Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NEDA Walk and Beyond

As we all move on from the actual NEDA Walk, I continue to 'see' certain images in my mind of people and situations that stick in my mind from that day.
This was an experience like no other for me. Not only the planning, and getting to know many amazing people in a more REAL way, but the community spirit on Sunday is indescribable!
I have much more to share, but I am slowly catching up, as I have new commitments (great ones) that are taking more time.
Walking to walk....loving my life!!
Without apology....♥

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How Do You DO Relationships When You Haven't EVER Done Relationships?

How do you define a 'relationship'? I would guess that there are about as many types or levels of relationships as there are people on the Earth. Almost.
Your relationship with each person in your life is uniquely different.
I'm not sure I ever thought about how my relationships with people in my life were different, because I tried very hard not to have relationships. I didn't and still don't consider my first marriage a 'relationship'. But that's another story altogether.
I have been thinking about the intense fear that I felt as I progressed in my recovery from an eating disorder, and got to the point where I was informed that I needed to work on my 'social' life...i.e. relationships.
The fear I felt was about being rejected, and the fact that I didn't know 'who to be' with people. You see, I began to realize that my entire life had been an attempt the 'be' whatever and whoever people wanted me to be at that moment. The way I chose to act or 'be' depended on the situation and who I was with.
I had come far enough in recovery to realize that it was time for me to present myself for who I am, and I truly did not know what that meant.
I did not know who I was yet, and I certainly did not feel comfortable yet with what I was discovering about myself, or how I was changing, both physically and emotionally. So how was I supposed to walk up to someone and present 'me'?
"Just introduce yourself and tell them you are nervous and afraid of being rejected." Right.
The good think about this scenario was that I was not alone in my fears. I was around other people in treatment who were also working on similar fears and issues, so there was a certain amount of safety in my 'assignment'.
Thank YOU, River Centre Clinic!!
Another 'small' issue I had was that I was older than almost every other person in treatment, so I feared a lack of 'connection' or 'understanding'. I used that excuse for quite a while, and I had myself pretty well convinced....until....
the loneliness threatened to take over. I began to realize that I WANTED to know people, and be able to communicate and laugh and well, have relationships!!!
I found out that I didn't have to have a script, or have it all together to approach someone and talk to them. I also found out that my worst fears were not realized! I was not rejected, however it took a while for me to stop 'reading' everyone, and assuming that anything negative was my fault.
Then came the dilemma of how much do I share, and how to stop censoring or 'weighing' every word out of my mouth, for fear of saying something 'wrong'.
It took much less time than I imagined for me to be comfortable around people, and to stop all the 'head talk' about what others think about me.
This aspect of recovery was very similar to most others. I had to face the fears and take action. And each time, the fear was reduced and my own confidence was stronger.
What I have discovered is that this 'relationship thing' has been one of the most rewarding parts of recovery for me. I love people. I am no longer afraid of who I am, or what others think of me, which has given me a freedom that I had never known. I strongly believe that none of us is meant to go through our lives alone. I also believe that we have every right to approach other people and life in general,
without apology....♥

