Living a Life of Hope…

For those of you who know me, know I have a lot of story to tell, I don’t tell it all very often, but rather in bits and pieces. But after dropping two of my three kids at school this morning, I felt compelled to say a little, hopefully it will touch one of you today and maybe even help someone-even if just one person.

I have a lot to be grateful for, my saintly husband, my kids, my parents and family, close friend(s), Copper Tree, surprisingly my health and life. I was told I would never fully recover from a plethora of life killing addictions, that best case scenario that I learn to cope and manage them in order to function in life-most likely on med’s indefinitely.

I have learned that no matter what you are trying to do in life, what you are trying to accomplish or what you are trying to overcome-you, yes YOU, have to be the one who wants it the most and be the one who does the work. Every accomplishment I have achieved, both personal and professionally has come down to this one understanding.

My parents tried for years to get me help, get me walking towards recovery and then keep me in recovery, but I can’t even count how many times I relapsed, got better, only to relapse again, which left me trying to fake I was healthy, mainly out of shame that  I couldn’t do one simple thing-eat food like a normal person. I never wanted to be that way, I never woke up and decided “hey today I want an eating disorder, I want to be depressed, anxiety- oh yes please, O.C.D., that sounds like fun”, and never did I want to make my family suffer. I never wanted that, but I also never wanted to be brought to that place where I felt this was my only option.

It wasn’t until I was in my late teens, early twenties, that I came to a place were I was fully ready and had enough, I was finally at a place where I truly wanted it-I didn’t want to live like this anymore, trapped at every turn, I wanted to be normal.

I would often wonder: how was I going to be able to function as an adult, how was I going to have a family, have kids? I was mad at myself for letting it get out of control and irritated that I was spending hours a day (like 8-12 hours) obsessing, binging and purging, starving myself, hiding, or sleeping, essentially not living my life, but merely existing. There are parts of my growing up that I don’t even remember, it’s like I was in a coma; a corpse walking the halls of my school, with a simile on my face, but on the inside deeply broken, full of shame and alone. The one glimmer of hope through this all was my connection to my Higher Power, God. I prayed often and knew deep down there was a greater purpose for me beyond this horrific humiliating struggle, if only I could just get out of this hell.

Petrified of what others would think and knowing most wouldn’t understand- that I didn’t choose to live my life like this. What essentially started out as me trying to control something in my life, ended up controlling my life. Being in this place I learned a lot about life, living, relationships, people, my own inner spirit and what real trust is in my life. And even though I didn’t have cancer or survive a horrible car crash, I did survive something that I could have allowed to run my life forever, and ultimately could have more than likely killed me.

If you can imagine being in a foreign land and trying to communicate with others, that is what it was like for me to try to speak up and try to ask for help. Confused about what to say and how to say it, afraid you will say something wrong and they won’t understand or that they will make fun of you. But after many failed attempts, and several rock bottoms, I finally wanted it enough and decided on my own, I needed more help than what I could do on my own or with a therapist (which I saw plenty and long story short nothing will help if you aren’t ready). I entered into out-patient treatment. Funny that when I look back I see how God/life/fate took my codependent enabler out of my life, and it was at that time to where I had to do all the work myself. My anxiety was off the charts, but I made all the calls, all the arrangements and got myself help. For the first time ever, where I took the steps on my own to get back the life that I deserved.

Out patient treatment was one of the best experiences of my life. Being there with other women struggling with the same thing as me, was both comforting and eye opening, as I came to realize at that time how many people truly didn’t want to get better. They weren’t ready, and sadly they were there, spending thousands of dollars per day (some had been there two and three times) only to wait for their insurance money to run out so they could go back to their eating disorder stricken lives.

I was sad for these women, but also thankful for this insight, that I had done a lot more work than I had thought; I wanted it, I wanted to get better, I wanted to succeed, and I realized that I did have a voice.

Although, here I was again, told by three therapists I would not make it without med’s, I would not be able to do it; which in their defense I’m sure they don’t see someone like me everyday. But on the coat tails of hope, I was given the opportunity to; however one that felt like a panel of people waiting to tell me I told you so. But I did it! I knew I could and those doctors doubting me (for those of you who know me) that only pushed me even more to succeed.

I for the first time began to find out who I was, that my voice did matter and that I wasn’t alone. I knew I had a long road, and knew that recovery is a lifelong thing. Now fast forward over ten years later, I am still learning about the why’s and that patterns simply repeat, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. If you want to know anything about addiction, just because a person is not actively engaging in the socially understood image of the addiction doesn’t mean they still aren’t dealing with and healing from it.

