Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What's Wrong, McFly? Chicken?

DISCLAIMER: If I offend/hurt any of you, I do deeply regret that. But, this process is a necessary one. The words I'm writing are what I'm needing to get beyond my own limitations. This post is not about accusing my friends/family of neglecting me. Please don't think that, no matter what I said there in the middle of it. ;-) I know you don't neglect me, any of you. This post is about showing the most recent steps I've taken on my road to emotional/mental/physical health. I've always been honest with you. I just hope this isn't the one post that's too honest.

Right now in this very second as I begin this post, I find myself wishing that I still had an eating disorder.

Struggling with making my daily calorie and fat gram allowances match their targets; focusing on completing my challenge minutes of exercise; bitching and moaning about how much of a failure I am when I make the mistake of not achieving my goals; and praising myself for perceived success are all so much easier than dealing with my true self and the feelings that come along with it.

Bear with me, it's a long'un.

The other weekend, Alaskaboy and I enjoyed ourselves at a picnic with a group of people I found on a friend finder website. So much so, that we're going to a different event again this weekend, and another in August.
Most of last week I've already covered in previous posts, but Friday night I had a blast with Mum and Nan, and occasionally Dad, talking to them via phone whilst walking them through numerous zip folders containing photos of the new apartment. Then after that, we spent hours on the webcam and phone, just enjoying each others company and renewing memories of our faces. Eager for more face-to-face contact, I did it again after hanging up from them with a friend in Nebraska. Well, the webcamming bit anyway. This weekend just gone, Alaskaboy and I lazed around the house. Literally. Even napped on the floor at one point.

I woke up Monday morning feeling refreshed and like I'd finally gotten my shit together. But I had a lingering headache, that didn't go away no matter what I did. I tried caffeine earlier in the day, then water, then Ibuprofen, watermelon and finally a shower. And still the headache lingered. Knowing it was too hot to try a steam bowl, I finally gave in and attempted to use the Neti Pot I'd bought awhile ago.

Hydrated sinuses made headache go buhbye! I felt so clear headed and refreshed upon completion of it that I just had to call Alaskaboy and share the good news. After that call where we also talked about the phone calls he'd given to his sister and a friend, I hung up the phone and breezed on out into the kitchen to tackle the chores.

Next thing I knew I was in the midst of a full blown anxiety attack. All the same symptoms as before. Tingles, not feeling right in my own skin (especially the left side of my body), nausea, diarrhoea, pale, hot and cold flushes. I called Alaskaboy back to let him know what was going on and assured him I'd keep him posted as the night progressed or if I needed him again.

I thoroughly inspected myself in the mirror, and became completely convinced that there was something wrong with me. My left bicep, pec and breast looked bigger than my right, were in fact quite puffy and that coupled with the tingles and slightly numb patches had me convinced I had something horrible going on. Which of course made the anxiety ten times worse. In fact, I have made the tingles worse again typing this all up. Anxiety does that to a girl though.

Poking, prodding, and crying all ensued and eventually I put myself to bed after recognising that this was just another symptom of the anxiety attack--More specifically an avoidance tactic. (Rest assured that there's just extra fat on that side of my body, my non-dominant side, so it's naturally going to be a little bigger.) I settled into bed and called Alaskaboy on the phone. Three times in twenty minutes, and it went to the answering machine after ringing out every time. Logically, I know he was busy at work, emotionally it was the spark for the tinder and I blew up.

Using the neti pot had done more than clear my sinuses. It opened a floodgate. Hurt, jealousy, fear, anger, all this and more spewed forth from my mouth in a verbal torrent that shocked the shit out of me. Alaskaboy's inability to get to the phone when I needed him brought into sharp focus another issue I'd been hiding from myself.

Last night on an instant messenger conversation that I'd started with a friend, he admitted that he and his girlfriend had been worried about me recently. This after asking if it was okay to call me this evening. Now, I don't know if it is just them, or if it's actually a cultural difference, but, if you're worried about a friend, wouldn't you call to see how she's doing? Even if you are busy with your own life, wouldn't you make time just to call and see if everything's okay?

And then it hit me...

Not one of my friends had called or emailed to see how I was doing. Not one, not once in the whole month since we've been here. Not even after giving out my new details. Not even after explaining how I was feeling in a livejournal post. And it doesn't stop there. Not one of Alaskaboy's Aunts or Uncles asked to talk to me on the weekend when they played pass the phone whilst they're all visiting his parents for the week. Not one of my Australian relatives (outside of my immediate family) has sent me a real email in a very long time. Only one has made the effort to call in the four years I've been away. In that moment I realised I'd been doing all the contacting for quite some time. I've been making it easy for people by having my different online journals, emailing them, replying to their journals etc. What need to contact me when I'm giving them all the pertinent details?

