Wednesday, 17 July 2013

It’s a Healing Place

[First of all, I apologize for my absence. I’ve been spending a lot of time in a no internets zone. This explains both my lack of posting and the fact that this post is written in the present tense when in fact that present tense was like, six days ago. Either way, enjoy and thank you]

Recovery is a journey, this I have learned for sure. As many have told me, it is full of ups and downs. It’s kind of like a really fucking scary roller coaster you’re just tall enough to be able to ride. Before you step on there’s that initial fear where you know you still have the chance to double back, run to the back of the line and save yourself the gut wrenching, scream filled ride that might just make you shit your pants. Your only other choice is to step across the threshold, take a seat, get strapped in and “enjoy” the ride. Nine times out of ten, you’re going to come out OK on the other side. Throughout the ride there is going to be twists and turns, a few loops, maybe a moment or two where you feel like you’re going to lose your shit, but as I said, nine times out of ten, you’re going to be OK. You just need to take the initial step. Once you’re on, you can’t get off. Either that or you can jump. Jumping from a moving roller coaster, like giving up on recovery, can cause a hell of a lot of damage, set you back, cause pain, and will probably make you feel pretty shitty for not sticking it out.

I’m going somewhere with this. I swear.

Starting to go to my cabin again is one of those roller coaster rides. It’s going to take a lot of getting used to. People dropping in, prepping my meals, planning my meals, the risk that there is always the chance that my safe routine will be interrupted. There is no scale there, so I cannot weight myself. I will not bring my scale from home, as I feel that is a major setback for me, but there was a time in the past where this behavior was normal and expected. There are no full mirrors, no way for me to body check. There is no cell service, no internet… There is a chance for me to go off the grid. I am forced to focus on myself. I am faced with many challenges, and I am learning to use that space as a healing place. A place that doesn’t have to be touched by my eating disorder in a negative fashion. Margaree is becoming, for me, a haven where I can face challenges, set goals, be with my family, and know that I am doing something right. It’s also a place where I’m forced to “relax” (at least my form of relaxation). There are hitches, but we are working around them. I went to the cabin this past weekend. Overall, I’ve gotta say, I have been really happy (as happy as I can be) with the space and the experience. Lately I have reached a crazy amount of recovery goals. A lot of them happened in Margaree, which is part of the reason I want to keep going back there.

The fact that I even have recovery goals excites me. It tells me I’m finally beginning to chip away at the wall ED has put up on the psychological front. By setting goals I am able to identify something to work toward besides eating so many calories a day, getting enough exercise, and making sure I simply exist. Behavioral goals. Goals that help me look to the future and take steps toward something brighter. Some goals will take longer than others, yeah, but fuck it.

So, the weekend of the 5th of July went well in my opinion. I have been really excited about it and have meant to blog about the achievements I have made for the longest time. This week, for some reason, was hella busy (though I don’t exactly understand why). Either way, I spent most of the week getting ready for the weekend that has just recently past – the weekend where I would go to my cabin from Friday until Monday. Where there would be no scale, no full length mirror. I would take the same vehicle as the rest of my family. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Facing my fears to the max. As much as it seemed like a terrible idea, I am sitting in my bedroom at the cabin typing this. I’ve survived so far.

I got off track. Back to July 5th weekend.

The highlight of my weekend was the hike to Second Falls that my father and I took together. It wasn’t a long hike, but it was pretty good for endurance! You spend about half of your time in and out of the brook that runs off of the falls at the top of the mountain. Let me tell you, that water is some fucking cold. Colder than a witches tit. The view at the end of the hike is worth it. I swear.
Father daughter hike #1 -- July 5th weekend

That's Harv

Second falls

First Falls

Hike #2 -- July 13th weekend

I love this place

The Mama and I on the hike

A view from our walk the next morning (The Mama and I)

Braving the Beach

Beach Combing

Anyway, there are two sets of waterfalls. That’s why we hiked to the second falls. Upon arriving I was pretty overwhelmed with the peace it brought me. I mean, I’ve been there before as a kid, but it’s different coming back to it. The waterfall was so loud Harv and I could barely hear one another talk! I was really batting a thousand that day for zen moments. Before the hike I had just finished doing some yoga outside while listening to the rush of the river behind our property. Needless to say I was pretty well in the zone. The rest of the day included my braving the beach in my new bathing suit (a big step. Not only did I buy a bathing suit, but I wore it in public, and even swam in front of people), yet another barbeque with the Mama and Harv, and visiting family that evening (the whole fam jam either lives here or has a cabin, so coming to Margaree is like an instant family reunion every weekend). On Monday the Mama and I hit the beach rather than the river. We had a picnic, and I got a chance to do some beach combing and practice more yoga on the beach. Straight out of one of those cheesy yoga posters, I swear. I immediately decided that I was coming back as often as I could. Why is this? Well, remember those goals I was talking about? Most of them were achieved here at the cabin. They are as follows:

  • Avoid the scale (I even threw in a no-weigh day of my own accord this past week. It’s so much harder to do when the scale is present in the house. I got through it though!)
  •  Eat in front of people as much as possible (I ate lunch at the river in front of my extended family as well as had a picnic on the beach with Mama when there were people around) 
  •  Go with the flow (things change around here rapidly. I did everything I could to ride the waves of anxiety and face each new challenge as an opportunity to better myself)
  • Stick with the program (I have successfully been not-measuring two food items in my day every day. It will be two weeks on Wednesday. Difficult at first, but I have the choice of what I want to eyeball, so ED still feels like he has some aspect of control and doesn’t go too whacko on me)
  •    No body checking (I can’t scrutinize myself when there are no full mirrors to do so in)
  • Try to be social (I visited with people when I normally wouldn’t have. The Friday before I left I hung out with a friend from the gym, and I have plans to see a movie with an acquaintance from home as soon as I get back)
  • Relax” (Ah, that word. I sat on the beach and read Psychology Today, and I was cool with that. That counts, right?) 
  •  Be flexible (I’ve been faced with quick decisions and have been forced to cope with anxiety inducing situations such as visitors dropping in in the middle of a meal) 
  •  Prep food in front of people other than Harv and the Mama (I got my breakfast ready in a somewhat normal fashion on Wednesday when Harv and his friend were installing a ceiling fan in the kitchen)
  • Reach your fitness goals (I ran my best time last Monday and have stayed consistent with my other running times. I am sure to thank my body after every workout – as my progress goes to show that my hard work is paying off and that I am becoming healthy again) 
  • Try something new (I had peaches and plums this week for the first time in two years. It was amazing, and they have both become staples in my diet again)
So, needless to say I have been one hard working motherfucker this past little while. It isn’t going to stop here. We are going back to the falls tomorrow, this time with a larger group – this is part of facing my fear of being around people, challenging the social anxiety. The hike is about two hours total, so there is no need to take lunch, which is good. I’m not sure I could handle all of that in one go.

As well, I’m sitting here, well aware that for the next three days I will not know my weight, that I will be unable to body check, and that I’ve got to keep my head in what could potentially be a very anxiety riddled weekend. I mean, talk about roller coasters, right? I’ve stepped across quite the threshold, and I think I’m ready for it. I have all kinds of strategies to turn to if need be, my meal plans are done, and I plan on doing a run on Sunday or Monday. The bottom line is that I have things to look forward to, and that’s a part of this whole “let’s get your life back” type thing.

On a completely unrelated note, I saw Despicable Me 2 this past week. It was hilarious. I think I got to thinking of that because I was thinking about how I feel. I’m not in the greatest of moods right now, as today has been a little…scratch that… A lot stressful. I feel like one of the purple minions from the movie. I might even make their little “MARP” noise from time to time, just to animate my feelings (that and to freak out parents and passersby). If you don’t know what I’m talking about, see the movie, or google the purple minions… Or see the movie (go see the movie). Frig it, I’ll do the googleing for you. 

That's me. The Purple one.

Anyway, what I’m working toward overall with this post is the fact that recovery is full of fucked up shit that no one can control. Sadly, I’m just going to have to deal with that. I believe it’s important that I am recognizing these things though. Moving forward psychologically is something I am longing for – it will allow me one more step toward normalcy, or at least, what I feel to be normalcy. I want a recovered life so badly. It’s hard work, and it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. It might as well be me because no one else if going to do this for me. With me. Yes. But getting through this thing is ultimately on yours truly.
So, hop on the roller coaster. You never know what it might lead to.

Stay Awesome,

PS – I survived the weekend. Though I am exhausted, I’m alive. I’m sure I’ll get you up to date on it soon. As well, we have moved on to not measuring three food items in my day. I’m on my own till September, as my psychologist is going on vacation (which is scary for me, but everyone needs a vacation), so I will be calling the shots and pushing myself on my own terms. We have identified enjoying Thanksgiving with my family as a goal for the fall. I hope I can do this.

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