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Archive for December, 2010

 Good morning Fatosphere and body acceptance friends!   See… there is a picture of me and some lovely morning sunlight in the background –  this is me coming alive and starting to feel again.  Whooo hoooo! 

I didn’t realize it, but over the last year (and probably longer)  my emotions were slowly and steadily leaking away from me… and with them my inspiration for writing anything.  Initially I thought it was happiness and healthiness that was causing the block, but I’ve felt happy recently and I can still write.  In hindsight, I realize I was on meds that were so not right for me.  I didn’t realize it until I came off them for reasons that had nothing to do with emotional numbness; I just couldn’t sleep properly anymore. 

Will I be able to blog consistently now that Prozac and Zoloft are out of my life?  I really don’t know.  I am wary to make promises that I am not sure that I will be able to keep.   What I know for sure is that I feel this awakening sense of a need for connection and a desire to write again and I hope that I will be able to be more consistent again.  Wish me luck, friends. 

Waking up from a deadening of emotion since I started Zoloft (about a year… maybe even more, since the Prozac I was on pre-Zoloft also numbed me, just not as dramatically) is no fun.  The muscles I had built up for emotional coping are a bit atrophied and I feel like I’ve lost some ground.  But, there is some difficult to articulate benefit…  I appreciate emotion more.  Before this experience, I wished to be something like a machine* and not having to deal with the constant tempest that lives inside me.  I didn’t realize the good things the tempest gives me – creativity, empathy, compassion, motivation, inspiration and so many other things that I can’t think of right now.  I’m waking up to realize I am horribly lonely from alienating some of the few friends I had and losing touch with this lovely blog.  It is a large, painful loneliness I was even beginning to feel on the medication that stole most of the rest of my feelings.  I feel like I’m living with a yawning void inside of me at the same time as the sparkly parts of me are also coming back to life. 

Waking up from emotional numbness has also left me vulnerable to negative body image.  I’ve searched the web and reread the basics and it has helped, but, you know… lost ground and all that.  I’m remembering to look at my body as a partner, but also as a tool for living – a tool that I have to respect and take care of, if I’m going to be able to live life.  I am relearning that my body is not clay that my morality is stamped on and where fatness and other imperfections are not evidence of my being “less than,” bad, or even evil and definitely worthy of abuse and punishment.  Yes, I know “evil” is a strong word, but with the poor small emotional coping muscles I have at the moment “evil” is truthfully where my mind goes a lot of the time.  It is very interesting that after a year or so of being nearly impervious to body negativity that this is where my mind goes.  It seems like the world is so full of body hate that without my emotional coping muscle to take up space in my mind that I very quickly became filled with the self-loathing the world pours out by the stadium full everywhere I look. 

 Which brings me to the joy of water…

My behavior with water has travelled a pendulum’s stroke.  When I was in my early 20’s, diet obsessed and riddled with an eating disorder that I didn’t know I had, I read too many articles about how drinking lots of water helps one be thin.  So, I drank water – lots and lots of water.  I felt sloshy most of the time.  (You know, that feeling when you’re so full of water that you can hear it sloshing around inside you and your entire being feels diluted.)  I was a slave to my bladder, felt so cold all the time and something else I can only describe as water sick. 

When I was hungry, I drank large glasses of water.  Of course, this only works for so long (if at all depending on how diet fatigued your body is) before it backfires on someone so gullible and self-loathing as to try this and, of course, eventually it did for me too.  My reaction was to dehydrate myself for many years.  The thought of feeling sloshy again horrified me, so I overcompensated, which wasn’t an extremely helpful reaction either really… but at least it got me to where I am now.  I am drinking water.  I am drinking lots of water, but only according to the wishes of my body.  I am learning that it is possible to be hydrated without overdoing it to the point of feeling unwell and I’m realizing that it feels really good in the happy middle ground of water drinking.  I just feel better… more energy, less stomach trouble and all that.  It also feels so lovely to be doing something good for my body just for the respect and good maintenance of my body, as opposed to the old fantasy of being thin motivations of water drinking past. 

