Friday, April 29, 2011

Oh!

Wow. after so many weeks of searching, I finally found a place for some counseling and group meetings. I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but I guess just knowing I was having some unresolved issues continually pop into my brain made me consider a different route. I'm glad. It's something I can afford, because these people seem to understand that not everyone in Boulder is ultra rich. It was as simple as finding the right place, and, for some reason, because it's run by women, I already feel more comfortable seeking advice. I start next week, and I think it's a great move in the right direction.

I need to learn to not see things as all or nothing or black and white, which is odd to say, because my life tends to look more like Jackson Pollock than Robert Doisneau. I've learned about the gray areas when it comes to food and exercise, but I need to apply it to life in general. It's so often the way I feel or see things though, so it's a hard transition. Instead of trying to react to what I assume people want or think, it would make more sense to say what I think and act on that. Unfortunately, I don't seem to operate that way, and for some reason it seems so difficult to process things in the moment. I think it has a lot to do with fear. I'm afraid of how people will react, so it's sometimes easier to shove it down and let it simmer, until it pops out in bad and very wrong ways, of course. I generally need some time to see straight and think clearly, and I am generally pretty good about doing so after the fact, which is often too late.

I tend to live quite a lot in my head. That's when I become most obsessed, selfish and feel most alone. I should be asking myself where it is that my head is getting in the way, and where it is that reality exists. Often the lines are blurred in my world.

Lately, I feel like everyone can see my pain, not just from things recently, but from my past as well. It's in my eyes. I can see it too. It doesn't help that I'm having small outbursts where I can't seem to contain the tears, even though I'm really doing quite fine overall. I just have these moments. Sometimes I wish I could go to a warm beach and sit in the sun for a few days. I hate showing weakness, and ever since my surgery, I feel like it has been seeping out all over the place. I also feel like my brain has been spit out of a whirling emotional tornado.

I know I talk about my dad quite a lot here. I think it has to do with how he affected me and the way I am in the world. My mom sometimes says that he wrecked the lives of his kids and others as well. It’s all just hard to process. I know feeling like I didn’t have a fully functioning father made me afraid to let go of others who ended up stepping into my life. I generally keep people at a distance, and hang on to those few who scale over the first wall. I seem to crave any kind of stability in my life, even when I'm unconsciously pushing people away. It’s a hard thing to face. There were times that were so gut wrenching and traumatic for me, yet my dad, being drunk, didn’t remember. He also had this thing about never being able to apologize. One time when I was in the hospital for my eating disorder, my therapist suggested that my dad apologize to me for being drunk so much. I’m not sure if it was full blown denial or just not wanting to admit fault, but his response was something like, “I’m sorry she sees it that way.” This actually made me feel worse and even more discounted by him, but that’s as close to an apology as he would ever get. Maybe there's a little bit of that in me-not wanting to be wrong. I think mine has more to do with being afraid that people will think less of me when I am though. There’s something to be said about alcohol taking away the emotional response in a situation. All these vivid memories I have of how things went down were probably a distant blur to him. It makes me think that our relationship was very one sided, if that makes sense.


But it wasn’t just my dad that was a problem for me as a kid. I mentioned before that other kids teased me like crazy when I was little. A friend of mine and I were just talking yesterday, and he had a similar experience where he had this idea that he was fat. Looking back at old pictures, both of us can see that neither of us was fat, yet our self image had been formed by what these other kids were saying. To them it was probably mild teasing, but we took it to heart and incorporated it into our belief systems, as false as it all was.

Well, I’m just glad that I will be able to talk to someone. I haven’t done this in a really long time. I know I’m on a better path. Now if I could get past trying to fix the past, that would help. Whewww.

Heh. I don’t know why this video is on my mind today.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Good Lord!

I am PALE! I mean, I know I have always been pale, but weeks on end of biking inside have made me the color of a marshmallow. I need some sun. I also need some new clothes and some shoes to prepare for the summer. God, I can't wait to get some fucking shoes! Actually, it will be some time before I can think about fun shoes. Still, I'm eying a few styles that are cute, but hopefully not dangerous to the scarred up and still recovering foot. I'm thinking Clarks might be a nice compromise. I wonder if something strappy will cover up the scars enough. Hummm. Soon, I hope, soon. My wardrobe has suffered and has been tremendously limited throughout this ordeal, so it will be nice to be able to wear something other than running shoes. I did go without the brace for a longer time both yesterday and the day before. It's coming along slowly. 

I may have found a partner in cheese exploits. I had coffee with a friend last night, and I was thrilled to discover that there's another person on the planet who has a passion for cheese. I sense an increase in dairy adventure in my near future. hehe

A good friend of mine and I were talking about people who claim that because they like food or like to eat too much, they could never be anorexic. We hear it all the time. I assume they don't quite understand the illness. I can imagine how much easier it would be to get over something like anorexia if it were merely a matter of making food more appetizing to the individual. Recently, an anorexic girl I know was pouring over food websites, looking at pictures of food she won't allow herself to eat. It was sad. My friend had a roommate in college who had a very severe eating disorder, and recently another one of her friends had a hard experience with her roommate when the girl confessed to having some intense food issues. It always makes me sad to know when someone else is struggling, and I often get concerned when people ask me for advice on how to help someone they know, which happened again recently. I have a good list of resources, but I sometimes fear it's not enough. Diane Israel and I are always open to receiving personal emails on the matter. I wish it were as simple as saying one does X, Y and Z to get over the illness. Unfortunately, it's not. I'm not sure what has happened to the ANRED website, but nationaleatingdisorders.org is still up and functioning. That's a really good place to start. 

Throughout my blog, I have offered other resources, from books and movies to websites. There's a new book I have yet to read that got really good reviews called The Anorexia Workbook: How to Accept Yourself, Heal Your Suffering, and Reclaim Your Life. I am always surprised to find the book Wasted on the top of the list as a resource for eating disorders. I suppose it does give people a good idea of what the illness can be like, and it is well written. Other than that, it offers little to no hope, and ends on a terribly depressing note. I keep hoping I'll get word from my agent that a publisher is willing to take a chance on my manuscript. I heard from her again, and it looks like my book is making the rounds to several new publishers. As she keeps reminding me, it only takes one.

My PT was canceled again today. Seems to be a theme on Thursdays. This post is really short, but I have to get going on the foot exercises soon. The meds seem to be helping me sleep, which is good, and the edge has definitely been softened. Also time and distance always puts a different perspective on any situation. Things are looking up lately, so I'm in a good place, even though my head can get lost from time to time.

"Where is my mind?"
(original by the Pixies)


"What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind."  George Berkeley




Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cheese Round Two

It's surprising how often there are big scandals in the food world. From white truffles being dyed black to strange ingredients being slipped into baby formula, scandal abounds. Recently, there were accusations that the milk used to make water buffalo mozzarella was being watered down with cow's milk. Since then, the Italian Minister for Agriculture has made efforts to ensure that all water buffalo cheese is being made with actual water buffalo milk. By the way, I would not want to be the one who milks one of these things:


The water buffalo mozzarella is a cheese I have wanted to try for a long, long time. While I was wandering through the new Alfalfa's store, noting how easy it would be to spend a few valued body parts on both everyday and also gourmet items, I came upon the cheese section. I do believe a little ray of sunshine from the sky was shinning down on the amazing display. I was told there there are over 300 cheeses there, and, after catching sight of some of my favorite gourmet cheeses, my eyes stopped on the water buffalo mozzarella. It's horribly expensive, so I asked if I could purchase half of the large piece that was wrapped in saran and labeled. It wasn't a problem, so I walked out with a $5.00 piece that weighed about as much as a Chocolove bar.

