Friday, April 30, 2010

Facebook vent

This morning, I woke up to an e-mail saying a person from high school had commented on my facebook activity. This was a guy who was an acquaintance in high school. This is a guy who never comments on my stuff. I've commented a few times on his, but we are certainly not buddies of any sort.

In fact, our general views on life are very different with him being very conservative, me more moderate, leaning more towards the liberal side. If I had to describe him, he would be the "good 'ole country boy." Of course, there is nothing wrong with that, that's just the mental image I perceive of him.

I think what gets to me more than anything is how patronizing he made me feel with his comments. We took an opposing view of the issue, and we both tried to argue our points, respectfully, nonetheless (me backed with scientific data). However, the words he took were of an offensive nature which truly did not sit well with me and made me feel like he was patronizing me. I have enough self-esteem issues as it is, so it certainly doesn't help when someone makes me feel like I do not know what I'm talking about when this is my choice of career. It takes every ounce of my fiber not to reply back when I could ask so many other questions to his last response, but in the end, I know it is just better to let it go. It is not worth wasting my breath when we disagree on that issue, as I'm sure disagree on many more.

Sadly, I wish some of my friends would have defended me or even ones who may have joined that group. But oh well, that's just how it goes.

Okay, vent over, and time to write more thought provoking stuff. I'll likely post this weekend as that is when I have the most free time.

On a side note, I did find it interesting that that particular thread did not show up on his profile as other stuff did.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Shopping is a lost cause

Well, it's now inevitable. I must buy khaki pants for work very soon. All the red tape that needed to be done has been finalized, so now we are good to go. This would be even greater news if I did not have to buy khaki pants. My boss has decided we are wearing khaki pants and beige color shirts with our logo to look "professional." I agree, it does look more professional than jeans. Normally, khaki is a universal color that goes with anything except that our beige shirts resemble closer to the khaki color, so there is hardly any contrast.

This post isn't really about the khaki pants. It's more about the fact that I have to go shopping now, and like many of us who have been through this peril, I am dreading it. It would be one thing to find one pair of khaki pants, but I have to find multiple ones to wear every day of the week. I guess the plus is that I won't be having to do as much laundry. :grin:

This shopping trip is compounded by the fact that I'm just having some major body image blues. Now, I know that in recovery, body change is inevitable. For a lot of us, it is is one of the hardest issues to deal with. I've always felt a bit out of place with this, because I never really had to go through a huge weight restoration process like many people I know. Instead, my weight has fluctuated a bit--enough to be noticeable but not drastic. Therefore, any body change I've had has been very subtle. And this is the issue lately.

I remember a video awhile back that Jenni Schaeffer did titled "My thighs touch" In it, she said how she actually liked that her thighs touched.--that it represented being healthy, recovered, and free of her ED. At the time, I thought this was great. But then, that happened to me, and I no longer had that gusto feeling of "recovery" and being happy with my body. Instead, I've felt terribly uncomfortable about it and just the thought of shopping gives me shivers.

I know I'm probably making a bigger deal out of this than it is. And although I've never cried during a shopping visit, I'm afraid this may be my first. I should also note that I always have a difficult time finding clothes anyway. With pants, if the waist fits, the legs are too tight, and the pants are too long. If the waist doesn't fit, the legs fit comfortably, but the pants are too long. Invariably, when I go shopping, I wind up trying on many clothes. Also, with khakis, I am horribly picky. Besides the fit, it must look "right" with pockets in the back, no side pockets unless laid correctly, flattering on the stomach/hip area, no pouchiness anywhere. If you think this is bad, just imagine jeans shopping with me. Who on earth would even want to clothes shop with me with all these stipulations on clothing? By the end of these fiascoes, I normally walk away with nothing and feel unsatisfied that nothing looked right. Or better yet that my body hated me enough to not fit into anything properly.

I know I have several weeks until I will need the khaki pants. On one hand, I don't want to procrastinate the shopping trip,but on the other hand, I'm suddenly afraid my thighs will suddenly turn into a massive thunder thigh look if I wait too long. :sigh: I feel like I don't win either way.

Oh wait minute, aren't I supposed to be working on that self acceptance concept? Oh right, that thing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day! It marks 40 years of celebrating this awareness day!

I must admit, though I tend to like to stay "clean" most times, it is sometimes fun to just get dirty. Yesterday, I planted some new flowers in my front yard. It was lovely intentionally getting dirty for this purpose. It was a wonderful sight to see the earthworms cultivating their way into the soil (a good sign). Later this week, I'll be planting trees in my backyard as well. It's my way of celebrating this day which I do everyday anyway with recycling, watching water usage, watching energy usage, buying locally when I can, reducing my own carbon footprint, living green with my pets, etc.