What nurturing could the nurturer possibly want? I'm always the one with advice, what help could I possibly need? They have their own problems, their own jobs, their own lives to take care of, I'm the one who has gaping holes that need filling. I was the one expecting them to nurture me when I was doing my usual trick of putting on a brave face, and not really asking for help. Subtly hinting, yeah I'm great at that. Asking flat out, nope, no can do, sorry. But, should I HAVE to ask? Surely someone somewhere should give enough of a damn just to call and say Hi, even for the sake of saying hello.

BUT IT'S NOT REALLY ABOUT ANY OF THEM OR THEIR ACTIONS. IT'S ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT ME!

I'm sick of doing this alone. Sometimes, I'm so jealous of my sister-in-law for having both her parents and -in-laws there in the same state. So bitter about the fact that I'm here all alone except for Alaskaboy. He is my everything, but he can't be everything I need. No one person can be. My family and friends can't be. They're so far away and living their own immediate lives. I need to get my own immediate life and stop living vicariously through others. I've put myself in this situation and it's not fair accusing my friends of neglecting me when I've set the situation up for precisely that to happen. They don't neglect me. I hold them at arms length, because I don't want to be a nuisance. I need to call them before they need to call me, because they have lives and I'm the little hermit stuck in her cave.

Wanna know the really fucked up part? I loved that volunteer job, but didn't go back after that first week. I haven't been to my intuitive eating group in nearly two months. I got the number of a friendly chick the other weekend that I really hit it off with, but I've been too scared to call her. And fear my astute readers is what you've no doubt garnered is what this is ALL about.

I've only barely touched on the feelings roiling beneath the surface, or the depth and length of the sobbing fit and temper tantrum I had last night, but they all stem from the one place; Fear. Now that the insulating food safety valve is gone, I'm erupting all over the place, and I don't know how to handle it. I'm scared to death to make friends here in case I repeat the mistakes I've made in the past. I don't think I can handle being burned again. I don't let my friends or family know how I'm really doing, in case they can't help me fix it or they somehow let me down, so I kid them (and myself) that I'm coping, and then complain when they don't call because they believe my false bravado. Shit scared about getting a job is what I am, even though I'm frustrated with my lack of financial contribution to this family.

So afraid of so many things, but now that the weight of all that numbing food is gone, this little birdy is restless to spread my wings and fly. In spite of all this fear, I'm ready to live my life. I'm done with avoiding my feelings. I'm so over my eating disorder. I feel like I'm flapping my arms for all I'm worth whilst running back and forth along the branch, yet I'm afraid that if I jump off I'll go splat on the forest floor so very far below. This fear is bigger than I can handle alone, so today I took hold of my courage in both hands and called a psychologist. Wouldn't you know it, I got the answering machine. But, I did it. I left a message.

The food issues are completely dealt with, and my confidence, trust, and fear issues have been identified. Who knows if there's more still hidden in my psyche? I thought I could deal with them on my own, but I can't. I've grown enough in the past few months to stand up and admit that the nurturer needs help and I'm gonna go get me some!

Stand back, Cocks and Hens, this little birdy's getting ready to soar

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Meme time.

I've been tagged by Kathryn

My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to answer the following questions using a one word response.
Oh and I tag Erin, Amanda and Groovybabe.


1. Where is your cell phone? bedroom

2. Relationship? Happy

3. Your hair? Reddish

4. Work? Voluntary

5. Your sister? -in-law

6. Your favourite thing? books

7. Your dream last night? insightful

8. Your favourite drink? water

9. Your dream car? Honda

10. The room you’re in? Study

11. Your shoes? Socks

12. Your fears? Rejection

13. What do you want to be in 10 years? Author-with-a-capital-A

14. Who did you hang out with this weekend? Husband

15. What are you not good at? Oration

16. Muffin? Yum!

17. Wish list item? Home

18. Where you grew up? Melbourne

19. The last thing you did? Phonecall

20. What are you wearing? Scrubs

21. What are you not wearing? Bra

22. Your pet? Dog

23. Your computer? Mine!

24. Your life? Okay

25. Your mood? Anxious

26. Missing? Confidence

27. What are you thinking about? Lunch

28. Your car? Parked

29. Your kitchen? Smallish

30. Your summer? Nice

31. Your favourite colour? Purple

32. Last time you laughed? Yesterday

33. Last time you cried? Today

34. School? Completed

35. Love? Whole-heartedly.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Lookin' for fun and feelin' crafty.

I went and bought some counted cross stitch and a small embroidery kit the other day. They're more complicated than I thought, so I'm gonna go back and get some easier ones. Gotta get my L-Plates first, I guess.

