Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Year 3

Day 191 - Thursday 5/28/15 - Feeling really grateful to be able to experience the growth that I see every year as a teacher. 

Day 190 - Wednesday 5/27/15 - What a day.  SO thankful that things fell into place the way they did, and I didn't have that lost-puppy-wandering time I was so worried about.

Day 189 - Tuesday 5/26/15 - Grateful that my bladder still wakes me up at night, cause even though I hate the interrupted sleep, the alternative would be way worse!

Day 188 - Monday 5/25/15 - This Memorial Day, the magnitude of the holiday hit me hard.  I am and always will be ever-thankful for those who gave their lives so we could live in freedom. 

Day 187 - Sunday 5/24/15 - Hearing my cousin whisper "I can see why you don't visit your parents as much as they wish!" made me feel a little more understood by my family.

Day 186 - Saturday 5/23/15 - Love when things come full circle.... had the opportunity to help someone out today whom I've know her whole life..... I got to help her the way her mom helped me when I was her age....

Day 185 - Friday 5/22/15 - Shocked and grateful that tonight's family dinner was completely peaceful and calm, which is a first, and hopefully something that is repeated every month when we gather.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Insecure Comparisons

This.  This is where I am right now.  I didn't realize how much I do this, how much I look at people's outsides and compare it with my insides. How much I look at people's "shared successes" and compare them to my private flaws.  

I can walk through the mall, glimpse someone who looks like they have all their stuff together - they are fit, they look amazing, they've got a friend or friends with them, they're laughing or talking.  They look like what I wish I had.  

Except.  Except I don't have a clue what happens in the rest of their world.  For all I know, their behind the scenes is just as messed up as mine.

I struggle to accept my behind-the-scene life as ok.  If I can finally, finally stop comparing what goes on in my head, and behind closed doors of my home, with what I see in everyone else?  Wow.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Year 3

Day 184 - Thursday 5/21/15 - Very excited to read that there may finally be a requirement that insurance companies cover eating disorder treatment.

Day 183 - Wednesday 5/20/15 - So happy to have the Pup to come home to every day....

Day 182 - Tuesday 5/19/15 - Loved seeing a former student today!  Stopped by to hang with the class and I, what a treat!

Day 181 - Monday 5/18/15 - Feeling positive about building a professional, yet still me, version of "me" for my new job.  And more than for the job, really, for me.

Day 180 - Sunday 5/17/15 - Thankful for all those who rescue animals - it was nice talking to so many today while waiting for the vaccination clinic.

Day 179 - Saturday 5/16/15 -  Simple things, like clean sheets, make me happy.

Day 178 - Friday 5/15/15 - I realized today that the inner thug that lives in my brain and constantly taunts me has had 30+ years of practice and is not going to silence overnight.  This is a good realization.  It means I'm finally ready to start turning the tables to tame the taunts......

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Anxious Heart

"Depression is when you can't feel at all. Anxiety is when you feel too much. Having both is a constant war within your own mind. Having both means never winning." 

Photo Credit
A friend sent me the link to this article about My Anxious Heart, a photo series depicting anxiety and depression with photography instead of just words.  While I found all the photos in the series so spot on and relateable, it was the quote above that got me. 

On top of the eating disorder, which is thankfully under control these days, both anxiety and depression reside inside me.  There are days where my depression is so thick I can't lift my head from my pillow in the morning.  There are days when my anxiety is so strong walking from the bedroom to the living room has me short of breath.

Sometimes I miss the numbness the eating disorder provided, it was a more tolerable numbness than the one depression carries.  Depression numb is being in the dark with no light in sight, where as the eating disorder numb is more dissociative.  Both leave me feeling rather care-less.

I struggle with lots of things I see on Facebook, and I actually stopped reading the newspaper and watching the news nearly two years ago.  Why?  Because I feel too much.  Because I'd see a story about a town in need, and my heart would break for the citizens of the town.  I'd see a story about a child who won the battle with cancer, and my heart would crack open even further for the pain they had to go through.  Feeling so much, so intensely, leaves me gasping for breath.

I don't like that I agree with the author, that "having both means never winning," but I do.  I feel like the delicate balance, the grey area, so to speak, is so hard to find, and once it's found, it is nearly impossible to stay for long.  Being in one extreme, depression, is no better than the other extreme, anxiety, at least for me.  I aim to reside in the grey area.

