Progressing Side Effect

Good Afternoon Readers.

I don’t like to be touched. Let me elaborate. One of the side effects of hating what I look like physically is that I don’t like to be touched in certain places. I’ve been experiencing this for a few years and maybe with all the happy events happening in my life I hadn’t thought about it for awhile. I was distracted. Now that time has passed it is almost like I am hyper aware. My anxiety about being touched is increasing exponentially. So much that I think about it when I am communicating with anyone within reaching distance.

My arms are my Achilles heel. I DO NOT like to be touched on my arms. I don’t wear tight tops, I don’t wear short sleeves and you can be sure that I wear billowy, flowing tops and dresses in the summer because I won’t ever be seen wear spaghetti straps.

I have moments where I have a spout of confidence. I tell myself that since I believe every body is beautiful that I should apply this thinking to myself. I can get as far as putting the clothes on in my apartment but all it takes is one look.

One look in the mirror and I shut down. Literally. It doesn’t matter if my fiance genuinely thinks I look beautiful or that he doesn’t think my “arms look too big”. If it’s even for one second that I think I look fat then I shut down. I start scream crying. Yelling those ugly words I tell myself.

“I look like a pig. I’m an ugly fat cow.”

No one can get a word in edgewise and even if they could, nothing can bring me back once I’ve gone over the threshold. It’s exhausting and I hate that I react this way. But something just clicks in my mind and I can’t explain what it is. I start to spiral and just feed the horrible thought that starts the tantrum in the first place.

Apologies that this post is short and scatter brained. I haven’t been doing well this past week and I started writing this a few days ago but just didn’t have the motivation to finish. I am currently in that place where doing activities I normally love just have no interest to me or any value. I am worried that sometimes this darkness will keep coming back and it is just exhausting. But I am going to stick with this blog because I think it will really do me some good. Even if it takes months.

Since I started writing this post I have an update on how this side affect has been progressing. I don’t like to be touched at all right now unless absolutely necessary by Sam or anyone else. If it’s at work I try and avoid contact with people but when you have a close knit team like I do then we pat each other on the back or to get someone’s attention we touch their arm. The anxiety I feel is overwhelming.

Mirrors have also become enemy number two. I have started avoiding all mirrors. Even going so far as to look at the floor or wall in restrooms so I don’t have to see my face and arms staring back at me. My brain taking note of all the flaws and features I hate is just too much sometimes. It can really ruin my day.

I will say that mother nature does tend to make things more difficult for me emotionally. She is not a regular visitor for me so she catches me by surprise sometimes. I am hoping this dark period is related at least a little bit to that. Though this dark spell is lasting longer than normal and the side effects are getting more intense every time.

Maybe I will see a pattern across the months as I am writing.

I am sure it will become obvious when I am in a good place v a dark, dark place.

I can hope.

Before I go I will leave you with this. When I started this blog I was in a relatively happy place so my writing had some type of focus and clarity. Be warned that my writing reflects my mood. I feel sick in my mind and like I am struggling to swim to the surface out of the dark. My writing will reflect the journey. My writing won’t always make sense but that’s the whole point. My mental illness won’t make sense to anyone if I can’t even figure it out. As long as I get whatever it is I am looking for out of this blog experiment then that will be everything and more. This is for me. No one else.

If anyone is reading this – until next time.

Weight

Good morning reader.

I hate that word. Weight. Such a simple word. Too much importance in our society is put behind this word. Weight.

Weight.

I obsess about my weight. It’s one of the serious problems I have and it’s exhausting. Honestly sometimes I tell myself I should just eat what I want, get fat, and give up. Yet I know my eating disorder would never let me do something like that. It would destroy me. If eating something small like an orange that isn’t on my daily tracker sends me into a hysterical meltdown I highly doubt I will be changing lifestyles that drastically anytime soon.

I used to weigh myself on a daily basis. It was all consuming. If my weight fluctuated even just a little bit I would cry and scream and call myself a fat cow. That’s one of the more common names I have given myself.

