By the yard it’s hard, by the inch, what a cinch

When I was a child, I was in Patch the Pirate Club, as well as had a couple Patch the Pirate cassettes. Simply put, Patch the Pirate is a MAJOR NAME in Children’s Christian Music, especially in the fundamentalist Christian sect. Patch aims to teach values, not only of faith, but also of morals and character. I actually know songs about loving broccoli and cleaning my plate, about not being a wiggle worm, and many other things that really call for another blog entry. But there are a few songs that have stuck out with me, so here is the first I’m going to write about. I may write others, I may not.

“When mountains tower ragged and high,
rise to the challenge, look to the sky
Trust in the Lord, and start to climb,
Reach for the goal one step at a time

Little by little, inch by inch
By the yard it’s hard, by the inch what a cinch
Never stare up the stairs but step up the steps
Little by little, inch by inch.”

I think this is a powerful message and absolutely profound in a simple children’s song. When I think of mental illness recovery, be it from depression, an eating disorder, bipolar, borderline personality disorder, self injury… when I think of recovery, so often it IS a mountain towering, ragged and high. It’s overwhelming when we first look at it. But when we step back and take it little by little, inch by inch, it’s so much easier. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be in treatment. Months? Years? It’s unknown at this point in recovery. But I do know I take it little by little.

If it means when my eating disorder is in full force, and all I eat for the day is a sandwich and drink some tea, that’s little by little. Each day, I can add a bit more food, be it a side, be it another sandwich if sandwiches are my current “safe” food, etc. If my depression is in full force and I don’t want to leave the apartment, much less my bed, I can take it little by little. Be it just getting up, taking a shower, and getting dressed. I don’t necessarily have to go DO anything, but taking the step to get up is a progress. And that’s the thing – progress is a process. It’s something we do little by little, inch by inch.

I think that it’s important to know that recovery happens. It’s possible. But sometimes, it’s overwhelming. Sometimes I feel like finding the right medication combination is never going to happen. Sometimes I feel like therapy is going nowhere, sometimes I feel like progress is being made, sometimes I feel like I’m backsliding and for each step I’ve taken, I’ve gone back twelve.

But that’s not the point. The point is I’m trying. The point is I’m living. The point is that every time I make a good life choice, however small, however insignificant it seems at the time, it’s a step toward recovery, even if it’s just an inch, even if it’s not even quite an inch yet.

The point is I’m moving. The point is I’m getting there. The point is, little by little, I’m working my way towards there. I’m “reaching for the goal, one step at a time.” And by taking lots of little steps, maybe one day, I’ll overcome. And yes, I’ll reach that goal one step at a time.

These secrets are walls that keep us alone

Sometimes I wish I were someone other than me
Fighting to make the mirror happy – Bethany Dillon

I hate it. I hate how every day is a battle. I hate how  every frick-fracking meal is a battle. Even one BITE is a battle. It’s a fight. It’s a war. It’s an all out battlezone against myself. I didn’t chose this, though some days I wish I had because then I could just chose for it all to be over. Some days I wish it was more of a choice, because then I could just chose not to be this way. Chose not to live in this hellhole. Chose not to live in this torment inside my head for every meal, every bite, every time.

And soon, obsessing over food and meals and bites becomes not enough. Certain foods can’t touch each other. Certain foods can. Certain foods are okay to eat. Others aren’t (gluten allergy not withstanding). And the obsession and control spreads out. Certain numbers are okay. Others aren’t. And everything becomes a downward spiral of control and spins wildly out of control. And I can’t just snap out of it. I can’t just stop being anal. I can’t just cowboy up.

How I wish I could! How I wish I could just get over it. How I wish I could just start eating again. How I wish it was just that simple! I want it to be like that. I want it to be like that. I wish I could eat without my head tormenting me. I wish I could eat without such torment, such inner anguish. I hate it, I hate every bit of it.

