Dove's Newest Campaign

Dove’s latest ad shows that grass is always greener when it comes to body image

How about we don't change how girls see themselves, but how they value themselves? I'm sick of hearing all these "everyone is beautiful" campaigns, because yeah, I do genuinely believe there's beauty in everyone. But why does that matter? Why do we place so much value on how the world, or we ourselves, see ourselves. Do we really want girls to think how they see themselves is what matters? Because it's not. You're valuable for reasons outside of how you look. What we really need to do is teach girls to find value in themselves, because that's what the real issue, I believe, is.

One day

One day I'll eat pizza from the cafeteria I volunteer at.

Crazy Busy Day (and a lot of disgusting thoughts)

Today has been super busy. I attempted to wake up at 6 to finish my annotated bibliography so I would have time to workout, but I slept through my alarm and my mom calling me (yes, I have my mom call me when I need to wake up super early), and didn't get up until 7. I still finished the bibliography, and had time for breakfast and a shower, but not enough time to go to the gym.

I forgot to mention the other day, my professor approved my request for an extension on my paper and other project, so I'm super relieved about that. I have until Wednesday at 11 to finish it, but I don't know where I'm going to find the time to do that these next few days. I'm so busy, I hate it.

I had two back to back classes, got out at 11:50 and quickly bike home so that I could leave my house by noon. I had an orientation at Children's National Hospital that went a little over two hours, and I had to rush from there to Holy Cross Hospital where I volunteer, and ended up being 30min late (but my supervisor seemed understanding since I sent her an e-mail while I was at Children's National letting her know I was running behind).

Now I'm at Holy Cross "volunteering," but all of my duties have already been done by the volunteer who comes in during the morning. I feel like I'm just wasting time here sometimes, because now that I'm working in the afternoons, the morning person gets everything done. And it's slow enough on the unit that everything really only needs to get done once. My supervisor is cool and always tries to find me something to do, but she leaves at 3:30 (I get here at 3pm usually) and when she does find me something to do it doesn't take that long. Sometimes there are kids on the unit that I can play with and entertain, but lately it's been really slow.

Here I am just chilling in the playroom, while I wait for something exciting to happen (haha, that doesn't actually happen on this unit). I enjoy volunteering when there's things to do, but when I'm just sitting around, I feel like I'm just in everybody's way. Thank God for internet here.
After this I have to rush to a bible study that I've been going to. I've only been twice, but it's good so far, and the group seems pretty cohesive. I'm not quite comfortable with the people there yet, only because it takes me a while to get used to people, but they all seem friendly and welcoming. The one thing I hate though is when it's time to pray. We go around and pray together, and I get so embarrassed praying out loud, so I just squeeze the person's hand next to me so they know to go. But I feel bad not praying out loud when everyone else is. Usually it's just a small group of ladies that meet, but tonight it's a larger group that includes the guys too. I'm kind of nervous about meeting new people.
Straight after that I have to go to Silver Spring for my overnight babysitting job. I probably won't get there until at least 10, so the kids will be in bed and I might be able to get some homework done. But I have to get up at 6 in order to get myself ready, and then both the girls ready and fed, and get the one girl to school on time.
I somehow have to get home and pack in between all of this, and find time to eat dinner. I didn't really have lunch, I mean I ate a bar, but that technically doesn't have enough calories in it, and my breakfast wasn't that hearty either. I struggled a lot with eating the bar for lunch, because I got through the orientation without eating lunch (which ended around 2:45pm) and drove straight to Holy Cross after. I felt invincible, like I didn't need lunch since I already passed lunch time and wasn't really hungry. I knew a bar wouldn't hurt me, but I also drunk a lot of calories in alcohol last night, which really freaked me out today (even though the scale is fine). I ate it, because the most embarrassing thing ever would be passing out while at the hospital, but I'm still kind of like why did I do that?
I'm still really nervous about starting Dine on Wednesday. I know I'm going to have to eat a real meal, and a caloric drink, and I don't really know what this "real meal" is going to consist of. At home, at least I know the amount of calories I'm going to consume, and I preplan my meals around my other meals. Alex (the leader) said she was going to let us know on Monday what we were going to be having for dinner on Wednesday, but I still haven't heard from her, and I'm getting nervous. I'm also really nervous because I have my dietician appointment on Thursday - the day after eating a normal meal. Normally I restrict before my appointments because I'm afraid I'm going to be weighed and my weights going to be way up there. Which doesn't make sense, because I weigh myself like 50x a day (I'm not kidding) and it's not like I'm on the high end of my range or anything.
Sorry I just talked about that for a while, I'm just really anxious about that. I'm also really anxious about eating the next two days leading up to Dine, because I feel like I have to compensate for whatever we're going to eat that night.
Ahhh, sorry. I need to stop talking about how anxious I am about this. I shouldn't be so worried. I've done treatment before, and I can always back out if it's too much (which I know would be a bad decision but I'm kind of conflicted about this whole thing anyways.
This is sick, and I've only admitted it on tumblr (where I talk about all the crazy things that go through my head, unfiltered), but I don't know that full recovery is possible for me. I read a research article about relapse in individuals with Anorexia Nervosa, and the relapse rate is so much higher in those with Binge-Purge Subtype (that's me), and are less likely to recover. That was pretty discouraging to read, but it makes a lot of sense that maybe I won't recover.
Okay, I didn't get to the sick and crazy messed up part yet. But part of me just wants to die. Not like in a suicide way. But I want to be dead. I want my eating disorder to kill me. I want to die from my eating disorder. I want it to kill me. I know I'm repeating myself, but it's a strong belief that I've had for a few years now. If I don't recover from it, if I can't truly be happy, this is how I want to die. That's depressing to hear, I'm sure. And like, don't freak out, it's mostly coming from feeling hopeless in terms of recovery, it's an easy way out of life. And the sick thing is, it means I won. Well, my eating disorder won. It means I did my eating disorder best. How disgusting is it that I have thoughts like that? That's not even rational, I can't even explain it to myself. It doesn't make sense in my head. I want to die, and I want my eating disorder to kill me.
But I have all these plans for my life, that requires living. Which is why I'm doing this Dine program, which is why I'm fighting reluctantly. I'm very reluctant. I don't have a lot of hope. I try to convince myself that I have hope by reading inspirational stories. But I'm different. I'm not going to recover. I have the kind of eating disorder that research shows people don't recover from (I mean some people do, but the odds are against me considering my subtype and how long I've struggled).
This post got super depressing and I'm sorry if you read through all of this. I hope this wasn't triggering to read or discouraging.

