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Ready or Not: My Summer Plans. Part 1.

I feel like I’ve been formulating this post in my head for the past two months. Each week its focus and mood shifts. If I were to have written this a couple of months ago when the ideas were first stirring, I think you would have felt a greater sense of confidence and abandon.  I probably would have titled it, “Why I’m Ready.” I really want to try and bring back the feelings I had at this time, though they are now getting all twisted and challenged with the addition of unease and nerves. Whether I am ready or not, I am heading into what may be an interesting summer. 

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I’ve been keeping pretty quiet about any sort of summer plans – only because I knew I’d be writing this post when the time came closer. So… here’s whats happening. 

Whether or not it was noticeable (I do a great job at hiding – and when I have a computer screen to help me it is that much easier), I haven’t been doing very well. I’m not sure exactly when it began – perhaps it was after my breakupor after one of my really large performances ended and I found myself with a lot more free time – but my mood severely plummeted in and around February. I had many returning bouts of depression, and with this, my eating disorder began to gain strength.  Side note – I still don’t know what comes first. I get depressed and so I don’t want to nourish myself. But the less I nourish myself the more I am depressed. The two work in tandem and feed off each other. 

It acts so fast.  Obviously with the break up and extra free time, the ED was jazzed with the new found “freedom.” After even one day of not eating enough, suddenly I had a new calorie limit.  I’ve been getting by – hell I still did my best work at the conservatory this winter than ever before – but how I managed to succeed in all I did with all the rules and guilt that I’ve been living with truly astounds me. Makes me think what I would have been able to achieve if I was doing well…

I’ve continued blogging and posting my WIAW posts, even though each recent week I questioned doing so more and more. Obviously you see that I eat – and somewhat normally. So its hard not to feel like I’m being really hypocritical here and making things up. But a) just because one still “eats” doesn’t mean they don’t struggle b) depression and eating disorders aren’t always read on the outside c) I don’t show you my eats every day d) I don’t talk about exercise and e) my eating simply hasn’t been enough. 

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Interestingly enough, the same thing happened last winter. Each year I have relapsed at around the same time – losing whatever “progress” I achieved through the year and returning right back to a, well, pretty scary place. Last year when this happened, I made my own outpatient program here in Toronto and saw a nutritionist and psychologist on a weekly basis. I made progress mentally and got rid of many food fears, but the scale hardly budged. Honestly? As much as I wanted help, I didn’t want to gain weight. I held so much hidden resistance to do what I actually had to do, so obviously I didn’t make the progress I naively thought I would. I only started blogging at the very end of the summer, so this was all before this place of mine existed. Still, I was at a much better place when I started this blog, talked more encouragingly about recovery and used this place to support my higher level of “fear food” intake. I haven’t been able to be that advocate lately. 

So. What is my plan now?

Well. 

I am moving back home for the summer – to live with my parents. There are other elements that helped with this decision, such as needing to save money and a few trips and weddings at home, but the main reason is to get help and support. To get support with my mood, to get myself out of this terrorizing routine and rigidness I’ve fallen into, and to gain weight.  See last summer, I was on my own – as I have been, proudly, for many years.  But as much as I said I could do it, it became clear that I really couldn’t. Being on my own opens way too many doors for hiding or lying or tricking myself.  Supporting myself financially while continuing to pay rent (mixed with my money anxiety and guilt complex) makes it harder to take myself out for food or buy meals etc. 

I haven’t been home for more than a week or two at a time in 5 years. Remember this post about not wanting to “waste” another summer? Well, lets just say half of me feels like I’m once again wasting a summer away from my career and life to try –  once again – to regain my health. However, the other side of me knows that if I don’t do this this summer, I will only continue wasting time. More time. And therefore I actually see this as the opposite of wasting time. I see this as “your going to f***in beat this thing NOW so you can move on and get to your dream. Maybe its only now you are truly ready. So we’re going to bloody do it. Now.” 

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Shannon Kopp 

I have a nutritionist and therapist set up back home in which I will see weekly. I have the support of my parents and a very close friend to lean on and use as a strategy to hopefully stick to my calorie goals. I have a job (maybe two) already lined up, and am subletting my apartment in Toronto so I will be both making and saving money. Oh, and that beloved trip to San Francisco I excitedly boasted about? That won’t be happening, unfortunately. Once my mood started getting low a couple of months back, I knew what I needed most was to get home and get myself feeling more stable before anything else. I thought maybe I would just go later in the summer, but I think I will have to hold off until next year. That’s okay. SF will always be there. 

