Candid Recovery

When the going gets tough January 28, 2014

Filed under: Recovery — Marie M. @ 08:06

ImageNo matter how enthusiastically you are pursuing recovery or how committed you are to moving on and living your life without your eating disorder, you will  have days that test your resolve. Recovery, much like life itself, has its ups and downs; it’s part of the process. The key to being successful is being prepared to navigate the rough days and remaining calm, knowing that smoother waters lie ahead.

Yesterday was one of those days for me. For one reason or another, I woke up with terrible body image and just felt bloated and irritable all day long. When I got dressed in the morning, nothing seemed to fit right. Nothing looked flattering. I was not a happy a camper. In my crazy eating disorder mind, I was scanning through all the meals and snacks I had the day before, trying to pinpoint my “mistake.” (<– E.D. thoughts are insane!)

So, what did I do? Did I give in to the disordered thoughts racing through my mind? Did I somehow compensate for my perceived weight gain? Nope. I thought back to other days in my recovery journey when I felt similarly about myself and my body. Sure, the day was also uncomfortable and insecurities were rampant, but the feelings eventually passed. The next day (or sometimes I couple of days later), I woke up in a different mood. I also recognized the fact that these irrational thoughts were simply manifestations of my eating disorder’s resistance to let go. They were actually signs of my progress, albeit annoying ones. Once I acknowledged my thoughts and feelings and explored why I was thinking/feeling a certain way, I resolved to honor my recovery and to take small steps that helped make my day more pleasant.

First, I wore the clothes that were the most comfortable. Did I feel remarkably stylish or attractive? Not so much. But I was comfortable! Secondly, I made sure I packed my meals and snacks for the work day, despite my lack of desire to eat them. If I would have left food at home, I know I would have found 10 million reasons why I didn’t have time to run out to grab lunch or snacks. Once everyone else at work was settling down for lunch, it was easier for me, too. Think ahead, and honestly examine your weaknesses. Next, I socialized at work and played music in my office. Laughter has the ability to take a tough day and to turn it into an amazing one in the matter of a few seconds. So, I surrounded myself with my coworkers at the start of the day and shared a few laughs. Once I went back to my office and actually sat down to do my job, I played my favorite music in the background to keep my spirits up and, perhaps more importantly, to keep my mind occupied. After work, I called a special family member with whom I had not spoken for quite some time and enjoyed catching up with her. She has been very supportive of my recovery process, and it was incredibly motivating for me to continue to fight by simply telling her how much I appreciate her. As a cumulative result of all of my small efforts throughout the day, my mood was uplifted, my motivation was reignited, and I enjoyed the rest of the evening with my loving husband and spoiled dog.

None of those steps was in itself complicated or revolutionary in nature, but they were effective. Opposite action is powerful, effective and EASY. The next time you wake up and can tell you are going to have a tough day, commit to taking the time to come up with a few ways that you can add bits and pieces of cheer into your day, little by little. And do them! Better yet, go ahead and make that list so you’re prepared for the days when perhaps your motivation is M.I.A. Either way, remember that challenging days are part of the process, so keep up the good fight and never let go of your hope. Recovery IS possible.

Have a great day.

-Marie Mtz

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Have a good day! January 22, 2014

Filed under: Recovery — Marie M. @ 06:25

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Good morning! I hope everyone has an amazing day. I’ll be publishing an actual post later today (late afternoon/early evening). Until then, hang in there, keep fighting, and enjoy the new day! 🙂

 

-Marie Mtz

 

Let it GO.

Filed under: Recovery — Marie M. @ 06:24
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Let it GO.

 

Recovery is a choice. January 21, 2014

Filed under: Recovery — Marie M. @ 06:23
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Recovery is a choice.

 

Validation January 20, 2014

Filed under: Recovery — Marie M. @ 18:50
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ImageToday was one hell of a Monday. I overslept (which seriously rarely ever happens to me; I’m by far a morning person) and had to rush to get to work on time. I had made it out of the door with just enough time to make it to work by 9, but I fell on ice and had to change my clothes, making me 10 minutes late for work. Once arriving at work, I felt like I spent the first two hours frantically running around trying to get random things done. I just couldn’t catch a break! Now, I was somehow in relatively good spirits this whole time, despite the spontaneous events. Nonetheless, a great conversation with my tía turned my day from a crazy, yet pleasant, one into a spectacular, empowering day.

