Day 266

6PM:

These might all seem like separate things, or even worse, redundancies. Two-hundred and sixty-five days of over and over, dropping one thing and going to the next, picking up one catch phrase when it better suits and putting down an old one, or again, even worse, being redundant and repetitive and (dare I say) edu-speak-ish.

Fuck off.  That is not the case.  These ideas do all fit, they fit around recovery.

Recovery is creating an environment – through lines (structures, respecting your true nature and not shoulds, working through blacklists and exposure therapy, safeguards, routines), support systems (literary and asking for help from the warm-blooded – familial and therapeutic) and tools (regular exercise, expressing gratitude and appreciation, writing a blog, happy lists) – that starves the blackness inside, taking away its power, taking back the things it stole as flaws (taking your thoughtfulness, contemplative nature and warping it into toxic hyper-vigilance and overt control, anxiety and over-thinking, an eating disorder or alcoholism to cope and depression, low sex drive and thoughts of self-harm as a result; taking your self-awareness and bastardizing it into self-doubt and fear, whereby you run and cheat and lose your you version of you) and reclaiming them as your own beautiful, amazing and loving imperfections, and in doing so, allowing yourself to find vivid in recovery one day at a time, reclaim healthy, manifest as the you version of you, your true nature, your Uncarved Block (healthy veganism, thoughtful gentleness, IANs, creative attentiveness and loving care).

Without the breaks and brackets (and questionably avoided run-on sentence):

Recovery is creating an environment that starves the blackness inside, taking away its power, taking back the things it stole as flaws and reclaiming them as your own beautiful, amazing and loving imperfections, and in doing so, allowing yourself to find vivid in recovery one day at a time, reclaim healthy, manifest as the you version of you, your true nature, your Uncarved Block.

See, it all fits – perfectly imperfectly.

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Day 245

6PM:

It is amazing the speed at which hunger returns when you let it, as opposed to letting mechanics, external controls, too-strong lines (confines is more like it, at least for the now version of me, the present colours of my soul).  When we opened that door, re-opening it to reclaim healthy — holy shit, is it ever overwhelming.  I can eat breakfast late, but be hungry for lunch an hour and a half later — this overwhelms me, it scares me.  I can eat lunch late, having only had a snack for breakfast (marking Summer School midterms yesterday morning = not a whole lot of interest in stopping to eat and truth be told, didn’t really feel all that hungry) and be craving something between lunch and dinner — this overwhelms me, it scares me (however, logically, eating a meal at lunch and two half meals – barely – is right about the amount that I was eating before the giant end-of-day meal last week).  But in summary, this is fucking overwhelming.  The blackness has a hold on the anxiety, on the fear and it is Jack-the-Ripper-ish in its evisceration of my me-ness.

There is a new voice within, one that has been screaming.  Is that you, hunger?  That isn’t binge-eating or thoughtless consumption or lack of structure or lack of mindfulness – that’s actually how hungry I am, how hungry I feel?  Have you been there all along?  Have I just not been listening?  Have I tried to control you?

I am relearning how to listen to myself — how fucked up is that!?!  It is the path to reclaiming healthy and finding the lost bits of myself, the bits that once were and the bits that never could be there because of the blackness.  I have wanted to jump back into portion counting over the last 2-3 days because I’m not eating enough.  I am not eating frequently enough, because I am scared by it.  I do not allow myself to eat because I am scared, scared to give in, scared that it will… it is tough to explain, it is irrational, I don’t know why really.  I hear the voice within, that hunger voice, and more times than not, I don’t indulge because I’m scared.

I am floored by the frequency at which I hear you.  I am floored by the frequency at which I have to feed you.  I am surprised by the amount that I have to eat to quiet you down properly, as opposed to dousing the fire with coffee or exercise or ignorance.  But I shouldn’t be that floored, should I?  I shouldn’t be that surprised because even logically, this makes sense.  The practical nature of feeding every few hours scares the me that’s used to eating without intuition.  However, logically, eating four meals of two medium-sized parts along with a snack, is right about the amount that I was eating last week (one meal of two medium-sized parts and one gigantic meal of the rest – ok, along with way too much booze to fill in the blanks).  But that’s not what that’s about in the end.

It is about listening to myself, my urges, my hungers, my desires, my soul and my truth, not my fears or anxieties or black bits.  Because reclaiming healthy is about the truth in my soul.  So I will try to listen better, because we all know that I’ve been able to hear you.  For the most part, I’ve lied about those hunger desires – I’ve heard you, I just haven’t listened and in doing so, I am now unable to even hear the other voices: sex, fatigue, illness, sadness.  I believe hearing those again (because listening to them is what I’ve been waiting for) is about listening to the food desires that I’ve focused on ignoring for so long.

Reclaiming healthy is about feeding those desires, those true desires that truly make soul food.

