Day 6 – I can accept support from others

The day started out well.  I was in good spirits, I got to work early, and all that jazz.  Unfortunately, I went off the rails after going to a luncheon.  The company was great, but not having my “safe” meal that I make myself always makes me uneasy.  And there were SO many enticing, carby things on the table.  Damn you, bread pudding!  Unfortunately, I didn’t carpool with a coworker to the luncheon as I usually do because she was elsewhere at the time.  The failure to carpool gave me the opportunity to swing by CVS to buy junk food before going back to the office.  Double dammit.  I bought two “milkshakes” from the dairy aisle and two boxes of cookies (and some Powerade and a protein bar for actual nourishment following the BP), snuck them into the office, and devoured them.  Ugh.  Off to the bathroom I went.

I went to a breathing and meditation class tonight in an effort to find some peace with myself.  It was nice-ish.  I really liked the place I went to and the people I met, but I don’t think I was ready for 30 minutes of sustained isolation within my mind.  Part of me was frustrated that my mind never calmed down; another part of me was desperately hoping it wouldn’t.  I kept thinking of how my feet, knees, neck, shoulders, and feet felt.  I didn’t find a deep calm, but that takes practice.  I did find a shallow calm, a temporary refreshment, and I think it was worth it.

On to today’s homework!

1. Review your support list and pick one local person.  Tell them that you have something important to talk about and also ask them to a movie.  Meet at least an hour or two before the show stars so you have enough time to talk about your recovery process.  Follow that with the movie and perhaps a walk or a cup of coffee afterward!

I guess I can say I kind of did this.  I reached out to a coworker and invited her to see The Great Gatsby – which I was crazy excited about and knew Hubby would hate – last night.  We didn’t chat much before and certainly didn’t hang out afterwards since the movie was so long, but it was nice.  The coworker is not on my potential support list, and I do not plan to tell her about the Bully anytime soon, but I think making new friends and being social is good from anyone who is recovering from a disease that thrives in/on secrecy.  After the movie, I met up with Hubby and his coworkers at a bar and had a great time.  I stayed out too late for my taste, but it was worth it.

As for the movie itself: I liked it, but all the slender, glamorous women in the film were a bit disconcerting.  So it is with any Hollywood production, though, right?

2. Make a list of 5-10 myths and 5-10 rules that you may want to change.

Myths:

  1. I am not beautiful unless I am thin.  If I am not beautiful, I am worthless.
  2. Anything other than thin is disgusting.  If I am not thin, I am disgusting.
  3. I can’t trust my body to guide me to eat normally.
  4. Bingeing and purging every now and then will not hurt me.
  5. By controlling my body I can control my life.
  6. Thin = happy.
  7. The mirror and my mind (or the mirror in my mind) always tell the truth.

Rules:

  1. I can’t eat within 2 hours of going to bed or else I will get fat.
  2. I can’t eat an unscheduled snack or else I will get fat.
  3. I can’t eat more than X number of calories at a certain meal/snack or else I will get fat.
  4. I cannot eat ice cream or else I will get fat.
  5. I must exercise X minutes per week or else I will get fat.

3. What progress have you made with therapy?  Try at least an introductory session.

Great progress with therapy: I have another appointment next week.  🙂

Day 5 – Think Lovely Thoughts

Yet again, I came so close today to getting my star.  I white-knuckled and railed against the Bully until about 4 pm, when I just couldn’t resist and gave in.  The upside: I resisted temptations throughout the day, and my binge was smaller than usual.  As noted in the title of this post, today’s theme was “think lovely thoughts.”  I had a difficult time doing this today.  Even now, all I can think about is how bloated I am, not the fact that I looked very pretty today, ran 3 miles before 6 a.m., and was able to comfort a very distraught client.  (Ugh – how sick is it that I put my appearance first in that list of the day’s accomplishments?  Bollocks!)