Feeling a little disheartened, I wracked my brains for something else to do. Then, I remembered the unfinished longstitch I brought over with me when I moved here. With great glee I set up the frame...and then couldn't find the canvas. I found all the completed ones, and the wool to be used, but no luck with the actual tapestry.

GRR.

Alaskaboy found it last night, and I eagerly set it up on the frame...I'd done a lot less of it than I remember doing.

Wouldn't you know it, I can't find the instructions! We've looked everywhere that I can think of, and still no luck. My guess is it's hidden in some obscure place that's extra safe; still back at my parents' house; or chucked out during a cleaning session.

So, I eventually tracked down a contact email for Semco and sent them off an email asking if there's a way to get a new instruction sheet. If not...FAAAAARRRRRRK!

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Addendum to yesterday's post.

Before, I would have been beating myself up because I wasn't being perfect in my eating. I would have bemoaned my failure to exercise every day, especially since I'd only set a target of 30 minutes. I would have ended up feeling like a failure, and binged for several weeks on end. Funny thing is, even though I ate a few times to the point of being overfull, that was where it stopped. My eating habits changed this week, but thinking back on what I ate, it wasn't really a binge at all. I seemed to graze almost constantly for the first 6-8 hrs I was awake, but then wouldn't eat anything until almost bed time after that. Weird for me, but that's what the bod was wanting this week.

So, I guess even though I thought I was taking a break from intuitive eating, I really still was listening to my body, and it was in need of rest and building up extra calories in preparation for my period. And as of yesterday, I now understand that. This period is a doozy. More painful cramps, and well, lemme just say it's stronger and bigger in all ways than usual. Funny how the bod knew it'd be needing the extra energy and I trusted that it knew what it was doing. How cool is that?

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Little Drummer Girl

For the last six days I haven't done any exercise, which means the 30*30 challenge has ended. Strangely enough, I'm not cut up about it. This week I've felt the need to rest and recuperate. I've done nothing but read, eat, unpack some boxes, and general futzing around.

This feeling of laziness may have something to do with the fact it's PMS week, but I think it's more than that. Mentally, emotionally and physically, I'm exhausted. Well, okay, I was exhausted, now I'm merely tired. This week has been the point were I've finally said, "Stop the world, I wanna get off for awhile."

And so I did.

This week, I unpacked boxes as it suited me; I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, even if it meant my taste buds were doing the guiding; I stayed up late and read until I couldn't keep my eyes open. I didn't do any soul searching; I didn't do anything related to settling into a new house or changing over old addresses; (Well, one, the INS but that was necessary.) And I certainly didn't do anything related to being healthy.

Slowly, but surely, as this week's going on, I'm rediscovering my joy in the things I've put on hold. They still seem like chores, meaning I'm not quite ready to go back to them yet, so, I'll continue with my R'n'R a little longer.

Funnily enough, the anxiety is starting to lift as well. Perhaps, this really is what I've needed. Time for me. Time to get used to this new environment and learn its sounds and characteristics. Time to remind myself just what it is to relax and enjoy some solitude, instead of hating being alone. Hmmm, maybe I have been doing some reflection then in amongst all this quiet, but that's okay.

The thinking, the plotting, the planning, the sheer drudgery that has been the past few months have dragged me down and I'd had a gutful. No pun intended. Even Duracell bunnies wear out eventually, so it makes sense that after being on the go for so long, this Coppertop was due to stop. I'm betting that by the end of the week I'll be wanting to move and be healthy again after my stint on the recharger.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Getting Into The Swim Of Things.

My personal preference for style of swimwear is the catsuit. Okay, well it used to be called that, now apparently they're known as zipperback.

What's yours?

I like these because it means less sunscreen to apply, and well, the main reason is because there's no floppage. Wore a bikini once as a teenager, and filled it out very well even if I do say so myself. A lovely, neon green top, that had a little black zipper between the boobs, with bikeshorts-type bottoms also in green and black. Went down the water slide, headfirst and facedown like usual because I liked to dive into the pool at the bottom. Stood up, flashing everyone in the vicinity, including my brother and his friend, and didn't realise it until I'd clambered halfway up the steps.

As Effie would say, "How Embarrashment."

Switched to regular-style competition wear (with the keyhole back) when I began competitive swimming. Mucking around on the 1m diving board with some of my teammates whilst waiting for a training session to start. I climbed back up the ladder out of the pool and one of my tits wasn't coyly peeking out the side just a wee bit--Fuck No!--the whole damn thing was like a brazen hussy...out there for the world to see. Just the one, thankfully, and one of the guys pointed it out before I'd gone too far.

I contemplated wearing a size too small under my regular bathers, hoping that'd keep them under control, but about that time, the catsuits came out and thank Christ for that! They're not exactly the most flattering when it comes to showing one's shape, as the boobs tend to get squashed down, but hey, I'll take squashed and securely held over flopping in the wind, any day!