And yet, it seems impossibly elusive.
(That's what the depression says.)

And the idea of the grey area is terrifying.
(That's the anxiety talking.)

Still, I plug on.  I see my therapist twice a week and my dietitian once a week and the rest of my team as needed and I plug on.  They haven't given up.  So I won't either.

Monday, May 18, 2015

At Any Cost

I've been *trying* to live a healthier life for 68 days.  I know that because I've numbered every day in my food log since starting this new commitment to myself. 
Since making this commitment....

  • I've eaten more produce in the past 68 days than in the past 68 months.
  • I've prepared more meals at home than ever before.
  • I've eaten less processed foods.  (My dietitian may be rolling her eyes at this, but it is true!)
  • I've run the dishwasher with more than just bowls and spoons.
  • I've run the dishwasher more frequently.
  • I've cut out some favorite foods because they make my body hurt.
  • I've cheated on the foods that I'm supposed to avoid.
  • I've paid the price for cheating, higher prices than ever before.
  • I've begun to listen to my body.  
  • I've begun treating my body with a little less hostility.
I've tried.
Oh, how I've tried.

I'm not where I wish to be.  Yet.  But I keep trying.
One day at a time, I will uncover the life that belongs to me,
that was lost amid the chaos of growing up, of an eating disorder,
of shattered self-esteem, and of fear-driven living.
And I will try to live my own life.
A healthy and peaceful one, at that.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Up for a Swing?

It's been a day.  It's been a week, actually.  A rather anxiety ridden week.  Today was the first day I felt like I had the space to breathe on my own, without relying on my team's presence.  So what did I do?  I sat in my swing.  I sat in my swing for a long time. 
Made me think of this poem:

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

--Robert Louis Stevenson

It was a favorite poem of mine as a child.  The illustration is one by my favorite childhood illustrator, too.  This particular illustrator brought multicultural illustrations into her books before it was "the thing" to do.

Back to *my* swing.  I got it almost two years ago.  I bought the stand first, as there was no place to hang a swing inside my house.  I bought an inexpensive rope swing for it, too, with the intention of putting it outside in the spring.  That never happened.

Instead, I ended up getting a beautiful wicker cocoon like swing and keeping it in my living room.  And I love it.  I don't use it enough, though.  Or at least I didn't.

As of late, with my anxiety at an all time high, I've been working to find ways to self-soothe that don't involve the presence of my uber-calming team.  It hasn't been easy.  So far, Xanax is a guarantee (but I've been out of it for weeks,) as is sleep (which isn't always feasible.)  I know there are other things I can do, my dietitian has been encouraging me to take walks, which I have been.  But sometimes dragging myself out the door even for a short dog walk is rough.  Crawling over to my swing is doable.  There's something about the gentle sway, the cocoon-like shape of the swing, and the way I can curl up in it that provides a sort of calm that my nervous system really needs.

How do you self-soothe?  I'm open to new ideas and I'd love to know what works for others!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Year 3

Day 177 - Thursday 5/14/15 - I am so grateful I am not a student these days.  The amount of pressure the kids face, most of which is out of their teacher's hands, is unacceptable.

Day 176 - Wednesday 5/13/15 - HOA meeting tonight.  Usually they are horrid.  Tonight's was the smoothest, calmest meeting ever!  Hoping they're like that every month from here on out!

Day 175 - Tuesday 5/12/15 - Being passed a tissue box when you're fighting the tears that are leaking from your eyes can be better than a hug sometimes.

Day 174 - Monday 5/11/15 - Love the sound of my therapist's laughter.  Especially when I can't seem to find my own laugh.

Day 173 - Sunday 5/10/15 - Pleasantly surprised how peaceful today was..... especially considering it included a picnic, rainy weather, and my entire family.

Day 172 - Saturday 5/9/15 - The energy that comes from 200+ teachers voluntarily spending their Saturday learning and sharing is unmatched.

Day 171 - Friday 5/8/15 - Said some things that weren't easy to speak.  Cleared up some stuff by doing so, though, making it worth it.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Secrets II

I've spent my whole life trying to figure out who I was.  In doing so, I became a chameleon with an eating disorder.  There was something so deeply wrong with me, I had to do whatever it took to keep that buried and away from the world.  And I did so at any cost.

