On the edge

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m always one step from crumbling and it only takes one tiny thing to push me that last bit off the edge. One moment I’m fine, the next one I’m losing my mind. And the worst part is that nobody knows or will know about it. I’m tired of always needing to be fine, but I can’t change anything about it. I love my son more than words could describe it, but there are certain awful things about motherhood nobody ever tells you about and the worst one is that you always need to function. And when I say always, I mean it. When you have a baby, you can’t even take a minute off because as soon as you sit down, there’s the possibility that your child might start crying. You always need to be in control, calm, smiling, careful. Everyone believes I’m doing great, and on the outside, I really am, taking care of everything, getting all of my work done, never forgetting anything- but on the inside, things are different.

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I’m constantly torn apart between happiness and desperation- literally. It’s like there are those two sides in my head and I never know which one will win because while one tells me how great I’m doing and sees everything positive, the other one finds a thousand reasons to break down the next second. My mood is really fragile and even though I manage to cover it up with my typical slightly bitchy attitude mixed with casual kindness (yes, it works) and keeping myself busy all day, I’m praying in my head to be able to keep my goddamn shit together and not lose it again. It’s incredibly exhausting and making me feel really anxious. There’s nothing I can do about it, though. I need to figure out a way a deal with it despite how much it pisses me off on a regular basis. Sometimes I think I’ve got a pro’s and con’s list in my head that refreshes every minute to keep me up to date. Right now it looks like this:

+ I: managed an entire week with my son and my dogs in the house without my mom or sis around really well; work out every morning; am an awesome mom to my son; will put him in daycare the upcoming week to start studying again; am really strong and apparently not heartbroken and make my way through everything without falling apart; am holding on and have great plans for my future

– I: am fragile; am having flashbacks from the past; had to cancel my vacation because I couldn’t take it; still need to face the walking problem named my ex because he’s my son’s dad and I can’t just cut him out of my life like I’d love to; still suffer from relapses; don’t eat like normal people do anymore again; can’t talk to anyone about everything; usually don’t know what’s going on with me and whether I’ll go to bed happy or crying tonight; struggle with my self-identify* and body image very hard again

*About the self-identity-problem: Well, when my son was born a little more than nine months ago, I decided to start to dress like a mom (you know, the whole thing with blue jeans, decent jewelry, heels and blouses like classy moms do it) and strongly distanced myself from the stuff I used to like (smoking, drinking, partying, concerts) and instead act like a role model. Also, I stopped admitting when I feel bad because that’s something parents unfortunately are not supposed to do. Parents need to function and not feel, unfortunately. I still listen to the same kind of music with my earbuds and still like the same things, but I don’t really show it anymore. I only wear my band shirts and batman stuff when I’m home or walking my dogs, wear normal makeup and have a bright room with blue and photos and stuff now.

And I’m not sure if that was the right choice. Sure, if I made the choice again, I’d still never actually smoke or drink as a mom during the day and still only attend parties or concerts on special occasions with a babysitter at home, but the whole appearance thing seems to not be a smart thing now that I live with it. To be honest, wearing that stuff makes me feel really uncomfortable. Sure, it’s all really pretty (I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise), but it’s not me, you know? It doesn’t feel right.

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Okay, so I feel like I kind of lost my train of thought. Where I was actually going is that I’m sure if this is who I really am and want to be anymore. Do I want to be this perfect inspirational ideal showpiece teen mom? Yes, I want to keep being respected and admired for how well I’m handling everything because I am, but do I want to be this perfect fake? Do I want to pretend that I’m always fine and never struggling, always wearing that smile and confidence I’ve never truly had? Do I want to wear nude lipstick and red blouses and hide my studded leather jackets? Do I want to keep all of my feelings and fears to myself and my counselor?

I honestly don’t know what I’m doing here anymore. I don’t feel real anymore, you know? It’s like I’m fine and horrible at the exact same time, all the time.

Who the hell is this person in the mirror? When did I become her? Is this how it’s supposed to be? Am I happy this way? Because, honestly, I don’t know. I don’t even know if this is a dream or a nightmare. I don’t fucking know.

