Thursday, 13 August 2015

My Truth.

Today, I am and will continue to be in withdrawal for awhile.

When people say the word withdrawal they think of alcohol and drugs.  My withdrawal is food and purging.  I am bulimic and I have decided to share a very personal, in depth view of what it is like when I binge, purge and go into withdrawals.  The majority of this post was written during my most recent binges and purges.  I have held on to this post because it is so hard to put it out there.  Embarrassing actually.  The guilt and shame follow me every single day.  But they say that pushing passed our fears helps us take that first courageous step forward - and so that is what I am doing here today.

The reason I am opening up and sharing is for two reasons. 
1/ To begin the process of helping and inspiring others who can relate with eating disorders.
2/ To open my own eyes to the grip this disease has on me, as every relapse I realize I am not only killing myself but finder it harder and harder to resurface and find that determination to fight.

After 33 long years of living with this disease I am finally learning to be honest with myself.  Every time I binge, and every time I purge I am hurting my health.  After the self-abuse all of these years, I deal with two to three weeks of symptoms and ways that it affects me.  So, this blog is going to be an absolute truth to it all.  It is up to you if you continue reading or not.  I will give a warning now, there will be some graphic detail and if you are squeamish or easily triggered by mentions of food due to food addiction - you may want to turn yourself away.

That being said - here is my truth.


I  binge and I purge. Breathing.
My last binge was less than a week ago.
My last purge was 3 weeks + 3 days ago.

Diagnosed at the age of 9, currently 42 years of age which means I have gone between BED (Binge Eating Disorder) or the combination of binges and purges (Bulimia) for exactly 33 years now.

Some Facts: 
1/  In my binges, I can consume anywhere between 5000-15,000 calories in a sitting.
2/  I have spent an enormous amount of much needed money on my binges my entire adult life which has not only impacted my financial life, but also the upbringing of my children in which I carry very much guilt about today.
3/  In my disease, I become everything I wish not to be: a liar, deviant, unkind, sneaky, moody, shut down, isolated, accusational, procrastinator, jealous, inconsiderate, self-involved, passive-aggressive, obsessive, compulsive and so much more..
4/  I not only self-abuse by bingeing and purging, but by pinching my tummy repetitively, scratching my skin until I bleed, writing derogatory names about myself over my body underneath my clothing using markers or makeup & by continuously putting myself down.
5/  When I purge, I do so using my fingers, but have also resorted to diet pills, laxatives, every diet on the market, high restriction and/or starving myself for days at a time.
6/  I fight off purging every moment I put food to my lips, but have good days with food and don't always have to fight off the need to binge.
7/ My highest binge in one sitting was 12,487 calories.  That's not a daily intake, just a sitting.

My most recent "Small Binge"

Yes, this is a small binge for me.
- 2 big bags of potato chips
- package of mini chocolate bars
- package of hazelnut cookies

About my Disease: 
Back in 2011, I came to terms with the fact I had an eating disorder.  I was angry, REALLY angry, that it would even be suggested to me that I had a problem.  Over time, I developed the thought that I was a compulsive overeater and food addict.  I started working on abstaining from certain foods, attending meetings and lost 114 lbs.    A therapist, looking through my old records with mental health, informed me I was diagnosed as bulimic at the age of 9.  Again, anger.  I stormed out and it would take me almost a year to come to terms with the idea that I was once bulimic.

Fast forward to almost 2 years ago, I was starting to come to terms with the fact that I am not a food addict at all, but acknowledging the signs of bulimia.  Mental images of bulimics being thin, I didn't fit the build.  I have hidden the purging like it's the most important tool in my life as the darkest secret I can keep from everyone in the world.  I am a professional at what I do.  Hiding the food, the purging, the sneakiness has become second nature, so much so that even I don't recognize the signs Until I am honest with myself.   I protect the bulimia with everything I have in me, because it is what has protected me as a child when I felt alone, scared, unloved or any emotion at all.  I felt lost in a chaotic environment, and the act of bingeing and purging became my sacred "way out".

Through the years I built on this disease, mastering the craft of secrecy and sneakiness.  The guilt and shame followed me everywhere as I continued to dig my self-esteem into a deep dark hole not to be seen for a long time again.  Every sneaky, deviant behavior made me more angry at myself, I was no longer trustworthy to myself or anyone else.  That fed my need to binge again and take it all out on myself.  A vicious cycle as I continued to put weight on and living in the miserable mindset of how useless, ugly, pathetic and terrible I was as a human being.  My entire life revolved around long-term binge eating to binge eating and purging.  Always desperate to take off the weight, always in a harmful , self-abusive mindset and wishing for a freakin' miracle to happen overnight. PLEASE!

My doctor would catch on to my purging years later.  I stopped going to see her, no matter how sick or sore I was.  Screw her and what she thought.  For awhile I stopped purging out of fear from what felt like her threatening words, but then found my way back to what brought me comfort from such a miserable, hard life.  Who knew I was bringing on my own misery though.  Family and friends started worrying about me as I was pulling away and isolating.  How dare everyone judge me for being so fat and ugly, and so I isolated more.  I stopped cleaning my house.  I stopped cleaning myself.  I stopped taking my children out as a family.  I stopped going to their school events and teacher meetings.  I also quit my job and stopped paying the bills like a responsible adult.  No one understood, everyone judged my weight and lack of mothering and inability to provide.  Why did life have to be so miserable?  I cried all of the time, hid myself in clothes 3x bigger and craved a life away from all of the horrible people in my life who just would never understand.  Depression ensued.

