“I Couldn’t help it”

Have you ever said this to yourself, after maybe eating too much, picking at your skin, biting your nails, sleeping with your ex, sleeping in, compulsively waking up at 5am again to jump on your bike (I know this isn’t just me), drinking that extra glass of wine, smoking that doobie?

Maybe it’s not your fault. Maybe it’s not my fucking fault.

I think that through running away and distracting our(my)selves, we lose our connection with our own needs.  We run around, work late, “forget to eat”, get neck spasms from being glued to the screen.  We lose ourselves.

Then, when our body comes back to yell at us, we’re fucking famished, we’re thawing from numbness and itchy.  Itchy and unconscious.

Itchy and unconscious.

Itchy and unconscious. I’ll say it again.  When we feel depleted, unknowing as to why or what we need, we cope.  We need to fill again that void, a seemingly sourceless void that is hungry.  Hungry for nourishment.

  • Love
  • Connection
  • Some mother fucking nutrients
  • Support
  • Creative expression
  • Outlet for release
  • TO FEEL

(Wo)man, doesn’t it feel somewhat comforting and safe to be numb?

Parts of me feel like it’s a warm blanket.
♬ I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety ’til I sank it ♬

Hey Amelia Boone if you ever read this #jahbless firstly, secondly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUgwM1Ky228

These lyrics are so damn good and bang:

We go to the doctor, we go to the mountains
We look to the children, we drink from the fountain
Yeah, we go to the Bible, we go through the work out
We read up on revival, we stand up for the lookout
There’s more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
And the less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine

So, back to when it hits us, the body no longer will be silenced.  So, we eat too much, we cope with whatever drug we choose: a cig, a J, a beer or 5, a run or 5, etcetcetc.  And for me, when I get to this state, the yuck scary space of overwhelm with feelings, they rush in unsilenceable, like when you cut yourself shaving and the bleeding just doesn’t stop.  Fuck, you are on a ride of pain and it doesn’t end till it does.  You gotta ride it out, one giant wave of overwhelm.

The jump from numb to being overflowing is huge, and it’s terrifying.

This is when the excess asks for dissipation through whatever accessible means we can grab.  ANYTHING.

Ok, so now what?  Left bloated, drunk, high, bloody, now what?

Enter guilt and shame.  The worst.  These two are also scary emotions.  So, the innate thing to do for us to feel safe again is to disconnect further, to numb because these are scary and unpleasant feels.

I don’t know about you, but when I skin pick, or eat brussels sprouts (and aioli) till I’m 16 weeks preggers, I am definitely not interested to sit with myself, gently, compassionately.  Ho wanna run, (wo)man!

img_8244And this has been my cycle for a hell of a long time.  And it’s exhausting.  And the thing is, behind the pain and noise, is my soul’s voice, quietly and ever-presently there telling me to come back to myself.

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The cycle breaks eventually.
That’s it that’s all.
“To sit with the shit”, as say the yogis and #Bae Pema Chodron, that’s eventually what we learn, when numbing no longer works.  When our bodies say “No”.

And, sweetheart, also: it’s not your fault.

Namaste.

Stress-addiction

When do you experience these?

  • high heart rate
  • thinking about the next thing to do
  • frenzied rushing
  • furrowed brow
  • night sweats
  • “stuck” breathing
  • overwhelm
  • frequent peeing
  • immobilization, feeling like you’re moving through a barricade of peanut butter
  • indigestion
  • picking your nails, skin, scalp, toes, body
  • indecision

I feel these things daily.  I have become normalized to them.  Habituated to the extent that I seek them out, and feel very uncomfortable if I am comfortable.

This brings comfortably numb to a whole new level.

I honestly believe that along the lines of survival coping through trauma, my mind has created and implemented ways to disconnect from presence (from myself) so that I could continue surviving.  Past-trauma-shit.

These states listed above serve to disconnect me further, keep me numb.  When last week my body said “NO” in halting me with an ingrown toenail so painful that I had been taking advil nightly and resorted to antibiotics due to infection after a month of sleepless cold-sweats and throbbing, I was so full of feelings that I didn’t know what to do.  I still don’t know what to do, and so I am still waking up to do a bike ride then a hike after breakfast every single day.

