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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

EXONERATION

I haven’t been writing a lot lately. Actually that’s not true. I’ve been writing a ton in my journal, but not much in the blog. First of all, I lost internet access for 2 weeks because I inadvertently broke a rule. Second, I haven’t felt like I have much to say. I think people are getting tired of my blog, or bored. I’M getting bored. Treatment is a lot of the same thing every day, with breakthroughs once in awhile. Digging through layers and years of garbage and lies and suppressed feelings is exhausting and a very slow process. Some days I can’t even tell that I’ve made a dent.

Today I had something click in my head for the first time in a few weeks. In our Self-Esteem group we were discussing thought distortion. My therapist has been working with me on this for a while. Catching distorted thoughts and replacing them with a more reasonable one. An example might be, “I am not worthy of love unless I am perfect.” The distortion would be All-or-Nothing thinking. I’m either perfect and loveable or imperfect and unlovable. There’s no room for error. There’s no middle ground. A more rational thought would be, “I’m not perfect and neither is anyone else. I am loved by [insert names] who have seen me at my worst and are still in my life.” I’ve noticed that I distort my thoughts like this A LOT. My thinking has become habitual, just like many other behaviors (biting fingernails, picking zits, pulling out eyelashes . . . ). How many of you think negative things about yourself on a daily basis? Maybe you don’t even notice you’re doing it. These thoughts are so habitual that I don’t even realize I’m having them unless I make an active, conscious effort to notice what I’m thinking. Since coming here I’ve been shocked with how many times a day I think things like, “fat, ugly, pathetic, worthless, useless, dumb, dorky, socially inept.” Stopping those thoughts and replacing them with new ones is tough. Usually the thoughts I replace them with aren’t even related to the negative thought. I might think, “I’m fat” and replace the thought with, “look how gorgeous the mountains are today.” But doing that is better than doing nothing, because you can’t hold a negative and a positive thought in your mind at the same time. Seriously. Try it.

ANYWAY, I totally got off topic there. My group was discussing thought distortion. We each shared some of our own. One of mine was, “I’m so pathetic. I should be able to eat like a normal person. This is a stupid thing to struggle with. I am stupid.” A lot of the women related to that one. Therapist interjected here and said that he firmly believes that our eating disorders are not our faults. I didn’t understand or agree with that. I’m an adult. I make my own decisions. Then he made the point that often the roots of our eating disorders lie in something that happened in childhood or early teens. We turn to eating disorders before we were even aware what they were. For example if a child is made to feel like they are “bad”, they might be picked on by other children, or called stupid, or ugly. They might carry around that belief for the rest of their lives. When they are older they start to try to cope with ineffective negative behaviors like restriction, purging, etc. I can honestly say with all my heart that of all the many ambitions I had as a child, being anorexic was not one of them. I did not dream of growing up to be a woman who cried when she ate, starved, binged, purged, and exercised her way out of any happiness or good relationship she might have had.

I want to exonerate my little girl. Little 4-year-old Camilla who thought she was ugly. Six-year-old Camilla who was told that she asked too many questions in class. 8-year-old Camilla who wasn’t funny, 11-year-old Camilla whose tummy was “bigger than her boobs,” and 12-year-old Camilla who was groped and teased and called fat. I exonerate her, because she didn’t know her thinking was wrong. She didn’t know it would be addictive. She had NO CLUE that what she was doing was even unhealthy! And by the time she figured it out, I was hooked.

Last night I cried harder than I have in a LONG time. I could barely breathe and it hurt trying to get air into my lungs. I cried for the pain I’ve had, but MOSTLY the pain I’ve caused other people. If we think we only hurt ourselves with addictions, we are delusional. I exonerate my younger self, but I am so angry at my adult self for NOT GETTING HELP WHEN I KNEW I NEEDED IT. This could have been stopped in 2005, but I quit. I didn’t think I was “sick” enough. Let me just clarify for everyone who has thought that or is currently thinking it. ANY AMOUNT OF DISORDERED EATING BEHAVIORS IS “SICK ENOUGH.” PLEASE PLEASE STOP AND GET HELP NOW. PLEASE. Your future self and your children and family and every other relationship you have or will have with sing your praises.

Our friends and family want US. They DO NOT want an Eating Disorder disguised as us. It’s a parasite. It can’t live outside of you. And luckily you can KILL this parasite. It’s hard, it sucks sometimes, it can feel long and lonely, but I believe it’s possible. If I didn’t believe that, trust me I would NOT still be here. There would be a huge Camilla-shaped hole in one of the walls and some crazy, homeless, emaciated woman living at the gym. And probably dying at the gym.

Unacceptable.
Frank, today I REALLY hate you.

14 comments:

  1. I'm not bored yet! Still subscribed in my feedreader. I enjoy every new insight from you and I'm cheering you on all the way.

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  2. I could never be bored of your blog! I love it and I love you! I honestly get excited whenever I see you have a new post. It might be a bad day or a good day, but whatever type of day you're having I LOVE hearing about it. Always praying for you. :)

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  3. You are helping me as well, answering questions I didn't even know I had about myself. Thank you.

