Archive for June, 2009

Tired, exhausted and in recovery

Or should I say “but” in recovery? This is a search term someone used, and I think it is quite appropriate. When recovery first begins, there may be an initial high that comes with being free of the compulsive behavior of bingeing and vomiting. This soon changes into exhaustion. A lot of stuff comes up, and without the familiar coping mechanism of bingeing & purging, we are left at loose ends. It takes energy to come up with new coping mechanisms, and also takes a considerable amount of courage and energy to simply sit and refrain from implementing the old tools that really didn’t work. Kind of like using super strong tape to stop a leak in a pipe. It may work for a while, and even for a long time, and occasionally you replace the old tape with a new piece. But it never gives you the feeling of satisfaction that the leak has been taken care of.

As a matter of fact, when I first moved in, the toilet leaked. The previous tenant had been so kind as to leave a ceramic pot under the pipe to catch the dripping water. The superintendant thought it just needed a new washer or gasket — whatever it’s called. Since I had a few other things to take care of, I had a plumber come. Turns out the water tank was simply balanced on the pipe. The plumber said that if someone had leaned on it, the tank could have simply fallen over. I was glad that I had decided to have an expert come and take care of things. It is comforting to know that everything is in order. (I got the bill the other day and after a slight gasp told myself that it was worth it!)

Yes, sometimes it can be expensive to fix things the right way. But the satisfaction of knowing that all is well is a nice feeling. Wait a minute! Except that a toilet is a partner in crime for a bulimic, it really doesn’t have anything to do with what I’m talking about. (There I go meandering again! Sorry!)

All I wanted to say was, there are various ways to “fix” things — and some take more energy, but the end result is worth it. And when it comes to “fixing” bulimia, that is quite a process. I tended to forget that there was a story behind my illness, and used to just complain that it was so hard to stop bingeing. But as I went on day after day without turning to food, all kinds of stuff — memories, feelings, pain, sadness — came up out of the depths and literally knocked me out. I slept a lot. It was what I needed to do.

If you are in the process of recovery, have patience and be kind to yourself. You’ve been through hell. The road back is no party either, but it gets better and more manageable step by step. I gave myself the freedom to do whatever was necessary to recover. That was quite a generous gift — but I didn’t realize that until much later. Now sometimes I think I could have even been more kind and gentle to myself, but that’s just that nasty old perfectionism which tries to worm its way into my mind every so often, when it catches me off guard.

If you’re looking for something else to do besides eating, there’s a great book: “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. It’s been around for a while, but I just discovered it — am not quite finished. I love the descriptions of the path of life. The main character explains that he had his goal, but that all the detours and steps along the way were just as important. In fact, they were what his life was about. And he said something like: “To imagine I had the knowledge I needed, but it took me 10 years to get started. I’m glad it didn’t take me 20.” That is how I feel about the eating disorder. Every day without it is a precious gift — theoretically I could have spent it bingeing, but I didn’t. It’s the time I use, not the time I lose, that matters.

June 28, 2009 at 2:34 pm 2 comments

The cat came back!

Ah, the simple joys in life! Yesterday was a bit of a slump. It’s kind of the down you get when you reach a long-term goal and then think: What now?

There were errands to run, household chores that could no longer be ignored, and in the evening the last yoga class for the year. Afterwards we sat together and enjoyed a late dinner, talking and laughing. I didn’t get home until midnight. (So much for getting to bed by 10 pm!) But it was a nice evening.

As I pulled into the parking lot, someone ran out to greet me. He didn’t run out of the building, though, he came from the field next door. It was my cat! Yesterday I’d felt sad and kind of given up hope, acknowledging that there was nothing I could do. Of course, cat number one was not thrilled. He started hissing and complaining, just like he did when cat number two got here the first time.

Needless to say, I barely slept two hours, as they were both kind of jumpy. But this time around, I didn’t mind. They will eventually calm down. And now I’m motivated to adjust the ramp so it’s not as steep. Then I’m sure at least the outdoor cat will get into the habit of using it — and then he can come and go as he pleases. What a relief!

June 25, 2009 at 12:04 pm Leave a comment

Special Status

While all the craziness in the world goes on around us, many are struggling with their very own personal crises — food, alcohol, drugs, other self-destructive behavior, and lack of sleep. My ghastly tiresome two weeks are over, and the past two mornings I spent sleeping. Somehow I expected that one single nap a few days ago would do the job, but that’s simply not the case. I have to take my foot off the accelerator for a bit, otherwise I’m going to run out of gas in the middle of a 6-lane freeway. I’d rather slow down and take in a bit of the scenery.

Yesterday a thought came to mind. When I was first in recovery, I decided that I had a special status. Because I’d been to hell and back with the eating disorder, at that time I allowed myself to follow each and every (non-self-destructive) whim, just as long as I didn’t puke. That was the main goal. Through that, I gave myself a good portion of individual freedom. I moved outside the norm. I slept a lot. Went to the movies. Went for walks. Wrote. Read. Did almost whatever I felt like. It was a time when I learned to take care of myself, after years of thinking that special attention to myself was uncalled for — I didn’t deserve it.