I was curious to read a few reviews of this cheese, and I was very surprised to find one that mentioned it being stringy. It was anything but. If there was any cow milk in it, I couldn't tell, because it had a wonderfully rich texture and flavor, just what one would expect from the pure water buffalo milk. It has a bloomy rind, similar to what is found on Brie cheese. There's a very slight tang that's subtle enough to makes this cheese incredibly addicting. One wants to experience that flavor building on the palette at least a few times. To be honest, I could have eaten the whole piece in one sitting, but I refrained, simply because of the price. I would highly recommend it, despite the high price though. It was fantastic. Just a note that this is not the fresh mozzarella that most Italian restaurants use on bruschetta or in caprase. It is worlds apart.




It's funny to be writing about cheese when there is so much on my mind lately. I once had an anonymous blog where I wrote about things that were a bit too personal. Baaaddd idea. For the most part, we are not on center stage, and others are more wrapped up in their own lives to pay much attention. Still, I'm making every attempt to avoid that here, despite how cathartic dumping in a public forum can be. I will say that I have recently learned some exceptionally hard lessons. The main one is that I can't change the way people view me- good, bad or indifferent. This one goes back to my dad whom I always felt didn't quite like me as well as others. It always made me feel bad about myself and made me think that most people wouldn't be able to like me in any genuine way. The eating disorder fit nicely with this kind of thinking. I somehow learned to cut my nose off to spite my face in the face of being hurt because of it, when that's the last thing I should be doing. So, for now, I felt like doing the opposite, splurging on an expensive piece of cheese, would be a step in the right direction. I should clarify that I continually find that I have people in my life I know 100 percent care. That has been a learning lesson as well. These are people who have an idea of who I am as a person, and I am so incredibly lucky to have them in my life. Life is hard, man. It helps to have some support through it.

Speaking of steps, I have had to cut back on the jogging after being scolded at PT. They're right. I was sooooo sore after that 20 minute jog! And it was more one sided too, which is a bad sign. Better to go back to jog walking for now. Running won't be too far off in the future. For now, the bike is calling my name. I do that first, so that I'm too tired to run after.

"you see what you want to see, hear what you want to hear, dig?"

Monday, April 25, 2011

I know, I know!

I'm on a bit of a posting frenzy lately, and I feel like I'm not expanding my blog quite like I should be. In other words, I'm being a bit selfish and self indulgent. However, I ran today. I figured that was worthy of a 2nd post for the day. Well, I guess it's not exactly running, but I was able to sort of jog for 20 minutes. I have such a long, long way to go. My PT told me to be really careful, because there are still too many imbalances and the foot isn't quite strong enough yet. Still, I was so overwhelmed when I completed 20 minutes of merely moving outside that I cried. Ok fine, I've been crying plenty in the last few weeks, but this was because I could finally see the light.

I know it will be a long road from here still, but even a few weeks ago, I seriously thought I might not ever run again. Things were just not coming along, and the pain was also such an issue. Today I also jumped on the bike for a harder workout. I think the easy week paid off, because for the first time in a long time, I didn't feel like my workout was eating me alive. I was on top of things. There's some fitness in there somewhere. How it might translate to running later will be interesting. The main thing is that, despite some lingering pain from the surgery, I can see that the real awful intense and sharp pain that I had going on in that foot is no longer there. That is why I cried. I can't believe how fucking long I have suffered with my foot. I can't even believe I used to run on it at all, and I had no idea the surgery would be this incredibly challenging in so many god damn ways, from the out of control pain levels to just not being able to do the simplest tasks. Now that I have a glimpse, however, it might very well have all been worth it.

I had all these hopes to be training with a running buddy this summer, but my old partner doesn't really run much anymore due to her back. Everyone else is probably too fast. I'm getting ahead of myself anyway, but it feels so incredibly good to have just a twinge of optimism. I was so panicked that I wouldn't be running again ever. It may be ridiculous, but I honestly feel I can weather things better when I run. It has been like a friend died without it. I have to do as my PT says and not do too much, but even 5-10 minutes is better than nothing. I will take it.

Chocolate Bunnies!

I get excited about both cheese and chocolate. I know some can relate and some find it odd, but I can't help myself. After posting about chocolate bunnies, somebody sent me TWO bunnies to sample. I was so incredibly touched.

Here is the report:

I tried the Orchid Vanilla Bunny from Vosges first. Vosges is a company that is known for all the exceptionally exotic chocolate bars that contain everything from chili pepper to bacon. I think I have determined that bacon and chocolate is not obnoxious, but falls more in the category of interesting at best. A friend of mine thinks that the Vosges Bacon Chocolate Bar is something that causes spontaneous orgasm. I'm not of that opinion. Not long ago a few of us tried a bacon chocolate caramel concoction from a different company, and we all found it to be wrong, very wrong.

Back to the bunny...

This little guy is solid dark chocolate and almost too cute to eat. I honestly had a hard time, simply because of the cuteness factor. The flavors are excellent though. The vanilla is powerful, but doesn't mask the chocolate. Instead, these flavors blend and build with the chocolate and vanilla enhancing each other. There are some subtle other flavors too, but I think it's more a combination of the chocolate and vanilla that makes this bunny outstanding. It's intriguing, and the quality of the chocolate and the ingredients in general are phenomenal. I absolutely loved it. It's a very sophisticated version of the Easter Bunny, but I do believe even kids would like it. 

The other bunny I tried was the classic Easter Bunny by Lake Champlain. it was, indeed, a classic bunny. This thing is solid chocolate! I got the milk chocolate bunny, and while it was a little bit sweeter than I expected, the quality of the chocolate was obvious. The flavor was well balanced, and this is the kind of chocolate that is addicting. Of course the fact that it is milk chocolate makes it nice and creamy. Lake Champlain is a company that is consistently good when it comes to chocolate. I have yet to try something that I don't like by them.


I had so much fun with the taste test. Thank you to my friend who sent these! That was incredibly sweet- literally too!    :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Guilt

I had a rare day off from work today. It was really nice to not have a time line to follow. I was a little reluctant to manage the Audi driving, organic goji berry eating crowd at Whole Foods, but since my mom was going to be joining me, I decided it would be worth it. I'm not sure how I spent $70.00 on two bags of food, but I did. It's true that I spent $7.00 on some kind of grain to stick my foot in as part of my rehab, but that's still quite a lot to fork over for general groceries! I haven't checked out the new Alfalfa's Market that just opened, but I'm glad they are back in business on Arapahoe, even if it bothers me that the sign that's right smack on the corner is half on one side of the building and half on the other. There's LFA's on one side, and ALFA on the other.

I'm filled with thoughts about what I should be doing: writing this article, finishing my laundry, getting out of my head and any a number of other more productive things. Instead I'm waiting for an old episode of House to start while I make another post here. I like how my cat can nap all day and (I assume) not feel at all guilty. I'm getting on my own case a little after a long afternoon nap, and yet also thinking how easy it would be to nap the day away, if it weren't for the guilt. I have to watch it too, because sometimes I feel like it's easy to sleep in order to avoid thinking. It's another escape, and right now it's tempting to want to run away in dreams.

It has only been recently that I was able to recognize various patterns I tend to fall into in some situations. That's step one, right? Only after awareness can one figure out possible ways to address or change any behavior. No doubt the meds are helping though. It is very subtle at this point, but enough to make me sad that I suffered so very much in my own head recently when there was a simple solution (well, maybe not solution, but a definite improvement) within such close reach. While I know there's nothing to do but move forward and try to avoid past mistakes, there's a part of me that is struggling to truly let things go completely. I am trying to avoid wallowing in guilt for both things I did and those over which I had no control. I bring up the meds, because I remember in the interview that I did with Diane and Dave, we addressed chemical imbalance and how that can relate to eating disorders.

