Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My painful, honest truth

Of course I have much to write about. I've been yearning to write this (in public, not just in my journal) for about two weeks now, but I couldn't due to certain circumstances.. Anyway, I am hear to tell my story. Be ready for a long post. *P.s. If you want to skip my history and just get to my present status just skip to the purple text at the bottom*

I went into college as an eager young girl, unsure of what I wanted or what was to become of me now that I was away from home and friends. I struggled a good bit. I broke up with my boyfriend of 8 months because I felt the need to experience college and figure out what it was I wanted. I dabbled in dating just before I started things back up with Connor, a high school romance and the first and only boy I  have ever really loved. Connor brought me happiness, and I felt okay with school, so overall I was content. But I missed home. I felt like the people in college weren't genuine like my friends in Memphis.
Running at the SEC level was challenging and thrilling. I enjoyed it, but I had never before been criticized for my weight or size. That year I heard it all too often from my coach at the time. I was also praised by football players and others for being 'thick'. I liked the attention, but I hated the connotation.

I went home for summer to develop an eating disorder. Of course it was not only the comments that sparked this, but they did contribute a bit. Mostly, though, it was because that summer my mother relapsed after over 2 years of sobriety, the longest sobriety date she had had since she left when I was 7. Her boyfriend called me over the day she relapsed to try to talk some sense into her. I went over to her house only to have her blame me for her drinking. She claimed that I had never really loved her nor had I ever been a good daughter.
I took her purse and keys from her so that she wouldn't run off and buy her precious cocaine, and she retaliated by scratching, punching, kicking, screaming, doing anything she could to hurt me. And I have to say, the words left far deeper scars than anything else.
In the end, my mother somehow snuck away amidst all of the chaos, stealing my car and money.

I will never forget that day. It's a memory that has changed my world.
A couple weeks before my mom's relapse. June 2010
Almost immediately I became obsessive with eating and running. I was already strict enough earlier that year due to pressures from running. This episode really pushed me over the edge.
Eating and running. Those were the only two things I really cared about. I tried to care about Connor, but it's hard to love someone when you hate yourself so much.
I would go to sleep dreaming about food. Food Network was always on my tv. I romanticized the thought of eating, yet I had such difficulty putting anything to my lips. I avoided my friends and family. I avoided everyone, really. I just wanted to eat, sleep, run, and read. All alone. If you knew me before that summer or know me now, then you would be surprised to hear how introverted I became. I hated it, though. I am not an introverted person. I need people to make me happy, so I was really losing myself to this disorder.

(This is terribly painful to write...)

Connor, my friend Kenzie, and her mother approached me at the end of the summer. I remember it quite vividly. They told me they believed I had a problem. Obviously I was in denial. I did not want to be sick. I never thought I would have a problem with eating. I always loved food. Plus my best friend of 15 years had gone through the same battle, and it had broken my heart to watch her starve herself just a few years earlier.
So Kenzie's mom showed me papers she had printed out, describing symptoms of anorexia: constantly cold, preoccupied thoughts of food, hair loss, pale skin, isolated behavior.
I could no longer deny it.
Fall 2010. Pretty gross.
I went into my sophomore year of college knowing that I needed to recover. But running and my anorexia had been my best friends all summer. I didn't want to lose them.
I was faster than ever because I had run so much over summer. I also associated my anorexia with my success in running, although this was a mistake.
I slowly gained weight my sophomore year, and as I did, my times improved. I began to see my efforts pay off. I was becoming more sociable; I gained back friends I had pushed away. And I started this blog as an effort to track my progress.
Penn Relays with beautiful teammates. April 2011.
Recovery isn't what you would expect, though. It's much more difficult. I wanted it so badly, but it was so difficult to convince myself to backtrack on all of the hard work I had done to lose the weight. My worth was placed in that number on the scale. I couldn't remember life before the number. I was scared to know what I was without ED.

I had much success track season of sophomore year. Spring 2011. I reached goal weight, surpassed it, and continued to get faster. I found happiness. I loved who I was becoming.
SEC Championships. May 2011.
But summer happened. I was alone in Starkville, taking summer classes. Again, eating and running were the only things there for me other than schoolbooks. I began to obsess over the weight I had gained, and I began to restrict again. As a result, binging occurred.

I mostly binged on things that I didn't allow myself on a regular basis. Cookies, peanut butter, crackers, hummus, granola..
The binging was always followed by extreme exercise and restriction.
I remember in particular the consequences of this one binge. I ran 11 miles the morning after, but that wasn't enough. I took a nap after showering from my run, and then I went to the gym at school and stayed for over 4 hours. I biked for an hour, lifted weights, went to spin class, and ran on the treadmill. Not a moment was spent resting. I went home that night to eat an apple (only food for the day), do a workout video, and go to bed.

I hated myself for letting my life spin out of control.

