Screaming to be Free

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MIssCheauvairIII-MirrorMirrorontheWThe older I get them more exhausting this becomes.

I’m tired of the constant battling within.  I’m tired of constant comparing, tired of the unknown, tired of knowing this will never end, tired of seeing my worth only through the size of my body, tired of seeing my body through my own eyes.  I’m tired of looking in the mirror in disgust and disappointment.  Tired of feeling and seeing every imperfection in my body, tired of believing how I look is what connected to what I amount to in this world.   I’m tired of the struggle.

People tell me its all a mindset, that I just need to shift my thoughts.  I need to be more positive, I need to stop being so insular, stop being inside my head.  Think outside the box, think of others.  Your problems aren’t bad.  I try, I’m trying and I have tried. But the cycle does not end, the thoughts don’t stop coming, my flesh still betrays me.  And so again I feel like a failure.  Its just a mindset right? So I should be able to stop this.  But here I am still struggling,  still consumed.

There is a little girl trapped inside this body screaming to be free yet the chains are locked, n keys to be found.

Everything I could have been. everything I could have done has been tainted and warped by this cancer that grows in my head.

I try to keep it at bay, some days are better then others.  I try and stuff it down, and keep it out of site.  But when I am alone it spills out every where, polluting every thing is touches.

I wonder how long I can keep this up, I wonder how long my body and brain will contain this beast before it implodes.

#thoughtsoftheDay

You’re just so full of yourself! Body Dysmorphia & Body Checking!

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The other day someone that I care about said to me

“You know for someone who has body issues and always feels FAT you seem to have no problem showing your body off”

IMG_20140501_201229Initially I was FURIOUS! Good thing I was heading to yoga to get my ZEN on! Yoga always gives me time to reflect! Because what else are you suppose to do for 90 mins besides think and pray that you don’t combust! (Bikrams hot yoga).

It’s hard not to feel insulted by statements like that, because its so far from the truth, but I have come to realise that it’s just plain ignorance. I can’t expect people who have never experienced anorexia, eating disorders, body dysmorphia to understand. People have a hard time identifying with mental illness as is, especially if they have never had it or lived with someone afflicted by it!

I am recovered and no longer live in the chains of anorexia! But I still struggle with internal demons.  One of them happens to be body dysmorphia and body checking is a by product of it.

So What is body dysmorphia?

Individuals afflicted by BDD are concerned with body image, manifested as excessive concern about & preoccupation with a perceived defect of their physical appearance. An individual with BDD has perpetual negative thoughts about their appearance.

Symptoms can include

  • camouflaging (with body position, clothing, makeup, hair, hats, etc.)
  • comparing body part to others’ appearance
  • seeking surgery
  • checking in a mirror or avoiding mirrors
  • skin picking
  • excessive grooming
  • excessive exercise
  • changing clothes excessively
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Feeling the need to stay housebound
  • The need to seek reassurance about your appearance from others

What is Body checking?

Body checking refers to an obsessive thought and behavior about appearance.  These checks and/or questions occur repetitively, in some cases hundreds of times per day.  The person will often experience a momentary reassurance, only to be followed by increased levels of anxiety about their appearance.

Behaviors that may be considered body checking include:

  • looking in the mirror,
  • weighing oneself,
  • pinching oneself around the waist, or wrapping a hand around a wrist or other body part.
  • Sometimes sufferers will also ask friends or family members questions about their weight and/or appearance such as “Do I look fat?” or “Do I look like I’ve gained weight?”

For me body checking includes a lot of mirror checks, posing in different angles to see if I look fatter.  Taking pictures – becaue camera’s don’t lie and comparing them with previous pictures!  The more I look at myself, the more I look at the pictures, the more I analyze, the fatter I become, the more grotesque, the more flaws I can see, the worse it gets!

I  say “I am fat” without even really acknowledging that I am saying it! And honestly when people tell me I am not, the reassurance is so fleeting, because what are they really suppose to say – Yes you are!

Often the “feeling of fat” or “I am fat” statements have nothing to do with fat at all.  As my coach will say the only fat that needs draining is from my head.  I am “feeling fat” because somewhere else in my life I feel out of control, it could be work, relationships, friends, life etc!

Somewhere along my journey in my life I learned that when everything is out of control if I can control my BODY then all is right in the world!  I learned to disassociate and numb myself by obsessing about my body, exercise, controlling the food that I put in it and that somehow when that its all aligned perfectly then everything is will be perfect and everything will be alright!

Sadly though I have been down that path.  And even when I weighed 80lbs, exercised 6 hours a day and ate practically nothing,  even on the days that I did everything right nothing was flawless or perfect.  In fact everything was chaotic and out of control!

And through recovery and growth I have learned that what really matters at the end of the day is what I see in the mirror looking back at me, am I proud of that person?   What matters is do I love myself? What matters is am I happy? What matters is the people in my life that I love!

When looks fade and skin sags and things drop (because they will) I need to be able to look at my life with love and without regret!  Because as cliche as it sounds what is on the outside is so superficial, and does not bring you happiness!  It is your experiences in life and the people in it that bring you happiness! It’s peace and joy that you find within yourself!