Homework

1. Write a physical description of yourself.  Who do you look like?  What are some judgments you’ve made about your body?  What do you wish was different?  Are those things reasonable or even possible?  Do you think others make the same judgments about themselves?

I am tall with fair skin.  My face is long.  My neck is long.  I am slender, with a scrawny (but defined and muscular) upper body.  My legs are muscular, too, but they have spider veins and are often bruised.  My hands and feet are slender with long, slender digits.  I love one of my feet.  It’s soft and pink in all the right places.  The other foot is what I would call “janky.”  Nails eaten up by fungus and rough, leathery skin.  It’s the ugly sister foot.  I have short brown hair and small breasts.  My small breasts add to my discomfort with my tummy.  It’s the tummy of a little kid: it’s not “fat,” but it sticks out – or at least I think it does.  I often consider my thighs thunderous.  Well, the right one anyway.  Much like my right foot, my right leg is ugly sisterish.  There’s a big ol’ varicose vein crossing my knee that has crossed the line from a “cosmetic” issue to a medical concern according to my insurance (which is good, really, because that means insurance will cover the ablation).  My right thigh is slightly larger than the left.  I much prefer the left when I look at photos from races.

I mostly look like my dad: tall and lean.  There are parts of my face and certain expressions I make that are very, very reminiscent of my mom, but my eyes and the shape of my face are all Dad.  More than one person has told me that I look like Jennifer Garner.

Judgments I’ve made: too boyish, for function not for looks, plain, beautiful (on occasion), just too curvy here but not curvy enough there.  I wish my right leg and foot were less janky.  I wish my boobs were bigger.  I wish my tummy wasn’t so childish.  It’s possible these things could all be different, to a degree (except for the fungus toes – I’ve given up on them).  Varicose vein treatments exist.  A boob job is almost a rite of passage in some circles.  A boob job and crunches might take care of the tummy.  But in the real world, changing a couple of these things is not very reasonable.  I am not very willing to go under the knife unless there’s a medical reason to do so, and my tummy pretty much is what it is.  I’ve always, always had a long waist, and that’s just how it looks.

I think others make these judgments about themselves.  In fact, they’re probably too busy making them about themselves to make them about me.

2. Buy a mass market magazine and tear out everything that promotes thinness or body change.  Reflect on the economics and message of the medium.  What would happen if all women loved their bodies just the way they are?

This is a rant I’ve been eager to make.  Despite all the glamour magazines out there, the worst offender, to me, is Self.  Yeah, that’s right, Self – you’re full of shit.  Self is particularly shitty because it purports to be a magazine about health, fitness, self-respect, yada yada yada, but it’s not.  It’s about dropping 10 pounds, getting the perfect abs, erasing cellulite, revving metabolism, and getting women to think they need the products advertised on every other page.  And the photospreads of “athletes” doing the moves?  Come ON!  Self puts muscle-less waifs (no offense, musce-less waifs) in sports bras, has them raise their arms and look determined, and we’re supposed to believe that fitness looks like that?  Fuck you, Self!  (Or should I say, “Go fuck yourSelf?”) I feel better about myself when I flip through magazines that are upfront about their vanity: Cosmo, Glamour, Marie Claire, Elle, etc.  They’re not deluding anyone by pretending to promote health and self-acceptance above all.

The glamour magazine industry would absolutely crumble if we all loved our bodies.

5. (I skipped 3 & 4 because they don’t make for good blog posts) Allow yourself a small dessert tonight, even if it’s just one bite.  Do not obsess about it, merely select and eat it as a reward for your efforts to end bulimia.

I actually did this one unwittingly today.  I had a board meeting at lunch.  One of the board members brought cookies and macaroons, and I actually ate a peanut butter cookie without freaking out.  Good for me!  (I must note that something about this dessert being a “reward” just rubs me the wrong way.  Aren’t I supposed to find ways to reward myself without food?)