I've happily worn that style of swimsuit for nearly fifteen years now. Right before I moved here, I grew out of the pair I was using, and not in a good way either. I also had a pair in a smaller size that I'd worn a few times back in 2001 when I'd been using a personal trainer, and of course there was the size 12(AU) that I've never worn.

In desperation when we went to a beach north of Boston in August one year, I capitulated and bought a "regular" pair of bathers, Size 12(US). I've used it ever since, but since it's got a scoopback, there's been no diving or mucking around. Don't wanna risk floppage with tits this size, I could poke someone's eye out! This pair of bathers has been with me for years now and kinda got stretched to buggery as I got fatter and fatter, and there was one point where they almost didn't fit. (Well, okay they didn't; I could get them on with the help of Alaskaboy, but couldn't swim too well because they were too tight.)

Last week, I went and bought some flippers, ear plugs, hand paddles, and looked for a catsuit, as I've done every summer since being here. No luck. Even when I've explained them to the assistants, they never known what I'm talking about. This lady did!

I'll have to remember the name zipperback for in the future, but hey, that's okay! They had them in sizes up to a 36. I told her what size I am in clothing and she said, you'd probably be a 38.
"I'll try the 36 on anyway." I said.
"It might fit." she agreed.

So began the dressing room swimwear dance.
First step, legs in and pull up bathers. Good, I still have circulation left.
Next step, over the bum. Arse cheeks aren't hanging out.
Then, up over the belly. Pubes are hidden, and belly isn't poking out the sides. Great!
Now, wriggle and contort to get arms, boobs and shoulders in. Hmm, tight, but I can breathe, and they do loosen when they get wet.
Now, the zipper. I usually tie a piece of ribbon to the zipper, so that I can get them up. (Shouldn't have to. Wetsuits come with a zip pull, so should these!) No ribbon, have to ask lady to do it.
Zipper wouldn't go. Dammit!

I contemplated buying these nice, new bathers. Oh, how I hemmed and hawed about it. But, then I tallied up the cost of the other stuff in my hot little hands, and found that with the bathers added on top, it'd be well over a hundred dollars. Shit!
The sales assistant offered to have a pair of 38s ordered in, and I politely declined. What's the point of getting a pair of something that I'll probably grow out of within two months. An expensive something! I could always come back in that two months time and buy the 36s, now that I knew where to get 'em.

So, I came home, happy with my purchases, and ecstatic that I'd almost fitted into a pair of bathers off the rack at a shopping centre's sporting goods shop. One without a plus size section.

This morning, I looked at the tag of the catsuit I'd grown out of four years ago. Lo and behold, it's a 38! Not having any ribbon, I got a twist tie, poked it through the little hole at the end of the zipper, making a loop out of it. Then I grabbed the measuring tape and looped it through the twist tie for a temporary handle.

They fit like a dream.

Now. Here comes the best bit.

I had assumed that a 36 was the same as an Aussie 16.
No. The 38 is a 16.
Last week, I almost fit into a pair of regular size 14 bathers. This week I fit comfortably into a regular size 16, whilst having PMS. This time last year I had to squeeeeze myself into that other pair of bathers. Which, funnily enough, being a US 12 are also an AUS16, but since they were super-stretched, I reckon were closer to an 18 or 20.

I may not be making much progress on the scales, but at least I am making progress somewhere!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Crackin' a stiffy!

This morning I woke up and I realised, I'm happy. How happy? If I was a man I probably would've had me a sizeable morning glory going on!

Last night however, I was stiff in an entirely different way.

Halfway through aerobics, the upper part of my right gluteus maximus started complaining. (Would that make it a right pain in the bum? LOL) I'm guessing the piriformis was also throwing in its two cents worth since stretching the bum didn't help all that much.

I soldiered on for another five minutes, as I was enjoying the first hot and sweaty session, in well over a month, that Alaskaboy and I had been able to participate in together. But, then my bum said "Screw you!" and not in a nice way either.

So there I was, feeling great cardiovascularly but with a stiff upper cheek. Much better than the stiff upper lip I had when I'd strained my groin muscle, lemme tell you! I played with my big ball for about twenty minutes, and then got a bum massage from Alaskaboy, and felt only a little better. As when dealing with any persistent and unwanted stiffy, I played the ice queen card in hopes it would dissipate.

After getting up close and personal with icepacks, (One for my groin, which I do after any strenuous exercise where it feels a little iffy, and one for my bum.) I was feeling a wee bit frigid. Figuring that a couple of chill pills and something hot would make me loosen up, I took three Ibuprofen and had a Radox/Batherapy bath.