If you look around at the people in your life you love – you don’t love them because they look a certain way its because of the people they are inside!  Shouldn’t we look at ourselves with those eyes?

What the question  forced me to do is to is dig deep inside myself again!  I still need to find peace within, I need to do more work , more growth within myself.

I can’t just use the excuse I have body dysmorphia for staying stagnant!  I am the only one that can change myself and evolve!   Only I can be my own hero!

“Fear is a trick being played on you … don’t fall for it!”

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Fat may not be a feeling but it damn well feels like it!

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My coach gets to hear this on a regular basis “I feel fat!” This has and is a regular in my vocab! I’m sure many of you can relate!

If fat is not a feeling then what the heck is it?

I think it’s different for everyone!  For me, when I feel out of control in areas of my life I feel fat!  And what adds insult to injury is when I eat something not considered ‘safe’ food or healthy food and God forbid I miss a day at the gym!

Out of control can look like many things for me!  It could be that something is wrong in my relationships be that with men, parents, family ,friends, coworkers.  I could feel out of control about work, money, or things are piling up!  When I feel I am letting people down, myself down, when I am not living up to what society expects of me, what I expect of me, what my family and friends expect of me!  All of a sudden that fat feeling creeps in!

Even though I am recovered and can identify what is going on, I still can’t stop that part of my brain that goes into panic mode!

All of a sudden I want to cut my calories, increase my cardio, eat nothing but vegetables and tofu (trust me I know how

stupid that sounds)!  Wear baggy clothes to hide my out of control fat that everyone can see!  I am exaggerating, but at the time it feels real!

Not only do I feel fat, I have convinced myself I am FAT! Which then creates feelings of being inadequate and a complete failure!

And I ask myself why do I equate control of food, diet, exercise, weight with stability?

Why do I think when I have that all under control all will be right in my world!  Because I have been down that road!!   I have made that goal weight of 120lbs, 110lbs, 100lbs, 90lbs and guess what nothing was right in my world, in fact everything was wrong and despite my delusional efforts everything was out of control.

Maybe being in control, being 100% focused on diet, exercise etc allows me to not have deal with reality and the outside world?

It doesn’t matter what kind of chaos is going on in my life, that spat with a friend, that guy not liking me, that phone argument I got in with my parents, that fact that I am no where near where I should be in life.  I am too busy!

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Focusing on diet and exercise, to allow those feelings to penetrate my bubble!  I’m too occupied, micro managing everything that goes in my mouth and every minute spent at the gym!  I don’t have time for feelings,  or to get hurt, or experience happiness or joy!

So is that my coping mechanism?

Do I avoid the uncomfortable realities of life, do I guard my head and heart by making it about my body, diet, exercise? Instead of just embracing them!

Maybe it’s time to stop using food and exercise as security blanket, a coping mechanism! Maybe it’s time to step up to the plate, get hurt, step up to confrontation!  Maybe it’s time to experience joy, happiness the highs and the lows!

Maybe it’s time to stop “feeling fat” and really dig down to undercover what I am really feeling and what I am trying to run away from!

I won’t quit till I am Triumphant!

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Anorexia is complicated disease.  I say I am recovered and for the most part I am.  But mentally part of my brain is still infected, I question if it will ever be cured.  I relentlessly battle that tainted part of my soul.  I will never quit, defeat is not an option.  I refuse to allow anorexia to control me every again.

The past month that menacing inner voice I wrestle with seems to be victorious.  Why am I allowing this polluted, corrupt, hideous voice to have control over MY thoughts?

Life, love, happiness is so much more than my physical body.  My weight, my size does not define me.  If I know this why am I allowing it?

Mirrors are my worst enemy, some days I can’t stand the sight of myself.  Months ago I was in a good place, confident, loving my body, grateful for it.  Where is this coming from?

I’m reading, listening, and surrounding myself with positivity.  I have amazing family and friends.  My life isn’t perfect, whose is, but I have everything I need in fact I have more then I need.

I know this is a control issue.  Somewhere in my life I feel out of control, somewhere in my life I feel unable to make things right!  In order to regain that control, I control my body, my eating, my exercising and the amped up body hatred fuels this need to continue to control!

I just wish I knew how to make it stop.  Life is tough enough without waking everyday with this battle.  Beauty is a concept, molded by society, bestowed by generations before us and ingrained in us since birth.  We didn’t have a chance to create and manifest our own version of beauty.  Even as adults it’s hard to forage through years of brainwashing.

Beauty equates to thin? Why? Does anyone know?  Why as a WOMAN do I feel inadequate because I don’t fit this mold!

What is sad is that we love others with no restraint! I love my family, my friends because of what is inside, the beauty they resonate from within, their character!  In turn makes their outward beauty that much more! I couldn’t care less if they are fat, thin, blond, brunette, blue brown eyes; I just love them for everything they are!  Why can’t I love myself like that?  Why can’t I see the beauty within myself?

I have lived through anorexia for a reason, I continue to battle for a reason, I share my story and all its intricacies for a reason.  I will not be defeated.  This is just another bump along my journey of self discovery, a chance to grow.  A challenge you say Anorexia?  Well I am up for it!  And I won’t quit till I am triumphant!

Love. & Let Go

Victoria 

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I will LOVE myself and that will BE ENOUGH

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Since a young age we are taught to seek validation from outside sources.  We first learn to seek validation and love from our parents, as we get older in school we seek this from our teachers.  As we grow and mature into adults we are constantly looking for validation from friends, lovers, parents, employers.

Why is it no surprise that none of us really love ourselves!  Why are so many of us starving for love, attention, validation from external sources?  It’s simple that is what we’ve been taught.

Having been bullied, suffered and survived anorexia and continue to battle depression one of the reoccurring issues that always becomes a brutal reality is self LOVE.  With all honesty I can say I don’t love myself, and I am and I have always looked outwardly for love, attention, seeking validation, seeking praise.  Because without it I have been taught I am nothing!  When starved of love, attention, validation, I feel worthless, alone, insignificant, hollow, empty & meaningless !  It’s every human’s basic need to be loved.

What I didn’t realize, is that LOVE could and can come from within.  Sounds so simple? And it should be!  But when you’ve spent a lifetime believing and practicing one way, when all you have known is getting love externally, the concept of loving yourself is so foreign.

The first step in change is acknowledgement, unraveling the years of societal brainwashing and self indoctrination.  BUT I have never been one to back down from a challenge!

What an amazing concept, I can LOVE myself.  Validation can come from within me!  No longer will I feel the need for shallow, superficial, insincere attention because when I love myself that will be ENOUGH.  No longer will I hurt or cry over rejection, no longer will I be starving for attention, love, acceptance.  I will no longer stay in bad relationships starving for whatever scraps of love.  I will cut loose bad friendships.

When you love yourself, you see things for what they are, not the illusion!  I will no longer need to exert so much of my effort, putting so much of myself on offer, to make sure I get loved.  I will LOVE myself and that will be enough.

What an amazing revelation, this body, my vessel, for years I staved it! And it continues to serve me.  For years I made it feel like on its own it wasn’t enough.  I abused it, made it believe that it needed outside love to be whole.

Now I must ask it for forgiveness.  Love it for all the amazing  things it does for me, without asking or expecting  anything in return.  I will make sure everyday how much I appreciate it, how much I love it!  Everyday I will work towards detangling what I have been taught, I will work towards LOVING MYSELF Because IT IS ENOUGH.

Alis Volat Propriis

Picking … And I don’t mean berries!

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Most of my adult life I’ve had an intimate love affair with anorexia, cheating occasionally with bulimia…but always returning to my one true love Ana.  Later I had a secret liaison with chew & spit, but gave them all up for my healthy bond with recovery.

However there is one alliance I have yet to reveal… and I call it picking! 

Picking in a nutshell – purchasing a 6pack of raisin bran muffins, picking out all the raisins eating them, and disposing of the rest.  Buying 6 pack of pecan tarts, picking all the pecans off,eating them and yup you got it throwing away the rest.  I have been known to buy an entire loaf of raisin bread … and well you know the deal.

Does it make any sense?  Do eating disorders make sense? Does a lot of stuff I’ve done throughout my eating disorder and recovery make sense … NO!

I often engaged in this behaviour when I was stressed out, depressed, lonely, feeling out of control!  It was comforting, like in the past with anorexia or chew and spit!!  In some warped way I felt I was indulging yet not binging and remained in the low end of the caloric scale.

I was sort of telling anorexia FUCK U, I can control myself and not eat the 6 whole muffins but I still get a treat!  I was totally cutting off my relationship with bulimia; if I didn’t eat the whole muffins then I didn’t have to throw up, problem solved.  Picking replaced the entire chaos of my relationship with chew & spit, and the secretive shame and humiliation that came with it.

Like anorexia, binging, bulimia, chew and spit there was a sense of numbness that came with picking, a temporary escape, fleeing from reality, my life, my feelings…followed by dreadful shame.

“WHAT THE HELL am I doing?”  This is beyond normal!!!  What is wrong with me? (I have been here many times).

Mortified from the waste of food & money! Shame that outwardly I acted as if I had kicked my eating disorder in the butt, yet behind closed doors still participating in this absolutely ridiculous ritual.

I can’t even begin to explain the reasoning behind this or how I came to find myself entrenched in this behaviour.

When I started, it was a daily occurrence, some days more then daily.  Fortunately over time it began to become every two days, every week, twice a month, and then very sporadically.

I guess like anorexia, bulimia, chew & spit etc, as I got healthier body and mind, my distorted food relationships ran their course…& sadly I have to announce that picking and I broke up & have gone our separate ways!

The evolution of recovery… MY RECOVERY! 

Sometimes when I’m indulging in a raison bran muffin, I catch myself reminiscing about our bizarre love affair.  But as I finish the ENTIRE muffin raisins and all, I am so thankful that I ended that unhealthy chaotic relationship.