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.

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Day 240

7PM:

A week after the Fourth of July and a week and a half after Canada Day, I’m declaring my Independence…

 

Cue the dramatic, but this is a huge step.  A step on the path of recovery.

And no, it won’t be perfect.  The blackness will still scream in my head, telling me that I will get fat, telling me that I am not doing enough, telling me that I am wrong.  The blackness will force me to use the tools I have at my disposal, to find new tools, to use my support system.  However, consider that neither of these examples were perfect at the time either:

  • Canadians still had Western Canada to bring into the fold after 1867’s Confederation.  It took over a century, but they got there.  Now, all the provinces and territories celebrate.
  • In 1776, the Americans still had the ghost of the British looming over their shoulders and a Civil War that was a hundred years away.  But there was progress.

Signing of Confederation, signing of the Declaration of Independence – these things, these showed progress, these were steps on their paths, these were hope.

And just like them, I can have progress, I can have hope.

And just like them, I deserve both – for me, for us, for all the people it will allow me to focus on in the future and for all the Intentional Acts of Niceness I will be able to do because I won’t be concerned about food or hunger or the things I’ve avoided as a result of the portion-system (because the food or activity or activity level couldn’t be measured or quantifiably compensated, because of the anxieties around not getting it all out of the blender, because of not being able to stop moving and doing extra).  We all deserve for these things to be gone.  Reclaiming healthy through recovery deserved.

The portion controlled system will always be there if needed, in times of stress or in times of relapse.  But for right now, it has done its job.  For right now, I have done my time, my 25 to life

Now, it’s my day.  Not a day of endings, of forgetting the history leading up to this moment or of ignoring the continued progress that needs to come, that will come.  But today, today is my Independence Day.  And tomorrow, we wake up and take the next step.

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 216

5:30PM:

I beat myself up sometimes about my eating disorder history.  This is prompted by me just having a snack – hot chocolate – because I wanted to.  Something simple, but impossible 12 months ago (ok, probably impossible 12 weeks ago, possibly 12 days ago).

After something simple like this, a little accomplishment that seemed insurmountable once upon a time, my mind goes towards the missed opportunities, the friendships that got beaten up, the experiences that went unshared, the gratitude that went unshown, the untasted food with a lover…

And then I say FUCK YOU.  I tell those anxieties and thoughts of regret doesn’t even get the five seconds of Matthew-Fox-in-Lost fear allowance.

Cautious for the future, for relapse and being aware of signs of falling off the road of recovery – sure, those are allowed.  And part of this continued anxiety is because of my eating style: eating by the numbers as opposed to intuitively (to increase my comfort in eating varieties and higher-calorie foods – because they fit into the system – and ensuring sufficient quantity), even though it causes stress and anxiety.  It drives me crazy, yes; but the alternative is that I drive everyone else around me crazy with concern (well, maybe not at my current school…) because I lose 15 or 25 pounds in a school year.

[AN ASIDE: will there be a time when this is not needed?  I know that I should not ask that question, but it is the continual lack of 100% confidence in what this is, if it is normal or the ME version of ME… BACK TO CONFIDENCE!].

But they will not take any more time away from me, not if I can allow it, not if it I have the courage and strength and wisdom required at this point.  No more time away from being grateful and appreciative, from loving, from looking up.

Day 190

9AM:

Let’s be clear about something: there is a lot of recycling when it comes to education initiatives.  Someone puts their own stamp on the idea by changing the language or going “back to basics,” claiming that they are a revolutionary of the times!  The same happens with diet data (good quality food, not too much, lots of plants tends to be agreed upon most, and has been the case for centuries).  The same happened at University to a degree, where you had historians, literaries, social scientists, anthropologists, etc., putting their language into an idea – the EXACT SAME IDEA – but because it was in their language, it was their idea.

Reeling in the rant a little, recycling happens and very often it is frustrating for the educators who don’t accept this as a reality.  However, one that really sounds right is growth mindset.  It is the idea that if educators believe and if students believe and if parents believe that students are moldable, growable, developable (none of those are words, I know), there is genuine success.  Same information being delivered, same situations at home and school, same students, but different mentality – a mentality of positiveness, of development, of change, of hope.

Yesterday, I used the growth mindset that my wife and I have fought to build re: food to eat with soft-measurements on the road, to eat dinner and then dessert because I wanted to spend time with my Mom.  I say that the two of us have fought for this growth mindset because I have too many people around me, have always have had those people around me, who believe that I cannot change, that I do not change, that I am too fixed to change.  Well, fuck you.  You aren’t helping.  In fact, based on “current” education philosophies, you are hurting.

I said something to that effect to my Mom before going to dinner last night: I can change, I can grow, I can hope.  I was not always fucked up and I won’t always be fucked up, I can be the me version of me, I can reclaim my healthy.  But it takes positiveness, it takes a belief in development and change, it takes hope.