“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.

Image result for after all this time always gif

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

This term has been around my body and percolating for the 12 years whereby I have had no period.  Hypothalamic Amenorrhea: a state I’ve talked about in previous posts is when the body perceives external threats to be such that it preserves life by shutting down peripheral processes.

I believe that parts of me survived by fight/flight/freeze in response to past trauma.  Now, their habitual tendencies latch on whenever they perceive outside experiences as outside their realm of coping.

Bring in addiction.  Addiction to this state of stimulation is what I feel.  And as I’m becoming more aware of this state in my life, I am speaking more about it.  I have come across people on the Squamish Chief, in cafe’s around Cumberland and now Squamish, in the therapy room for sure, in the library.  After chatting, they can relate to the feeling of ease and comfort with being “turned on”.

I believe that addiction is a universal term.  I believe that my own path is this:  the more I live out of automation, haste, anxiety, the more I feel the need to detach myself from the actions and ensuing choices that just don’t seem to align with my subconscious virtues.

Do you understand or relate to this?   I know the “that’s not my hand!” feeling when it’s almost as if you’re watching someone that isn’t you, do things?

night eating

 

This is the act of living outside of the present moment and being disconnected from yourself.  I believe that the more I feel threatened, the more I am living numbed.  The more I live numbed, the more I make choices that don’t make me feel aligned and the more I want to numb.

Vicious cycle.

It’s in details like:

  • when an injury/pain arises (I wasn’t listening to my body, I wasn’t in-tune)
  • when I crave an ice-cold shower (repenting, compensating, punishment)
  • when I CRAVE.  Straight up, just crave.  It could be anything, but it is noticeably charged
  • when I get a migraine (probably from undernourishment)
  • when I feel lonely or a sense of “ennui” (I didn’t seek out the support I needed because I was preoccupied with the insanely energy-consuming task of tending to my anxieties, my anxiety experience in general, busying myself and exhausting myself subconsciously as a way to escape and run away from the pain)
  • Bloat, gas, discomfort in digestion, GERD, IBS: food choices as a source of coping vs intuitive nourishment.
  • Excessive and obsessive skin picking in the bathroom mirror. (hot/cold flashes, sometimes self-inflicted, leaving my insides seeking a release)

This is a big realization for me.  That the remedy as the yogis have always said, the very definition of Yo-Ga (oneness, mind-body, connection), is to tune into myself.

I actually want to have a harmonious relationship with myself, my body-mind.

I want to feel my body.

I’m actually fully writing this in the library bathroom right now because I am having some gut-issues (lingering antibiotics “hangover” of diminished gut flora).  I feel that when my digestion is off, I run around in a hurried state because of the utter confusion that ensues and the choices that I make after it: food choices that make me body more confused, energy fluxes, emotional upheaval.

That’s it: confusion.

Confusion from the disconnect from my body, mind and soul.  Uncertainty is a state that can be peaceful if I am present with it, present fully in my body with it.  But the honest and imperative remedy is to be connected with myself.

(Breath is huge in this journey.  HUGE)

Namaste. Or something.

An Open Letter of Apology

This is for myself, for you, for my parents, bro, friends.

Kelly Boaz, an Eating Disorder warrior now providing Holistic Nutrition counselling for those struggling, once told me that post-recovery (from any form of addiction or coping), comes a reintroduction of the real self to all- to the world.

I’m coming back.

(Also sorry for the camera angle…iunno…”YOLO”?)

Comparative Suffering

“Let’s compare scars and see who’s is worse.”

That’s a song lyric I remember.  I’ve been humming on this for some time, especially in this stage of accepting trauma.

A couple of trauma definitions:

Trauma:  any situation that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope.

