I’m not 100% sure).

I pretty much always sign up for challenges. Most of the time it’s pretty much what I would be doing normally and there is the potential to win. I was in 2nd place during one challenge. And I love having a goal in mind to work toward and having the support of others. Whenever there is a challenge there is always some camaraderie between those in the challenge and we encourage each other.

But this challenge things seem to be different for me. I still get the camaraderie between people in the challenge and I love to support others who are doing in. But my heart doesn’t seem to be in it this time.

I’m definitely struggling with food and weight loss right now. My new medication dosage is helping a lot, but there are other factors I have to consider now. I do still have binge episodes even though they are less severe and less frequent that before. But I also am not able to work out as hard as I used to because of the medication. Also, while I am adjusting to things I am being a bit easier on myself and indulging from time to time on foods I love. I’m not necessarily going crazy, but I’m not on a strict plan either like I have tried during other challenges.

I’m also dealing with massive weight fluctuations right now. I’m guessing these have to do with hormones but I had one week were my weight went up almost 20 pounds and then I went pretty much back down to where I was. That is frustrating when I am trying to see if I have made any progress. And when I try to use things that aren’t the scale to see progress, like clothing, I have issues when I am bloating and none of my clothes fit. I wanted to have a breakdown the other day when everything in my closet was too small even though I know it shouldn’t be that way. But then a few days later the bloat went away and everything fit again.

I don’t think it is bad for my mental health to be in this challenge, but it can’t be great that I am currently focused so much on the challenge. If I just tried my best and wasn’t focused on numbers and food, I think I would be a lot happier. And now that I’m halfway done with this challenge, I think that’s exactly what I’m going to try to do. I will still track food like I have in the past because the way I track food isn’t numbers-based. And I’m still going to make my best efforts to do what I know I should be doing.

But at the same time, I’m not going to be tracking my weight anymore. I’m taking a vacation from the scale. This will only be a temporary vacation because I do like having the scale to help keep me accountable, but right now I don’t think it is the best thing for me. If I feel like I need to step on the scale to see what it says, I will do it. But I’m not going to obsess about weighing myself every day and tracking it. Eventually I will be tracking my weight again, but I think I want to start over with a fresh slate on weight tracking so I don’t see the recent fluctuations.

I really doubt this plan will help me win the transformation challenge, but that’s not really a focus of mine. The only time I thought I might win is when I was doing the cleanse at the same time as the challenge. That was awesome and I’m glad I did it, but I can’t put myself into that same obsessive mindset again. There are so many other things I need to focus on right now outside of this challenge and I need the mental freedom to do so. And if I happen to place in this challenge, that would be awesome. But I think I’ll be much happier assuming I won’t place and just seeing what I can do over these last 4 weeks.

An Easy Therapist Check-In (or Virtual Appointments Make Things Easier)

Yesterday I had a check-in with my new therapist. This check-in was mainly to see how I was doing with the new medication dosage. I explained how I had been taking the increases slowly and that I am still adjusting to the new dosage, and she seemed to be pretty happy with the plan. It’s hard to tell what the correct dosage will be, so it will be a lot of trial and error. This is a different process than what I was doing with my old therapist, but I do like this new plan. I feel like it is more collaborative and that we are more of a team than a doctor telling me what to do.

This appointment was so much easier than what I’m used to because it was a phone call appointment. Yesterday morning, we had a time that my therapist was going to call me and we were going to talk over how things went. Of course, if I felt like I needed to meet in person I could have done that. But my therapist suggested a phone appointment for a check-in because it is easier to schedule and wouldn’t take up as much of my time. It was nice not having to drive to and from the appointments and being able to get it done early in the morning before I started work. I felt much more relaxed while talking because it didn’t feel as formal.

I don’t know why my old therapist never suggested phone appointments. I know that with him, he was much more into seeing if there was any more talk therapy that I wanted to do. Even though we came to the conclusion that I don’t really have issues to work through, I just have some sucky circumstances that I need to not rule my life. But those circumstances aren’t things I need to figure out, we know what they are and what they are doing to my mind. But he still liked to talk things through much more than this new therapist. This new therapist understands that in a way I only go in for appointments because I’m on a medication that requires it. She understands that talk therapy might be something I want in the future, but right now it’s not the priority in getting me into recovery. It’s a very different mindset, but I’m glad I had my old therapist in the beginning and this new therapist now.

