Thursday, February 28, 2013

365 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 99 - Friday 2/22/13 - Grateful to my BFF for being so patient with me as I weed through this mental mess.  Had a great afternoon visiting!

Day 100 - Saturday 2/23/13* - I can't put into words my gratitude today, as my heart overflows with appreciation for my dietitian. 

Day 101 - Sunday 2/24/13 - Family dinner was extremely uneventful and for that I am very grateful. 

Day 102 - Monday 2/25/13 - Survived the workshop today.  And am EXTREMELY grateful that I was able to see my therapist tonight.  Much needed.

Day 103 - Tuesday 2/26/13 - I am grateful that we had such an uneventful yet enjoyable learning-filled day of school today.

Day 104 - Wednesday 2/27/13 - I am SO grateful for my therapist.  She has a way of bringing me back to reality and cushioning the fall all at the same time.

Day 105 - Thursday 2/28/13 - Today I have two notes.... first, I am thankful that I can share my gift of technology with my peers, I enjoy teaching them tech tricks!  Second... and I know I've said it before.... but my heart is overflowing with appreciation for my therapist.  Talking with her today put so much into perspective and was even more helpful than usual.

*I can't believe it's been 100 days!  I really like this whole daily appreciation thing!

Act 21

One of the things I struggle with is self-care.  I tend to put myself last.... after the last person.... cause I'm still exploring my self-worth.  That's why this act was a hard, but necessary one for me, because it kind of reminded me that I need to practice what I preach.  And that means, if I'm encouraging others to take care of their bodies.... well, I need to do the same.

And I'm going to try.  Try, at least, to do more than what my team has me doing already.  Which is a lot.... but they can't do this kind of work for me.  They can't drag me to my yoga mat.  So I'm hoping that someone finds this note, reads it, and steps up to the self-care plate, which is where I am headed.

It's also where 29 year old Rachel D'Avino lived.  She lived a life where care was first and foremost.  Rachel was a behavioral therapist working with children, hoping to help them find a happy and healthy life.  She always went above and beyond in caring for those she worked with.... including herself.  Rachel loved animals, cooking, baking, and karate.  Her boyfriend was her best friend.... and now the woman working on her doctorate will be forever known as a saint that gave her life in protecting those she cared about.

NEDA Week: Reality

I have an old postcard from the Body Shop that says something like "There are 3 billion women who don't look like super models and there are only 8 that do."  (I'll try to dig up the postcard later on.)  It's all over the media, all over the recovery/health industry - models today are depicting such a tiny margin of the general population.... 98% to be exact.... why?  Why can't we have real people as models?  Maybe it's time to rethink things.... we shouldn't have to change our body to fit the minority that society has deemed desirable.... but that's a whole different post!

Today's featured blogger is Carrie Arnold of Ed Bites.  Carrie's blog recently underwent a huge makeover, and has been packed with even more information, guidance, and unique to her blog, lots of scientific nuggets that get under the skin of eating disorders.  Carrie often combs the interwebs and pulls together recent and relevant articles about eating disorders and co-occurring conditions.  Definitely worth a peak!

Act 20

I've been taking some risks this week in my 26 Acts, but I think it's worth the risk if it helps even one person.  Continuing with the connection of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I created a poster/flyer talking about NEDA week.  At the bottom of the flyer, I created those little pull tabs, so people can tear one off as needed.  Each tab provides the NEDA website and phone number.  The hope is that someone will call upon their courage, take a tab, and make contact with someone who can really help make a difference.  It was definitely another heart pounder as I slipped into the posting area of the library nearby.  But it was a risk work taking.  And I took the risk in memory of Allison Wyatt.

Six year old Allie was a quiet, shy, and very loving little girl.  She was sweet and caring, and loved everything.  Allie had a goofy sense of humor and loved making those close to her, including her sister Lauren, laugh. A budding artist, Allie's drawings and paintings were all over her families house.  Another life cut short, yet those that knew Allie will always have her in their hearts.

30 Day Recovery Challenge: Day 5

5. Who supports you in your recovery?

Considering there are very few who know my "story" my support circle isn't that large.  But size isn't necessary with the power packed team I have.