Family Time

Earlier this week, my mom sent me an e-mail with a pumpkin soup recipe, asking if I'd like to come over and help her make it. The answer was obviously yes, seeing as pumpkin was in the title of the recipe. We decided to meet up today, because yesterday was my sister Shannon's 15th birthday and my family was going to celebrate it tonight, so it seemed like a good time to meet up.
I met my mom at Wegman's so we could do grocery shopping for the week. My house that I live in does communal groceries, but lately it's just been better for me to do my own food stuff. It causes me a lot of anxiety not knowing what I'm going to have for a meal, or planning the day in advance what I'm going to have and then not having something available. Ideally, eating what the house eats would be moving in the right direction in terms of recovery, it's just been too much for me to handle recently. Plus, if I'm going to eat food, it's gotta be the best tasting food, because why waste calories on cardboard? (My roommates don't eat cardboard, but you know what I mean)
So we went shopping, and it was a pretty low stress trip, mostly because I didn't have a lot that I needed. And I've kind of gotten into a routine of what I need, which is helpful for right now. And then we came home and made soup.... well, I helped a little, but mostly I just hung around and goofed off. But hey, I only see my family a few times a month, so I like to be able to hang out with my siblings and chat and mess around with them.
I had a really good time hanging out with the family. As I posted on facebook, it's always so refreshing to spend time with my family. They are so amazing and supportive, and I couldn't ask for a better family. It's amazing how much things have changed. I spent so many years being resentful of my family, and I don't even know why, they never did anything wrong. Of course, there are things that I look back on and wish they did differently. But they're humans and imperfect, and they did the best they could with me and my siblings, and I can't thank them enough for doing their best.
Going home used to cause me so much anxiety. Especially when I lived in Texas. I always freaked out about the whole food aspect of things (where am I going to get my food? how am I going to prepare it when there are PEOPLE there? I can't be seen around food. I'm going to have to talk to people?) I also struggled with the fact that I was really deep in my ED at the time, and my parents weren't actively trying to "save me." We've talked about it in therapy, and I understand now that at points they didn't know how to help, or if it would worsen things. And there were times when I was so good at hiding it, that they didn't realize how bad it was.
A big reason that things have been different is because of the work I've done both in and out of treatment. My family therapist at ERC in Denver was amazing at getting me to be more open with my parents, and not allowing me to bullshit with them. But even since then, things have gotten so much better with my family. I think I've been more open with them about my struggles, and how they can help. And I've reached out to my parents more when things have felt out of my control. I definitely can't give myself all the credit though, I don't know if "changed" is the right word, but my parents have learned so much over the past two years about how they can help me, and have been way more active in my recovery. I don't know if that's because I've let them in more, or if they've stepped up more, or both.
Dinner with my family was great. I don't usually enjoy food unless I'm not sober, but as much as eating with people causes me anxiety, it DOES make it more enjoyable once I get passed the anxiety. I think the anxiety is more thinking about having to eat with people and thinking about the anxiety, so I get anxious over becoming anxious. But once I sit down and do it, it's okay. Eating with people is so helpful because I can think about the conversation rather than the calories that I'm shoving down my throat. I feel like I'm getting much better at contributing to the conversation when I'm eating with my family than I was even a few months ago. We even talked about athletes, and 300-lb football players, and beefing up, and it didn't make me cringe or turn me off food. I mean, we WERE talking about a vegan 300-lb football player, but still.
When I drove my sister to wawa earlier, I found this pumpkin cannoli dip & chips, and anyone who knows anything about me knows I'm obsessed with pumpkin. And I like the regular non pumpkin variety of it, so I thought I'd give this a try. It was good, like the normal kind, but definitely didn't taste like pumpkin.