There's also something special about Earth Day which reminds me about nature. I'm an incredibly nature-oriented person, so it feels fitting to give back to nature as nature has given to me. Sometimes, nature in its plants, animals, and landscapes have been a sanctuary of sorts--a place of silence, a place to listen, a place to remember, a place to learn, a place to feel free.

How are you going to celebrate Earth Day?

Tips for Earth Day: from the EPA
Facts about Earth Day here and here

"Someday Melissa"

I posted this on twitter today and was deeply moved by this story, a mother's loss, a daughter's story. If you haven't read it, please take the time to do so. Any eating disorder death is heart wrenching and is a reminder of the stark reality that we can all die from this illness.

In this story, Judy Arvin, the mother of Melissa, who died at age 19 from bulimia, decided to make a documentary about her daughter's life and ultimately her death from bulimia. She felt it was a way to both help her grieve over the loss of her only daughter and to educate others about this illness.

I think one of the powers that can be raised in this film is the commonality of how the eating disorder unraveled. When there were signs that something was wrong, Melissa was taken to a pediatric gastroenterologist (she was having constipation and stomach problems) who diagnosed her with an eating disorder. The Arvins dismissed this doctor's diagnosis and never went back, partly out of denial and simply because Melissa was not visibly underweight, despite the fact her mood drastically changed.

Eventually Melissa did receive help (against her will at first) and became a revolving door in treatment centers. By this time, her family began to understand the extent of her illness, but after five years, it would be too late for Melissa who died of a heart attack, complicated by her bulimia.

The film, titled "Someday Melissa," taken from journal entries of Melissa, is slated to be finished in June with hopeful theatrical distribution.

One of Melissa's entries that became paramount for this film was:

Someday ...

I’ll eat breakfast.

I’ll keep a job for more than 3 weeks.

I’ll have a boyfriend for more than 10 days.

I’ll love someone.

I’ll travel wherever I want.

I’ll make my family proud.

I’ll make a movie that changes lives.

I'm hopeful that last wish will come true for Melissa.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Blips" continued

First off, apologies for being absent the last week. My mom left on Monday, my dad on Thursday. Then, the rest of the week was playing catch up. This week, a lot was accomplished. With the beautiful weather, we all took advantage of it and worked hard on my yard. A few posts ago, I mentioned my big crater where the above ground pool was. Originally, I was going to make a very large sand box for the dogs, but I nixed that idea after my dad reminded me it could attract stray cats to eliminate there, and they could bring fleas. Instead, I decided to grow grass there.

I bought some starter trees--a kousa dogwood (hopefully mine will look like this one day), an assorted color crab apple tree, an eastern white pine tree for Baxter, because it has these soft pines which he loved, and soon, I'll get a pink magnolia tree. Can you tell I like color and fragrance?

I also bought some flowers for the front yard--azaleas, some blue, pink, purple, yellow, and white ones (can't remember the names off hand). Before I do any of this planting, I have to get some very large dead trees out of my backyard. That's incredibly expensive! Then, I have been trying to dig up overgrown pampas grass. That's like digging up a freaking tree! So far, I've gotten 2 large ones out with 1 left to go which made the screws come out of my shovel. A pick would be better bet for the deep roots and to save my back and hands. I have a nice long scratch from the stiff as board pampas grass.

So basically, this week, my life and money has been spent at Lowe's and Home Depot. Yeah to tax refunds!


Going back to my last post, thanks for the feedback. Everyone made good points, and it is obvious that we don't view our EDs as blips in life. I do agree that it is likely easier for family to view it this way. Minimizing the situation becomes a protective measure for them. How can you acknowledge the problem if it doesn't currently exist?

Cammy asked a good question in how much I reveal to my parents about the ED. The answer is not much. Once I got through my major crisis (high school/early college years), the issue was dropped and placed only in a past tense. A good example of this was at dinner this past week with my father. He had watched a segment on the Dr. Phil show of a 12-year old girl with anorexia. Her parents didn't know what to do and came to Dr. Phil for help. My father asked me, "how did you get over it, recover?" There was a part of me that knew this would have been the best time to say how I still struggled at times, how recovery was a long process. But I didn't. Instead, I put on my "Tiptoe Academic" hat, telling him about all the genetic studies being done, how Maudsley has helped with these type of adolescent cases, how there were many factors to eating disorders, why the BMI is inaccurate, etc. He nodded with me and seemed to try to understand, though he still holds many of the "myth" beliefs with eating disorders. I give him a lot of credit for this as this was never something he seemed to do when I was really ill. Instead, he just got angry, blamed and made me feel guilty (this projection was disguised as guilt for himself though it appeared to me as it was my fault). This resulted in me giving him the silent treatment for a bit which just didn't bode well for all involved. We've since gotten past this point and have a better relationship than before; however, I don't reveal much about ED thoughts, my own weight, my body image hang-ups, etc.

