Tag Archives: Sick

Dammit (Janet) – Exercise Addiction

I’m sick. It’s just a cold, but it’s my first one in a year, and it’s taking it out of me.

The bigger problem: I’m supposed to be going to yoga class right now.

Now, as WGT well knows, while I admit to having overexercised in the past as a part of my eating disorder, I will SWEAR UP AND DOWN that I do not now, nor have I ever had an exercise addiction. As far as I am concerned, the mechanism of my eating disorder was based on a series of obsessive calories in/calories out (and then some) calculations, and exercise was obviously a big part of those calculations. But when I decided to recover, I considered my exercise obsession a thing of the past.

Today, however, I’m beginning to have doubts.

Dammit.

I had a midterm and a presentation today at school, and was fully planning on leaving at lunch (long presentations prevented that), but was still planning on going to yoga class. I have a studio introductory pass: I have to get the most out of that 30 days for $30, don’t I?

So I’m sitting on my couch, binge-drinking water, Emergen-C, and tea, and trying to psych myself up to get out the door for class. It’s cold and rainy in Toronto today, though . . . surely that will make my cold worse? And if I get sicker, and I have to miss work, it’s going to really mess me up financially, especially since it’s the holidays.

But . . . in all honesty, my body has been freaking me out lately. My thighs seem to be touching  differently,  and my waist is looking more solid these days. I haven’t weighed myself in about 6 weeks, which is the longest I’ve gone in, well, ages, by about 4 weeks.  It’s a combination of trying to overcome my obsession with the number on the scale, and the fear of what that number will be . . . as well as the fact that the only scale in my house lives in the form of my Wii Fit Plus, which I only use as a scale. If I stop weighing myself, I can sell it and put the money towards more yoga classes!

Long story short, I didn’t go to yoga class. And I’m freaking out. I’m freaking out about my body, and I’m freaking out about being a lazy person, and I’m freaking out about being faced with the fact that I have to admit to an exercise addiction.

It’s so frustrating. Everyone else seems to get to exercise as much as they want, without anyone telling them it’s a problem, and without having to exercise as much as they can. (insert pity party here)

So I’m sitting with it. I hate it. I keep debating whether to run myself through a yoga sequence at home, or just take a sick day. (Sick days? What are those? As it stands, I’ve only had 3 days off in the past month . . . most of which have been spent studying.)

The moral of the story is: I’ll survive. But it sucks.

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Nobody Said It Was Easy

Okay, so Google tells me that my title song is actually called “The Scientist”, but that’s not a good name for this post. Also, I feel like the fact that I know ANY of this song is impressive (thank you, alma mater, for making “Commercial Performance” a college credit), given my strong feelings against most mainstream music. But hey, pretty sure I’ve already titled a post Easy To Be Hard, and the titles “Easy Street”, “Easy to Love”, “Easy Life”, “Ballad of the Easy Life”, and “One Hundred Easy Ways” just don’t fit the theme.

The theme:

I got into a discussion today with a friend about how/why you keep going in recovery when everything feels like hell. I seem to be having a lot of those conversations of late. I know my last post talked about how things are getting better, but what I didn’t talk about is how much it really sucks a lot of the time.

It’s exhausting, this recovery business.

  • In order to both live and be able to afford therapy, groups, etc., I have a full time, and a part time job. Come fall, the part time job will be replaced with part time schooling, in addition to the full time job. This I find to be the case with most people recovering from eating disorders. Life goes on, and life is expensive.
  • My body is recovering from a life-threatening illness. It’s not cancer, but there’s plenty of physical mending to be done. It’s re-learning everything, training my new muscles to do what they’re supposed to do, trying to fix my digestion, hormones, bones, skin, nerves, and even my hair. It’s like going through puberty all over again. Again. You think teenagers need a lot of sleep? Meet a recovering anorexic.
  •  For years, I starved away my emotions. Have you ever cried yourself to sleep? I’ve got 16 years of crying to do, and emotions can be draining. Even laughter is foreign, and it requires a lot of energy.
  • Nobody develops an eating disorder just because of a diet that went wrong. Everyone has an underlying cause (or 40) to their eating disorder, and sometimes even unearthing it can be a gruelling process. Every week in therapy, I unearth something else that contributed to my eating disorder. Some things are merely enlightening, some things are devastating. Everything requires digging deep and making changes. Even thinking expends energy.

So why recover? Why bother working so hard? Why go through so much pain?

