Friday, December 31, 2010

I Can't See You...

So this blog has in one sense become another project begun and forgotten - except that I didn't forget and I'm still here. Actually, it's more like another project begun and put off and procrastinated on endlessly because I'm afraid of ruining or marring it somehow. Much like the emails that linger in my inbox, receiving every day a look, endless guilt, and no acknowledgement. Much like the research project that I'm doing in which I've barely begun and haven't replied to my supervisor about. Much like the things that I continue to put off, not because it will make things better or make them go away, but because I'm scared to face them and denying them is easier. Except that it isn't because I still feel endlessly guilty about all of it. This needs to end. And I keep telling myself that it will, and I'm getting closer to doing everything that needs to be done. But I'm still avoiding certain things.

Mainly, I'm avoiding things that require contact. I need to reply to emails. I don't. I need to reply to Facebook messages and comments. I don't. I need to call certain people and make appointments/talk to them about something important. I don't. And it's not like they don't know I'm around. I can't say I've been away, incommunicado for ages. They know I haven't. I feel like I'm enacting the adult version of "if I can't see you, you can't see me", except in my case, it's "if I don't acknowledge your email/comment/phone call, you'll forget that I exist". It doesn't work any better now than it did back then. *Sigh*

On another note, here's to a fresh-and-soon-to-be-muddied start. Happy New Year!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I'm scared. Of staying the same. Of changing. Of letting people know about my past. Of the loneliness that comes of not letting them know. Of being "normal". Of being abnormal. Of staying this weight forever. Of gaining weight. Of eating. Of the consequences of not eating. Of life in general.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Busyness As OCD Treatment

When I was in junior high, I was often late for school because despite waking at a reasonable hour, my rituals meant that it generally took longer for me to leave the house than I'd planned for. When I was in high school, I was the same way, although said rituals were even more ED-driven (sit-ups, how I "had" to eat, etc.). In my final year of high school and now, in university, the incidence of my being late due to ritualistic actions has greatly decreased. Yes, there are occasions where the fact that I am weighing my food, or myself, or carrying out semi-ED-related rituals makes me late, but compared to prior years, the incidence is reduced heavily. Why?

My psychiatrist would likely attribute it to the (much despised) Prozac that I take, my doctor to the (similarly despised) increase in weight and general cessation of malnutrition. While I begrudgingly must agree with those reasons to a certain extent, I have my own hypothesis: I no longer have time to indulge my anxiety with these rituals.

Now, I'm not by any means saying that individuals with OCD or eating disorders are indulgent and spoilt, wont to spend their time on meaningless activities for no reason. What I am saying is that, for me, part of decreasing my obsessional tendencies has been to face my anxiety, deny myself the ritual absolving it, and focus on the fact that the things that I want to do are more important than illogical rituals. I am involved in more than I was in junior high or high school, and additionally, my studies now take up more of my time. So should I spend two hours of my day tapping the wall until I've done it "just right" or tying and re-tying my pyjama pants drawstring until it feels "tight enough" (disregarding the fact that I pull so hard on it that it's cut into my skin, frayed, and eventually snapped), or should I spend it at that club meeting that I want to be at and studying for my exam so that I get the grades I'd like? The answer is simple and logical, yet, in the moment where I have to choose to actually stop the ritual and move myself out of the situation, it's not as clear cut. So I remind myself: My life is more important than the irrational quelling of anxiety and fulfillment of my minds illogical rituals. And then I feel anxious. For a while. And until the next challenge, I move on.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Situation Connotations

Katie wrote a post yesterday that touched on a topic that I've thought about recently. She said that "It only takes a slight drop in the temperature and that strange cold smell to the air to make me feel as if everything is wrong," and I've felt the same way.

I tended to be hospitalized in the late summer and in the wintertime post-Christmas-February/March. When these seasons roll around, no matter how good I am feeling at the time or how well I am doing food- and/or weight-wise, I feel anxious. I feel as though I am waiting for the other shoe to fall, for the axe to come down. The past memory of those seasons being times of condemnation and entrapment holds firm and I have to do a lot of rational talking to myself (silently of course - I'm already crazy enough; there's no need to add to the look :) ) to convince my mind that things can be okay despite the seasonal shifts. The first winter that I wasn't hospitalized felt strange indeed.

Likewise, when I started university last fall, things weren't going well. I was off my medication cold turkey (as I thought I was allowed to do) and I was overwhelmed with university, too many commitments (like 24 hours of work/week + school + volunteering, etc.) loneliness, and life in general. I spent about three hours a day in tears and my grades were not near where I wanted them to be. I doubt that I'll ever forgive myself for immediately ruining my GPA. Anyways, this year I still have at the back of my mind a hanging dread of the start of classes. I'm afraid that as soon as everything is back into full swing, my life and mental health will just disintegrate and fall to pieces like last year. And I don't want to ruin things again. And I am so scared.

