Journey to the finish line

A few months ago, (OK more than a few months, maybe like 5), I signed up to run a half marathon. I have done one previously, some 9 years ago (that’s a scary thought, time flies) and had major aspirations of running a similar time. Well, as the date of the race has drawn nearly, I am under no illusion as to how unrealistic that desire is!!! I have made peace with it, now that I have finally started training, and have set a realistic goal time based on the stage I am now in life and the amount of time I have to prepare.  Typical of me, I have left things a little late. No need to berate oneself, just get on and do the job. Whats that saying – why start tomorrow what you can do today and all that… Easier said than done though right?

The amount of times I have come home from work and tossed aside the idea of going for a run, even a walk because I wasn’t feeling up to it. Cut to two hours later and I am feeling even worse, a) because I haven’t gone for a run as I had planned, and b) the longer I leave in between bouts of exercise, the more my endorphin’s decrease, the worse my mood gets. One would say its a vicious cycle, all it takes to break it is just putting on those shoes or directing my car to the gym (easier said than done though again).  One will never understand why we do the opposite to what we KNOW will make us feel better, work better, live better. I know binge drinking is bad, yet I still do (not as much as I used too though I must say, I have matured in my old age). I am currently halfway through reading “Life Strategies” by Dr Phil, in which he takes about a series of Life Laws. They make sense, and I think he is on to something here. Anyway, so far I identify very well with all of the Life Laws and his position on playing a victim in terms events in your life. This is relevant, as I realised a pretty big home truth the other day…. I was sitting in a kayak in the small bay of Musket Cove Island Resort, during my holiday to Fiji and it suddenly dawned on me. I have spent so much of my life looking at what other people are doing, comparing myself, berating myself for not being at a certain level/size/weight/age etc… that I have completely lacked investment into my own direction. We are all unique, our life circumstances are different, our talents, our pitfalls, why does it make sense to compare ourselves to others? I actually Googled the term the other day, and strategies to stop yourself from comparing yourself… I didn’t find anything earth shattering to be honest. So the result really was, don’t do it, everyone has their own path to follow and is responsible for the outcome. SO – I have resolved that this will be my new mantra – we will see how this goes. My other mantra is to write a blog post daily for the month of September – mainly to rid my head of the constant thought dissecting that goes on. This is why I love running, the time that it gives you to yourself to process what goes on in your head. I just wish I could remember this feeling, and the after effects, every time I drag myself out for a run! Well let this post serve as a reminder, its on the internet now, it has to be real right?!

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Its been awhile

Its been a year to be more precise! My how time flies. This year has seen me complete my degree (my nemesis some might have said), change jobs once (almost twice), move house, buy a car and lose many friends to the wonder of the UK.

I haven’t written in awhile, because to be honest I have a hard enough time just getting on day by day. Towards the end of last year after finishing uni I experienced a massive come down, one of epic proportions. It lasted throughout summer (my favorite time of year) and I questioned every thing about myself. I finally went and sought help for this 6 months ago, as it was really affecting my attitude to life, and my relationships. I wanted to close myself off from the world, and the easiest daily activities became like mountains to conquer. Because I felt this way, I also felt like I had failed. I thought I had beaten depression, why on earth had this terrible darkness returned? Bare in mind, I am not naive. I know that this kind of condition doesn’t ever really go away, so you just need to be equipped to manage it. After talking to my doctor, I resigned myself to the fact I should probably go back on antidepressants. This decision I didn’t take lightly, trust me. I had tried everything in my power, all my usual tricks to increase my mood, however this time I was too far gone for these to work.

The pills helped sure. Except they stop you from feeling. Some days I would feel a little too excited, almost manic. Yet I wouldn’t get pangs in my stomach, rushes of excitement or sadness and gradually I begun to feel, well, numb. Not bad numb, just numb enough to not really need any kind of endorphin’s from anything else. Like exercise, or sex. Naturally, when one in a relationship suddenly has no interest in sex, it has some affect on your partner. Now we have not been together forever, we’re not married, so I cannot use the excuse that you hear thrown around about being married. Anyway, I did explain to him that this would be the case, however it really motivated me to come off the pills sooner rather than later. So after persevering with them for only 2.5 – 3 months (at only a half dose I might add), I went off these cold turkey. Big mistake!! I had nightmares, cold sweats and felt nauseous 24/7. To the point I thought I was pregnant (I do know what morning sickness feels like!).  Thank goodness I wasn’t (terrible time to bring new life into the world). It shocked me how my body reacted. I mean, I would’ve expected such side effects from coming off these pills had i been on them for a long time, say 6 months – a year. However in that short time, my body has obviously become used to that serotonin hit… I didn’t know what to think. Lets be honest though, going cold turkey off anything is a bad idea, so I re thought my process and went back to the pills… and weaned myself off them over a period of 2-3 weeks by taking a quarter a day down to none. And here I am, 3 months later, drug free and kind of just o.k, but feeling.And it is good to feel.. because as a human, what else do we have really? If we lose our emotions, we just become robots. Which may be where technology says half the workforce is going, but that’s not how the human race survives.