People came to my door to see if I was okay.  I would lie and say I was going out, then shut the door and go back in to my food.  Food was my best friend, it never judged me.  Everyone was being nosey, who truly gave a shit? Nobody.  Food and purging was all I had. Yet why am I still feeling so miserable? Why am I making myself sick and then eating again? Why am I standing over the toilet purging with my fingers until I have nothing else to bring up? Why do I continue to turn to bingeing and purging today, when after I purge I am coughing up blood for the next week or two? My body has clearly taken a beating over the 33 years of self-abuse.  My vicious cycle continues, yet nothing changes.  The food and the purging doesn't relieve anything, in fact, just makes me more obsessive, depressed and hard on myself.  But, the insanity of this disease is that I keep going back.


I ask myself these questions everyday in tears.  I throw things, angrily at my image in the mirror because that girl in the mirror must be so weak.  I pinch my tummy, write degrading words on my skin all over my body and I spew hateful words at the ugly, fat girl looking back at me.  I hate her!

Why do I feel that I am weak though, right?  Courage is actually facing this disease with determination everyday.  Some days  I can say & feel this, but when I am in my disease like now, looking in that mirror I see a weak, ugly and VERY fat girl who fails at everything she does.  Worthless.  She's pathetic and not worth the time of day.   It is SO easy for me to see those things in myself, because I have lived a lifetime of believing those things.  In trying to change this thought process today, if I have good days with food and don't purge I start feeling like supergirl.  But for the amount of days it takes to even start believing that, it takes mere seconds to knock it all down, some times lower than before even.  It's an every day struggle, every moment of every day.  I struggle. I try.  I cry. I lose hope, and then gain hope again and do it all over again.  My mind feels twisted, sore and exhausted.  Why must every moment be about food and purging? Why can't I break free from this?

Do I want to die? 
No, of course I don't want to die. In fact, I very much want to live.  I want to be free of this disease and I want to be a normal eater who eats when she feels hunger and doesn't have the desire to purge every morsel of food from her body.  I wish with all of my might that it was "that" easy.  I feel anger, sadness, happiness, frustration, stress or any other emotion and my thought process immediately goes to indulging.  Some days I can think it through.  Some days I meditate and exercise and my positive thinking soars, but one triggery thing happens (and I have many triggery "things"...) and I am having the inner battle of what can I make, where can I buy it, go to the one thing that has always had your back your whole life.. Eat the whole eff'ing batch, screw what you've worked on the last 2 weeks cause NO one understands and every one judges you.  Sigh.

Not really, I know.

Has my disease really had my back? 
Hell no.  I know this today.  But five minutes from now that could be very different.  Once the seed is planted in my head, I trust my disease far more than I trust my own self, even though IT has let me down every single time.  It's like growing up with our parents morals and values, it's something that sticks in your upbringing.  This thought process is something I used to protect my being because it was all I had during my upbringing - that scared little girl is within clinging to what she knows with all her  heart.  So sharing all of this today is completely uncomfortable.  It's like I am letting everyone into my safe place, a place that I have protected with all of my heart against everyone.  My parents, my family, my children, my friends, my co-workers over the years, my online friends and any acquaintances.

Some Binges and Behaviors in my past: 

1/ preparing foods at work, pocketing some in each pocket and running to the bathroom to eat it secretly so no one knew I was indulging.
2/ going to my parents with the children, stealing food before coming home to binge
3/ pulling someone's food freshly thrown to the garbage out quickly, then hiding and eating it
4/ eating at a restaurant small portions, pretend i'm so full, then come home and binge til' I'm sick
5/ eating and eating until I am sick because my body can't handle all of the food, but then starting all over again
6/ eating so much i go into a food coma, completely lethargic and ill feeling
7/ having utilities shut off, spending grocery or rent money on corner store binges so we'd have to beg for utility help and stand in line at the food banks each month
8/ complete isolation and shutting down from friends, family and life - quit job and lived in poverty to be a professional at what I did
9/ purging at work or other people's houses, running the taps to muffle the sounds
10/ completely obsessed with my weight, body image, numbers (calories, measurements, etc)
11/ Trying every diet, making up diets, reading every book, watching every movie, desperate to find something that would work for me.  All restriction led me right back to what I did best.  Binge & purge.

Some Rules of MY Binges and Purges: 

1/ Always ensure that the garbage can is half full.
2/ Use the bags from the store to trash my evidence, tie it tightly and then put in the bigger garbage can filling it with other garbage the rest of the day.
3/ Ensure that the garbage is emptied to the outside garbage before anyone gets home.
4/ Have hiding places for when someone is home, so I can go to said hiding places and indulge when someone is not looking (or when children growing up I would shut myself in my bedroom and pig out.. Once the children got older I started buying more junkfood so I could share some with them but not give "my stash".)
5/ "Sneak food in your pockets and head to the bathroom.  No one ever suspects you are eating in there because it's disgusting, so you'll get it away with it! "
6/ You can eat anything and as much as you want since you can purge every single time.
7/ Purge until no more food comes out, give yourself exactly 2 minutes after the last bite to start purging.
8/ This will be the last binge and last purge.  Tomorrow I'll do better.  Always tomorrow.
9/ When you look down and see that fat disgusting tummy, pinch it really hard, you deserve it.
10/ At the store, tell clerk ringing in my food that I am babysitting and need a  variety of "children type junk foods" so they can choose what they want and the clerk won't suspect it's for me.
11/ Shop at the Dollar Store for the cheapest things so it doesn't seem as noticeable moneywise when hiding my binges.  One small binge will cost me under $5. (pictured above)

When it boils down to it, I am trying to fill my heart with food. 
I am protecting myself from people's hurts, the stresses in life, the harsh realities by comforting with food.
I am curing boredom by turning to food.
If I am tired, lonely, sad or feeling any emotion, I am turning to food.
If I am happy and celebrating an accomplishment, or happy for someone else, I turn to food.
It's how I am wired today and changing the wiring is a tedious process of hard work.
But what feels frustrating is that I do the hard work every single day, and it feels like I take 1 step forward and 3 steps back.  Yes, I learn a lot with each stumble.  I am sure that is a positive thing which helps me work on the inner process.. But then I turn to food and purging and suffer for weeks trying to crawl out of my mental funk and heal physically because of the pain, the blood I am bringing up and the sheer exhaustion of what I do to myself.