I was young, just around my first decade of life, when I realized there was something that "wrong" with me.  A secret that could NEVER escape lived in my head, and I spent every moment in public ensuring the protection of that secret.  I got good at it, too.  It was like an invisible armor that automatically dropped on me as I left my bedroom, and was magically removed when I returned.

My eating issues developed around 13.  This secret became more scary around that time, too.  By 16 it became so scary that I started the roller coaster of dieting.  I had to starve it to death.

More than 20 years later, that secret is no longer buried as deep.  It's still secret.  It's still something I can't speak.  But it no longer holds me hostage.

My therapist holds the secret.  So does my dietitian.  One of my BFFs knows, too.  Sharing this secret with them has made it a little easier for me to carry myself.  I'm still afraid to tell anyone else, yet the lightness that came from sharing with the few above?  That they all still like me? 

Secrets are insanely scary.  Holding them and sharing them, actually.  I was so afraid to even acknowledge my own secret, much less share it with anyone, for fear that the world would hate me even more than I hated myself.

I don't know what I'd do with out my treatment team.  I've worked with therapists on and off much of my life, but nothing compares the support I have now.  Secrets may stay hidden from the rest of the world, but having my team to share with?  I wish everyone could have the chance for a relationship this therapeutic, it's the best gift I've ever given myself.  Between my dietitian and therapist, I've never felt so optimistic.

I wish everyone could have someone to hold the horrid secrets that keep us captive in our own minds.  As bad as my secret felt, it is held differently by my team than by me.  Secrets don't need to destroy me anymore.  Sharing them won't make me explode.  It won't end my world.

Sharing them only makes me stronger.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

Day 170 - Thursday 5/7/15 - Realized that maybe I'm more valuable than I thought.... Got a little extra dose of support today, and it really shifted my self-perception.....

Day 169 - Wednesday 5/6/15 - What a wonderful walk with my students this afternoon, made all the better by their goofiness that will forever be etched into my memory.

Day 168 - Tuesday 5/5/15 -  Grateful for one last indulgence!  Time to respect the food allergies and leave my body to be........

Day 167 - Monday 5/4/15 - Going to try to make a commitment to not judge so harshly..... I'm nice to everyone else, it's time to try and be nice to me.......

Day 166 - Sunday 5/3/15 - Enjoyed a soccer game this afternoon, watching students shine out of the classroom always makes me smile!

Day 165 - Saturday 5/2/15 - Wonderful evening with a wonderful friend enjoying wonderful food and wonderful conversation and wonderful views of a wonderful city.

Day 164 - Friday 5/1/15 - Survived a hard morning of questions from nine-year-olds that required only partially true answers.  It was hard.  Really hard.  But I didn't melt.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Lots o Lasts

I got a new job.

And I am SO excited!

I'll still be working in education, but instead of one classroom of kids, I get to work with an entire building of kids. It's going to be a different kind of work, but I think it's going to be equally as fulfilling and fun (once I get over the initial shock, of course!)

The downside of this new position is that I'm leaving my district.

My district.

I've worked there for 14+ years.

Same building the whole time.

And I have to say farewell.

As this new opportunity sinks in, I'm realizing that I'm hitting a lot of "lasts" right now.

Last field trips with the district.  Last round of parent-teacher conferences (I won't miss this a lot, but I will miss the connection!) Last time for the Art show. Last time for Science night. Knowing this past fall was the last time I set up my classroom. The last time I decorated it for class parties. Last time for the end of year celebrations. Last year for the school traditions.

Lots and lots of lasts.

That makes me anxious and nervous and really, really sad.

I know that with lasts, comes firsts.

And firsts can give me something to look forward to.

First time meeting my new team. First time experience a first day of school in a different place. First school fair. First day in a cafeteria. First school with a fireplace! First time playing in the Innovation Hub. First step into the world of leadership.

Lots of firsts.

And while they make me nervous and anxious and sick-to-my-stomach, they make me excited, too.

New adventures always mean you leave something behind.

With new opportunities come farewells.

Every "last" means you're heading into a new "first."

I guess it's good that I've been working on holding conflicting feelings without melting into a puddle of emotion, cause without that practice, I think this opportunity would have ended before it began.