To finish up, I am in a better place than I was before I went back on anti-depressants, however I am still having some deep internal battles that I have to figure out. Will these ever go away? Yes, I am determined they will.

 

 

Christmas is coming


I spent a few restless hours before I went to sleep last night HATING myself because I haven’t done enough exercise in the past week. Studying and working full-time doesn’t leave you much free time to fit in the things you love, let alone need – like exercise. One thing though, I never have enough time for is food! After dealing with an bulimia for 10 years, I don’t think your relationship with food ever goes back to normal (if it ever was normal – and what is normal anyway?!). I find the harder I work, the less exercise I do, and the more I eat. Then it gets to the stage where I think I’ve come this far now, there’s no point in doing a workout when I haven’t been for 4 days! That statement about starting today vs tomorrow is all well and good, but sometimes the internal battle is so strong the logic of the argument gets lost! Anyway – back to my interrupted slumber last night.

I know that the only way that i’ll feel any better is to do some form of exercise. This was one of my coping mechanisms when it came to getting over my bulimia. It didn’t have to be an all consuming workout that required a gym, but any form of physical activity that moved my body and distracted my mind from the ugly voices and the impulsive eating. Getting outside and getting fresh air is the best form of therapy… like the old saying of the endorphin. When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in my early 20’s (just adding to my list), the anti-depressants I was supplied with caused me to gain massive amounts of weight. Which of course – was just GRAND when it came to my bulimia! You can imagine it. Anyway – the one thing that really helped me keep it reasonably under control during this period was exercise.. once again! I even went through a period were I was running up to 100km a week (in my typical fashion – taking everything to the extreme).  All of the running keep my moods at a pretty peak level – however I STILL wasn’t able to quite the purging for good. Maybe I wasn’t ready I don’t know – but I certainly didn’t need too – I was burning at least 900 calories a day running alone. I look back now and realise that it was probably all part of the disease – an exercise addiction.

BUT here I am many years later and still battling with the ‘fat’ feeling! But let me elaborate – I have accepted my body for what I am, and the feeling I have is more pressure that I put on myself to meet my high expectations of what I should look like. They say that majority of those who suffer from eating disorders are high achievers, perfectionist, that kind of thing. I could rattle off some stats – but you get the jist. It does make sense to me – although I don’t know if I would classify myself a high achiever anymore.  One thing I do know is that my mind has been affected over all these years – my mind and my coordination. I was always pretty good at sports, yet I am pretty sure that years of throwing up have ruined certain aspects of that . I will add this to my research list I think. Back to those expectations though – I am in a place now where I can eat a big meal (I am pretty anal about what I eat anyway) and feel content. No longer do I have those nasty voices in my head, or do I get anxious around food, or do I feel guilty around food! This Christmas it will be my 3 year anniversary FREE from B. Dont get me wrong, I think I have slipped up twice in the first year of that – however I decided to stick with the Christmas anniversary as the slip ups were nothing compared to how I used to be. Christmas was always the worst day –  a day spent eating and purging, in your own little world not really aware of what was going on – only the impending toilet visit and plotting strategies to ensure that no one could see what you were doing. I am so proud to have been able to say goodbye to that.

Chow for now x

Him

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Fast forward 10 years, and here I am working for a global organisation in communications, whilst studying full time to complete my university degree. The degree that has taken me almost 5 year to knock off. I’ve just spent the past 48 hours trying to finish an assignment – so really the last thing I feel like doing is writing. But I don’t want to lose momentum! So here I am.

I sometimes wonder what sequence of events triggered the change in me, from a self depreciating and involved, irresponsible young twenty something, to what I am today. I wouldn’t say I am the most motivated person I know – but that person, that friend of B’s… She would not cope with the lifestyle I have cultivated for my these days.  So what changed? I disagree with the maturity thing – I was always mature but I think the reality dawned on me the direction I was heading when I discovered who my father really was.  The reality that I could possibly be following in his footspteps knocked some sense into me.

I always wonder if we really cannot escape the people that we are meant to be. The worlds we are born into, nature vs nurture and all that. You can’t help but look at your parents and wonder what of their traits you have inherited. I have spent the last 6 years running scared that I posses the same lack of life satisfaction that led my favourite to be the philandering outlaw that he is. After all, all my life people had been telling me I was the image of him. I had taken that as a compliment in the past, he has a voracious sense of humour and is always the life of the party. He would walk into a room and light it up. You couldn’t put your finger on it – but he had IT whatever IT is. He used that for most of his life, with woman, in business, in every aspect. It was his downfall, it is his downfall. But he doesn’t see it. Still to this day. I have been unable to have a relationship with him anymore, since everything happened, because of this. I don’t need to get into detail about what actually happened but to paint a picture it involves:

  • Multiple affairs
  • Prostitutes
  • Drugs
  • Theft
  • Money laundering
  • Gangs
  • Courtrooms
  • My mother being dragged through hell
  • Mountains of debt
  • Loss of cars and other things
  • No apology

The list goes on.