But I keep trying.  I keep trying because I am so desperate to live.
I follow my spiritual path and it gives me comfort.  I meditate and set some goals.
I am learning to reach out, but admit I am still not a talker.  Give me a pen or let me type and I get it all out (the emotions).. But get me to talk and I shut down and just can't seem to do it.  I have internalized my entire life, so I guess writing is my *way* right now.

I am trying to teach myself through the power of meditation and self-love that:
- I am not a bad human being
- I am not a bad partner/wife
- I am not a bad mother
- I am not a bad niece, cousin, daughter, grand-daughter
- I am not a bad friend, online or real time

I am worthy.  I am flawed. I am determined, but it's okay when I'm not.
I need to stop being a self-bully, hurting myself and tearing myself down bit by bit.
Life is worth living, and I can find ways to seek joy and enjoy the moments without guilt.
I need to be easier with myself, learn to let go and not have so many high expectations of myself that are unrealistic and only set me up.
I am not a victim.  I am not an attention seeker, and this disease does not bring out the best of me.

Letting go is hard to do.  Letting go of the stinkin' thinkin' I have, the thought process I have carried throughout most of my life and come to depend on.  It's like putting myself in a really unsafe place and feeling fragile with all eyes on me.

Lastly, some things:
I need to work on abandonment issues.
I need to work on expressing my feelings, vocally.
I need to fight for my health, and rely on others - and learn to reach out.
I need to be passionate about my well-being overall.
And I am ever so grateful to all of you for standing by me through thick and thin.

Many of you, I have isolated from.  Family, friends, past acquaintances. For that I am sorry.
Hurting anyone has never been my intention, ever.  I am hoping some or any of my words above can bring a slight understanding to the mindset I was in and am in today.  This is still the fight of my lifetime.  The insanity of this disease will always be a part of me, and have just recently learned that I won't heal that.  Instead, I am learning to live with it and make better choices, but that underlying urge to binge, purge and turn to self-abuse will always be within.  That felt like a blow to learn.  I knew this would be a lifetime adjustment, but always had hope that I could heal bulimia.  I have lived with it and the behaviors for 33 years, so I need to be more realistic.

But truth is, I can be appreciative of how far I have come, and grateful I am in a space where I can share this publicly today.  Today, I have rid this house of all of my secret stashes.  I have collected all of my hidden change for meltdown moments and laxatives are also out the door.   I hang on to things, in case.. In case what? That's not healing, that's hanging on to everything for one more day, so I can make an easy choice to relapse again.  That's not what I need.

I need to love me first.  I need to push all negativity away.
I need to do what I need, as i am so sensitive and triggered by mere little spurts of drama.
I have to take the best care of me that I know how, so that I can learn to love and live like you all do, from that sacred wonderful place within.  Not the self-centered, needy place within like I have done for 33 years. 

I am blessed with the love and support of my Honey.  We were married 6-1/2 weeks ago, and we have a lifetime of happiness ahead of us.  But, what I do to myself affects her and our lives together, because she worries and picks up the pieces of my emotional meltdowns when I feel I've failed or gotten fatter or am sad from guilt and shame of what I have done secretly.

Enough for today. I have shared a lot.
Thank you for reading y'all.  Love and light. <3 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Taking back my power.

Stumbles = Growth. Relapse = Growth.

After four years in recovery, I can honestly say I not only believe this statement, but am living it. I see it, I feel it, I breathe it. I can look back at the girl who began this journey feeling hopeless, sad and completely lost in this world. I carried a load full of anger no person should ever have to shoulder in their lifetime, and presented it as a victim of hurt and anger rather than move forward. I have lived, stuck in my miserable mindset for so long that I couldn't even recognize my own disease, wrongdoings and behaviors.

Where am I at with it all today? I still carry the load of anger, admittedly. I still draw my victim card upon first thought, I think that will take some time to embrace and rely on my own strengths and self-love on a whim. But, something in me *has* changed recently. But, the one main change which I feel is responsible for so many small significant changes overall?

I am feeling my power, for the first time in my entire life.

Suddenly, I am feeling more worthy. I am open to seeing things in a new, different and more positive light. I have boundaries and personal space and actually allow those to have a priority in my life. I notice the small, significant details in my day and find gratitude for every single one of them. I am starting to think from a less selfish mindset, and meditating on the character defects which have held me back for so long. Last week, I opened up with my Love (whom I very happily married 2-1/2 weeks ago might I add) and not only shared things about my disease and feelings, but also admitted the one thing in life which keeps me unhappy within.

My entire life, I have held back and suffocated the young girl within. The adventurer, the explorer and isolated myself from loved ones, my favorite hobbies, my dreams of things I have always wanted to do and lastly, my spiritual path. I have not ever allowed myself to even recognize how much I craved doing fun, wonderful things by discovering this world in so many ways. It is why, as I work this recovery, I feel like everything feels like a brand new adventure. Today, for the first time since childhood, I stepped outside barefoot and walked through the grass, enjoying that very feeling with tears in my eyes. Life is so full of beauty right outside our front door. Isolating most of my life has prevented me from those very things.