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This speaks from my soul…

I’ve always had this obsession with the idea of perfection, mostly because it’s so unachievable. Not just in my eating disorder, but in my academics, social life, and more. Perfection was what got me in the hospital. Perfection was what got me sick. I emulated perfection only to make myself vulnerable to its destructive temptations. […]

via How Perfect — Angie’s Blog

Things nobody tells you about mental disorders

Today’s pop culture has created a certain image of the life with mental disorders, but there are many parts all those books, movies and songs never mention, things even people with the illnesses often don’t even realize.

1. Choosing recovery
Yes, recovery is a choice everyone can make, but people always make it look like you do that once and for all and then there might be this or the other relapse and then you’re on a rollercoaster that only goes up, right? Well, that’s not how it works. Recovery is not something you decide for once, but every day. And that’s what makes it so hard. Every time you’re being confronted with the triggers of your disorder, you need to make the choice again. Will I choose the easy way and just give in to the voice in my head or will I do the right and hard thing and fight it? You know that giving in will give make you feel relaxed, comfortable and peaceful for a while (unlike fighting it which will make you feel stressed and anxious), but you also know that it will destroy you. That’s why you chose recovery in the first place. You don’t want the disorder to destroy you. But it’s so much easier, isn’t it? For instance, one of my biggest triggers is food and I need to make the choice to either starve, binge, purge or eat healthy and normal every single day and it doesn’t get easier. Not at all.

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2. How hard the simplest things can be

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One example: summer. It’s July, really hot and sunny, and everyone I know loves spending their spare time swimming, tanning and relaxing at the lake. Well, everyone but me. I love swimming and spending time with my friends and family, but besides the fact that I hate the heat, tanning and sunshine in general, short clothes make me feel nothing but terrible. I hate my body. The stretch marks, the weight, the scars… I can’t wear anything that shows more than my arms and decollete, and therefore shorts or, even worse, bikinis, are absolutely impossible. Sucks. And the hardest part will be our vacation at the end of the summer which will be, yay, in Italy. One of the most beautiful countries in the world, but also one of the countries where you can’t wear jeans in August, especially not at the beach or pool. Thanks, eating disorder. Everyone is excited about their vacation and I’m scared as hell.

3. The magical cure named counseling
Isn’t it what everyone expects? You show up for your appointments, cooperate, do what the therapist wants and then you’re automatically better because, you know, that person has studied this and is getting a shit load of money for treating you. But unfortunately, that’s not how it works either. Yes, counseling will help you, but it will not cure you. Regardless of how much time you spend with your therapist, you still need to work on yourself even more. Those people can only listen to your problems, give you advice and make you realize what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, but they can’t solve anything. Unfortunately, the only one who can save you is you.

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4. How hard living with such a disorder is
Mental illnesses don’t take breaks. They don’t show up and disappear when it’s convenient. They’re always there, every second, every minute, every hour, every day, and it never ends. Why don’t people realize that there’s nothing harder than fighting a war inside your own head all the time?

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5. No, just because I’m fine doesn’t mean I’ll always be

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Yeah, there are good days, but there are also bad ones. I might be okay today, but I’ll probably break down tomorrow because one good day doesn’t mean that everything is over and will always be awesome. That’s not how it works. That’s not how easy it is.

6. That there’s nothing romantic, beautiful or glamorous about it

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Depression is not sitting on the rooftop at night with a cigarette Lana Del Rey songs. It’s lying in your bed at the middle of the night wondering how long you’ll be able to handle feeling so frozen inside, like there’s nothing left of you.

Anorexia is not a skinny pretty girl refusing a piece of cake for her bikini body. It’s a voice in your head that makes you feel like you will never be good enough until you’ve starved yourself to death.

Anxiety is not burying your face in your lover’s chest being told that everything will be okay. It’s a constant terrifying fear that makes even the smallest things impossible to handle.