I further it with now for the past 3 Squamish Chief hikes, timing myself from the start of the stairs to the metal staircase before the summit (34mins/ 31:45/ 30:34 <– #hadmelike holy fuck.).  It’s a catch-22 because there’s ying and yang to it; after the yang of the hike, I can exhale at the top of the Chief and cry a little as I observe, just observe the world up there.

orendawellness May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you — beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.
– Edward Abbey

And so, it’s tough because I haven’t had my period due to Hypothalamic Amenorrhea for 12 years.  Because my body is protecting itself for life because my stress and cortisol level allostatically is too high such that it attempts to preserve physiological functions to minimize peripheral energy, and the risk of bringing a child into an unsafe and subjectively perceived, threatening environment.

Fuck.

Also fuck: gut-brain connection is reflected in me being 3-days off the high dose of antibiotics now for my toe, and I’m pooping like 10x a day…this is bullshit.  Literally and figuratively.  I’m taking a high dose of probiotics now, but feel the effects of a sad gut microbiome as it depletedly, defeatedly attempts to digest food.   Maybe my life brought me to this to learn to adapt and listen to what my body is actually craving in terms of nourishment; maybe Ho can’t do all those Brussels sprouts anymore….time for Sattvic dal? But aha, the stress addiction cycles because again, part of me doesn’t want calm-inducing foods – it craves the coffee, the acidic, the olives salsa wasabi Sriracha etc.  Whoa.

Where to go from here?
I feel like I’ve been aware for so long, but theory only takes a body so far.  Then to feel, holy shit, to feel, that’s a whole new kind of Next Level Shit.

Anyone feel me?

A “Human” Professional

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Hi, my name is Melanie, and I’m a recovered Bulimic, and recovering Anorexia Nervosa monkey-minded human being.
I’ve sat with crippling depression, anxiety, and taken laxatives while scared shitless of the idea of imperfection.
I’ve run trails in a healthy state, and I’ve also gone to morning swim practice in Uni while probs still drunk from the bar having come home a couple hours before.
I’ve aced papers, and I’ve also retaken courses.
I’ve googled ways to purge, tried many, and I’ve searched the shit out of the internet about how to heal.
I’ve gone to India to become a certified Yoga instructor, and I’ve pranayama’d the shit out of datstuff.
I’ve traveled across the world to New Zealand and am now a certified Holistic Nutritionist.
I’ve been a vegetarian, I’ve done Paleo, I’ve hashtagged #lchf like it’s going out of style, and I’ve been a devout “I Quit Sugar” spokesperson.
I’ve gone from eating full tubs of sugar-free/fat-free yogurts with 8 packets of TwinSugar in one sitting, to beef jerky.
I’ve found that food isn’t as important as the emotions behind it, and that sugar is OK.
My beliefs have changed more times than pugs fart (and they fart a lot….#teamantipugs).
I’ve learned that you can’t hate yourself into a version of yourself you can love, and that you can’t find yourself in New Zealand, or anywhere other than inside yourself, for that matter.
I’ve learned that happiness has no correlation to your pants size, bra size, or bathing suit size.
I’ve learned that being present is the most important part of life, and that awareness brings solace in darkest of times.
I’ve observed myself self-numbing, escaping, and also sitting right with pain; a bloated belly post-binge, an emotional smack in the face after a sexual abuse, a stress fracture from literally running away from myself.
I’ve honoured and dishonoured myself, and I’ve fluxed the shit out of life.
And through it all, I am exactly where I am today, flawed as ever, and loving myself anyways and always.

No one is perfect, and no one will ever be a “certified perfect professional”, in my humble opinion.

I’m certainly not, and this by no means takes away from the ability for someone to have a gift to help, myself, or anyone else.  In fact, the warriors with battle wounds, healed and healing are the ones I connect with and trust the most.

I’ve been afraid of sharing my story lately, uncensored, because of the stigma of mental health shame, and the thought of being unhirable in flaw.

Fuck.
That.
Shit.

This is me, there’s you, let’s do this shift.

Bang Head Here

Grasping: the act of holding on to something, anything, under the belief that it’s the answer to all problems. 

What do I grasp for when I feel dis-ease?

  • Can’t run? At least I can ride.
  • Can’t find peace in Toronto? At least there’s other space in the world.
  • Rain? Indoor trainer.
  • Out of coffee? Go to cafe.
  • No wifi? I’ll use my data.
  • No eggs? I’ll buy some.
  • Didn’t get the job? Another one will come. 

Alternatives are great. There’s merit to adaptability, faith and trust.  My purpose in this post is about how this is all a form of filling a gap, filling a “supposed” gap. Filling space. But what happens if that space is left empty?

I’m filling space right now. My laptop’s broken, and I’m jonesin for my fingers to type in the search engine for the comfort of knowing I’m working towards finding a job on Vancouver island. So I’m writing about this feeling. I’m writing this on my phone as an alternative. 