It was while I was lolling around in the bath that I thought back to what I'd done over the last week or so. Plenty of singular hot and sweaty sessions both on land and in the water, but no stretching. (More huffy mcguffy with Alaskaboy too, much more. Another reason I know I'm happier, both in myself and with my surrounds. No happy, then not much marital relating.) Ugh. No wonder I was feeling sore and sorry for myself last night. I'd been a lean, mean exercising machine, but not a bendy, floppy stretching machine.

So I guess it really is true what they say, both strength and flexibility are essential for self love...

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Huffin' and Puffin'.

Realising that I haven't done any progress shots in awhile, and finally having found the camera stand and remote, I decided to do some today. There's now nine new shots up on the progress page. :)

I don't know if you remember that size 18 skirt: The purple one that in early December I was so excited to be able to do the button up on? Well, today, out of curiosity, I decided to step into it when zipped up and see how far I could wriggle it up my thighs before it stopped. There was wriggle, but no huffing or puffing, and it went all the way up! Up, as in on and in place to be buttoned. Also, didn't have any underwear on underneath, so there was no cheating by holding the fat in with other garments! :)


The 16W cargo shorts and my blue bike shorts are fitting better again also. The shorts look like they're straining at the pockets, but they were in the most recent shots prior to this also, my forearms just hid it before.

The skirt made me pleased, but there was an item I tried on that made me ecstatic.

I bought some jeans ages ago. I honestly don't remember when I bought them, I think it was late 2005 though. I remember being so excited at the time that the 18Ws fit, and bought only two pairs in that size and four or five in the 16Ws** "knowing" that I'd fit into them soon.

Yes, I'm shaking my head at my own folly. Over a hundred dollars spent on jeans that have sat in my closet so long I've forgotten when I bought them. One pair I would occasionally attempt to try on was the chocolate brown pair. Love me some chocolate brown jeans. They eventually became known in my mind as The Huff And Puff Jeans. No matter how much I huffed and puffed when doing aerobics or trying the jeans on, they would not go on. I tried all sorts of contortions. I tried control undies.

Even when the 16W cargo shorts initially went on, I felt certain they'd fit as they were the same size, same brand, and bought from the same shop at the same time. Only thing they didn't do the same was FIT! (Different cut in jeans and cargo shorts is my guess.)

Today, I tried them on. I was hoping maybe for the button to do up, or possibly the zip would go half way. I was expecting there to be some kind of improvement, surely? So I tugged them up. Over the hips there was definitely improvement. Bum fit much nicer. Ohh, look the pannus tucks in nicely under the zip seam. Zip does up--you lil' ripper!--so does the button. Not only do the jeans go on, they actually fit. I didn't have to hold my breath and shuffle around the room like I had a stick up my arse AND a corset around my gut. Nope, those jeans were firm, but comfortable. Played a game of Simon Says, and I could do everything Simon said. ;) Only thing is, it's now too warm to wear those jeans. And we'll be in Australia during the coolest part of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere...I may not actually get to wear those jeans, all five pairs, anywhere but in my bedroom! There I go with the head shaking again.

So! Even though I don't feel as firm as I did in December when I was doing all that weight lifting, I am definitely making progress. My body feels how it did back in November, when I lost a whole bunch of fat and before toning up, all loose and wobbly. Around 6 weeks ago I was worried because all my bits were firmed up again, and just assumed that meant I'd gained back a whole bunch of fat. Nope. I'm guessing that's par for the course for my body: Lose the fat underneath, making everything wobbly as there's less filling it up, then the muscles firm up and so does the skin.


Woohoo for Progress!




**(For those not living in USA, a W after a size means it's cut wider to allow for a curvier shape. Most clothing sizes are measured from a model, and then simply sized up by pattern. Which is why those of us with Curves have trouble finding clothes to fit, even when we are at a weight range that allows us to buy clothes from stores that cater to the non-plus sizes.)

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Answer to Amanda's Question.

“I'm just wondering whether you've been lonely the whole time you've been in the US, or whether this is a recent thing, or an on and off type thing. I can imagine that moving to a new country where you know next to no one must be really difficult.”

Technically, I had more friends here, than I did back home in Aus, when I first moved to the States. However, they were scattered across the whole country. Whereas in Aus, they were no more than an hour's drive away. And of course, my large family was there as well. Here, our geographically-closest relatives are almost a thousand miles away. Our emotionally-closest? Double that.

At first I wasn't lonely. Homesick, yes, actually lonely, no. Going to bed every night with my husband was the biggest reason not to be lonely. ;) We had a handful of friends living within an hour's drive also, so we got to visit people at least once every so often. We also made more trips up to visit friends in the northern parts of the state once or twice a year. Relatives and friends came to visit us, etc.