Oh, and then there are those people who post their self harm wounds because the blood is so inspiring and beautiful and whatever.

Like, seriously?

Why the fucking hell do people think it’s cool or special to suffer from a disorder? What. Is. Wrong. With. You?

Holding on and letting go

Years ago, I lived in a village where I attempted to commit suicide twice, lost a friend when she killed herself, sank deep into several mental disorders for the first time, was hospitalized for the first couple times and completely lost myself. Today, I went back to this village to see the last friend from this time I’m still holding on to. I’d gone back there before and hadn’t been able to handle it at all which had resulted in a mental breakdown, but I promised myself it would be different this time.
I promised myself I’d make it through.
And guess what?
I did.
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Can’t say it wasn’t hard, though, because it was. I took a train and therefore passed by all those places I’ve tried so hard to forget but couldn’t. There is the school where I was bullied and where I wrote my name on a wall a day before trying to kill myself, the train stations where I thought about throwing myself on the tracks, the spot where I actually almost succeeded, the streets I wandered lost at night, the house where I binged, purged, self-harmed and starved for the first time while living there at the age of eleven and the houses of friends who left me alone when I needed them the most.
I saw the place where I went to die for the first time.
Can you imagine that?
Almost nothing has changed where my life once fell apart. One of my old school buildings where I used to take some classes is gone, and they’ve built several shelters for refugees near the train station, but that’s it and that’s what almost tore me apart- again.
But I swore to myself I’d hold on this time and would not give in to the pain inside of me. When I felt the first tears burning in my eyes like acid, I swallowed hard, lifted my chin, closed my eyes and held on. And I managed to spend all day in this village without falling apart. I kept telling myself I’m different today, a different person living a different life. I’m not weak anymore and I don’t hide anymore either. I’m strong and I know I can make it. Hell, I haven’t recovered, not at all, and I need to admit that I’m afraid I’ll never be able to recover completely, but today I know that there’s always a reason to keep going and nothing is ever so bad that it’s not worth staying strong.
I realized that, no matter how terrible many days have been again lately, I can still get better and there are still good days worth fighting for. I still hate myself and I could cry every time I look into the mirror, but I don’t let that stop me.
I’m different today.
Stronger.
Alive.
I’m a mom, a young woman, recovering and relapsing, strong and independent, I know what and who I want and need and how to get it. I know what’s good for me and what’s not and what’s most important…
Unlike back then, I know when I need to hold on and when it’s smarter to let go.

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Just remember, even your worst days only have 24 hours.

 

“I’m okay” That’s what you need to hear, isn’t it?