In my phone call, I did discuss my issues with my workouts. It is frustrating to not be able to do cardio the way I want to, but I also need to give myself a decent amount of time to adjust to things. We did discuss brining my medication back down to a lower dosage (either what I started on or the middle dosage I was doing), but we both agreed that I haven’t had enough time yet on this new dosage to see if it will allow my workouts to get back to normal. I do like how I am feeling on this new dose and I feel like the medication is working much better, so I want to give it as much of a chance as possible. And I do have options if I need them and those won’t be going away so I can take my time.

My next medication refill will be in about 2 months. I will need to call or email my therapist to request the refill due to the restrictions on the medication. And at that point I think I will know what dosage I want to be on. And my therapist seems to agree that the timeline sounds good to her too. Of course, if in 2 weeks I feel like I need to step down to a lower dose, I can call in and she can write me a new prescription. But my plan is to try to take the next 2 months to see how I feel in all aspects of my life. If my eating disorder is significantly better but I can’t run, that might be a sacrifice I want to make. While my workouts are important, my recovery is more important and the priority in my life.

For my first phone appointment, I think it went really well and it reinforced the idea in my head that this is the therapist that I need now. She is much more scientific about things and that is really what works for me right now. My next appointment with my therapist (not counting in 2 months when I get my medication refill) will be in 6 months. I’m on the same appointment timeline as I was in the past, which is nice since I wasn’t sure it would be that way with a new doctor. But the next appointment is going to be unique because it’s going to be my first time ever doing a video chat appointment with a doctor! I’m actually pretty excited to have that option too because again it will save me the time of driving back and forth!

I know that not everyone likes technology, but I love that I have options to do virtual appointments with my therapist! It really helps to make appointments fit into my schedule better and I think that it will give me more options for when I can make appointments in the future. All of these things are good things and make me really hopeful that I’m on the right path toward recovery!

Figuring Out Some Self-Care (or Working On My Physical And Mental Health)

I’ve been a bit too stressed out lately. A lot of it had to do with just being overwhelmed and trying to schedule myself, but that didn’t explain all of it. Reflecting back on it, I think that it’s possible that my panic and anxiety disorder came back. It wasn’t enough for me to feel like I needed to take medication or call my new therapist, but it was something I was aware of.

Like with so many other things in my life, being aware is a huge step for me and I consider that to be a win. But of course I wanted to make the stressed out feelings go away and not just be aware of it. Part of what I’ve been working on is related to my monthly challenge this month. I’m being a bit selfish and turning down invitations to things I don’t want to go to. I’m not committing myself to things that aren’t what I want to do socially and I’m not going insane when there is an event I want to go to but it doesn’t fit into my schedule. I’ve had to miss some fun things like birthday parties and baby showers because of work, but I’m not feeling guilty that I have to work because my friends understand.

Being selfish is a bit of self-care and I never really thought of that before. I think it has been a big step in my mental health although it isn’t fixing everything. But giving time to myself does allow me to think through the stress I’m feeling and figuring out what is causing it and what I can do to make it a bit better. And I know I’ve said this probably a million times, but I am also working on time management to work on my stress. I hate when I get to the end of the day and I still have so much to get done. I’m trying to work on doing stuff throughout the day and not just after work or after my workout.

But this time, I’m also working on my physical self-care too. I love to look at different beauty products, but I’m not always someone who uses them. But I decided to get a set of sheet masks from Amazon (they were pretty cheap) so I could work on my skin care. They are nice, but I look pretty creepy when I’m using them!

I’ve only used one so far so I don’t see a huge difference in my skin, but I think the mental break I get when I use those masks help too. It is time that I have to be still and relax, which I probably don’t do enough. I also found a nice new body cream at CVS on sale that I got that feels a lot more luxurious than my normal body lotion. Sometimes, it’s the little things like those that make a big difference.