The fall of junior year (2011)was spent in much the same way except I think I got burnt out from the excessive exercise. I began to binge at night to deal with my daily insecurities and problems, but I did not make up for it with exercise like I used to. I also tore my calf muscle around this time, and not running at all was very hard to deal with.
I was plagued with injury after injury this past spring semester (2012). I was just so tired of it all. I hated that I couldn't run, and I hated that I couldn't stop eating. Connor and I broke up, and that change threw me off a bit, too. Ultimately, though, my eating disorder has nothing to do with anyone but me, so Connor's leaving didn't affect it much.
The end of spring semester 2012
Eventually, I recovered from all of my injuries, and I left school for summer in a decent state. I could run. I couldn't wait to get fit again.
The thing is, I had an unrealistic idea of what my summer would be.
Half of me really just wanted to be sick again.
I thought, 'you can do this just for a couple months. Just run all of your mileage, eat <1000 calories a day, and you'll lose the weight and you'll be healthy and fit by fall'.
The other half of me couldn't let myself do this.
'I have been through far too much to go through all of that again', I thought.

Now I have almost caught you up. This summer has been a rollercoaster. But I have been more happy this summer than I have in a long, long time. Since high school I guess.
I have only been super depressed when I think of August 13, the date when I have to return to school. 

You see, every time I tried to get back into running, my eating disorders lingered over me more than ever. I would be out on a run and I would think, 'you can't eat tomorrow. Maybe an apple and a yogurt. That's it.'
Or I would go the opposite way. Thinking that it is almost impossible to get back to my All-American status, I would eat my emotions. That part of my summer has been miserable.

So obviously I have had much to think about this summer in terms of my future running career and my recovery from ED.
I love running, I do. But I lost all the joy that comes along with it last summer.
I miss the way I once yearned to wake up in the mornings and lose myself on the pavement of city streets.

This is all to say that I have decided to quit competitive running. I love my team, and I really do love and respect my current coach, but I cannot sacrifice my health and happiness by continuing on in this vicious cycle. I have hated myself for this decision, but I am also quite proud of myself. It is the most difficult decision of my life thus far, and I think I made the right one.

I understand that most people will not understand, but I have had to learn to get over what other people think of me. In my gut I know that this is what I need. I am tired of being between extreme eating disorders.
The great news is that I have been eating so much healthier and I've been exercising every day since I decided to break from the pressures of staying on my team.
It's weird, but I love doing this for me. I am already losing some of the weight I gained this summer, and I don't even care how small I get. I do want to get back in shape, but most of all I just want to be healthy and happy.

It's going to be strange and different going back to school without having practice every day, without wearing my MSU Track & Field gear.. But I will make the most of it. 
I am really excited to see what I become.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hopefully brunettes have fun, too.

I feel like I do things lately just to break away from the person that I used to be.

This is not necessarily a good or bad thing. Just means I'm ready for a change I guess.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Self mutilation through a haircut

Last night I was feeling pretty depressed.. dunno why. Lots of reasons I guess. But I had done the things that usually make me feel successful and happy. I had run ten miles yesterday and lifted weights. I had eaten healthy.. A bit too healthy if anything, a bit too restrictive.
So around 1 A.M. I was bored and couldn't sleep. I was hungry and decided to have a skinny cow ice cream. One turned to another, which lead to me getting out the peanut butter and yogurt=go to binge foods.
A binge? but not really.. I ate past the point of being full but not to the extreme like I have in the past. This is how my 'binges' have been this summer. Maybe because I have been wayyyy more lax about my diet, so the off-limit things don't call to me like they once did.

Anyway, I have this nasty habit of putting gum behind my ear and as I was putting my hands through my hair last night (after the binge) I noticed that my hair was stuck to a piece of gum I hadn't even realized I had put there, (gross, I know). Soooo I had to cut off a lock of hair. I texted my friend saying how great that felt to cut off my hair and that I felt like doing it to my whole head. She told me to go for it. And I did.

Only I don't think it was a healthy way to go about getting a haircut. Just like restricting, binging, cutting, or any other form of self harm, this was destructive. It was done in a way that screams CRAZY. Kinda like the Britney song *get it? cuz she shaved her head ;)*
It was 3 A.M. I had just journaled and made a video about how gross I feel with my body and my eating habits, etc.. I was cutting my hair to relieve my stress, and some may not see what is so wrong with this, but I know that it was not a good way to go about it.

I need to develop coping mechanisms to use in these situations. I'm tired of overeating. Of not running just because I'm afraid. Afraid of being bad at what is supposed to define me as a person, getting ED back, not being good enough. So very tired of it all. So very tired of hating my body, and by extension, myself.
Me right after the crazy
Everyone knows I'm battling myself. And I feel like I'm losing just as much as I win. Like I'm not making any progress.

I have so much left to say, but I'll end it here.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Running for me

A friend that I actually met through this blog texted me today saying that she totally relates to my last post. She also runs D1 track and decided recently to quit her team due to the overwhelming pressure of being perfect.
Even though I do not feel as strongly as she does that competitive running is unhealthy (mentally) for me right now, it was still so great to hear that she understood the debate that has been going on in my head for the past two months.

