Friday, January 13, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Showdown with God

I've been waiting to write the following for 19 years. This is my final decleration that I whole-heartedly choose life. I choose to own my recovery. And I choose to dive into the world. It's been too long. I finally believe the following:
 
  I am worth being loved.

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As always, thank you so much for reading and sharing in my journey.
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My Showdown with God


    In my last therapy session on January 4, 2012, my therapist Kristin told me that she’d like to see me sign up for a class. Or volunteer somewhere. Something to combat the loneliness that I feel as a result of being home alone every day. The loneliness can lead to bad thoughts followed by bad behaviors, etc. I told her I would. And she expected to have a positive report the next week. I had 7 days to procrastinate and goof off.
    On the following Monday, January 9 (two days before I had to go back to Kristin) I received a text message from a dear friend asking if I was going to the bible study on Tuesday. I hadn’t been to a study in such a long time, so I wondered why she was asking now out of the blue. I switched to on guard mode.
    The topic for the study was Battlefield of the Mind. By the title alone I knew instantly that I was meant to be in that room full of women. And a sense of dread came over me. But…I was hooked. I locked on to the very first words that Kelli, the teacher, spoke. It was already evident to me that I was going to benefit from this series - whether I liked it or not.
    I listened to Kelli speak, and my mind reeled - concentrating on her and being overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit that I didn’t know I invited in.
    I felt set up. By my friend and by God. And I was mad. Very. I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to face up and own why I wouldn’t give up control of the eating disorder. It was part of me, and it was my identity. I was known for it. And it made me feel special and unique. Most of all, when I stayed sick, I was always cared for.
    I wanted to run out of the room. But I sat. Paralyzed by what I knew I had to do. It was for my own good and my well-being. It was to save my life. The war in my mind started even before I left the church parking lot. Anger and fear fueled the debate going on inside me. I had two choices.

Die.
Or
Give up control absolutely.

That was it, and I knew there was no other way. I had a choice to make.
    I felt like God was playing hard ball with me. I got angrier and angrier. As I was sorting clothes for laundry later in the day, I finally shouted in shattering silence for God to leave me alone. BACK OFF! I told Him.

And so He did.
And then there was silence.
    Shame and guild flooded me. How could I have such audacity to tell the Creator of the universe to back off?!

I quickly repented and begged Him to come back. I was genuinely sorry and remorseful.

And God was right there to tell me it’s ok. My Father took me back. The love I had questioned earlier in the day in bible study to Kelli was proven to me right there in the laundry room. And right then is what has been needing to happen for 19 years.
    I chose to live. I consciously chose to let God have the eating disorder. Its control. Its lies. It’s tragic consequences. I confidently declared that I wanted full recovery - something I was certain didn’t exist.
    The Holy Spirit flooded me with peace and the confirmation that God would stand right there next to me and love me all along the way.
I had resigned to the fact that I was probably going to die by my own hand. But God showed His paralyzing glory and love. And faith. And mercy. And grace. To me. Me.

And so I am in transition. Kristin reminded me that this is a major, major loss for me. I will grieve it and mourn. Giving up what has been your identity for over half your life is downright terrifying. I had to discover what it’s like to really live. To experience life while so raw and vulnerable. I thought Kristin was bursting my new found positivity bubble.

Not so.

She cares enough to warn me of the lurking dangers. She wants me to be careful. Be mindful. And to stay close to my biggest supports. I immediately threw out the bubble bursting theory and listened to what I needed to know to succeed. For once I submitted to her and let her teach me.
    Sure enough, I had a food challenge when I got home from her office. But, for once in my life I had the strength and armor on to tell myself to just stop. Be still. And I let God take over. And just like that, the struggle was over for me. I was just absolutely knocked on my rear with the power of love that I was just shown.

    I won the battle because I let the grace of God move ahead. And suddenly all the promises God made became absolutely real. And so the correct path that God wants me on was set forth before me, all ready for me to go. At the age of 32, I took the first steps that I denied since I was 14.

I know I am safe in God.
I’m no longer bound by lies and deception.
God is adjusting the lens in which I see Him and the world in general.

This evening I was practicing smiling more.
I looked like a dork, smiling at the reflection in the window sink.
 Eyebrows raising and lowering, trying to get the curve of my lips just right. My smile muscles have been atrophied for so long!

It’s always been a struggle. Food and lack thereof. But what I have now that I didn’t have then is the concrete confirmation that God will come along for my ride.

He’s been there all along. All I had to do was ask.

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*I want to dedicate this to Pastors Monty Sears and Konrad Zeising. They’ve taught me how to put on the full armor of God. They’ve prayed for me in my most dire state.
And for Kristin Zauel. She never stopped pushing, never stopped believing I could overcome this hellish disease. She knew the proper buttons to push and never let me slide.
And for Jocele Skinner. My primary care physician. Not knowing exactly how to help me, she did anyway. She didn’t ever refer me anywhere else or tell me she couldn’t help. She had faith in me. Patience. She taught me to knit and spin fiber. She shared her home life with me. She told me what she thought about being an MD. And she knit me a blue beanie with yellow stars on it. My request. I’ll never find another physician like her. I fully believe she was the one meant to ever-so-gently ride my butt.

My treatment team is phenomenal. God is phenomenal. I’m alive. And I’m going to make it.

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When all I can do is look at a picture...

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Detatch From the Disorder, My Therapist Says.

While advocacy work is commendable and a very positive thing to do, my therapist said she would like to see me ultimately completely detach from the eating disorder and treat the advocacy work like a side job.