I’ve been working a lot of doing these self-care things this week and I really have noticed my stress levels go down. I still need it to go down a bit more before I feel totally like myself, but I’m glad it’s getting better. I didn’t need to turn to medication (which I’d rather not use since it will make my Vyvanse less effective) and I’m not waiting it out and suffering. I’m taking action and figuring out what works. Or at least what works for me right now. I know that things will change all the time and what is working now might not work later this year. But at least I was productive in figuring out what I needed to do.

I know that this self-care is a positive step, but I still am working on how to stop the stress from getting to this level. I want to be able to stop it before it gets this bad and I start feeling overwhelmed. But as I’ve learned I have to look at the baby steps I take and not get frustrated. I can’t be expected to figure out everything right away so I need to appreciate that I figured out one small step toward figuring it all out. And hopefully next time, I’ll figure out the next small step.

SaveSave

New Year New Therapist (or Not Starting At Square One)

I’ve been seeing my therapist for a little while. At first I was going more often, but more recently it was only twice a year. In therapy, I talked about some of the issues that may have helped to lead to my eating disorder, but in the end we really came to the conclusion that I just had the genetic code that made me extra susceptible to having some sort of addiction issue and that food ended up being what I turned to. I do have some self-confidence issues with people being verbally abusive to me in my past, but I know that what they said about me isn’t true and I just have to work on reminding myself that.

It was nice that I had gotten to that point with my therapist. It’s not too common that someone prescribing you medication wouldn’t make you do as much talk therapy, but he knew that I really wasn’t needing it anymore. While I’m not totally in recovery, I’m probably in the best mental state I’ve ever been in for my entire life. I’m so happy that I’ve had the breakthroughs that I have had and I know that my therapist was proud of me as well.

But before my most recent appointment, I found out that my therapist was no longer working for the medical offices (and he may not be working at all in LA anymore). I was originally randomly assigned a new therapist, but I ended up calling and making sure that I was set to see someone who works with those with eating disorders. I knew that this appointment was more of just a meeting and if I didn’t like the therapist I could ask for another appointment with another doctor, but I also nervous. I know that not all doctors would be as relaxed about things as my previous therapist was, but I hoped for the best. I went into my appointment with as open of a mind as possible.

And I have to say that I really lucked out. My new therapist really did take the time to review the notes my previous therapist made in my chart (I’m seriously so curious what he had written about me). She knew my progress in therapy and with medication and was pretty educated on my medical history. And I was blunt and honest with her about how I wasn’t really seeking as much talk therapy as I was when I started because I felt like I had reached the pinpoint of my issues. I knew that telling her that was a risky move because the medications I take are a controlled substance and I didn’t want to sound like a drug seeker.

But she completely understood where I was in therapy and why I didn’t feel the need to talk things out the way I did in the beginning. Of course she gave me the option to talk things out if I felt like I needed to, but I told her that my only fears were about if she was going to change my entire treatment plan. She is going to make some changes in my medication. She actually thinks my dosage is too low and we will be making increases to how much I take over the next few weeks. And we will be doing a follow-up phone call in a month so she can know how I’m doing. That’s much easier than me coming in again and I appreciate that she is giving me that option. And if everything goes as well as she thinks it will, most likely I will go back to twice a year appointments.

As my therapy appointment ended, my therapist noticed that the rainstorm that had been happening earlier that day had ended and that there was an amazing double rainbow right outside. I took it as a good sign that this new therapist is going to be a great member of my medical team and that good things are on their way for me.

While switching therapists wasn’t what I was planning on doing, I’m so happy that it went as well as it did. In the past, I had some therapists that I didn’t feel connected with me and that I wasn’t getting anything out of the appointments. It’s not easy to find someone who you want to work with and I’ve been lucky enough to get two therapists back to back that seem to be the right people for me. And hopefully with the new medication plan I will see more progress in my recovery. But if I don’t, I know that this therapist will be able to work with me and we will figure out what I need to do.

SaveSave

SaveSave

I Know The Holidays Can Be Tough (or Trying To Give Support To My Friends)

When I was younger, I was diagnosed with depression. At the time I thought that the diagnosis was correct even though no medication was helping me. Now looking back, I’m pretty sure it was a misdiagnosis and my depression was more of a side effect of my eating disorder, panic/anxiety disorder, and mild OCD. But even with it being a misdiagnosis, I understand how helpless things can feel at times. But fortunately for me, I can get myself out of that mindset before things get too bad.