In a way, I feel like I have no right to complain that he has viewed my ED as a "blip." There's a feeling of "what did I expect?" My walls have always been high on those issues and even in the recovery process, they still are with my parents.

There's also a big expectation factor too, especially as my life has taken off in a more positive way. The ED stuff would feel like some sort of failure, a damper of sorts. As I've told other people who think about telling those they know about their EDs, you always have to ask yourself what you hope to gain from it. I think with my parents, I knew I'd never really get what I wanted/needed. Though intentionally, I never meant to cut them out of my ED life, it just seemed easier that way. Most times, I truly do not mind this all that much, but there are times it make me sad and reminds me how much better of an actress I was than I ever would have thought. But on the other hand too, keeping a distance from it has also allowed me to educate my parents and other people. It gives me a sense of hope that people can change, albeit slowly, but it can happen.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


My parents are visiting this weekend. So far, it has gone well. It's the first time in a long time I have not felt an overwhelming anxiety upon their visit. Perhaps, it is because it is a "working" visit with getting stuff done around the house? In any case, it is nice to not feel so anxious about it. I think a lot of this also has to do with the fact that my parents no longer hate where I am living, my job, my boss, etc.

But still as thoughts like this change, there are other things that do not.

At at Thai restaurant we went to last night, we were talking about people who had cancer (my mom had breast cancer back in my teens, my father has had colon cancer and melanoma twice). My father made the comment,

"I made a deal with God that as long as my family stayed healthy and okay, he could do whatever he wanted to me. And so far, this has been the case. Tiptoe here is healthy, except for that small health scare."

And it is that last part that always gets to me. That time period he is referring to are my ED-filled years where it was so blatant, out there. It was noticeable then. It affected everyone then. It made my parents fearful that they might lose me if I continued to go down the path I was.

So luckily, this didn't happen, right? True, yes. But at the same time, my parents, well at least my father, view this simply as a "blip" in my life. A blip to me seems like something that is short, brief, hardly noticeable, NOT something that lasts 12 years.

There is a small part of me that holds some resentment, like how could they view this part of my life that way? I guess it is easier for the participant versus the observer to feel this way. Although there isn't a flat out denial that the ED existed, viewing it as a blip doesn't seem right or fair to me. How can someone feel this way when something like this consumed your life for so long?

But maybe in a way, a blip is better? Maybe, it's a way to be able to move on for some. For me, even if it is a"blip," it is not something I can ever forget. Perhaps, it's too soon to feel something like this or maybe later in recovery, my feelings will change?

For those in recovery, how do you view your ED? Does it feel like a distant part of your life? Does it feel like a "blip?"

Friday, April 9, 2010

"Taking lunch"

I've spoken about my work on here and will likely continue to do so. Most times it goes well. I get my work done, chat with the office assistant who shares some of my "disgruntles," work with dogs, etc. All is good except for the occasional tiffs that my boss and I have.

These tiffs are not major, mostly a difference in opinion. Last week, she was worried that I was not getting a full work week in, so she wanted me to come in earlier. Fine, that really wasn't a problem. Getting 40 or more hours/week is not difficult, although I really do dislike getting home after 6 PM or 7 PM, or having to go back to the office after 3 PM when I finish exercising one of our client's dogs 5x/week. I'd much rather work my 8 hours and then go home afterwards since that specific time period is awful for me. I am always tired and really don't feel very functional. But oh well, that's just how it goes most days.

Our latest tiff has been with scheduling. My boss is insistent that after 4 hours, you take a break. I know it IS federal law, but she is always afraid that some dude from the Labor Law force will come in and check to make sure this happens. This could of course happen, but it is highly doubtful unless your work has been red flagged from complaint by someone. I could be wrong, but this is just my thinking.

I find this break thing difficult, because honestly I'd rather take a break after 6 hours. The other thing that has been hard for me is "taking lunch." I know ultimately this is a normal thing to do, but I've never taken well to it. Lunch has never been a big thing for me and just got worse with development of the ED back in high school which was when I realized if I skipped lunch, I could get so much more work done. In college, I never did lunch period if you count getting a coffee or reading the newspaper as "taking lunch."