I think that the next few weeks will require planning, self-reassurance, and some courage. Here's to breaking another personal seasonal connotation. Have any of you felt similarly?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Conspicuously normal

Yesterday being the end of August (*tear*), I had some coupons, etc. that were expiring. I also had three ten dollar vouchers for various food places at the university that I attend. While I am not back at school yet, I do work near there and decided that I would use them to buy something, because not doing so would be wasteful, and therefore, forbidden :).

Anyways, out of the $30 I had to spend, I calculated the items (all storable, non-perishable) close enough that I paid $29.97 of the $30. I was rather proud of that. I'm sure that means that I'm a greedy person, but it's also like a game. I love playing with numbers of any sort. No wonder anorexia's constant tallies are so comforting.

The point of this entire thing is that I ended up buying an Iced Cappuccino with part of the vouchers. A large Iced Cappucino. It seemed huge. It felt so strange to order something that big, as I'd never have done so prior to the eating disorder, and definitely not since. I know that I felt "safe" drinking it because I essentially knew the calories and had worked it into my daily plan, but I also felt greedy and excessive, especially carrying a large, sugared beverage into work at 8:30AM, where some of my coworkers are aware of my AN. Although I knew that it was no different than me eating anything else of equal caloric value, I felt the whole time as though it looked to others as though I were instantly recovered, carefree, and wanting, so wanting, to voluntarily order that much.

I only thought after how silly it was to even consider that people were gaping internally in shock at my massive drink. Compared to some of the fast food beverages today, it's disturbingly normal.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Battling "Uncomfortable" Foods

I don't really have "fear foods" any more in the sense that I did when I was initially in treatment. There are definitely things that I avoid or that I am uncomfortable eating, or that make my shake my leg under the table, but I don't think that there's anything that, on it's own - circumstances aside, would make me break down in tears anymore.

That being said, butter is still not my best friend. Nor is unmeasured melted cheese. I was intolerant to milk protein as a child and resultingly, I rarely ate butter/dips/sauces, etc. I grew up eating raw, plain vegetables and dry cereal. I only occasionally put spread on my breads. This tendency alone caused much distress when in treatment - I felt as though the food rules weren't in place to wipe out ED so much as they were trying to change who I fundamentally was (irrational, I know).

Tonight my father cooked dinner, a rare but increasingly common affair due to his extended unemployment. He made corn, pork chops (another "uncomfortable" food) in mushroom soup, and scalloped potatoes. With cheese. And butter. Copious amounts of butter. More than I've knowingly eaten in......well, I don't know how long. And I got quite the pile of potatoes. And following the (usually) unspoken rule since my eating disorder began, I ate all of what was on my plate.

The point of this post? I managed to eat the potatoes without freaking out externally, meaning that unlike past meals involving (what I consider) excess butter, it did not end in a screaming match. Or a slammed door. Or treatment threats. It did involve some wiping of butter on the plate/lips and subsequently napkin, but again, nowhere near the level it may have been at years ago.

So I'd say it was a success. Not one I really wanted to have, per se, but nonetheless a I won a victory, if not the war, over the eating disorder.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I couldn't even think of what to title this post. I feel lost. I feel lonely. I feel trapped. And while it may not be eating disorder-specific, the incredible guilt and hatred for myself that I feel has the same traits stamped all over. I can't seem to win, at least not in my mind. It's as though in the thought balance of my mind, one negative comment, or even the suggestion, is enough to negate hundreds of compliments or positive feedback I've received. And since there's no way I receive that much positivity in the space it takes to find one negative comment, imaginary or real, I have a nearly constant proclivity to lean towards the negative, hateful thoughts towards myself. And once one sneaks in, the domino effect is set in motion.

For example, at work today (clinic), we were pretty busy and I was attempting to complete what I was doing before lunch. I'd felt kind of out-of-it/adrift all day, but it wasn't anything physical, just mental blaaaah. Anyway, I mentioned this in passing and one of my co-workers, an older lady who's just returned from vacation, along with her delightful attitude of I-am-the-only-one-with-a-brain-among-these-incompetents, asks in this accusatory voice, "Have you eaten lunch yet?" To which I responded no and she begins to rag on me that I should. Right now. And of course, I tried to shrug it off and just say that I would, why was now so important?, and her response is what got me. It wasn't that she said, "well, it might make you feel less out-of-it", or, "you should take a break", but, "well, you said you already felt a bit off and we need productivity from you". Which was the dam breaking on the flood of thoughts of "I am lazy, I am slow, I am useless", etc., despite that she'd spent more of the morning critiquing what we'd done in our absence than doing any real work. And I returned to my task with the addition of more stress and leg shaking. None of which is her fault, but rather an illustration of the ridiculous extent to which my negative thoughts tend to invade.

