Hear the signs and know they’re speaking to you.

Today has been so….second nature. It doesn’t mean tonight will be. It doesn’t mean tomorrow will be. But for hours it’s been second nature and that is such relief.

I’ve been productive–using my time for playing with L and cleaning out the car and decluttering toys. I didn’t distract myself or need to fill the time. I *used* the time. So cool.

Yesterday I never needed ibuprofen. Today is feeling the same. And it’s another day of cool weather overshadowed by endless sunshine. I’m making food now, and L is playing with some toys I unearthed for him and it’s such a nice day.

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Your horizon takes its shape.

A couple weeks ago when I was feeling all bingey, a sponsored link appeared on my fb newsfeed about binge eating and freeing yourself from it. There was some webinar, I think. I signed up for it because I was curious. Not because there is any one cure all somewhere, but because it had the feel that it could provide a spark of information striking me at just the right time to propel me somewhere.

That’s all recovery is for me. One opportunity propelling me to the next while I figure out all the meat of the in between. The in between is forward and backwards and progress and stagnation. That’s where all the hard work happens. That’s where my results are. In the long term.

But those short term propellings…that’s what allows for the good stuff.

So I signed up. And then promptly didn’t go to the webinar and haven’t read any of the emails. I see the titles of the emails every day and think “I’ll get to that.” But at the moment Sarah Rentfro provided my last propelling and so I’ve been riding that one.

This morning I skimmed through some of the emails. It was all about how you don’t have to avoid foods and deprive yourself of *living* in order to be rid of your binge eating disorder. Embrace it! And just join this free class or this one-on-one session. And within three days you’ll be rid of bingeing. And you’ve never done it this way before and that’s why recovery has never happened!

And I don’t doubt that works for some people. I don’t even doubt that some people have long term success with it. It’s just not my success. And it makes me wonder, too, how many people *aren’t* feeling success because they’re eating foods that make them feel terrible. And when you feel terrible, you want to eat comfort foods to feel less terrible.

But I digress.

My point is that a) there’s no “right” way; you have to search (even when there’s no end in sight) for what works, and oftentimes what works doesn’t work permanently because we are ever-changing in body and mind b) avoiding foods that trigger you isn’t the worst thing you can do; no one would ever tell an alcoholic that the best way they can overcome their addiction is by drinking in moderation; “just two shots a day–you’ve got this!” c) there’s no time limit; even if one day you consider yourself completely recovered, something could happen in your life to knock you down; no one is absolved from disordered thinking, not even someone who has never experienced it before d) there’s going to be an ebb and flow; there’s going to be a symbiosis between the natural ebb and flow and the amount of practice you put in; the sooner you can practice learning to accept that, the more enjoyable living will be e) [and this was the missing piece for me]–it doesn’t matter what effort you put in toward the food; the issue isn’t the food.

For me, because I could never speak for someone else,¬†somewhere tucked deep into my psyche and hidden far in the depths of memory, flowing even into muscle memory, lived the dwarfed parts of myself that, for whatever reason–neglect, abuse, lack of attention–didn’t (couldn’t) grow into their own. So while I did alllllll the other work I just mentioned, I simultaneously spent time, not only *finding* those parts of me, but also unlocking their doors to give them the opportunity to connect and be free.

What I learned too is that finding the door or the key or even unlocking the door doesn’t necessarily change anything. It’s a start for sure, but then there’s more work to be done. The teaching yourself that you can be trusted and that you have value and worth and that you’re going to make mistakes and that the mistakes don’t negate the worth. Over and over and over. Until you learn that it’s the showing up. It’s the practice.

At least it is for me. This has been *my* recovery. So no email telling me I can cure my eating disorder in three days by “embracing” food can sway me from the truth I’ve clawed my way to find.

Open up the door.

Sometimes I blank out on things that I should know. Like I’ll picture telling someone where I live, but I’ll say my hometown instead of the city I’ve lived in for the last 12 years. And then I realize I’ve inputted the wrong one, and it’ll take me a good 10 to 15 seconds to pull the actual name of where I live out of my brain.

This happens at least once or twice a month.

Occasionally I’ll blank on my kids’ birthdays too. But mostly it’s just the hometown thing. It’s the wrong city thing. It’s the blip of a place for 12 years thing. It’s 10 seconds of panic that I don’t know where I am.

It’s high time that you decide.

I’ve wanted a day like today for a while now. One were I felt like I was in a place to feel productive with my self-care mindfulness. I never put any parameters or goals up for the day. Just pay attention.

And I did.

I feel success in it and purposeful. And yet…

I try to remember that my life is valid. It’s hard sometimes tho because I know people who are going through unbearably heavy things without pause or reprieve, and here I am all tra la la’ing away. And still life is hard. Life is full of more anxiety than not. And yet, it’s still not unbearable tragedy. And so sometimes it’s difficult for me to come here and write about how some days are hard, when I have it so easy. Comparatively.

And they say comparison is the thief of joy. Yet here I still sit comparing, when I just need to remember that I am still valid.

I wrote on my wrists today for the first time in a while. Enough, I wrote. Not that I am. But that it’s enough of the feeding things within me that don’t need to be fed. Enough of the shortcuts and sidelining. Enough of the blatantly going against what serves me best. Enough.

So that’s what I did today. And it feels….I don’t know. It doesn’t feel bad or good–just like it didn’t feel bad nor good to be doing those less optimal things. But it felt…like a good fit. It feels true to me. And that’s a good start.