So I have things set up. But what else do I have? I have a new sense of awareness. Looking back, I know that what has kept me from making weight gain progress in the past has been my unwillingness to ask for support. Sure I would see specialists, but would I ever truly talk about my feelings? No. I never let myself go over that line of discomfort that would risk me actually feeling really difficult emotions. And this is because I was not ready to ask for support when this happened. I was not ready to get upset or cry because I was not willing to show this part of myself to anyone. I know this has been my block.

I’m not scared to gain weight…. I’m scared to feel the feelings. 

Now I know that in order to make this happen, I am going to have to let myself get upset and ask for support to help me through it. I need to let go of any shame or embarrassment for feeling whatever it is I will. I need to have a conversation with my mother about the validation I need to hear when I am feeling something which – to the outside world – is irrational (my super feeler post was very much linked to getting ready for this). If I continue to hide or diminish what I’m feeling, those blocks will continue to grow and I will never be able to heal the fear that I do not understand.  That ED voice that says “don’t worry – this is only temporary” will stay rooted and devious. 

I fear setting too many concrete goals, but regardless of that fear I am still going to say I hope to gain 10 pounds. I need to gain more, but I don’t want to set myself up for failure. This amount would get me to a much better baseline come the fall.  I will be working to increase my calories each week to reach, I’m sure, 2500+(+) kcal.  Can I do it?  I don’t know. I’m trying not to ask myself that question. I know logistically how hard weight gain is, especially on your own. 

But I have to do it this time guys.

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Ijeoma Umebinyuo

I think that’s where I’ll leave it for today. This post ended up being really long, so I’ve split it into two and will simply post the last bit tomorrow. I think you’ll be glad to hear the last bit of my thoughts have more of the “pom pom” vibes. I hope splitting it up will make it all a little easier to “digest”……. baha

It’s all going to be okay. 

See you tomorrow. 

 

 

 

30 COMMENTS

  1. chasetheredgrape | 28th Apr 16

    Right lovely, as I have mentioned before, simply writing this post shows you are in a different place compared to last time. Writing this post shows that you are letting us, your friends, into your world, letting us know how you feel and allowing us into that space to help you forward.
    Acknowledgement and acceptance are key, and you have this. Going home for the summer was the brave choice and having support around you will be hard but also needed. Use the summer to focus on your emotional health, don’t just focus on the physical elements of the ED – I know I improved greatly in my mind before I ever saw any weight gain. You are committed to you and that is all you need.
    Remember I am always here for you, email me or message me if you ever want/ need a chat… About anything 😀

    • Cora | 29th Apr 16

      Thank you Jen. I hope that by sharing this it shows a different level of determination. I know I’m in a different place mentally than I was even a year ago. Asking for the support is going to be the hardest part.
      I really appreciate your support and only wish I could do as much for you! Thank you, again.

  2. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets | 28th Apr 16

    I think recognizing your old gremlins have resurfaced is a huge deal and deciding to proactively deal with it head on, by going home, shows remarkable mental progress on your part. Kudos to you for seeing there’s an issue and being willing to deal with, especially when it means asking for help, which is the hardest and bravest thing anyone can do, in my not so humble opinion. I’m rooting for you.

    • Cora | 29th Apr 16

      Deciding to tackle them can make you feel like you are making the most insane decision. But I think that’s the point.
      You suggested to me at Christmas that maybe spending more time at home would help heal the relationship I have with being there. I think you hit the nail on the head with that one – this will be a lot of the work that I focus on this summer. Thank you.

  3. Susie @ SuzLyfe | 28th Apr 16

    Proud of you for having the perspective and the initative to take back the control of the situation from your old tendencies. You have been working so hard and then having downtime that you don’t know what to do with. I think with a little bit of balance back in your life (and the support that goes along with it, including things that make you fully happy, not just momentarily), you will find that you will bounce back. Let me know if I can help at all.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Dance Like Nobody’s WatchingMy Profile

    • Cora | 29th Apr 16

      I just need those supports around me to help find my way back, but I know I will. You do plenty already :). Thanks Suz.