I also received an email today from the director of a committee I volunteer with. We did a bake sale as a fundraiser this week and I made a bunch of things, some ordinary (cupcakes), and some more unique. Nearly all of it sold. BUT. We get reimbursed and apparently I should have asked before using so much money (~$85). Which I would understand if things didn't sell or they lost money. But they sold. And made money. And I actually had fun, which is more than I can say for the other roles I've been assigned on this committee. But of course, despite making the most of anyone, I now feel like cr*p about that too.

Aaaaand, pity party over. I'm not looking for any validation of my likely-skewed view of the world, but I needed to vent. I know I'm lucky and have no reason to complain about anything, but I need to learn to see that (because frankly, it's making me feel guilty too :)! )

On a completely different note, I have two questions for anyone who deigns to answer:

1) How do you create separate tabs/categories on your blog?
2) If someone makes their blog private, is there any way to contact them to ask to become a reader?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Another Letdown

And so this has also been neglected for the past week+. The next on the list of things I'm failing at. And not because I have nothing to write or because I want to avoid it. I'm just so tired. Sorry for the down mood; I'm sure I'll be more positive in a bit.

Monday, July 5, 2010


One of my largest and longest held dreams in life is to get accepted into medical school and become a physician. I was recently rereading a book called "So, You Want To Be A Doctor, Eh?" (aimed at Canadian students - hence the "eh") and I realized something.

Just because I have big dreams, doesn't mean that achieving them now is better than achieving them later. That doesn't mean I want to be forty years old before I get into medical school or wait until I've done two undergraduate degrees and worked for several years before applying. What it does mean, is that maybe I don't have to get accepted in my third year of university in order to feel like I've accomplished something. Maybe I don't need to apply as soon as I can. More importantly, maybe I no longer want to.

For as long as I can remember, I planned to finish high school in three years, do two years of undergrad, apply and get accepted to medical school for third year and take a three year program (University of Calgary or McMaster), etc. But due to hospitalizations and treatment, high school was four years. I am entering my second year of university this September and have not yet written the MCAT (and won't be this summer), hence I cannot apply for third-year acceptance. And more and more I am realizing that I don't need to rush it. Getting it done faster, earlier, younger, may to some seem outwardly more impressive, but in the long run, I think that the other things will weigh more importantly on my values and accomplishments-I'm-proud-of scale. Getting accepted in third-year might be impressive/whatever now, but in many years, I think I'd rather have completed my degree and fourth year honours thesis, travelled more, volunteered more, tried more new things, explored my options, learned more in a variety of areas.

My goal is shifting. At least for today, my epiphany is that I don't just want things in my life completed as young as possible, but as fully and beneficially as possible. It's not about narrowness and surface achievement. It's about deeper, fuller, more impactful experiences. And that might be more than okay.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Studying the Obvious

While I don't profess to be highly experienced in the area of research, as a student in a research-focused specialty for undergrad, a research assistant, and someone just plain interested in new medical developments, I do understand (or thought I did) a couple of things.

1) Research is done in order to discover, uncover, and explain.

2) Funding for research is not the easiest thing to obtain. Granting agencies must be convinced that your study is worth it.

3) Researchers can make many things sound far more important and complex than they are in their efforts to obtain said funding.

That being said, I just don't understand how some of the following studies got funding. I know that part of the newspaper article I read about the first in said something about "knowing, but not having the data." Does that mean I should create a study to see whether the sun really does rise in the east and set in the west? I mean, of course we know it, but do we have data?

Read, ponder, and enjoy.

1) Teenage Boys Really Do Eat A Lot: Study
It turns out that when boys and girls ages 8-17 are study in a "lunch-buffet study", boys tend to eat more calories than girls in each of the age categories. They also eat the most in their mid-teens (coincidentally when they are going through growth spurts). It's too bad that these researchers didn't save their dollars and simply poll a few mothers of teenage boys.

2) e-Ana and e-Mia: A Content Analysis of Pro-Eating Disorder Websites
Apparently "Pro-eating disorder web sites present graphic material to encourage, support, and motivate site users to continue their efforts with anorexia and bulimia." Yes folks, "pro" generally does mean "for *insert whatever here*" and suggest encouragement.

3) Pre-meal Anxiety and Food Intake in Anorexia NervosaThis sharp team determined that anorectics (weight-restored; they mention nothing about mental recovery) with higher anxiety prior to eating tend to eat less than those with lower anxiety. It seems that their anxiety also affects their eating amounts more than it does for healthy controls. Shocking. I guess that could be why it's called an eating disorder and tends to be co-morbid with other anxiety issues...

Okay, shocking news and subtle snarking over for the evening. Data entry must be making me (even more) cynical. :)

NOTE: 2) and 3) were studies found through links posted on Carrie's blog. Thanks Carrie!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Too much or not enough?

