Eating disorders.

I like this me now. Healthier brain and body.

This me is hard to look at from years in the past.

I was less than 100 lbs when I met my husband. Drinking slimfast for breakfast and lunch and who knows what for dinner. Biking, working out, running stadiums…and not eating.

It took me far into my marriage to understand that I had an eating disorder. It took even more years to grasp why I had it.

It did not start out as a conscious choice. I had to be under 110lbs to be on the top of the pyramid at my job at Seaworld. The more acts you were in the more you got paid. Top of the pyramid paid more money.

That morphed into control. My entire life, control had been taken from me and now I could control how I looked. What I saw in the mirror is not who I see in this photo. I thought I looked healthy. I look emaciated. I’ve found other photos where I look worse.

After the muscle disease diagnosis, and the inability to work out anymore, that need for control got even stronger. But, you cannot starve an already dying muscle. So I started to eat.

I see anorexic women. All the time. And men. I saw one at the park today. I saw one in my neighborhood a few days ago. And I KNOW. And it PAINS me. I want to scream YOU ARE KILLING YOURSELF STOP STARVING YOURSELF. But it would not matter. I want to yell I KNOW HOW MUCH PAIN YOU ARE IN AND WHY YOU ARE DOING THIS. But they would not believe me. Sometimes you just have to come to it on your own. When people would comment how thin I was I thought GOOD I will keep getting thinner then! They want me to gain weight, I will lose it because I can and they cannot control me! The thinking is very distorted.

Someone said to me once that they could not believe anorexic people choose not to eat when others around the world are starving. I promise you it is not that simple. It is deeply complex. My anorexia was rooted in the sole focus of my body. Men wanted my body. They wanted to use it and abuse it. Everything was about my body and how I had no control over it. So, I thought I gained control with food. That is how I would get my body back.

That is not how I got my body back. I had to separate what was done to me from who I was as a person. I had to take back what was stolen from my body by loving it and nourishing it. It was very very difficult.

I’ve had people say..oh that’s why you got the muscle disease. Sorry hon…faulty genes gave me the muscle disease. Never blame a person for something they cannot control. It just snowballs and makes everything worse.

Therapy diagnosed me but I decided to tackle the eating disorder on my own. I’ve known many women who did the opposite of what I did, and gained weight purposely for the same control reasons. You just don’t know us until you’ve walked in our shoes. Why we are too thin or considered overweight. You just don’t know why and should not assume. It is a battle! For me overcoming abuse has been the battle of my life! You’d think it would be this muscle disease. Overcoming THAT! No. It’s the abuse that has haunted me.

I’d say I overcame the eating disorder but that would not be fully true. I will be in bed at night knowing that I’ve eating many meals and thinking I’m hungry. I will then try to talk myself out of going and getting food. “You don’t need it! You’ve had enough! Just sleep.” But now I listen to my body that says, “but I’m hungry” and I get up and go get something to eat. There is an ongoing dialogue that I wish were not there but may always be. I look in the mirror and think I’m fat. Then I look at a photo and think UGH I’m so fat and I can’t work out and there is nothing I can do because of the muscle disease. Then I have to tell myself…you are doing the best you can at being your authentic self so lets not put a weight number on that. And then I step away from the mirror and don’t think about it anymore. At some point I got a scale and realized I weighed 135 lbs and I ALMOST slipped. Then I got rid of the scale. I was honest with my family and said take it away! I cannot focus on my body in THAT way. I can focus on it doing yoga, breathing, making sure I get enough protein for my muscles. I cannot look at a scale.

Acceptance has been a huge turning point in all of my biggest moments in life. Accepting the extent of the abuse. Accepting that I have PTSD. Accepting some of the choices I made because of the abuse. Accepting that some of those choices were not as much in my control as I thought. They were abuse choices.

My first meal after I decided to eat was after my decision to be mindful. Mindful of textures and aware of the sunlight on the leaves. I did not eat mindlessly. I ate mindfully and enjoyed and savored every single bite of food. I had never really enjoyed food. Now I LOVE food! And I love that I’m able to love food. Mindfulness has been an opening to healing for me in many ways. It brought me to photography which has truly saved my life!

Just like a smell will trigger PTSD, a comment about how I look will make me immediately make me want to control how I look. People think they are paying me a compliment when really they are bringing back my focus on my physical me. Innocent on their part but what a conflict in my head. “What makes me more abusable? Being thin? Gaining weight? What makes me safer?” Dialogue. Unhealthy dialogue. At least I am aware of it now.

