Eating disorder recovery, Personal development

You save yourself (part 1)

Hey all! Happy Sunday (eve)!

I hope your weekend went well! Overall it’s been rather uneventful here… we were in the line of storm Harper but received only about 5″ of snow and then it sleeted for hours but the power stayed on and everything is cleaned up – grateful for this.

*I’m going to throw a disclaimer on this post because it does contain potentially triggering content for those in recovery/dealing with/recovered from an eating disorder/other mental illness. This post is a positive focused view of my personal experience, but could be difficult for some, so please read with your own well-being in mind ♥ *

I came across a quote the other day that got me to thinking, and I couldn’t help but write a post on all of these feels.

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” ― Carl Gustav Jung

THIS.

THIS.

THIS.

I have been having a lot of internal dialogue lately, about my remission and recovery process, my current life, and the goals I have for myself both in the present and moving forward.

For anybody that is new to my blog, welcome! Thank you for stopping by. I very much appreciate your “click” to my neck of the woods internet.

I’m going to be blunt and factually oriented for a hot second:

I began to develop anorexia nervosa at age 11. I stopped competing nationally in jump-rope at age 12. These two were most definitely intertwined. Middle school and high school were a series of ups and downs – I was “stable”, “unstable”, and a mix of the two in an almost cyclical pattern. I graduated high school, took a year off to explore the realm of adventure racing – something that made me feel alive and stoked about life rather than stoked about my destruction. I started community college in May 2012, relapsed in October 2012 following three simultaneous stress fractures, entered another form of treatment which I finished in May 2013, transferred from community college to the university I’m at now in January 2015, began hiking in July 2016, experienced the first injury I didn’t subsequently relapse after in April 2017, changed my major, finished some major hiking “list” in September 2018 (huge deal as I have an uber fear of commitment), and am currently about to wrap up my degree and am pursing a career in which I help people 1. overcome the fear/shame/guilt, 2. realize their own potential to be their best self, and 3. support them on this journey.

So, HEY, I’m Sarah (insert waving emoji here)

I experienced shame, guilt, fear, uncertainty, and discomfort in who I was as a person starting around age 9/10. These are common feelings for the pre-teen/teen years. For me, these feelings led to a habitual path of self destruction. I felt like I had power when I destroyed myself. After all, I controlled this. The degree to which I annihilated my own being was entirely up to myself. This lasted through, well, today. And it will continue to last because we are all in control of how much we a. destroy ourselves, or b. take care of ourselves.

I used to feel a sense of power by taking myself out.

I thought I was winning. Doing it right. All the balls were in my court.

Today – that neurological connection is still there, but it’s deep down (or far back) in my brain. It rarely comes to the surface in my day to day life. And, when it does, it often goes away as quick as it came because it no longer serves me.

What made a difference? How did I flip-flop from option a to option b? I recognized that destroying myself was not helpful and SLOWLY began the process of less maladaptive behaviors and more healing practices. I accepted and acknowledged fully that I wanted to do everything in my power to not resort to these coping mechanisms which fueled my life, actions, behaviors, thoughts for a decade. Most importantly, I gave myself permission to mess up. Unconditional permission and acceptance.

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I’ll never be a 100% person. Maybe you are, and that’s okay. Maybe you’re like me, that’s okay too. I don’t “do” cold turkey. It F’s me up. I feel even more shame and greater senses of failure. I always end up thinking about the thing that I’m trying to not think about which then makes me think about it more and I end up finding myself waist deep in a relapse, on an 38 day stretch of exercise with no day off, or bobbing in the middle of whatever other maladaptive coping mechanism I’m trying to avoid at all costs. Cold turkey takes me out hard.

I’m a 5 step forward, 1 back, 2, forward, 3 back, 4 forward type of person. This works for me. It’s not only how I approach my mental health, it’s how I’ve learned to approach life.

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It has taken me approximately 5 years to understand/acknowledge/accept this. And for what it’s worth – I needed it to take 5 years, or at least not just a year… because it now feels natural. Practice makes “perfect” my friends.

I remember I constantly either felt like a failure in treatment or that I was absolutely killing it. The latter was when I was using my ED behaviors, but being oh so incredibly manipulative that nobody actually knew. Or, at least I felt like this, I’m sure they knew or had inklings at a minimum. The failure part was harder to swallow. For the bulk of my existence, even when my life was a “shit sandwich”, I was high functioning. So, going into treatment, somehow magically on my own terms, and then feeling like I sucked royally at at – well this was a new form of torture.