For the past few months I haven’t been weighing myself. It’s a sickening feeling when I think about not knowing what I weigh. But i know myself. If I were to weigh myself and have gained a decimal of weight since the last time – I would lose it. It would set me back months on the progress I have made toward not caring about the number. Because I do. It’s sickening.

Weight. When I see or think of that word I think of a scale. Another simple word.

I bought a scale while still living with my parents. I weighed more then. I think. I don’t know – remember I haven’t weighed myself in months. Anyway, I obsessed about the number. My fiance got sick of my behavior. Started hiding the scale where even if I found it, I wouldn’t be able to reach. I’m only 5 ft tall so it’s not hard. Eventually he got rid of it as I would find ways to get the scale. Weigh in. And cry until I made myself sick.

I’m glad that hasn’t happened for awhile. It was exhausting.

I don’t think I would be able to weight myself today even if I wanted to. The nerves alone just thinking about it makes me sick. What if I’ve gained a lot of weight? How do I know if that’s muscle or fat?

I realize that someone could tell me I look great. I have definitely lost weight. Beautiful even. And if the scale has gone up those comments don’t matter. I don’t know how many times I have told Sam that nothing he could say will matter. Because he will love me no matter what. What happens now?

As I am sitting here I am feeling ill and am thinking about all the things I did today that have probably set back my weightloss goal. Sometimes I feel crazy. Like there is another person inside me that comes out when I go to this dark place. Like I am being smothered by another me. Weird. Scary. Makes me think that that other person will never go away. Not unless I lose the weight. Not unless I SEE the me I want to be staring back at me in the mirror. I have a feeling though that I will never get there. Not that I won’t get to the weight or physical ideal I have set for myself. But that my brain will always want to do better. That I will always have that sense of failure. No matter what.

Wow that was heavy. And yet I don’t feel better. I feel worse. Maybe I should try and write about the topics that are my achilles heal when I am in an upswing. Just a thought.

Keeping this short as my mood has shifted drastically. Hearing those cruel phrases in my mind as I type this. I will leave you with this: It’s ok to be sad but something I have actively been working on is not taking out all the scary, angry emotions about myself on my best friend/my partner in life. I know that every day is hard and I struggle even on a small level every day with those thoughts running through my head. But I can see the toll it is taking on Sam. He can only take so much on top of his own day to day issues and feelings. It’s an uphill battle that I am working on every day. Some days are better than others. But that’s what healing is all about. Making mistakes and learning. And I plan on making many mistakes if that means I get closer to my goal.

Not my weight goal.

The happiness goal.

Until tomorrow.

Overwhelming Feelings

Good morning reader. Today I want to talk about something that everyone has experienced at some point. Guilt. I can’t count how many times I’ve gotten mad at myself or had a crying breakdown because I felt guilty for something. Mainly food related. How do we navigate these feelings? Especially when being told to just buck up or get over it. The feelings of guilt that I have are probably what derail my progress of getting better more often than not.

I track my food on a daily basis. Everything that I eat gets scanned or plugged into my food/calorie tracker the night before during meal prep. At first it was this cool app I discovered to help me keep track of what I was eating and to try and lose a bit of weight I had gained when my fiance and I moved in together 2 years ago. Today is a completely different story. The transformation of how obsessed I am with my tracker is astounding. It has influenced the amount that I workout so I can see how many calories I’ve burned compared to intake. It has influenced the number of daily calories I allow myself to take in every day. This alone has caused many fights in my home as the number continues to drop past the threshold I promised never to cross. At the time I was being honest about never crossing the line. But then I started to feel guilty.

I don’t know how many people have this mindset about food but I think it’s pretty common. First you start out at a reasonable, easy to maintain number of calories you allow yourself in a day. No problem. Slowly you start to lower the numbers – within a reasonable amount – until you hit a large but sustainable defiicit between calories in and calories out. I have come to the point where I am only allowing myself 600 calories in my tracker. 600. How did I get here? The scary part is that I thought my brain would see the number and say ok. The tracker says 600 so if I have those little snacks that I always try to avoid but inevitably end up eating won’t cause me too much strife because I am eating so little. That’s not what happened.