When I was little, I was definitely depressed. I've fallen in and out of various holes, some debilitating, some not as deep, and I've been diagnosed with every possible disorder, affliction and mental illness from bipolar to borderline personality disorder. I'd like to say that I am not my illnesses, and that these labels are merely a way for doctors to put patients in nice little boxes. I'm not saying it's all a fraud, far from it, but it does nothing for actually treating the person. I think what made me extremely reluctant to try any kind of meds was the bad reaction I had in the past to the large assortment of various pills I was given. Now that I have found something that seems to be working with little to no side effects and is more "natural" than something like a cocktail of anti seizure medication and anti depressants combined with an assortment of mood stabilizers, I regret not going on them sooner. They are also helping with sleep, something I have needed desperately. It's not a cure all, so I still have to work on other behavioral things, but it's a start.

I don't know why this situation about a girl I knew who had split personality disorder popped into my mind, but I think it has to do with finding solutions. This lady used to write letters to her various personalities, so that she could keep a more balanced life. It was really interesting, because her main personality would write to her other personality (she mostly had two, though an occasional other one would come up now and then), reminding her that they were in one body. She kept this notebook with her almost at all times. It wasn't quite like Memento in terms of her completely forgetting things, but she definitely was like two different people, and not able to recall everything that the other personality had done. Somehow, telling her other personality about herself worked, and she was eventually able to live on her own after years of having to be supervised, mostly by her parents. 

Ultimately, I don't know if the meds are the type of thing that will eventually help ease the guilt and temper the way I tend to react to things, but I'm hoping the calmer feelings will allow me to think more before acting and especially reacting in the future. heh- at least my mom admitted to some of the same frantic behavior in her past. That made me feel a little better about things. I'm in very good company. I do have to say that while things have been exceptionally trying lately, I haven't gone down my old route of self-punishment. This is crucial, because often in the past when I have felt bad about myself and/or situations, I resorted to cutting back on calories, exercising more, adding more work hours to my schedule and having less fun all around. Instead, I have done the right thing by surrounding myself with good company, continuing my volunteer work at the Humane Society and keeping some balance in terms of eating and exercise.

Tomorrow I have PT. I'm going to keep in relax mode here and try to keep the guilt at bay. Really, things at work and in general are going well right now. I'm glad about that.


What a ride.

Uh oh, a Jem song just popped into my head.  :/

Saturday, April 23, 2011

3 years ago

Day two of hanging out with awesome people. I'm not sure why I hadn't gone out to do stuff in so long, but I'm glad I have stepped away from hibernating and back into living a little again. I'm not sure if the meds are kicking in, but something seems to be taking the edge off.

And! I received TWO chocolate bunnies in the mail! I'm supposed to do a taste test, so I sampled a bit of ear from each tonight, and will do so again tomorrow. I'll give a full report later in the week, but so far-- YUM!

It has been three years since I nearly died in a freak occurrence. It's unbelievably rare that anyone in their forties would contract viral meningitis. It's even more rare that anyone would have it twice in a lifetime. Hello strange odds, and how I wish I could be so "lucky" when playing the lottery. It all started with a spider bite on the back of my leg. It was one of those things where I became overly aware of and overly focused on the bite, and I couldn't shake the uneasy feeling that something bad was going to happen. After two days of nothing more than me feeling a little tired and grumpy, I figured it was nothing. I took an extra day off due to the fatigue, and instead of waking up refreshed the next day, I woke up knowing I was sick. The day after that I felt excessively stiff and sore, so much so that I could hardly manage a hike. I decided I needed to go to urgent care.

So often in the past I felt unheard by doctors. I had the feeling they looked at my chart, saw anorexia and refused to give me a second thought. But over the years, things changed, and I felt more acknowledged. When I arrived at urgent care, I was seen by a female doctor. I told her I so rarely go to doctors and was convinced there was something really wrong. I mentioned the spider bite, thinking maybe it was some rare poisonous kind, and the venom was causing this unbearable stiffness and soreness in my entire body. Even my hair hurt. She ran some tests that came back nagaive and told me it was hormonal. Really? I couldn't figure that one out, because my cycles were normal, and there was nothing to indicate anything hormonal going on, other than being low in progesterone, which generally wouldn't cause sudden pain and stiffness throughout my body. For some reason it irritates me more that I was blown off by this woman doctor, like she should somehow know better.

I went home thinking it must be nothing, and expected to be feeling better by the next day. Instead, things got worse. After one more day of being excessively uncomfortable and feeling fatigued, I called a friend to take me to urgent care. We went to a different location, and it was fortunate that I made a mistake thinking there was an urgent care there. When I approached the desk, I realized that I was at the emergency room, so I asked the lady if there was an urgent care near by, knowing I probably couldn't afford a stay in the ER. She explained that there was one a few blocks from the building, and added, "Honey, are you sure you don't want to get checked in here? You look sick." My response was to burst into tears and tell her that I couldn't afford it. She insisted that I looked sick, and assured me that something could be worked out for me. I let her lead me to the waiting room, and soon after I was seen by a doctor who gave me morphine and told me that they couldn't find anything wrong. He agreed that I looked sick (I was not so glad I was making this impression on everyone), so he pulled a random diagnosis of bronchitis out of his ass, and sent me home with pain meds, telling me to call or come back if things got worse. Well, they did. By the next morning, I knew I was sick, really sick.

Back to the hospital I went, and again the doctor said he couldn't find anything. He told me he would have to send me home, and apologized, knowing that I was, indeed, sick. I flat out said that I couldn't go home. I didn't want my mom to have to take care of me, so I told him that I hadn't been this terribly sick since I was little and had viral meningitis. I could actually see the light bulb over his head illuminate, and he said something about doing a test for that. Sure enough, the lumbar puncture showed it was meningitis. Meanwhile, at this very time, a friend's sister was being sent home from the hospital with undiagnosed bacterial meningitis, and the girl ended up dying before her brother could get her back to the hospital the following day. For me, though mine was nowhere as severe as what she had, the worst was yet to come, as the lumbar puncture had started to leak, making me sicker than when I entered. I was put on a steady rotation of shots of dilated. I yarfed any time I was upright for longer than a few minutes, and at one point, I sighed, closed my eyes and figured I was done on this planet.

Some unknown amount of time later, I opened an eye, and saw the clock on the wall. "Where the hell am I?" I thought. Almost instantly, I realized I was in the hospital, and, not knowing how long I had been in there, my next thought was, "Shit! how am I going to pay for this?" I wanted to check out, and I don't mean out of the hospital. I was giving up quickly, and the fight in me was nearly extinguished. By this time, my skin had become scaly, and my muscles weak. I still couldn't keep much down, yet I was supposed to get up and walk around while my head felt like a hollow melon that was being used as a bass drum. I was there a total of 9 days. I probably even went home early, as I remember nearly yarfing in the car on the way home and longing for the hospital bed and a shot of dilated, exhausted by merely riding in a car.

