Saturday, July 31, 2010

Single Parenting and "Ana"~

Some of my favorite photos . Top one is of a lady who lead me to know Christ and Baptized me in 1994. I miss her dearly.
I have been thinking about my role as a single mom a lot lately. It's been second nature to me for so long that I almost don't know any different. When my tire went flat 60 miles from home last Saturday I had to figure things out for myself and did. I had the boys with me and had to think quick. I had no husband to call. When I moved to my apartment a year ago I moved most of my stuff myself. When I was pregnant with Jack I went through it alone, taking Seth to most of my appointments. It's not to say I don't have help as I have a lot of friends and family. It's just to say that in general I do things on my own. I once had someone tell me she didn't know how I could live on my own with two kids as she couldn't live on her own with her son and never did even being single at the time. I think part of that was her own insecurities and she would rather be stuck living in abusive situations that living on her own with her children. Many are like this. Living on your own with your kids isn't easy but so many do it every day. I certainly don't feel sorry for myself and do like my own place.
It's hard at times juggling several loads of laundry up and down my apartment complex with two little ones underfoot, going grocery shopping and lugging in several bags of groceries through gates and a parking lot. It's not always easy meeting all their needs on my own but certainly worth it being their mom. I love getting in the car and taking them to Disneyland, the park, to friends houses, and to other activities. It's nice not having to answer to anyone but sometimes I think it would be nice to have someone for me to share in it all. Someone to be there for me for a change as I fill my kids cups up all the time and sometimes life drains mine and I am left alone in it~
I don't have a fancy place with fancy furniture. We have a decent one bedroom where the boys have bunkbeds and mom sleeps on a futon in the living room. We have a small porch where the kids can play with their sand table and have an art table. They certainly have plenty of clothes, toys, activities, friends, and love and attention. I just sometimes can't help but to wish and dream of giving them more. I tear up just writing this.
I have endured so much hardship over the past few years at the hands of abusers, the court system, the car accidents, the lack of a job for so long. Many times I have felt so alone and still do~
"Ana" creeped in last year after 7 years of being ok. It's my boys that have kept me going and made me get the help in treatment last year for 3 months. I still struggle now but more with no appetite and more with being busy with the kids, work, and court drama. What I struggle with is taking time for me. I feel I owe so much to my kids that I rush from work to be with them and plan events for them. How do I do for me?
I do hope to date again soon but not looking to rush into anything. I think my heart is much more guarded now and what I want I can't seem to have and what I don't want seems to gravitate to me in waves! lol
((Hugs)) Brandee

Monday, July 26, 2010

Scale won't budge! WARNING may trigger!

These pictures were taken on the same day this past Sunday! Yet the 2nd photo looks horrible. I don't see sickness as much in the top and last photos. Could be the angle but it is me nonetheless! It is hard to take a bath when my spine hurts from the hard tub. My butt bones hurt when I sit too long at visitations I supervise if the chair is hard. I am bony in my upper body and arms. My legs seem fine to me.
Last night someone pointed something out to me. He told me I looked very thin, mentioned my bones being very prominent, and then gave ideas on gaining which many have over the past few weeks when I have posted on Fb. But what he added was "you need to do it". I have had a brand new magic bullet sitting here since Valentines day. I have the ice cream, the candy to go in, the chocolate syrup, frozen smoothie stuff with fruit, and even bought protein powder. I have yet to make a smoothie or use any of it!!
I often say I have a high metabolism and maybe I do but what I don't mention much is I often get too busy and don't think to eat, don't pack a cooler for long drives and visitations, and when I sometimes get hungry late at night and am in bed I refuse to get up and do anything about it. I just dont make it a priority. Maybe that goes hand in hand with not making "Me" a priority. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in making sure my kids are happy, well loved, and get plenty of my attention, and making sure I do my job well that I lose me in it all. I am notorious for "setting me aside."
As I drove all over and sat supervising visitations today I started to think about my dietician, Lisa, and therapist. It's been so long. I text my dietician to try and set up an appointment for mid August when work hours will start to show in my bank account. I let her know the truth of my weight and that it has dropped again. I also put a call in Dr. Waraich to let them know I would have insurance again soon though it will be a few months.
I long to gain now, though have to admit that occasionally "ana" creeps in and says I am not that thin and to not try so hard. I just try and focus on looking upward and outward and not downward at my body.
I am also trying to focus on the fact I have my own place, have my gorgeous little boys, have a great job, and am surrounded by such love from friends and family. I look forward to consistent therapy and consistency in seeing my dietician (and yes you should see a dietician even after reaching your goal weight) as this would be something nurturing for me and which I have greatly missed and suffered from not having for so long.
I did well eating today as I had to tell myself earlier not to wait until I got home to eat. I got so busy with work and had only brought two granola bars for a 9 hour day. I made myself get a cheeseburger and fries and then came home to have a burrito. Will try an actual shake within the hour and try to be accountable to someone for now and maybe start writing it down again. It's time to do this right and admit I need support and help doing so and that my way has not been working. Walking the walk is hard but doable!
((hugs)) Brandee