Behind the filling of space to use my phone is the filling of space to find a job. I didn’t get the job I applied for in Tofino at The Homestead. The job was at a retreat centre where I would be a yoga instructor and holistic wellness practitioner. I allowed myself to feel like this job completed me. I felt pretty down after finding out that the retreat was shutting (had to laugh bc phone autocorrected that to shitting…) down for winter and there was no job for me. I was to be the hostess and caretaker of the place during the winter season as they’re an Airbnb. What really shook me, was the I got the call (e-mail….and I called back) after sharing my social media platform info which is not discrete about my journey in fighting Eating Disorder. 

And so, I felt like it might be that this was the reason for the decline of my position. I felt like💩.  Is mental health battling a reason for being unhirable? I asked if there was anything in my application that I should be aware of for future applications that may have been deferents for hiring. She said no.

You know what I did then? I went in my IG and took “ED Warrior” off my description. I only put it back on yesterday. 

What I realized: RIGHT NOW, I have everything I need to be the practitioner of my soul’s calling. Not when I get “the job”. Not if I eat _______. Not if I get 7.8K IG followers. But now. Any place I expend this energy in, is only a platform. But right now, this is me and I have all I need. So, damn straight I’m an ED warrior.

I can easily fill space, find alternatives with another job, a bike ride, a steak…but to sit with the space unfilled, damn. 

Can I bang my head now? I think I think too much.

I’ve saved a wicked (long….read it in #pigeonpose, very worth the read) article to share which expresses this concept. I highly recommend you read it: https://tinybuddha.com/blog/connect-with-yourself-in-a-world-designed-to-distract-you/

No grasping, trusting. No biking today, no “certainty”, no saviour in any alternative, only the beat of my own heart and breath right now. 

And everything is alright forever and forever and forever.

How to sit with a Binge

(starting this post with shameless self-promotion for my emotional eating workshop where Deanne and I will be sharing our insights and human honesty with our binge and emotional eating journeys)

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Was that a binge?

I’m letting myself eat.  I’m listening to my needs.  I’m realizing that even when there’s some kind of feeling telling me to nourish, even when I’m not in a state of being famished, I follow it.

Ever have what my friend once explained as “itchy teeth”?  She called it the feeling where you feel like munching on something but aren’t necessarily hungry.

It’s times like these where I have to tune into my gut, ask myself what I need.

What am I hungry for?

  • Connection?
  • Love?
  • Self-care?
  • Rest?
  • Creative expression?
  • Meaningful work?

Today, I finished lunch very aware of my craving for connection.

BUT: there are times, especially during this re-feeding, where I am actually physically needing nourishment, and in spite of my mind saying “You’ve had enough!”, body’s actually asking for nourishment.

My dear friend expressed herself after feeling like she’d overeaten, I asked her what part of her felt full, or like she’d binged.  She said her tummy wasn’t bloated, it felt comfortable and sated.  Her mind, on the other hand, didn’t want to believe that her body required that much food.

That’s the shit though, eh?  I’m hearing both voices, the mind and the soul when I eat.  I often feel like I can have an extra spoonful of peanut baetter, hummus, extra handful of nuts.  

And then, I’m full.

It’s a new feeling.

Sometimes I’m in shock at how much I am eating, and it fucking terrifies me.

My mind wants to flee, to distract, to numb.  I want to busy myself and get back to that feeling of being “in control” of how much I’ve eaten, or of how much I’ve decided my body needs.

How silly is that though!?  As IF my mind has enough say over how much nourishment my wise-ass body needs.

And so, fuck man, if I overdo it a bit, or if I’ve err’d on the side of a little too much, so what?  I’m not perfect!

The fear is in old ways of void-filling with overeating; bingeing and purging.  But my soul has found its own wisdom there to overcome that.  I’m tuning into all parts of myself; mind, body, soul.  I won’t dishonour my needs anymore.  Nor should you!

If you eat a piece of cake, or three, OK: it’s always OK–the key is to be so damn present and aware of the fact that you’re coping, that in your presence, you can be with yourself.  The whole way.  Man, that’s fucking powerful!

In the evenings, generally this is when my body speaks about if I’ve undernourished or not in the daytime.  This is when rules go out the window.  This is the scary time!  

You can’t trick your body into fake nourishment!

AMiRIGHT?!

There’s a reason for the fridge light…and nighttime #humancondition in form of binges.  This is when the body is like:  bitch please

“I’m still LE HUNGRY!”