From there, it was a LLLOOOONNNNNGGG recovery. Taking a shower was an all day event, and I remember that even watching TV was tiring. I read quite a bit, and my long walk was to my neighbor's house, 3 houses away. My mom ended up helping me throughout this long process. I think it took me about 2 years to feel completely normal, though I was back running several months later. My blood pressure dropped to a scary low point, so I had to be really careful for about two months. The big thing was that my emotions were all over the place. I sometimes even felt cheated that I hadn't died, because I had let go and was ready. For someone who fears death with crazy intensity, feeling OK about checking out was a big step. I think it had to do with the pain medication. That's how I want to leave this world- loaded up on morphine in a pool of calmness. Since then my fear is back in full force.

But I'm here- 3 years after the tragic event, happy to eat chocolate bunnies and hang out in good company.

Breathing

Twice now I have been told to send my breath to strange areas of my body during PT. I get the concept, but it seems a bit odd to me. Still, I'm breathing into my toe, and also into my back, specifically the part of my back between my ribs that is curved the wrong way.

My last PT session started with me trying to move my big toe. I felt like Uma Therman in Kill Bill, only my toe didn't seem to want to respond. SSSsssshhhhhhhhiiiiiiitttt! How hard can it be to move your big toe? After an embarrassing few minutes of nothing happening, I confessed that I wasn't sure I could move it. My PT told me to just keep thinking about moving it, so I stared at it longer, hoping for some action. All of a sudden there was a little twinge- Success!! She made me do a few more difficult exercises, all having to do with moving my toes, and don't you know that my foot went from its frozen blue state to a more awake pink one? There was some serious circulation going on in there that day after many, many weeks of nothing. I forgot to get a bag of rice to stick my foot in, but that's another part of therapy. I'm not sure I would have made this kind of progress alone. In fact, I can say I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have.

I jogged a few steps here and there up the street yesterday, but my body is still too out of whack to consider an actual run. Today I'll just bike and probably walk. It's snowing- Springtime in Boulder. I'm really hoping running is not too far off, because the weather is starting to be warmer overall, despite the cold temps now.

It has been an exceptionally draining and long week. Yesterday I was finally able to get some meds to help with my moods. My poor head. These are typical Boulder style meds- something in between drugs and supplements, and I'm supposed to try them for 2 weeks. If there's no change, then I'll be adding something to the mix. I'm also supposed to use a stronger dose of progesterone. We are our hormones, as they say, and those of us who have had eating disorders generally have screwy hormone levels, no matter how far removed the actual illness is. I think I've been struggling extra hard emotionally ever since the surgery. Sometimes it takes a safety rope once you have dropped into an emotional pit.

It could be the placebo effect, but I already feel a tad less frantic over everything. That could also be because I had a really nice and relaxing night out with a good friend and a fair amount of sleep. Who knows, but I feel like I'm starting to head in the right direction with things. Whewww. Actually, I had an interesting conversation about change and communication. I'll get into that another time though. Suffice to say it was nice to have face to face communication in a time where the computer and text messages seem to be more popular. I actually saw a funny card recently that was in the shape of a phone with a text message on it. Appropriate these days, I guess. 

This is a short post, but I have to go do these toe exercises. I thought it was a bit funny that the first letter of each of the words in my book title, Training On Empty, spells TOE. I'm not sure why I find that cute.

Another day, another bike workout. At least when it snows, I feel like it's not so bad being inside on the bike though. Hee. Now to find some music for the event. Maybe some Gorillaz will hit the right spot in my ear.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The big race

A guy I used to spend some time with once encouraged me to write about running in this blog. He felt it would be something of interest to everyone, rather than the continual eating disorder stuff I generally go into here. When I think of my running career, it's always with mixed emotions. When I was running well, I generally didn't take credit for all the hard work, long hours, sweat, tears and early hours I put into it. My wins were always attributed to outside factors: good coaching, the other girls having a bad day or sheer luck. It wasn't until years later that I was able to take some credit for my running achievements.

There are several races that stand out in my mind as some of my better successes in running. There were a few road races where I set course records or had a PR, and some of the mountain races where I set records are still fresh in my mind. The actual pain of those races has faded, something my sister would attribute to a "forgetting hormone", but the memories are still quite vivid. Most of my cross country races have become one big blur of golf courses and a fury of girls in various school colors running hard. As much as I loved the roads, cross country and track though, mountain racing was my thing.

Of course the big race that was probably the highlight of my career was the Pikes Peak Ascent. I ran that at a time when my eating disorder and compulsive behavior were starting to get more in the way of my life. I was far from rock bottom, but the black pit I would fall into was somewhere around the corner. Until then, I was busy training. My first year in high school I managed to be the top runner on the girl's team. I won quite a few races in both cross country and track, but I had a disappointing 4th place finish at the state cross country, and and even more disappointing second place finish in the 2 mile in track, when I was out kicked by a senior from a rival school. I vowed I would do better the following year, but I had set my eyes on a bigger goal in the meantime- Pikes.

My first few real mountain runs were before I went into high school. I had run quite a few trails, but going into the high country was a new experience. There were small streams to cross when the runoff from the melting snow was occurring early in the season, and steeper, more difficult terrain to manage. The altitude was a challenge as well. but I was hooked. My very first run, my coach made me turn back while the older kids continued up the steeper trails. I couldn't wait to get my shot at going the longer distances. Over time, I was running with the boy's team most of the time, especially when it came to hill workouts. Several of the older runners talked about the Pikes Peak ascent, and it immediately stuck in my head as something I wanted to do. To many, it was considered kind of like the Olympics of mountain running. My coach agreed to help me train, so after my first year of high school competition, I went straight into road racing and mountain running.

My mileage was relatively low, but it's hard to convert mountain running miles into actual mile equivalents when it can sometimes take up to an hour to run 4 miles up steep mountain trails. I suppose I was running about 50 MPW or so, but these were no ordinary miles. There were plenty of early mornings, bloody blisters and sore muscles while training, but I was determined. Everything in my life was geared toward completing that race, and based on my training times up various mountains, my coach kept suggesting that I had a shot at winning the thing.

The plan was for my coach to run behind me the entire way. We didn't want anyone to assume he was pacing me. I got up at 4AM for a small pancake breakfast, and we drove 2 hours from Boulder to Colorado Springs. Manitou Springs and the base of Pikes Peak is not far from there. I was so excited for the race, that I may have started a little too fast, but there were still a few ladies who were ahead of me. I settled comfortably into a pace behind a row of guys, my coach behind me, and it started to feel like a dream. Everything was going right. A little while after a minor incident where one guy wouldn't let me pass and my coach had to yell at him, I ended up passing the lead ladies, who asked who I was as I ran by. My coach did the talking, telling them my name. Eventually he dropped off the pace with a cramp, and told me to keep on my pace. I had some minor trouble with a few miles to go. At altitude, a few miles can seem like an eternity, and I was starting to fatigue. But I kept going, despite the increasing numbness in my legs and eventually my hands as well. I think I actually hyperventilated before the finish line, but my mind was so focused on crossing that line that I somehow kept going until I collapsed into the arms of race officials at the end, setting a new course record for women.

It seems a lifetime ago now. Races like that can be so rare. I was lucky to have a relatively successful career despite my illness being so severe. I sometimes wonder how things would have been had I not been so lost in the eating disorder though. My poor parents were always trying to get me to eat. I had a little soup after the race, and my mom couldn't understand why I wasn't replenishing like everyone else. I even freaked out during the race when someone handed me tea instead of water. It's sad to think about now, but, during the last part of the race, I was fretting about how many calories there might have been in the tea!