Then, over time, that's changed.
Local friends; one couple divorced, he moved several states away, her and her family we don't see anymore. Another friend got married, see less of him (as it happens sometimes). Some other friends moved away also, or drifted emotionally, again, as it happens.
Long Distance People; we realised if we wanted a house of our own that we couldn't keep doing the trips. Plus, I was an emotional wreck after every single trip.

So, yeah, in some ways I was lonely, and couldn't admit it to myself. How down I was after each trip, should have been an indicator, but I took it as no more than being depressed and/or homesick. I was also on the pill at that point, so I was hormonally screwed up, but unaware of it, until early last year.

The Lonely has gradually raised its hand, and begun waving it about wildly until I've finally noticed. Now, its talking my ear off! I haven't seen my side of the family since December 2004. Alaskaboy's side, we haven't seen since December 2005. We've had a few visits to/from friends in that time, but nowhere near what it was the first couple of years of our marriage.

Also, at the last place we lived at, there was other tenants that he'd known the whole time he'd lived there, and I'd known for a long time as well. I mean, the landlady even came to our wedding, and we went to her daughter's. History, and what we thought was friendship. But, was in fact mere acquaintanceship. People I could natter at and interact with when I was feeling the cabin fever especially hard.

Moving to the new apartment has torn asunder the illusions that I've been hiding behind these last four years. It's shown me how unsatisfactory I found those acquaintanceships, and just how little those people thought of us, and us of them. Not one offered us their new phone number or addresses. Not ONE! Yes, that did hurt, but it also freed me from the last of my lingering delusions. And made me realise, I really didn't have the desire to give them ours, either.

Now, is when I've realised just how little I've actually invested in my new home. Yes, I have friends and family far and wide...but what about the near? Friends don't magically turn up on your doorstep and say, “Saw your light on, thought I'd drop in.” Friends become friends by interaction and shared memories. How much interaction do I get sitting here on my bum at the computer? Plenty of far and wide once again, but none nearby. How can I call this my home, when I'm not here, emotionally. The only connection I have to this town is my husband, and that's not a healthy way to live. What it is, is a lonely one.

I'm lonely at the moment, but at least I'm no longer afraid to live my life. Fear of the unknown, fear of the past repeating itself, and plain old fear of the new kept me prisoner in the old house. And the house, it too was keeping me down and depressed. I didn't realise how much, until we moved away. As my sister-in-law said, “You've both been crowbarred up and out of your rut!” It was painful, but now that I'm up and out and the wind is in my face, and I feel so much better. Lonely, but better. Good thing is, lonely can be fixed, now that I know how I'm feeling.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Question Time.

First, I have a question for you all. If you moved into a brand new area, and were wanting to find some friends, where would you go to find them?

Second, do you have any questions you'd love to ask me? If so, feel free to do so. :)

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I can walk!

My crutch has been completely discarded, and now I'm finding out how wobbly I am when walking without it. I say completely discarded, because I've realised that over the last few months I have still been having moments of comfort eating; but these last ten days, I've had none. And its made a huge difference, to everything.

My emotions are letting me know just how strong they can be. Not only that, they're letting me know that they have other physical manifestations than tears. These physical sensations I'd never allowed myself to feel before, because they are unpleasant. Far easier to eat until I'm unable to eat anymore and feel that accustomed and easily identifiable awfulness, than these weird “inexplicable” sensations.

Loneliness: Aches in chest - front and back. Tight pressure behind my eyes. Heart in the throat feeling that leads to a slight cough. Restlessness coupled with a feeling of not being able to place where I've put something, but not knowing what the something is I've misplaced. Once I identified this feeling as loneliness, rather than anxiety, I was able to sob into the sink, and various other places, over the course of making our dinner last night.

Anxiety: Tingles, shortness of breath, restlessness, tension headache, LACK of hunger, nausea, need to pee a lot, and heart palpitations.

Shock: Shivering, nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, lowered temperature.

Anger: Tightness in the chest and shoulders. Burning in the gullet. The need to lash out at whatever's making me angry. Jaw aches. Tears. The need to defend what I consider mine. The need to have things done right when I want them completed and how I want them done. Intolerance for any irritation.

Happiness: Warmth and light feeling in the chest. Sometimes the need for tears. Relaxed. Confident.


I wanted to add In Control to the happiness list, but that's what's gotten me into this mess in the first place. Somewhere along the line, somehow, I learned that negative emotions aren't to be felt, they're to be controlled. Not controlled until you felt safe and appropriate to let them out; control them, full stop! The only way I taught myself to control them was to ignore them by eating them away.

So many times over the past month I've had to sheepishly admit to Alaskaboy, just after I'd either finished bawling or was about to commence, that I'd been carrying my stiff upper lip for the few days/weeks prior. We're both beginning to loathe that overly-starched part of my body, for it gives us both a false sense of how I'm handling situations.