In fact, I am finding a new appreciation of food in general.  I am, in fact, one of those fatties who doesn’t really like food.  Ironically this not liking food has caused overeating rather than prevented it.  Listen well “fatties love food more than anything else” trolls.  I was often force-fed as a child and it has left me a very picky eater.  Often the mere thought of eating left me feeling nausea and violated, so I left off eating as long as possible to avoid the icky emotions attached to it until my body’s self-preservation switched on and made sure I overate to compensate for the constant mini-famines.  Something about having the break from major emotion and coming back to life now seems to have left me room to appreciate food again.  I am able to eat mindfully (instead of in the normal zombie-state required to avoid feelings of being violated by food for me anyway) and stop when I’m full and before the nausea of overfullness (and feeling even more violated by being overfull) sets in.  I can see food as fuel for this lovely body as opposed of just another torture devised by old abusers.  I have also been able to recreationally and mindfully enjoy food.  Yup, humans do eat for more reasons than just to fuel the body.  This is normal and healthy; the sugar cookies I made for Christmas were delicious! 

Maybe I needed to have this experience with Zoloft to learn these much needed lessons – the appreciation of emotions and my body.  I’m starting to feel a little grateful for it…   🙂  This feels like the beginning of a new adventure and hopefully one that will bring me more in tune with my body, a more positive body image and a brighter, more fulfilled life.

 –AngryGrayRainbows

 *Okay, I still want to be a machine a lot of the time, but the appreciation for emotion that I have learned has made a huge difference in my life and I wouldn’t give up my feelings right now if I had the choice to.  Oh right, I do have the choice to… I could take more Zoloft and that is so not happening sleep issues or not.  😛

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We’ve gotten through the Christmas holidays and are heading into a new year. I thought we could take a moment to reflect back on what has happened this year or express any hopes and dreams we may have for 2011. Or maybe even share stories about your holidays.

Have at it!

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The prodigal returns… or something like that.  I’ll save my ramblings on possibly Zoloft induced writer’s block for another post and keep this one on its intended purpose to ask the questions:  Why do I assume that most people are thin?  Is thin also the default in the minds of others (it sure seems to me to be)?  When 63.1% of Americans are obese or overweight, why do I make this assumption? 

I realize that in many ways I am an outlier and this may contribute to why my mind defaults to thinness being the overwhelming norm and feeling like there are really no fat people on the planet, except for the random headless fatties that are all too common in news “health” reports.  I am a loner for the most part and am probably more exposed to thin-obsessed media than the average bear due to the nature of my job and my unholy love of television.  Lately I’ve also been playing some fun role-playing videogames where, of course, the game world’s are filled with mainly thin representations of people with the random fattie thrown in here or there often portrayed as someone who is corrupt/weak morals and all that.  Even tho when I play these games, watch television and reshelve gossip rags covered in thin starlets at work I constantly remind myself that these are not realistic body shapes or sizes for most people, some part of my brain doesn’t get the message, because I have caught myself several times in the last few weeks struggling with thinking that everyone is thin – but me. 

I think the important lesson in this for me is that even someone who firmly believes in body acceptance, is in an advanced level of eating disorder recovery and spends a lot of time pointing out to myself and others how unrealistic media portrayals of the human body are can be knocked for a loop, because simple exposure to the media thin obsession matters and it can really hurt.  No matter the conscious efforts I may make to debunk for myself American thin-worship, the simple fact is that I am not in control of all my brain.  Perhaps my subconscious is paying more attention to these things than I think or perhaps my defenses against the constant barrage of thin-celebration (and fat hate – the other side of the thin-celebrating coin) after becoming somewhat vulcan-like and losing big chunks of emotional range in my psychiatrist’s last campaign to treat my depression. 

Whatever the reason and however alone I may feel with this, I know I am not alone.  Here I am reminding myself that I am not alone, even if I have felt oh so very alone with my feelings of being different and not in a good way.  And, for those of you out there who would like to be reminded, I am reminding you as well that you are not alone. 

For myself, I think it is time I get back to reading books that help empower me and remind me of feminist and body-acceptance basics.  It’s been a while and apparently I could use some shoring up. 

