Traversing Middle Ground

I haven’t binged and purged for several months but the strong desire has returned.

Why do I want to? Because my body is so uncomfortable. I want to escape the body, though I can’t ever really. What I want is to escape the thought of my body because it is so painful. I suppose I want to escape the mind that despises the pain. The mind says the pain is intolerable. And so, if I binge I can shut the mind off and escape the pain. If I didn’t purge though, the body would be in worse pain so the purging must accompany the binge. But if I didn’t allow the purging I wouldn’t allow the binge but, I would be stuck in this mind, tortured by thoughts of pain without any release in sight. What would happen without release? I’d go crazy by the mind.

So?

Is escapism the only answer? Where is the real pain – is it in the body or the mind? Who conceives of this pain? Who makes it real? Is it even real?

It feels torturous to sit and watch it, feel it – but what is the alternative but to stay trapped in a cycle of behavior for the sake of avoidance? Neither option seems rather appealing to me – to sit in the face of a pain that never seems to go away or to be prisoner of a binge/purge cycle that also never seems to go away.

Is there another way?

Pain, in any form, is undesirable. If I didn’t fear the pain so much would it be so desire-less?

Again, what IS pain? Where did it come from?

All I can do is watch and work to make no decisions either way. The minute I do, I fall to either side. For now, I balance precariously on the fulcrum and weigh nothing.

 

Interview with Myself – #1

Q: How are you doing?

A: Not so good.

Q: Why not? What’s going on?

A: I feel lost and confused. I can’t control this thing that’s happening inside me. I feel like there’s this separate entity that I’m fighting. I don’t understand why this is happening to me.

Q: Is the entity really separate?

A: Yes, and no. It doesn’t feel like it’s truly me but it’s not really outside of me. It’s me but it’s not me. I mean, if it’s me but I don’t want to feel like this, then why would I do this to myself? Why would someone do this to themselves? If it’s not me, then who is it? There’s no one else here so it must be me. I can’t stand it. I want to crawl out of myself.

Q: Do you feel like you’re at fault?

A: Yes! I should be able to control myself. Why can’t I control it?

Q: Control what?

A: These feelings…

Q: What feelings? What do you feel?

[pause]

A: I feel nothing and everything. I feel anger,

Q: Anger?

A: Yes!

Q: At what or who?

A: At myself.

Q: Why?

A: Because of what I am.

Q: What are you?

A: Wrong. Gross. Inadequate. Empty. Different. Displaced. I don’t belong here. I don’t belong there. I can’t decide what’s right. I can’t decide what’s wrong. I can’t decide. I don’t understand who I am. I should be able to figure this out. Why can’t I figure this out?

Q: What are you trying to figure out?

A: Everything! I don’t understand why I don’t feel like I belong…anywhere. I’m out of place. I try this, I try that. I do this, I do that. I don’t feel any connection. I am without purpose.

Q: Do you need a purpose?

A: I feel like there’s a reason for me. But it continuously evades me. Deep, deep, deep down I feel like I am meant to do something but I don’t feel like me doing what I’m doing now. I feel like I’m anything but me. Everything feels wrong. I don’t belong here.

Q: Don’t belong where?

A: Here, right now. Here on earth. Here in this world. It’s so hard, it’s so tiring. I go to work and try to find joy and excitement. I try to put forth the effort. Drive harder! Push more! Climb and be! Those are the messages I get but that’s not what I want and so I don’t belong. I feel condemned for not ‘bettering’ myself. And I feel on the outside again. And then I feel like since we have control over our thoughts that if I could just think different thoughts and not let myself think that I’m on the outside then I shouldn’t be. But that doesn’t work either. I still feel like I’m not in the right place. But if not here, then where? I’m trying so hard to be of a world where I truly don’t belong. But then what am I to do? There’s no place for the likes of me in this world and that’s what happens to people like me – we get banished. It’s the folks living in squalor and who are homeless, just tossed aside because the world doesn’t know what to do with them. I want to quit my job but then how I do I survive? I can’t. And then so what do I do then? I follow my heart to leave a job that is so heart-wrenchingly wrong and then I get reprimanded. How could I be so irresponsible? You can’t just quit your job! How do you plan to survive? You’ve got to have a plan and set goals and plan and try and effort! But I don’t have any answers to what I’m supposed to do next. All I know is that I’m not where I need to be. But the world doesn’t support someone who up and quits a decent job. How could you? How could you leave a job with benefits and pension? You need to put in your time just like everyone else! Damn it! It doesn’t feel right to me. But I don’t know what I’m supposed to do! I don’t know what to do! And so I just try to keep going in a world where I don’t belong. But I just know I’m meant for more but if I am then why hasn’t the “what” come to me? I’m not allowing it. I’m resisting. And there I go doing something wrong again. And then I feel bad because maybe I’m not being grateful enough and if I would just be grateful then the whole world would become better for me. How can anything be wrong when you’re grateful? And then I’m at fault again. I’m wrong. It’s always me. I am wrong. I am wrong. I am wrong.

