It’s endlessly interesting how the universe works.
Today has been a strange day for me. As I have said on this blog various times, I was treated for an eating disorder. I have never really fully admitted this to many people, or talked in depth about it. Not because I am ashamed, but somehow think I have discredited my experience and the journey through my treatment, because it didn’t seem important to share in detail. ED, he’s a tricky bastard. ED stands for eating disorder. For anyone who has had or has an eating disorder, most likely refers to him/her as a person named Ed, or Ana, etc. I was given books written by Jenni Schaefer in my therapy sessions. Jenni referred to her eating disorder as Ed, and that worked for me. It’s truly like having another person that walks with you everywhere you go, controlling what you can and cannot do, how you should behave, and what you should wear, what you look like, and the air you breathe. It’s one of the most draining experiences to walk through.
I will never forget the moment I finally broke down and said I CANNOT do this anymore. It was post divorce. In the same month that my divorce was final, I found another layer I had to shed. I had woken up that morning in a very empty home. I had no furniture. “Richard” as I like to call him (my ex)…long for, well you get the idea, had taken all of our furniture. In our divorce decree I agreed to let him take pretty much everything in order to keep my sweet baby yorkie, Cooper. I gave whatever I could to keep him. On this particular day, I just woke up feeling like absolute shit. The sky was covered in grey, dreary clouds, and something just felt off. I knew something wasn’t right. Like most days, I would drink an entire pot of coffee, and maybe squeeze down some cereal, and then more coffee. Not much else. Then, my phone quit working. Something about this set me off. A lot of the day after that is a blur. I had no connections to anyone, friends or family. I was faced with myself, my heart ache and loneliness. I remember driving down the street to my close friends apartment to borrow her phone to call my Mom. I was exhausted, starved and sad. I just began crying with desperation and intense sorrow in the pit of my stomach. It was then I told my mom I “couldn’t do this anymore.” I couldn’t walk around with ED another day by myself. I had to seek help. And I did.
A little bit of time passed, as I came to grips with my confession. It became real, and I sought out my treatment team. To this day, I see my counselor on an almost weekly basis. She has walked with me for two years now. For six months, every week I saw my counselor, my nutrition therapist, and my doctor. In the beginning it was terrifying, and enraging, but as it progressed it was revealing. It undoubtedly presented endless challenges, and more heart break. —It really is mind blowing how many times the heart can break and mend— I remember after my first three hour appointment with my doctor just feeling so much anger. I was told that day I could no longer workout. Those words hit me hard, bounced off, and then hit me again, over and over again until the wind was knocked out of me. Working out was my sanctuary. The treadmill at Planet Fitness held all my emotions in beads of sweat. I remember telling my best friend Leah, “but I’m not even skinny enough yet to quit working out.” But alas, I quit working out. For almost three months. My doctor informed me that my heart was beginning to shrink. Yes, this is possible. My body was pulling heart tissue to support the rest of my muscles. I was constantly dizzy, because my brain was not getting enough blood and oxygen, and obviously depleted of nutrients.
After about six months of hell, I finished my treatment. And I am so thankful. I wouldn’t have made it much longer the way I was going, and I didn’t even know it. I could not be more grateful for the support I had, the team that treated me, and all the good and bad that came with it.
Fast forward to today. It is not often that ED creeps back into my days. Thank GOODNESS! Most days, I go about my business, eating and not even thinking about it. It’s such an amazing transformation. But today. Today I found myself in the gym just HATING on myself. Now, I have a healthy relationship with the gym. I don’t go to the gym to numb out, or to run until I don’t feel fat. I go to move my body, to become stronger, and to give true thanks for what my body can do physically. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until I directed my attention to my thoughts. I was just going through the motions, and I felt really dark all of a sudden. So I was like, what am I thinking about? As soon as I asked myself that question, it was horrible! It was just over and over and over, “you’re not good enough.” Countless other harmful thoughts were floating through. Some old memories of Richard telling me “my shoulders are too broad to wear sleeveless shirts” were popping up. I realized I was sluggishly lifting the weights and I KNEW it was because of the negativity going on in my mind. At that moment, I immediately repeated to myself rep after rep, “Measure your value only in love, and know that it is always overflowing.” I felt stronger, more in control, and productive instantly.
YOUR SELF TALK IS POWERFUL. Insanely powerful. I cried it out. I didn’t like that old familiar feeling. How did I live that way for YEARS? I’m talking like ten years I would talk to myself that way. Then, I stumbled upon this link, and I thought… damn. Thank you universe. Thank you for showing me what is good, what is real, and what is true. Outer beauty is fleeting, and my forever goal is to measure my value only in love, in soul, and in heart. No matter how many times you hear it, “beauty comes from the inside out,” know that it is absolutely true. I have life. I have a cancer free body. With every breath I can change and grow. I am so thankful that I am aware of my habits, and that I have realized the power of my inner voice. So, I will sign off, spoon in hand, eating my absolute favorite pistachio ice cream, and I will enjoy every burst of flavor that it is. I am thankful for this life, even though the struggle can be real. It is only through struggle that we fight our way to a new found level of strength. It’s worth it.