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Owning someone else's pain and issues~

ahhh how I now miss being at a healthy weight! I post these for this blog after getting in an argument with someone who told me I should have aborted Jack to avoid the drama with his father. The comment stung bad because the person it came from is one I loved and cared about deeply and is not the first time he has made this comment in haste and anger towards me. I sat in tears at my lap top looking at thousands (yes, thousands) of photos of my boys and from Jack's birth. I went through pregnancy alone and did just fine. Seth went to all my appointments, as I was a single mom, and he always loved getting a sucker. lol Jack had a bit of trouble breathing when he came out but wasn't in the NICU long and my mom and her husband Jack came down for the delivery (just my mom for the birth!). He weighed in at 9lbs 7 oz! I spent two special days in the hospital alone with him bonding and nursing the little guy (yes I had lots of visitor but chose not to have anyone stay the night as I wanted him to myself!). My parents took us to a cabin as his first trip home then on to Washington for 3 months to spend my maternity leave from work. His father wanted him aborted and nothing to do with him. He is only involved now because his current wife snuck into his computer not trusting him and found out he even had a child. We have been to court 50 or more times since (he is an attny) he met him at 9 months of age. It's been grueling, heart wrenching, expensive, and has neary destroyed my spirit. It's my little guys that keep me going. I was there for his first word, first step, first tooth, first fever, first smile, first giggle, first hug. I breast fed him and held him close daily. He still loves to cuddle and hug and is becoming a great little artist (like his momma). No one can take any of this from me or Jack and if I had to turn back time and go through all the hell his father and current wife have put me through I would in a heartbeat if it meant Jack could be my son.
I was put down today about not being "upbeat enough", about having too many issues, and about my insecurities. The person doing this did something wrong and then turned on me. What hurt so much is my belief in some of what he was saying. I was mad at myself for allowing this pain. I hated the power he had over me. I have spent the past two hours reflecting on why it hurt. Where was it coming from? Deep down I know I am good person and have so much to give and do. Deep down I know that I have two gorgeous boys and that I am not ugly or defective. But also deep down there is a nagging pain that competes with my new found confidence making it hard to connect the confidence with my actions and beliefs. This is what I need to be working on. I also thought about what this person was saying and what another dear friend of mine has been saying through such in depth emails. Total opposite. One seems to be extremely protective of me and extremely helpful while the other wants to beat me down and point out all the flaws in me.
So I sat with tears off and on and took a bath and cried so my boys would not see. I long to be whole and confident. I hate the pain I am in. I am working on not always believing what others say, especially when they refuse to face their own demons. I am definitely guilty of owning other people's pain and issues. I don't deserve any of this. It's a work in progress. For now I just need to let the tears fall and time to heal~