Funny thing is, when I went back to therapy, I never expected to be diagnosed with an eating disorder, to be sent to a dietitian, to see my GP bi-weekly, etc, etc, etc.  I went back to therapy because I was not coping with life anymore, not bouncing back, and my GP, who tried taking care of my depression herself by prescribing anti-depressants - we tried two different ones, both of which I had severe reactions to.  So she did what any great doctor would do, she sent me to therapy.  My therapist sent me to my psychiatrist so we could get some med support (which was a journey in itself!) and after six months of struggling, she sent me to my dietitian.

I know, I know, this has been a long answer to a short question.  I'm almost done, I promise!

My GP and dietitian and therapist are the ones I work with the most, and they suggested I line up one or two people at work that can be support for me there if something comes up.  They have never steered me wrong, so I followed their suggestion and let two people into my world.

Which means my support comes from my treatment team, two colleagues, and my two best friends.  That's not a lot, but it's what I've got, and I value each and every one of them!

If you want to meet my support system, check out these past posts:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Act 19

One of my students introduced me to this author, and one of my friends introduced me to this specific book.  It is truly my favorite.  I have it on my kindle, so whenever I need a pick-me-up, I can read it, wherever I am.  The story is especially sweet because of the way it connects such different souls, and leaves each one better than it was before.  I left this sticky note on the cover of the last copy at the book store, and hope the person who finds this will be even more eager to read the story!

Avielle Rose Richman might have liked this book.  A spitfire of a six-year-old who loved to tell stories, she offered her heart to the world, and the world loved her right back.  Avie enjoyed horseback riding, music, archery, kung fu, and especially participating in adventures like a super hero.  She had an infectious smile and her laughter brightened a room.  And now, maybe her soul has landed in the stars....

Act 18

I found a new resource this week, one that actually shared some pretty scary statistics.  This sign that I hung up in the parenting section of a local book store says "There's a 0.003% chance she'll be a lawyer.  There's a 42% chance she'll wish she was thinner by the time she gets to 3rd grade."  Fit vs. Fiction has a few of these posters floating around to bring awareness to the pressures kids face.  As one who has taught 3rd grade, and who is recovering from an eating disorder, this one really hit me hard.  I can't imagine one of my students wanting to be thinner.  I mean, eight year olds should not be worrying about their weight!  They should be out playing, running, enjoying life....

Especially considering Caroline Previdi lost her life at six years old.  A loyal Yankee fan to the core, Caroline was a caring, compassionate child.  She loved pink, and danced instead of walked much of the time.  This smiley child, nicknamed "Silly Caroline" also had a very caring side.  She broke her piggy bank open to donate to her church collection to buy toys for needy children.  She sat with her neighbor, a kindergartener, on the bus each day so he wasn't scared.  A beautiful child who will always be remembered...

NEDA Week: Some Statistics

This statistic sickened me.  I've taught third grade.  I know what they are like.  I hate knowing that the chance of wishing his or her body was different by age eight.... so sad.

Eating disorders are sly, cunning, and baffling and they strike when you least expect.  If you know someone who might have some unusual eating tendencies, or anything that gives you a red flag... even a casual conversation could be more helpful than you realize.

Today's featured blog is Weighing the Facts, a blog that has a lot to celebrate - including recently turning 5 in the blogosphere.  This blog is full of resources - from quotes, to poems, to blog posts, to facts and stats.  I found a lot of comfort in the inspiration on this page.

30 Day Recovery Challenge: Day 4

4. What motivates you to recover?

Well this is a little embarrassing.  Cause my motivation to recovery comes from wanting to please my team.  Yeah, I started out doing this "recovery thing" because of my team.  I worked hard at listening to my team so that I wouldn't lose them.  I wasn't going to let this eating disorder take away the most trusted, safe people in my life.  (My family still has no clue, and it's a lot better that way, trust me.)