But what to do about the television?  There are some shows that I really really like, but I feel something  like physical pain that there are only very thin women in a lot of these shows and when average or fat women do show up they are portrayed as “less-than” in terms of intelligence, discipline or morals.  I have seen “Mike and Molly” and “Drop Dead Diva” and didn’t really like them that much.  I really tried to like “Drop Dead Diva,” but it’s just not my cup of tea.  I do like to see fat people (or evern just average would be great!  oh wait, but fat is the average – see stat in first paragraph) on TV, but the content matters and the content just didn’t grab me for the most part.  Generally I watch a lot of Star Trek TGN reruns, a few network standards (House, Lie to Me, The Good Wife) and mostly movies that I DVR off the myriad of Encore channels my cable subscription affords me.   The thought is constantly running through my mind, “Yet another super-thin woman… would it KILL them for there to be some other kind of woman in at least ONE of the shows I watch??!!”  I do like Dr. Cuddy and Dr. Troi as interesting and fun characters, but it feels like a slap in the face when shows that break ground in other ways seem as slavish as any other outlet to the worship of thin or at the very least the idea that super-thin is the norm.   I can even remember as a really young girl, feeling punched in the gut when I realized another new show that I was growing to really like had no realistic portrayals of women in it.  It felt like an attack on me personally and I realize it still does feel that way.  It is amazing to me how at the same time I can realize the media all around me doesn’t portray women realistically and some other part of me swallows it all in one gullible gulp so that I feel like I am a freak for not being super-thin.  The complexity of the human mind and all that… 

I wonder if it is time to start seeing the TV as I see the abusive relatives that I have cut-off contact from:  Sure, they have their fun times, but the abuse, shame and pain is so not worth it.  Perhaps…

–AngryGrayRainbows

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So it’s 1:49 a.m. and I’m up reading through blogs and I decided to read through some of our archived posts.  I came across one that I still hold near and dear to my heart.  It still rings true to me today so I thought I’d share it with you again.

Data to Validate

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sun behind the clouds near sunsetToday is Friday.  It’s the last day of my work week.  I love Fridays!

My husband has gone for the weekend to visit his parents about 3 to 3 1/2 hours away and it’s just going to be me and the dog all weekend.  Can you say AWESOME!?!  My plans?  I have none. 

Today is a new day and I woke up feeling good not only because it’s Friday but because I read my responses to yesterday’s blog entry last night before I went to bed.  I woke up knowing I wasn’t alone.  I also woke up knowing there are people out there that believe and live knowing that fat phobia is WRONG!  I woke up feeling validated!!

The sun is peeking out from behind the clouds and the chill is still in the air.  I’m finished Christmas shopping and I’m going to make candy and bake cookies this weekend.  I might even go hit a couple of clothing sales for me tomorrow (I need some long sleeved shirts and blouses for work). 

I’m feeling good and accepted today.  I’m accepting myself today and that’s always a good thing, right?  I hope you all have a great weekend and I’ll see ya later!

~sas

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I always knew that self-acceptance/fat acceptance/intuitive eating was not popular but I realized last night how alone I feel.

I went to my every-other-week therapist appointment last night.  I’m always open and very honest with her and last night I told her I was not planning on going back to the EDA meeting she had suggested I try.  I told her why I wasn’t wanting to go back and she understood.  She always listens and if she sees validity to my feelings, she acknowledges it but if she hears BS, she calls me on it.

She asked me that I try going to EDA one more time.  She asked me to think about going and when it comes time to share, to be honest with the group and tell them I’m thinking about leaving the meeting.  She suggested that I let them know that I had come to that meeting because all the guidelines for EDA say that they don’t talk about food or weight — that I thought it was a fit for me but if they continue to talk about food and not WHY they do what they do, then that will be my last meeting.  She said that hopefully it would open some eyes to what the meetings were supposed to be about.

I told her I didn’t think I could do that.  She said her main concern was for me to have some sort of support.  She said she knows I don’t get it from my husband (maybe every once in a blue moon) or my work or friends. 

When she said that, I realized how lonely I feel in my quest to do Intuitive Eating/Demand Feeding and in accepting myself for who I am.  I have no support.  Well, let me take that back.  I have  your support.  This blog and others like it give me quite a bit of support but I have no “real time” support.

I want to go to the top of my building and scream, “You’re fine just the way you are!  You don’t have to change to fit some standard that society has deemed acceptable!  You’re beautiful inside and out!”  I want to spread the word and, in turn, maybe, just maybe, get some support in return.