But that’s not the case for several of my friends. I have many friends who have depression and other mental issues that lead to depression. I’ve had friends attempt suicide and have been the person that someone calls in the middle of the night to hear a voice of reason when things seem impossible. I’m more than happy to be that person for my friends because I don’t want to see someone harming themselves because they don’t think anyone cares or can’t get a hold of someone. I sleep with my phone on and next to my bed so I can be available for calls in the middle of my night. I’m fine sacrificing sleep if it helps someone else not do something that cannot be reversed.

Like many other mental health issues, I think depression and suicide are getting more attention in the media and that it is becoming less stigmatized. If you haven’t seen last week’s episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (spoiler alert), the episode is themed about this. I think that this episode was so powerful and that they will continue to be as sensitive about the subject in the coming episodes. But just because something is being discussed publicly more often doesn’t necessarily make it easier for those dealing with it.

I know that depression can hit at any time of the year, but I also know that for some of my friends it can be worse during the holidays. If you are used to being with your family and can’t do that it can be tough. If you are surrounded by happy people and you feel like an outsider, it can be tough. Anything can be a trigger and it doesn’t have to be for a reason or make sense. But when depression hits and you feel like there is no escape it doesn’t matter what else is happening in the world. You just feel like you need out and that isn’t always the right thing to do.

I’m posting this now because I’ve recently had a few friends try to kill themselves. I’m glad that all of them were unsuccessful in their attempts so they are still around and are able to get help. But it’s still hard to think that someone I love that much felt like they were unloved. And no matter how much I try to support them, I know that depression is a personal battle and they have to work on it on their own. But not everyone has the same support that my friends have and I want to make sure that everyone knows where they can get help.

One of the best ways to get help if you feel like there is no other choice is to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

There is someone you can talk to 24/7 and help is free and confidential. They can guide you to resources to get help and will listen to you without judgement. And if you are a friend or family member of someone who is suicidal, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can help you too. There are resources so that you can help someone else. I have used those before to help my friends. And I’ve also used their guides on how to report suicidal posts on social media so you can help someone who you may not know in person. Sometimes people joke about suicide and it’s tough to tell if they are being truthful or not. I’ve reported people who weren’t being serious on social media, but I’d rather be more cautious than to think someone is joking when they really are reaching out for help.

Hopefully if you are feeling helpless or know someone who is that you know that help is possible. I know that it doesn’t always seem that way, but it’s true. And when you talk to someone who has overcome depression they will tell you that there is hope and help when you need it. And once they are on the other side they are so grateful that they didn’t do something that they couldn’t come back from.

I know that for my friends battling this that many of them have a long way to go. But I love them so much and want to support them in any way I can. And I’m in it for the long haul with them. They are with me with battling my eating disorder and know how wonderful it feels to have someone supporting me on my best days and worst days and isn’t wondering how much longer it will take me to get over things. So by doing the same thing for someone else (even if it is about a different mental health issue), I’m just trying to pay forward the support I’ve been so lucky to get.

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

This Might Be A Breakthrough For Me (or Trying To Believe I’m Not Unloveable)

I’ve talked about how in my past I’ve had someone who told me how I was unloveable. They tried to convince me that nobody would ever want to be with me and that anyone who claims to love me is lying to get something out of me. They tried to tell me how my friends didn’t love me and that my family was embarrassed by me. They told me the only way to change this was to stop being fat because being fat was being a 3rd class citizen. This didn’t cause my eating disorder (I had that for years before this conversation) but it didn’t help either.

As much as I wanted to not believe what they told me, I couldn’t get the idea of being unloveable out of my head. And the fact that I had really bad luck dating reinforced this and made me believe it more. I have been cheated on several times and that made me think that I wasn’t worthy of being the only person that someone wants to be with. I have tolerated not being treated the way I should be treated. And I allowed this to happy to me because I really did think that I wasn’t worthy of something better.