I guess that all explains why I live in fear of turning out like him. Not that I would, my bulimia started as a result of rebellion from his undiagnosed controlling of me.. In a subtly way I might add (he did this to my mother as well). It ended when I set myself free from him – from his need for me to be the perfect specimen he has strangely needed me to be.

One thing that I have learnt is you need to forgive people in order to move on with life. It’s cliche I know, but I try and look at it from a slightly different angle…(in noway is this profound) however, everyone has their faults and flaws. That is what makes people different. Some of my favourite people infuriate me 50% of the time (perhaps I am impatient). What I mean by this is, you cannot hold people’s faults against them. And when I say faults, I am meaning more along the lines of morals and values… Which isn’t really a fault. As to them, your morals and values might seem crazy. I think I am going around in circles with what I am trying to say here – but fundamentally I can’t hold what my father grew up believing to be normal against him. It doesn’t mean I have to just carry on and play happy families though. I believe in energy – and with bad energy brings bad karma. You remove that from your life, and you will flourish. Sometimes you need to take a step back from situations to truely understand what is bad and what is perhaps really the right kind of bad. We all need a little spice in our life, however a little too much upsets the balance!

Speaking of balance – I need to get more in my life. More on that later! Xx

My friend B

Bulimia Nervosa. Most known to people as Anorexia’s poor cousin, or the ability to ‘read minds’ if you are a Zoolander fan (who isn’t a Zoolander fan!!).

I hit up Google to get some facts about the disease, and upon my journey I came across a Twitter conversation regarding a celeb finding Bulimia entertaining. I have no idea who the celeb was, or what they said exactly (I didn’t go any further), however this just highlighted to me what I have thought for a long time. Although Bulimia is a serious mental and physical disease/issue, I don’t really think society is acutely aware just how destructive it is nor are we that well equipped in NZ to deal to with eating disorders as a whole. I am not making wild accusations about the state of Eating Disorder treatments in NZ, however I do seem to read countless articles of young girls failing pray to Anorexia, and them spending the next 5-10 years in and out of hospital as the only other option is expensive facilities in either Sydney or Melbourne. What about the families that cant afford this? Aside from seeing a number of psychiatrists, psychologists and doctors during the time I was sick, I didn’t once seek help from any eating disorder facility. Was this because I thought I was being over dramatic and that I really didn’t have an eating disorder, because I wasn’t wafer thin and needed to be feed through a nose tube? Yes. Don’t get me wrong – the recovery rate for Anorexia is a lot lower compared to Bulimia, and sufferers do get closer to deaths door. However both affect the brain in similar ways, and have long lasting impacts on your soul.

Stories of how eating disorders begin usually all start with a trigger for the sufferer. Or it can be a combination of personality and environment. I either didn’t have a trigger, or I have blocked it out but I vividly remember a few incidents before I started throwing up that must have somehow upset the chemical balance in my brain and voila, B was born.   Telling a 14 year old athlete who has just gone through puberty that they are ‘slightly overweight’ would probably have no effect on those 14 year old girls with hard ass self worth and an attitude to match. Unfortunately that incident, combined with a father that took pride in commenting on my physical appearance continuously, probably coupled with the feeling of just being plain awkward kicked off the spiral that was to rob me of my love of swimming and also affect my friendships, school work and in later years, relationships, university studies and career.

That’s enough banter for now x

 

 

The Beginning

hot mess
noun
US informal
  1. a person or thing that is spectacularly unsuccessful or disordered.
    “this outfit is definitely a hot mess

Eventually we all have to start somewhere. For most of us, it probably starts with the meshing of two people, and the scientific magic that follows… then WAM… Hello World! However, for a very small minority, I think our beginning may take a lot longer. Don’t get me wrong – everyone is born and that’s essentially the start of life… but when do we really start living? Maybe that’s what people are referring to when they talk about Old Souls/New Souls.. I don’t know.

I definitely took my time. Perhaps I was an energetic wee child, going about the world with the enthusiasm that one should. However lets be honest, I cant remember that. All I know is, for as long as I can remember, I feel as though I have been waiting for something to ‘click’ or ‘fall into place’ like the vast majority of friends that seem to have it figured out.

Suffice to say – I am still waiting. I’ve always done everything with the sort of  ‘all or nothing’ approach… (and backwards), perhaps in my quest to really feel.. I cant answer that either!

This blog is a really just a collection of my experiences. Through beating an eating disorder that possessed me for 10 years, a few harmless drug and alcohol issues, serious debt problems, (painting a great picture I know), dealing with my parents separation and the discovery that the person I had admired most in my life was a fraud, I have learnt a few things along the way that may or may not either;

a. put a few things in perspective for people

b. dissuade anyone from ever thinking that throwing up your food after a meal is a good idea (and that its harmless).

I’ve always enjoyed helping people, and I am not sure whether this blog will be of any use to anyone…but I can say that it will be enjoyable to read (and of course write) and REAL. Cold hard experienced, tried and true, maybe don’t do this, do that kind of advice about all aspects of life. And who better to give out that kind of advice than a hotmess?

Enjoy x