I have tried in the past year or so to talk to some of my co-workers about IE and they turn their noses up at it.  The media has made sure that the masses feel like dieting and being thin is the way to go.  Dieting and being thin is the way to be.  It is the be all, end all.  If you’re not dieting and you’re overweight, you’re a fat, lazy slob with no ambition. 

I don’t think that is true in the least.  I may be fat but that is simply a body size.  I’m honest, funny, a hard worker (to a fault sometimes), dependable and a good listener.  Fat does not define me! 

I don’t want to give up my fight in this!  Sometimes it just seems like I’m working so hard on a losing battle.  

I WON’T give up!  I’m by no means recovered from my eating disorder and not always spot on with the self-acceptance, but when I look back to even 5 years ago, I know that I’m much more accepting of myself and others than I was then.  I’ve made some headway on this IE thing and no one said it was going to be easy.  As a matter of fact, the books I’ve read tell you to remain patient with yourself because this is not an easy thing to do after years of self-loathing and using food as medication to cure all your ills.

I don’t want to do this alone (in real time) but if I have to, I will.  It’s worth it to me to believe in this as strongly as I do, even though it’s not thought of as the “norm”.  If nothing else, maybe I can lead by example and teach someone about it without them even knowing it.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?

In closing, I just want to say thank you to my wonderful support system that is this blog.  I love you all and wish you all the best!

~sas

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baby step number two

I’ve already taken my first step to finding myself and that is in realizing and admitting that I lost or am losing my sense of self.

I’m taking a second step today.  I’m making a decision, I’m owning why I’m making said decision and I’m going to take full responsibility for it and stand behind it.

A few weeks ago (maybe about 3 months ago), my therapist suggested I attend EDA (Eating Disorders Anonymous) meetings.  

Before I went to the first meeting I went online and did all the research I could on EDA.  I was so impressed with the way it sounded because it sounded just like how I’ve been wanting to live.  EDA is a 12 step support group and it’s based on intuitive eating.   They stress that there be no rigidity around food.  They don’t preach food or exercise but instead, feelings and emotions or WHY you do what you do in terms of your eating behaviors.  

I went to a meeting on Monday night and as I walked out of the room at the end of the meeting, I made a conscious decision.  My decision is that I will not be returning to that EDA meeting.  The unfortunate thing is that there is no other meeting anywhere near my area.

Each meeting I’ve attended has left me feeling more unheard about my recovery than when I went in but I promised my therapist and my hubby that I would try it.  Monday night I realized I know what I want my recovery to look like and it isn’t what they’re doing.  The outline for EDA that is online is what I’m searching for but the group that meets calling themselves an EDA group is, in fact, not (or at least not in my opinion). 

A typical meeting would be to go in and have someone read aloud the steps and traditions of EDA and then the leader for that meeting reads from a devotional book. Then the meeting is opened to everyone.  There is no discussion…just random bits of information from everyone.  Monday night, one woman said she was having problems with planning her meals, the guy said he was having problems with portion control, one woman said she was abstaining from all sweets, sugared or non-sugared, one woman said she needs to exercise more.  When I wanted to speak, I talked about my loss of self (as I posted last time).  I bore my soul and let it all hang out.  No one else talked about emotions, feelings or whatever led them to being eating disordered.

Nope!  Not for me!  I tried.  Now, normally at this point I would considert myself a failure because I’m choosing not to continue going.  This time it’s different.  It’s my decision..my very own, for my own reasons.  When I told my hubby I wasn’t going back he didn’t say anything negative (not that it would’ve mattered if he had).  I told him why I felt the way I did and he completely supported me (surprise, right?).  He did, however, ask me if I was going to tell my sponsor and my therapist that I wasn’t going to go anymore.  I told him I was going to tell them both and it didn’t matter how they responded.  I have no reason to back off of my decision and every reason to stick behind it.  That meeting was/is toxic to my recovery and I’m not going to continue going.

I gotta tell ya…I’m pretty darn proud of myself at this point.  I’ve made a decision.  I’ve made a decision for the betterment of ME.  I’m taking full responsibility for it’s outcome.  How cool is this????  It may be a baby step but to me, it’s one hell of a baby step!

~sas

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