“Trauma is a breach in the protective barrier against stimulation leading to feelings of overwhelming helplessness.” – Sigmund Freud 

I love the above definition that I heard while watching a podcast from Molly Boeder Harris because it can relate to any barrier; emotional, physical, mental, that makes us feel like we’ve been robbed of our sense of safety within ourselves.  It’s a breach into our sacred space that people shouldn’t be coming into.   This breach affects the brain and leads to a specific set of symptoms: trauma.

These definition encompasses so many things; from sexual abuse (a subjective experience), to surgery, to parents who weren’t able to attend to their child’s needs, to bullying, emotional abuse, emotional neglect, birth trauma (for both baby and parents), loss, a physical injury, natural disaster, witnessing horrific events/violence (often invalidated by the person experiencing, because they justify that it didn’t happen to them), etc.

What is especially important here is that the physiological response is very real, and the experience is subjective.  Molly talks about a book called “The Body Keeps the Score”, and the title in itself is enough to explain how the body keeps in it the trauma, muscle memory is so real (ever get some kind of massage, or move in a certain way, go in a stretch, and have “a case of the feels”?).  The body remembers trauma, deep in our tissues, whether we know it or not, it stores it inside our subconscious.

Did you know that it wasn’t until up until the 80/90’s that babies weren’t administered anaesthesia because it was believed that they didn’t feel pain?  The body remembers that.

One of the questions answered in this podcast was about whether there was a gage of trauma severity: to see if one traumatic experience was worse than another.  (to which Molly applauded and expressed was a passionate topic of hers to discuss).

Trauma is trauma: Molly explains, “We’ve created a hierarchy within our understanding of trauma which has neglected a lot of people’s needs and leads to a lot of self-blame, shame, of  ‘Well, I didn’t go to war…all I did was have a really terrible surgery, so why am I so messed up, it could’ve been so much worse, what happened to me!?'”

Or with sexual abuse, maybe there was only verbal harassment not contact, but the person has all of the symptoms of someone who was raped.

With trauma, it’s not about the event, but how the person experienced the event, what resources were or were not available after the event, what was the relationship to the person or the environment.  All these factors matter, not only the main traumatic event.

One trauma is not comparable to another.  One is not “worse” than another.  It’s so unique to each person’s experience.

This is big for me because I often invalidate my own experience of trauma, and so many other people do too.  This is why we get stuck inside the trauma and this is why I’m having a time moving forward: it’s hard to acknowledge my trauma (I’m having a hard time even writing this.)  But it’s time.

So that’s that.  No trauma is worse than another; the physiological and psychological expressions in the body are the same.  So here’s a cheers to compassion for all.

Myself included.

 

I’m allowed to BE (and so are you)

I had an interaction yesterday with my brother that left me feeling sad, hurt, frustrated, and my innate need was to internalize it and restrict and stay SMALL.

Bitch please.

No more.

I am a professional fucked up Human Being.

–and I’m evolving mannnn, I’m sharing my story and I’m healing.  I sat in the pain, I looked at it.  I’m processing it.

Basically, his words left me feeling like I’m such a fuck up, that I’ve ruined his life, and that I should never have been born.  That I don’t deserve to be alive, healthy, thriving.  Innately, it made me crave my escapist self-punitive coping mechanisms; restriction and self-deprecation.  I felt guilty, ashamed. Honestly, whether or not his implications were that, IT IS HOW I FELT, and that is TOTALLY ok!

Instead of doing any of the above self-punishment, I sat, I called my dad and used his loving space as a place to express my feelings. I journalled.  I ATE. I made this video today to process the emotion and share my current insight from the feels.

Here it is:

“Ever feel like an imposition?
I’ve realized I don’t need to validate my needs to feel. I was born dis way, already allowed to BE. No need to justify BEING!”

Namasthe, motherlovers.

The Universal Root of Addiction

Holy shit.

I am a little bit of “holy shit”, and I say that amicably.  Yesterday, I approached a gentleman smoking at a cafe and bluntly invited him to punch me in the neck via nosily asking him why he smokes.