Day 243

10AM:

Three days into this and there is definitely doubt – especially because of the length at which we have been existing in this stage of recovery, the one that needed the portion control, the calorie counting, the external voice to keep me in line.  Doubt brought on by my wife putting herself in another careless, thoughtless situation last night with drinking and work and neglecting her home-life, her whole life, her life of intention.  Not doubt of her, but doubt brought on by the stress of staying up all night waiting anxiously for her to come home safe.  Doubt brought on by a soul less powerful today to fight off the blackness.  Doubt that has questioned and will now question every fucking food decision, constantly: Too much? Not enough? Waited too long? Should have waited longer?  Doubt that analyzes every time a piece of food enters my mouth.

That doubt says maybe I need a plan to follow for eating – maybe that’s just me, needing some sort of organization.  Maybe I can’t be eating “willy-nilly?”

But wouldn’t this still be restricting, be suppressing emotions, which we think is what killed the other emotions (sex, love, sadness, rock and roll)?  Wouldn’t this be perpetuating the dulling of my soul, as opposed to reclaiming its beauty?

That doubt says why not keep the portion counting and set breakfast, lunch, pre-dinner and post-dinner = fuel the brain enough throughout the day to fight the blackness that screams loudly when I am hungry (e.g. suicidal thoughts, self-harm, self-doubt, self-inflicted pain, guilt, and all the other dwarfs who missed out on Disney).

However, to the point made yesterday, those lines are old lines, too bold for the me version of me, too solid for these colours of my soul.  Quell the short-term anxiety for long-term harm?  That doesn’t sound like what brave, strong and smart bears do.

And what would you do about activity levels?  Regimented eating is one thing, but to truly “do this right,” you’d have to regiment movement, stress levels, activity duration and strenuousness, sleep times… (get the point).  Dealing with the movement anxieties of “not sitting down because it isn’t compensated for naturally” (as it would if I just ate, like the new stage of recovery suggests) prevents calmness of mind and soul, feeds the perfectionistic qualities, brings out the flawed nature of my obsessive imperfections.

That doubt says today – given how hard things are setting up to be with home stresses, crappy sleep, potential for restriction as a result of both (just because hunger has had a hard time speaking through these before, not an intentional restriction), Summer School midterms to turn around in less than 18 hours (assuming sleep isn’t a priority…) – maybe today I count, I take it out of the context of yesterday and the context of tomorrow and I pick up the calorie/portion counting for one day.  I can’t get out of control for one day…

If I can get through today, if we can get through today, on Day 3, not taking a sabbatical…  I have always been too stupid to fall down, to know when to give up, forever tilting at windmills because I’d rather find the giant among them.  But this is more than that, getting through today will give us strength.  It will embolden us and more importantly for me, it will embolden her.  Show her that when times are tough, she does love, and MOST importantly, she does care.  Stay the course.

That doubt says I have felt bloated over the last three days, and I don’t think it’s the blackness talking.

That is anxiety fucktard!  It probably always existed and you just ignored it because while the cause was unknown, the intake was known (used to tell the blackness that I couldn’t get fat, because the intake was regular, regimented, controlled).

I’m scared.  I need to record these because even though they aren’t real, they are real to me, right now.  I know that these are just fears and that these fears and anxieties are temporary (but I’m an overachiever — and I really want it to stop) and that I need to focus on the positives (like the fact that I haven’t had a desire to binge at any point during the day, except yesterday between lunch and early-dinner when I waited too long – but the voice stopped when I ate reasonably, turning off the demon that screams in times of restriction) and have faith.

I know these things because of my grandfather who emailed me within minutes of me asking for advice.  I know these things because of my beautiful wife, who (yesterday, before the carelessness) in a step on her recovery of the her version of her, reminded me that maybe (just maybe) these anxieties are because I’m not at my appropriate weight and that will fluctuate when I accept my hunger, my feelings, my emotions = evidence of care.  Even after last night, that is what I want to believe in – the unicorns, the penguins and her.  That is her reclaiming healthy, being my support system, holding my hand as we walk this path of recovery together.

And suddenly, I’m not as scared anymore, even though the path ahead seems dark.

Day 233

MUCH TOO LATE:

I found this a little while back and have been meaning to write about it: http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/blogs/18-quotes-on-food-and-health-that-will-make-you-think

Most of all, the following quotes:

6. “Each patient carries his own doctor inside him.”
― Norman Cousins, “Anatomy of an Illness”
I and my support system know myself, know how to help and how to heal when listened to, when the blackness is not listened to.  I spent a couple of sleepless hours searching through someone else’s blog, going through a year of their life searching for hope and finding only another step in their path, a stumble at the end (one that I know they will pick themselves up from, that they will learn from, that they will be inspired from and progress from).  I should be looking at me…
3. “And dieting, I discovered, was another form of disordered eating, just as anorexia and bulimia similarly disrupt the natural order of eating. “Ordered” eating is the practice of eating when you are hungry and ceasing to eat when your brain sends the signal that your stomach is full. … All people who live their lives on a diet are suffering. If you can accept your natural body weight and not force it to beneath your body’s natural, healthy weight, then you can live your life free of dieting, of restriction, of feeling guilty every time you eat a slice of your kid’s birthday cake.”
― Portia de Rossi, “Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain”
At this point, the eating system of portion control is a form of disordered eating.  At one point it wasn’t; it was a support system, a supportive system.  Now, though… it is causing me to want out.  The stressors of my life – the constant state of counting portions or calories and killing off the parts of me that want to talk to my appetite, my hunger for food and sex and love and passion, my heart – this is disordered.  The confines, the dimensions in which the system of portions resides are no longer doing their job.  They are giving the flaws in my personality (obsessiveness, hypervigilance, overthinking) room to bash my brains in, turning these beautiful imperfections into tragic flaws.  I could be poetic and say the blackness has learned how to battle me here, but I think it has to do more with me.  This is not who I am.
2. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
― Hippocrates
I’ve bemoaned the man in the past, but here, he has a point.  Medicine and food are interrelated in the same way that exercise or taking care of yourself are medicines.  Right now, medicine is not my food, food is connected to fear, to self-hate, to avoidance, to blackness.  It needs to stop.
In speaking to a very wise individual, I have begun to understand that I am better.  I am more whole than I was seven years ago when I left the hospital at 135 pounds.  I am more whole when the world spun out of control and I lost 25 pounds at my first teaching job.  I am more whole than last year when my wife cheated on me.  I am more whole than I was 233 days ago, before I started writing every day.  I am more whole and therefore, I am more colourful.  My current issues with the confines of the portion-controlled system have more to do with me, not the blackness learning to battle, learning to use my tools against me.  It is because there is more colour in me, more passion, more connection to my soul, more care, more acknowledgement of love.
As such, the lines around me might need to soften and the dimensions of life expand, to ensure that I stay balanced, to ensure that I am the me version of me that I know is there.  This is what happened when we instituted the cheat meals (the uncounted portions) and when we moved more to portion counting than calories counting and when we explored the blacklist.  Just as these softened this lines, we will do it again, because that degree of softening is no longer enough – no longer enough for the soul that I have revealed and embraced and now, cherish.  It is time to let that colour become vivid.  I might need to trust myself to know when to eat and when to stop, to trust myself to be in control as opposed to an external system of eating (which had its benefits in the path of recovery, but as I said, are no longer supports, they are confines), even though I feel like I’ve forgotten how to do so.  That is scary, that I’ve forgotten.  I might need to trust my support system to keep an eye on me while I do it, just in case I take the plunge and falter.  I might to ask a lot of myself, if not too much.  I might need to be braver than I am, stronger than I am and smarter than I am, letting Winnie the Pooh be my guide.
These are only thoughts, only colours.  Tomorrow comes the lines.  Tomorrow, the VIVID will fight back against the blackness.

Day 228

9PM:

Counting calories

Counting calories, calculating portions

Counting calories drives me

Counting portions keeps me controlled

Counting calories drives me

Counting portions ensures I don’t fall

Counting calories drives me

Counting portions keeps me on the edge, in a constant state of awareness and stress, spinning the motor faster and faster and faster

Counting calories drives me off the edge, because I can never stop, never lie there without calculating activity or goodness, never slow down, never find peace, never find quiet

Counting portions, counting calories makes me jump off the edge, since there is no peace in this

Counting calories, counting portions drives me insane

Day 158

7AM:

I said that I would explore the whole “guilt sitting down” thing, so here it goes.  This weekend, it took a bottle of wine and running my legs out for me to sit down.  I don’t know why I get stuck in this pattern, I know I don’t want to – it isn’t logical.

Logic would state that I feel bloated now and have for the last 2-3 weeks (maybe a veganism thing, more carbs, but holy fuck is it ever fucking with my head), so that can’t be the result of sitting down (because I haven’t been!).  Logic would also state that my weight stayed stable last year when I went through a period of time being able to sit down, so I shouldn’t worry about putting on weight.  Logic would furthermore state that there are more important things than weight.

Perhaps it is the overwhelming guilt based on what happened last time, because of how bad it got.  And so I don’t want to fuck up and believe in myself and think fuck it, I’m doing the right thing and being the person I need to be, and then… being blindsided by the fact that I’m 135 lbs and being carried into the hospital because I believed in myself.  But even that fear isn’t what is keeping me moving, keeping me standing, guilting me into not sitting.  Because it isn’t logical to be stopped by fear.

Maybe it is because I believe my urges are bad, they’ve led me into darkness before.  As a result, I see my urges as evil, I see them as bad things, as an unchecked id.  This isn’t just with food either; it extends to everything, even with going to the bathroom.  I can’t just go to the bathroom, going to the bathroom is predicated by something.  It is a pattern (going before eating, after _______, during _______), and being controlled by a pattern is a bad thing and it is a bad thing to be controlled by something else.  But how is this logical either?  Because it isn’t logical to be this distressed by going to the bathroom.

Probably, the amped up distress and stress and anxiety and AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I have a bruise on my stomach right now from pulling so hard on the “FAT”) is because I’m getting attacked from all fucking sides by a universe that I need to be kind, I need to be caring, I need to be beautiful.  It shouldn’t be this hard to keep going, to find what’s kind and caring and beautiful.  I’m looking, but I’m so freaking worn down and that’s why there’s the guilt – the illogical blackness creeps in and screams its death song.