I know that I am worthy and lovable but it’s tough to believe that sometimes. Even with all the luck I’ve had lately with online dating, I still don’t believe that maybe someone will like me for me right now. And because of that, I have noticed that I am putting up with things that I shouldn’t have to. I am trying to be more open-minded about things, but being open-minded doesn’t have to mean lowering my standards. And I have noticed lately that I’ve been tolerating things I shouldn’t have to and I don’t want to put up with that anymore.

There is one particular guy that I’ve been seeing very casually for a little while. I hadn’t mentioned it really on here because we weren’t serious and I was still going out with other guys since I didn’t know where this would be going. I’m not a fan of casual dating because I like to know what is happening, but again I’ve been trying to be open-minded and didn’t feel like I needed to rush or push things. So we had been seeing each other on and off for a little while and it was going fine for a while.

But then things changed. He seemed to be flaking on me and then reappearing like nothing happened. I think if you are texting someone every day for a while and then you don’t text for a week or two you should probably apologize. But he didn’t and I didn’t want to push anything so I never really asked about it. I gave him another chance and he did it again. And again I thought that maybe I would give him another chance because I didn’t want to end something that was fun.

I’ve never been the person to end a relationship. Even when I was cheated on, it was more of a mutual decision than me ending things. And I’m sure that a part of the reason why I’ve never been the person to end things is because I’m terrified that the person I’m going to end things with is the last person who would want me. I don’t want to end something and risk being alone the rest of my life. I know how crazy that sounds, but that’s really how I was thinking.

But with this guy, I knew that I was pretty much done with him. I understand casual dating doesn’t mean you hear from them every day, but that doesn’t mean you can be a flake or fail to follow through with plans you have been making. So I decided to end things with him. But even though I knew that is what I wanted to do, I couldn’t get the courage to do it. I didn’t want to just send a random text to him saying that I thought we should both move on. So I waited for him to send me another text so I would have something to reply to.

It took about a week between when I had decided I wanted to text him and when he texted me next. And he texted me to ask what I was up to for the weekend and I was honest. I told him that I had fun seeing him but that I thought that this thing had run its course and ended. I was shaking when I sent the text because I couldn’t get the voices out of my head. But when he texted me back, I knew it was the right choice. Because his text back to me was something about how he was busy watching football. Not really the response I was expecting and I don’t think he actually looked at what I sent to him. About 3 hours after he responded, he responded again asking what I was doing for the weekend. And I sent my text back to him saying how I thought we shouldn’t see each other again. That was a few days ago and I haven’t gotten another text from him.

I still feel terrified that I will never find another guy to go out with, but I’m trying to keep those thoughts quiet compared to what I know is true. I am lovable and I will find someone who treats me the way I deserve to be treated. I don’t have to tolerate something that isn’t right because of a fear of being alone.

I really feel like this was a huge breakthrough in my life to prove that I am worthy of things that I want. I don’t have to settle in any sense of my life. And I’m hoping that this breakthrough will have the potential to lead to more breakthroughs in other parts of my life where I know that I haven’t felt worthy before. I need to get that voice out of my head telling me that I don’t deserve things because that was just one person’s opinion of me and not the truth.

What Will Be Sobriety (or A Friend Making Me Think About What I Want)

I was in the car recently with a friend of mine. This friend and I can have some pretty serious and deep conversations and we are pretty honest with each other. While in the car, we started talking about books which led into me talking about how I read 10 pages of a recovery based book every day. And that discussion led into talking about my eating disorder.

We talked about how I feel pretty certain that this is something that I was born with because I remember episodes from when I was a toddler. I doubt it is learned behavior when it starts that young. And we talked about the progress that I’ve been making and trying to make to get myself into recovery. And then we got into a pretty interesting discussion about recovery means.

I’ve said in the past that having an eating disorder/food addiction is so different from any other addiction. This is something that you will have to confront multiple times a day for the rest of your life. When you are an alcoholic, you can go the rest of your life without alcohol. But you cannot survive without food. And I know I’ve had some feelings of almost jealously over friends who have recovered from other addictions because they can just avoid whatever they were addicted to. It seems so much easier than what I’m going through (although I know that it’s not the case).