The closing thought for Day 5 is worth retyping here:

“Words, whether spoken or thought, have tremendous power.  The way that we verbalize something is how we perceive it.  If negative words are used, negative feelings surface.  You may have gotten used to thinking of yourself as bulimic, worthless, unlovable, or unattractive.  You must change those thoughts.  You are not a bulimic, you are a worthwhile person of intrinsic beauty who is recovering from bulimia.”

What do you do to keep your thoughts positive?

Day 4 – I Can Eat Without Fear (But Will I?)

Day 4’s homework centers around meal planning and grocery shopping.  Unfortunately, I plan my meals pretty much every day anyway and did the grocery shopping on Sunday, so there was really nothing to do today.  The only assignment that wasn’t based on meal planning and groceries was to arrange an appointment with a professional therapist.  That, too, has been done.  So, basically I aced Day 4, just not on the day itself.  Oh, and I binged and purged today. 😦

It is SO freaking hard to break the habit.  I know I have to break the BP cycle to make real progress, but – damn – that’s so hard to do.

Same stupid feeling, same stupid time.  Around 3-3:30 I tried fill myself up with carrots and hummus.  You know – nip any potential hunger in the bud so that I wouldn’t be tempted.  FAIL.  The sugar and easy eat-a-bility of the carrots didn’t do me any favors.  Off to the peanut butter pretzels and chocolate I went.  Fortunately, just as I did yesterday, I only had a couple cups of pretzels and a handful of chocolates, not an entire package of junk purchased during the lunch hour.  I hope that counts as progress :/

Ugh.

 

Random Thought

I’m at Barnes & Noble and can’t help but think it’s no coincidence that the eating disorder section is the first one you see when you leave the bathroom.

Day 3 – Lighten Up!*

*The authors disclaim that this has nothing to do with weight.  This amuses me.

Day 3 is supposed to be a fun day, full of mirth and joy and laughter.  Well, mine wasn’t a rollicking circus of good times, but it wasn’t a heavy downer of a day either.  It seems that the authors were really targeting this toward sufferers whose Bullies keep them in a perpetually somber state.  Here’s the homework:

1. Research what you will need to help you start your new learning project from Day 2. I did not do this because I really didn’t want to.  I spent my time doing more enjoyable things: going for coffee and a walk with Hubby, shopping, getting a massage, and then going for a walk by myself just to enjoy the gorgeous weather we had today.  Does it count that I thought about the things I want to learn?

2. Read through joke books or websites.  Laugh out loud.  Didn’t do this either.  Seems a little forced.  I kept doing the enjoyable things referenced above.  I tend to do this each and every day anyway.  Absurdity is my life force.

3. Contact someone from your support list to tell them some of the new jokes you read today.  As it’s written, this prompt makes me think Seriously?  If the people on my support list aren’t worried about me already then this will surely freak them the fuck out.  This is what Hubby’s dad did when he went off his medication for bipolar disorder.  So no, thank you.  Of course, the modern day, less creepy version of this is forwarding links to YouTube videos and such, which actually sounds like a good idea for someone who needs to escape the doom and gloom.

4.  Stop weighing yourself so often.  Destroy your scale if you want.  Done!  But to be fair, I don’t weigh myself that often.  I respectfully decline the scale destruction, even though I would love nothing more than to obliterate an inanimate object Office Space-style.


Today was a good day.  Hubs and I woke up to beautiful weather, so we took a stroll downtown and sat in one of our favorite coffee shops and just chatted and joked and whatnot.  Lovely.  Unfortunately, the Bully was the first thing on my mind when I woke up this morning, but I eventually shook it away.  He returned this afternoon while I was grocery shopping, but I beat him again then, too.