That's how it was supposed to be for a while.  I was working for my team.  They were my motivation, because I had grown quite attached to them.  But the ultimate goal was that I was working on recovery for ME.  Not for anyone else.  I was the reason I wanted to recover.  I agreed with them, too, that is how it should be.  They might be the motivation at that time, but eventually, I'd be working on recovery for me, because it's best for me, because I want to take care of me.

Yeah, there have been some snippets of internal motivation over the past year.  Sometimes I'm doing well and I'll think "yeah, I'm doing this, I'm getting better!"  For that moment, I am doing this recovery thing for me.

But then something happens - I hit a rut that spirals me into a deep depression.  Or PTSD episodes which used to happen very infrequently, happen daily.  Or a new food allergy is discovered.  Or my anxiety spikes because of job related stress.  Then.... when those things happen.... yep, I stick it out and keep working hard for my team.  They've invested too much time and energy into me to let them down.   And because I love them so, I try my hardest to not let the other challenges send me too far backward - I don't want to throw away their hard work.  (And begrudgingly, I'll add that I guess I wouldn't want to throw my hard work away either.)

Act 17

You know how when you go grocery shopping they're always asking if you're interested in supporting a cause of sorts?  Maybe your grocery store doesn't do that, but mine does.  And it used to annoy me.  But when I went through the check out the other day, this caught my eye.  Maybe it's the combination of the acts thus far, maybe it's cause MDA is close to my heart.... but without hesitation or thought, I picked one up, signed it "#26Acts" and added it to my purchases.  I've been trying to be creative and not spend a lot of money on these acts.  And while this was a larger donation than I intended, it felt right.  It felt helpful.  It felt good.

Both of which are things that six year old Jack Pinto would have liked.  An incredibly loving and lively boy, Jack had a way of making all who knew him fall in love with is vivacious spirit.  He loved playing sports - flag football, baseball, basketball, wrestling, and skiing.  Jack brought joy into so many lives, and his joy will live forever in the hearts of those who knew him.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

30 Day Recovery Challenge: Day 3

3. Give yourself credit for the progress you’ve made - what are some positive steps you’ve taken in recovery, or recent progress that you’ve made?

Well, I actually am not one to take time to acknowledge any progress, so this is actually a great question for me to ponder.

I know that I've come quite a long way in my meal planning and consuming.  My dietitian first helped me see why I needed so many calories into my body each day.  From there, we slowly increased my intake to a level that was only slightly out of my comfort zone, and stabilized my weight at the same time.  The final hurdle in the eating department came in the form of variety.  I have so many food allergies, that finding a variety of safe foods has been a challenge.  She hasn't given up on me, though, even when I have.  And last time we met, after going over my records for the week, it was the first week where my meal plan looked "normal" and boy was she excited!

I know I've stabilized my intake and weight.  I know I'm increasing my variety.  I know that I'm really committed to recovery, even though it is so stinking hard still.  I know that I've been able to rebound more quickly from relapse-esque days.  And I know that my team is going to be there for me to remind me to celebrate the little successes, as well as the big ones.

Act 16

Since I'm wrapping up my 26 Acts during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, it seemed quite fitting to connect the two.

These notes were dropped off in two different stores on the same day, giving Act 16 a pretty wide reach.  See, I had my eating disorder for nearly half my life before anyone realized what was happening.  My hope is that maybe these notes will save someone else the length of suffering that I endured.... and bring recovery a little bit closer, if only in the knowledge department.

Smiley Grace McDonnell lived a life free of worrying about weight.  Instead, seven year old Grace focused on art and painting.  She loved art, and wanted to one day live on the beach and be a painter.  Grace was a kind soul with a great and gentle spirit, and will be missed by many.

NEDA Week - Body Love

I found this image ages ago, but was saving it specifically for NEDA week because the message is so simple, yet so powerful.  It reminds me that we don't try to change our height - you rarely hear someone say "I wish I was taller," but we always hear people say "I wish I were thinner...."

Today's featured blog is actually a compilation of blogs in Gurze Book's Eating Disorders Blog.  ED Bloggers, including Jenni Schaefer, Karen Koenig, and Johanna Marie McShane, as well as a dozen other amazing ED activists post insightful articles and blog posts that cover  a plethora of topics.  You can also sign up for inbox delivery of your favorite bloggers, which I love!