When my husband and I got married, I wasn’t sure I would even be able to get pregnant with all the damage I did to my body, but three months in and shocked as all hell, I was pregnant. A child not mine to keep; our daughter was born into our arms and gone in minutes. Feeling punished again, imagine getting kicked in the stomach so many times you can’t walk, and then just learning how to walk again, but not very well, only to get kicked one hundred times more and left for dead. That was what my life felt like.

At the loss of my daughter, I felt like most people were cautiously waiting for me to collapse and relapse, but after a weeks of major grief, a feeling of emptiness, one only a parent can imagine when a child is inside your womb one second and then out the next, except that small life is not held, being protected in your arms forever, that child’s body is made into ashes and soul somewhere over the rainbow. Through death I was again given the opportunity for life. Something again only few will fully understand (but trust me I still hurt, and think of her, it’s just different now), I believe my daughter did a brave thing and gave me the push I needed to forge on fully into recovery, motivation to continue to heal my body and with her loss I gained life, something to this day I am still grateful for.

I think we all have our issues, our burdens, or secrets, and if you decide to actually step into fully living life and work to uncover what they are and then deal and heal from them, you will go far. At 31 years old, I am still seeing my eating disorder patterns repeat, not with food, but why I used food, and the only difference now is I am strong enough to deal with them. Now I have insight, I can see the connection as to why and sit with the feeling, something which I spent most of my life trying not to do-feel.

By writing this I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m not in need of prayers, as I am most certain if you look around you, where ever you are, there is someone more in need than me. My hope is simply to create awareness and understanding, to use this blip of my story to spark someone else’s. I’ve been judged by many, some more harshly than others, for reasons they didn’t fully understand and with barely half truths, and to those people, I will pray for you and your journey; because I am sure you are hurting, feeling stuck and scared, something I can fully relate to. I want to encourage you to seek council in something or someone you feel safe with, for me it was my yoga practice, this is where I continually went to find God and learn to feel again. My yoga practice has helped me breakdown my ego and accept help again in ways I for most of my life rejected out of shame and pride.

My message to anyone and everyone reading this today is be ready to do the work. Don’t expect life to give you a free handout no matter how much our world advertises this possibility. If you truly want to live, love and have a life worth living, step up, grow up and be willing to face the hard truths, so if necessary you can make them right and start living the best life possible.

I’ve hurt many people in my lifetime thus far, told many lies, ran from thousands of uncomfortable situations, and have given up about one billion times over; but for every punch in the stomach I have endured, every rock bottom I’ve hit, I have gotten up. Why? Because life is better when you live it, and the only way I have discovered you can truly live life is by being exactly who you are; whether or not people understand you is not for you to worry about or even care about.

In the last few years I have found myself saying that I am actually grateful for where I’ve been, my loss, my life. I would not wish what I have been through on my worse enemy, but I am content with how it happened and it was my path to walk and I am deeply gracious that I was able to survive it, learn from it and now thrive on it!

I still struggle and still feel I am spinning my wheels at times, but now I own those wheels, I own my feelings and am fully able see where I need to do the work and actually have the skills to do the work. Something I want to encourage everyone out there to seek and do. I deflected every little thing that went wrong in my life out on others because I didn’t have the skills to deal with it and I didn’t want to deal with it. I want to let you in on a little secret-that gets you nowhere!

So today, accept where you are in life, and in that acceptance know that this doesn’t mean you are going to stay here, do nothing, or give up, it means you are ready and willing to receive fully what today has to offer you. Don’t punish yourself for what you did or did not do, instead learn from it, deal with it, and then go from there.

My daily mantra when I mess up “what can I learn from this”, and then I move on….. Today I want this for you.

 

Deeply, Namaste!

My amazing family!

My amazing family!

{I don’t blame anyone for my eating disorder but rather this was the result of my voice never being heard. For those of you reading this today, I know how you feel and you are not alone, but I wish I knew then what I know now, and if you are struggling like I was, there is light at the end of the tunnel, but no one, no doctor, no therapist, no medication can give you it (assist yes, handout-no), you have to want it and be willing and ready to do the work. I am not suggesting that a person should or should not seek council or medical intervention in any way. This is my story and my only wish is that it inspires or sparks something in you to help you.}

Living a Life of Hope!

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