[silence]

Q: Tell me about your eating disorder.

A: Sigh. I’ve relapsed.

Q: How do you feel about that?

A: Disappointed.

Q: Why do you think you relapsed?

A: Because it never really went away.

Q: What do you mean?

A: I don’t know.

Q: When did it start again?

A: January.

Q: You’ve reached out for help again and may be able to get back into a program.

A: Yes.

Q: How do you feel?

A: Grateful that someone is still willing to help me.

Q: Are you afraid?

A: Yes.

Q: Why?

A: It’s different this time.

Q: What’s different?

A: Me.

Q: Why?

[silence]

Q: It’s been suggested that mood, yours in particular, has a lot to do with behavior and that your mood is very low again. You stopped taking your medication in June and by November (and probably sooner) things were starting to go downhill again. Do you think your mood is a problem?

A: Yes. I think I make very different choices and have very different ideas when my mood is low.

Q: Your medication had a profound effect on your first episode of recovery from the eating disorder. Why did you stop?

A: Yes, I remember. For me, I remember changing my food/eating habits but still not being able to stop the binging and purging and then once I started the meds it’s like everything changed and I could control my choices. Before the meds I felt like everything was effort and once the meds kicked in I felt like I was in control of the choices. Things were still hard but it was like I had this magical ability to choose. I was such an advocate of the meds! I never thought I would be since I was so anti-medication but the change was like a switch was turned on (or off – whichever way you want to look at it) and the voice that was truly me could be heard again – I was in control. It felt instantaneous and the struggles were no longer uncontrollable but completely within my control. Choice was something I could make.

I stopped the meds because I was introduced to an idea that medication is not necessary, we are in complete control of our own reality. We can transcend anything with enough focus. All we need is focus. We are vibrational beings and that, with enough focus, I could raise my vibrational frequency and transcend to another plane of understanding and existence.

The problem here is two-fold.

First, I was introduced to this concept but misunderstood it entirely. And secondly, the concept as a whole still resonates deeply with me and I fear that in order to be helped I must give up what feels true to me and submit to the current modalities of treatment for my depression and eating disorder.

Q: Why do you think you misunderstood?

A: All I heard was “high” frequency and “low” frequency. High equates to good and low equates to bad. I found the element of separation, the way I always seem to do, that said I was less than and had something to achieve. I thought I was less than the person who introduced me to this idea of vibrational frequencies because he was vibrating at a very high frequency. Sadly, this person was not willing to entertain my mind of questions and thoughts and analysis in order to try and help me reason and figure this all out. I was quashed at every angle and just told to breathe and focus.

Q: How did that make you feel?

A: Dismissed.

Q: Who was this person?

A: I don’t know.

Q: What do you mean, “You don’t know.”?

A: In form he was my yoga teacher. In thought, I don’t know or understand the reason he came into my life. At times I hate him and wish I’d never, ever, ever met him. Part of me feels like he’s pure evil and part of me feels like he’s pure love. Part of me wonders if the things I encountered through him were even real, factual events. He and the circumstances of our encounters have had a profound effect on me but I find it very difficult to describe.  It’s surreal. I do feel like I had an awakening of some sort but can’t explain that further. I feel like I was completely blind before and when I had the awakening I was given a glimpse of something far beyond what I knew. But the vision has not been fully realized so I feel like I’m looking out with fuzzy eyes that can’t see anything but a blur and it’s driving me insane, this inability to see.

[silence]

Q: There’s unresolved energy here.

A: Yes.

Q: Do you know how to resolve it?

A: No. I have no answers. It just is and I hate how painful it is.

Q: Do you think this situation has anything to do with your low mood?

A: Not everything but something. I’m not sure I’ll ever understand it but I want to be free from it.

Q: Is it possible?

A: All things are possible.

Q: Do you believe that?

A: Yes. To the core my being.

Q: Then why do you feel so fearful and frustrated?

A: I’m wanting revelation.

Q: What if it doesn’t come?

A: It will.

Q: Then why do you feel so fearful and frustrated?

A: I’m afraid it won’t come. I’ll be wrong and crazy.

Q: So you have doubt?

[silence]

A: I don’t think I doubt so much as I’m impatient. Isn’t 40 years of pain enough time to wait?

Q: Who decides how long?

A: I know.

[silence]

A: I need to take a break.