This is when the body tries to play “catch up” with the under-nourishment, lack of nutrients, fasting.

So, it’s not willpower we lack.  It’s the idea that we can fool ourselves into in-authenticity, into being something we’re not.

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And the first things we try to do after feeling like we’ve overeaten, or if we have overeaten, or goddamn under-eaten for that matter – is run, is escape, is distract, numb: sex, self-pleasing, cigs, alcohol, work-addiction, drugs, even distracting with mindless media scrolling, which is fucked because of all the images of sculpted abs and the impossible flat tummy post-meal…we don’t want to face what our body is speaking to us.

BUT

This IS the pivotal moment to connect and to stop the binge cycle in the future!

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From Michelle Yandle Health

I’m sitting with it when I do it, I’m breathing, in lotus pose bc itsbetterfortheburps….I’m journalling.  I’m asking myself:

  • “was that too much?”
  • “Did I under-eat during the day? or even yesterday?”
  • “Did I turn away from another part of myself I needed?”
  • “Was I trying to fill a void?”

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And, after this reflection, know this:

This too shall pass.

It always does.  May we be wiser for next time.  Tune into our needs periodically so we don’t get hit with the headinthefridgesyndrome.

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I’m Moving to Victoria, BC! (and my nail is growing back) (and emotional eating workshop) shit that’s a lot

A couple of updates: I bought “by accident” a one-day ticket to Victoria, BC (where I’ve felt a damn calling for a loooooonnng time).

I’m hosting a workshop on Body Image and Emotional Eating on Sunday, Oct 15th at 1-2pm at TKVO on Dundas West, with my dear friend Deanne of My Empowered Body.

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I found a job posting on Facebook for a job that honestly hits me rightinthefeels for its fit for me.  I am sharing my application letter here, because it’s not only for this job, but for my calling in Life.  It’s a declaration of what I want to do with my life.  Rawr, here I go:

Job Description: The Organization: Providence Farm is a therapeutic farm nestled at the base of Mount Tzouhalem in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Since 1979, the Vancouver Island Providence Community Association, a registered charity and non-profit society, has been operating creative and innovative programs at the Farm for adults in the Valley with mental health issues, brain injuries and development challenges. 

I am moving to Victoria, BC on November 30th, and am looking for meaningful work in my field.  I found your job posting on Facebook and am feverishly keen to apply.
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist from a New Zealand-based program, a Certified Yoga instructor from an India-based program, and hold my undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario. I am an avid trail runner, and successful athlete.  I have a chronically green thumb, and am well knowledged in gardening from my blood-born generational teaching passed on from my Horticulturist father.  I am an endeavouring Holistic chef, and a warrior in mental health, having overcome Bulimia, Anxiety, Depression, and Anorexia Nervosa.
I am passionate about helping people, and have views in my future of a Holistic Wellness retreat centre, where nature plays an impactful role in healing.  This is one reason that your job posting hit my soul. I believe in the healing power of nature, and in having hands and feet in the earth.  The Japanese therapeutic practice of “Shinrin Yoku” or “forest bathing” is a practice I act on daily, and condone to all beings for a good life!  (This is a big reason for my move back out West, to continue facilitating my own healing.  To move to nature from the busyness and city life of Toronto where I am currently, and where I’ve grown up.)
I believe my purpose in life is to use the experiences I’ve had, along with my diverse education and knowledge gained to help facilitate people’s healing.
I’ve traveled extensively, often taking part in WWOOFING programs where permaculture is exchanged for room and board. I love this barter system and the wonderful people who I’ve met though it.  Benevolent souls are called to this realm of purpose, and I’ve been so grateful to be touched in my heart and my journey from many of them.
I’ve worked in many fields, from teaching yoga, Triathlon coaching, working at a cafe, competitive swim coaching, lifeguarding, working at a camp for kids with severe learning disabilities, to my own current endeavours at starting my own practice and business through Holistic Nutrition and life guidance.
I have an insatiable passion for self-study and development, especially around trauma-healing with regards to the psychological and physiological practices conducive of a healing practice.  In all of these positions, my passion has been deeply-cored in the one-on-one consultation aspect, and the emotional connection that is prevalent in all acts and is key to a healthy human being.  I integrate mind-body-soul techniques to bring awareness and mindfulness into everyday life, and to help people to reconnect with the present moment, and so, to themselves.
I feel as though our current society is flooded with overly-complicated and confounding consumption with distractions, and nature-soul-body connection is lost.  I believe my purpose in life is to help use my tools to catalyze healing in others.
I would be truly honoured to work alongside your team, and to have the opportunity to help others heal at Providence Farm.
I’ve attached my resume, and hope to hear from you.