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I never thought it would be so easy to slip back into an eating disorder. Everything was fine during the whole pregnancy and while I was breastfeeding and then… Then they came back, all those thoughts about my body. Small and quiet at first, but then louder and more painful with every single day until I couldn’t resist it anymore. And now, well, I haven’t told anyone yet, but I’m bulimic again. Not nearly as bad as it used to be, actually ridiculous compared to what I went through before my son, but still I binge and purge between five and ten times per week. Like I said, nothing compared to the fifty to hundred times per week I was used to two or three years ago, but yeah, it sucks. And it scares the shit out of me. I know what it did to me once and what it might do to me again and even more important, that it could get worse again.
And the scariest part is telling someone because that would mean admitting that I’m not as strong as I am on the outside and I don’t want anyone to see my weaknesses. It would mean admitting that I have a problem again.
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I don’t know what to do. Whenever I eat, my thoughts start racing and I feel worthless and guilty. After everything I’ve gone through, this is where I end up.
Ah, and I keep thinking about starvation again. Not that I’ll do it, I can’t because I know people will notice. They will because I won’t just stop ‘there’. That’s not how it works. Sure, you think you know how far you can go, where your limit is, where you reach the point when you’ll be like ‘now I’m skinny enough’, but that won’t happen. You’ll never realize it. You’ll set your goal, reach it, tear it down and build it again five pounds lower on the scale, over and over again, without even realizing you’re killing yourself. An eating disorder is basically slow suicide without noticing it.
You believe the lies that one day, you’ll be enough, but that won’t happen. It won’t be enough for the eating disorder until you’re six feet under. So why am I doing this? I know where it gets people and where it got me once, but I do it anyway.
Maybe the idea of accepting my body the way it is now (which is normal and healthy, but not skinny anymore) is even more frightening than the idea of destroying my body all over again. I actually want to accept and love myself the way I am because I know that there’s nothing wrong with me and that self hate is wrong and useless, but I just can’t. Deep down, I’m afraid that accepting things as they are will make me weak, lazy and incapable, so no matter what I do, I can’t get the idea of never being good enough out of my head. I spend the late evenings binging and purging until I’ve got red eyes and a runny nose, hoping that, at some point, I’ll be able to accept things I can’t or I’m not supposed to change.
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But I’ll probably never reach this point. There’s this barrier in my head my dad built the foundations for and I built the rest of it brick by brick over the years and this barrier makes it impossible for me to settle down and just be satisfied. It’s this thing in there that tells me that nothing is ever enough and even if I was able to tear it down, I’d be to scared to do it.
Two days ago, I was told that I’ve passed all of my finals and will graduate at the end of the month (but that’ll be only for 10th grade because I’ve missed a whole school year a couple years ago and because Germany’s school system is far more complicated than the American and to get a real high school diploma I’ll need to apply for college, I’ll have to continue studying from home for four more years – which means I won’t be able to attend college till I’m 21 – in September while my son will be in daycare until noon on weekdays).

Anyway, I’ve taken a huge step and reached a huge goal by graduating from this school already and I actually did a really good job and everyone is proud of me and I was looking forward to being too… But I’m not. I don’t know how much time I’ve spent trying to convince myself that I have every reason to be proud of myself and that I’ve accomplished more than half the people I know who have half the problems I have, but the barrier won’t ever let me be proud of myself because it tells me there’s still something missing. And I keep telling myself I’ll feel this pride after the actual high school diploma and college and stuff, but who am I trying to convince here? It doesn’t matter what I do. I won’t love myself.
So I keep fighting and hoping and until then, I’ll have to deal with feeling worthless. But I’m okay, right? “We’ll just have to act like everything’s fine.” That’s all that matters. I focuse on the positive things and swallow the emptiness that makes me feel like dying inside. Smile, stay strong and don’t give up. There’s no other way.
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In the hardest times we grow the most

So many worries

Do you know this feeling when you have a thousand thoughts on your mind and don’t even know with which one to start? That’s kinda how I feel right now.Let’s start with the most important thing: Jamie. I’ve been a mother for almost eight weeks now and I gotta say, I think I’m doing pretty good. Jamie is cuter than I could have ever imagined, continuously growing and gaining, he’s a good boy, doesn’t cry much and sleeps a lot at night. Of course he has vapors sometimes, can’t sleep, is grumpy or hungry all the time, but, hey, he’s a baby! That’s just part of having children. And I’m happier than I’ve ever been with him. Is it possible to recover so quickly from diseases I’ve had for so long and nearly destroyed me? I can’t even remember the last time I was depressed, haven’t thrown up on purpose or been suicidal in about a year and haven’t self harmed even longer. And I don’t feel the need to either. Just the ED thoughts… Well, they’ve come back. After you’ve given birth, of course you’ve gained some weight. That’s one of the pregnancy side effects (that’s how my midwife calls it). And I wanna lose that weight again. Which is, I guess, relatable. But since I had an episiotomy during childbirth (Jamie’s head wouldn’t have gone through otherwise), I couldn’t practice any workouts the first two months (hey, I couldn’t even sit on a chair without crying until Christmas!) and that made me feel even worse about my body. So today I did the first workouts again (after almost a year) and it felt like the ED thoughts had never been gone. They were there. Immediately. I did the first exercise and everything crashed down like a huge wave that buried me. All the fears, all the self-doubt, all the hatred. But I resisted. I kept telling myself: None of this is real. The eating disorder won’t help you, it will destroy you all over again. These thoughts aren’t mine, they’re sick and disturbed and terribly wrong. I’m struggling with my body really hard right now, but I won’t relapse. I haven’t come so far just to make all the old mistakes again. I haven’t reached so much to throw it all away. And I am responsible for my son whom I love more than anything and to be a good mother, I have to be healthy. He makes me so happy and I’m not gonna let some stupid disorder take all that happiness away from us. I will lose weight in a normal and healthy way. Without any stress. I’ll make it just like I’ve made everything else. But I’m scared of a relapse anyway. Very scared. The words relapse and recovery are so close and even though I’m strong, I’m not sure if I’ll always be able to stay this way.