I feel guilty eating above my calorie allowance for the day. I just get that sinking feeling in my stomach when I see the counter reach 750. 800. Based on the amount that I workout and my fitness level I should be eating closer to 1300 calories a day. But now I can’t go back. My brain won’t let me go back up. It’s like once I started decreasing the number I didn’t think of the consequences that come with irrational thinking. Because my eating disorder doesn’t allow for rational thoughts 95% of the time. But I didn’t think about it because I never thought I would get to this place. I never thought I would reach the point where seeing a number on a counter would cause such utter disappointment in myself. That immense guilt is mixed with overwhelming disappointment in myself that I can’t just follow the plan I have set for myself.

Even as I write this post my mood is just turning sour thinking about how I failed yesterday to follow my strict diet and workout regiment. I know it is not sustainable but I also don’t know that. Does that make sense? I know it’s wrong but I want to see results faster and more drastic changes that I am seeing right now. And I have reached the end of my limit.

I know I am not the only person out there who has dealt with this issue. I know that other people have overcome this problem and are healthy and happy. I get little spurts of body positivity and empowerment every once in awhile and it’s amazing. It’s what allows me to on rare occasions enjoy chicken strips from my favorite college hangout or get an ice cream cone when on vacation. But it takes seconds. SECONDS. For those guilty voices to start up in my mind. For my focus to shift from the happy moment to how my big arms feels against my side. I will look in a window or mirror the next moment I can and just feel and see all the flaws. How big my legs are, how my arms look big compared to my body and how I shouldn’t wear short sleeves or a tank top. Just all the insecurities are being fed by the guilt for eating something.

This is why you’re fat.

This is why you’re not losing weight.

This is why you’re gaining weight.

Ugh I’m getting fatter.

I could go on. But I won’t. As everyone who has an unhealthy relationship with food and their body has their own library of phrases they have told themselves. As I’m sure many people have experienced, the phrases get more direct and cruel the longer you have been saying them to yourself. That’s one of the main problems I think. Being your own worst critic. No one will critique you to the level at which you will critique yourself. Easy to know, hard to let go of that little critique in your mind. Baby steps.

I am sure I will return to this topic at some point as it is a feeling I grapple with on a regular basis. It may not be as easily identifiable as the title but it will be in the words and feelings I express. Each day will be different. Some days will be nothing but positivity. Others will be like this. Where the post slowly becomes more focused on what I hate about myself in the moment. What I am feeling. Rather than the journey as a whole. But I guess that’s the point of this blog. To write how I feel every day so I can work through the destructive thoughts and behavior. Crossing my fingers.

Since that was a lot of negativity on my part, I will leave you with this: It can get better. You can feel better. I know because I have had moments, even weeks at a time where I feel GOOD. Like truly happy with myself and where I am physically and mentally. I’ve had a taste of what normalcy could feel like if I had this thing under control. It is a feeling I strive for. It’s easy to forget when you’re in the dark, sad moments. It’s what makes the journey so difficult. But so worthwhile at the end of the tunnel.

I want to just say that the end of the tunnel, the end of the journey looks different for everyone. I have a feeling that my journey will be a lifelong one where I will have good days and I will have dark days where I am destructive and in that place I hope to never return to. My hope is to prolong the amount of time in between the downs. Increase the length of time I feel happy and content. I don’t think the sadness and feelings I have about myself will ever go away completely. I can only strive for feeling happy as long as possible.

Do something that brings you happiness and get rid of the people and things that bring you down. It can be something small. Just go for it.

Until tomorrow.

Obsessed

Good morning readers. Or reader. Or just myself. I wanted to talk about obsession. It’s a word I use a lot when describing myself. “I’m obsessed with counting calories. I’m obsessed with what my body looks like.” My mother and boyfriend use it sometimes but more when they’re at the end of their patience and I won’t shut up about food or dieting or exercise.

I haven’t always been like this. It sort of crept up on me til one day I realized I couldn’t eat anything out of the “safe zone” without feeling immense guilt which on occasion lead to intense breakdowns with full blown crying at screaming. Not a good look. And not a healthy regular occurance for my now fiance to deal with. I feel very lucky to call him that considering all the rollercoaster of emotions he has had to deal with over the past 5 years.