This week both the starch for my lip and the wind in my sails have been nonexistent. But so too has my crutch. I'm learning to walk all on my own, and it's been a very scary process. Partly because at first I was too damn stubborn for ask for someone to hold my hand. It's gotten easier knowing that Alaskaboy has been there both on the phone, and in person, when I've actually deigned to ask for assistance through the slippery bits. He also trusts me enough to believe me when I say, “Okay, I'd like to try it by myself for a bit.” Sometimes I ran a bit before I needed his help again, and others I promptly fell straight over. I'm learning to accept that it is all part of the process. I'm rehabilitating myself from an injury I've had for a very long time. I would only offer help and compassion to someone who's learning to walk after a physical injury; why did I feel that I didn't deserve the same consideration for this emotional one?

The other day, when the phone was finally connected, I actually admitted to my mother how awful I'd been feeling. I didn't try and be 'all grown up' and pretend that I had a handle on things. Because I certainly didn't, at that point. And you know what? It felt fabulous to ask for help. Instead of feeling immature for crying to my Mummy for help, I felt incredibly mature. I was admitting that I trusted her with the real me, and trusted myself enough to be the real me.

Today, the real me feels like a cross between several different people: a kid on her first day of school, right before she walks into that class room; someone summoning up the courage to ask their crush out on a date; a prisoner set free into the big wide world after years behind bars; and like someone watching the television for their winning numbers to come up during the weekly lotto draw.

I've lived here four years now, and in many ways I feel like I've only just now stepped off the plane. This time, without my crutch to lean on. I have no more excuses to hold me back from going out and making my own life here, rather than living vicariously through my husband, neighbours and friends. I've come to a pretty major crossroad, and to mix my metaphors, I can either shit, or get off the pot. Continue as I have been, gradually working my way down the road to becoming an agoraphobic recluse. Or getting out into the world and making my own friends, getting a part time job to help contribute to this family, and in general living my life, rather than merely existing. Because in all honesty, that's what I have been doing these last few years. Existing in a kind of limbo until I felt strong enough to venture forth on my own.

Many of my issues have been dealt with, but they'll never fully be resolved until I can get out and do things that have burnt me in the past. Yes, I have had bad jobs and bad relationships, but I've also had good ones. Why am I still letting my bad memories control my future happiness? Because it was easy. Crutches usually always are easier to use than standing proudly on one's own two feet. Easier to blame others for my failures, than admit I was afraid.

So, it's with a strange achy feeling, that I've yet to identify, in my gullet, that I bid goodbye to my crutches, and say hello to Courageous Me. It's high time I took my personal philosophy, “Ask; then at least you'll have an answer.” and applied it to things other than questions. “Do; then you'll have a chance of succeeding.”

ETA: I swam a whole kilometre today in the pool! Big improvement on last two attempts where I managed 300m and 450m respectively. :D

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Using the Force!

219.5lbs or 99.5 kgs.

I'd dreamed and planned of how I would feel upon seeing that number appear on my home scale. Never in my wildest imaginings did I think I'd feel like this.

You see, this morning, as I was laying in bed, there was a brief flirtation with the dark side. What prompted me to get on the scales was curiosity about what the dark side would say, if one of its promises was proved to be correct. And oh was that promise proven correct. I weighed in at 219.5lbs. The number I've been dreaming of, literally, for years now.

How did this “magic” occurrence happen? And why aren't I jumping for joy? Well, lemme backtrack a few days to explain.

Wednesday night, I thought I'd managed to give myself food poisoning. Less than half an hour after finishing dinner, I had to make myself puke, as the food was not sitting right in my belly. Then came the shakes; a drop in temperature down to 96.2F (35.6C); nausea; frequent urination; then hot and cold chills all night and an inability to sleep very well.

All day Thursday I felt weak and woozy and kind of disassociated. Plus crying bouts and tingles in the arms and all sorts of weirdness going on. I didn't let that stop me from going to join up at a volunteer work program. In fact, in a weird way it was a catalyst for it, since many of the crying jags were about how lonely I was feeling upon realising that if I wanted to make friends here, I actually had to go out and get me some. My story had been rejected for the anthology, so I wasn't feeling confident enough about applying for a paying job, so volunteer work seemed a good place to start to build my confidence.

I managed to work there for a few hours and then had to come home as the weakness and weirdness was winning. I think I managed a banana before falling into bed for several hours. Was up again for a few more restless hours, and ate a half a teeny bowl of pasta, before feeling weary enough to go back to bed.

It was then, that the weirdness really kicked in. I started having the same deep tissue shakes that I'd had the night before. Tired, but completely restless. Nauseated. Frequent trips to the bathroom. When I settled back into bed again after one of those trips and the shaking only got worse, I realised what I was feeling could not possibly be food poisoning. It had to be something else.

