Monday, February 21, 2011

A Hair on my Foot.

I got stuck in the shower the other day. It was slightly embarrassing. There's a little step and a ledge leading into the shower, so when I went in, I did so with my walking boot on, thinking it would be easy to leave it just outside the door. The only problem was when I put it outside, I sort of tossed it, and it fell over, making it impossible for me to grab. Fortunately, someone came to rescue me after I showered and called for help. I hate asking people for things. Even though I knew it was either crawl out of the shower on my hands and knees or yell for help, it took some serious consideration before I was able to make the decision to ask for help. So often I get into that "I'll do it myself" mode, that I forget how nice it can be when someone steps up to help. Still, I find it difficult to ask. I'm always hoping people can read my mind and intuit what I need.

Everything seems to be coming up the longer the foot recovery drags on and on and onandon. All the issues that are usually gone or very much in the background are dancing near me lately. The guy I'm seeing keeps telling me what a good job I'm doing, knowing where I have been and how hard this must be on me. Maybe he's right, especially in the sense that I haven't stopped eating, eaten several pints of chocolate fudge chunk ice cream, tried to hop 3 hours for exercise or gone to any other extremes. I am feeling a little soft and chubby, but I'm also trying to cut myself a little slack, knowing it's harder to cut back on the extra peanut butter when everything else seems so fucking hard right now. I just need to keep breathing when these fears crop up like that.

Lately I've been grabbing bits of inspiration and insight from others. As I continue on this weird and painful journey with my foot, I see some of my old issues popping up here and there, mostly fear around losing control. I've been careful to watch the irrational fear of getting fat. It's funny that I can know on one level that I'll be fine, but freak out on another from time to time when I feel like I don't have control over how much I can exercise. It's kid of cool how far I have come though. Despite being somewhat hard on myself on so many levels, I can see that I'm managing much better than I would have in the past. It's true too that this is an exceptionally extreme situation. It's not often that an injury would be this limiting. So, I'm giving myself a pat on the back for dealing, Despite the occasional GRRR moment, I still think I could wear one of those "I beat Anorexia" Tee-Shirts. I know there are those who think that once you have an eating disorder, you always have one, but I say fuck that. It doesn't hurt to be aware, but I believe people get over their issues...and then new ones come to the surface! Heh.

The focus of this blog has been primarily on recovery. I'm sticking with that at the moment, but I will be opening my blog up to other areas. My book deals not just with eating disorders, but with running and life in general too. But for now, I'm going to focus on the recovery thing, because I really like what I have heard from other people lately. I wanted to share it. In the podcast I did, Julie asked us about interventions and whether or not they work. My response was that it's not so black and white. Dick Van Dyke, an alcoholic, said that people continually told him he needed help. He said that 100 people told him the same thing, and it wasn't until person 101 said the very same thing that something clicked. So, clearly, there's something about timing that goes hand in hand with healing and recovery.

When I was in the hospital, we had to attend several AA and OA meetings. I was never really into them, but I can see how they work for some, especially when there is work being done outside the meetings. I have several friends who swear that AA is what got them sober, so I trust it works for some. I have even gone to a few meetings to support their efforts, and I'm always happy to go. I find some parallels with eating disorders and alcoholism, though some insist they are worlds apart. I know that some of the things I hear from people who have been in recovery longer resonate with my experiences in recovery.

Recently, in one AA meeting, in regard to recovery, someone said, "First it gets better, then it gets worse, then it gets different and then it gets real." This is pretty much how it went for me as well. When I first stepped on that path, things were a little scary, somewhat exciting and promising, and I definitely felt hopeful. Then things got icky. It was a rocky road. Sometimes I wonder if I would have gone down that road if I had known how bad it was going to be. Now that I'm on the other side, I'd like to think I would have. It's the same with my foot. If I had know that it would be so painful and hard, would I have chosen to do the surgery? Probably, because the promise of something better makes it worth the initial pain. Plus, in terms of recovery, it doesn't have to be like that. My mom used to always ask me why I had to do everything the hard way. She's right that I do things the hard way, but I'm not sure why that is. Back to the saying, it did get worse, then different. It's hard to explain, but things shifted. I'm at the real part now. I guess when things were different, the eating disorder was still always lurking. When things got real is when life started happening. It wasn't a fairy tale ending. In fact, all of a sudden, a friend died, my dad died, I was working and I was a participant in the world. Another great saying I heard at a meeting was, "I now have problems in areas where I used to not have areas."

I can't figure out where to stick this next thought. It doesn't really fit in with the rest of what I wrote, but it's something I have been thinking about ever since I did the podcast for Running Times. Diane mentioned that there are some subtle traits that many people with eating disorders seem to share. Before I get into those, I have to mention the day of my surgery. I was all set to go, and the nurse was scrubbing down my foot with some kind of iodine solution, when all of a sudden she gasped and said, "oh no!" I'm thinking, "SHIT! There's something wrong, and I bet the surgery will be called off." It turned out there was a hair on my foot. Apparently, there was a really tiny hair growing out of my foot. Fortunately, I'm not a Hobbit, but this little hair was enough to cause alarm. There was a big debate whether or not to shave said hair, and it was finally decided that it was too small to be of any real consequence. Catastrophe averted. But it left me feeling slightly embarrassed. I immediately started fretting about how imperfect my foot is. Lately, I've been discovering how hard on myself I can be. I'm critical of everything from my graying hairs to my pale skin. Actually, I mention all this, because this is one of the traits- being overly critical. Some of the others include: Being overly sensitive, being overly emotional, having food sensitivities, having trouble expressing emotions and being selfless. There are some other more obvious underlying traits that people with eating disorders often share. These include: Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety. Often treating any or all of these traits can ease the symptoms of an eating disorder.

I've rambled on here. Enough for now.


  1. Lize,
    If you don't mind answering, what is the nature of your foot injury? How long did you wait for surgery after your injury presented itself?

    Thanks for another insightful post.

  2. Thank you, Marilyn.

    I had pretty severe osteoarthritis in three of my joints. It all started when a doctor didn't know what he was doing and gave me a shot of cortisone when I had a stress fracture. It took a long time to even figure out what was happening to my foot, but, after about 8 years, I found a really good guy here in Boulder. It was getting to the point where even walking was painful, and I had tried pretty much everything from orthotics to PT before the surgery. it was really the last 3-4 years that it started getting worse.

  3. Lize,

    I can relate to your statement, "Sometimes I wonder if I would have gone down that road if I had known how bad it was going to be. Now that I'm on the other side, I'd like to think I would have."

    This was the same for me after having a mental and physical breakdown about 6 years ago. I have PTSD from years of emotional and physical abuse starting in childhood that continued through two marriages and the birth of one child.

    I felt the loss from a person once very athletic to someone who couldn't move due to chronic physical shaking and pain from tension.

    I am active today. I am healthy, emotionally and physically. You come to peace with your state, as today, once you except yourself.

    Recovery for me also, "did get worse, then different. It's hard to explain, but things shifted."

  4. Deborah,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with recovery. I'm sorry for all you have gone though. I'm glad to know you are in a better place with all of it though. I think you are right about how one comes to a place of peace. I like what you said about that.