We talked about a variety of topics that wouldn’t necessarily render my day spectacular or empowering, but one particular element of our conversation genuinely made my day: she validated my having struggled with an eating disorder (something about which we had never talked, actually), and she acknowledged the arduous work I have been doing along my recovery journey. Perhaps this validation doesn’t seem significant, but to me it was. My family (my parents, in particular) have been insanely unsupportive of my eating disorder struggles. I understand that without having gone through an eating disorder themselves, it’s really difficult for them to understand why a person would find such difficulty in mundane actions (i.e., eating, keeping it down, properly hydrating oneself, exercising in moderation, etc.). However, their trouble in understanding was for some some unknown reason communicated through anger, disappointment, embarrassment, threats. Overtime, due to my disorder I became the “problem child” of the family, and considerable effort was made by my parents to conceal the fact that someone in our family would be “dumb enough to have an eating disorder.” (Yes, that’s a direct quotation.) Now, people who have struggled with eating disorders, as well as individuals who are generally informed on the subject, know well that eating disorders often involve an element of intense shame. Was I boastful, proud or happy about having an eating disorder? Of course not! In fact, I often felt like a complete freak for having this problem and went to great lengths to conceal it from others. Hell, I think for a while I tried to convince myself that I didn’t have a problem. I wanted to be happy, “normal” and healthy. I wanted to enjoy going out to eat with friends, cooking and eating my favorite foods, eating when I was hungry, drinking water when I was thirsty, exercising for fun/health. I got to the point where I was more afraid of living another day with my disorder than I was of dying. I wanted to feel alive…but I was sick. I needed help to be able to do those things, and I’m still working on being 100% comfortable with several of them. However, one thing I did not need help doing was feeling ashamed or disappointed in myself. Unfortunately, that shame was reinforced by my family, day after day for years.

Having battled my disorder for 15 years without being supported by family, I don’t think ever I realized how powerful validation would be for me. Until recently, that is. Last March I married into a fabulously supportive family. In fact, my in-laws were instrumental in my decision to go to treatment after I had relapsed quite badly, leaving my body medically in quite poor condition. My parents were enraged that I was still struggling with my disorder after so many years and made sure they let me know how disappointed they were. Nonetheless, my in-laws loved and accepted me every step of the way, despite knowing my treatment history. Going to treatment genuinely changed my life. I left that treatment center 100% convinced that I would never go back to my disorder. Of course I was not magically healed the day I walked out the door. In fact, I still have a good amount of work today. That said, to this day I remain confident that my eating disorder is part of my past. Not my future. Being supported to make the decision to go to treatment saved my life.

My aunt probably did not think she was saying anything particularly powerful or inspirational, but she was. She is my aunt by marriage, not by blood. There is no reason that she is “supposed” to care about me. She lived most of her life without me in her family, and being family by marriage for the past year doesn’t even begin to make up for the difference in time. That said, she does care. She validated that this journey is not an easy one and everyone has his/her own struggles. I shouldn’t be ashamed. She acknowledged that I am a good person at heart and that I have been working so incredibly hard to make sure that my future is much brighter and happier than my past. That’s powerful. I literally hung up the phone with joyful tears in my eyes, and the rest of my day felt so much more energized.

The lesson I’ve taken away from this simple phone call today was the following:

Everyone with whom you come into contact, each and every day, is going through his/her own personal battle. The way you interact with the people around you can have a profound impact on them and can truly make-or-break their day. So, acknowledge and validate those around you. Tell a coworker that you think s/he is doing a great job. Tell your friends that you appreciate their smiles, their humor, their trust, etc. Tell your family that you love them and support them. Validate people working cash registers at the grocery store…tell them how great of a job they are doing. Smile to a stranger you pass on the street. You never know how rough of a day people around you may be having, and I can attest to the power of simple validation. And who knows, maybe the idea of karma is accurate and you’ll be lucky to receive validation, too, when you least expect it yet need it the most.

Happy Monday. Hang in there, and be kind. 🙂

-Marie Mtz

 

How do you define your beauty?

Filed under: Recovery — Marie M. @ 16:33
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How do you define your beauty?

 

Your body is an instrument January 19, 2014

Filed under: Recovery — Marie M. @ 15:49
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be nice to yourselfHave you ever met a serious athlete or dancer? I am sure they would enthusiastically tell you that the human body is an instrument, a tool. Our bodies allow us to accomplish so many tasks throughout the day; they give us our presence in this world. The human body was not created for us spend all of our time in front of a mirror admiring our reflections! Our bodies were built for movement, for feeling, for doing, for living, for simply being. Sometimes when I get caught up in a negative thought process, I have to stop myself and say, “Wow…why am I placing so much emphasis on the external? My body does amazing things. Who gives a shit if I think my thighs are too big today??” Usually when I stop myself and notice what I am doing, I can figure out WHY I am feeling so body critical in that particular moment. If I think back, maybe I just ate a challenging meal. Maybe my jeans just got out of the dryer and feel tighter on my body. Maybe I’m bored and my mind under-stimulated. Maybe I’m incredibly stressed out and my mind over-stimulated. Who knows. The point is: I stop. I breathe. I acknowledge my body for everything it allows me to do, every day tasks (walking, working, cooking, running errands, etc.) as well as actions that bring me joy (cuddling with my dog, kissing my husband, doing yoga, cross-stitching, writing, taking epsom salt or bubble baths, etc.). By appreciating the uniqueness of our bodies and their ability to move us though our unique experience in the world, our thought patterns are able to shift.  So today, try to view your body as an instrument, not an ornament. If you catch your self engaging in negative body talk, STOP immediately, take a deep breath, and celebrate everything your body does for you. It’s quite amazing once you think about it.

 

 
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