living in limbo

I did something I never, ever thought that I would do: I quit.

I quit my job. I decided that I couldn’t do it anymore. I needed something new–something better for me and my mental health.

It was probably one of the hardest things I have had to do. That might sound strange, but I have a tendency to want to people please. And leaving a place because I am the one who wants to is very different for me. Doing something because it is in MY best interest is an action I have only recently begun to act upon consistently.

I’m in a strange place right now. I am stuck waiting for a few different events to either play out… or not. And that is difficult for me, because I have no control over them anymore. I can no longer influence the outcome–they are in others’ hands.

Limbo is, well, uncomfortable, almost by nature. But it is especially trying when the limbo rests between what *feel* like two very different, important outcomes.

It is nearly impossible to resist trying to affect the outcome one way or another.

Sitting here, writing this entry, my brain keeps pointing out all the other, more productive (or not) things I could be doing instead. It keeps trying to redirect my brain to something more comfortable. Because that is what it is supposed to do–help me be comfortable.

But change, bravery, lessons do not lie in what is comfortable. No, one must leave the comfort zone to discover something new. For nothing is unknown in comfort, in the common.

What’s worse is that old habits lie waiting in the discomfort, trying–though unsuccessfully–to win me back. It was expected, but not welcome. Unhealthy habits are never welcome.

I’ve been vague in my discussion above for a reason. I intended to NOT name what it is I am waiting for and in limbo between. Because it doesn’t matter.

There are always going to be these weird times of limbo. The events, decisions, actions are going to change–but the feelings, they stay the same.

The discomfort lives in the limbo–it always will. It’s what you do IN the discomfort that makes the difference.

 

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changing with the season

DSC_0810As much as I try to blog at least once a week… it doesn’t always happen. And this one is going to be a doozy because it’s been a while and so much change has happened in my life lately.

So change used to suck and it was scary and unknown and terrifying and I thought I was going to die. Guess what? I don’t feel like that anymore. If I did… these past two weeks would have left me six-feet-under…maybe more.

As spring officially begins (but no one informed the weather because it’s not cooperating to be honest), change has come to my life as well. For the past 291 days I have been either in a treatment center, in between treatment centers, fighting treatment centers, fighting myself for being in a treatment center, or fighting ed while in a treatment center… but last Friday, I took my last steps into and out of of my Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and made my transition to the “real world.”

I’ll be honest… that on paper doesn’t sound like much. But it is. And I try not to tell people they are wrong, but if you are thinking right now “that sounds easy. You just have more free days,” you are wrong. Flat out fucking wrong. Because along with leaving a treatment center, even one at IOP level, comes leaving the security of a place where you can go multiple days a week for a few hours and be surrounded by others who genuinely get it. It means (if you are like me and went to a center in a different state) packing up and moving yourself 3 plus hours back to your college town and trying to fit back into the place where you used to be…. but this time, without a prevalent eating disorder. It means being somewhere were you can’t see your treatment friends outside of a center even if you wanted to because they aren’t there with you… at all. It means facing questions about where you were and what you are doing that you may or may not want to answer. It means finding a new balance. It means so much more accountability for your own recovery and fear that you might mess up. It means trying to make a place for yourself all over again. And it is scary.

But it is also necessary. It is life. There comes a day when we all need to leave the metaphorical nest of an eating disorder treatment center. Hopefully, you have tested your wings a bit before you do… but you never really know if you can fly without taking the leap. You have to throw yourself out of the nest and trust you will be able to soar sometimes and just ride the wind other times. But either way, the only option is out and it’s up to you to remove both your feet from the edge and go.

And go I did. IMG_2389

In the week since I left treatment, there have been so many emotions. I cried with happiness as I looked over at my boyfriend one evening and realized I didn’t have to leave again the next morning. I cried with sadness as I read our treatment group chat and realized I wouldn’t be able to join in on any of the activities because I am three hours away. I dealt successfully with some ED thoughts as they (not surprisingly) tried to convince me to do something I didn’t want (or would) do, and then felt guilty for having the thoughts in the first place. (But, they will be there sometimes, and it is not whether I have the thoughts but what I do with them that matters the most.) I have struggled (and still do) with insecurities going back to work and feeling like I am annoying and disliked by a co-worker. But then told myself that it doesn’t really matter anyway, because I am being me. And then told myself it again…and again… and again… an still do. I’ve felt apathetic. I’ve felt confused. I’ve felt scared I was slipping because I didn’t write down my food the next morning and make sure I had enough even though I was eating when hungry and all. I’ve felt lonely. I’ve felt immense joy. I’ve felt loose and free and fun loving and then uptight and worried. But all of these things are just feelings. And I am still here. I am still living. I am still recovering. I am still doing my best to push towards what I want most… a life free from ED.

My journey is not yet over. There is so much more to come. And I have miles left to travel. But it’s begun a new chapter. And that new chapter starts with me here. Living a free life where I used to be consumed by an eating disorder.

 

tripping on stars

Have you ever been star tripping?