Anyways, I'm so glad things have been better with my family. I'm growing to love and appreciate them more and more everyday. I used to think my siblings hated me (because I was pretty rotten when I was in my ED), but it always tickles my heart when my little brothers come up to me and give me an "I missed you" hug.

Veg Fest 2015

First and foremost, thank you everyone who read my blog and has sent me some form of encouragement. I really do appreciate it. While I may not be 100% confident in myself, I wouldn't be going back into a program if I knew I could do this. I know I can't possibly be the only ones with these apprehensions, and it will be good having people in a similar place as me to relate. And maybe people further in their recoveries than me that can give me some hope, and people not as far in their recoveries that I can be a light to.
Now time to post about the DC VEGFEST! I meant to post about it yesterday, but I posted about other things, and then never got around to this. But yeah, I went to the D.C. Veg Fest with my friend Chelsea, and it was a lot of fun. I went last year, and it was totally different (a reminder of how far I've come). Part of it was going with a friend, who pushed me a little bit, and also knowing that I had support if I needed it. Last year I went, and I in a pretty good place, but also in that "just got out of treatment, got to follow my meal plan to a T," and still very socially timid (but I would still talk to people). I don't think I tried any of the samples last year, and ended up just getting lunch to fit my exchanges. This year was more fun, I wasn't as rigid. And while my friend thinks I should have tried more samples, I did what I was comfortable with, and I didn't count the calories in all the samples (huge woah). I even at this ginormous vegan pumpkin sandwich, and didn't care that I could only guestimate the calories in it. I talked to a lot of people, and I really think I gave off that happy cheerful vibe.
That's the kind of person I want to be. I want to be happy and cheerful, and I want it to rub off on other people. Because I genuinely want to see my happiness shine in other people. That's so selfish, I want to be the reason you're happy? Dude. But I want people to be happy, whether I make them happy or not. I just selfishly like knowing that I was a contributor to it. I don't know if that's a bad thing.
Anyways, here are some photos and a video about all the cool samples I got at the veg fest (yeah I gave away my youtube channel, ooops).

Dine Monte Nido

I've been thinking about how I wanted to post this, or if I wanted to post it, but I feel like if you're following my life, this is kind of an important detail that may be relevant for future posts. Basically I'm starting Monte Nido's Dine program on Wednesday, October 7. I feel kind of weird posting it because I've been in and out of IOP/PHP/Res/IP/etc. for a while, and it's like, again?

Only this is different. Monte Nido is a treatment program that I believe started in California by Carolyn Costin (author of 8 keys to recovery from an eating disorder), and Dine is an affiliate of her program. It's only a one day program, and it's 3 hours long and includes dinner. The program is meant for people who want to recover and want to be there, as opposed to other programs I've been in where a lot of people are there because they're forced to be there.

I have a lot of apprehensions about starting the program. One of them is the leader, Alex Raymond, a new nutritionist that works for Rebecca Bitzer. Background info - Rebecca Bitzer is my old dietician, who also used to lead a group that Alex would sometimes run with her. Alex was also a student at UMD my first semester (when I was pretty bad in my ED). I was a nutrition major at the time (lol), and I think it was Alex's last semester there as a nutrition major. I went to their nutrition club one time, realized that I felt so awkward there because talking about food used to freak me out (why was I a nutrition major??), and didn't go back. Alex was also the leader of the nutrition club. I don't know if she remembers me, but it's just weird going to a program lead by a prior peer. And it's also going to be weird going to a program lead by a nutritionist rather than a therapist, because I feel like a lot of the group topics will be therapy issues?