When I attended the OA meeting with my friend, they talked about the idea of sobriety. Sobriety is a personal thing for anyone, but in OA it becomes even more personal since everyone has their own idea of sobriety. Obviously, you can’t be sober from food. So you have to pick the things around food that you want to avoid and doing that creates your sobriety. For some of my friends, that has meant no eating after a certain time, not eating a certain food, or only eating when it is on a plate and not out of a container.

When I was telling my friend about that idea, he asked me what sobriety/recovery would mean for me. And honestly, I don’t know. I know what I’d like to have my relationship with food be like but many of the things I want are not realistic. For example, I’d love to never have a binge or overeating episode again and to always be in the right calorie range. But everyone has a time every so often when they overeat. When you go out to a restaurant you can easily overeat.

But maybe I can change how I view those episodes. If I don’t let them bring me down and just view them as a normal part of life and can move on, that could be good. I don’t want them to affect me the way that they do now and if that happens maybe it could become a rare occasion instead of something that sets me off.

Beyond the idea of never having a binge episode again, I’ve never really thought too much about what sobriety would mean for me. That’s all I’ve wanted. But because of my conversation with my friend I did start thinking about habits I have or had and what I can change. And one of the biggest ones that I thought of was how I have not ordered delivery food in over a year and a half. Well, technically occasionally I order Chipotle from Postmates, but I don’t consider that delivery food as I can order exactly what I would have gotten if I went to get it myself (unlike when you order Chinese food or pizza and have to order more than what you know you can eat).

For a long time, I thought I’d never be able to be delivery food free and I have managed to do it much longer than I ever have as an adult. And I don’t really even think of getting delivery food when I’m hungry and don’t know what I want to eat. It’s nice having that out of my head and not an issue any more. So in some way, I think that since I’m able to get over delivery food (which felt like it could never happen) that I could also get over binge episodes. But at the same time I don’t want to put that pressure on myself.

I still really don’t know what my version of sobriety means to me. But realizing that I don’t know this has made me understand that I can’t get into recovery until I really figure this out. I need to sit down, set some goals, and make some more concrete plans. Even though I have been working on this, having this idea in mind is an entirely different game and I think it can only benefit me by working on it.

Over-scheduled and Bored (or Why Can’t I Find A Happy Medium)

Lately it has seemed like my schedule has had some serious ups and downs. I’ve had days where I’ve had absolutely nothing planned (or nothing planned beyond having to work that day) and then I’ve had days that were so over-scheduled that I was stressed out about how I would manage to do it all without running late. It’s so crazy to me that one day I could be sitting at home bored out of my mind and the next day I could be gone for almost 16 hours from the time I leave my house for the first thing planned until I get home from the last thing planned.

I do like to be busy. First, that gives me something to blog about. If I just sat at home every day after work, this would become a very boring blog. I’d still have some personal and emotional things to write about (like this post), but there would be no adventures. And I also know that when I’m busy I either don’t have the desire to binge or I don’t have the time to. Sometimes when I’m super busy I do still have a binge eating episode, but those are not as often as they are in my normal life.

I know that I can’t depend on my schedule to get me into recovery or to eliminate binges, but it’s almost like a fantasy in my mind that I would love to have come true. I know that there have been things that have happened in my past that have put me in a temporary state of recovery, but when that ended my eating disorder was back. I know that recovery isn’t just being too busy to have an eating disorder because your eating disorder will find a way to become a priority in your schedule again. But I feel good knowing that at least right now in my life, my eating disorder has to work around my schedule and that I’m not cancelling plans to have being episodes.

In an ideal world, I would be able to handle being busy enough most of the time that bingeing doesn’t happen that often, that would get me to recovery, and it would stick even if my schedule got less busy in the future. But I don’t live in an ideal world and being busy most of the week isn’t good for my mental health. I occasionally have mini-breakdowns where I have gotten too overwhelmed by everything and just need to have a day at home where I do nothing. Of course, those days never happen to fall on days that already had nothing scheduled on them. But I try to be flexible with my schedule to allow myself to have a mental health day when I need it.