Abuse has LONG lasting affects. I don’t use them as an excuse when I write this but more as an educational tool for someone going through it or someone who knows someone going through it. After abuse the wires get crossed in what survival mode really means. Our mind thinks to survive we must do…Fill in the blank, ,because at one time that served us and maybe saved us. Like freezing saved me during abuse but it does not save me when a smell triggers me and yet my brain doesn’t quite get that. In this country women are so sexualized from such an early age and bombarded with commercials and social pressure that it is a miracle not every female struggles with eating disorders even if they were not abused like I was. I’m thinking more women struggle with it than anyone knows because most of what I speak about has such a stigma attached that it is kept a secret.

That’s why I wrote about it in my original blog Not My Secret because only in speaking the truth can we free ourselves from the chains others and society and abuse have put on us. Stigmas and judgment about eating disorders, ptsd, anxiety, mental illnesses, sexual assault. I will keep talking about it because it needs to be talked about. My old blog was focused on releasing secrets. My new blog is more focused on how I am healing while keeping an honest transparent voice all along the way. In silence, we are trapped. Use your voice and you will find the chains will slip off easier than you think and you will nolonger be tied to the trauma as firmly as you were TAUGHT. You were taught to be silent. SPEAK and start the journey to freedom.

Hummingbird magic

There is a magic in hummingbirds!

If you listen you can hear a small chirp.

They like the purple flowers in my yard and the honeysuckle. They also stop by the hummingbird feeder.

I have watched and waited for hours to see exactly where they land. They have a routine. They always land in the same spot after they eat. Watching them brings me great joy. I hope some of my photographs of them brings you joy too

SoCS :Magical moments

These were 25 magical moments for me. Moments that are locked into my memory bank that I was fortunate enough to get photographs of. Magical in the way that they made the present moment beautiful. I didn’t think about that past or the future. I wasn’t even thinking about the present state of my body. Magical in that these moments my mind was clear of every single thing but the experience I was having right then and there. Praying that everyone can experience a magical moment today.

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Aug. 18/18

I GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO NOT FORGIVE

I have padlocks on various parts of me. Trauma parts, memory parts, body parts, brain parts. They key to those locks for me is NOT forgiveness. One day it may be. It may NEVER be. We each have what unlocks the healing pathways. Some have therapy, massage, hypnosis, yoga. Some things that help one may be a trigger for another. Religion and church may be healing for one and it may be triggering for another. Being touched may be a huge trigger for one while for another it may allow safe touch. Either way, healing is individualized. I don’t believe you can put a group of people in a room and give them the exact therapy and have the exact results.

I tried somatic therapy. I hated it. Some find it remarkable. Some find DBT very healing. Some don’t.

Depending on the trauma and life experiences we each go through the gamut of emotions and not ONE in particular is the key to each person’s healing. Crying may help one but not another. Chopping up furniture and feeling rage may help one but not another.

There is no catch phrase to heal from trauma.

I often read articles, medical journals, blogs. I research healing modalities. While doing this I ALWAYS run across “Forgiveness is the key to all healing.” That simple? Just forgive? Or maybe that person isn’t putting a time stamp on how long this will take. Maybe it will happen if we are JUST strong enough or just have enough faith to do it? Maybe it will happen if we just become such enlightened beings that we are able to absolve all of the traumas they have inflicted? A lifetime? A month?

How can one person, any person, tell another that they JUST need to forgive and all will be ok.

I don’t accept that.

I don’t believe that.

I know for a fact that it is an oversimplified insensitive sentence to throw out as a “fix all.”

Well, person saying it, there is no ONE “fix all.”

Healing is a process.

During that process there are levels of letting go. During that process there are levels of growth and enlightenment based on THAT person healing themself, NOT what they are willing to do for someone else. I’ve heard “forgiveness is for the forgiver because it releases the chains.” What if I just want to release the chains by saying, “ Fuck you you mother fucker for ruining my life!” Oh but that is too angry and there are so many rules right? Anger is a poison that will eat you up? I’ve heard that too.

Anger can cause negative things to happen. Anger, also used and channeled correctly, can release a lifetime of feeling silenced.

I watched the sunset tonight and was lost in it. I was not thinking about one thing on my list of fix its. I was not thinking about one thing at all. I felt peace. In that peace I feel a healing in my heart, soul, and body.