Suddenly, here I am meditating, and getting to know this young adventurer at heart today. She has so much passion and imagination - a big, loving heart, so vulnerable and forgiving. She's been safe within for over 33 years since I was diagnosed with bulimia at the age of 9. She aches to be known, to be loved and to be seen. I have spent my lifetime hiding her and protecting her from hurtful people, so much so I shut her down completely and turned to food and purging. I was protecting her feelings and doing the best I knew how to at such a young age.

For 33 years I continued to build on this disease. It, along with my upbringing, has formed so many warped and twisted thoughts with my own well-being and self-esteem. Rather than find ways to empower my being through positive, loving people I have learned to shut it all down and keep recieving and dwelling on the negative people who have never had my well-being at heart. I have never felt worthy, deserving or that I ever had purpose. I accepted all forms of abuse willingly and learned to internalize every harsh emotion and fear.

No more.
I recognize the negatives in my life, the ones who continually try to shut my hopes and dreams down. The lies, the intentional hurt, the friendships for all of the wrong reasons. And in recognizing those, I also recognize my own sick part in each of these too. It was amazing to me, in working the steps with my ABA sponsor, just how many people I had resentments over from my past. Some, their doing, and some my own. In writing out all of my resentments to her, I was able to let some go instantly, and others I will work on some more in the future. But the biggest part of this is the new outlook on forgiveness.

Forgiveness, for me, comes in levels. I can forgive, and I can move forward with forgiveness, or I can find forgiveness for myself so that I can let go of things not worthy of dwelling on even one more single moment in life. Forgiveness, isn't always deserved when we recognize we have been rightfully hurt, and especially if the person hasn't changed. But, we can forgive ourselves for dwelling, love our good, strong morals and pray that this person finds a right path to stop hurting others.. And then, we can move forward letting go of the dwelling, because it holds us back. The pain and resentment keeps us stuck, and life is so short.

So, today I am stepping up on that podium, and hugging that young girl hard within. I am learning to trust her, to feel her needs and honor them. I am helping her to be who she wants to be, so she can explore the world with new, innocent eyes and learning to leave the past behind us. She deserves a chance in this world, and I have held her back far too long. I forgive myself for over-protecting her and also proud of myself for doing so with the best way I knew how. I recognize today, that the binges and purges no longer help me, nor have they for a long time.

Young sylvie is taking her power back, slowly & surely.
Look out world, here we come!

<3 syl.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Giving a girl her wings..

I started to work on my recovery back in April of 2011.
I had no idea what I was dealing with, only that I was miserable and abused food and my own body on a regular basis.
Over these four and a half years, I have learned so much about my disease, my body and my mind.
It's an incredible journey, one I am so proud of even, despite the stumbles and hard moments, there are plenty more positive ones!

Yesterday, I completed my step four for the first time ever.  I have procrastinated this step for fear of revisiting my childhood, the people in it and my feelings.  But amazingly, I pushed through it and the result was entirely different for me.  It felt freeing and today I feel light, like a huge burden has been lifted off of my shoulders and I'm finally ready to let go, forgive and make some amends in the future.  My sponsor has been entirely supportive and lets me do things at my own pace gratefully.  I am stubborn in general, so no need to go into specifics about how stubborn my self-bully is in letting me progress to some place that has hope for positivity and forgiveness.  The bully fights tooth and nail to keep me at the low-esteemed and hard place I feel miserable in.

I have always felt so ashamed of my childhood.  I have been taught growing up that hiding my feelings was the best approach.  I grew up internalizing and as an adult "ran with it" meaning it progressed to worse and even more worse through the years.  I became a ball of anxiety, grief and it drove my self-esteem down as far as it would go.  It's something I am working on though, because today I know I can make that young, pained girl not only resurface but I can pin her wings on her and let her soar and experience this world she never had the chance to know.  

I don't believe in shaming, online or offline, so going into specifics of my childhood and the ways I felt hurt and shamed just isn't going to happen.  I love most of the people who hurt me, and I know they may even feel guilt for what they did.  Will I find forgiveness for them? Unsure.  But, I know I can at least move forward and have hope to find forgiveness for myself and my part over the years.  My shame and guilt are high, but for the first time I feel hope.  I have always been a closed up human being, I shut in my feelings and close myself off from loving relationships so I wouldn't get hurt.  My trust level is low.  Today, as I work on my recovery though, I realize that while that changes, my trust is still low but for a different reason altogether.  I have less trust for the people I should, because I have boundaries.  In my past life, I let anyone hurtful in who didn't have my best interests at heart.  That has changed now.  Now I see who has my best interests at heart, and I can slowly let them in and distance those who are hurtful.

I feel a lot of changes in my future.
I'm proud of how far I have come, even if I walk step by step slower than the average bear, because I know that when it does stick, it sticks good.  I learn over time, I grow slowly but I like that it's how I function and am embracing that about me.  I am passionate about keeping it real, and it doesn't happen overnight.
That's okay. I am happy it just happens.
Forgiveness for myself is the biggest challenge.  If I can achieve that, the rest is gravy.

Grateful for my sponsor, for you all who support and love me through this journey and mostly I am grateful for my continual determination.. to learn, to grow, to change, to understand and to forgive.
Because life is short and I have plenty of life to live looking at the world through my brand new eyes!

<3, syl.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Letter to my Younger Self

Letter to my Younger Self

Dearest little girl within;
You continue to amaze me lately as I get to know you more each day, little Sylvie. Thinking back to the day I started to abuse you as a means of dealing with my fears, the unknown and my emotions is difficult, but necessary. Life felt chaotic and scary, especially looking through such little girl eyes. You chose to deal with enormous pressures by turning to something which helped you feel safe and protected the best way you knew how, because you were scared and didn't know where to turn. I don't hate you for choosing to do something that would later become the fight of my life today at the age of 41. In fact, I am so proud of you for even wanting to love yourself enough to keep you safe despite all of the challenges you faced back then.