Monday, February 25, 2013

30 Day Recovery Challenge: Day 2

2. What part of your eating disorder is hardest for you to overcome or let go of right now?

This is a very good question... Cause at the moment, I am still really struggling with the idea of eating till full, stopping when full, and recognizing hunger and fullness themselves. Which I suck at. I am supposed to be slowly letting go of having to count and track all my calories in all that I eat.  I am scared to let that part go, partly because I need to have that target number to reach for each day, and partly because I'm terrified of going over that number cause while I know my weight hasn't shifted in nearly six months, I am afraid that if I eat over the total, I will immediately start to gain weight which terrifies me.

So, in a nutshell, I'm having a hard time letting go of the counting and tracking.  The fear in letting go of that element of control is that I'm afraid of gaining weight above where I am, since this is finally a healthy weight for my body, and where I want it to stay.

I do like the idea of letting go of counting as it would free up such brain space.... But I'm afraid of what could fill that space as the counting vacates....

Act 15

Operation Beautiful does this thing called "No Make up Monday" and as a gal who goes make-up free everyday, I thought this would be a fun combination  of 26 Acts and the whole idea of Operation Beautiful's accepting inner beauty would be a great combination.  So often we spend countless dollars and countless hours making ourself beautiful on the outside, when really.... It's our inner beauty that radiates the strongest.

Jesse Lewis was a six year old whose inner light shined in all he did. He lived with passion, love, and wisdom well beyond this young souls life.  Jesse wase full of love for his family, life, and the house full of animals he loved, from horses, dogs and even a mini-donkey.  This brave soul, while no longer, lighting the earth, his lightness will live for ever in our hearts.

Act 14

You know how much I dislike shopping.  Well, clothes shopping is the worst of them all.  And trying on clothes?  I despise it.  I've been known to order a bunch of clothes online, have it shipped, try it on at home, and return what doesn't fit to the local store.  I go to great lengths to avoid dressing rooms and mirrors.

But this time was a little different.  I had a very good reason to head into the dressing room.  To leave this note.  Yes, I did try on two pairs of pants while I was in there, and yes, it was hard, but leaving the note?  That made it all worth it, cause I know the next person in that dressing room is going to smile.

I think that Josephine Gay would be smiling as well. Seven year old "Joey" as she was known to her friends, had just turned seven.  Joey was a very special child, as most children with special needs are.  Autistic and non-verbal, she touched lives of all around her without saying a word.  Joey's favorite color was purple (which is mine, too!) and in the wake of the tragedy, purple sprouted up everywhere in her honor.  In addition to her many therapy treatments, she loved to play with her Barbies, swim, sing, and be wherever her sisters were.

NEDA: Infographics

Click images to zoom

Today's recommended blog
is Actively Arielle, who was
the first blogger that gave me
hope that there was a
chance that I could recover.
I spent hours listening to and
watching her videos.  Arielle
is an ED activist whose voice

helped me find comfort in
knowing I wasn't alone.
Check out her list
videos, (and peek at the 
recovery cats, too!)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

30 Day Recovery Challenge: Day 1

1.  Where are you in your recovery right now? What are some goals you are working on to help you to move forward in your recovery?

I am pushing away from a recent relapse. It's been nearly six months of stability and consistency. My weight (a number which I still avoid, and do not know) has been stable and my intake has been relatively stable as well. I took a nose dive in the intake department a few weeks ago, as my life caught up with me. Stress from changes at work, combined with the winter doldrums and some unwelcome flashbacks nearly led me back into EDs arms.

Thankfully, my amazing team kept me from going too far down the dangerous path. The near-relapse lasted about a week, though the effects of the behavior returning has taken much longer to recover from. My body, after being starved and deprived for so long, is quite smart, and it knows when my intake goes down that it needs to hold on to whatever it can, and keep me as sedentary as possible. So it's taking one step at a time, one meal at a time, and I'm back on the path to recovered.