I once chopped up my cheating boyfriend’s furniture. In chopping up his furniture I felt a rage and then came a peace. In that rage came a peace that created a feeling of closure over that trauma.

“Forgiveness isn’t for them it’s for you.” I mean do the forgiveness quotes ever end?

FUCK THEM! I don’t have to forgive any of them. Not one of them. It doesn’t hurt me to not forgive them it empowers me to know that I don’t HAVE to be FORCED to do ANYTHING in regards to them. I can let them fly away into the metaphorical hot air ballon, or maybe a tornado. Is that forgiveness enough? Letting go enough?

If you want to forgive…forgive. Whatever that word means to each person, if they feel it will benefit them in their healing process then by all means work through that. But we each have our own path to healing.

I forgave my old friend a few weeks ago for not standing by me when her husband sexually assaulted me. I completely and totally forgave her. And good for me! It was a powerful emotional moment filled with love and understanding. But I’m not forgiving her fuck of a husband. He gave me trauma that I still face with PTSD to this day. Fuck him!

Do I forgive my brother for skiing with the ski team that had a child molester in it that stole my entire childhood? Fuck no. Fuck him. I don’t need to forgive him! He’s a selfish fucking asshole for that deep level of narcissistic behavior and betrayal. Fuck all of them.

Healing for me may include forgiveness but that is for me to decide, to come to, to be led to, if at all, if ever. That is for me. It is for no one else.

Infact, no therapist has EVER told me I needed to forgive. After I attempted suicide when I was a teenager and was put in a mental hospital, all of the psychiatrists and team of professionals never mentioned forgiveness. The many pastors I have confided in have never told me I needed to forgive. No specialist, no chaplain, no person who has ever valued my healing journey has ever said forgive. Because it is a bullshit word tossed out by someone who has no business tossing it out.

I give you permission NOT TO FORGIVE! Only because it may not be the key to your healing. Although it may be. That is up to you. It is not up anyone else to put those conditions on your healing.

This is the sunset tonight and the crane that gave me the peace that I desperately needed I can assure you far more than I needed to forgive. The sky, the clouds, the sunset, that connection to the earth and the sky and nature heal me more than forgiveness will. At least for today. Hey maybe in 10 years I may feel differently, but I would never force that thought on anyone else’s path.

*all photos taken by me and are unfiltered

2am thoughts

I think some people are put in your life for a reason. Some people just feel like a gift. Some people come along at just the right time and then just move on with their lives. Some you look back and don’t feel sad over the loss but blessed at the short time you had them. Some you look back at their time with you and feel it was purely divine and their loss left a hole.And some people come into your life and are just assholes. They come in. They bring along some drama. Some havoc. And then they leave. Some catch you off guard because you thought they were there for some blessed reason. And some you knew were assholes all along but tolerated them just to not be lonely. 

The blessing ones leave a bit of a hole when they are gone. You know even when you are with them that when they go you will have a void. Then when they are gone you know that void won’t be filled. They were rare. You knew it then and you still know it now. 

The assholes you look back on and think why was I so lonely that I settled for an asshole who only fit me in their schedule when it was convenient for them but never made me feel like I truly mattered. But then you realize, oh yeah, I was just lonely as hell and I didn’t care. 

The ones you think aren’t assholes but you later find out are leave a hole too. But not one that you wish would be filled. Because this hole is a stabbed one. It just leaves a space that you wish would heal but you aren’t sure how long that will take. 

I like the blessings. I like those people that you meet on a bench, in a grocery store, at a park, on a walk. Those people who you may only spend five minutes with but you feel like you’ve been blessed in some way when they walk away. You find yourself smiling at the moment that you chose to take with this stranger. 

I like the blessings that last a year. Where each moment and each day count and matter and you feel loved and understood and it is such a reciprocal relationship. 

The longer the blessings the bigger the void and the harder it is to fill. The bigger he heart the bigger the hole and yet it is worth it just to love and be loved. 

Truth be told there are a whole lot of assholes willing to try and bandaid that hole left by the blessings for their own selfish purposes which makes the wound even bigger. 

I notice the blessings. 

I notice the assholes. 

I feel the wounds. 

I wish they would heal. 

So I write: Victoria’s Secret Pink bra

I am grateful for the outpouring of love that my friends here on wordpress have given me. I have saved the words and I cherish my tribe more than you could ever imagine. 