You see, I’m fascinated about the nature of addiction, (even The Man, Gabor Mate expresses in that vid that he has a hard time stopping a meal…and experiences “fear of end of meal”-syndrome, #nahmean?) and I offered amicable banter via an inquiry about his attraction to smoking, when he knows it’s not good for him. ( I was clear about my intentions being directly reflecting my own addictions with food.)

We chatted, my neck was spared, (thanks, man) and he was a rad warrior of a human being.  His story was great, having battled addiction in life.  He said he was aware of the dangers of smoking, just as I am aware of the dangers of restriction.  He is enlisted to quit, and he damn sure will.  He said that his battles of addiction stem from an avoidance of pain. (long story short bc aintnobodygottimeforlongblogposts…similar to when looking for a recipe online…and the “prologue” to the ingredients is a novel….bloggers who have the “skip to recipe” button are angels).

My blog post about wanting to feel my pain was big emotionally, and now after speaking with him, I’ve realized what Bulimia served, and what Anorexia is serving for me now: as much as my being is craving to feel my pain, there is a part of me that is equally as resistant to feeling it.  Man, Anorexia is serving to keep me out of presence for the exact reason of avoiding pain.

Honestly, I can’t believe that this is hitting me now as awareness.  I’ve read about this so many times, but it totally just clicked yesterday, not too dissimilar from how you “just click” when you learn how to find your stroke in swimming. You just click that “downward dog” is the pose that dogs really do….maybe that was just me….took me a while…or that dogs are in a permanent push-up position…Life’s so strange that way, that we can read things so many times, but when they “click” it’s like a veil is lifted, it’s like a good poop.

And so, I called a good friend last night as I finished dinner still hungry.

I realized that when I restrict, it’s because I’m pretty damn good at controlling so that I’m just undernourished enough to be able to plan my next meal, to routinize and “time-fill” because if I am sated and present, fuck, I don’t know what I’ll do with myself.  There’s almost this non-reality of living in a haze when I’m still hungry, and it’s total numbing.  It’s non-rational thinking because my cells are in survival mode.  It’s a way of living under intoxication.

I don’t feel like I know myself, and I’m learning to love myself.  I am so scared to sit with a full belly, probably bloated (because eating disorders fuck with your gut- and no amount of kraut will heal that shit…it’s gotta come from inside, the seat of self-love, where I’ll no longer self-sabotage), knowing that I’ll be gaining weight, and in spite of it not being about the physical appearance, it’s the act of being in a state of treating myself well while respecting my needs.

I am scared to not punish myself.  I am scared to accept that I deserve to be healthy.  Omg, I’ve grown up my whole life feeling like a loser and I’m terrified to defy that belief.  I’m scared to sit with satiety and fight the inner voice that says I’m: gross, ugly, unworthy, useless…never good enough.

whoa

So today, I had a private swim training client, and it felt fucking good to be in my element like when I coached out in Vancouver.  I really “get” the swim technique, and I love helping other people.  She was so lovely, and it felt really good to be authentically in a healthy state of helping.  I’ve realized that I’ve been walking on eggshells in Anorexia and Bulimia, not living.  I’ve been waiting for life. I’ve been passing time in a numb state to Life, and that’s why my efforts to find my passion or a fucking job are useless because the initiatives aren’t authentic – they’re literally just a distraction until my next meal.  I haven’t been in a healthy state in so damn long, and the universebelike:

bitch please

Glennon Doyle Melton: huge.  If you want to learn more, these two videos were epic in my moments of realization yesterday.  If you have interest in these, watch them.  Please, for yourself.

Thank you Claire, and Deanne for passing them along and for the fucking amazing universe for this.

Sitting with fullness is going to fucking suck.  But you know what sucks more?  The idea of living this half-ass-one-cheeked-bony-bummed life for the rest of my existence.

And so to that life, I say, “Bitch please!”

Also: Sonya, my god, you made my day.  And a continued thank you for all the love, it’s mind-blowing.  Thank you for helping me fight, from my whole heart!

