Internalizing Emotions

Image result for internalized emotionsIts been a really, really rough week for me. First with my dog passing away very unexpectedly, to my body withholding grief and stress. I haven’t been able to move my neck/back/trap/shoulder all on my left side. This has taught me something that has become an awakening.

I’ve realized that it isn’t the words that have harmed me, it is the years of emotional trauma and what they have done to me on the inside. I describe it as a ball of yarn or rubber bands, held deep inside my belly. Every time an emotion attempts to feel anything, an extension grabs that emotion and tucks it nicely with the rest.

I realize this is fear.

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I’ve been hurt and traumatized for so long, that I don’t trust to believe my feelings anymore. That I am consumed with controlling all I can, that it is what’s inside of me that is dying because it can’t come out to live and be expressed.

I’ve been doing work with PTSD in terms of working on my Borderline Personality. I’ve been learning a lot about triggers. No, I don’t know how to prepare for them to be, but I am learning to become aware what makes me upset.

I don’t know how or when the emotions down dark in my belly will come out and release my soul to feel freedom. Perhaps when I am truly at peace with all things my past, that allows me to move forward and embrace my future.

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Unspoken Voice

Your rigid views challenge me everyday

I realize I have been this way for a long time.

I hear your voice saying “oh there’s a jiggle” as you grab my inner thigh. I am embarrassed that you would do such a thing.

Now to this day as my weight is a bit higher, I hear your voice as my thighs touch a bit when walking down a hall.

Today I am learning that I am worthy of love

Today I am worthy of self compassion

Today I am worthy of healing

A Lesson in Success (Stepping Up)

self forgivenessI wanted to share this message that was shared with me earlier this week.

Imagine yourself at the bottom of a flight of stairs. There are a dozen steps to the first landing. Now consider how much progress you would make toward the first landing if you would only be satisfied getting there in one step. Even if you stretch your stride and make it to step five with one giant step, you don’t recognize the progress, so you step back to the beginning to try again. Even with a running start, you make it only to step seven. Back to the bottom step you go, defining yourself as a failure. Eventually you give up, accepting that you are not capable of making it to the first landing.

This scenario sounds ridiculous, but it accurately describes how far too many of us sabotage our own efforts by defining success in all or none terms.

By imagining the flight of a dozen steps, you can easily see how to get to the first landing, and it is obvious that you could just as easily make it to the next landing using the same amazing technique: one step at a time.

This very same amazing technique is how you can successfully recover from your mental illness. The idea is to build your whole recovery from smaller ~~ sometimes even tiny ~~ steps to progress. Your challenge (and your responsibility) is to become supportive of your own efforts, to learn to recognize progress as it is happening. For instance, if you have a problem with engaged in your behavior 3 to 4 times a week and this week you only engaged once, that is progress. Give yourself credit, and then get ready to take the next step.

What if you are half way to the first landing and you fall, tumbling back down to the bottom? The principle remains the same. Taking one step at a time is still your best bet. Feel your frustration, express it ~~ scream, holler, stomp your feet. Rest a little while, then start again.

Ultimately, it is persistence that will pay off

Forget about perfection

It is doubtful that there is such a thing as a person with a mental illness who is not, to one degree or another, a perfectionist. Being a perfectionist does not mean that you do things perfectly; it means that you are never satisfied with your efforts, you can never do anything good enough. Very advanced perfectionism manifests as a person who has stopped trying to succeed at anything that is important to them. This person doesn’t even make the effort because they paralyzed by the fear of failure. And remember, this person’s definition of failure is expansive, while her definition of success is very narrow, no to mention beyond human capacity.

In recovery from a mental illness of any kind, one very important way that you must be on your own side is in reminding yourself that perfection is not one of your options. Perfection is not possible for us imperfect human beings, and striving for the impossible does not make us better; it tears us down. 


Underneath the anger

Today in group, we discussed among many topics, “When I feel out of control I want to”

When I feel out of control I want to throw everything that is in my path (object wise)

I want to scream

I want to run as far as my legs and body will take me

I want to stand in front of my mom and sister and ask why they didn’t protect me. Why didn’t they stop the abuse?

I want to pull my eating disorder from my body/mind/soul and crush him.

I want to grieve and cry at what I’ve lost.