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  4. I am not tired of it, I check it every day. I e-mail some of your posts to my husband to help him understand how I feel, because you explain it so well. I sent you some Hello Kitty things for unwrapping and you have another card and package on the way. You are an inspiration. I share anything I can on FB to help get donations and e-mail those closest to me as they understand the plight of residential treatment not be covered. I hope that doesn't sound creepy, but you really are an inspiration, as a fellow 29 year old who is struggling. I wish I could say I am doing as well as you, but the hope that I could be keeps me going. Thank you for taking time to post.

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  5. oh, and as far as making a dent, I've been in treatment over 30 times and still feel like I haven't made a dent. But when I look at how I was at 13 and now at 29, I have definitely learned a lot about myself, personality, and ways I can deal better. Don't let the "stuck" feeling get to you, you ARE making strides!

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  6. I love your blog, I am not bored! I check everyday if there is a new update. I am sorry for all the pain you are going thru, I can't even imagine. You are so strong! Just know you are doing the right thing. It's a new beginning! :) Hang in there!

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  7. I'm not bored either....and I wait for your entries to know where you are, what you're feeling, and how things are going. Love you, Camilla.

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  8. I love your blog. I'm on the opposite side of food addiction, and for some reason, reading someone's story who doesn't share my same affliction helps me. I hope you are doing well, and I'm very happy that you are making waves in your recovery.

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  9. What could be boring about someone's journey back to health, truth, and peace, especially when that "someone" is as thoughtful and as eloquent as you are? Your story is real, thought-provoking, and inspiring. Keep on keepin' on, sister! You are doing fantastic work!

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  10. It does get boring when you're not well. It gets dull and one gets bored of dealing with the same things over and over again. I know this feeling very well. Bored of the situation and of dealing with it. Bored of talking about it. Bored of feeling it. BUT it is getting better, I hear you getting better, it's slow and painful for you but it IS getting better and here in virtual land, we are rooting for you. You are leading us away from our own boredom and giving us someone else to think about besides ourselves and our chronic conditions. You're not boring...it's just the process that's boring. Better days are coming. Please let us come with you and witness it.

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  11. Camilla, You are the essence of Beautiful, Strong, Courageous, Intelligent, Humorous, Fun, Silly, Real, Inspirational, Gorgeous, Christlike, and Amazing! You truly have so much to offer the world and need to believe in yourself and all you have to offer! People in this world do NOT define who we are, Christ our Lord and Savior defines us!! You ARE WORTHY! Worthy of love, worthy of attention, worthy of good health, worthy of excitement and enjoyment, worthy of being heard and ESPECIALLY worthy of GOD'S healing power! This is not coming from someone who is simply trying to make you feel better by trying to say all the right things without real truth behind the words.... YOU REALLY TRULY ARE THESE WONDERFUL THINGS SWEETIE!! You have a beautiful and loving spirit and you ARE STRONG!!!! If we learn to live to please the Lord first, and learn to Love and view ourselves as the father does, then we begin to realize our true worth! If you Stay centered on the one who LOVES YOU UNCONDITIONALLY, YOU WILL PREVAIL!! He will SUSTAIN YOU! So when you wake up in the morning having a bad thought about yourself, just remember.... You have many who LOVE you,many who are inspired by you, and a whole life of beautiful things awaiting you.... because you are so WORTH IT!!
    I believe in YOU!!

    Karrie :)

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  12. I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing your experiences and story of what your going through. I don't personally struggle with anorexia or bulimia but I suffer from major depression, along with some addictions that come with it such as cutting, wanting to hurt or kill myself. I just want you to know that reading your blog has helped in realizing that no one is alone in the things that they struggle with. There will always be friends and family here for you,even though sometimes you may feel like no one cares or that they don't understand. I have learned that no one will fully understand the struggles until they have dealt with them theirselves. They may think your crazy or stupid or whatever else but they don't understand or know how to help so they get frustrated and may say things that they don't really mean. You may struggle with feelings coming back and relapsing but your not alone, just take it a day at a time, a minute at a time, whatever you need to do but never give up just because you made a mistake and did something wrong. Pick yourself back up and try again. You can do this. Look at all the support you have behind you. I mean I dont know you personally but that doesn't mean that I don't care because I really do. I check in everyday to see if you have updated your blog. Take care of yourself and just remember that our not alone

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  13. Camilla, Thank you for your Blog...keep it going!!! you comments help me to realize that we truly are/become what we think about...more good stuff in, more good stuff will come out.

    My mom shared a quote with me once. "If you think that you can, or you can't...you're right!" This is so true.

    Continue to believe in yourself. Hear & feel all the prayers being offered in your behalf...God is real, God is good. He loves you, & you are His daughter. I truly believe that we are here for a purpose, and that our challenges & trials, are for us to learn something, & to help someone around us...

    So, for you, what is the reason for this? Why are you needing to go through this hard time? Find that answer, & you will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel...this too shall pass. "The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar it with shine..."

    Know you have a family, even extended family, who loves you tons.

    Love, Uncle Ping

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  14. I love this in so many ways. There is my best friend! ♥ Nic

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