Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Make love, not war.

How many times a day would you say you battle with self hate? To be honest I am scared to actually take note and count how many times I am negative to myself. Internally I feel as if love and hate are fighting with one another and my body is the battlefield on which the war is fought and certainly far from over. There are days when Love wins and I feel confident, proud, beautiful, and just plain amazing.  Other times Hate wins and I am ripped apart on the inside. Bloody and numb from the abuse.  I do everything I can to try to give love the upper hand by making sure I promote my own self love but honestly, some days that is just too exhausting and I just go ahead and display my neck out for Hate to slice into.

When my stress is beginning to get out of control old patterns of self hate and self abuse begin to surface. I get super critical of my body, my hunger level lowers drastically, my need for extreme mileage in running becomes insatiable. This is all stuff I am battling on a day to day basis but find I have little control over when I am stressed and anxious. The only remedy for me is to remind myself that I don't have to control it, I need to manage it.

How? How do you stop this out of control train that just so happens to be careening down hill faster and faster until you are sure the only ending is destruction? Trying to stop doesn't work for me. Management of the problem has had a much more positive effect on me then anything else. What does that even mean?

Well, it is about understanding why I am feeling anxious or stresses while at the same time makin more of an effort to be nice to myself. It may sound cliche but stopping for a moment and remembering what you do love about yourself can be quite cathartic. Especially for someone who so often has mean and/or nasty things to say.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mirror mirror on the wall....

It has been about a month since I have last weighed myself and let me tell you, it feels like it has been years. The problem I am finding is that just because I am no longer weighing myself doesn't mean I am not constantly thinking about how much I weigh. I have been able to wear clothing I know didn't fit a month ago and have noticed that the clothing I wear all the time actually fits better. This should be a good thing right? A step in the right direction right? Yes as far as my waist line but no in so far as my sanity.

I may not be constantly weighing myself but I can't seem to stop judging myself. When I walk past reflective surfaces I can't help but look at myself and try to see what other people are seeing when I walk by. Not just mirrors by the way, shiny cars, store front windows, anything with a sheen/reflective surface.  It is as if the world is filled with fun house mirrors and I am constantly looking for the one that will show me what I want to see. Not that anyone is looking at me or judging me for that matter but I just can't help but wonder how the rest of the world is seeing me. What do I look like to them? Am I pretty? Am I fat? Am I ugly? Am I old? Do I look like a B****? The questions I should be asking myself are what do I see or what do I want the world to see? But in actuality why do I really and truly care?  It is driving me nuts.

As you know, I just moved to a new city and don't really have any friends down here.  Not that I had a plethora of them running around San Francisco but still, the ones I do have back in the Bay Area mean a lot to me.  My best friends will tell you that I come across as aloof. I definitely have a wall up when I meet new people and it apparently can be extremely off putting. I can see why they say this about me but the fact is, I do try to be nice. It's not like I go out of my way to be mean or anything of the sort, in fact I probably go out of my way to be nice and engaging upon first getting to know someone.  The problem is with everyday people I run into, I just get irritated so easily by their stupidity. My judgments of others is extremely harsh so why wouldn't everyone else's be judgmental towards me?

I am generally that person at the grocery store with a basket full of items in the checkout line who notices if the person behind me only has a few things to buy.  Nine times out of ten I offer to let them go ahead of me.  Or if someone is short a few cents when paying and I know I have it I offer it up.  Most of the time however, people turn me down.  Have you tried doing this lately?  See how people react.  Is it just me who happens to get constantly rejected?  It's not like I'm asking for their first born in return.  I don't ask for anything in return.  Sigh....  So you see I do try to put good energy out into the world and pay it forward but perhaps that is easier for me to do then to let someone actually get to know me.

The point to all of this is that I put a lot of weight on my physical self as well as my personal self and worry about weather or not people will notice me or perhaps hope they don't notice me. Ultimately, I believe all of this is just another way in which I can try to put a value on my self worth.  I am the only one who can decide that I have self worth.  Not the mirrors, scales, reflective surfaces, or strangers of the world.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Acknowledgement of the problem doesn't always fix it

I have always been aware of my self hate, eating disorder, and over exercising. I know when I'm doing it, I usually know why I'm doing it, and I always know when I am at my worst.  The problem with all of this is the fact that when I am submerged in the loneliness of all of these things I usually just don't care.  It is as if I like being that way.  At the time, I can usually rationalize why I am doing what I am doing and understand the problems and complications that can occur when I am doing what I am doing but still, I just don't care. It is a reckless abandonment of my safety.  I throw caution to the wind and tell myself I am never going to look back.  Whatever happens, happens, and I just don't care.  It has taken a long time and a lot of work but I have come to realize that the struggle is not with acknowledging I have a problem, the struggle is with wanting to fix the problem and as a result get healthy.

As I have said before, I have been in therapy for years.  I obviously wanted help right?  In thinking back to why I first went to therapy, it was not because I wanted to fix my self hate, eating disorder, or over exercising.  It was because I was sad.  Not miserable, not depressed, but just plain sad and I was tired of it.  Being sad is  worse then anything else.  To me it is a weakness whereas other emotions can give you strength.  Like anger for example.  When I am angry, I am articulate and my words can cut like a knife.  Patience is a virtue right?  Everyone is always working on that one so I don't feel alone or weird when I am having an impatient moment.  And well let's face it, happy people aren't in therapy.  Are they? 