And I have been trying to find a good happy medium between having too much and having too little to do. I don’t know what that happy medium looks like yet. I thought I had gotten there a few weeks ago, and then I had a moment where I freaked out because I had so many unread emails and tasks I needed to check off. I’ve been trying to make daily checklists to get things done, but on both busy and lazy days sometimes I’m not able to get those done. And then those things that needed to get done just pile up and continue to overwhelm me.

I think that part of the overwhelming feeling is that only some of my schedule is in my control. Many things have to be done at the time they are scheduled (like work) and I can’t get around that. I have to plan my other things around it and sometimes 2 non-flexible things are up against each other and I either have to prioritize and say no to something to ask someone to move their schedule around. I hate asking others to adjust to my schedule because I don’t want to feel like I’m inconveniencing someone. But sometimes I need to have the courage to do that or to say no to something that I know would be at a time that wouldn’t be best for me.

I’m really working on planning out my days better so that on both over-scheduled and lazy days are productive and as stress-free as possible. I’m trying to take travel time in consideration when planning things so that I feel confident that I can make it from one thing to another. And I’m continuing to try to work on figuring out how much stuff in one week is too much and how little is too little. It’s a weird balancing act to try to figure out, but I know that as long as I’m working on it that I will get there eventually.

 

Working On Forgiveness (or Accepting Things As They Are)

Between my recent appointment with my therapist, working on the 12 week journey of “The Prosperous Heart”, the goal setting workshop I attended, and just me thinking things through; I’ve come to a lot of ideas about myself. One of them is how I need to work on mindfulness. I thought I had been working on that, but clearly based on what I’m discovering about myself that is still something I really need and want to work on. That’s a tough one for me to do, but obviously it’s important to me since it has come up for me so much lately.

But I’ve come to another conclusion about myself that I haven’t really had the chance to work on even though it has come up in almost all the same places as figuring out I need to work on mindfulness. And the thing I realized is that I need to work on forgiveness. This isn’t really about forgiving others (although there are a few people who I probably should work through my anger about). This is more about forgiving myself and that’s not an easy thing.

It’s funny how I came to this realization because this week’s chapter in “The Prosperous Heart” is all about forgiveness. I read the chapter after I thought that I wanted to work on it, so it really felt like fate to me. And it got me even more motivated on trying to work out what I want to forgive myself for.

As far as within the work I’m doing for “The Prosperous Heart” I have to be able to forgive myself for not remembering to write down every single expense that I have. I pretty much write down everything, but I realized this week that I had been forgetting to write down the quarters I spend for laundry each week. That’s not a huge deal, but I wanted to do everything right and forgetting to track some cash expenses isn’t part of that plan.

I’m also working on trying to forgive myself for not making the progress I should have been making in my weight loss. I’ve unfortunately gained some weight this past month and that really makes me mad. That progress was really tough to get and to lose it is so frustrating. I know that I can’t be perfect and always lose weight, but to gain weight is something that I still view as unacceptable and it’s not easy for me to realize that to slip up is normal. I want to be able to get back on track, but its hard.

And the latest thing that I’ve been trying to work on forgiving myself about is a bit tough to discuss. To make a long story short, I have come to realize that while I was taking the birth control pill it was changing my personality and repressing certain emotions. Since getting my IUD in I’ve come to find out more about who I really am and part of that is why I’ve been putting myself out there so much with online dating. But I’ve started to wonder that if I had switched from the pill to the IUD sooner (or never went on the pill), maybe my life would have been so different. Past relationships of mine might not have failed. Or a different relationship could have happened. It’s tough not to think about the what ifs, but I can’t help myself.

The dating one has been hitting me the hardest because I’ve been going over so much in my head lately with past relationships and what might have been if I hadn’t had the issues that I now know the pill was causing me to have. It’s so crazy to think that I didn’t realize that I wasn’t my full self for almost 15 years. I don’t want to keep looking back, and that’s why it’s so important to work on forgiveness. I know I don’t have anything to really forgive myself for with past relationships, but I want to forgive myself for the feelings that I’m having about them.

Just like with mindfulness, this is not going to be a fast process. It will take me a while to learn to forgive myself and to just accept things as they are. Hopefully moving forward I won’t be as hard on myself, but I know myself well enough to know that I probably will still be my harshest critic. That’s just who I am and maybe I need to forgive myself for feeling like I need to change that too?