 

Know Thyself

This morning has given way to more contemplation about the events and progression of my life. Today I think back to eating disorder recovery and drawing parallels between then and now. Why wasn’t I able to get here from there when I tried so hard and for so long? How was I able to get here from there, finally? Where did recovery start and how does it evolve?

Admittedly, I share but only one story of eating disorder recovery – mine. Every body follows a different path. But, on a fundamental level, I truly believe the path out of the hell that is ED is a similar path for everyone. But once we’re out of hell’s grip, the paths we choose to follow are varied.

And therein lies a very real truth. In the depths of it, ED is WHO we are. Every choice we make is not our own but the one that ED tells us to make. We believe ED and ED guides us in absolutely every decision we make. I use the word “guide” very loosely because ED doesn’t really guide us. ED offers choices and makes us contradict every decision we make if it flies in the face of what ED is telling us. We, as real, live, thinking, feeling human beings, cease to exist. Is ED the devil? Perhaps. We feed ED and ED survives. If we starve ED, ED dies. And once ED dies, we slowly start to emerge from the depths of darkness and into the light where our own being comes to light. We grow strong and powerful in our connection with the world and we become real.

So where does the emergence of self begin? It begins with trust. It starts with a tiny little seed of trust somewhere deep in yourself that says ED isn’t right, ED hurts, there has to be a better way. And you start to listen. You hold firm in the voice you choose to listen to and eventually that voice becomes the loudest in the room.

  • I heard the tiny voice that said, “This isn’t right. It hurts too much to be right.”
  • I listened to the prompting that said, “You can’t do this on your own. You need another voice to guide you. ED is too strong and right now you are too weak.”
  • I trusted my team and let them lead the way.
  • I trusted my team with every ounce of belief I had.
  • I followed my team’s guidance and wisdom and advice, blindly if you will, reminding myself that I did not know the way out.
  • I let my team be my voice of reason until I had developed my own voice of reason.

Let’s be clear. When one has NEVER listened to their own voice of truth and reason, it takes a long time to start to hear it, to feel it again.

I took very small steps, often with a lot of hand holding. I turned over 1000% of myself to what my team was teaching me and where they were guiding me to. I had to. The only other leader in my life was ED and it was leading me straight to hell. This I knew.

It’s like learning to walk. I felt like an infant. They (my team) carried me at first but then I got restless. They put me down and held my hand so I didn’t fall. I got restless again. They let go of my hand. I fell. They picked me up and held my hand until I was ready to try again. Eventually the hand-holding became less necessary. We started to take walks together – no hand-holding – just my support walking beside me in comfort. Gradually, I began to walk faster and faster and faster…I started to run. I was running into myself with love.

All the basic fundamental rules of food and eating and taking care of self, those have been ingrained in me. And now, I can make choices about everything in my life because I am strong.

I know myself today. I will know myself better tomorrow. And every choice I make, today or tomorrow, is grounded in my knowledge of self and love.

RETRO – Monday, March 10, 2014

I wanted to share a past journal entry of mine that I wrote during my recovery process. When I remember the past, I am grateful for the present and hopeful for the future. Though recovered now, I still get it. I understand it – and I marvel at the change.

March 10, 2014

I am anguished and ashamed.

The definition of anguish – “Severe mental or physical pain or suffering; extreme distress.”

It’s 5:00 p.m. and I’m hungry. So I eat. Again. There is only one hour before dinner and I can’t wait even one hour. Now it’s 6:30 p.m. and I have just finished eating. Again.

My appetite is out of control. I’m so physically uncomfortable. The skin on my stomach feels stretched to the max. It keeps growing and getting bigger. It hurts so bad. It’s disgusting. I’ve lost myself. I can’t control myself and my body keeps growing. I’m hideous. It hurts; everything hurts. I can’t escape. I’m stuck. I don’t want to go back but I can’t stand this. I feel like I’m in the eye of the storm being tossed around. The grief is unbearable.

Me want…

…cookies? Nope, not anymore.

There was a time when I wanted cookies, and lots of them. I could hardly contain myself. Once all potential bystanders had vacated my presence, out came the food items I had stockpiled – cookies, cake, chocolate, donuts, ice cream. I went haywire. Everything fat and sugar-laden that my body and brain cried out for got shoved into my mouth while my mind slipped away into emptiness.

It wasn’t the specific food I craved though. Biologically I was needing sustenance and emotionally I yearned for diversion away from a mind that I didn’t understand and couldn’t control.

Eventually, though very, very slowly, as I started eating sufficiently enough to meet my physical needs, the mind drifted back into focus (with the help of medication) and ravenous pleas for sugar and fat subsided.

Today I can pinpoint a craving which I hadn’t been able to do for 20 years. Before, I wanted everything, now I just really want an egg salad sandwich.