It is so important for me to get to know this sweet little girl that is you. I feel like my life with you felt so sad and scary, and today as I grow older and wiser I simply want to protect you. Life felt raw, uncertain and lonely - and you used the best means you could to ensure that you trudged on everyday and trying to make everyone around you happy. You got lost in this, however. Your happiness got missed, and suddenly the only happiness and safety you felt in life was in how food and purging made you feel.

Today, I carry all of your anger and sadness still. In fact, I carry around your every emotion along with those of my teen self, my younger adult years straight through to this very day. I feel full and heavy with all of that on my shoulders. Today, it causes me to act in a way that is not pleasant and simply not me, then once again turn to food and purging because it all feels so overwhelming. Each day I internalized my every feeling and chose not to share with anyone how I was feeling in a moment. I feel sad for that fact, because I feel it was our responsibility through life to honor the awesome being within us both by using our words, letting go of things through forgiveness or simply standing up for what we believe in. We are deserving of that and so much more sweet Sylvie.

You were taught through life not to have a voice or opinion - but you DO! You were taught to feel insignificant over the years, so much so your self-esteem sunk so low - truth is you are SO significant, worthy and deserving. We are alike in so many ways... You were quiet and shy, so am I today. You were loving and kind - and so am I. We are so much alike in the way we are and how we present ourselves, the way we giggle, our simplicity, our curiousity and our giving nature. I am learning to see the world again with your little girl eyes and it's so beautiful, so amazing and my curiousity with so many things often thrills me from the inside out or gets me in trouble for not thinking more logically.

I promise I am not ashamed of you. I do not blame you. I do not hate you. I won't ever poke fun of you, we've had enough of that through life. It is not my intention to hurt you, however, I am learning on this journey that with hurt comes healing, and so some things may leave our hearts feeling a bit sore or uncomfortable at times. I promise that I believe in you, in our ability to do this together, and finally work through the hard feelings which fuels this damn disease that continues to trip us up. One thing I have learned, we aren't alone. We are never alone. There are kind and loving people who will not only support our efforts and fight to live, but who have also walked a similar walk in life. You aren't the only one who chose to use food as a means of protecting and self-loving because it was all you felt you had. If we open up and reach out now, we can find our path to healing, forgiving and working a program that will be a part of our lives for the rest of time.

There are so many things I want to learn in life, new things to try and fun to have. Your fears and anxiety are still deeply rooted within, they unfortuneately still guide my every thought, every wish and every action. I am working on that so hard because I want nothing more than to be able to let go of what held you back for so long so we can live this life together as a whole, hand in hand. I promise to cherish you, protect you, love you and support you from this day forward. I also am taking this opportunity to forgive you, because while I don't feel any of this was your fault, I do know that you carry all of the guilt and shame of having done this to yourself. You are feeling fragile and vulnerable, unsure and scared. Please don't - because if anyone has your back right now, I do. We will work through this together, one step at a time and side by side because no one has the power to make either of us feel unworthy again.

You are loved sweet girl Sylvie. You are loved, adored and I can't wait to know you more. To know your dreams, your thoughts, your reasons. Today, someone cares and we can't move forward until we heal, forgive and let go. I need to do this more than anything, and judging by all of the internalizing over the years, you need this too. Trust in me, let's dig deep and work through all of the challenges, the hurt feelings, the issues and let's move forward and live life fully, because we have missed SO much already and deserve every bit of happiness, life lovin' and fulfilled dreams.

I am in tears as I write this to you so openly Sylvie. Not because I feel vulnerable or scared, but because I feel hope for the very first time in my life. Acknowledgement of my hurt scared girl who has travelled so far through life feeling scarred, unappreciated, full of fear and like a huge disappointment to so many people in her life. Yes, the disappointment exists, however, it does not define who we are or how we should feel. It isn't something we need to dwell or carry with us everyday through life. Our disease fuelled bad choices, inappropriate ways of thinking and a life of isolation and deceit. We have the power to fuel our lives in a different way, a more safe space with boundaries and personal space and a love for self. One which will carry us through the rest of our life in a more loving, gentle way with an amazing self-respect that will not allow us to take part in hurtful relationships, self-bullying, self-abusing nor letting life pass us by ever again.

I love you little girl Sylvie. Let's move forward together.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Keeping it real -

Disclaimer: Some language is foul - but this post is real, honest & raw and my anger is in full swing. So I am apologizing in advance for the 'f' bombs, and if you are easily offended please don't read my post. I feel it's important I share this as honestly as it feels in this very moment. Today, this very hour and well, this very moment.

There are days that I want to bang my head against the wall because I am so frustrated with this damn fucking disease. Bulimia, diagnosed at the age of nine. Back then I wasn't a purger, or at least I don't think I was, I can't remember. I remember as far back as my early teenage years which I think is when I started to purge and self-abuse. At the age of nine I remember turning to food for emotional support. Food became my best friend, and my character defects started to come alive in a very young girl who couldn't figure out what was wrong and how to deal with anything. I remember feeling lonely, scared and confused as well as frustrated, unloved and useless. Not to say I *was* unloved and useless, but it's how I felt given the situation, the surroundings, my upbringing and using food. Therapy at the age of nine is what brought me a diagnosis of bulimia (a word I wouldn't hear until adulthood, and remaining in denial.)

