A Letter to My Younger Self

Sweet Young Girl,379093_2670389453390_1642209506_n

The road you are traveling is a rough one, filled with potholes, treacherous terrain, mean and selfish people.  You have done nothing to deserve the bad things that have happened.  You are not being punished, but you are learning.  You are learning a very dangerous way to treat yourself.  You are learning to speak to yourself harshly, set unrealistic expectations for yourself and for those you love.  On the surface you think you are making yourself better, tougher and surviving on your own terms.  My sweet girl, you are making for a tough lonely life.

I know that you feel so much love, that is not returned.  You feel so much pain that feels unbearable.  If only there were something you could buy, or someone who could fill that space all of the fear, anxiety and pain would go away.   I know you don’t see what you are doing.  I know you think if you are perfect everything will be perfect.  If you are funny enough, thin enough, smart enough, perfect enough all the past will go away and you will only be happy.

I can’t say it will be easy, but you will make it through all of the pain, fear and harm that has come to you. YOU ARE STRONG!  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!  YOU ARE SMART!  YOU DON’T NEED SOMEONE ELSE TO BE THOSE THINGS…YOU ARE AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN ALL OF THOSE THINGS!

When you feel like it is all too much, read this letter.  Know that there are amazing people coming into your life who will love you until you can love yourself.  They will love you exactly the way you are.  Remember the best thing you can do is ask for help.  I know it’s hard, but it means you are strong, not weak.  It means you are courageous!  You can trust again.  There are people out there worthy of your love.

Most importantly, YOU ARE WORTHY OF YOUR LOVE!!  You are such an amazing woman and you can’t even see it.  You will see it.  I promise you!  It will start out being reflected to you by other people.  You have a light and a love that radiates from your soul.  You are smart, kind, beautiful, loving and when you accept all of those things about yourself, your life just becomes full, peaceful, and there aren’t any words for the amount of love you will have coming to you and from you.

You keep trudging the road of happy destiny and you will make some of the most amazing friends.  You are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.  You will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.  You will comprehend the word serenity and know peace.  You will see how all of your experiences will benefit others.  That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.  Self seeking will slip away.  You whole attitude and outlook on life will change.  Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave you.  You will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle you.  You will suddenly realize that God is doing for you what you could not do for yourself. (AA the promises)

Know that the best part of your life is yet to come!  Trust your gut!  Hang in there!  I will see you soon.

All my love,

Future Brenda

Quote of the day

“One of the first things a woman on the path of recovery from disordered eating must do is re-frame her concept of who she really is.  She must recognize her bright, intuitive nature as the gift that it is even though others’ discomfort with it has brought upon her some struggles and emotional wounding. She must begin to assert, both to herself and the world around her, that she is not defective.  She must begin to review and retell the story of her life from the understanding that there is nothing wrong with her, that although she has been hurt, she is not damaged goods.  Her disordered eating behavior is not evidence that she is a faulty human being in desperate need of repair.

…Her perspective must shift so that she can see this obsession not as some horrible character defect but, rather,  as a simple, and much-needed protective mechanism she picked up along her journey through life.”

Eating in the Light of the Moon, by Anita Johnston; Pp 18-19

I love this book.

What is a Binge?

This is information I learned while in treatment, recently, for my binge eating and bulimia. I have to say that it was one of the most eye-opening sessions that I had on my journey.  I have a sense of hope that being able to recognize the binge before it starts, maybe I can keep from bingeing.  This journey has turned my view of weight loss  and my relationship with food upside down.

I have learned that dieting is not an option for me.  Honestly, I am coming to accept that my weight is where it is because of my dieting and extreme practices.

There are two categories of binges:

  1. Subjective Binge – You eat a normal amount of food, but there is a loss of control.  You just eat it as fast as possible and can’t control it.

2. Objective Binge – Too much food, too fast with a loss of control.  I think this is what I always thought of as a binge.

8 Types of Binges:

  1. Opportunity Binge: 

This is a binge which is linked to availability, free time and privacy.  It is associated with the deprivation binge, in that it can be a food you have not allowed yourself.  It is very beneficial to have your days structured to help prevent this kind of binge.  I have to watch this one, since I live alone I have lots of opportunity and for me night-time is the worst.  I try to keep a regular scheduled bedtime since this is my most vulnerable time of the day.

  1. Stress Binge:

This kind of binge acts as a form of numbing or distracting from the stress, anxiety or pain.  It functions in the same way as a drug or alcohol does.  I have found that this type of binge for me is triggered by stress, but I specifically crave sugar.

This is one, where I have had to learn to not get over tired, set aside quiet time so I can relax.  I started meditating when I stopped drinking and it really does help me keep life in perspective.  Work Life balance, as well as, minimizing people who create drama in my life has helped me keep my stress levels to a minimum.

  1. Vengeful/Anger Binge:

Well, I am sure you can guess by the name of my blog, this is a binge I have used many times.  This can be anger related to myself, others or a situation.  For this binge, as for any of these, the thing I binge  on could be anything from food, alcohol, shopping, men…whatever it took to get that energy out.  I will say that this type of binge for me was more of a bulimic binge.  When I stopped drinking this binge took hold in food pretty strongly.  My alcoholism and eating disorders are best buddies and I have to watch them both very closely.

  1. Deprivation Binge:

This type of binge is triggered when you have designated that there are certain foods you can’t have.  I am actively working on retraining my thinking on “good” and “bad” foods.  When I tell myself I can’t have certain foods a craving is created.  I can hold off for a while then when I finally give in I eat too much, too fast.  The shame that follows the binge sometimes results in additional bingeing.

This is why my treatment team consistently tell me that nothing is off-limits.  Everything in moderation.  If I allow myself to have these things when I want them, I am less likely to binge on them.

  1. Hunger/Starvation Binge:

This is a binge that is triggered by waiting too long to eat or skipping meals.  You are basically starving yourself.  This type of binge triggers obsessive thoughts about food, mood swings, headaches.  I have found that this is a common binge for me.  I tend to work through meals and not snack through the day.  I will always binge at night due to this practice.  My dietitian has been a great help in getting this under control.  I have alarms on my phone to remind me of my meal and snack times.  When I stick to the 3 and 3 plan (3 meals, 3 snacks) I don’t binge.  Not only do I not binge, but my energy is constant through the day, my anxiety decreases, and I sleep better.

Restricting calories and increasing exercise can also, ultimately, trigger this kind of binge.  Your body feels like it is starving and will do anything to protect itself.  I will explain this in more detail in a post on metabolism.

  1. Pleasure Binge: 

This kind of binge for me is associated with parties and fun with friends.  It is for entertainment and stimulation.  The loss of control is subtle, but strong.

7. Attachment Binge:

This type of binge serves to satisfy an attachment strategy.  it is an attempt to satisfy an unmet need.

  1. Habit Binge:

This is a binge that is so normal that you don’t even know that it is happening.  For me it is related to the fact that I have a very fast pace when I eat.  I always have, but it is such that I do not know I am full until I have eaten too much.

In my experience, I have used all of these binges and they are all followed by self-hate and shame.  Shame is a nasty little bugger and has haunted me my entire life.  As I work with my treatment team on resolving my past traumas, my relationship with food and developing my shame resilience, my perspective is gradually shifting to a forgiving, loving and happier place.

I owe my life to everyone who is helping me along this new path to freedom.