At my last job, though it was technically lunchtime, the kennel was closed, and I had a 3 hour window to do whatever I wanted. Most times, this was when I ran a lot of errand, went online, ate five gazillion animal crackers, took a nap, etc. I no longer have this luxury, so my "lunch" is approximately 1 hr 15 min. which consists of a 30-40 min. time drive round trip to go home and let the dogs out. This doesn't even seem like a break to me, and I'm only with my dogs maybe a max of 25-30 minutes. I think I might feel differently if I did not have to do the drive back and forth, but I do not have anyone to let out the dogs during the day.

During this time, I do stuff like washing the dishes, a few chores, etc., but the whole "lunch" thing never flies. I wind up grabbing a clif/luna bar or eating a yogurt which is more than I used to in college. I realize this is not exactly a lunch, and yeah, I could make all the excuses with not having time, etc. Honestly, it's just I don't make a true effort at it. I have a hard time justifying that when I've been sitting on my ass for the previous 4 hours working on PowerPoints to have something substantial. I understand how this is very flawed thinking, but I'm just having trouble with this schedule thing. I also find I do the same thing at conferences and wind up finding stuff to do or just twiddling my thumbs, waiting for time to be up.

My boss feels like she needs to know when I'm going to be at the office, but before all it mattered was that I got my work done which I do. The building isn't open yet, so it doesn't seem like a big deal. I'm literally just working on the PowerPoints which I can do from home and exercising a few dogs. I also feel like the one day where my day is different--don't go and exercise dogs, I should be able to take my lunch later, and she seems to have issues with this. This client whose dogs I exercise will also call at the last minute wanting us to come over, pick up her dogs from the groomer, etc. when it was agreed that we do not go over that day due to their grooming and bitchiness. The saying "no" thing seems hard, and on that specific day, I plan my day differently specifically because I do not have to exercise those dogs. (They are nice little dogs but reactive to many things, so it is a constant battle at management while at their home.)

I think part of the way I'm feeling too is that my boss has made me out to be her "king pin" as she says, but yet, doesn't give the trust I think she should. Last week, she decided to put time sheets on my computer which I find rather annoying if I'm on a salary pay. And actually, it makes me a little OCDish with the numbers.

Anyway, I know there will be growing pains as everyone adjusts to their new roles and schedules, but it's causing me some distress which was not the point of this job.

How do people deal with "taking breaks" and "lunches?" Are these times coveted or annoying or necessary?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Some signs of spring and other random photos

Here are some random spring photos from the last week or so.

Pear tree blossoms in my yard.

Pear tree in daylight.

Pear tree right after tonight's thunderstorm

This is me on the deck overlooking "the pit."
The previous owners had an above ground pool
which I requested be taken out. They took it out
but it left this gigantic hole and about a 3ft drop.
I have not decided what to do yet, but I am thinking
of making a big sand pit for the dogs.

Ladybug on a cup

A bruise I received while moving a stack of drywall walls in my shed. The dogs alerted me that something was there. Behind those walls was a large oppossum! Luckily, the dogs did not see it. I have realized that bloggers have seen various parts of my body--this bruise, my eye, and my hair.

This is my new riding lawn mower. My dad insisted I have one since my yard is so big. ED part of me said "well, I have a push mower and damn, that is a good workout." I used the new mower yesterday, and it is really quite nice-kind of relaxing. I find it ironic, because it is RED.

This is a gross, nasty "outside" only tennis ball. I had to put it up in a tree since Tovah was not keeping in on the side that had already been mowed.

This is another tennis ball and a Santa she found from the previous owners' kid. She loves to squeak the heck out of this toy. Now, I just wish I could find the collar she lost after she decided to roll in something pungent.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

From my household to yours, Hank, Tovah, Daphne, and myself all wish you a safe and Happy Easter!

I admit, I bought these headbands several weeks ago just for this occasion. I would have interchanged the ears, but they were a bit antsy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Stress Awareness Month

It seems there is an awareness month for just about every single thing. March was apparently Caffeine Awareness month, Nutrition, Frozen Food, Peanut, Gender Equality, On-Hold (whatever that means), and Social Work month just to name a few. May hold its fair share with Barbecue, Salad, Salsa, Egg, Mental Health, Meditation, and Physical Fitness and Sports month.

Every month has a wide array of causes. Some are more prominent while others are a bit obscure but all want to bring awareness to an issue or celebrate for a cause. One for April is Stress Awareness Month with April 16 being Stress Awareness Day in conjunction with the stress of taxes. Here is a list of other awareness months.