Well, at the moment, my problem is lack of sleep. And there’s a fairly clear way to remedy that: more sleep! Yet there is a restlessness that keeps me up. Again I need to learn to surrender, to let go, to simply call it a day — rather than stay up yawning, then go to bed at midnight and not be able to fall asleep.

It seems like a rather basic topic — and kind of silly to pay so much attention to it. But at the moment, it is an issue for me. Along with that, a friend mentioned that I shouldn’t underestimate the emotional costs of ending a relationship. That process is not limited to the space of time it takes to move out. I nodded in agreement and thought to myself: “Oh, but this has been so clear to me for so long. There are no more emotional issues.” That isn’t quite true. Things are calm and we parted peacefully, but there are still things to discuss. The situation is not such that I can just leave it as is. After a break, we need some dialog.

So yesterday I decided that once again I need to check my priorities. Running myself ragged is not a priority, but it’s what I was doing. Sure, sometimes life is like that. Events and twists of fate are beyond my control. Often I have to go with what life gives me (most of the time, in fact!), but how I cope is my own choice.

It all goes back to: I’ve learned a lot and come a long way, but I’m not finished yet. It is humbling to realize again and again that I occasionally have to return to taking baby steps, develop new strategies, and find new ways to cope. It’s all a process.

Meanwhile, it’s nearly noon. I slept in (after sending the kids to school at 6:45), had breakfast, am listening to the Psychedic Furs Greatest Hits, catching up on emails, and I think I’m ready to start the day. It takes what it takes! I am grateful to have to luxury of a couple of days off! Have a good one!

June 24, 2009 at 9:48 am Leave a comment

Hard Times

I was so happy to get internet, but things have been so crazy lately, I just haven’t been up to writing. From what I hear, it seems like a lot of people are struggling right now. Things just aren’t going well, or are more difficult than usual. Loved ones are undergoing major operations, being diagnosed with awful illnesses. Life is challenging at the moment.

I thought that once I got caught up and posted the stuff I wrote while living without internet, then I would write a lot. But right now I’m just plain tired. My work schedule is heavier since some colleagues are on vacation, last weekend’s seminar took a lot out of me, and one of my cats ran away. That breaks my heart, but he’s a smart cat. Either he’ll come back, or he found something better.

Tired and restless. Don’t even have the peace of mind to watch a DVD. My husband was kind enough to deliver my piano today. That was a wonderful surprise. I’d been debating whether or not to hire a crane, but he had the smart idea to take it apart (the legs from the main part), and then it was quite simple to bring here. So everything is here, but emotionally I’m still getting settled.

From the sound of it, this seems to be a real rambler. I’ve heard from a few people recently — either suffering from an eating disorder or in love with someone who is suffering. Besides all the regular stuff in life, an eating disorder makes it all so much more complicated.

Today’s energy would be perfect for a binge. Spaced out and tired. Exhausted, actually. But this afternoon I decided to take a nap, and woke up feeling much better! How does one switch from the bingeing mode to taking a nap? It’s hard to say. Even something as simple as a nap is not easy. Even then you need to be willing to let go and simply get under the covers. God, why is it so hard to pay attention to our humble needs and fulfill them? I don’t know. I suspect it’s because we learned as children that we weren’t supposed to have needs, but that’s just an idea I have.

Life for me today is about hanging on. I have to work all day tomorrow and have the night shift as well, but then I’ll have a couple of days off. It takes a lot to be out there in the world day after day, without a chance to hide at home and regenerate.

The excitement of the past year is getting to me as well. So much has happenend! Just about one year ago to the day I had a bicycle accident. It opened my eyes and changed my life. I felt it at the time, and actually thanked Higher Power for the gift, but had no idea that things would change so drastically. I didn’t think I had the strength or courage. What a surprise!

So, what I’m saying in quite a roundabout way is: Have faith! Trust. Even in difficult times, all is well. It will work out. Take a few minutes — or an hour — whatever time is available, and sit back and relax for a bit. Breathe. You are fine just the way you are, and you are exactly where you are supposed to be. If you’re having a rough day, know that you are not alone. Life simply is difficult sometimes. But we manage to get through them, and then better times come. Trust me, I truly know that.

Here’s a little tired song…

June 20, 2009 at 9:05 pm Leave a comment

Weekend Resumé

How did it go? Well, my sons’s fingers were broken on Tuesday, but it wasn’t until Wednesday afternoon that he wanted to go to the hospital — just when I was finishing up getting ready to leave for the seminar. Since he’s been to the hospital a few times with various injuries, I dropped him off there and took care of the grocery shopping. It worked out perfectly — just as I was at the check-out counter, he called to say he was finished as well. So I got to the seminar on time.

The following day, my father had open heart surgery. All went well. At the seminar I felt rather overwhelmed at times — personal worry and the difficulty of the tasks at hand were a bit much!

Friday night I got to bed fairly early. At 12:30 my daughter called from the nearby hospital. She’d fallen and her arms hurt. An hour later she came home: with her right wrist broken, left arm badly bruised, and one knee scraped open. Oh my goodness!