I suppose I will always have mixed emotions looking back. I'm glad I'm in a different place with it all now. I realize though that I still have so much to learn when it comes to life in general. I wouldn't trade my running for anything. I just wish I had learned more about balance, communication and being in this world along the way. Sacrifices, I guess.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Life's little Irritations

It must be something in the stars, as they say. Lately everything seems like a struggle. Yesterday I was on the phone with UPS for about an hour trying to accomplish what should have been a simple task. My boss finally said, "OMG, just stop. We'll figure out another way to send it!" It was quite ridiculous, and the two of us ended up having to laugh about it. In the midst of all of this, a guy who was canvassing for some good cause or another came in to scream at us about how he was making sure not to offend anyone outside our doors. It was all very bizarre, almost like something out of a bad TV show. My boss motioned for him to tone it down, but the guy, oblivious to the fact that I was on the phone and my boss was talking to a client, continued to bellow his little speech, unconcerned that nobody was actually listening. 

In addition to it being another weird day today with nothing going quite right, it was also a sad day. My friend's mom lost her good friend in an accident. Just seeing the pain in my friend was hard. Sometimes it's easier to manage your own pain than see those you care about hurting.

In the department of more things going wrong, I have now been trying for about a month to find a therapist. I'm in a weird position where I can't go to the mental health center, because I have insurance. On the other hand, I can't afford a $250- $300 session (yes, I double checked on that one) with a therapist. Most of these places don't take insurance. It seems really strange to me that someone looking for help can't get it. I haven't gone to a therapist for probably 15 years or so. It's so fucking complicated. If I could find one who takes insurance, then I could probably manage, but there's no list anymore. I'm supposed to keep calling random places until I find one that does. It's a crapshoot. Who knows what kind of person I'll end up seeing, but I'm to the point where I feel like addressing the bipolar stuff is essential. That and I just need someone to talk to, because I don't want to dump on anyone or sob in my PT session again.

At least it's not an emergency situation. I remember once when I was calling for a friend who was having thoughts of suicide. I called the hot line, and the lady politely told me she was busy and to call back later. In my panic and worry, I had this brief moment where I wanted to laugh, and said, "really?" She said, "yes," so I hung up the phone, a little dazed. What a world. All was well in the end, but it wasn't thanks to the suicide hot line. Jeez.

My head hurts and I'm tired. I tried to jog a few steps, and my body is all out of whack. I think my foot is almost there, but my PT said my body is not in alignment because of all the limping. It's going to be a little while still before I can seriously consider even jogging.

God, life seems so fucking short sometimes, and infinitely long too.

Letting go

I've always struggled with letting go. I'm not sure what is is that causes me to want to hang on, even when all arrows point to letting go, but it seems to have something to do with my chaotic childhood. I assume it's about trying to keep consistency in life. It's a little bit like jumping into the swimming pool though. If you think about it too much, it becomes harder to do. If you just do it, it's not so bad.

Yesterday I took an extra day off. I haven't done that in a long time. With running still off in the distance, I'm not sure why I fell into this pattern of having to train hard on the bike, but I think it had to do with wanting to feel like I was accomplishing something while things around me felt out of control. My body was quite tweaked and my head a mess, so I knew a day off was essential. Sometimes my emotional fatigue makes me physically tired, but this was a case of being both physically and emotionally spent. After two heart valve incidents, one big, one little, I knew it was time to take it easy.

Monday was the Boston marathon. It was the first time I showed any interest in the race since my running days. Looking at races, especially marathons--even though that was never my distance--still gives me a funny feeling, but the fact that I was able to cheer for those who ran is improvement. I didn't actually watch the race, but I glanced at some of the startling results. Damn, those were some fucking fast times. I no longer feel so terrible about myself and the road I took when I see others in the field doing well, though there's always a twinge of regret. Even my PT who told me she ran a little over 3 hours in her marathon a few years ago was more an inspiration than anything, and despite my mini meltdown there, which had nothing to do with running at all, more just life in general, I managed OK, even though I've been incredibly down on myself lately for so many reasons.

I'm having trouble imagining running. I'm at that place where it seems so close, but I know I'm not there yet. It's so tempting to do a little test run, but my foot doesn't have the strength yet. Another day on the bike. It's funny- sometimes after a day off, I don't feel all that refreshed. But I'm sure a good day will be here soon enough. I'm more just longing for a change and more fresh air. Until then, I better go pick out an interesting playlist for today's workout. Maybe some NIN would be appropriate.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Without words

Grete Waitz was one of my heroes when I first started running. Reading that she died after a long battle with cancer was devastating. The world of running has lost a true champion.

                                    

Monday, April 18, 2011

Irony and chocolate rabbits

Sometimes the irony in life is a little bit too much. Just when I was saying I haven't had a big episode with my heart valve leak, it happened. It wasn't the worst I have had, far from it, but it was enough to make me consider calling off work, heading to the hospital or calling for help. I didn't though. It was hard to face working a five hour shift after that, but I managed OK, despite the palpitations, funky feeling and lingering tightness in my chest. The main thing is that I kept relatively calm, telling myself it was just my heart valve. Now I'm exhausted and want to sleep, but I still have things to do. My knee and body are feeling a bit tweaked lately, and even my recovering foot is complaining. I'm not sure if it's the weather or me not doing something right, but I need to watch myself here. I'm kind of having one of those moments where I want to curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep. The knee is scaring me, as biking is all I have right now. The thought of swimming as the only remaining sport that won't break me completely throws me into despair. I generally opt for complete rest over swimming-that's how much I hate it. Maybe PT will help tomorrow. I'll try the bike, as it didn't seem to make things a whole lot worse Saturday, but I really don't want this to turn into something more than the worrisome twinge that it is right now. Sigh.

My real post is actually unrelated to all of this, but I do like to note irony in life when it appears, even when the end irony is something that generally sucks. Lately they seem to be appearing quite a lot, both the irony and the sucking.

Getting back to my post, I wanted to address the head in running. There was a time where my running was all about mental limitations. The goal was to see how much further I could push my body than what my head said was OK. Everyone has those moments in a race where the brain says, "Woa, Slllloooooowwww DOWN! This hurts!" If one is able to push past that, sometimes a breakthrough can occur, and, instead of it hurting more, everything comes together. Other times it plain sucks, and a big old monkey jumps on your back, forcing every muscle in the body to tighten. Still, having the courage to push through to even see what might happen is the key to mental toughness. In terms of mountain running, I attribute a great deal of my success to sheer curiosity: What's beyond that next ridge, and, in order to find out, can I keep going? if I keep going, how hard can I push it? When I was young, running was exciting. Somewhere along the way, I grew afraid of it.

It's true that this excitement, courage and strength waned as I got older, and thoughts of winning were replaced with doubts about finishing. Maybe I just got tired, but my head got more in the way too. Several years ago when I was doing some racing again, my coach used to joke that I needed do-overs in intervals. I would go out and run the first interval, be it a mile or an 800, and when it was over, my coach would say, "Great! now that we have your head out of the way, let's see what your body can do." After all those years of pressure and stress, I was still running with too much in my brain. All of that translated into fear and restriction in my body, and slower times on the stopwatch. There are no do-overs in races, so I had to figure out a way to get my head out of the way when I stepped to the line. Fortunately, I did have a race or two where I was able to do that. Since then, life has hit hard, and I'm back to feeling more overwhelmed with even the thought of running.

I was told that there are 3 types of runners, only it's really just two: those who don't live up to their potential in races and those who race as expected or better than what their training suggests they will. I was a racehorse in the past. I lived to race. The problem was getting me to the start line in one piece. If that could be done, I would run well. I sometimes even raced past what my body could manage. Perhaps this is part of the current fear, not wanting to destroy my body anymore. Running when one feels indestructible is worlds apart from running on the safe side. What used to be a sport about pushing my body to its limits has become an activity that must be done only to the point of what my body can manage. It's a different game all together. In terms of getting to the start line, there are so many ways to fuck up a race long before the gun goes off. Self sabotage is a common trend in people who seek some sort of perfection. Sometimes it's easier to have an excuse (I trained too many miles the day before, didn't eat right, didn't sleep etc) rather than do everything right and accept the outcome, good or bad.