My biggest goal is to learn how to eat healthy and balanced meals. Currently I tend to lean heavily toward grains, and shy away from proteins. With my allergies, it is not an easy task, but my dietitian has been really helpful in showing me how to build balanced meals. I'm slowly, slowly getting there.

Additionally, I'm working very hard with my therapist to stop the self-hate. Talk about a daunting task! It is torture being in my head, and with her help, hopefully the self-hate will get shipped elsewhere.

Act 13

Today was a busy day.  I am not a fan of shopping at all, and today I tackled way too many errands at once.  But I got them all done.  And ironically, the thing that took the longest wasn't the finding of items on my list.  It was the finding of the quiet moment to slip a note up here and there, and capture a picture of said note, without getting "caught" in the act.

I got this idea from Arielle's Project Positive Thinking.  As I pulled into the parking lot today, my heart was actually pounding in anticipation of leaving this note on someone's car.  I found an older model mini-van that looked well loved and slipped the note under the wiper.  I hope that the recipient smiled as wide as my heart smiled in carrying out this act.

And Dylan Hockley made lots of people smile in his short life.  Six year old Dylan and his older brother were the best of friends.  They both shared a love of family time, and though they were born in England, they quickly acclimated to their new school, making many new friends.  Dylan was an excellent student who loved school.  In his final moments, he was safely wrapped in the arms of his aide, who helped him maneuver school with autism.  He is missed by many.

Act 12

I was at the pet store stocking up on a few things for the Pup.  My little guy has truly brightened my life, and my heart goes out to all pet owners who rescue a furry little friend and care for them for the rest of their life.  I am especially appreciative of those who rescue senior pets, that takes a special person with a huge heart to do so.

What better way to thank someone for taking care of a senior dog than to leave a smile on their next bag of dog food!  I left this note on a bag of "mature" food for small dogs, and hope whoever finds it can feel that gratitude, from both their dog and from me.

Catherine Hubbard was a child full of smiles.  She had firey red hair and a passionate love for animals.  Her constant smile will be missed by many, and because of her love for animals, family and friends are honoring Catherine with donations to the Newtown Animal Shelter.

Kicking Off NEDA Week 2013

Today kicks of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2013.  

Last year I was deep in the depths of my ED, and NEDA week 2012 helped me push through some sticky spots.  This year I'm in a very different spot recovery-wise, better in some ways, the same in others.

Eating Disorders are serious.  They are not something people choose to have.  In fact, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.  But there is help.  And there is hope.  Recovery IS possible.  And the first step is telling your secret.  After struggling for more than half my life, I told my secret.  And you can too.

Considering this blog started as a recovery project, I am kicking off NEDA week 2013 with a 30 day recovery challenge.  Danielle over at Recovery is Worth The Fight led me to this challenge, and after speaking it over with my dietitian, today seems to be the perfect day to kick off the challenge.

There's a pretty good chance that you know someone who has an eating disorder.  You might not know who, but with the prevalence of EDs...... Visit NEDAs website for tools that will help you, or someone you care about, overcome an eating disorder.  It is possible!

Each day of NEDA week I will feature a recovery blog that I've found helpful.  This first blog, Surviving ED by Jessica Hudgens, is an eye opening look at eating disorders from inside and out.  She's a great writer, and I find her posts easy to read, and helpful in realizing that I'm not alone.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Act 11

Today I took a trip to the local library to pick up some things they were holding for me.  I'm having so much fun finding creative ways to complete my #26Acts without breaking the bank, and it struck me that a hand written note on a movie I love might make someone smile.  So I wrote this little note, stuck it on one of my favorite DVDs, and slipped it back on the shelf, where it will patiently await the person who will hopefully smile when they pull it off the shelf.

And this movie-inspired act is in memory of Daniel Barden.  This incredibly polite, affectionate, and thoughtful seven year old earned his torn jeans and toothless grin.  Daniel was a budding athlete, who enjoyed swimming, soccer, and football.  Overflowing with happiness and zest for life, this fearless little boy will be missed by many.