The next morning I made her breakfast and called my son, telling him to come home to tend her. (He’s spent the night at his friend’s house.) He complained and said he’s not her servant, but got the next train home. Unfortunately, he fell asleep and missed the stop. He took the next train back.

Instead of taking care of his sister, he slept until noon, then took the money I’d left on the table for them to buy 2 pizzas, and went back to his friend’s. I’d spoken with my daughter late morning and she seemed fine — even said she planned to go out that evening. So I forgot to check my phone during the breaks. At supper time I saw there were 6 missed calls. She was rather upset — her brother had taken the money, not made her any lunch, she felt helpless and was irritated. There was an evening session, but I begged off and went home. My daughter needed me more.

In addition to all the excitement, the cats continue to be bonkers between 2 and 5 am, so I am suffering from a severe lack of sleep. Sunday night I was tempted to kick them out of the apartment, but managed to restrain myself. I was simply relieved that the weekend was over, and that it went as well as it did.

There are some big challenges to be faced when on my own — but I can manage just fine! It’s all part of life. I’m glad I picked Artemis the other day, as it encouraged me to smile and view all the drama with a sense of humor. I reminded myself that I’d been sad recently, thinking I wanted to have another baby. That made me laugh, as I said to myself: “If you can’t handle a few weeks of sleepless nights, don’t even THINK about a baby!” So life goes on…

June 17, 2009 at 9:36 am Leave a comment

Weekend worries

This is what I wrote on a piece of paper last Wednesday, when I still had no internet:

I’m a little concerned. My daughter is on the waiting list for a school, my father will have open heart surgery today or tomorrow, my son broke 2 fingers playing basketball, I have a 5-day seminar and my husband is away for these 5 days, and I feel slightly overwhelmed.

The seminar is only 15 minutes away, so I’m spending the nights in my apartment. That gives me the chance to at least check in with the kids and make sure all is well. (Yes, I confess, they find it cool to be on their own!)

I got home from the seminar, poured a glass of wine, and sat back and watched the cats for a while. Nicky, the “house cat” has been here for 2 weeks now. Three days ago, I brought his brother Babsi here. Babsi is an outdoor cat. Originally, although it nearly broke my heart, I thought I would leave the cats at the house – in their trusted environment. Then, to my surprise, my husband said I should take them with me. He never wanted cats from the start. I was delighted to take Nicky, but hesitated with Babsi – until I was at the house and saw how restricted his life had become. He was only allowed to go into the kitchen to eat, then had to go back outside again. True, he’s an outdoor cat, but he has no objections to a soft couch after a hard night out. So I decided he could live here – it’s not his accustomed hunting ground, but he’d have more love.

I was watching the cats, and contemplating their (nonverbal) adjustment process. They don’t totally understand it, but their humans are here, as well as some familiar pieces of furniture. So they rhyme it together as best they can. I watch as they peek through the gap in the balcony railing to watch the activity on the street below.

But that’s not really what I wanted to write about. It was just an important digression. As I sat here, I felt a bit overwhelmed, and decided a goddess card could be helpful. Who did I happen to pick? Artemis: “You and your loved ones are safe and spiritually well protected.” Ah! Sigh of relief! Artemis says: “Just like me, you have the sacred duty to spread light and love. If you are tense or worried, that is not possible. The gentle essence of your happy heart and hearty laugh will enhance your strength. Why should you be tense – unless you believe you are not protected? But how could you be in danger, when you’ve asked the spiritual warriors for protection? Your prayers have activated perfect protection of the heavens over you. So don’t worry any more. Instead, concentrate on your sacred task.”

Additional meanings: “The angels are watching over you and your loved ones. The future is certain and protected. All of your needs will be fulfilled – always. The worst is behind you.”

Listening to Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush” and I know: Daddy will be okay, my children will be okay, my cats will be okay, and I will be okay. With this consolation, I’m ready to go to bed! Tomorrow is a new day – and a busy one!

June 17, 2009 at 7:58 am Leave a comment

What??? and other random thoughts

I know, I know. I said I’m not online, and then I write a bunch of posts. Well, I went home last night feeling rather frustrated, and then I thought to myself: “Okay, I’m not online, but I can still write.” So I wrote up a storm, and today I decided to pack up my computer and bring it back to the house. I’m only here every few days or so (still haven’t moved everything!), but I figure I may as well be flexible and deal with the situation. I just don’t want to wait until June 29th. Feel too cut off from the world!

My husband is fine about it, and I can come and go as I please. It’s an inconvenience, but I’m glad to be able to remedy the situation. And I must confess, there is a certain satisfaction knowing that all the neighbors “know” that we split (thanks to the local gossip who happens to be related to us), but then they see us standing outside talking amicably and don’t know what to think. Good for them!

One thing I have learned through moving is that I have a lot more stuff than I thought! Every so often I need to take a break and gather my strength. There is something very emotional about packing up one’s things and leaving, even when it was long overdue, as in my case!

So I am patient and flexible, and look forward to the end of the month. Then I’ll be all settled in and look forward to having friends stop by. I am truly grateful.

June 7, 2009 at 4:03 pm Leave a comment

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