Well, living with an eating disorder isn’t much different energetically. As much as we try to deny it (and somehow, magically conjure energy out of thin air) calories = energy, and anorexia leaves you with no energy. It is painful, both physically and emotionally, and while working through issues is excruciating, living every day with the thoughts, fears, and rituals, with no end in sight is a far worse fate to settle for.

We keep moving forward because it is the only chance we have at freedom. The only way out of the pain is to move through it. There is no freedom in illness, and even if we stop halfway through the process, deciding it’s “good enough”, we’re still left stuck in the exhaustion, with no hope of rest.

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Everybody Knows Somebody

Happy National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, everyone! I suppose it’s a strange thing to wish people a “happy” one of, but hopefully awareness will lead to eradication (Wow, that’s a fancy word for how tired I am right now. Maybe I’ll switch it to something epic like “Total Annihilation” or something. Maybe not.) which will lead to happiness for all! A girl’s gotta have a dream. (N.B. It’s Awareness Week in Canada. NEDA’s official week isn’t until the end of the month)

Last year, NEDA‘s theme for the week was, “It’s Time to Talk About It”. I may have been late to the party on that one (I was singing and dancing on tour last Awareness Week, trying desperately to hide the fact that I was out of control in a relapse), but I think I successfully participated by the end of the year. Y’all have borne witness: now you can’t shut me up!

This year, the theme is “Everybody Knows Somebody”. Well, y’all know me, at least peripherally. (Wow. Another fancy one. Maybe the key to my smarts is in being sleepy . . . I’m gonna pretend it’s from wearing heels all day. Heels make every girl look . . . smarter). But have you ever stopped to think about how many people you might know who are suffering in silence?

Anorexics are generally pretty easy to spot. As WGT puts it, “You’re LITERALLY wearing your pain”. Same goes for binge eating disorder. It’s the ones in the middle that are hardest to recognize. I’ve spent a lot of time in that wasteland of disordered eating. I didn’t even know I had an eating disorder until the weight became an issue. But it’s SO not about the weight.

When behaviors around food get out of control in any way, it’s a problem. Most people don’t recognize eating disorders like orthorexia or exercise addiction because fucked up food and exercise habits have become a societal norm. (Orthorexia is an obsession with healthy eating, and exercise addiction is, well, an addiction to exercise. Duh.) It doesn’t sound like a problem to most people, but when a person becomes so obsessed that they can’t function in real life, it’s a problem. When you can’t eat at a restaurant because you don’t know how the food was prepared, it’s a problem. When you cancel plans with friends because you can’t miss a work out, it’s a problem. When you can’t eat a piece of your own wedding cake because it’s not an “acceptable food,” that’s a problem.  When you’re sick or injured and work out anyhow, that’s a problem. And eating disorders are a slippery slope. A “normal” diet can quickly become a dangerous practice.

So keep an eye out. Just because someone doesn’t “look sick” doesn’t mean they’re fine. I don’t know about you, but I can’t see cancer or depression or alcoholism with my naked eye, but I’d never tell someone they weren’t sick because I couldn’t see it. And people with eating disorders are really good at hiding it. It’s amazing how crafty a sick mind can be.

So be aware, spread the word and, as always, be kind to those around you. They may not wear their pain literally, but some of the deepest scars are the ones you can’t see.

 

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Un-bait Your Breath

I know you’ve all been waiting to hear what happened with the saga of pink eye and my Christmas plans. Well, wait no longer:

Source: google.ca via Kelly on Pinterest

 

 

The eyes cleared up in time for Christmas! Bright-eyed and somewhat bushy-tailed, I went about my Christmas plans. My shopping wasn’t as carefully planned and thought out as it normally would have been, both my finances and my health having difficulty coinciding this season, but I did my best with a 2 day blitz and a whole lot of knitting. I actually managed to score some pretty sweet deals, because what idiot leaves their shopping until that close to Christmas? This idiot.

I had a better holiday than I could have hoped for, saw everyone I hadn’t seen in a long time, and made it home in pretty much one piece. People spoiled me rotten, and let’s face it, hugs and kisses from relatives under the age of 12 are pretty much the best things ever. Hugs from too-cool teenaged boys are pretty good, too, valuable mostly due to their scarcity.

So all worked out for me. Rather than go on and on about my holiday festivities (my fingernails on the keys look pretty stellar in my new OPI Muppet Collection “Wocka Wocka!” nail polish) I’d like to share with you a story from my first trip out, post-contagion.

I was at the grocery store on my first trip out, and I was pretty excited to be near other human beings. Living alone in quarantine for more than 24 hours is a challenge for me these days.  Now that I’m more-or-less free of my ED prison, any confinement makes me antsy. So, Christmas music playing on the radio, humans around me, the promise of going home for the holidays back on, I was feeling pretty in the holiday spirit.