In hindsight, I didn’t suck at it. I also hate that I felt it normal to assign adjectives associated with my ability to be “good” or “bad” in treatment and recovery for so long. If I was a 100% person, then yes, by definition, I “sucked” (please note all possible sarcasm here folks). But for me, for my personality type, for what has historically worked for my being – I kept on keeping on. I had my bad days, my slips, my moments of being ready to throw up the peace sign and say “I’m done, never coming back, and going to live my life with a raging ED”. But, despite all this, I went back. I cried (a lot). I yelled (even more). I got angry (very often).

I remember feeling guilty for my actions and shameful for my anger, almost that something was wrong with me. I told myself daily to just keep going, keep pushing, keep challenging myself, and to focus on recovery and living the “recovering life”. What I never realized that the story I was telling myself on repeat was harmful to both my recovery process and also my overall well-being. What we resist persists. I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, and for this scenario it couldn’t hold more truth. I resisted the changes that were necessary. I felt like if I lived in a way which matched what people who are in recovery looks like, that I would eventually find myself recovered. Because apparently my mind had this pre-determined “image” of what I would/should be like as the former anorexic/exercise addicted now recovered Sarah?

BULL FUCKING SHIT.

My intention entering treatment was to get to a place where I could feel happy, myself, and live the life I always dreamed of. I began with the belief that if I simply did what I was told, then I would get better. It’s so much more than this. And, I didn’t realize this until about three years ago.

It’s the process. It’s the story we tell ourselves. It’s our choices – both on a macro and micro level. It’s how we think and feel about how we think and feel. It’s whether or not we can forgive and accept our own being. It’s whether or not your trust yourself, and I mean REALLY TRUST YOURSELF (aka your soul).

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Maybe you can’t go a day without the internal dialogue or picking on yourself to your peers. But, do you recognize this? Maybe you still weigh your food in recovery. How does this affect you? Is it negative or is it beneficial (not for secretly maintaining your ED but for your health/eating enough because your hunger cues are screwed up in the short term)? Maybe you workout. Is it to burn calories or to be the strongest version and physically support yourself ? Maybe you have to wiggle your way our of certain obligations. Is it because you “can’t” do it or because you are protecting yourself?

You see, the scenarios are there. The stories are endless. The intention is what matters.

Most things in life can be faked, at least to a degree.

I did it.

I faked the “recovered” thing for a while. From about fall of 2013 through summer 2016 I pulled off the “I’m good, have my slips, but I’m good”.

YES, I was good by the books. My BMI (don’t get me started) was “healthy”. I got my period back during this time frame. I didn’t work out excessively. I was doing well in school and maintaining a job, social life, and seeing a therapist. I was good right?

NO.

In my now 25 years of life I can firmly say my mental health was the worst it’s ever been from Fall 2013 to Summer 2016.

So, this is part one. To be continued. Sorry not sorry kiddos but this post is long and I want you lovely humans out there reading it to think on it, take it in, absorb and ponder. Be with your thoughts. Perhaps this resonates with you, makes you think of a friend/family member, or you totally don’t connect with me on this stuff – whatever the case – be a sponge to whatever in here you can take away.

I’ll post part 2 next by weekend, it’s in the the works but I want to “give it my all”, aka I want to be as real and as present as I can.

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story.” — Cheryl Strayed

XO, S

life

Jumping into 2019

Hey folks!

It’s been a hot minute.

I hope all of you enjoyed the holidays and are doing well so far in 2019! This post is a long time coming as it’s now the middle of January. Wait, what, how? Is time actually flying or have I just been super consumed with a plethora of things in my life? I’m going to vote the first even though it’s totally the latter.

Over here in my neck of the woods things have felt more like running into the new year rather than jumping, but I liked the sound of jumping into 2019, hence the oh so clever title.

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Literally running. In snowshoes 😉

What have I been up to?

For starters, if you’re subscribed/a regular reader of this blog (hi, I love you) then you may have noticed a new theme. I felt like changing this up a bit and am digging the new look for Pursuit of an Outlier. You know what they say (really though… who is ‘they’)… variety is the spice of life?

This post is going to be part life update and part what does 2019 hold for me.