I spent the better part of the day today contemplating whether I could work harder and be more productive at my job and do more things outside of my job. Not exclusively though - I was working, etc. while I did this.

The problem is that on a day-to-day, long-term, looking-in-my-daytimer-to-try-to-fit-something-else-in basis, I feel like I'm busy. I feel as though I don't have time to cram four more hours of volunteering into my schedule or work for 2-3 hours a day on volunteering from home.

Alternately, I feel - especially when listening to other people/looking at their schedules - that I am not doing enough. I have time to read (though not nearly as much as I used to and mainly while waiting for things to start or eating a meal or on the bus/in the car (but not when I'm driving)), I have time to blog, I have time to visit my grandparents after church, I have time to nap when I'm dead-tired, etc.

In the same vein, I work when I'm at work. I don't stand around talking - if I am roped into a conversation I attempt to work at the same time and feel guilty/uncomfortable until back doing something that I guarantee I should be getting paid for. I don't take my breaks (at the clinic) or wait until forced (restaurant). Unless I am freaking out in the moments it takes to organize my thoughts enough to figure out what I am doing/what to do next, I am working. BUT. I am not running ragged every second. I can breathe. I sometimes complete more at work than other days. This may be related to the busyness of the day or number of patients/customers, but my immediate conclusion if I don't do as much as I've done other days is that I was/am being lazy.

Basically, my (il)logic refrain of thoughts tends to be along the following lines:
"There are spaces in my schedule, therefore I am not busy and should be doing more."
"I didn't complete as much work today as I hoped/know I am capable of on the slowest days, therefore I am not working hard enough."
"Someone else completed a job that I usually do, therefore I am being lazy and slow and need to hurry up."
And so forth, ad nauseum.

So my logical attempted thought for the day is this:
-Unscheduled time is needed for certain things. I can eat while working/volunteer. I cannot sleep or prepare for things that occur in scheduled hours or do homework while working/volunteering.
-It is not necessary to race around frantically all day trying to do the jobs of three people. That is why I have co-workers.

It feels logical applied to others, but in the ridiculous world of my brain, all I can think is "Yeah, like I believe any of that in relation to my self - now stop wasting time and do something productive!".

Agh. Do any of you feel like this? Until later...

Friday, June 18, 2010


I'm feeling overwhelmed.

Do you remember when you were little - think elementary school - and the days seemed endless and there was so much time during the summer to do everything and anything? I actually got bored because there was "nothing to do."

Right now I feel the complete opposite. There is loads of things that I should be doing. There are piles of papers, etc. that I should be dealing with. There are volunteer commitments that I have to finish. There are work projects that need to be done. There is recovery, which apparently "needs to be a priority" (but sure doesn't feel like it should be). And yet the heavier the workload gets, the more I just want to avoid it (don't get me wrong - I'm dealing with it; I just don't really want to at this point).

Please pause the world. It's going too fast and I'd like to breathe for a moment. :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oh right....this isn't normal...

So. I work at a donut shop/fast food place. I have for 5 years on-and-off (between school, hospitalizations, etc.). The irony of that is another post in itself.

Regardless, I had a small flash of clarity this evening. A co-worker was taking orders from the drive-thru and a customer inquired as to the calories of a bowl of chili. Logically, he went for the nutrition guide and began flipping through it. Impatient person that I am, I went "what are they looking for?" He replied and I immediately spit out the number of calories. Of a food that I haven't eaten in quite some time (no, I'm not scared of it anymore; I just haven't had it in a while).

At the time, I thought nothing of this, but as I sat on my break later, I realized that knowing the caloric content of nearly every food product that the store sells that I might even possibly eat one day is not normal. That is why they have nutrition guides. Because most people are not walking calorie encyclopedias. Most people do not spend their shift tallying their caloric intake for the day when they are bored and have no one near them to talk to. Most people want to go on break with another person, rather than being embarassed to eat with someone less than two feet straight in front of them watching/texting/whatever.

I feel "too well" to have anorexia anymore, but I still fail to recognize the abnormalities in my thought processes/behaviour most of the time. I almost wish I could live in someone else's mind for the day. Someone non-eating-disordered. Just to see what it's like, because it's been so long that I don't truly remember.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Why I'm Jumping On The Bandwagon

I don't tend to dive impulsively into anything, and blogging is no different.
So what are the reasons that someone who worries about the consequences of everything is starting a public blog?
  • Because there is a wonderful, supportive recovery community out there and I want to be a part of it
  • Because I've been reading many, many insightful blogs for a long time and they inspire me
  • Because I'd like to be able to join the discussion and comment properly once in a while
  • Because typing is often faster than writing in a journal
  • Because I need somewhere to not feel so alone
  • Because maybe this will help to motivate me
  • Because sometimes, you need to risk it

Here's to not letting this fall by the wayside as a forgotten project. I hope.