(My resume is outdated, and I do apologize.  I have several postings and positions I’ve switched around and given the opportunity, I’d be thrilled to give more of my work experience).

I’m sharing this because it’s my statement to the universe, my pRoClAmAtIoN for my purpose.  May the “universe provide”, baby! #intentionsettingtingz

If anyone has any connections for work in this field out in themparts, please let a sis know, I am terrified and excited.  I’m ready to do my life’s purpose, or continue it.  I need a place to live, a good therapist for my emotional baggage (that can take me, I’ve been told before and now warn any therapist I see that I’m a tough cookie), and a jobskis.

So, since I bought my ticket, I’ve been fighting hard.  Honestly, I’ve been finishing meals NOT hungry. I’ve NOT been spending an hour in the bathroom after lunch waiting for my body to poop (an anxious reaction I am letting go of).  I’ve been wary of the external motivation for healing, but also am just renewed of my hope.  I am so excited for mountains, nature, people, to live.  I am letting go of the grip I’ve had around my own neck.  It feels like I can breathe, I’m starting to.
I just don’t give a shit anymore of the self-created struggle!
I am using the Eckharte Tolle technique of focusing on the presence of my hands, their simple presence, bringing attention to my body when my thoughts start spiralizing, and they always will.  Sometimes more than others, but feelings come and go like waves, right?  I’m accepting the highs and lows.
Yesterday, I swam, and the dude I’ve nicknamed “Thrasher look-a-like” was doggy-paddling in the FAST lane, and I swam into his heel–right in my (growing) BOOB slash pec and I’m pretty (frustratingly) fragile (styll) so, it hurt.  I was ANGRY.  I accepted the anger.  I talked to myself about it:
I’m angry. (what’s underneath this?)
I might not be able to swim tomorrow. (what’s underneath this?)
I’ll have to rearrange my training schedule when I already rode 2 days in a row and leggies are le tired…(what’s underneath this?)
I have to adapt, change from my expectations, let go of control. (what’s underneath this?)
I might have less of an intense workout.  I wanted to run on Saturday at the gym because my body is letting me run 30 mins on the dreadmill.(what’s underneath this?)
If my workout isn’t as good, then I am not in control.  I might not work as hard as I expect of myself. (what’s underneath this?)
I won’t feel as accomplished, as deserving. (what’s underneath this?)
THE FUCKING FACT THAT I FEEL LIKE I HAVE TO EARN, TO DESERVE SELF-CARE, SELF-LOVE, REST, FOOD! (WHAT’S UNDERNEATH THIS?!?!?!)
SELF LOVE ISN’T EARNED!  I DESERVE LOVE REGARDLESS!!!!! IDONTKNOWWHATWEREYELLINGABOUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH!
*****FOCUS ATTENTION ON THE PRESENCE OF MY PALMS OMMMMMM******
SO: this was the self-talk.  The intenseshits about this was that I finished lunch full – and after lunch, I was wiping the table and felt a tweak in the “boob”/pec.  A muscle niggle that was paining.  THIS made me angry.  I was angry because I was FULL AND I was angry.
Holy shit.
When I under-nourish, I am OK with feelings – anger doesn’t phase me as much.  It NUMBS.  It blunts the blow.  WAWAWEEWA.  My roommate put it this way: it’s almost like a competing pain, like, when you have a broken foot – your splinter doesn’t hurt as much.  Right?  Again, it’s an addictive coping mechanisms to numb feelings.
So instead, I sat with it.  
I didn’t like it, and today on my run, I felt constipated and crampy.  The feeling was stuck.  I am learning to process the feelings.  It’s new, it’s a process, and it’s the start.
I saw my WICKED physician yesterday way in the East end, and I have to say, she gives me hope for healthcare.  I love holistic healing and Eastern Medicine, and I also have opened my acceptance and appreciation for the healing power of Western Medicine too.  All are tools, to use sometimes, and others, other times.  Nothing is definite, nothing is permanent.
I ordered bloodwork and she PROPS’D me for this:
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This is a vulnerable one.
You know where that nail used to end? At my cuticle…That’s malnutrition…and I’m fighting it.  My nail is growing back.
Nuff said.
Please consider coming to my workshop if you feel called, it’ll be honest, it’ll be supporting, expressive, good juju.
Happy ThanksLiving!