Friday, February 22, 2013

NEDA Week 2013

It's coming..... what can you do to spread awareness?  
First things first - TALK about it!  
An eating disorder's best friend is secrecy.  
Time to change that!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

365 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 92 - Friday 2/15/13 - Thankful that it's Friday.  This was a hard week and I really need a day off.

Day 93 - Saturday 2/16/13 - So appreciate days like today, where, after a hard week, I don't have a single thing on the agenda.  I get to just be- no pretending, no acting as if, just me being where I am at this moment.

Day 94 - Sunday 2/17/13 - I am so grateful that I had a quiet weekend.  The two days were spent staying home, trying to recharge after the chaos of the week, and I'm hoping that because of this, Monday is a little easier.

Day 95 - Monday 2/18/13 - So happy that there was no traffic on my way to work this morning!

Day 96 - Tuesday 2/19/13 - I'm quite pleased to say that I finished a HUGE project for school today, and am grateful that it is done a full 3 weeks early!  No last minute work for me this time! (Which, I'll admit, is rather rare!)

Day 97 - Wednesday 2/20/13 - So glad that I trusted my gut today and taught the lesson the way I felt it needed to be taught.  I can proudly say that my entire class now gets the concept (which is amazing considering how confused they were by it yesterday when I actually followed the lesson plan!)

Day 98 - Thursday 2/21/13 - So thankful that the musical performance at school is over, and even more thankful that it was a smashing success!  (And exhausting, that's for sure!)

**Very exciting news!  Thankful Thursdays now have their own Facebook page!  Feel free to post your own Thankful lists there!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Act 10

Tonight I had a rare treat - I got to go out to eat!  What's extra nice is that it was a restaurant that I actually could eat at - the wide variety of options was wide enough to accommodate my allergies.  Even better was that I got to enjoy the meal with two of my colleagues.  It was a relaxing meal with pleasant conversation and good food.

Money's been kind of tight lately, but that isn't going to get in my way of my 26 Acts.  It just means that I've had to get a little bit creative!

So tonight, once I knew what I was ordering, I placed this note in my menu.  I don't know about you, but if I found a note like this in a menu, it would definitely  make me smile!  I hope that whoever opens this menu next, also smiles.

And this smile is in memory of Benjamin Wheeler.  Six year old Ben was a bright and spirited child, who idolized his big brother Nate.  Ben played soccer, swam, and was in scouts.  He loved school, seeing his teacher and friends, and wanted to be an architect or paleontologist when he grew up.  Ben also loved The Beatles, which is a refreshing thing for a child to love.  Ben will be missed by many, as he left behind a huge family of love.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Act 9

I've you've ever visited the blog roll on my site, you've hopefully noticed a site called Operation Beautiful.  The mission of Operation Beautiful is to help end fat talk, and help people realize how bad the negative committee that resides in many of our minds can be.  I've been following OB on twitter and Facebook for a while, but haven't yet mustered the guts to actually post a note.

Until now.

I was heading in for an appointment yesterday and decided that it was time to give this a try.  This being writing a note, and leaving it in a public restroom.  This was a big deal, especially cause I have a huge phobia of public restrooms.  (Don't ask, long story for another time!)  But I did it.  I wrote a note, walked into the bathroom, and posted it.

And I did it in memory of Jessica Rekos.  She was a determined child, her family nicknaming her "the CEO."  Six-year-old Jessica absolutely loved reading about horses, and desperately wanted a real pair of cowboy boots for Christmas.  In addition to horses, Jessica loved reading about orcas.  Jessica was only six, but was a very spiritual child, keeping a bottle of holy water next to her bed where she said her prayers each night. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Act 8

In case I haven't mentioned it, I have a pretty amazing treatment team.  I seriously do not know where I'd be without them.  Probably not here typing this, that's for sure.  I don't often speak of my psychiatrist because, well, my time with him is short and infrequent.  He's pretty awesome, and has stuck with me through nearly a dozen med changes thus far.

I really like working with him, despite the fact that he is always running late.  We're talking 15-20 minutes late, which, considering appointments are only 20 minutes?  Yeah.  I know.  But I don't mind waiting.  The last time I was there, there was a family in the waiting room, which is very unusual. They seemed outwardly agitated and anxious, and did not look happy to see me arrive.

