Criticizing Nostalgia

*Contains BMI-related numbers. I don’t normally make trigger warning announcements, but I also do not usually mention my own BMIs. Do with my warning what you will.*

Admonishing my reverie for my bathroom scale’s golden days. The slightest of gravitational strains. The purest state of ingesting.

I have never been truly sick. That is to say, I’ve never been “on death’s door” because of my eating disorder. I’ve only ever flirted with the idea of living dangerously. My blood tests and vertigo were terrible. My pallor profound and my eating only precise. But I always skated away when doctors and therapists started to wonder. Dodged and ducked my way into an EDNOS diagnosis and unmonitored food trays during most of my psychiatric ward stays. That’s good, right? It’s kind of bad. It’s bad-good. They didn’t even make sure I didn’t purge. *high five?!?

I’ve only ever maintained a normal or slightly under normal weight. BMI of 17, rest in peace. Now that I’m fat and old I can’t help but look back and miss it. I don’t miss the crying and the late night, long-winded workouts before I was old enough for my own gym membership. I don’t miss passing out or almost getting caught sneaking out to the gym.

That’s right. At 15ish I snuck out to go the gym. When I wasn’t secretly boozing. Ahem.

When I could see my ribs and my hipbones protruded too much to lie on my belly at night I didn’t even get to appreciate it. Even a few years back when I was BMI 21 I didn’t have a belly “pooch” wearing spandex running clothes and I could wear TANK TOPS without hating my life. TANK TOPS. And shorts. Ugh, I miss shorts.

And swimming! Haven’t swam in years. Last time was in a gym. Before that?…. I don’t even remember. Probably childhood.

Even when I met the standard for “thin” I thought I was too big for the world. But I guess that’s usually in people with a literal disease preventing them from knowing their relative size.

Did you know there’s a euphoria that can come with not eating as much as you should? No wonder eating disorders (restriction, mostly) are such a slippery slope after recovery.

None of this was supposed to mean much. I just wish I could go back in time with a decent body and/or get skinny again.

Damnit.

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Work. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

I’ve had trouble building up the courage to do what needs done. Too shy. Too ashamed. Like I’m a betrayer. But it does need to happen. Already I am red and scabbed on my inside and more on my outside. At this rate I won’t have any skin or teeth left. Burned away or cut away. Stress and a feeling of failure and incompetence because I’m stretched too thin, “like butter over too much bread.”

A weekend not of fun, but of shame, shakes, sobs, and more red. Some pink. Shirking responsibilities to make way for the intention of normality.

Don’t get me wrong. Everything is great and I’m lucky to be alive and all that but damn do I need some coping skills.

Something tells me my current arsenal for self-destructive-deal-with-it techniques are somehow unhealthy.

 

UPDATE: I finally quit the second job. Hopefully the worsened depression subsides shortly.

Community College Papers 101

So I wrote my final reflection paper for my final graduation-required course in about an hour and a half last night. It was a 5 page paper. It was done while some scary show was on TV behind me and I was still slightly tipsy from beers at dinner. I thought the teacher would read it begrudgingly asking herself why she ever became a teacher because she hated crap poured into keyboards like this, but this was her real response:

“GRADE: 250

Your first paragraph pulled me right into your paper!  Very honest, from the heart paper.  I liked it a lot!  Your last paragraph, While it’s one thing to want to learn as much as possible, it’s another to put it into practice. And the practice makes perfect. Most importantly, I think college has taught me self-motivation. I learned what it takes to be successful, at least the first steps I can take and resources I can utilize along the way. It was all worth it.” needs to be something ALL students in college need to think about.

Well done Ashley.  You should be so proud of yourself.  I am proud of you.  You are a role model for your family showing them how hard work and determination got you to where you wanted to be today!”

And here I thought the instructor hated me.

Well, I must’ve learned something in college.

Oh, and that “It was all worth it” sentence made me physically cringe as I typed it. I’m not sure what this teacher was thinking giving me 100%, but I’ll take it!

Oh, Biscuits

Perseverance. I have a sign defining this over my bed, and it’s in view of my desk and has been for years. I bought it to motivate myself. Target, for around $7.

Originally, weight loss was my topmost priority. I would persevere. I’d be skinny and therefore happy. This would start a cycle of “I’m skinny so I’m happy so I’m motivated so I’m successful.” Well, therapy taught me skinny does not necessarily mean happy. Plus, it’s not what I really want, anyway, supposedly.

Thinking about it, weight loss isn’t the stem of all my problems. My self-worth is. I forget sometimes that “I’m fat so I’m a failure” comes from I feel sad, I feel bad, I feel unmotivated, etc. It’s difficult to remind myself, but I try.

Right now I’m in a rut (just ask my poor, loving, giving fiance who has to put up with my moping) and this one isn’t stemming from I’m sad, I don’t think. Pretty sure my I’m sad is coming from I’m unmotivated.

