For the longest time I felt like I was trapped within myself. Aside from having an eating disorder, this past year was really difficult for me. I lost friends, felt like I was being constantly kicked around and it also didn't help that I had a major chip on my shoulder against my relatives. Ultimately this all contributed to my meltdown in January. Sometimes I wonder where I would be at right now had things gone in a more "positive" direction, but I guess it doesn't really help much to dwell in the past or to think of what could have been when what matters most is the present.

My realtionship with my mom's side of the family was killing me. As I look back on it now, I was upset about things that I could never change or expect to be changed. I was sick of dealing with what I considered to be a compilation of cowardice, ignorance and plain old meaness. I won't deny that at times I was more than a little immature, but my actions were fueled by hurt and hatred. Emotionally, I was stuck...literally. My anger was eating away at me, I ensnared myself in my own trap. Along with my family issues, all of my energy was spent on negativity. I hated myself, the world, my "friends", my luck and my life. After a while, my thoughts look over my countenance. They were no longer inward feelings, but an appearance that I assumed gladly. I was upset and I wanted everyone-- and anyone-- to know how I felt.

My emotions definitely played a major part in the progression of my bingeing. Food became a medication. I used it to numb and express my frustration with those around me. My life continued on like this for months and then it just stopped. I don't know or remember what caused a change to happen in me, but I think my mind was sick of being angry all of the time. It was tiring.

I didn't really think much of what happened until I experienced the benefits and gratitude expressed because I let my anger go. The hurt never left, but the bitterness disappeared. I think my Laurel teacher, Sister Bennett explained my inner turmoil beautifully in a lesson she gave on Sunday. She was talking about her career as a psychologist and she stated that from all of the patients she helped, she noticed that "...emotions are meant to flow, not to stay stuck." When we let this happen, that's when we give ourselves the most grief and self-induced what I did to myself.

Special Olympics with Taylor.
My new positive attitude definitely shining through!

I've noticed that with my improved outlook on life my eaing has been able to improve too. In all honesty, I think that whenever we find turmoil in our lives, we need to resolve any turmoil within ourselves first; had I done this, life would have been much easier for me.

Better late than never!

Blessings and Nightmares

Lately, I've been doing great as far as eating regularly goes. I've gone to several camps and at each one, I've been able to control myself better than I ever thought I could. Even at my family's reunion I did a pretty good job when it came to portion sizes and snacking (and that's no small feat considering the role food plays in the lives of my relatives).

Overall I've finally started to make major long-term improvements! Personally, I think this started when my Dad gave me a Priesthood blessing before the first camp that I went to this summer. I had a meltdown the night before because I felt that I couldn't make any changes in my life or habits and I had a huge binge. I knew that my family couldn't afford to send me to in-patient treatment if we had to resort to that level of help. I felt defeated and afraid, but most of all I was angry with my parents for having inadequate finances to support me in a way that I felt was necessary at the time. The next morning before I left, my Dad gave me a blessing. It wasn't the first time he had done this for me, he had given me a blessing before, back when the disorder began, but it was a father's blessing rather than a blessing specifically for the sick. This time, however, he decided it was appropriate to give me a blessing for sick following this incident.

As I think back about the two blessings I received from my Dad, I can't help but realize that I wasn't the only one that changed during the past year. My parents view me and my struggles differently than they did originally. Now, my disorder isn't just a bad habit to them, it a serious illness (which it is) that not only effected me physically, but mentally as well.

After he blessed me, my life started to take major turns for the better. My self-esteem, though still very fragile, began to improve and as a result my cravings began to as well (whenever I became down on myself I would eat, creating a vicious, self defeating cycle).  I'm still amazed at how in control I am right now. Everyday I'd like to hope I improve. I realize my weaknesses more readily and am able to heal easier.  I have been able to control my actions and I've improved my relationship with food drastically. Along with that, I haven't binged in weeks. I seriously thought that I had no reason to be afraid anymore, that I had finally started to overcome my "demons". I guess I was a little too confident in myself.

Within the last month as things have been improving, I've been realizing that I still have fears resonating within myself that I've pushed to the back of my mind. I tried as hard as I could to push them aside and forget about them. But, I found out that no matter how hard we may try to think during the day, our minds really have no restrictions while we sleep. Some nights, I'll have a perfectly normal dream turn into a nightmare that involves bingeing. A few weeks ago I had one so realistic that I woke up crying. In that dream, I began to binge, but I couldn't stop. I had thought that I had started to get a grasp on my disorder (which I had in reality), but in my dream, it was a totally different playing field. In my dream, my family was yelling at me to stop and they were angry with my for being "weak". Finally, I couldn't take it anymore and I woke up sobbing.

The same thing happened last night too. I was dreaming and somehow in my dream, my Dad left a gallon of ice cream on our kitchen table (I've mentioned before the problem I used to have with it). For some reason I ended up in front of it with a spoon. I opened the container to have a taste, but with each taste, somehow I left some trace of my spoon on the surface of the ice cream. So, to cover up my eating I ate more and more of the ice cream with no avail. When I finally gave up, there was less than half of it left. My Dad walked back in the room and saw what I had done. He was upset. I woke up right after that and had a hard time falling asleep again.

I think both instances are a reflection of the doubt I have in myself. My biggest fear is relapse. It was so miserable back when I was in the middle of this disorder and I don't want to find myself back in that situation. No matter how good things continue to get, I know that this disorder never really is quite over. I am my enemy and it's not like I can escape the reality of being me. 

I don't want to end this entry depressed, so I'll share some good news! Yesterday, my friend T. had a surprise birthday party at the park near my house. I got there to find tables filled with all sorts of junk food goodies. I stayed strong and I only had three tootsie rolls, a bite a cookie and two chips. Impressive huh?!

Something else impressive!
 I passed both of my AP tests this year with two solid 5's!

Maybe I'm doing better than I thought. :)