When I observe my body’s reactions:

Rage: How intense I feel

Vibrate: the shaking of my hands

: holding a smooth rock between my fingers to occupy

Anger:  Waking up with rage – frustrated with everything

Anxious: The fear of what will I do with my energy; at times I’ve rocked back and forth

Powerlessness: to the feelings of binge/restrictive eating


10 Reasons Why My Life is Worth Recovering For

I have been staring at this screen for a few moments now combined with the sheet from my process group. I am having a hard time shaking the cobwebs out of my skull this morning.

I’ve never examined why life is worth recovering for. I realize it is part of my recovery process, but just on my own merits it isn’t anything I have ever thought of and it makes me question why that is. So I have decided to write out my 10 Reasons Why LIfe is Worth Recovering For:

  1. A good meaningful hug
  2. Enjoying a morning sunrise and sunset
  3. A good friend who doesn’t care what you look like.
  4. The love of animals (unconditional love is the best!)
  5. A good cup of tea (ahhhhh)
  6. Dance like no one is looking (who cares, I don’t)
  7. The sound of the Ocean, I’ve missed those waves when I lived somewhere else!
  8. My love of gardening (i love to plant my seeds and to see them flourish for eating and sharing)
  9. My love of Snoopy and Woodstock makes me smile and feel happy inside
  10. Charity/Volunteer work (I take great pride in what I do and it really helps me feel something on the inside)

At first starting my list was super hard, but I know that is because I  over think things. So I googled what I was looking for and once I saw things that I was truly passionate about; my very own 10 Reasons Why Life is Worth Recovering For started to flow off my fingers.

My wish is that whenever I feel really down that I come back to this blog and realize I really do have a Reason for Recovering.


National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

While I was at my Art therapy group this morning, I learned it is NEDA week. What is that you are wondering? It stands for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week which this year is from February 2 to 8, 2014. However, I feel its awareness needs to be kept alive more than just one week! I absolutely love this banner and although it is from 2010, seriously what does it matter?

ImageHaving an eating disorder is not something I would want anyone to have. The feeling of demanding perfection from myself at all times. The work it has taken to hide the real me, that the work now to ravel all these years of pain and sadness is definitely not easy. My goal today with blogging about my experience with ED, my home is that I will help another realize they aren’t alone.

I also want to share some signs to watch for. However, as much as these are “typical” not all are.

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**It is important to know the warning signs of an eating disorder.  These may indicate that an eating disorder is developing or is being experienced in full.  Below are lists of behavioral, physical and psychological signs or changes which often accompany an eating disorder. If you or somebody you know is experiencing several of the following symptoms, it is important to seek help immediately to determine if you/they have a problem.  Early intervention is vital in promoting recovery.

It is also important to realize that these warning signs may not be as easy to detect as they sound. The person with the eating disorder often experiences shame or guilt about their behavior, and will try to hide it.  Also, many people with eating disorders do not realize they have a problem, or even if they do they will not want to give up their behavior at first, because it is their mechanism for coping with an issue.  Thus they will go to extraordinary lengths to hide the signs of their behavior.

Please note that any combination of these symptoms can be present in an eating disorder, because no one eating disorder is exactly the same as another.  It is also possible for a person to demonstrate several of these signs and yet not have an eating disorder.  It is always best to seek a professional opinion.

Behavioral Warning Signs

* Constant or repetitive dieting (eg. counting calories/kilojoules, skipping meals, fasting, avoidance of certain food groups or types such as meat or dairy, replacing meals with fluids)

* Evidence of binge eating (eg. disappearance of large amounts of food from the cupboard or fridge, lolly wrappers appearing in bin, hoarding of food in preparation for binging)

* Evidence of vomiting or laxative abuse (eg. frequent trips to the bathroom during or shortly after meals)

* Excessive or compulsive exercise patterns (eg. exercising even when injured, or in bad weather, refusal to interrupt exercise for any reason; insistence on performing a certain number of repetitions of exercises, exhibiting distress if unable to exercise)

* Making lists of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods

* Changes in food preferences (eg. refusing to eat certain foods, claiming to dislike foods previously enjoyed, sudden interest in ‘healthy eating’)