I didn't know what to say because I don't know what I SHOULD do. Or what I WANT to do. All I could tell Kristin that I am always, always wanting to help people. That's always been me.

Discovering new things about myself is making my brain hurt like mad!!

Watch Jenn Walk!

Incentive for donating to NEDA to raise awareness in Idaho. I'm in for the long haul!

Watch Jenn Walk!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Training Up My Voice.

I never thought that my loud, mouthy stuck-in-my-ways self would ever lead to anything. I am experiencing what speaking up and using my voice is like. And it's like this:
Raising funds for NEDA and bringing awareness to Idaho.

I knew nothing would change and utilizing my loud mouth might work. I'm doing this for all of you. For the people that pop by my blog and take a glance. Most of all, for my fellows in Idaho. It's tough to recover here. I hope things will begin to change.

The time to recover is NOW.

Many thanks for reading.

The Extremely Tricky Part

Weight loss. Realistic loss for health. Needs to be done. My doc told me she's happy where I am now considered where I was. Ok.....but I'm not happy.
She knows this. She said my weight is stable, and yes, I choose to know the number. Takes the blinders off. It's ok for me, but not a smart choice for everyone.

Had a little slip. Got so tired of shoving everything inside and keeping quiet that I lapsed. For a little while. It's somewhat comforting that this will happen. It's totally a normal part of the process.
This comforts me. I, for once, don't have to feel perfect and error-free.

I quiickly rebound after my intent was questioned by my doc. I hate being questioned. Having my intent questioned is like having my pride and integrity attacked. Yah, that's how my brain currently thinks, and that's what's got to change.

But the issue of losing weight. I can't predict how I'll do. Losing weight to me is like being trapped in my own private oblivion. I feel sooooo satisfied.

I'm nervous. Very. It's a step that will need to be taken. Soon.

I feel like a newborn. Trying to live this loving, positive life. Right now, I am heavily dependent on my treatment team. All I can do until I get my bearings is do what they say. And don't question. No talking back. No smirky lip curls. None of that. Just total submission.

While this feels like the most complete give up of control I have ever experienced in my tumultuous life, I know deep down just how strong someone must be to move forward.

This is freakin' sticky. Controversial. Bold. Reality at its ugliest. And me at my most vulnerable.

Thanks for reading.

Remain Thankful.

I am realizing more and more that focusing on what we're grateful and thankful for calms the mind down.

I think it takes a great amount of practice to step out of your own chaotic head and focus on what you're lucky to have - who you're lucky to have.

It tends to keep me grounded. Reminds me where to focus my energies. By doing so, I not only help myself, but I hope to help others.

Maybe someone you know needs to hear they're appreciated. They're loved. Respected. Make an effort to tell someone. By phone. Email. And *gasp* snail mail. You may just make all the difference in the world.

P.S. You don't have to have gone through a nightmare or tragedy to remain thankful. Take one thing at a time and build on it. It becomes a way of life.
Peace.

Thank you for reading!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Time I Was Questioned

The time? More like times. Most recently I was questioned about my intent. Do I want to continue on or get better? I have been asked that countless times in my almost 3 years of active recovery. No one dances around the question. Everyone knows my games, and the question is always asked point blank.

So? The answer?

Ultimately, yes. However, one must understand that bulimia has been a part of my life for 19 years. It's not like sticking a patch on and weaning off from it. This is the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. Quitting smoking and drinking was thousands times easier. Keeping my eating disorder around meant I had something to dive into when I wanted to self destruct. There was something certain that could be my demise. It dulled feelings and thoughts that I have worked 19 years to hide and ignore. Without it, I expose myself. Me. The REAL me. And I am still discovering exactly who that is.

My treatment team is phenomenal and has more faith in me, I think, than I have in myself. I respect people that ask me straight out if I want to recover or not. That question burns me. I hate it. It forces me to really stop and be honest with myself. Staring your own truth in the face is scary. It's honest and real. And you can't escape it. No amount of vomiting or laxative use can completely hide the truth.

And the truth is....I'm discovering. It's taking a long time. And I'm still working at it because people believe in me. I've had intimate conversations with my team about how hard it is. I can never fully describe it.

My therapist, Kristin, made a good point to me last week in session. She told me it's her job to do the best she can for me. To help me, to encourage me. And, she said, she expects the same from me. Own up to recovery and the fact that I show up in her office each week. Do the work. Be honest. Take control of my life. Yep, sista said it well.
That conversation was followed up with my MD asking if I want to recover or not.

Bottom line...moment of truth. I suck at lying. They all know this. They know when I omit information. My face says everything about me. I hate that. But, I think, it's saved me. I can't get away with anything anymore because I respect them too much to lie. And I owe them the best I can offer. So, when I am asked if I want to recover or not, this is what I'm able to come up with.

I will treat it as a journey. A learning experience. I will take whatever struggles I have and deal as they come. And they do indeed come. Frequently. This is the one life I've got. I've been sick for most of it. I'm ready to start discovering the real me. And I want everyone to know who that is. Most of all, I want what I said during my baptismal statement.
I want to live a life Jesus would be proud of. And I will do the work to honor that statement. For once, I am vowing to be true to myself. That, as I just NOW realized, is the first step to me loving myself.

I love my life. It's not easy. But I am damn lucky to live it. God knows I'm worth it. I'm actually starting to believe it myself.
Thank you to all that have been a part of my journey. It's been gnarly, and I hope you're all still game. I am.

Thanks so much for reading.
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