Step out of line.

I thanked Chris for not projecting onto me his feelings toward my dad, when my dad is in the middle of a psychotic episode.

I prefaced that it was a ridiculous thing to thank someone for. At the same time, it’s the experience I am familiar with when it comes to my family. This is what my ex husband taught me. So five years into this relationship and it still disarms me that he is supportive and non-judgmental and doesn’t lump me with my kin. Doesn’t shame me for where I come from and who my parents are or how much I care for my friends.

A couple months into dating Chris I spent the night with an ex boyfriend in the emergency room. I took him to the emergency room actually. The next day I was telling Chris about it, and I was kinda nervous. He didn’t understand why. He said I was helping a friend. That it was a good thing. An admirable thing. It was one of the things he loved about me. And my brain couldn’t wrap around it. Instead of insinuating I did it for sex or that my ex was just doing it to get in my pants, here was a man who appreciated my goodness.

Five years later and I’m still not used to it. Five years of goodness later and the shittiness of my 10 year relationship with my ex-husband still comes to mind first. Not always, but often. I wonder sometimes if one day it won’t.

I can see inside you.

The best thing about having a parent with mental illness is that you are always given opportunities to practice “rolling with the punches” and navigating disappointment and creating new, non-heartbreaking, but also honest, ways to explain to your kids why once again someone failed to show up for them.

First, it was me trying to navigate a visit with less than a week’s notice. I gotta say, I kicked ass in that department. I rallied the troops, made roses out of cat poop and turned all that gray into sunshine. And now here I sit. He’s three and a half hours late, with his phone turned off. No word. He could be injured or wounded or dead, but 38 years of experience tells me he’s just sick.

Every little thing.

I went to a doctor last week. Anyone who knows me, knows this is significant. I don’t do doctors. I don’t like doctors. I don’t trust doctors. I saw an obgyn when I was pregnant and I take my son to his checkups, and even all that gives me anxiety.

But I have insurance, and a doctor everyone speaks highly of is on said insurance, and so I sucked it up and made an appointment and waited the six weeks and finally went to the doctor.

And I was incredibly disappointed.

I was hoping to feel heard, and I didn’t. I was hoping for a meaningful prognosis, and got the same old story. I was hoping to feel hopeful, and left empty handed.

Well, not completely empty handed. I left with two prescriptions. One, I was told was an anti-inflammatory, and the other I was told was like a mild muscle relaxer, so that I could sleep on my left side without pain, which is something I haven’t done in over two years.

I was given IT band exercises to do, which I’m already very well versed in, (and I found it strange she mentioned my iliotibial band by name not once), and a follow-up appointment with the promise of feeling completely restored. I wanted to be hopeful. Her attitude sure made it seem like everything was wrapped up all neat and tidy with a little bow on top.

When I left I looked at the prescriptions she ordered for me and I immediately deflated. The anti inflammatory she prescribed was a steroid. A steroid I had specifically told her another doctor tried to “fix me” with, which had done nothing.

I decided to switch gears and re-evaluate. Maybe this was what I needed right now. Maybe it didn’t work eight years ago, but it’s the jumpstart I need today. I am committed to following through with this and knowing I did everything I could.

So I sucked it up.

I decided to get the medicine. I’d do the exercises. I’d give it my all. She wasn’t the doctor I was expecting or hoping for, but I wasn’t going to let it stand in my way.

Later the pharmacy called and left a message about an insurance issue. Just another curveball the universe was throwing my way to challenge my commitment. No worries. I resolved it and all was good. And then I googled the second prescription the doctor ordered.

Sigh.

At the appointment, she had asked me how I sleep and I said fine, good, 7 hours minimum. I also said I only sleep on my right side because I can’t put pressure on the left. She said she was going to prescribe a muscle relaxer. I told her I am very sensitive to medication and didn’t want anything. She said it was just to help me sleep (remember the “I sleep fine” part?) and “we’re going to get you sleeping on your left side again!” and I thought, “that would be great!

Fast forward to the Google search.

She prescribed me a freaking anti-depressant. The whole wide world blinks in confusion.

So I spent another while reevaluating and being angry and frustrated. I felt betrayed. Here is this woman who met with me for barely 15 minutes, who is supposed to have a responsibility to each human being she meets with and she thought it would be okay to fuck with my perfectly functioning brain.

I was insulted and hurt and so freaking astounded.

This woman had no idea the challenges I’ve overcome with depression and ppd and anxiety and ocd. She didn’t know the years of trauma I’ve fought or the binge eating disorder. She didn’t know my story or what I’ve been through. She didn’t know that there was a significant time in my life I needed the anti depressants to help me find my way to equilibrium. She didn’t know the months I spent titrating off of said medication, while anxiously waiting to find out if my brain could retain equilibrium on its own.

She had no clue. And she recklessly prescribed this medication to me without thought or even the decency of telling telling me what it was.

Finally I came back to myself. And I remembered that I can trust me. And I made the decision to follow all of this through, within reason. I decided I’d take the anti inflammatory. Hopefully it would jumpstart the healing of my IT band syndome.¬† Hopefully IT band syndrome is the thing that’s the matter with my body. Time will tell.

I won’t even fill the anti depressant. The pharmacy can keep it. And I’ll start taking turmeric, a good anti inflammatory, as well as magnesium. And I’ll do the exercisss every day and we’ll see.

I went to the doctor, which I’m proud of, and I trusted myself, which I’m even more proud of. And I have a plan. Today that finally feels good.