Right now I have to get some rest. I have too much to do tomorrow, and it will end up being another day off work that won't actually feel like a day off at all. I think Easter is coming up on Sunday. I will end up working that day too, but hopefully for a few hours less if everyone goes to eat an early dinner of ham as planned. It is ham that people eat on Easter, isn't it? I forget. Even though my family wasn't religious, we still celebrated holidays. Easter was one of my favorite holidays, because, you guessed it, there was chocolate. Who doesn't like chocolate Easter eggs for breakfast? On that note, I might have to go get myself a chocolate bunny this year. As much as I would love to try the highly rated gourmet chocolate bunny by Jacques Torres or a more exotic bunny by Vosges, I'm thinking it will probably be this little guy from Lake Champlain:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chocolate Haze

I have a weird relationship with chocolate. I wouldn't call it a love/hate one, because I definitely love it. It's more of a love but must proceed with caution type relationship. I know I already did a chocolate post earlier, but it's one of those topics I never tire of discussing, so here we go again. 

It used to be that I could eat chocolate with no problem. Unfortunately, I have this heart valve leak, and the symptoms didn't present until I was in my thirties. I also developed the syndrome associated with mitral valve prolapse, so occasionally, it feels like I'm having a heart attack and my body is thrown into a physical panic attack, complete with heart palpitations, sweating and a feeling of impending doom-like I'm going to fucking die. I haven't had a big episode in a long time, but I'm generally careful to avoid all the things that could potentially trigger a reaction. Sometimes the episodes come on randomly though, and there's nothing I can really do about it, except try to remain calm, which is counter intuitive when your whole body is in fight or flight mode. I mentioned before, but when the doctor told me to give up chocolate to lessen the symptoms, I didn't do it right away. I continued to fight the panic attacks, until I finally decided they were too awful. I had to remind myself every time I got a chocolate craving that the chocolate wasn't worth the almost assured to follow panic attack, so sadly, I gave up my sweet treat cold turkey...for a little while anyway. Chocolate was my lovely melty tasty ball of kryptonite. I couldn't stay away, but it wrecked me. However, I found the solution was to eat just enough to satisfy the craving, but not enough to trigger any weird reaction in my body. Now I eat small quantities of chocolate, and it seems to be fine. Though lately I seem to be testing my limits with it a bit.

When I was in college, everyone on the cross country team knew I had a weakness for chocolate. I guess you could say I had a reputation of being a bit of a chocolate snob. I was challenged by a few of my friends to give it up for Lent. Though I'm not religious, I wasn't one to turn down a challenge, so despite others assuming I would fail, I accepted the dare. The day before I began this chocolate fast, I figured I would get one last chocolate hurrah! out of my system, and headed to a little cafe called Pour La France for some decadent chocolate torte and a cup of hot chocolate. All this really did was make my withdrawal the following day more extreme. Everyone told me I looked pale. It wasn't quite heroin withdrawal, but it obviously affected me. After about a week of avoiding all things containing cocoa, I found that a little caramel was a reasonable chocolate substitute. I managed just fine through Lent, despite a lingering feeling that something was missing. In the end, however, I was extremely glad when it was all over. I celebrated with a much toned down version of my last chocolate supper.

I guess growing up with a french mother, I never considered giving up small desserts, butter, cheese or bread. Despite being anorexic all those years, I only rarely, and never for extended periods, resorted to eliminating entire food groups too. My approach had always been to control portion size and run, a lot. A friend of mine who also suffered from anorexia years ago has similar philosophies around eating. Better to be satisfied, even if briefly, than munch on several stalks of celery and then eat what you were originally craving anyway. Neither of us gave up ice cream, even at our lowest weights. Eventually, when we were both stumbling down the road to recovery, the two of us would run together and joke about writing a diet book, because if anyone knows about losing weight, it's an anorexic, no? Then again, we didn't think telling people to eat the limited calories we did and run 5 miles would go over well or do much in terms of being inspirational to the average person trying to lose weight, so we let the idea drop. 

Speaking of books, I saw the movie in its entirety, and I've read most of A Brief History of Time up to the point where black holes and all those universes are presented. I can't seem to force myself past that point, because it simply freaks me out to think about how small humans are in the scheme of things, and how vast space really is. There are times where my brain feels overwhelmed with thoughts of both the infinite and also thoughts of nothingness. It's easy to get caught in the daily trivial bullshit and the mundane as a way to avoid thoughts of death, disappointment, despair, suffering, heartache, tragedy and what seems to be the pointlessness of it all. No wonder my dad drank! So in an effort to have moments of feeling more grounded and secure, why not turn to sex, drugs, rock and roll or chocolate? I think when I ran, I felt I had a point.Without that, finding contentment wasn't easy. Of course I think of The Point, where even in a pointless forest, a point can be found. By the way, The Point was probably my favorite album ever growing up, and I remember carrying the record around with me, as if it were a toy. I guess there was something in either or both the music and the story that resonated with me. I was a depressed kid, and had thoughts of suicide at the age of four. Surprisingly, something like Harry Nilsson's creation made things a little easier to bear. But what I have found more recently is that having a point isn't necessary. In this country we are not often taught that's OK to just be. I think Oblio also found that a point wasn't needed, only he had a point in the end. hehe. Think about that for a while!

Enough reminiscing for now. I ate some chocolate at 4AM today, and expected to jump back into bed for a few more hours of sleep. Unfortunately, I had really weird dreams and woke up often. I eventually took a nap in the afternoon, and have had a big brain disconnect the entire day. I'm in a chocolate haze. Oh but sometimes it's just worth it. Sigh.

I heard from my agent. there were a few more kind and somewhat personal rejections from big publishers, which is nice rather than getting the standard rejection from letter. She has recently sent the manuscript to 15 more publishers, so I'm hoping this spring will be the time it gets picked up for publication. 


                                          Oblio and Arrow in the Pointless Forest.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Putting on the Leash!

I meant to put this up earlier, but here it is now:
The biggest annual fund raising event for the humane society here in Boulder is taking place this month. Putting on the Leash is the most successful event for the Boulder animal shelter in terms of donations. I recently found out that our local branch is so good at finding homes for strays that they often take animals from other shelters that are overcrowded. lately I have been volunteering in the administration dept at the shelter, and I've been learning about the many different programs and events there. The boulder shelter is about 89 percent successful in terms of the animals being adopted or reunited with their families. They also run a fantastic foster program for animals that are more difficult to adopt. Definitely check out their website and support them if you can!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Three Cheers!

This is awesome- Some high school students from the Boulder area are in D.C. to lobby for the FREED Act. This is a bill that addresses eating disorders. It's hugely important, because the federal bill would potentially push for more research on eating disorders and bring to the forefront how severe these illnesses are. Through this, better treatment and illness prevention methods could be provided. Kitty Westin, a woman who lost her daughter to anorexia and an advocate for eating disorders awareness, feels that passing the FREED Act is the first step in addressing what she considers to be an emergency, as more and more people die from these illnesses.