Motivation. Next to worthless (probably another post about that word’s meaning to me), motivation creates some of the most problems in my mind and life. Motivation is what makes us function… outside sources can only help us get up and go so much. My job is short staffed, so that’s motivating to go to work. Knowing I’ll get to work from home motivates me to do my homework so I can graduate. Trying to make Matt’s life easier motivates me to respond with words instead of grunts and occasionally pay for my own dinner.

I have no motivation of my own to count on. I really want to clean, but when will it end and how will I stop? I’d love to read my book that’s due back at the library in 2 weeks, but then how will I clean or do my homework? I don’t know how to explain my frustration. I want to do so much, but I don’t want to do anything. I’m coasting and have been coasting (it feels like) forever.

Perseverance isn’t about just learning how to control my eating habits anymore. Perseverance has to become how I have to learn to control all of my life in a healthy, positive manner. Starting with learning how to motivate myself for things I want based on values and stuff. Working from the little things to the big, I’ll get there. Maybe one day.

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”

-Molière

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Like Butter Over Too Much Bread

I have a great imagination, but I can’t draw or write a story. I can’t even seem to journal or blog regularly. I’m nice but I can’t keep a hold of several friends because of the social stress. I can barely hold on to my sanity at my job, and it’s not that hard. I can only grocery shop when I leave before I realize what I’m doing because the idea is terrifying. (More specifically, the idea of having to maintain control over what I buy and all the people there at the same time is terrifying. Have you ever thought about what would happen if you ate all of the food in just one grocery store aisle?)

Today I’ve done nothing but eat 2 times the calories I should and watch Netflix. I have a paper to write, and a question about it for the teacher, but I can’t email her. It’s really hard to email people. I should have done homework, or picked up a shift, or worked out. Maybe I could have met up with friends. Today was a waste and a lot of my days feel like a waste.

I try to motivate myself and change the self-destructive/self-pity feelings into something positive to work off of, but this just isn’t working. I’m glad I can drink beer again. Why must I either be restricting or gorging? I never thought I’d see the day where I go to 3 fast food restaurants for one meal again. Granted, nowadays I keep that meal long enough to actually digest it, but I don’t know which I’d rather.

This weekend is a very long, fun-filled, expensive convention I’m going to but I don’t have money to pay the bills that are due the week after, yet I’m spending money and taking time off work to go. I have homework due 2 nights of this weekend but I’m watching Netflix, and now I’ve decided to make a post.

I’ve worn a sweatshirt everyday for the last week and a half, and I’m behind on my laundry. I have mail to sort and CDs to copy and a desk to organize and books to read.

Maybe it’s the month-long trip down antidepressant lane again making my brain wonky. Maybe I’m despairing because I have no internal sources of motivation. Maybe I’m just pissed because I’m not one of those naturally athletic and skinny and funny people. I’m mad I can’t focus my brain thoughts.

I’m going to finish this episode of Bones then watch another one.

The Drive

Staying on top of eating right, exercising, and overall taking care of my body is a huge stressor and a rather large portion of my life. Many times I get sidetracked thinking “I’ve earned it!” or “It’s ok, I’ll work out later,” when I’m faced with candy or an over sized dinner. Spoiler alert: I don’t always work out later, nor have I really earned it. It’s difficult being in the place I am right now, because I’ve had an eating disorder. While I consider myself recovered, it’s well assumed that continuously spending so much time consumed with calorie intake and weight loss goals is probably bad for my long term mental health. I do it anyway, though, because I’m used to it. Makes me feel like I’m missing something when I’m not counting calories and what not.

Supposedly you could say that I’m well enough now (who knows if that’s true) that I’m able to see my body more for what it actually is, versus what I perceived it to be for so long. I feel like  I have a better understanding of my weight, looks, and health than I used to. I still feel slightly unhealthy. Being in treatment had me thinking I always deserved candy or to eat like everybody else. Really, though, that’s unhealthy, too. It’s very difficult to find a happy medium between sick and sick is what I’m trying to say here. Moderation is hard.

Last year sometime, when I decided to “diet” for health reasons solely, it was an immediate “on” switch to exercise and be more mindful of my meal choices. That’s never happened before. The slope down into the eating disorder was so… relaxed, really. It took its time. It manifested slowly over the course of 5-6 years until I was really sick and other people took more notice. I’ve always “dieted” with the only intent of losing a lot of weight and looking skinny (or out of habit), and motivation took its sweet time. Last year, though, it was for health reasons. And the drive hit right away and much more effectively.

I’m not sure exactly what I’m trying to say here, except maybe it was easier because I did it for the right reasons? If you know deep down you don’t want to cause your mind or body pain, the mind and body will in turn play along a little more cooperatively. Yeah, let’s go with that! Nice and uplifting.

I should work out tonight.