As it turns out, we both had appointments scheduled that evening, but they mixed up the time and arrived nearly an hour before their appointment.  When the doctor came out to get his next client, which was supposed to be me, I offered the time to the family that had been waiting.  The father was speechless, at least momentarily.  He quickly regained his composure, and thanked me profusely for letting them go in first.  And I happily enjoyed a little bit of peace and quiet after a long day.

It was even more peaceful knowing that this act was done in memory of six-year-old Noah Pozner.  Noah was the youngest victim of the group.  A blue-eyed, rambunctious, video-game loving child, Noah wanted to be a doctor when he grew up.  And if being a doctor didn't pan out, he wanted to own a taco factory, as tacos were his favorite food.  Noah's perpetual smile brought light and laughter to those who knew him.  And he will never be forgotten.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Reality Check

I realized that the last few weeks, most of the posts on the blog have been a bit evasive, and somewhat fluffy.  I think that's because that's where I am.  I'm working my darndest to avoid the reality that surrounds me, and am trying to keep things as light and fluffy as I can.

But reality is setting in, which usually happens after a day of isolation and introspection.  And I'm going to give you a rare glimpse into my mind with the hope that maybe, just maybe, someone out there can relate and won't feel as alone as I do right now.

Last week I found out that the episodes I've been experiencing were actually related to PTSD.  I didn't take the news well.  As nice as it was to find out that there is a name for what has been happening all these years, it was also rather disturbing. 

I found myself really having to think *so* hard all week.  Everything I did took intense effort.  All the little things that are usually so simple - making lunch, getting out the door, setting up the classroom for the day - everything that I've done without huge effort for years was an insurmountable mountain this week.  Monday and Tuesday were manageable, but by Wednesday, I was losing it.  Seriously.  Being a holiday week, ironically, made things easier.  Because of the celebration scheduled for Thursday, and a presentation scheduled for Friday, I was able to coast through those extremely painful days.

My therapist read the criteria for PTSD of which I meet nearly every single one. I think that what is hardest for me to digest is the fact that though my siblings and I grew up in the same house, with the same parents, I am the lucky one who is dealing with this.  I'm the one riddled with mental and physical health challenges.  The one who hyperventilates walking into my parents house.

And in some ways, I am lucky.  For years and years I've stuffed my emotions, avoided feeling anything, resisted letting myself get attached to anyone, and ignored my feelings until they exploded.  The last few months I've been working to avoid learning to feel feelings, and be with myself while they wash over me.  It's finally sinking in that in order to move through, and past, these PTSD episodes, the only way to do so is to let those feelings be felt. 

Let the feelings be felt.  Just typing that terrifies me.  But the blessing in finally coming to terms with this diagnosis is that now I have no choice.  It is time.  Time to start feeling my way through this hell, cause what is on the other side has got to be better than this.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

365 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 85 - Friday 2/8/13 - Thankful for snow days with a well stocked fridge, a warm bed, and a cuddly pup!

Day 86 - Saturday 2/9/13 - Thankful for small miracles..... like the fact that my FAVORITE seasonal treat at Trader Joe's, which is always quick to sell out during the holidays, and only appears between Thanksgiving and Christmas, miraculously appeared on the shelf today!  A case was found in the back of the warehouse, and that made me one very happy person!

Day 87 - Sunday 2/10/13 - I'm grateful for friends who propose random shopping experiences, and even more grateful that I found a great deal on shoes while we were there!

Day 88 - Monday 2/11/13 - Nothing quite like having a working copy machine on a day that I had a lot of copying to do!

Day 89 - Tuesday 2/12/13 - I am thankful that........ I'm a grateful for......  I am grateful for the ability to learn. (Yes, it's been that kind of day.)

Day 90 - Wednesday 2/13/13 - I am grateful when random fits of frustration turn into bursts of house cleaning!

Day 91 - Thursday 2/14/13 - I am extremely grateful that we only have one class party left.  As fun as they are for the kids (and they aren't torture for me) they are exhausting!