As a teenager, I became more of a loner. I was bullied a lot through school or often felt like I didn't fit into circles of friendships. I felt isolated, unapproved of and very much unnoticed. I was quiet and shy usually and eventually managed to make a few friendships outside of school usually, which I very much relied on and am friends with two even to this day. I developed my people pleasing defect trying to win friendships and to be cool enough to be liked. I got involved with drugs and drinking, despite having epilepsy and knowing those things never made me feel good like others, but I did it anyway for approval. The bullying, however, didn't ever go away. My love for self faded fast, and I wrote suicide letters because I felt ready to end my life at the age of 15. My first attempt was with a knife in a ball field in a small village I lived in behind an elementary school. I sat there for hours in tears with the biggest knife I could find in the house. I was too scared to do it, knife at my blade and very faint scratches from rubbing it over and over but just not hard enough. My second attempt, with a lot of pills, mixed pills I could find. I got rushed in to the hospital that time, and was eventually given an appointment for therapy. (Once again).

I absolutely dealt with depression as a teenage girl, and often self-abused myself in ways many don't even know about. I was dealing with not only the bullying and what felt like an upside family life after my parents split up at the age of 8, but as a teenager exploring through my sexual identity and trying to understand that. It all made me angry, sad and confused and so secretly I started lashing out on the inside. Binges and purges were one way of dealing with my feelings, but I was also self-abusing my pinching my stomache repeatedly from side to side so my entire tummy was constantly bruised and so sore.. Anytime I hurt on the inside, or was bullied I would grab ahold of that tummy and twist as hard as I could. It made me cry everytime from the pain and was an escape from what I was really feeling. Also, I would take a marker or pen and write on my body beneath my clothes. My arms, my legs, my stomache.. I would write words like "fat, gross, ugly, skank, etc". Anything that was derogative and of course helped my self-esteem sink faster than a ship. I would pinch various parts of my body, the most sensitive places.. I would slap and hit myself, or look in the mirror and cry while telling myself how pathetic and useless I was and nobody loved me. These are just mere examples of the ways I would self-abuse over the years.

I can honestly say, I have self-abused doing all of those things and more until quite recently. It became a way of life for me, a necessity and something I looked forward to. Most were anxious to get out with friends, and I couldn't wait to get home so I could lock myself up in my room and find ways to hurt and tear myself apart, inside and out. As an adult, all of that increased. As each year passed, I was more mean to my inner being than I ever had been. I started by lashing out at other's, surrounding myself with negative, demeaning people and eventually started isolating myself altogether from friends, family, hobbies I loved doing and so much more. As a mother, I feel so much guilt over my parenting role as a single mom to two really deserving, beautiful and amazing children. I wasn't present as a parent as much as i should have been, because I was too busy isolating myself from the real world and stuffing my face with food. At that point in my life I was only bingeing because my doctor found out i was purging by looking at my hands/fingernails. She put enough fear in me (for awhile) and so then I totally relied on food. I started to binge daily by going to the corner store and spending inappropriate amounts of money (for bills and food for my children) on binge food for myself. We had our utilities shut off often, I stood in lines at the food bank more than I care to admit and I made our lives much harder than it had to be.

So, here is where my honesty comes in today - and this, this is really hard to do.
- I still deal with an enormous amount of depression and anxiety, and I don't do enough to change that.
- I still have extremely low self-esteem and do not take positive action as often as I should to help build a stronger esteem, even though I have the tools and ability.
- I am still in victim mentality, and spend far too much time in my day procrastinating things because the world is being so awful to me for whatever reason or dwelling on past things I have carried with me for a very, very long time.
- I am an internalizer. I don't and won't share feelings, and I have this technique where I can even hide how I feel from my own self, helps me suffer greatly and another form of self-abuse.
- I have been in recovery for 3 1/2 years and have yet to work the 12 steps because I keep making excuses. I have gone through four sponsors now, one of which I think may still be my sponsor but really unsure because we haven't talked for over a month now (my fault, I pull away scared)
- I am scared of my feelings, absolutely petrified. I am scared to deal with how I am feeling about the past and the way I have been treated or vice versa because anger, sadness, acknowledging the deep emotion which means facing people. As an isolator I would rather chew on those feelings for the rest of my life and just tear myself up for it instead. It's become a safety net for me. (my food, my isolating & my internalizing)
- I hate the truths that come with dealing with my disease. For instance, working on me I also see the true intentions of others (some family, friends) that I thought had my back but realize the opposite. It's hard to distance those people from me, and what's even harder is I do it secretly. I just back them off (for good reason) but don't have enough courage to stand up for myself in the meantime. Not enough self-worth in there to do it willingly.

Last bit of honesty for now, my FOOD is BAD. I am eating clean these days which is so good for me, it leaves me feeling so good about myself, so healthy and much more energy. However, the last couple of days I have done what I often do - nosedive the food again. Last night I ate something I shouldn't, not one but two of them followed by a gigantic bowl of something else. It was 10pm and I had eaten my meals. It was certainly no binge, or at least not the size of a binge I was once used to, but I am certainly falling back into old habits. So this morning I wake up and what do I do? Cook half a box of something no-no once again and stuff my face til I feel sick again. I know (especially after eating so healthy) what eating these things will do and how they'll make me feel. Also, I know it means I am falling back into my bingeing and purging and I am once again the victim. Suddenly my feelings are chaotic and I am cranky and lashing out, hiding food and all of my character defects are coming out to play.

So, here are some positives. I know I can turn this around, and in fact am doing so just by being here, acknowledging, blogging, accountable action. I opened my email first thing when I got online and made contact with my recovery group with my honesty about my food choices last night and today. This is a positive step in the right direction. Phew. Also, I did not purge last night, which in itself feels like an addiction most days. I crave purging so much each day, and so this feels like a true win.
So, I know what I stopped doing which led me to dipping into bad foods again.