I don’t want to be like this. At times, I find myself thinking that I wish I hadn’t chosen to have an eating disorder then I want to whack myself upside the head because who the hell does? No one chooses to have an eating disorder. It’s a psychological illness, just like depression or anxiety or a post traumatic stress disorder. And it’s not my fault. I can chose to get help and chose to overcome it, but it doesn’t change the fact it makes every day a struggle, every minute a fight.

And I hate myself for it. I hate myself for the fact that I was dealt this deck, on top of my medical problems, on top of my trauma past, on top of everything else. I hate myself for who I am today, even though none of it is my fault and it isn’t rational, I still hate so deeply although I know it isn’t right. Kinda screwed up but I guess it’s part of the cycle, part of how it goes.

I hate who I am. I hate who I’ve become. I hate what these thoughts have done to me.

i don’t remember the first time i felt unbeautiful, the day i chose not to eat

It’s funny the impact just eating has on me. It’s a natural human process. It’s something we have to do to survive. And yet, it’s something that I struggle with and that tears me apart.

I had a good dinner tonight. Best I’ve had in quite awhile. And because of that, I’m still awake even though it’s 2 am. My brain won’t be quiet. Lord knows it’s a good thing I ate as my weight is the lowest it’s been in years. Lord knows I need the calories and nutrients.  But it’s difficult.

I know I’ve lost weight lately. I know I should care more about getting food into my system. But it’s difficult to muster up the willingness to care. It’s difficult to get food into me. I don’t know what I’m going to have to do to get myself to eat. It’s terrifying, really, the way this disorder, this sickness controls me.

I don’t want to be this way, but I don’t know how to be any other. And frankly, to cross to the other side is terrifying. To recover. To be healed. To be whole. It’s kind of a paradox because I don’t want to get better yet I want to. I want to yet I don’t now how. What if I don’t like being healthy? What if I gain too much weight? What if I flip to the other extreme and start eating too much?

And now it’s approaching 3. And I still can’t sleep. And it’s taken me THIS long to write this short of an entry. But why? I don’t want to finally meet the diagnostic criteria for anorexia, because on one hand while I feel ED-NOS is “not legit”, I know it is. I know that you don’t have to be severely underweight to die or have serious health effects from an eating disorder.

But at the same thing… it’s kind of like a verse in the Bible. “The things I don’t want to do I do, the things I want to do I don’t.” It just feels that I get trapped. Completely Trapped.

And  I don’t now what to do. It’s hard because I’m having a bad PTSD night. It’s well after 3 am, everyone is asleep. Everyone, that is, but me. Because I’m scared to sleep. Because I’m afraid of what will happen if I sleep. Because being scared to sleep as a child is still ingrained in me. because I’m still at my core, terrified.

Because reason says I should have died three years ago

I am told that it is nothing short of a miracle I am alive, be it by the circumstances of life or be it by my own hand. I am told that many other people in my shoes would be homeless, would be drug addicts, would be drunkards. That I shouldn’t be alive due to medicine mixups, ailments, and various things I have.

At the same time, I’ve been told that if I just had more faith I would be healed. If I just believed I could overcome, things would be better. The truth is, I’ve accepted things to be the way they are. It doesn’t mean I don’t channel my energy in recovery. What it does mean is like in the serenity prayer, I accept the things I cannot change and must have the courage to change the things I can.

Oh look, I can climb the twisty thing!

Just because I’ve accepted my disabilities, I feel, doesn’t mean that I’ve let them pull me down. I’ve really beaten incredible odds. I’ve overcome so much. I still have much to overcome. I know that due to genetics my general health will continue to demolish itself. I know that if I try to push myself, believing if I just do a little better I can overcome, I will wind up making things a bazillion times worse. To focus on what I cannot do would be foolish. I can play on playgrounds, I can wade in the water. I can take walks. I can so much! Why pull myself down by  bashing myself?

I can play in the water!