I bring up stress, because it's something we all deal with. There is no real "immunity" for stress other than to take care of ourselves. I noticed the last few days at work, I was becoming very stressed with determining a schedule, getting PowerPoints done, the opening of the building, my boss not thinking I was doing everything "right," etc.I was becoming increasingly agitated, defensive, and upset by all this. I had brief thoughts of just wanting to shut down, deprive myself, exercise compulsively, all those lovely de-coping ED skills. This was a reminder and a hint I really needed to take care of myself, do things that were going to allow me to feel satisfied, to take a breath before things got out of hand. In the end, stress + prolonged time = exacerbated ED/lapse/relapse.

I think this is just another step in recovery. It's not always easy to recognize how stress is affecting us until we get to the point of no oblivion, but if we can see it before it is too late, we can take actions to thwart ourselves into a self-destructive state.

How do you combat stress? When do you know it has become a problematic?

On a side note, the word stress originally comes from the Latin word stringere meaning "to draw tight." The term stress was first coined in the 1930s by endocrinologist Hans Selye who also came up with "eustress" or good stress as opposed to distress. Selye came up with a biopsychsocial concept of stress and adaption which took awhile for academic psychologists to take seriously and research further. By the 1990s, "stress" became more understood as a physiological and psychological functioning.

Note--*Stress by numbers here and here.
Argentinian study on stress and eating disorders (full text available in Spanish)
A few other studies of stress and eating disorders here and here

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Breaking through walls

Facebook has an application called "status shuffle." It's basically a random collection of quotes and one liners. Most tend to be on the funny side , but this one was poignant and caught my eye.

"Sometimes people build walls not to block others out of their life but to see who cares enough to break through the wall."

At times, this was certainly my case. I used to have many walls that surrounded me. Various therapists would say they imagined me with this invisible wall that needed to be broken through or torn down. But they weren't exactly sure how or what I truly needed to do so. I never had an answer for them other than I was just too scared to break down my wall. That wall was a barrier, but it also kept me highly safe.

There were moments when I wanted desperately to let go of my shield and be totally vulnerable. Yes, I did eventually have those moments which always seemed to be stress/anxiety/sleep-deprived induced. My problem was afterwards, I felt so weird and worried about what I'd done/said that I immediately rebuilt my wall. Thus, treatment took a long time to truly get anywhere. My former therapist C used to say "it's like I'm reaching my hand out to you, and you're within grasp, but can't take my hand."

I'm sure most of us with EDs have at one point had walls that surrounded us. Walls keep things out defensively but they also don't allow things in. I think many of us have that juxtaposition of blocking people out, but at the same time, wanting and hoping someone can break through as well. And what does breaking through our wall really mean to us? Does it mean that we are vulnerable? Does it mean that someone cares enough to notice?

I don't have the answers to these questions, and they are different for everyone. But I do think in general, when we allow ourselves to start tearing down our walls, glimmers of the healing process have been initiated. Then, it becomes up to us what happens next.

Dating frustrations

I thought I'd update everyone on the status of the whole oh relationship dating thing. One word: frustration! It seems matchguy 1 and coffee and scrabble guy have petered out with just one or two dates. No explanation on either end. I do occasionally hear from coffee and scrabble guy on facebook or in an absurdly bizarre text late at night, but match guy 1 hasn't contacted me in close to a month, so I'm guessing he has moved on. It's not the moving on part that I mind, just would have liked to get some notification that I've been rejected (okay maybe that's harsh) rather than my mind wondering.

It's made me kind of skeptical lately. I know it's been a fairly short amount of time on the dating scene, but I just keep wondering what I'm doing wrong or why I can't read these guys better. For example, I was on a date tonight with a new match guy (I'm calling him tennis guy for now), and it seemed to go well overall. He seems like a casual, laid back type of fella. But when everyone has ended the date with "I had a really good time," what am I to think? Is that line just the new formal thing to say these days even if you've had a crappy time?

I guess my feeling is this: if you go on one date, and you know right away, you two don't click, then just say that and move on. But if you think possibly there is something there, then go on a few more dates to see how it goes. Don't these guys know the 3 date rule?? Okay, I made that up, but I do have a 3 therapy visit rule when finding a therapist, so I think dating is kind of similar. Hey, maybe that should be its own post--how therapy finding is like dating. LOL

Anyway, I've also become a bit skeptical about e-mail, something I used to always insist on first. My experience with everyone on e-mail is that they all seem like cool guys with interesting stuff to say, but then they don't leave that same kind of "cool" expression per se in real time visiting. And that really does seem like the only sure-fire true way of actually seeing how someone is.

But I still continue on anyway in hopes of maybe finding a close to "Mr. Right" or something of that nature. On that note, I may be going on another date on Sunday with ecology guy. Again, no hopes really but we'll see. I think part of my problem is that when it comes to these situations, I'm still a bit of a hopeless romantic daydreamer. :sigh: