Thursday, 19 March 2009

Going The Extra Mile

First of all, I was lucky enough to be mentioned by two amazing bloggers today!

Isabella gave me a Helping Hand...

I'm supposed to than 5 bloggers who have helped me, but honestly? There are SO many of you guys out that there that have touched me deeply with your posts, your comments, your words, your support... I'm not cheating, I just can't pick 5.

I also want to pass on this HELPING HAND to 5 amazing people out there for a little encouragement in their journeys.

  • elle who has an amazing sense of humour, and a shining spirit

  • sam who is giving me SO much support with food challenges and taking strides towards recovery

  • sheena who has more strength than she realises

  • katie who I have known for years, and have every reason to believe will come through this with flying colours

aaaaaand... I'm not picking a 5th because there are so many people I want to extend a helping hand to.

I also received this award from the wonderful Sheila at Burp and Slurp-

Another fabulous, sweet and caring young woman- check out her GREAT recipes. One awesome cook (who is going to train me to make omelettes!) I'd like to pass this one on to the fearless and fabulous Jaime and my fellow pickle-lover, Danielle- 2 great gals. Check out their blogs if you haven't yet done so!

Thanks guys! :D

Now, I just need to rant a little bit before I get onto my original topic. I have been without internet all day- I use a "pay as you go" internet service which has a predetermined allowance of GB. I have gone WAY over my allowance, but did they tell me? NO. They just let me carry on in my merry way, racking up a huge bill then cut off my internet when even they deemed the bill to be extortionate. I didn't know what was going on, so kept trying to connect- eventually got my mom to call them and she sent me a text asking for some info on the USB I use for wireless. I tried to text back, and what do you know? My phone credit had run out (I also have a "pay as you go" phone since I didn't want lumbered with a contract, not knowing how long I'd be in the UK). Usually I top up my phone online, but obviously that wasn't an option. Eventually my mom got the full story, added some credit and upgraded my account (thanks mom- I'll pay the extra) so then could top up my phone. So, all good, right? Or not. I had dinner, made a cup of tea and started catching up with blogs. I kid you not, I had not even drunk half of my tea when a message appeared saying I was running out of browsing credit. WTF?! My mom had put on £10/$20 and 10 minutes later it had run out?!!!!! So, I called them, was on hold for ages and eventually got through. Thought "what the heck" and added a rather large sum to my account (goodbye fresh fruit and vegetables for the next 2 weeks) and hung up. Tried to send a text message, and what do you know? Their lame-a** peak-rate phone line used up all my phone credit. So now I have no phone credit, no money in my account, and just RAAAAAAAAWR. Not a happy bunny (I am currently offline writing this to upload later because god forbid I should waste browsing time doing something as allowance draining as writing).

Now, ANYWAY, for anyone still reading, thank you. I am now back to what I originally wanted to write about today!

I was thinking today about how I do the absolute bare minimum with regards to my recovery. I eat *just enough* to meet very basic requirements, my weight is *just enough* to avoid any immediate medical crisis. I mosy along in my recovery, wondering why I am progressing so slowly, and realised that I am putting in as little effort as possible to stay out of hospital. If I want more out of life than just living from one drama to the next (living on the edge takes on a new meaning and turns more into "playing the fool" here), I need to really start kicking things up a notch.

When I returned from treatment in New York, it was because my treatment team had set a weight that I would need to leave their program at. I hovered just above this weight for a couple months. Each weigh-day provoked a LOT of anxiety because I never knew if I would drop the miniscule amount it would take to kick me out the program. I relayed this back to my therapist here in the UK and she said, "why didn't you stay X + 5lbs above that weight?" I was FLOORED. It had not even OCCURED to me to give myself more of a buffer to have more peace of mind. It never once even crossed my mind that I could CHOOSE to remain that little bit healthier and ensure I stayed on the program. It seemd so blatantly obvious when she said it, but I honestly never even considered it. All I heard was, "at x weight..." so my brain said, "okay- you will stay at X + 0.0000000001, mmmkay?"
So why is this relevant?

Because I was looking at old journals again, this time from 2003. I was writing the same exact thoughts I write about now. I was almost the exact same weight, doing the exact same things- everything has gone up and down and all over the place inbetween these times, but essentially from that point to now, things overall are pretty much the same in regards to my recovery.
I am still doing the bare minimum to function, stay out of hospital, etc. That was actually okay then. It was PROGRESS at that point because for a long time I wasn't able to DO the bare minimum and wasn't able to stay out of hospital. I did a lot of work with my team at that point about "managing my anorexia", which I guess...worked? I am definitely much more in control of my symptoms now, but am not at a point where I am happy JUST to be out in the real world. I want MORE than I did back then- it was a huge novelty at that point to be able to make a cup of coffee whenever I wanted, use as much ketchup as I wanted, eat breakfast at 6am if I wanted. It signified huge freedom at that point to be able to do those things, but now freedom implies so much more to me.

If I want more than the bare minimum, I need to act accordingly.

I can't do as little as possible just to stay out of hospital. I need to do as much as possible to ensure I am living life to the fullest. I firmly believe that what you get out of recovery directly correlates to the amount of effort you put in, and this minimalistic approach is going to have minimalistic results.

This just hit me today so I need to actually start thinking, and more to the point, DOING more. Losing the "comfort zone" because it's really becoming a rather uncomfortable place to be. Going the extra mile. Reaching for goals instead of just dodging obstacles whilst daydreaming about what could be.