Looking back I can’t actually pinpoint the moment when my hobby turned into an obsession. I went to college as such a happy young woman who was nervous about going away to school without any of my friends. Didn’t take long for me to make a few and I can only think of a handful of memories that weren’t full of laughter and poor (stupidly fun) decisions. Which I am sure will come up later in this blog if I manage to remember through all the other things on my mind I want to write down.

Like I said I can’t remember what happened to me. In this moment I think it might have been when I came back from school for some break and was told I looked amazing. Like I had lost some weight. That compliment alone is such an amazing thing to hear but life altering in the worst way at the same time. I started craving that recognition of my family and friends. I liked being known as the girl in my friend group who was athletic and fit. I had always been on the muscular size and decent at sports without trying, I just had quite a bit of fat covering it all up. Once I started to shed some weight and get noticed, without me knowing it things started to take a really dark turn. It was a subtle shift and wouldn’t make itself known until my last quarter in my senior year of college. Until then I would happily play the role of “curvy” athletic girl who went to the gym daily but still knew how to eat carbs, alcohol and every once in awhile order pizza late at night with her roommate without worrying about how many calories I was eating and not burning.

I wish I could go back to my freshman year self and tell her you are beautiful just the way you are. You are going to meet someone in 2 years who is going to love you for you. Your friends could care less if you weighed 90 pounds or 160 pounds. But 20/20 hindsight right? I can’t go back and the damage has already been done. The hope I have is that this thing, this obsession with my body image is going to get better. This blog is the last attempt I have at trying to help myself. I want to be able to look back on these last few years in my life knowing that I was the one who fixed it. That sounds pretty unlikely and I will probably eventually get outside help. But for now, this is what i’ve got.

I will leave you (whomever might be reading this) with this: You aren’t alone in obsessing about your body or what you look like. It may feel that way because people are afraid to tell their stories. To share what they’re going through. If one person can relate to this then that’s better than what I was expecting.

Until tomorrow.

Ugly Words

I wanted to start writing a blog to see if this would help me. I have been struggling with something for a long time but I don’t I haven’t aknowledged what it was until just a few weeks ago. I still feel so weird just typing the words. Eating Disorder.

Wow. Feels like such ugly words. Eating Disorder. When I see those words I see failure. But probably not in the way that you might think. I have failed because I need help, because I have let myself get to such a scary place, and I feel like the biggest failure because I’m not even skinny.

There is one of the biggest misconceptions I will be dealing with over the course of my life. Why do I feel like I try so hard, workout, eat right, and yet still be big. Yes I have an eating disorder. But I am not what someone automatically thinks when they image those words in their mind. I am not this stick thin, ill looking woman who you think needs to eat more. People tell me I am fine, beautiful even just the way I am. Yet all I see is the failure to be that skinny girl that everyone envys.

I am sure this blogging will get easier with time but for the most part it feels like a whining, rambling mess. Maybe the next one will be better.

I will leave you (if “you” is actually anyone but me) with this. I have reached the end of my rope and am desperate for anything to help me feel better. I am hoping that by writing every day about my goals, struggles, aspirations and life events it will help me achieve my goal, obviously related to weight, in a healthy way. But let’s take things one baby step at a time shall we?

To everyone who has been told their ideas about how they think or feel about themselves that it is all in your head, you are not alone.

Until tomorrow.

A Little Bit of Happy

Good Morning Readers.

Thought I might write about something happy for a change.

My fiance and I recently bought a house in Bellingham. We both went to university in the beautiful city and it’s where we met. It holds a special place in my heart. One of the few things that currently still brings me joy everytime I think about it.

The house isn’t big coming in at 1000 sq ft. Just shy of our current apartment in Seattle. It has a beautiful yard and well established garden in the backyard with room to add more raised beds.

We are going to rent it out until next May. Move in right before we get married. It’s absolutely perfect timing.

Until then I can daydream and tell you our plans.

Already writing about something that makes me happy is improving my mood so I know this is the right thing to share today.