- I stopped meditating, and practicing mindfulness.
- I stopped working the 12 steps for Overeaters, and stopped communicating with my sponsor/groups.
- I stopped believing in myself, and started self-abusing once again.
- I embrace the obsessive behaviours, and start allowing them to dictate my day so I instead procrastinate and get nothing done.
- I stopped meal prepping and I know this is something that works for me
Ahh let's face it, I could sit here listing the why's all day - I stopped everything I knew..
I do exercise and eat healthy most days, which is good but I could slowly feel the rest of me slipping away. I know I need a healthy balance of it all to keep myself afloat , recovery is important for me to recover, otherwise all I do is isolate and try and do it all myself.
My disease reminds me every single time I can't do this alone - I need to reach out and I need to be honest with myself that this is more than myself.

So today, I realize I have now put myself in a predicament where I am coming off my high. So, I am in high craving for the next while and my emotions will be all over the place - and so what I need to do is get back to program, meditation and all things that keep me balanced along with my exercise, etc. I cannot live in a mindset of depression and anxiety hold me back anymore. I am so sick of living this way, and I know I have the tools so it's time to use them because I "am" worthy of doing so.. I am worthy of inner joy and peace. I am worthy of friendships, and healthy choices and not self-abusing the way I once had. Today, I need to back up the truck and start working through the issues, one small step at a time and releasing those, because life is far too short to live a bitter, ugly life like I have in the past. I will always be bulimic, a compulsive overeater and a sugar addict, but I don't always have to live in it's grip the way I have all this time.

Time to work through the guilt, shame, frustration, anger, sadness and inner loneliness so that I can just let shit go. It's hard to strive forward when I keep getting sucked back in, and that is only because I have (this far) refused to fully do the work needed. I admit that I am powerless over food and that my life is unmanageable. But then I sit and crybaby over it instead of help myself . The self-pity and victim mentality needs to go. I am stronger than this, and I am capable of self-love and being positive. 41 years of this is enough.

Seriously, I'm done.
Time to move forward, finally. Amends, self-work, Buddha....Here I come.


Friday, 30 May 2014

changes -

SO much has changed this last month in regards to my eating plan and abstinence list and program, period. I feel as though I am in a much better place where my eating disorder is concerned and my honesty and admission with not only you all but myself.

Over the last three years I have come to terms with the fact that I am not a normal eater and that I eat compulsively, have binged and isolated, etc. What I was fully coming to terms with is that I am bulimic, even saying that word has felt bothersome to me. I protect my purging like it's pure gold, and it is very much as addictive as the food I put in my mouth, unfortuneately.

So, allow me to start this blog post off appropriately. Hi, i'm sylvie and I am a bulimic. I don't feel that knot in my stomache anymore when I say or type that word like I once did, and am now in a space where I am acknowledging just how badly I have let this become over the years. I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist at the age of 9 years old with bulimia, and of course as a child had absolutely no clue what that would have actually meant. Over the years as I aged, I knew what I was doing subconsciously, but denied and hid all of the self-bullying, self-abuse and food behaviors that took over my life. I lived in isolation for many, many years with barely any contact with family and friends, and denying myself important things such as a spiritual path, hobbies that I loved and most anything else in life.

I have come to realize that these last three years have been tremendously difficult for me as I got to know my body, my needs, my feelings and my disease. I started an abstinence list, got myself into Overeater's Anonymous and started attending meetings, reading literature and got heavily immersed in program trying to figure out a path that would work for me. With many stumbles, after three years I have learned so many lessons and grown so much. But one thing that didn't change was my continuous obsessing the food, it was making me crazy. My nose was constantly in the fridge or pantry, i was grazing food, tasting as I was eating and everything revolved around my meals and snacks and what the next food would be. I couldn't shake the obsession and when I could for a short time, my obsession turned to something else such as calorie counting, exercising, making to-do lists no human could EVER achieve in a 24 hour period, and so much more.

What could I do ? Something had to give. After three years of being in OA and around really wonderful people who have been so kind to lend me their experience, strength and hope via their recovery program and service, I still felt as though I was as obsessive if not more. With the help of a very kind woman who agreed to sponsor me through the 12 steps and who also has a similar eating history to my own, I have come to realize why I haven't moved forward from the obsession .

I keep my obsessive behavior alive by continuing to set myself up to obsess all day every day. SO, I have had to make many changes to my program in the last few weeks which I have to admit have been so helpful. It doesn't happen all at once but over the course of these weeks I have been slowly letting go of my obsessive behaviors and things are feeling so very different.

My last binge and purge was exactly three weeks ago today.  I binged all day and purged all day, and spent the week after bringing up blood, having really bad abdomen pains, sore throat, acid reflux, bowel issues, etc.  Last night (after three weeks) I was having similar issues, and wanted to purge yesterday as a result of taking a compulsive bite - it was a hard day.

So, here is what I had to do these last few weeks:

1/ I let go of my food plan. Yes, no planned times. No preplanning my meals for the following day. No ensuring I get a certain amount of food, no calorie counting, no measuring my portions, nothing. My meal plan now is make healthy choices. I know my portions without using a measuring cup and weight scale. Meat is the size of a fist as is the carbs.. Veggies can fill half the plate. I know not to go overboard and when I wake in the morning I have no plan, however, I have a fridge and pantry full of healthy choices and that's exactly what I do. Suddenly, I am feeling really GOOD about the positive, healthy food choices I am making - because I am making them.