I have taken the advice of those who have loved and supported me on wordpress and decided to continue to write, just apply some safety nets for myself. I will have comments disabled until I feel strong enough to fight the evil that may come by way of comment. It is unfortunate because what I love most is the conversations that we have on my blog but for my own safety I have to, for now, disable comments. I hope you stay on my journey with me until I feel strong enough to handle the “trolls”. 

So I write. 

On my blog I have always written with extreme vulnerability and truth. Every part of myself I have shared. Each emotion I have felt, I have shared. Each moment of beauty, I have shared. I cannot and I will not allow my voice to be shut down again. I had it shut down by my family and by those who supported the abuse/hid the abuse of me for my entire life. 

I will continue to share all parts of who I am. I have never claimed to be perfect. I have infact admitted to be flawed in many ways. 

I am walking this path trying the best I can to face the challenges. 

Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and physically, I am in the hardest struggle yet. I will never have another person silence me again. Even if it means disabling comments on my blog. 

So I write. I share my life good and bad in hopes that one person out there in this big bad world will feel like they’ve got ONE person who “gets” what they are going through with absolutely NO judgment or shame. 

I was watching Demi Lovato videos. I was reading Demi Lovato lyrics. 

She writes without apology for her emotions, her anger, her fight, her passion, and her pain. I just listened to Kelly Clarkson’s song she wrote for her father. These artists write without apology but with honest passion. 

So I write. 

I write without apology. I will not apologize for feeling. I will not apologize for my emotions, for my passion, or for my truth. I made the mistake of momentarily trying to justify and clarify to someone who questioned me. I will not do that again. I write from my heart and soul. I write from where I am that day, that moment, that instant. I may remember more details than previously written. I may remember less or with more vengeance, anger, or even joy. Memories come. More and more each day. Nightmares come more and more each day. Adding to my story, elaborating to my truth does not mean the previous words were not true. I will continue to write the memories as they come. I will not apologize for my timeline, my life line, my words, not fitting into a perfect square. My truth will always come. 

So I write. 

I will never apologize or justify my truth again. 

I AM a victim. I do not LIVE as a victim every day. PTSD makes me BECOME a victim again. It is how it FEELS. Some days I feel like a survivor. Some days I feel like a victim. Most days I am just a wife and a mother who is finding joy wherever I can. 
How do I feel today? To be in my mind and my body you’d feel like you were on a rollercoaster. My finger joints are stiff and painful due to the lyme disease that just REFUSES to die. My shoulder has triggered a trigeminal neuralgia response in my face due to my muscle disease. I have extreme pain and cannot feel half of my face. I smell EVERYTHING. Maybe because a seizure is in my near future? Maybe because my husband has left and I am on guard for my daughter and me? The bones in my shins and spine hurt due to my bone disease I suppose. Emotionally, I have manically organized photos, cried, felt despondent, felt abandoned, felt alone, felt, damaged, felt like there is no way I can mentally cope with my OWN MIND! 

So I write. 

I would like to leave you with what I always like to leave my blogs with and my days with, a little bit of good:

I heard my owl hoot. It was like an orchestra was playing the most beautiful music ever composed. I immediately got into my scooter and went out to see if I could see her ( I didnt). I got into the neighborhood behind us when it started dumping rain! DUMPING. I zipped into someone’s open garage and said a silent prayer they didn’t come out and shoot me!

I knew it would take 5 minutes to get home. The rain was not letting up. My scooter is my transportation. Normally I have an umbrella in my scooter pouch but SOMEONE removed it (I won’t name any names). So I did what a girl has to do…took off my shirt, covered my scooter gears, and sped home as fast as I could. All I can say is thank heaven’s I put on my pretty Victorias secret pink bra! I was infact still in my PJs from the night before! High five to me for thinking to throw on a bra. So I sped home with my shirt over my handle bars in the pouring rain. Many neighbors were out doing lawn work also caught off guard by the rain and as they continued pressure washing and mowing I zipped past them drenched wet, hair dripping, in my very nice pink bra. I have no idea why but I just started laughing! I gave them each a wave and in a terrible British accent told them “ Carry on and ignore the girl in the rain in her scooter and her pink bra.” The couldn’t hear me and for all they knew I was wearing a bathing suit. Yeah, they know me well enough to not be surprised. 

I laughed at my fake British accent and drove into my driveway with every part of me and my scooter wet but the handle bars protected by my shirt. My daughter casually calls out from the kitchen, “ So did you get wet?” Gotta love her. 


*photograph of my wet scooter with dry handle bars 🙂