The teens from this area are part of a group I have mentioned before called the Boulder Youth Body Alliance. According to at least one member of the group, BYBA provides a safe place where teens can discuss body issues. This is a key step in the prevention of eating disorders. I'm so proud of these youngsters, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that their lobbying efforts will be rewarded. Kudos to them!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Progress

Sometimes when things feel completely out of hand, I have to remind myself why I started this blog. It's not a personal thing, and despite occasionally posting about situations or topics that are currently on my mind, I need to come back to the big picture. This is about trying to reach people who are struggling with an illness that kills more than all other mental illnesses combined. That's a pretty scary statistic, because it includes depression, bipolar disease and a number of other mental disorders defined by the DSM as well. But this blog is also one about my life as a runner. For me, the running and the illness were once too closely tied to truly separate.

I often mention Bobby McGee, a coach I had years ago, because he was an incredibly positive influence in my life. I think I was a better person when he was more in my life, and I tend to try to keep him in my mind as a make my way through this often challenging life. I learned an incredible amount from him in the years we worked together, and even though I never made the comeback of my dreams, he got me fit enough to win a small mountain race and compete at the elite level one last time before I could no longer do it. More importantly though, he helped me regain my health and taught me that I didn't have to run to be a decent human being. I remember how he gave me a big hug and cheered when I told him I started my period at age 35. I was slightly traumatized going through puberty at that age, but Bobby made my awkward transition much easier by offering his continual support and encouragement. When I was12, many people still considered periods a curse, but getting mine after all those years of being amenorrheic was a sign that my body was recovering. It was, indeed, something to celebrate. For me, Bobby not bailing on me during hard times and standing by me, even when I could no longer run was a key factor in learning to be OK with myself.

I went to PT today, and celebrated my progress with a scoop of chocolate ice cream after the appointment. My foot is coming along. Running is still on the horizon, but I can see it getting closer. I stood on one foot today with no boot, no shoe and no brace. I can't yet step normally, but the PT will move me along. I have never been this long away from running, and I have never had this severe an injury. Considering the many injuries I had throughout my career, this one has been by far the most debilitating with the longest recovery. It's kind of a cool surgery, even though the thought of part of one of my bones being cut off creeps me out a little. Otherwise, having super strong nylon-titanium stitches anchored in my bones to keep my three joints stable is pretty cool. I love the PT. I never responded well to that hardcore aggressive stuff, so this gentle version is exactly what I need. In fact, I was so content with my progress that when some asshole on his cell phone pulled a left turn in front of me in the parking lot, cutting me off and almost hitting me, I didn't yell, didn't honk the horn, but, instead slammed on the breaks and let him go on his oblivious way. That's progress too.

People often ask me if I miss competing. I do. I don't miss all the anxiety, long hard hours put into it and the stress, but I miss having that fire inside, knowing the race is about how far you can push your body. For a long time while I was at my worst, I couldn't be around runners or anything running related. It stirred up too much crap from the past. The only races I would ever watch were the ones my friend Suzy Hamilton was running, and those were on TV, not in person. I couldn't bring myself to even look at running magazines. Suzy and I had remained friends after we competed at the Kinney Nationals my junior year in high school. She was a year younger and a bit faster too, especially in the shorter stuff! So, I would break my rule of getting away from it all when she stepped on the start line of her big races. Otherwise, it was years before I had any interest in the sport.

Last year, I ran two races before my injury took me out of the game. I cried after the first one, but a few people reminded me of how brave I was to step back into it after so much time away. Still it was hard to go from holding the record on the Vail Hill Climb all those years ago, to coming in smack in the middle of the pack, and hurting at that! The 2nd race I ran was more fun- a small cross country race complete with hay bales to hurdle. Actually, I don't know if what I did qualified as hurdling, but I did manage to get over them one way or another. At the end of the race, I met a lady who had recovered from breast cancer. She was ahead of me at the finish, and we talked about how hard coming back is after a brush with death. For me, as bad as the anorexia got (and it got extremely bad), it wasn't until I had meningitis 3 years ago this month that I really thought I would die, so coming out of that and stepping back into life and running was challenging. But this lady was a big inspiration, because, despite all she had gone through, she was racing tough. I was racing timidly, still afraid of all that had happened. It taught me that I'm not alone in my suffering. I am not alone when it comes to hard times. We all go through them. Sure, there are people who haven't had quite the strife and discontent that I have, but there are also people who can relate and also those who have been through worse.

We'll see if I will ever race again. Right now I have to be happy that I stood on one foot today. That felt like a fucking miracle!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The R word

I had one of those days today where I didn't even attempt the hard stuff on the bike. I could feel it wasn't happening, so I will switch it up and hope for a better tomorrow. Hormones grrr.

I've been sort of avoiding this subject, mostly because it's kind of intense. But there's no doubt that eating disorders and relationships aren't the best mix. I guess on some level I got into how my past and my behaviors can affect how I relate to people, but actual relationship issues are something I have yet to tackle fully here in this blog, though I do go into more detail in my book.

When I was doing the research for my book, one statistic that stood out was the one that claimed that eighty percent of models have an eating disorder, and also eighty percent of models are unable to hold any kind of long term relationship. Having gone through an eating disorder, I'm not at all surprised and often wonder if stats like that are common for ballet dancers and in other arenas where being thin can be more of an issue. In talking to Ellen Hart Penya, now a member of the Eating Disorders Foundation, she described having an eating disorder like having a full time job. I agree. Add to that another full time job of training, and soon just going to school or getting through the day becomes working overtime. In such cases, who has time left for a relationship?

I have mentioned that I never went to dances or prom when I was in high school. My life was my running and my eating disorder. I went to school, but my real focus was on the running. But before all that, there were boys in my life, parties to attend and friends. And now I'll get into something I hate to bring up, but is, unfortunately, a very common theme in those who have eating disorders: abuse. Whether it is perceived or actual, abuse will have an effect on the psyche. For me, it was a huge part of why I developed an eating disorder. So often, Diane Israel speaks about the problems that can arise when one fails to self regulate. This was the case with me as a child. I was getting it from all angles, so I shut down. Some less sensitive types in my shoes might not have reacted in the same way, so it's a very individualized response to stress, though it is more common than not in those with eating disorders or with a predisposition to having one. When there is too much stress, addictive behavior is all too inviting. In addition to the verbal abuse I mentioned before, there was also a time or two where I was taken advantage of in a sexual way by older men I hardly knew.

For a short time after this, running was my freedom. It would soon become the chains that bound me, but at the time, it was my escape. Drugs didn't work and only made me more depressed. Running fueled me and gave me life again. Without a way to be OK in the world, running made life bearable. I remember a time in junior high, where everyone was forced to run 15 minutes once a week in gym class. Most of the kids hated it, but I loved it. Knowing full well that the cool kids were supposed to slack, lag behind and complain, when the gym teacher said go, I shot out like a fire cracker, straight to the lead and pounded out lap after lap in that small gym. Occasionally a guy or two would try to keep up, but I was always in the lead after about 5 minutes. I don't know why it was running that ended up being my way of saying fuck all y'all to who ever hurt me- now look at me! But it was. It was a statement, especially to boys that I was a force in the world, and nobody was going to shit on me again. From now on, I'll do it my way.

On that note, I can't resist:
My Way

:p


Ultimately though, relationships are about compromise, to a point. Now that I have left my hardcore running days behind, I really have no excuse, except that I can't always say what I need or define what I want. That and I'm used to being alone, doing things a certain way and don't like dealing with outside factors beyond my control. No wonder I ran. No wonder I still wish I could run! I've lost my escape. I'm glad to know that there are people who claim to run to feel better and de-stress or whatever. I guess that's more where I am now or am at least headed, more content to just get out and do it for the mere discipline of it, but that's not where I started. In fact, I would go so far as to say that there was a great deal of self punishment and anger involved when I began. I mentioned there was passion-you have to have passion to run well, but there was also a great deal of sickness in what I was doing. And yet it was a way for me to survive. A great exercise is to ask your eating disorder how it has served you. Chances are that the methods of coping are no longer useful, but it makes it clear why the illness became a tool of survival in a warped way.