Another friend that just recently left the SEC track scene due to graduation also talked to me today. She said she is more proud of me now than ever before. Something I was totally shocked to hear. I asked her why she feels that way, especially now, when my life may be more chaotic than ever before. Her response was super flattering and amazing.
"Because you keep fighting to be a better, healthier person rather than just live with an eating disorder and hoping to get a fast season out of it. And you are looking at yourself and what you need in a way that few can because it is so painful and takes so much strength."
I don't know about me being someone people should look up to, but she's at least right about my self examination of this past year being one of the most painful and weakening experiences I've gone through.

I guess I never figured it would take so long to get over ED. At the end of last year I thought I had it under control. But in all reality, I was still kinda crazy. I was fine with weighing X amount, running X amount, and doing X every day. Routine, routine, routine. If I gained any more weight than was necessary for my running I would flip a cow. And I did gain. And I did restrict. And binge. And binge. And restrict. And binge, binge, binge.
June, July, August, September, October, November, DECEMBER, January, FEBRUARY, March, April, May. Literally a year of this shit. Excuse my language.

Now I'm at the point where I am not afraid to go out for pizza with my friends on a Friday night. I love going to this great Indian lunch buffet in Memphis.. eating foods with completely unknown ingredients and calories to me.
But the body image thing is the worst. And the fact that my anorexia and binge eating disorder have both hurt my running.
Post-run, pre-shower. New journal. Happy.

I ran tonight for me.
Not to burn calories. Not to look better in a swimsuit. Not to get rid of stress, even. Not even for my teammates and coaches, although I do think of them almost every day.
Just because I love running.
And it was so fun. So very fun. I want more of this. I'm gonna do this for the rest of summer. I'm gonna try to get some good mileage in because I like mileage and I need it if I want to be decent in the fall, but I am going to go into this with a healthy mindset. Hopefully the healthy body will follow.

So much love to all of you out there that read. And to those that comment, I can say that you literally make my heart ache. And it grows with each word of support, encouragement, and love.
I hope you all are having a good night and I'll be writing soon.

Friday, July 13, 2012


I feel like I have more emotions in me than I can handle.
I don't really know how to describe how I'm feeling these days.
On one hand I am very happy. I have the best friends in the world, and this summer I am learning more about myself than ever before.
On the other, I feel so lonely. But more than that I feel unworthy and incompetent. 
I broke up with who I thought to be the love of my life at the beginning of March. I started dating someone else at the end of April. Too soon. But that's how things worked out. Anyway, I was hurt in that relationship. It ended a few weeks ago. I think I had too high of expectations. I was expecting him to be the next Connor. Definitely not Connor because Connor is not what I want or need right now. But I guess I wanted him to fall in love with me, and me him. But things didn't work out that way. He was very fickle and shallow with letting me in and showing affection towards me. Not what I wanted or deserved.
So that ended.. and a couple weeks later I went out a couple times with this guy my best friend set me up  with. Thought there might have been something there. Again, he wasn't good enough.
At this point I realize that I need to stop seeking affections from others and start giving and getting them from myself. But it's hard when I hate (part of) myself this much.

I hate stupid eating disorders.
I hate that I am afraid to run because I am afraid of getting it back.
I hate that I still have one. Or two, really.

I have always defined myself as a runner. And I love that. But lately every time I get really into running I also get deep in anorexia thoughts and behaviors. And that's not what I want.

My coach called a couple of weeks ago and I admitted all of this to him. I told him that my brain has tied my anorexia with my running, and it is SO hard to separate these two.

I went out for a run the other day and sought to find out my pace for the first time all summer. Each mile it told me I was running 8:15 pace. Each mile I thought how slow I am and how I shouldn't eat the next day.

As I sit here writing, tears streaming down my face, I realize how stupid this all sounds.
I want to run so badly. But at the same time I just can't bring myself to do it. I can't explain the fear and anxiety and everything mixed in with it.

I don't know for sure, but I think I weigh now more than I ever have before. A mix of some late night drinking, a binge here and there, and eating whatever I feel like just to say FUCK YOU ED.
And these calorie-consuming actions bring me temporary satisfaction. But then I am sad. For so long.
I was once defined by being a tiny, fast runner.

Now, who am I? Every time I run into someone I haven't seen in a while I hear, "How is running going?" And I don't know what to say. 
"Hmm... it's good. I run less than every other day. But yea.. *change of subject*" No. I can't say that. That makes me seem lazy and worthless. 
Do I lie? No, because people can obviously tell I'm not running like I should be. Or else I would have a thinner face, arms, legs.
So I'm stuck at a crossroads.
I feel like Ana is calling to me, and her voice sounds so sweet and beautiful right about now.

Anyway, these are my thoughts. This is my life, at least the depressing part. I do have many ups, but right now I am writing about my struggles.

I'm going for a run tonight. Hopefully ten miles. Hopefully Ana leaves me alone. Hopefully.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

3 A.M. Run til I can't anymore

I need to think about some things. Lots of things.
I'll write soon.
I doubt anyone is here, but I will be soon.