  
But those are not the only things keeping my mind busy right now. Also I’m still more worried than ever about my future. I’ll have my 10th grade’s final exams (I’ll go to school again on February 29 and yes, I’m only in 10th grade because of stupid nuthouses) in a few months and I don’t know what I’m gonna do afterwards. Actually I planned on finishing high school at school and graduate there, but I now realized I can’t leave Jamie every morning for three more years. It’s already terrible enough that I’ll leave him from March until July (Monday – Friday, 7.30 AM – 2 PM) and I can’t do that any longer. Our nanny is great, but I wanna be with him. What if he’ll take his first steps while he’s with her? And what about his first words? What if I’ll miss all those important moments? I need to graduate high school, that’s 100% sure, but I wanna do it at home. There are only two problems: 1, the fees are €4140 / $4509 and 2, I’ll have to study at home without a teacher and a thousand distractions. So what he hell am I gonna do? I’m so fucking desperate. I just wish things were easy in my life- just once! Only once I wanna be one of those girls who don’t have to worry about anything. I mean, it’s not just the high school graduation, college is a problem as well. It’s fucking expensive, I don’t know if a college will accept me and if I’ll even get the necessary visa (and Jamie needs one too!). How the hell will I pay the flights? Where will we live? What about Jamie while I’ll be studying? I’m not even sure what to study. I can’t become a doctor, that would take way too long, I can’t study criminology because I won’t get a job and I’d like become a historician as well, but I don’t know if and which jobs are available there. But why am I even worrying about things so far away? I don’t even know if I’ll pass the exams in spring. Everything sucks right now- everything expect the beautiful little baby next to me.

In the mind of the eating disorder

A therapist once told me: “You know, it’s kind of wondrous. Others try to lose weight over and over again, but can’t, and you? You just set your goal and do it. Where do you think is the reason? Where is the difference between you and the others, besides the eating disorder?”
At first I was really stunned and even taken by surprise. What did he want to tell me with that? That I was not a completely hopeless case and had at least enough discipline to starve myself by choice? Yeah, that must be true strength. Therapists like him are also the ones who like to ask you (the girl with the ED) during a therapy session that they are planning on losing some weight for the upcoming bikini season. 
Well, back to the topic. Why can some people lose so much weight so easily and others just can’t even after a hundred tries? And why do so many of them have eating disorders? There must be something about it. Some good anorexia tips. Who likes to change his lifestyle, eat healthy and work out? Crash diets and starvation are so much more effective!
Well… The thing is, anorexia and weight loss success don’t have much to do with discipline and willpower. It’s more about the motive (Latin motus = motion, driving). Most of the anorexic girls and women don’t actually want the perfect bikini body the media wants them to have. The motive has a much higher priority. It’s about control, power and the own ideals. But also about fear, austerity and perfectionism. And a lot of other (often unconscious) things like a missing self esteem. 
But whatever the motive is, the more priority it’s given, the bigger chance the person has to reach the goals. 
We don’t need motivation from the outside, no compliments or insults to strengthen the inner motivation. Who gets demotivated too fast, has too high goals or unrealistic expectations. We don’t consider bad days as relapses. We’re still on the way to the same goal. Every day, good or bad, leads us to where we want to be. And we know we’ll make it. There is no other option, there mustn’t be. Because otherwise we could lose much more than just a damn dress size…