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pieces of April

April is a beautiful month which can signify hope and new growth. April 2010 is blossoming into an even more exciting and beautiful month for me.
I am juggling many responsibilities, and LOVING every minute of it!! I did however, realize last night that I needed to put a couple of things 'on hold' for a while so that I could focus on my 'pieces of April'.
THE primary outside focus I have right now is the countdown to the NEDA Walk. Taking this on was an act of sheer faith (and insanity perhaps :), but the experience has been and continues to be one of the most rewarding thus far in my career of recovery! That's an entirely separate post in itself. 18/19 days and counting folks!!
I am preparing to embark on an opportunity that has been a dream of mine for several years. For this I am not only incredibly grateful, but I am in a state of amazement as well. More on this as it unfolds....:)
In the midst of the preparations for the Walk and continuing to support and mentor my lovely friends on, I do feel a heaviness unfolding. It's inevitable.
A week from this coming Saturday would be my youngest son's 26th birthday, were he alive today. My last memory of him is of May 28, 2001, Memorial Day. He visited me while I was in treatment in Arizona, which turned out to be 10 days before he was accidentally shot to death by his best friend. I can't begin to describe the memories and scenes that to this day flash through my head, but I can say that Tim's death has been the greatest loss in my life, far greater than the 37 years that were taken from me by anorexia. The tears I shed at this moment are ones of sadness, but I am now also able to CELEBRATE Tim's life in a way that he rightly deserves. I cry for the hole left in my heart by his absence, but I also grieve the experiences he never had.
I know that he sees me alive and healthy, and that knowledge inspires me daily. His last words to me were, "Mom, I just want you to get healthy".
That's my 'memory bouquet'.
I am crazy excited to ride my bike this year! This is the first year (because my back was nearly broken last year) that I am safe and healthy to take a ride bike in the evenings with my would be Dave :)
So....I will most likely have to deal with another birthday this year. For some reason, it always wants to show up near the end of April. I use to try to wish them away, which of course never worked, so now I celebrate ME....why not?
New (and established) friends will be sharing the Walk experience with me, coming from all corners of the country!! I am so very lucky!
Those are my ramblings on this quiet April afternoon.
I'd like to share the lyrics to this song. Some of you are too young to remember it, but I loved it in 1972 when Three Dog Night released it and I still do today...

April gave us springtime and the promise of the flowers
And the feeling that we both shared and the love that we called ours
We knew no time for sadness, that's a road we each had crossed
We were living a time meant for us, and even when it would rain
we would laugh it off.

I've got pieces of April, I keep them in a memory bouquet
I've got pieces of April, it's a morning in May
We stood on the crest of summer, beneath an oak that blossomed green
Feeling as I did in April, not really knowing what it means
But it must be then that you stand beside me now to make me feel this way

Just as I did in April, but it's a morning in May.
I've got pieces of April, I keep them in a memory bouquet
I've got pieces of April, but it's a morning in May
I've got pieces of April, I keep them in a memory bouquet
I've got pieces of April, but it's a morning in May

Without apology......for Tim♥

Friday, April 2, 2010

Protecting Your Recovery

What 'causes' a relapse? What may be a factor for YOU that sends you back to the pseudo comfort of the ED?What can you do to prevent this? Lots of questions....While thinking about this, I first thought that for each of us, these factors may be different and unique to our lives. Identifying these is important as a first step.Then, taking proactive steps to protect yourself as much as possible from those factors, while still trying to live life...not always easy, but NOT impossible!!
Just a few thoughts...*Trying to be 'normal' too terms of eating (remember, if you are in recovery from an ED, YOUR eating will not look like another's). You cannot compare!!
In terms of exercise...very similar. What is healthy for YOU is very different from what may be OK for someone else.*Any major changes in routine/lifestyle. Job change or shift change. Anything that may alter your routine can be a dangerous thing for one who is in recovery. Planning ahead to prevent impulsive decisions about eating/not eating is critical!!
*Stand up for yourself...practice saying 'no' if that is what you need to do!
*Isolation..this is a very dangerous one. We are our own worst enemy if we are in an emotional state that separates us from those who can truly support us.
*Along with the above...continue to build a social/support network. Take risks to present YOU without apology :), and openly. If you think about it, aren't those the type of people that YOU feel most comfortable around? Test it out....rejection is very uncommon.
*Being TOO busy...this is a tough one. We all want to be productive, be engaged, LIVE life. But when life gets in the way of living, it's not a good thing for those in recovery. Recovery must always take priority. Every decision must be made based on it's affect on your health/recovery.
*Keeping recovery and YOUR specific needs as not an option. You WILL eat your prescribed amount. You WILL exercise/not exercise according to the recommendations of your therapist or treatment team. There will be NO 'wiggle' room. It WILL happen, no matter what!!
These are a few things that come to mind as I think about what helped me get to the point of full recovery.
Without apology.....♥