Please keep comments about my weight to yourself…

Yesterday, I met with a wise woman from the pool where I swim. She’s one of the aquafitters, and is really lovely.  I met her a few weeks ago after the blissful time where I am a fly on the wall of the commentary of the older women in the changeroom.  They honestly have the most amazing and hilarious banter, and I feel like I’m in the presence of such warriors – the insight and knowledge gained there is absolute GOLD.

We met, we chatted, and I realized that I am not acknowledging the pain I’ve been through.  The pain is serving me a purpose, and until I stare at it straight in all its glory, I won’t move on.  I want to feel the pain in a weird way – because for some reason it needs validation.  All feeling are so OK, but man, this pain, it wants to be seen, heard, acknowledged.

I realized this especially when I had a lovely visit from a family member wishing me a Happy Birthday today.  She is such a good loving support, but she commented on my weight, and my ego flared.  Honestly, I realized that it really fucking bothers me when people who have no idea what I’ve been through, and I mean really know the pain and suffering not only of Disordered Eating, but of what LED me to disordered eating in the first place.  So when someone comments on my weight, I get straight up pissed off. What right does anyone have to make a comment on the results of my pain, the physical manifestation of my coping.  Especially in their naivety… I think that as I acknowledge my pain, my ego flaring for this will pitter patter out.  I don’t want to react so much when this happens, and it’s bound to happen!  It comes out of concern, this I know.  But that makes it no less annoying when the deeper issues are so much more hidden and relevant than weight.  The weight is a symptom to an inner cause, an inner unrest.

So this new insight leads me to more self-therapy:

 That is to observe my pain, to meditate on my suffering.

I did this last night and it was ok.  I have been through some messed up shit.  I’ve been bullied, I’ve had guys emotionally and physically abuse me, I’ve had parents who didn’t know how to love me, even with all their might and effort, I’ve been spanked growing up, I’ve been timid as fuck and grown up feeling like everything I do is wrong – that “I am wrong, I am bad.”, shaking this shit is hard.  I internalize it and self-punish.  I watch it.  This is hard, this is really hard.  I don’t want to face this stuff.  But the pain wants to be seen.  Just like want to be seen, heard, acknowledged for my struggle.

Honestly, I’ve always felt like my shit’s illegit.  Like, “there’s dying kids in Africa, Mel, camman get your shit together.” is my self-talk.  But fuck, enough, I am allowed to feel my pain and to acknowledge it and to self-sooth and be gentle with myself.  I deserve to wallow in self-pity for a bit as I accept this shit as my journey, and stroke my own hair.  I’m crying now as I type.  I am allowed to be kind to my process in healing, and deserve my own hug.  I give it to everyone else who is struggling with ANYTHING but never to myself.

ENOUGH!

I am putting myself through the ringer, because I think my mind is trying to give myself meaner and meaner and harder and harder pain to face to test myself with my limits, “how far will I go before I deserve to acknowledge my pain?  How much do I need to hurt?”

How many more 2AM hungry wake ups do I need.
How many more stress fractures?
How many more lonely nights, 8pm bedtimes of isolation?
How many more bloating tummies and heartburn-burps?
How many more tears?
How many more atoms of calcium to seep from my bones?
How many more days without a period, (I want a little Mel in form of my own child to one day be on this earth!)
How many more days without letting myself be around people, to travel, to WORK, to date!

dwight yelling

I know I joke a lot, but I’ve had enough joking about my struggle.  It’s real, and I’m validating it right here, right now.  I’ve had enough.

There it is.  I want this shit seen.

And then, I want to move the fuck on.  I want to acknowledge the pain, look at it in the face, because man, I’m strong enough, and then I want to put it behind me and move on.  I want to help others to acknowledge and self-validate what they’re feeling so that the shit doesn’t get swept under any rug.

And please for god’s sake, don’t comment on my damn weight.