  4. snackiebird | 28th Apr 16

    Oh, I am so sorry to see that post! I know you struggle a lot and return of ED thoughts is really bad. But I also know that you can be strong enough to beat it. You can do it. You actually do it. I hope everything will be better and I send you a lot of positive thoughts from other side of ocean. You are so brave to sharing this post with readers!

    • Cora | 29th Apr 16

      Thank you Marina. Don’t be too sorry – its going to be okay and I’m determined. Just gotta boot this thing away. I feel your positive thoughts from here 🙂

  5. Gail | 28th Apr 16

    Brave soul – now is the time, here is the place where your new story begins.

  6. Kate | 28th Apr 16

    HUGE hug to your my friend.
    “scared to feel the feelings”… yep. I know this so much. It’s an anxiety that leads to avoidance of the things we need to do. I’m really happy to know you’ll be back with your family for a while. I seriously doubt that I would have been able to recover if I wasn’t under my parent’s care for at least sometime. Even when I went to college, going back home in the summers was a huge help. Also seeing my therapist regularly kept me on track and recovery on the forefront of my brain. Like you said, not facing this now means wasting more time, and more time = more life. I know that you can live an “alright” life while holding on to an ED. I did. However, I believe you are capable of living a freaking fantastic life, free of ED.
    Make this summer an adventure. Sure, you’ll be living with your parents. Still, you can use this time to try new things, eat ALL the foods with no restriction), channel your creative energy, grow as a human, and make stronger relationships. I can’t explain how much time was freed up for me once I chose real recovery. I believe in you and I see just how much progress you’ve already made. <3
    PS the depression and ED sequence thing is a really good question. It's something I've always wondered. What I've concluded is that the ED put me in the hole, the depression kept me there, and then the ED became a part of me while in the hole.
    Kate recently posted…Nashville eats (WIAW)My Profile

    • Cora | 29th Apr 16

      Oh Kate you are the best cheerleader / support. You seriously just sparked excitement in me. I want all these things. And I know I can get them. I just need some help right now to help me get there. Seeing someone on a regular basis is so important just interms of keeping your goals at the front of your mind.
      Thank you to the moon and back.

  7. Heather @ Polyglot Jot | 28th Apr 16

    I’m so sorry to hear this–i hope you grow and lean on your support system this summer. I have found that when I allow myself to be vulnerable, the most changes happen inside. Sending you love from PA!
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…5 Things I’ve Learned BloggingMy Profile

    • Cora | 29th Apr 16

      Thanks Heather. I will lean, and I will grow. Vulnerability is absolutely key – for any of us – to make any sort of growth or change or learn.

  8. Leah Moldowan | 28th Apr 16

    Oh sweet pea! I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through all these struggles, but I’m so happy and so proud that you realized and accept that you need help. That’s seriously such a big and incredibly brave step. You’re so brave and so strong, you can do this!! It’ll be tough, but so so worth it.
    Sending you all my love <3 and I'm always here if you need to chat xox
    Leah Moldowan recently posted…wiaw #53My Profile

    • Cora | 29th Apr 16

      Thank you Leah. Yes its been hard, but we all struggle and we all need help sometimes. So that’s what I’m going to do. Your words of encouragement mean so much. I’ll keep them with me as I go. <3

  9. Emily Swanson | 28th Apr 16

    Yes, precious girl, this is not a waste of time. This is a much needed time for you to truly heal, and I pray that God will use it to heal your body, mind, and spirit. It’s not wrong to rest. We need to rest in order to be able to work with 100% energy and vitality. That’s what this summer plan is for, and I can’t wait to follow you along on the journey of rest and healing.
    Emily Swanson recently posted…The Quest for the Best Nut ButterMy Profile

    • Cora | 29th Apr 16

      Thank you Emily. Yes.. my body needs the rest. I need the rest. <3

  10. Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy | 28th Apr 16

    Cora, I just want to reach out and HUG you. You are so brave for sharing this. I completely 110% think you are doing the right thing by going home to be with your parents – I know it wasn’t an easy decision but I hope it provides you with a little bit more closure. Solidarity can be so isolating and foster more and more negative feelings. You need support and guidance, be around people who love and care for you, and have the expertise of the psychologist and nutritionist available for you. My lifestyle and eating habits change for the worst when I have too much free time – it really can be a double-edged sword. I can’t imagine how difficult this has been for you, but I think recognizing the place you are at now, and where you need to be is a HUGE step in the right direction – and a major learning experience. You want help and guidance, and you deserve everything good in life. Let me know if I can be of any help or if you ever want to talk.