Let’s talk about December, shall we? I wrapped up my final semester at the University of New Hampshire and will officially graduate in May!!!!! Currently, I’m taking one last class for my degree which is a 6-week art history course which ends February 15th. We can all clearly tell what I’ve avoided throughout my college experience – an art discovery class. Honestly, it’s kind of nice to have a fun class to finish everything up rather than psychopharmacology (glad I did that last year!), although real talk… for my brain, art history is 17x more difficult.

What have I been up to since ending the fall semester? Many things. While there have not been lots of hikes recently, which feels super weird, I’ve still be getting outside and adventuring often. Following a hip flare up in early December, I decided giving it some time versus jumping right back on the high level of activity and pushing my body bandwagon was likely a smart choice. I’m happy to report the hip and body in general feel much better than they have in a long time and this all tremendously excites me. Figuring that it’s winter, I thought this would be a good period to take a break from hiking and biking (winter biking can piss my hip off like no other because of pelvic position in saddle/hip flexor use/it’s cold out so muscles are tighter), and focus on other activities I enjoy such as yoga, climbing, “frolicking” (trail walking/running in some form of interval-ish format), snowboarding, and walking. Just walking is such a wonderful thing that is SOOOOO beyond overlooked. It’s movement, a very natural movement that is relatively easy on the body. I’ve been very much digging local trail walks most days of the week as of late. With these change ups I’ve been experiencing more mental clarity as well, everything makes a little more sense, the dots are connecting, and my creative side has amplified.

29 Great inspirational Quotes #wisdom #inspirationalqutoes #inspiringquotes #greatquotes #positivequotes

Outside of the activity spectrum, I “lost” my job. I’m not entirely sure how to explain this one but the place I worked for had two locations and the one I worked at since 2011 closed. I wasn’t working much there anyways with school so it was a natural phase out. Right now I’ve been exploring my options from a work perspective and my primary goals are 1. jobs/ways of making income which I enjoy and fulfill me, 2. working enough to both support myself right now and save the money that I need for future endeavors (hang tight, will get into), and 3. aren’t overly stressful.

I’m going to use future endeavors as a gateway if you will into what’s in store for 2019. For starters, some big changes. First off, I’m graduating. I’ll have my degree in Psychology/neuroscience and a minor in nutrition. Wahoo yippee do da. My current living situation is at home as my parents house is a hop and skip (this equates to approximately 12 minutes) from campus. This summer we will ALL be moving as they are packing up, selling house, and moving into 5th wheel RV to travel the US. I’ll be moving as well, and that’s about all I can currently say on that front 😉

What else, what else? Because graduating and moving/selling childhood home aren’t enough, I decided (and no this is not an on the whim thing) to embark on the journey of starting my own business. Much more on this to come but for now I’ll leave it as a cliffhanger! While there are a few other things I have up my sleeve(s), I think this is enough for one post.

The theme of 2019 is definitely the year of growth – personally, professionally, and in my hobbies. I’m thrilled for these adventures. I’m not the biggest guru of new year resolutions per say, but I had jotted down some things I’d like to manifest for my life in the upcoming year which I’ll leave below.

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“I think the only way for you to grow and evolve is to keep listening, keep moving forward, keep jumping in and trying to experience.” Dianne Reeves

XO, S

Uncategorized

December intentions

Hey buttercups!

I hope you’re all having a stellar week! To my fellow college students in the midst or heading into finals – BREATHE… it’ll be ok, the world won’t end.

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Mellow morning writing

Recently I jotted down a set of December intentions for myself, and today I’m choosing to share them with the blog world in hopes of inspiring others to set intentions for their life.

1. Take up space

I’ve linked a post for this intention which I think sums it up nicely.

2. Broaden my outdoor activity repertoire

I’d like to try XC skiing, snowshoe running, and downhill skiing (as a snowboarder this should be rather interesting!).

3. Write more simple posts

Posts like “take up space“. Just my thoughts. Flowing words. Not paragraphs per say. Just me writing.

4. Create mental space daily

Setting aside a few minutes each day to just sit and breathe and see where my mind wants to wander. Other tools for creating more mental space could be yoga, meditation apps, going for a walk in the woods near my house.

5. Practice enthusiasm

I feel much better when I’m enthusiastic in general about most everything that comprises my daily existence. I lose this a little bit in the winter months because it’s cold and dark, but now is when I need it most. So, I’m putting the intention out there into space to focus my energy on being enthusiastic throughout my days.

“Just simple days. Simple days of laughing lots and breathing deep and loving with my whole heart and feeling that love back. That’s all I’m really looking for now.” – S.C. Lourie

XO, S