I don’t know what has brought so much reflection on my life lately, but I have to think that it’s a really positive thing. These changes I’m hoping to make can only be for the better and hopefully I will see more positive changes in my life once I’m able to implement these more often.

Another Therapy Check In (or Someone Sees Progress)

I only see my therapist every six months now, and my visit with him was this week. So much has happened in six months and I was trying to think about what I wanted to talk about with him before I went in for my appointment. I know that my time there is limited and I wanted to maximize my time. I knew that not everything was relevant to talk about, but I still took some mental notes on what I wanted to make sure we go over.

A lot of my appointments with my therapist are pretty basic check ins. He wants to make sure that I’m still making progress and doing ok on my medication. But there isn’t a lot for me to work through in therapy anymore. Coming to the realization that I just have bad luck genetically with getting an eating disorder has helped me a lot. I know that I didn’t do anything (or have something happen to me) that caused this and I just have to work on getting through it and figuring out good recovery tools for myself. Sometimes knowing that is tough, but it does make my therapy appointments easier.

The first update we discussed in my appointment was me not having the liver surgery. Even though my therapist has access to all my medical records, I knew he wouldn’t have reviewed everything that has happened lately. He was very excited about me not needing surgery and was asking what might have caused the tumors to shrink. There is really no medical explanation for it, but he agrees that my tumor visualization might have been a big part of it. Our minds are really powerful and can do miracles. He agrees that I should keep that up and see what happens when I have my next MRI in a few months.

We also talked about how I was struggling a bit with the idea of preparing for surgery for so long and then that just stopping. I told him how the unknowns unnerve me a bit and that I was finding it tough to reconnect to myself. I still struggle with a bit of disconnection with my body and I don’t know if that will ever be resolved because even if the tumors go away they could come back another time. My therapist understood why this is so tough for me, but he was encouraging me to work really hard to get through it.

He was talking about how we cannot set expectations for life and then fall apart when they don’t happen. Things can change and we have to be ok with going with the flow. And when something doesn’t go our way, we have to let go of the idea of what we thought would be and start thinking about what is. Obviously, those things are easier said than done, but I do need to work a lot on that idea. And to have him tell me that it’s ok that I struggle with this idea made me feel better because sometimes I wonder if it’s just me who seems so rigid in these ideas.

Even though there are things that I’m struggling with, the main things that my therapist was saying to me were all positive things. He said that he can really sense a change in me and sees that I’m so much happier. He can see that I’m figuring things out and I am making progress. I don’t always see the progress, but I know it’s easier for someone on the outside to see it. He knows that even if my eating disorder isn’t getting better right now, I’m building the skills and gaining the tools I’ll need to be in recovery. So eventually it will all connect and come together and I’ll be better equipped to be in recovery.

We also started to talk about the future and when I will be going off of Vyvanse. I cannot be on this medication my entire life (nor do I want to be on it forever). I am not in a place to be off of it just yet, and in fact we actually made a small increase to my dosage. But we went over how this is just a temporary tool and how I need to be preparing myself to eventually not have the crutch of the medication to help me through the day. It’s a bit scary to think about going off of it because when I don’t take it for a random day off, I notice that things aren’t as great. But to start working through an end plan is something that I know I need to do.

The biggest takeaway I had from this appointment was that I am making progress and improving even if I can’t see it yet. Getting to see myself through someone else’s eyes (and someone who has a critical viewpoint) is pretty powerful and really helped me feel more settled in what has been happening. My therapist wants me to focus on being more in the moment and accepting things as they come. If I am going to have a binge episode, he wants me to do it because I chose to do so and not because my eating disorder is putting me on auto-pilot. I’m getting much closer to that point so it’s good to know that that’s actually progress.

I won’t have my next appointment until December (6 months from now) unless something crazy happens and I feel like I need to be seen sooner. But I’m feeling much better about where things are now after this appointment. Some of the doubts I’ve been having have been reassured as good things and I’ve been given homework to try to work on over these next 6 months. Hopefully when I go back to see him again, he will continue to see progress and be happy with the steps I’ve made toward recovery.