    • Cora | 29th Apr 16

      Thank you, Sarah. I don’t see myself as brave necessarily, but I know I’m in a new place by even sharing this and want to share my journey with all of you – my friends. Solidarity can be so dangerous, for all of us. We are social beings and need to be around others. You already provide me so much support – and I am beyond grateful.

  11. Aubrey @ Clusterforked | 28th Apr 16

    I am so proud of you for so many reasons right now. Even posting this is a great step towards something great. Honestly, putting into place what you have in order to do something to help yourself is courageous and inspiring. Letting people in is terrifying, feeling like you are surrendering something is even more so but to be able to do that with the knowledge that it will make you so much happier is admirable. Know that you have support in this, you are not alone. You are a brave woman, you’ve got this. Let yourself feel, let yourself be, I know you can do this.
    Aubrey @ Clusterforked recently posted…I have a HistoryMy Profile

  12. Cora | 29th Apr 16

    Holding on to that trust that this will all make me happier is the real tricky part. I know it will, but I also know it may take a long time to actually feel it. Posting this kind of vulnerability fills me with all sorts of weird, often hard, feelings. But being honest and vulnerable and opening myself up to accountability are all attacks to kick this thing in the ass. I’m so thankful for your support. Thank you so much Aubrey.

  13. Ellie | 30th Apr 16

    Cora, this is so brave. The façade you put on through the blog is someone who really is inside you and waiting for ED to get out of the way. If you believe this summer home will help you, it will. Just remember, no one can do it for you. I will pray for you <3 This is a long road, but one that shows you how strong you are.
    Ellie recently posted…Top 3 #2 [Babying The Ankle]My Profile

    • Cora | 1st May 16

      You and your way with words, Ellie. You always say things that spark something new in me. “…is someone who is really inside you and waiting for ED to get out of the way.” Yes. You are a really right. I can’t wait until this person is my person inside and out and everywhere in between. I’m so happy this real me is seen.

  14. Lyss | 30th Apr 16

    You are so brave for recognizing that you need some extra help and support Cora. I have nothing but complete faith in you that you WILL get through this. Love and prayers your way, keep fighting beautiful girl!
    Lyss recently posted…Top 3 Friday 4/29/16My Profile

    • Cora | 1st May 16

      Thank you, Lyss. I really appreciate your support.

  15. Heather@hungryforbalance | 2nd May 16

    Very late to the game here Cora. I have been taking a blogging/social media break due to some struggles lately. All that is to say, I’m sorry to hear that you are struggling so much, but I’m so proud that YOU ARE FIGHTING SO HARD. Love and prayers to you.

    • Cora | 10th May 16

      Well you have been having struggles of your own – so I am just there with you and thinking of you all the same. Thank you for your support. I hope you are feeling some fight within you as well. Sending you love!

  16. Chelsea Cross | 7th May 16

    This really hits home with me as I’m currently struggling with the same issues per say. I am underweight right now and wanting so bad to bring my weight up so I hired a coach to help me as I want to continue my bodybuilding goals as well so he’s helping me basically shovel in the food the way that I never could do for myself. As much as I want to get healthier and get stronger, there is always that side of fear because I don’t know how the weight gain will go. I don’t know where it will go and I have this fear of gaining belly fat because I don’t want to loose my abs. So I see the double sided demon.

    Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing what is going on in your life right now. You are strong and are making a good decision by surrounding yourself with support when you know you may need someone to lean on. Know that you are getting on that horse and going to fly and forget about the past. The important thing is this time. This is your time and propel forward! XO

    • Cora | 10th May 16

      Its amazing how we can want something so badly for ourselves – and probably rationally know what we need to do – yet we really do need that coach/support to help us get there. I think it is spectacular you have hired a coach and letting him guide you to your calorie needs. I know what its like to want to continue training/exercising while gaining weight – boy do I ever. There’s a lot of fear and unknowns that go into the whole thing – and definitely with the weight gain. Though I’d say if you are training hard, and working with this coach specifically so you can continue your training, all that extra fuel is going to go straight to your growing muscles, no?
      Thank you for your support and thank you for opening up about your own situation! I feel so many similar feelings – so it really helps to know we aren’t alone. Keep going lady (and keep on shovelin). Your muscles want it. You so got this.

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