I can’t control what my father did in the past and I can’t deny the impact it has with me today. I can control how I choose to act on the result. I can’t control the fact that I’m disabled for likely life, but I can choose to accept it and make the best of my life, no matter how long or short it is. The important thing is that I keep on keeping on, and instead, continue to defy odds. Continue to shoot down the ones who say I can’t make it. You know what? I may not make it in the traditional sense. But it doesn’t mean I have to give up hope, that I have to quit at life. Instead, it fuels me to go forward, propels me to keep swimming (even though, well, I can’t swim) and gives me a reason to survive.

And if you care to find me, look towards the western sky
As someone told me lately, everyone deserves a chance to fly
And if I’m flying solo, at least I’m flying free
To those who ground me take a message back from me!
Tell them how I’m defying gravity, I’m flying high, defying gravity…
Wicked – “Defying Gravity.”

Starving for Control

There’s many things in life I cannot control. When I was 17, a lot of things that were out of my control happened. My private Christian school closed down, mere weeks before the start of the new school year. My health wasn’t all that great. I had poor coping skills then, so I lapsed back into cutting and my eating disorder. It started at an even younger age, but it started getting bad then. I wasn’t happy, although I tried my hardest to act like I was. It was terrible.

You’d never guess I was hiding fresh cuts and living with depression..

You’d never know, never guess, never dream that I was suffering from depression. It wasn’t my personality – I was the bright, bubbly girl who laughed a lot, seemed loved and well-adjusted, and seemed to have many friends. But at the same time, I was crippled with depression. I was starving for control, as a way to control my out of control life, out of control emotions, as a way to try and steer the roller coaster we call life. It seemed like a good idea, at the time, to control my weight. To control my eating. To control everything I could within my power, even if it wasn’t beneficial, even if it wasn’t happy. For by sabotaging myself like that, at least wen everything fell apart it was my fault and somehow, it’s easier to swallow the pill of everything sucking if I can blame myself versus being perfectly innocent.

I find myself still in the state these days. To the point where my eating is to the point where I don’t even want to get weighed. It feels like this:

So literally, I start starving for control. Even though it would make more sense to control my eating sensibly,
 it’s not that simple. Body image is a huge problem for me, not eating serves as a form of self injury when I’m in a state where I can’t relapse into cutting, and it’s just one feeble way I could control. I could control my video games. I could control my Sims. I could control my pokemon.

I have a headache. Why are you dragging me into this?

I feel like I’m trapped. That this has become an addiction, and what I was controlling now controls me. What I struggle to hard to keep control of just sends me further into despair, anger, rage, pain, angst. I just feel so helpless at how badly out of control things have gotten, and I just want to reign in control again…

Though it won’t be today, some day I’ll hope again

It’s kind of funny of how what once I controlled now controls me  What I once used as a way to control what was spinning so rapidly out of control now controls me. It doesn’t matter anymore how little I weigh, all that matters is that the pounds drop off. It doesn’t matter that just eating lunch or supper or a snack should be easy, it’s a fucking battle. I can’t tell you how many times I open the fridge, the freezer, the cabinet, and start crying from the thought of having to eat.

Eating is a natural thing, it’s something we all have to do. And yet… I can’t. It’s not as simple as just eating something, it’s not as simple as just getting better. I don’t know how to do. I don’t know how to eat normal. I don’t know how to find the balance. I can’t find the reasons to hope, to hold on, to hang in there, to eat.

It’s at the point where it’s not really about weight in some ways – it’s a game I can play with myself, it’s a form of self injury, it’s a method of control. It doesn’t help that I have to avoid certain foods for health reasons, it makes eating that much harder. What if I screw up and get glutened? What if I make myself sick? Why do I eat anyway? Why do I keep fighting?

I hate this eating disorder. I feel like it’s eating me alive, inside and out. And that I cannot hope, dream, wish, or keep fighting as long as I have it… and I hate it.