I saw a woman walking towards me, most likely in her 70s, in one of the coolest outfits I’ve seen in a long time. Furry boots (but not in the awkward yeti-boot, I might be part sheep dog kind of way), opaque black tights, a knee-length furry coat (I’m hoping it was vegan fur . . . My memory would prefer her to not be wearing dead animal), and a super jaunty beret. She was all smiles, so I smiled and told her how much I liked her outfit. She stopped and we chatted about our mutual love of thrift shopping (she maintains that the Salvation Army is where it’s at, Value Village getting too expensive). She had one of those comforting whiskey-and-cigarettes old-lady voices that you want next to you at a bingo game. As we went back to our respective shopping, I wished her a happy holiday, and once again complimented her “cozy and festive” styling. She promptly burst into tears and told me I’d made her day. She said she was all alone in the world, and hates the holidays because of it, so she’d been pretty miserable of late. She had only ventured out that day because cat food was on sale, and she wanted her 2 kitties to have a happy holiday. We had a big hug at the end of the “Household Paper” aisle, and went on our ways.

We ended up in line one after the other, and chatted the whole time. She wished me a happy holiday and gave me another big hug and a kiss on the cheek/ear.

It kind of put things in perspective. While I was afraid I’d be alone on the holiday and couldn’t see my family, at least I had a family and friends that I could see again post-illness. This lady had nobody at any time of year. Now, I know all your positive vibes worked wonders for me, clearing up my eyes in record time, so I was wondering if you could send some love and happiness to the lady in the furry coat. I don’t know her name, but the universe will take the love where it’s needed.

Give love wherever you can. You never know when it can change a moment, a day, or maybe even a life.

A little "Santa Love" from my family Christmas Eve. May the Claus be with you.

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Manifesting Destiny

I’ve talked more than once on here about my awesome therapist (Finally decided on a code name: WGT aka World’s Greatest Therapist). So, WGT has many “isms” and two of them in particular apply to today’s topic:

1. Whenever I get sick, she never fails to ask me, “What’s your body trying to tell you?”

and

2. Whenever I’m freaking out about something that might happen in the future, she tells me that it probably will happen, because I’m devoting so much negative energy towards it.

I said she was awesome, I didn’t say she was warm and cuddly (at least not ALL the time).

So remember those two points while I give you a little bit of backstory. You may or may not have noticed that I’ve been pretty anti-holiday for most of the year (well, since I started blogging, but I assure you, it’s been most of the year). I was dreading Christmas this year, and freaked out repeatedly about scheduling, food, seeing people I hadn’t seen in a while, and the holiday itself. I got as many details squared away as possible, and had the whole holiday planned out, nearly down to the minute. Over-planning makes me feel better about most things, because I’m just not ready to tackle spontaneity. With the details sorted out,  I was starting to look forward to Christmas. The plan wasn’t perfect, but it seemed the best option given the circumstances.

Then, on Sunday night, I get hit with this:

No, I was not asked to star in a holiday production of Swan Lake. Nor did I turn into Natalie Portman. No, I didn’t get knocked up out-of-wedlock (although that would have been in keeping with the holiday theme: Jesus being a bastard and all). I got struck with what they call, “viral conjunctivitis”. While that’s what “they” call it, most people know it as Pink Eye. The kind that can’t be treated with antibiotics. The kind that’s contagious as long as your eyes are pink and crusty and gross. The kind that lasts 8-10 days (although my dad very kindly googled an optimistic article that says 65% of cases clear up in 3-5 days). The kind that means I have to miss work and can’t make money to pay off my Christmas Visa bill. Worst of all, the kind that means I’ll probably have to miss Christmas.

So after freaking out and wanting to skip Christmas, the Universe heard me and said “Ok, here’s your “out”‘. Never mind that I changed my mind about it, the Universe only heard my negativity. If you haven’t read “The Secret“, do. It teaches you all about this stuff, and makes you terrified of every negative thought that crosses your mind. It’s more fun than it sounds. I promise.

That takes care of the 2nd part of the WGTisms. I’m still not sure what my body is trying to tell me with this one. It’s probably just trying to remind me to keep taking care of myself while WGT is on vacation. It would be too easy to consider these two weeks a “free pass” to be symptomatic.  Maybe it’s just telling me I’m too old to wear glitter eyeshadow anymore . . . I’ll keep thinking on this one and let you know . . .