2/ No to-do lists. I seriously had what I call a recovery binder (which is great and loaded with information) but also had a daily chart and exercise charts too. The chart was lengthy, and had recovery things I needed to do all day long (get a meeting, read in various books, take vitamins, follow specific meal plan, contact my sponsor, one nice thing for myself a day, etc... (the list had about 15 things for the morning, 15 for afternoon and 15 for evening.. ) AND then I would make myself a to do list for the day, with housework and projects that no human could ever achieve in a day and expect myself to complete my daily chart and my to do list every day.. (never did though!) And I would get so upset and hard on myself, what a failure I was! And it would of course give me reason to dive into the food again, not to mention I would procrastinate by spending my day obsessing anyhow!! I knew I couldn't get all of that done, so why bother trying?

3/ The minute I take one compulsive bite of food, such as grazing or eating while cooking or simply opening the fridge while *not* hungry and grabbing something just because -- then I lose control and I find myself face first in the food all day long AND purging because I am bingeing. So, my goal each day is to wake up with an open agenda, to eat intuitively (by listening to my body's hunger and when my body says I am full also) and to not take any compulsive bites. I find this becomes easier each day also, because I am no longer obsessing food and therefore not taking compulsive bites or even having those thoughts much anymore. Now suddenly I am understanding what others have been saying - how you just *know*.. And I haven't been able to because I was taking the wrong approach. I still have a lot to learn and a lot of growing to do, but feel like I am finally on the right path with this, thank goodness!

4/ My abstinence list is changing. There *are* foods I must stay abstinent from, however, most foods on that list I *could* have but instead choose not to because I want to eat clean and be healthy, which is very different from having to be abstinent from it. So I will be amending my abstinence list this evening to show the foods I must be abstinent from, and remove the foods I choose to not eat, and that relieves the overwhelming feeling of an extremely long abstinent list. The smallest things overwhelm me - so simplify, simplify, simplify is my new motto.

5/ My recovery program consists of many, many wonderful tools. Everything from sponsorship, meetings, literature, service and much more. In my plan of action I was to achieve every one of the tools each day and then some of my own chosen tools such as journalling, posting to this page, blogging and so much more. Needless to say, I procrastinate all of it because I am expecting it of myself every single day. Then I feel like I have no time to do anything, and well I was obsessing my program as much as I can obsess just about anything. If I had 150 emails in my inbox, I had to answer every one of those emails before I could go on with my daily chart and my to-do list for the day. So now, rather than have to achieve everything it's a matter of deciding what do I need to do for today. Do I need a meeting? To work my steps ? Read in a book ? Meditation and exercise are two things that are musts for me when possible, however. I take ten minutes in the morning to meditate, and then another ten to kneel for mindfulness - then I set off on my walk which helps set up the whole day with energy and positivity .. There are days I don't do either, however, if I get a few days consecutively with no meditation or exercise, then I start to lose myself in my disease again, so they are very important to be a healthier me!

6/ I have started to lose weight again, although I am not weighing myself and letting go of the numbers, for now. Right now, it's going to be about how clothes fit on me, the healthy foods I am eating, the energy I am feeling and the accomplishments I am achieving. I know the numbers are important, however, I will get new numbers when I am ready for those. For now, I obsess the numbers too much and really, what *do* the numbers matter to me anyway, except give me a reason to obsess ? The doctor will know them on my next visit, and today I am excited because I can fit into a jacket and zip it comfortably when I couldn't two months ago. Hurrah !!! That feels SO good!

I still have to work through my feelings. I have a lifetime of internalizing behind me, and so that is something I will start working on through working the steps with my sponsor. I am learning through my program as well as Buddhism, that I must stay in the now and not dwell on the past or try and control my future. I am getting so much better with that today, thank goodness. So, expect many more blogs in my future, I just needed to lay out my new plan and what I have learned, and to admit that yes I am bulimic and am honestly powerless, and my life *is* unmanageable, and I am ready to move forward steps (slow, but steadily) ..

Thanks for hangin' around everyone, and for being so supportive through all of this. I see big growth in my future, and am excited about it. (A tad scared, but mostly just ready to take those steps!)

<3, syl.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

my girl , within..

They say with each stumble, comes growth.

This week the most important part of my journey has been happening. Embracing the sweet little girl within, the one who felt hurt, neglected, hopeless, scared and most of all worthless. A girl who felt she had to grow up far too fast in life. She forgot how to have fun and found ways to blame all of the hurt on herself. She learned to internalize her emotions and went into self-protective mode to do the best she could with what she had and the hands she was dealt.

Getting to know this girl has been an absolute treat. There are things within I squelched an entire lifetime for fear of how others would think of me. Suddenly, here I am, 41 years old embarking on the most glorious journey getting to know this wonderful, infectious girl who just happens to be me. So many years of isolating, self-abuse and living with fear. Fear of stepping forward and being 'me', because I didn't feel worthy or deserving.

There is so much inside of me brimming to get out. A courageous thrill-seeker who wants to try new, daring things. A silly, fun-loving, playful girl who makes the best of the simple things in life and faces it all with a smile or a laugh. A gentle, caring being who wants to allow friendships deep within her heart and live again. A curious girl who wants to explore and who has curiousity enough to investigate the world for years with amazement at each treasure she will find.

These are only pieces of that girl I have met thus far, and so much more to know just yet. Food has helped stuff this incredible being far out of reach for the majority of my lifetime. It feels magical to be on this journey with so many incredible people who understand these very things I am going through. And do believe that today marks the first day that I truly feel I am on the right path, with the right balance and making my way. I look forward to the day where the girl within becomes my very best friend in life. Walking this life with her hand in mine as we travel life's destiny will be a treasure, indeed.

<3 syl.