Another apprehension is that the meals don't go by exchanges, they go by what is a "normal meal." I can't even remember eating a meal without either counting the calorie content, or counting exchanges (while still counting calories, because I can't eat something without calculating the calories in my head). So like, how am I supposed to know if I'm eating what fits into my meal plan (not like I follow my meal plan anyways, but I most certainly don't want to go over)?

And going along with the whole meal situation, it is required that everyone have a caloric drink with their meal. I know I shouldn't be as scared of caloric beverages as I am, but ahhhh. Like I can drink caloric beverages in certain situations. For instance, sometimes I drink soy milk with breakfast, but that's only if it fits into my allowed calories. Or I'll drink alcoholic beverages occasionally, but again, only if I underrate that day, because again, calories. I mean, why drink my calories if I can get just as many calories from food? I know it's possible for me to do the whole liquid calorie thing, because in past treatments I've done them. But it's always somehow fit into my meal plan (e.g. if I need a dairy, I'll have soy milk, if I need a fruit, I'll have coconut juice, etc.). I talked with the intake director about it, who said it was a common concern for people (which I knew), and that most people get used to it after a few weeks. But I still can't even wrap my mind around drinking COW'S milk, or non-diet soda. I hope we can at least choose something that's not so "scary."

I'm also nervous because the intake director said the program is for people who want to be there. I want to be there, but I want not to be there. I'm so conflicted in terms of recovery. I feel really stuck. Like I might have a good week, but then I have a bad week. I'm making no progress, and am constantly going back and forth. I don't know what I want. I'm exhausted. But I don't want to live with an eating disorder, because it's not living. I just feel really hopeless in terms of recovery and motivation. But the intake director thinks this might be a good fit for me, because I'll be surrounded by people who want to recover, and I can gain strength and motivation from them. I hope he's right.

I want to give the program a shot, but I've been kicked out of programs before due to non-compliance, and I've faked my way through programs before, and there have been times where I felt like I was really taking it in but still relapsed. I need this time to be different. I don't have time in my life to waste on an eating disorder. I feel like I need more support than I have now, but I don't have time for IOP/DAY/PHP/etc., so this needs to work. I have my future all planned out. Graduate in December, work in the spring and summer while accumulating volunteer hours, practicum over the summer, start grad school in the Fall. I don't have time in my life to backtrack and end up in a higher level of care.

Sorry this was a long post. I think I could use some encouragement, because I feel discouraged and unmotivated, and really ashamed of doing a program again when I've done them so many times. I'm scared this isn't going to work, or that I'm not going to be able to persevere.

Also, if you do the whole prayer thing, pray that I would really dive into this program and give it everything. And that I can be honest with my team about things, because I've been struggling with that too. And pray that I'll be motivated and encouraged by the other ladies in treatment.

I like this image, because people are always like "try this guilt-free food" or "I'm so going to feel guilty after eating this," and other phrases like that. But I mean, it's food, you're not committing a mortal sin. In fact, your body NEEDS food to function. And eating a slice of cake once in a while won't kill you (in fact, I had to eat dessert every night for a few months, and I'm still kind of alive). So why should food make us feel guilty, if we're eating it in moderation? I mean, this is still something I struggle with, and I'm sure many people without eating disorders struggle with it too. But wouldn't it be wonderful if ALL foods were guilt free in our minds?

An anon on tumblr asked me:
"You're not trying to lose weight, but you're restricting?"

If you can earnestly ask this same question, you have a lot to learn about eating disorders. I'm too tired to give a long answer to this, just because this question has so much overwhelming content that I could reply with, but hopefully my blog gives some insight into the fact that eating disorders usually don't stem from wanting to lose weight (although they can definitely be part of the many triggers that trigger them).

I didn't do anything of note today. I'm still waiting to hear back from my therapist about that assignment. So I'm pretty anxious about that. I also started a new vLog. I used to have one that I made the first time I got out of treatment, but I hid most of the videos on there because I was kind of triggering to be honest (like talking about weight and stuff). It still exists, but I can no longer log on because I don't have the password or original email that I used to set it up.

That's okay though. I challenge you guys to find my new one (you probably won't - unless you know my old one, in which *hint hint*). I'm probably not going to talk about anything of note on there, since I'm using this. I'll probably just use it for fun.
I have a lot of recovery books that I've skimmed through and never really used. But I might see if some of them have some good journal prompts. I have a faith based one that I started using over the summer, but then got busy and stopped. I might start posting some of those again (I used to post them on my tumblr).