Two years have gone by and the very thought of you still brings me to tears.
I can still hear your laugh and loving voice throughout the days of goodness and days of sorrow.
The 3-4 hour conversations are what I miss the most. I miss sharing secrets with you and talking endlessly about past memories and moments.
I still listen to the many voicemails that you left and cherish each one for how it represents our relationship.
Our relationship was so special. I never knew how great a mother could be to a daughter. You taught me so much about life and myself; I cant thank you enough.
Im still waiting for you to walk through the front door, hug me and never let go. Your kind and gentle gestures are what make you special. You always knew what to do and what to say to make moments a little easier.
Two years ago our lives changed forever. And even though I know in my heart you are still with us, I cant help but feel sad and lonely without you. I love you Mom.
Oh summer.. how this time of year brings many of us great joy and excitement it also brings anxiety, depression, and a high risk for relapse.
For me, summer break has always been extremely difficult and a time where old habits and behaviors float to the surface and life becomes hard. The overall lack of structure, diet talk, and types of clothing that are worn is what always seems to be my struggle.
This summer I WILL NOT repeat my mistakes. I WILL get out of my comfort zone and trust the process.. no matter how scary the unknown result may be. I’ve put together a survival list for staying on track for recovery through the next summer months!
- Give yourself credit for the little accomplishments. This is especially important for your self- care and motivation. Little accomplishments of getting out of bed in the morning are important. You’ve come this far, keep going!
- Challenge yourself weekly. In the recovery process I think it is important to continue moving forward in order to make progress. Create small weekly goals such as getting breakfast with a friend in the morning, going to the beach or waterpark, wear an outfit that you love but may make you feel anxiety.
- Share your struggle. Whether its with a close friend, therapist, coach, or parent it is important to let it out. ED will continue to fester your thinking if you hold your struggles in and try to hide them. When in doubt let it out!
- Have fun. Summer is a time where you are supposed to enjoy yourself. Don’t let the anxiety or ED thoughts keep you from being happy. You deserve to get out and live life.
Oh the yes, but…
How so many of us this phrase when we are too people pleasing to say a direct no but want our way in the end. For example, your friend asks you to go out for ice cream. You are scared and anxious about this outing so instead of saying no you just say “Yes I would love to, but I have x, y, and z going on”.
This phrase is not limited to just food or things related to the eating disorder, I can say I am guilty of using this with just about everything. When we say “yes, but” what are we really saying?
I had this discussion with my therapist this past week and came to a little bit of a revelation. When we say “yes, but” or the infamous “I know” we aren’t actually accepting the circumstance or decision at hand. So when your friend tells you it may be helpful to go out for ice cream and you reply back with “I know”…. do you really know?
At least for me I think many of us still want to hold on to as much control of our lives as possible. Even if it is just the simplest little decision. So when we say “yes, but” or “I know” we aren’t actually allowing ourselves to grow. Now don’t get me wrong we don’t want to go into full blaze people pleasing mode but we need to relax the reins and let life happen.
Remind yourself that full control can be harmful, especially in the early stages of recovery. No matter how much I want to be “normal” I know in the back of my mind that I cannot handle every step of the way.
Its time to start saying just “yes” and to actually “know”.
It’s weird to think that there is life beyond the self critiquing and the race to perfection. I think for many of us, it has been a life long process of fighting these thoughts to live a “normal” life.
As I sit here, enjoying the beautiful weather, I cant help but think about how simple and easier life would be if we could just let go. Just ignore the constant hatred towards ourselves and admire life for what it is.
I’m not one that is normally big into the mushy gushy stuff, but in this moment I feel at peace. Shoot, its 70 degrees in February, I’m petting my dog, and for once life isn’t being a roller coaster.
Ultimately, why should I be hating myself or telling myself that I’m not “doing” enough? I mean I wouldn’t tell my friends that they weren’t doing recovery perfectly, or sitting down writing a blog post was a waste, or even that they ate too much!
This past week my therapist and I were discussing the difference between normal thoughts and anorexia thoughts. At least for me sometimes I get confused with what is a logical thought or plan and what is eating disorder driven.
She explained it in steps:
- Acknowledge any thought as just a thought, NOT a command or a “have to”. These need to be things that you choose to do or not.
- Ask yourself, is this thought escalating into a much bigger plan?
- Are you feeling anxious about this thought?
- Now here’s the big one…. Would you ask someone you respect about this thought? Or carry this thought out in front of someone you respect?
I think breaking it down into these categories can be helpful to combat against those thoughts that may seem oh so appealing to you at the time. And maybe it might even be helpful to text a friend that is also in recovery and get their opinion.
Don’t let an Eating Disorder control your life anymore than it already has. Take those reins and lead because you deserve a life of greatness and pride!
Hearing the phrases “You’ve come so far!”, “This is such an accomplishment”, and “I’m so proud of you” in theory should be rewarding and a sense of recovery. However, what if it feels uncomfortable and its hard to accept that recognition?
Recently, (after 2 years), I began competing again for my college in indoor track. This was obviously an exciting step forward and I am loving every minute of it. But…. the amount of recognition and praise is anxiety provoking for me. I have no idea how to take it because quite frankly I’m not sure if it is something that should be praised.
I have been struggling with the idea of seeing recovery as something that is an expectation of me rather than a great life accomplishment. Logically, I can tell myself that recovering from Anorexia is hard work and that I should give myself a little break. However, lately the perfection piece has had a firm grasp on my path to recovery.
I want so badly to keep every aspect in this tight, little perfect box. I somehow think that by doing this nothing in my life will get ugly, like it used to be. Again, logically I know this is untrue and life will always throw me curve balls.
I discussed this with my therapist not to long ago and she told me the phrase “Would you tell your friends from treatment that recovery isn’t a big deal?” “Would you tell them it is an expectation?” And OF COURSE I WOULDNT! Because seeing my friends recover and live extraordinary lives is what I pray for.
Maybe this is the starting point. Reminding myself that the little voice in my mind telling me recovery is no big deal, is that ugly voice that leads to self hate, starvation, and depression.
It’s not about being skinny.
It’s not about how “fit” or beautiful I can be.
It’s about perfection and control. Drastically trying to hide all the imperfections, insecurities, and pain into one miserable and unhealthy body.
My eating disorder was my security blanket for far too long. It allowed me to push down any unpleasant or grieving emotions… but to the point where I couldn’t feel anything but weakness.
I struggle with the standard of always having it under control and organized. I want to do life perfectly and with grace. But let’s face it, life is boring without a few curve balls.
So hear I am, letting the walls and barriers down. Emotions and allowing the feels is okay. I will not let anorexia take one more moment away.
I’m Riles and I’m not doing life perfect and that’s okay.
This time of year it seems like everyone has new and exciting things coming
their way. Whether it’s a job, graduation, or starting a new chapter with that special someone; everyone seems to be moving forward.
But, what happens when you have that feeling of being stuck. The feeling that there is no light at the end of the tunnel for you and you’re sitting with that feeling of emptiness. What happens then?
If you’re anything like me, you’re your worst self- critic. You over analyze anything and everything to find that source of productivity…. of success. And yet, as much as you stress and tell yourself you’re not enough, you still feel that sense of emptiness.
Could it possibly be that everyone’s life paths are different? That even though it feels like we are not moving forward, we are? Recovering is a full time job as it is. You cannot compare yourself to the people around you.
The grass always seems a bit greener on the other side and unfortunately looks can be deceiving. Everyone has something underneath the perfect surface that isnt going the way they planned. So stop, breath, relax, and look at how far YOU HAVE come.