With a sneaking suspicion, I got online and looked up two simple words. Panic Attack. And they led me down a path I was pissed off to have to travel. But, relieved that I now had an idea about what was happening to me.

Acute Stress Disorder. I had nearly all the symptoms.

That's right. I was finally reacting to the events of last Saturday. ASD is similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it's just shorter in duration... and if it keeps going for more than four weeks, it becomes PTSD.

So, after forcing myself to go into do some more volunteer work on Friday, I hied myself off to the doctors. Yep. Stressed. Blood pressure of 139/85...something I've never had before. But complete normal, considering my body had been living in fight or flight mode for nearly a week. Urine and blood samples were clear. Definitely stress. So, she gave me some sleeping pills in case I need them, and gave me a number for the shrinks that our insurance will cover.

A lot of this was exacerbated, dear readers, by the fact that until Wednesday night we didn't have a phone, and that even now I only have limited internet access, due to not using my normal computer. No chat programs, no instant contact with anyone. I was LONELY as well as STRESSED! Not a good combination.

The good thing to come of it is that I've realised I have to make an effort to build my own life here, four years after I've moved here, but better late than never. I am also in fact ready to ask for help with some of the issues I still have and that are too big for me to handle on my own.

Now, back to the 219.5lbs.

In times past, when I've had great deals of stress, I've eaten as much of that stress away as I possibly could. This time, I was stuck feeling everything. And my mind and body were doing the best they could under the circumstances. I ended up with ASD, but that does get better in time. I do have complete faith that I'm strong enough to work through this, now that I know what it is. Look how far I've progressed and what I've already overcome in my mental battles with the LSED! :)

I firmly believe it was the LSED combining up with my Inner Diet Diva to encourage me to get on the scales today. Look at how easy it was to lose those pounds, just don't eat much. And here was the kicker. You've shrunken your stomach, just think how easy it will be to continue to eat small, but nutritiously, and keep those pounds melting away!

Shit on a shingle! Is this how anorexics feel in the beginning? Are they beguiled by the sweet seduction of a similar promise? As I lay there, luxuriating in the suspense of not knowing what I weighed, I began to flirt with the dark side. I imagined what it would be like to give in to that voice. Kowing that with these smaller portions, plus the ability to exercise every day, the pounds would disappear faster than Luke's hand in the cloud city, left me feeling a little breathless.

Out of morbid curiosity, I did get on the scales then. And felt nothing but Not-Surprise. Of course I was down to 219.5lbs and 48% body fat. I'd eaten not much besides a couple of peanut butter sandwiches, some pasta, and a protein bar, along with milk and a couple of bananas.. in three days! Oh and a six inch subway Spicy italian sandwich for dinner last night.

It was then that I realised, as I climbed back into bed for a snuggle with Alaskaboy, that the breathlessness wasn't from excitement, but from hunger. I've eaten so little over the last few days that my hunger cues are kinda screwed up. My stomach, at the moment, doesn't rumble. It's nearly constantly empty, so it's given up that idea that smoke signals will work anymore. (No fuel, no fire, no smoke FOR the signals.) Instead, it's the rest of my body that says, “Hey, we'd like a bit to snack on, please.” Weakness, nausea, lightheaded, shakiness. Plus the desire for small, but nutrition-dense meals.

Breakfast this morning was a fried egg, 2 slices turkey bacon, one slice toast, and a small glass of apple juice.

Alaskaboy was laughing at me after I'd finished eating. He put the back of his hand to his forehead and said, “This is you before eating.” He repeated the process, “And this is after.” And once more, “And this is you, in between meals.” Then we laughed about me being a drama queen. It felt really good to be able to laugh at myself in that way, even though my body was literally aswoon with delight at the real meal I'd crammed into my face.

It was in that moment that I realised that my trip to the dark side was nothing more than a mere flirtation. (Suck it, Darth Vader!) I lack that essential mental flip to be switched to allow anorexia to really take hold. The weak woozy feeling did not make me feel stronger, because of the amount of mental control I'd been exerting over my appetite. (That's what ASD as well as anorexia are, mental disorders, not physical.) Weaker; was how I in fact felt.

I don't feel skinnier. I feel pleased that I didn't overeat my way through the crisis.
I'm happy that my appetite is starting to come back. I'm continuing to eat intuitively.
I won't force feed myself to get back to “normal”, I'll only go as quickly as I'm able to handle.
I am taking a multivitamin to ensure I am getting adequate nutrition.
I'm listening to my body. Learning to deal with the anxiety.
Letting my body learn that I trust it, even when it goes haywire like this.
Trusting myself that my appetite, exercise, and normal life will resume.

This week, if nothing else, has taught me that I no longer have anything to fear from the scales. I am completely divorced from them emotionally.

And that's one huge step back into Jedi territory!

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