Lately it seems the world is all about shock and awe or everyone putting down everyone else. I find this behavior sad. I'm convinced that another reason I tend to be a loner is that it's rare to find people one can trust, really trust. They are out there, but they're not all that easy to find. I was fortunate to be brought up by my mom who always thought about others. If I do this, how will that affect someone else? I try to live by this model, but I'm not sure I get it 100 percent of the time. In fact, I know I don't. I do know for a fact that most people are not like this. Most people are too self absorbed to consider how their behavior might hurt or affect anyone else, or they are aware and don't care. As far as relationships, I don't know that I will ever be successful in one (the outlook is not all that great), but I'm to the point where I'm willing to give it a shot with someone who is willing. I suppose that's one step ahead of saying it will never happen.

This seems disjointed, but I'm too tired to fix it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

PT and Chocolate

After 4 months of limping, I had my first PT apt today. I was stressing, because I didn't have much time to get in a bike workout and do all the other things I needed to do today before the apt. I remember when getting out the door for a run at 6:15am wasn't a huge deal. With my habit of cat napping through the night these days, early mornings are the best time for me to sleep, so workouts before the sun is up are out of the question. All that aside, I was mostly just worried about the Apt. itself this morning. I had no idea what it would be like, and after so much pain, I wasn't in the mood for anyone to be poking at my foot, especially with the lingering nerve damage. The Apt actually went MUUUCCCHH better than expected, and I'm glad I have 3 weeks of rehab with these people. It does look that running again is on the horizon, but I'm not there yet. If I had to be injured, I picked the right months to do so. Here is my list of why I have accepted the stationary bike:

 
The pros of biking

1. I can be in my pj's, just out of bed, my hair a mess and yawning, and 2 minutes later fumble into my bike clothes and stumble to the bike for a hard workout. Running takes so much more planning. I can't seem to do without the fuss-is my left shoe tied right? did stretch enough? what's the weather like? which trail should I take?? Etc.
2. On the bike, eating before hand isn't a big issue. If I'm hungry or full, I can generally go at it on the bike without feeling ultra weak or, conversely, feeling like my tummy is going to present an offering to my basement floor.
3. The temperature is a constant 72 degrees with no wind on my bike, and I have to admit that when there's snow, a blizzard or high winds, I'm kind of glad I don't have to be all hardcore and get out in that shit. I can hang out and be safe on my bike while the wind is howling, stirring up the snow in vicious mini ice tornadoes while I'm inside in bike shorts and a running bra with some good tunes playing. I can't really complain about that.
4. My legs and feet don't take a pounding on the bike. I don't have to worry about my millionth stress fracture. I can ride angry and with intensity and avoid doing myself any real bodily harm.
5. Though biking inside can be a bore, music is my world and takes at least some of the dullness out of being there, day after day. Hell, I can even browse the net while I ride! Ha- though I suppose there's something to be said about focus, but fuck it. My HR is at a reasonable rate for an easy bike session while I browse.
Right now I don't feel like a runner, but I'm in the process of perfecting the art of karaoke complete with air drums on the stationary bike. Sure it's a little sloppy, but I can do it with an occasional HR of over 170! Booya!

Today has been an ultra crazy day. However, I'm a tad less angry and frustrated today. I don't know what was getting into me lately, but man I felt irritated at everyone and everything. The other day, I was trying to get to get home after too many errands, so that I could shower and get to work on time. I hit a big traffic jam, and after 3 turns of the light, I started getting impatient. I'm thinking there's no way I can miss this next light change, but I hadn't anticipated the dweeb in front of me who insisted on stopping just before the light turned yellow. As I came to a stop behind him, I forgot that because of the unseasonably warm temperatures, both my Windows and the Windows of the car next to mine were rolled down. As I yelled FFFFUUUUCCCCCCKKKKK!!! a little too loudly, I was suddenly overly aware that the guy next to me was looking at me with a slightly horrified expression on his face. I smiled and rolled up my window, so I could mumble "shit" with no further offense. I think I need to chill out, but things are somewhat better. I got my hair done last night, and even though I think the color is a tad too light, it made me feel more relaxed and pampered. There's some minor shit that's making me want to lose my shit, but I don't have any control over how others behave, so I'm trying to let it go.


Does anyone know text speak? I can't seem to translate those fucking little acronyms and that short hand bullshit. I know I'm not the most literary specimen in the world, but give me a long complicated word over that crap any day. I need a fucking dictionary to translate it, and it makes me feel like I'm old. I'm not sure what possesses people to use it in emails and such, because, really, how hard is it to type out words? I don't get it.


Well, I have to run. Excuse the excessive cussing above. Something has been in me lately, but I'm hoping I can go back to my Doris Day style soon. :o  Oh whatever. 

I haven't even had time for a shower today, and I just got back from the volunteer position at the humane society. No Pounce. Sigh. I'm glad he got adopted, but I was looking forward to seeing him. I wanted to add  on an unrelated note that I had the most amazing chocolate the other day! Holy shit it was good. Here are the details and a review I found:
Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates

Oh, and this blog is awesome:
Angry Runner

 And this interview of the blogger is awesome as well.

Fucking shit- I'm late. Agggggghhhhhhhhh!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pounce

I fell in love yesterday. It was my first day as a volunteer at the Humane Society. I was getting the grand tour, when all of a sudden, a little kitten about 6 months old or so jumped out from under the table in full ambush mode. Heh. He landed at my feet, looking like he had been plotting for a long time. I reached down to pet him, and he flopped over comfortably on his side, purring as I scratched his chin. He gave me a few love nips, and eventually I pulled myself away in order to keep up with the tour guide. Later, as I was learning about the mailing system on the computer, the little guy jumped up on my lap and snuggled up close. I melted. I forgot to mention that he name is Pounce, and he only has 3 legs due to some kind of accident. He's adorable. I'm glad he gets to stay upstairs where I will be working. As much as I would love to adopt him, I can't.

Volunteering was a nice change of pace to get outside myself and away from all the turmoil that seems to be going on in life lately. I seem to be watching everyone get into it- People at odds-neighbors fighting neighbors, family spats and random outbursts (or poutbursts if it's exceptionally whiny). Odd that I just wrote about my own upheaval, and here I am trying to calm down a friend who was clearly upset over an exceptionally egotistical a-hole who is giving her a hard time. I told her to breathe and keep the calm energy when she left, because she was in a much better state after talking. My boss and brother are dealing with crazy neighbors. I've met one of the neighbors in question, and I am soooo glad there's nothing like that where I live. But there's some strangeness in the air lately.

As I have noticed my own patience running thin lately, it made me realize that, as Diane always says, a key factor in getting and staying well is service. I haven't felt good about myself or my actions lately, but I will say that I felt better having spent two hours working for a good cause. More importantly, it reminded me of the things that are important. Focusing on a greater cause is a great way to get out of a funk. Spending time with friends and animals is too. Later in the evening, I even played Justin Bieber for a friend, and, embarrassed as I am to admit that, it felt good to do something nice for someone. He appreciated it too.

Things are changing in my life. I'm so used to struggling and resisting change, but I'm finding that it's less painful if I don't fight it. Realizing there's nothing I can do about certain situations goes a long way to helping me deal. It's still not easy, but it does help.