It was a small crisis situation. (See Arnold’s reference to the “crisis situation” in my Random Morning Thoughts post.) I was almost done shopping and had let myself get a teensy bit hungry – oops.  Around the time my tummy let me know this, Hubby called and said that he was gonna go meet up with a friend who just happened to be in town, and that he wouldn’t be home for another hour or so after I got home.  Ruh-Roh.  To recap: (1) I’m hungry, (2) I ‘m in a grocery store, and (3) my husband has just advised me that he will not be home for some time.  FML.  And to make things worse, (4) an ice cream ad I saw on TV last night had been on replay in my brain.  BUT!  The reasonable part of my brain – the one that remembers the self-loathing and disgust and regret and physical sluggishness and pain that accompany a BP – that beautiful, crucial part came to the rescue and beat the Bully’s ass.  Instead of steering my cart toward the display of Oreos and other delicious crap on sale, I grabbed some hard-boiled eggs from the deli, checked out ASAP, came home and unloaded the groceries, had a bite of food and headed out for a walk.  Buster = 1, Bully = 0.

I told Hubby about this victory when I got home from my walk, and he hugged me hard and told me how proud he was of me.  (As I told him about getting his call, his face fell and he said “Oh NO!  I should’ve known better!”)  What has two thumbs and is super lucky?  This girl.

Before I leave you today, I want to revisit an assignment for Day 2 that wasn’t in the evening written homework and therefore did not appear in the Day 2 post.  The morning journal entry assignment for Day 2 was to write about some of the happiest moments in your life.  I started the entry doubting what good it would do, but it truly warmed my heart and reminded me of my value as a human being.  By the time I stopped typing, a big, stupid smile had spread across my face without me even noticing.  So I highly recommend that you begin your day with that exercise sometime.

 

Therapy

I didn’t get to do my Day 3 homework yesterday, so today’s entry focuses on the highlight of my otherwise shitty Friday: therapy.

I finally met with the therapist I’ve been trying to reach for a few months now.  It was wonderful.  I saw three ED therapists back in my home state over the course of about 7-8 years, but this one seems the most knowledgeable by far.  I am SO looking forward to more appointments.  In the relatively brief time we talked, I got renewed motivation, hope, and relief from her.  She encouraged me to break the stupid food rules I currently follow (at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast with no snacks in between and limit complex carbs) and seconded my opinion that I should forget about renewing my Groupon for Bikram yoga.  She is a lifelong yogi herself, and she thinks the heat will just be too much for a purging bulimic. Let me tell ya…that was a hell of a relief.  She encouraged me to do yoga, though, and I think I’ll add that to the list of things to learn from Day 2.  In addition to the warm fuzzies, she sent me off with a Gurze catalog of ED books.  Looking forward to getting some of those.   After therapy, I came home and had two tacos for dinner, complete with corn tortillas.  That’s right – complex carbs.  And guess what?  I stayed full the rest of the night and did not crave any of the cookies or sweets available at the party we went to after dinner.  There was no Carbageddon after all.

Unfortunately, the rest of the day was crappy.  We woke up to yet another wet and windy day.  I didn’t have much to do at work besides stew about eating and body image and dissatisfaction with the work itself.  I escaped at lunchtime to walk around the mall and visit a bookstore.  My “2:30 feeling” doesn’t usually hit until its eponymous hour or later, but I was feeling snacky and anxious within 30 minutes of returning from the mall.  AARRRGGH!  Around 2:00 I started sneaking the peanut butter pretzels, chocolate candies, and snacks co-workers had brought in.  Purged about 3:00.  I felt awful and worried about what I had just done to my body, as I always do after a purge.  I ate an orange and a KIND bar in an attempt to recover and restore.  The foggy brain feeling eventually abated, but the self-loathing has not.

Even as I type, I’m fighting the urge to binge.  Hubby is out in the world getting some work/chores done right now, but I’m here at home in a stand-off with the contents of our kitchen.  I’m winning so far, thanks in large part to sitting my ass down and typing like it’s going out of style.  The sun is coming out, so I’m feeling more hopeful about today.  Hoping to get a good workout in (cardio AND weights today) and keep myself out of trouble.?

Please share some of your experiences with therapy.

Do you find yoga to be helpful in recovery?