Friday, July 23, 2010

Little Girl Dreams~

Obviously a trip down memory lane! Top photo is of my best friend Jenny and I. I am the blond. We were inseparable for about 3 years. Then there's my sibs and I, my twin and I in preschool and one headstart photo where we were the only white kids in the class so it's easy to find us!
I have been thinking lately about being a little girl and what little girls dream about. I never felt pretty as a little girl and longed to look like other little girls with pretty dresses and long hair with the cute bows which I never had or experienced. I know as a child I often couldn't wait to be an adult to move out and become a teacher or nurse because I always wanted to help people. I also wanted to marry a prince charming and be his princess and go on to be a mommy. I longed to be and feel pretty. I longed to have confidence within and out.
It feels as those my dreams were somewhat out of reach. I was never taught how to reach them. I grew up and lost the crooked teeth, the glasses, let the hair grow out but turned on my body in hate. I tried to change what didn't need changing and nearly destroyed myself in the process. I watched others marry their prince while mine never showed up. Instead I settled for abusers who validated my insecurities of feeling inadequate and not pretty. I was never the princess I dreamed of and often reminded of how ugly and bad I was. I never felt I was as deserving as others.
I went to school and completed my AA and one year shy of my bachelors in psychology. I have yet to go back yet have roughly 4 years of college as I attempted a few times and took dozens of University classes. No teacher here and not a nurse. I do work in a profession that allows me to help others and have been supervising visits for 10 years with bio families and their children who have been taken. I do love working in foster care and even worked with children with delays for 9 years.
I was a people pleaser growing up and still am to this day to a fault. I have tried fixing the unfixable in people to make them treat me better because somehow I felt their abuse of me was reflective of something I did wrong or that somehow I was defective and not good enough. I am a peacekeeper and hate authority and any kind of confrontation. I hate chaos. It's not to say I don't stand up for myself or that I am shy in any way but I do tend to avoid, have a negative mindset towards myself, and often internalize others abuse towards me as my fault.
Now what? I am hoping to start back in seeing my therapist soon as it's been a while and I think it's time I am bit more open and vulnerable with her. I think I have candy coated things even with her to try and please her as well though not always the case. I have really connected with her and cried many tears in her office. But it's hard to sit there and just be RAW! To be completely vulnerable and raw and allow the tears and anger withut trying to excuse it away, minimize what I have been through, and talk my way out of feeling.
My heart aches so much right now. I am tired of not feeling good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, and that I will never be good enough for my prince or be the princess I dreamed of. I long to finally be whole with me and accepting of me and go on to shine and attain those little girl dreams~

Friday, July 16, 2010

Being Honest With Me~

These were taken last weekend in Ventura.
Through a close friend of mine I have realized I have not been as open here as maybe I could and should be. I do hold back due to some spies but this is about recovery and hoping to help others along the way.
I still have struggles when gaining and have dropped back down to 106 for my 5'8 frame as of this morning. The truth is I really am rarely hungry. I need to figure out why and how to increase hunger and a desire to consume enough to gain weight which to most would seem an insurmountable amount of calories per day (near 4000). I no longer have fear foods or diet foods. I just don't eat as much as I should. I hate even admitting I dropped because for the first time in 20 years I so badly want to gain! For now though I accept my body where it's at as I don't want to be down at myself at any weight. I just sometimes get embarrassed in a bikini.
Through some extremely deep discussions over the past several days I have been in tears a number of times. This person has really opened my eyes to why I tend to pick abusive men and has helped me to look within and see my value so that I dont make the same mistake next time. I will be forever grateful to this person~
I have wanted to date again recently. I have been on dating sites but have yet to find anyone I even want to meet. Well there's been some who have slipped through my fingers but I am holding out. I don't want to rush.
Today I was moved to tears by this person as they pointed out my exes and their abuse for several years. I have spent so much time minimizing it all. Obviously battling this for 20 years I have spent years in pain hiding behind the anorexia, minimizing the pain, talking around it, anything but face it. Feeling ashamed, deep shame~
The past several years have been horrible. I have sacrificed my own happiness and who I am to try and change two abusive people. I was ridiculed, beat down emotionally and verbally, and treated poorly physically. I lived in fear and hid within myself. I turned on myself. I gave up being me.
I am 34 and just now finding out who I am. The pain, or not dealing with it, has robbed me of me. I can't move on and be fullfilled in a loving relationship until I feel, validate, and move on from the pain. I don't need to prove myself to any guy but rather just be myself and that be enough because there's so much more to me that's been hidden through all of this.
The pain is deep. I hurt like hell right now. Deep down I like who I am. I just need to let this out~

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Biggest FLAW exposed after 20 years!!!!