You might be thinking, Aha! she battles depression.  That is where this stems and let's just get her on some drugs and on her way. It's not that easy and I don't believe that I have depression.  Perhaps my sadness could have lead to that if I hadn't become impatient and sought out help.  My problems were around a lot longer than being sad and are still a constant battle I fight every day.  I can tell you that No I am not sad anymore and Yes, I am still fighting the self hate, struggle with food, as well as constantly worry that I am going to get back into my crazy work out routine and not be able to stop until I seriously injure myself.  But don't forget, I am still in therapy.  So, even though I went for one problem I stayed for a whole laundry list of others.

 After starting to see my therapist I soon realized that she really was the best.  The best for me that is.  It wasn't that she was exactly what I needed e.g. therapy, but who I needed.  This is something that if you have ever been to therapy you already know and for those of you have never been to therapy this is what you need to know.  It is a relationship.  If you don't like the person for whatever reason then say thank you for your time and move on to the next one.  If you figure this part out sooner rather than later you won't have to waist your time getting each one up to speed on your problems, failures, behavioral issues, etc.

But I digress.  My point is that while we were working on my sadness, she saw that I knew exactly what I was doing to myself and the fact that I didn't care.  Or well she helped me to realize that perhaps I convinced myself I didn't care and maybe, just maybe I do care about myself.  She and I have been working on realizing not what I am doing to myself but that I am aloud to care about myself and my body.  Of course we work towards the root of all of these problems but somehow she has helped me be able to say to myself in the midst of a really nasty self hate day, moment, event, etc.  Stop!  Why am I doing this?  What is really bothering me?  Why am I taking this out on myself? She has given me more then just acknowledgment of my problems.  She has given me the tools to learn to control them.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Moving makes the heart grow fonder

I have recently moved from the lovely city of San Francisco down to Los Angeles which I affectionately refer to as La La Land.

The land of celebrities, plastic surgery galore, and don't forget to mention the sunshine and beaches. Great place for a girl who has an addiction to scales, has faced an eating disorder, and loves to wear layers.

Sarcasm aside, I can honestly say that I am feeling free for the first time in a LONG time. I am free from my "weighing in" addiction. How is this possible you may be asking? How could this really happen considering my ever present anxiety in regards to this weight I have been carrying around for years. Turns out it's really very simple. I moved.

No I didn't leave my precious scale behind. Of course I remembered to pack my oldest friend. As you know, even the thought of getting rid of this ball and chain brings on crippling anxiety. And so, the scale got packed and just so happens, remains packed.

Yes, this does mean that my husband and I have yet to finish unpacking but in a way, I'm perfectly ok with a little bit of chaos right now. To be honest, I have a fear that the moment I find the scale I am going to want to jump right on it and find out if all of my working out, eating healthy, and lack of focus on numbers is working. I mean, I know it is working because I have been feeling happier, laughing more, and just generally all around a lot nicer but there is this feeling that if I could just see that all of my hard work is paying off then I can prove to myself that I don't need the scale. I can be happy and proud of myself without the added judgement of a number staring back at me telling me what I am worth. Of course this is the whole reason why my scale obsession is out of control in the first place.

Can I learn to love and have acceptance for who I am, how my body looks and feels without a number attached to that? I'm certainly trying to but no one told me it would be this hard. And certainly the land of sunshine, beaches, and plastic people can't be helping.

From San Francisco....
 To La La land....

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Obsession over a number

Where did this obsession with numbers come from? The scale, jean size, dress size, etc. Every time I get on the scale, which can be several times a day, I watch the little light blink... blink... blink...as the scale is figuring out my weight. Judging me. I stand there waiting impatiently and hold my breath. I think light thoughts, hold in my tummy, and sometimes lean a little one way or the other.... I realize this has no effect but I do it anyway. It is as if I am trying to will the scale to give me a number I will be able to feel good about.

Unfortunately, I always step off the scale feeling disappointed and bad about myself. Why did I eat that piece of cheese, I should have exercised more today, non fat milk would have saved me SO many calories, etc. The list of skinny thoughts go on and on and ultimately lead to one thing; I hate myself.

So much pressure goes in to one number. The question is however, what is that number? I have tried to contemplate at what number would I be happy about myself, proud of who I am, or feel beautiful. Guess what, there isn't one. Well, for me that is. This pressure of putting my self worth into a number is as I am finally comming to find, pointless.

I have weighed as little as 105 lbs and as much as 155 lbs in my adult life. I was not happy at any number I saw on the scale. Not when it went down and certainly not when it went up. I used to be a swimmer, swimming 2.5 hours a day a minimum of at least 5 days a week. When I got to college and burned out with swimming I started running. At first I was lucky if I could make it one mile on the treadmill at a 12 minute mile but pretty soon I was running up to 9 miles a day at 10 minute miles or faster, 7 days a week. After college and grad school I have fluctuated with exercise and of course my weight but never with my scale and weighing habits.

I have tried to only weigh myself once or twice a day and of course have even tried not weighing myself at all. I have grappled with the idea of removing the scale, my now lifelong friend out of the bathroom and perhaps into another room. Heaven forbid I were to throw it away. GASP! Even the thought drives my already high anxiety through the roof. Deep breath.

And so my obsession has continued for years. I know that these actions are detrimental but how do you stop this obsession that has become an addiction? Is there an "AA" type of program? Has this become an OCD scenario? Where do you go to look for help? Do you even want help? I have been struggling with this in therapy for years. Yes, years! And yes, in therapy.

Recently however, perhaps I have found an out to at least my constant "weighing in" addiction. That however is for my next entry.