* Development of  patterns or obsessive rituals around food preparation and eating (eg. insisting meals must always be at a certain time; only using a certain knife; only drinking out of a certain cup)

* Avoidance of all social situations involving food

* Frequent avoidance of eating meals by giving excuses (eg. claiming they have already eaten or have an intolerance/allergy to particular foods)

* Behaviors focused around food preparation and planning (eg. shopping for food, planning, preparing and cooking meals for others but not consuming meals themselves; taking control of the family meals; reading cookbooks, recipes, nutritional guides) 

* Strong focus on body shape and weight (eg. interest in weight-loss websites, dieting tips in books and magazines, images of thin people)

* Development of repetitive or obsessive body checking behaviors (eg. pinching waist or wrists, repeated weighing of self, excessive time spent looking in mirrors)

* Social withdrawal or isolation from friends, including avoidance of previously enjoyed activities

* Change in clothing style, such as wearing baggy clothes

* Deceptive behavior around food, such as secretly throwing food out, eating in secret (often only noticed due to many wrappers or food containers found in the bin) or lying about amount or type of food consumed

* Eating very slowly (eg. eating with teaspoons, cutting food into small pieces and eating one at a time, rearranging food on plate)

* Continual denial of hunger

Physical Warning Signs

* Sudden or rapid weight loss

* Frequent changes in weight

* Sensitivity to the cold (feeling cold most of the time, even in warm environments)

* Loss or disturbance of menstrual periods (females) 

* Signs of frequent vomiting – swollen cheeks / jawline, calluses on knuckles, or damage to teeth 

* Fainting, dizziness

* Fatigue – always feeling tired, unable to perform normal activities

Psychological warning signs

* Increased preoccupation with body shape, weight and appearance

* Intense fear of gaining weight

* Constant preoccupation with food or with activities relating to food

* Extreme body dissatisfaction/ negative body image

* Distorted body image (eg. complaining of being/feeling/looking fat when actually a healthy weight or underweight)

* Heightened sensitivity to comments or criticism about body shape or weight, eating or exercise habits

* Heightened anxiety around meal times

* Depression or anxiety

* Moodiness or irritability

* Low self-esteem (eg. feeling worthless, feelings of shame, guilt or self-loathing)

* Rigid ‘black and white’ thinking (viewing everything as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’)

* Feelings of life being ‘out of control’

* Feelings of being unable to control behaviors around food

* Fear of growing up/taking on adult responsibility


The Power to Heal

I have been travelling the road of healing for a long time. Before healing there has been survival. Survival became a way of life for me, for most of my life from early childhood to where I am now. The challenges I have had to overcome are not simply to one affected area of my life. 

Part of my journey with healing is forgiveness. At first when this topic was presented to me, the first thing I said was “what do I have to forgive? I didn’t do anything wrong!” It took a few days after that discussion for me to start to process how and what forgiveness means to me. 

I admit this is not an easy path at the moment. Living a way of life although not without its struggles, it is a life I have found adaption with. Having said that, I took this path towards healing and started several years ago, long before I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, that only happened a year ago. 

To heal means finding peace with lifelong issues that have in their own way, prevented me from living an authentic self. In the past I have blamed the reasons that brought me the trouble, versus owning my part. For me that is huge! I have been able to own my part for awhile now and I am proud of that! No longer the young girl who would have lied and blamed someone, or something else. I am no longer a jealous person, during my journey to wellness, I have learned valuable tools that I keep in my “tool box” and they stay with me. 

But, to forgive myself is not as easy as saying “you didn’t know any different” seems far too easy to just “do”. To remember to forgive myself for being human I try to think of the saying

To Err Is Human, To Forgive Divine ( when people do things wrong we should try hard to forgive them because all people make mistakes … )

To forgive my mom is very challenging for me. I felt certain I had at one time, clearly another onion skin level has presented itself. The deep level of protection I have felt for my father, even after all that I have done in therapy over the years, last week re-presented itself and it caught me by an overwhelming epiphany.  

The road to heal is a bumpy one but as I have faced other roads, I shall too face this one. I know I cannot possibly write even a sparkle of what it means to forgive on every level. I have to trust that as I come to terms of understanding and gain in knowledge and depth, that the healing with happen and another onion skin layer will be peeled away.