The outside is a light shade of yellow with a white door. That will be the first thing to change. We can’t decide between painting the door a dusty, rust red or a deep ocean blue. When you walk inside you are immediately in the small living room with floor to ceiling windows that overlook Bellingham Bay. So beautiful in the summer.

The kitchen is to the right. The walls will be left the off white color. Our cabinets will be painted a light sea foam green or soft pink. We will remove the doors and paint the insides the same color. There is a little breakfast nook that’s perfect for morning coffee.

There are two bedrooms in the back of the house with a bathroom situated in between. Small but cute. The master bedroom will be painted a happy color but darker so as to help at night. Sleep comes easily to me but I tend to wallow in bed during dark days. Want to surround myself with happiness and light. Even if I have to fake the emotion at first to then feel it for real. It’s like when someone tells you to smile even if you don’t feel like it. You’re supposed to then start smiling with genuine happiness or contentment. That’s what I want my bedroom to feel like.

The second bedroom is smaller and will be perfect for a little office while we both commute to Bellevue. This room is already a sweet dusty blue color so there isn’t anything to do. Except give the severly scratched hardwood flooring a nice buff and a little love. Once we decide the time is right we will convert this room into the nursery. The idea is something else that still brings me joy when I think about children and the future.

The backyard has to be my favorite place on the entire property.

A fenced vegetable garden with 5 large raised beds had already been built and kept when we bought the home.

We plan to expand the garden and use different parts of the yard for different fruits and veggies. We are both vegetarian and plan to live off our own garden and supplement anything we are missing from the local farmers market. I have also convinced Sam we need to build a chicken coop and run so we can raise chickens. We currently receive our eggs from one of my coworkers who owns a farm. We are spoiled with fresh organic eggs every week but I would love to save the $5/dozen and have our own fresh eggs to gather every morning for breakfast.

I plan on convincing Sam to let me raise some ducks as well. Duck eggs are heavenly and amazing to cook baked goods with.

I already have plans for our next house as well. Our current home is not big enough for more than one child.

The tentative plan is to move a little further out into the county into a 3 bedroom home with more land. We will expand the garden so as to become fully sustainable for our little family. I am going to add pigs and rabbits to farm too so we can raise and sell. Who knows? We may end up eating meat again.

Who knows.

I am beyond excited for this life I have painted in my mind for Sam and me. This dream has recently just taken the first step towards reality. This is what keeps me going some days. In my darkest moments – like now – I think about this future. While writing this I actually feel happy.

Sometimes I think about what would life be like if everything just stopped. Sometimes I am just so exhausted. Trying to avoid touching everyone and my reflection in every mirror is impossible. The amount of anxiety I feel about these things is progressively increasing each day. I can’t sustain this forever. Sometimes I just think about the immense feeling of relief I would feel if it were to just end. This prison my brain has manifested in the real world.

But then I think about everything that I told you. Painting my front door. Eating breakfast in the early mornings while the sun rises over the Bay. Raising chickens and feeling a sense of accomplishment every time I get to collect eggs from my own coop. These little non-sensical things are what keep me going every day. Because the only thing that beats the darkness I feel. The utter defeat and dreaming of release is this little house. The possibilities in my future. Of the future I am one step closer to making a reality. And it makes all of this worth it.

Or at least I hope it does.

I am known for being a bit dramatic and fantastical.

I have a good, warm feeling about this future though. It’s within reach. So why not continue dreaming?

Before I go I will leave you with this. I have had a lot of pushback from family and friends about this lifestyle Sam and I are working towards. But it makes me happy. It makes US happy. So I think people should stop caring what other people thing about their hobbies and dreams. Because if it makes them happy then who cares? I find myself judging people who are different than me. “Weird” people as my brain automatically labels them upon sight. I am actively stopping myself in those moments and instead saying – “why do you care? They’re happy doing whatever it is and living their best life. Who are you to judge?”

I know it’s easier said than done but damn. People should be just a little but nicer in this world. I suspect it would go a long way. And would allow people to be happier. Maybe not feel like they have to hide who they are or how they feel.

The world needs a sense of worth, and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile.

Mister Rogers

Until next time.