You look up and spin around in circles and get dizzy and fall down and get your composure and do it all over again. DSC_0090

But you do it because it is fun. You do it because it is beautiful. You do it because it is captivating and unique and changing.

Sometimes you fall down and it takes a bit longer to get up. Maybe you spun around a bit too much and the dizziness overwhelms you. You might scrape your knee or bump into something. So you take a bit longer to pick yourself up and start spinning again–head held high, looking up.

There is nothing wrong with falling. It’s part of the experience.

That is kind of the most wonderful part of it. You never know what is going to happen. You laugh and smile and openly accept that you cannot control where you fall or when. But you know that you do get to pick when you stand back up and how you hold yourself and move on.

You know what’s neat about star tripping? It’s a lot like life.

the other side of the rainbow

I want to magically be at my pot of gold and the happy-go-lucky fancy leprechaun. I want to be on the other side of the fucking rainbow.

But I know that this isn’t going to happen overnight. I know that rainbows come after rain. I know that rainbows really never end. And I know that James Taylor got it right way before I figured it out…

Long Ago and Far Away:

Long ago a young man sits and plays his waiting game
But things are not the same it seems as in such tender dreams
Slowly passing sailing ships and Sunday afternoon
Like people on the moon I see are things not meant to be

Where do those golden rainbows end?
Why is this song so sad?
Dreaming the dreams I’ve dreamed my friend
Loving the love I love

To love is just a word I’ve heard when things are being said
Stories my poor head has told me cannot stand the cold
And in between what might have been and what has come to pass
A misbegotten guess alas and bits of broken glass

Where do your golden rainbows end?
Why is this song I sing so sad?
Dreaming the dreams I dream my friend
Loving the love I love to love to love to love

I wish someone would tell me how to climb the rainbow. I wish someone would give me the answers and tell me what I need to do to get to the gold. But I can’t ask others to solve this for me. I can’t learn without doing and I can’t get through without actually GOING through.

The only way out is through.

The only way out is through.

It’s written on the screen at my treatment center. It’s ingrained in my thoughts.

The ONLY way out is through.

The only way to the other side of the rainbow and to the pot of gold is trekking along the WHOLE FUCKING rainbow. To the other side.

mind vs. ed

 

*Note: ED means eating disorder

Conflict:

 

Imagine what the world could be

if it was only you and me;

the chatter of many fading slowly to few,

Think of all the time, the things that we could do.

Imagine all the wreckage, all the dead, the diseased,

the souls of all others suddenly ceased.

Wouldn’t it be quiet, only whispers on the breeze.

the crashing of the waves, the surf on the seas.

Imagine all our chances, the beauty and the grace.

The sky the only boundary, with smile on our face.

Imagine the sky crashing down,

the city burning, ashes on the ground.

The cries of helpless, panic ,and fright

darkness overwhelms, an ending of their plight.

Imagine all the good, the love and light

as we build a city of glass, mirrors shining bright.

The sun glints and shimmers as we finish our design,

but the world is far from done, beauty waits in line.

Imagine all the horror as the earth splits in two.

Run you silly souls, have you seen what I can do.

I have only gotten started with the torture you will face.

Brightness versus darkness; light will lose the race.

Two together make the devil present in the brain

fighting, clawing, biting, but only one can be tame.

Which will rule the conscious, which will fall behind?

Which will be the champion, who will win the mind?  

becoming a tree 

If you made it past the title, I like you. (I would like you anyway, but I like you a lot cause you gave this a chance.)

I’ve always liked trees. I used to like climbing the cedar trees at my childhood home. (And those are realllllyyyyy sappy, so my mom loved that I made this a regular thing.) I climbed the huge magnolia outside of the church I went to as a kid. If I’m being honest, it was the only part of the church day I liked. But I like trees for more than just climbing.

I like how resistant they are. They weather  storms the world throws at them. And though they might lose a limb in the winds, they persist. And, eventually, they regrow the branch and continue on.

They root into the ground and find stability in themselves. Their foundation allows them resilience and autonomy. (And there’s stuff about nutrients and sunlight and water and stuff… of course.)

Lexi… what. Okay, stick with me here… get it? I want to be like a tree. I want to be able to find comfort and safety in myself. I want to root into my life and take hold. I want to withstand storms and regrow and thrive after them. I want to be resilient.

But trees… and recovery? What? During a embodying recovery group, we discussed how you have to first ground yourself if you want to push out and expand. You must find your footing before you lean into something else, or you may lose balance. So too must a tree establish itself before it can grow taller and stronger.

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Haphazard tree attempt on a wiggling chair…

I think one of my all time favorite yoga stances is tree pose. It’s powerful and connecting.
You must anchor yourself to the ground using the ball and side of one foot while balancing. It takes strength, focus, and persistence.

But so does recovery. You must find a part inside of you to grab hold of and never let go. You must find your “roots.”

****Side note. I wrote this waiting for my medication. Small moments (or 30) of reflection.