What would going the extra mile mean for you?


Stef said...

Yup there is a huge difference between being alive and LIVING. It can be so frustrating to think that youprogress so slowly and that you could actually be in this state forever if you opt to stay in your comfort zone. I think realizing this is a huge step! You can go the extra mile :)

And about your phone/internet debacle...that is so nuts! I would get unbelievable pissy if I had to deal with so much stupidity in one day.

Lexi said...

I agree with Stef above. Being alive vs. living are very different and its great that you've recognized that you want MORE than the bare minimum. If I was going the extra mile with recovery right now, it would mean drinking an ensure with my meal plan everyday, but I haven't been doing it. Come to think of it, I can't think of a reason why not, other than the fact that E.D.'s telling me not to do that. Going the extra mile is a GREAT THING. Thanks for this post.
Lots of Love,

Sheena said...

Hey sweets!

First thanks so much for Helping Hand and the support. it means so much to me that I have so many others willing to help me out and be there for me.

Secondly, don't think that you are in the same place as you were 5-6 years ago. Physically you might be the same, and some of your thoughts are the same. But you have learned so much and you have grown. You are facing some fear foods and taking steps.

Maybe now it's time to extend those baby steps into a steady walking pace. Baby steps have become habit and confortable. You are not truly living unless you are stepping out of your comfort zone.

Maybe it took you those few years to realize that you want more than the bare minimum, and you deserve so much more as well.

Please know that I am hear for you on anything you need, even just to talk.

Take Care and keeping fighting!!!

Anonymous said...

I feel that I am also just doing the bare minimum for recovery right now. To go the extra mile for me would be to allow myself to relax about food and not feel the need to control every single meal. To just take it in stride when my meal plans change--like if Dan wants to go out for lunch after church.
I feel like I am stuck in a rut right now.
But, I do want to feel alive. I just can't bring myself to go that extra mile.
Sorry this isn't too imspiring. Don't dwell what you are not doing, I think it is important to acknowledge the things that you are doing and continue to build on them!

Cacti Don't Cry said...

"Bare minimum" to me is navigating everything in such a way that I can't actually be "accused" of not doing what I'm "supposed" to be doing, while not actually DOING it. And yes, this takes an ENORMOUS amount of energy... it would be extremely uncomfortable at first to just LET GO, but that's very shortsighted of me, because in the long run it would pay off SO much more. I guess the "extra mile" for me would be that... to just let go.

Anonymous said...

congrats on all of your awards!
to me living is just physically being there, but being alive is having thoughts, imput and fun.

you can do this :)

Danielle said...

Thanks so much for the award Ellie! That was my first one ever, it means a lot to me.
Aren't problems with technology the the worst, I hate feeling disconnected with the world, I feel so lost!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the helping hand! Yay :)
I think last time I tried to recover I fell into this trap. Like you said in one of your previous posts, I wanted to have my cake and (not!) eat it too - I wanted to have a life but I didn't want to give up my eating disorder entirely either. I wanted to stay at the lowest weight I could function at, eat just enough to keep myself going, and somehow still be a social butterfly and academic superstar. The problem with that, obviously, is that if you have a bad week or get sick you have no reserves, and you can end up in a crisis really easily. Which is exactly what happened. So for me, going the extra mile means - eventually - giving up the idea of being a functional anorexic, gaining to a genuinely healthy weight, denying myself permission to use eating disordered behaviours to dampen my anxiety and rebuilding my life slowly rather than trying to ignore my history and doing too much too soon.
Your internet problems sound nightmareish, I hope it gets sorted out properly soon! You don't need that stress on top of everything else, rawr. I hope today is free of similar annoyances!

Elle said...

First of all, thank you so much for the award!! Your internet/phone issue is just nuts - you have the patience of a saint just to get through that whole ordeal without completely flipping the eff out.

Your discussion of going above the "bare minimum" really hit home with me. Right now, I know I'm not even making the "minimum" my therapist and I talked about - I'm still struggling a lot with expanding my diet to include high density foods. I feel like if I can just hoover where I am, I'm safe, when in reality I'm nowhere near being safe. I know that I really need to step it up; so I guess for me at this time, going the extra mile would be just to push myself to hit all of the meal plan goals I have laid out for myself.

Also, I really want to figure out why/how I got myself in this situation in the first place; I have a lot of unresolved emotional baggage in my life, and I know that I have to confront it and move past it in order to make this recovery more than just a physical one. I really hate rehashing the past, and I loathe confrontation, but clearly avoiding it hasn't had the greatest impact on my health. Thanks for this post - it has definitely given me a lot to mull over. I also agree with the other girls that while 5/6 years ago you were in a similar situation, right now you have a totally different perspective on the situation - you're ready to move forward and have a more keen self awareness than before. I think that every point in recovery has a purpose - if we have to stay there for a little longer, it's because we need to resolve whatever is causing that hangup instead of glossing it over - it'll only come back to bite us if that's the approach we try to take. I know you can go the extra mile.

Much love,

aussirish said...

hi hun
i think its great you realized you can do more than the bare minimum! life is about doing more than the bare minimum. ed likes us to think we must remain as close to that line between the bare minimum and unhealthy as possible...because the closer we are to the bare minumum, the closer we are to ed. going the extra mile will benfit us all so much, see it as moving further away from ed :)
keep up the awesome motivation hun, your doing great!
much love