So now for a little pity party (the only holiday party I’ll be attending whilst looking like the Eye of Sauron): while I’m thinking positively that my eyes are on the road to recovery and I won’t infect my entire immediate and extended family, I may be spending my first Christmas alone. I was going to get to spend Christmas Eve thru Morning with my cousin, her husband, and my godson, who is just old enough to appreciate opening his stocking this year. Christmas Day afternoon I was going to my childhood home for the first time in a year, and see family members I haven’t seen in 12-18 months. Boxing Day (the 26th, for all you non-Canucks (Canadians, for those of you who don’t know our national nickname)) was a party with the other side of my extended family, and I had a damned good gift for the pirate gift exchange this year.

Ugh. I sound fucking whiny. I hate that. So let’s wrap the whininess up in a moral: Be careful what you wish (or don’t wish) for, especially when wishing upon the Christmas star. Yes, my eyes look very festive (red and green), but nobody’s gonna get to see them, save for my mirror. So send a little positive, healing energy my way this holiday season, if you can spare any.

Oh! One positive thing that came out of all this: when I woke up Monday and the eye grossness hadn’t gone away, I called my MD. Her office’s voicemail told me she’d moved away, and the number it gave me was a dead-end. So I trekked to a Walk-in Clinic I had visited this summer (and looked cleaner than the one nearest my house). A really nice doctor diagnosed me, and I explained my “My doctor abandoned me!” predicament. She told me that while she wasn’t officially accepting new patients, she’d take me on. So, hooray! Pink Eye got me a new awesome doctor! Maybe my body was telling me that it was time to stop avoiding the doctor and get a check up . . . hmmmmmmm.

I will keep you posted on the saga of eye goo, and what my Christmas will look like . . . hopefully not me on my couch watching Christmas movies ad nauseam, as fun as that would be on, say, a random Tuesday night . . . like tonight. Holiday Inn is on AMC. It’s the movie that debuted the song “White Christmas”. Most people think it originated in the movie “White Christmas”, but most people are WRONG! Musical Theatre Encyclopedia strikes again.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, and a blessed Winter Solstice to you all.

Source: bing.com via Kelly on Pinterest

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Day 6 – I’m Baaaack.

Still a phlegmy, greasy, probably smelly (I wouldn’t know, my nose is clogged) mess, but can string enough words together to make semi-legible sentences, so I figured I’d blog.

“5 Foods”

The dregs of my quinoa stash . . .

So I could have gone so many different ways on this one . . . 5 fear foods, 5 favorite foods, 5 anorexic staple foods (are there 5? Diet soda, vegetables, egg whites, coffee . . . air?). But I decided to take a different route. So here are

“5 Foods That Are Awesome, That I Either Re-discovered or Discovered For The First Time While Working On Recovery”

Although I understand why they didn’t put that one on the 10-day-challenge list I “borrowed”.

1. Quinoa. Such a versatile little pseudocereal. Lots of protein, and can be eaten as part of a savory meal, in place of rice or something along those lines, or as a breakfast dish, like oatmeal.

2. Oatmeal. Dear world: Steel Cut Oatmeal is so much better than anything from a box. It has SO much protein, and it’s so much more fun making your own flavors than whatever Quaker comes up with.

3. Yogurt. There is so much more to yogurt than fat-free, sugar-free, 30 calorie yogurt-like substances. The first time I tried Greek yogurt, I fully cried. I had no clue food had that much flavor.

4. Hummus. (always best when pronounced as though you are of Middle-Eastern descent) Chick peas blew my mind when they first got added to my meal plan, but that was nothing until I tried Sunflower Kitchen‘s Roasted Garlic and Onion hummus. My reaction, had there been anyone around to hear it, may have been something along the lines of “HOLY FUCK! WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS AND WHY IS IT SO FUCKING AMAZING?” I had only just switched from my chick peas, lemon juice and garlic powder in a blender version to REAL hummus, and wasn’t aware I’d purchased a flavored variety. AMAZING.

5. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. This was the most recent addition to my meal plan. Not gonna lie, kinda terrified me, but holy hell was it good. I know this, because it tasted good even though I have limited taste-ability, thanks to the stuffy nose. Note to dieters: Fat-free processed cheese slices on dry, toasted bread does not a grilled cheese make. The real kind, while shocking, is so amazing. I can’t promise it will be on my regular meal rotation (fear still edges things out sometimes), but it will definitely make regular guest appearances.

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Sick leave . . .

 

Taking a break today from my 10 Day Challenge due to being sick in bed . . . well, sick on couch for the time being. Back tomorrow, cold-permitting.

*image not mine. Found it on stumbleupon

 

 

 

 

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