These were all taken Sunday on the 4th of July! It was low key with a few friends and so fun. I am not thrilled about the 2nd photo as I am a bit thin there and being so white does not help but I don't lay out as who needs skin cancer!!! I decided to post it anyway as I am working my way up but it takes time as this has been a very hard week. I included a few fun shots but the main shot is my ass! oh and I fully intend to get that navel pierced by summer's end!!!!!!
For 20 years I hated (past tense) my ass. I remember a guy I liked in high school saying I had a decent figure but needed to drop a few pounds, especially in my ass. I was 5'8 and 135. With his comment and being on the Varsity dance Team I spiraled. I did everything to lose weight. Even at my lowest of 92 lbs I still had an ass. It never went away. I hated it so much and focused on other parts of my body as well. It just happened to be my biggest flaw in "ana" eyes!
It wasn't until this year that I started to really feel ok with it. This ass shot was taken as a joke but I looked at it and realized, "hey not bad". I am by no means perfect. Ana screams even now that in the full bikini shot I am not too thin but I know better. I want a curvier body and frustrated I am not there yet! I don't look right there but will, soon!
We all have flaws. It's a fact of life but there's danger in zoning in on it and putting oneself down for years over it.
I choose now to embrace my body and who I am. I have so much to offer and to give and have been held back by "ana" and harsh life circumstances recently. I have to work daily to push through any negativity and choose to rise above it. It's a powerful thing to not only survive but to actually start to thrive.
We can't see all the good out there and see our full potential if we are constantly looking down at ourselves. I encourage you all to look up and outward and give yourselves a break. Embrace yourselves, flaws and all, and start living the life you were meant to!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A year since Reasons treatment center!

~Serena, Clare, and I ~
So hard to believe a year ago today I left the safety, comfort, and complete understanding of Reasons edo eating disorder treatment center here in California! I so miss the staff and girls I got to know well and form such a strong bond with (R.I.P Nine I love you!). I entered Reasons on April 6 with some resistance. Ok so maybe big time denial! I remember my first day well thinking I would be the biggest girl there and I they would laugh me out of there. I remember my consultation with Dr. Lisa the week before and how I candy coated my weight loss and extremeties of it all. She wanted me in right away and I said I had to tie up loose ends with work and my kids but would do day treatment in a week. The truth was I wanted to get below 100 and was either there or very close and just needed a week!(was weighed backwards and not sure though therapist said if i got below 100 she'd have me hospitalized and made that decision that week) Can we say "ana" in control?!
The first day was hard standing in the lunch line and fighting back the tears. I thought I could handle whatever but didn't realize how bad I was until I got into the program. I ate mildly (cottage cheese, fruit, and lettuce!) as it's grace the first 24 hours. When I got back from lunch my sister called to say my step dad Jack had a heart attack that morning and was being airlifted to a hospital. I completely lost it and left program pissed off no one was there to support me. I told a staff her program sucked. I called my therapist and begged to be done but she told me to give it another try.
I went back the next day and did my best to follow program. Lynn was a great therapist and Lisa rocked as dietician. They were both tough and called me on my shit which I needed. I still could not say the word recovery becase I didn't think I was that bad. I remember Clare greeting me in the group room and thinking she was way to peppy for this place where they make you eat a shitload of food when you are used to 300 to 500 calories a day plus exercise. Here they made you count when you peed, eat 6 times a day, and never allowed me to even shake my legs in group! I cried through meals and often had to supplement. My first full day there Lisa sat at my table and I burst into tears trying to eat fajitas. She allowed ensure and soon it became 6 a day plus food! A week later it was my birthday on Easter. Lisa said 6 hours was ok for a trip to Disneyland with my boys and to drink and take pictures of my drinking boost! I did just that only 6 hours turned 12! The next day was full day program. That night in the dinner line I got real shaky, lightheaded, and nauseated. I was up to the front of the buffet line and down I went hitting my hip and butt hard. So embarrassed. Not to mention my therapist, dietician, and program director all happened to witness this!
It was either the next day or two days later Dr. Lisa called me into her office, sat me down one minute, told me to come with bags packed the next day or I was out! whoa! I was pissed! The next day I went in patient though was a few hours late! lol yep, still resistent. The first month of refeeding was grueling. I had the shakes, lightheadedness, and extreme nausea. I cried in groups, ranted, and finally accepted I was in recovery and could do this. I embraced the program and recovery. I even had fun cutting up at meals with Serena and some of the girls. I miss late nights with Nine in the lounge after most went to bed! I miss painting walls with Eva in the snack room. I miss it all!(well except the food. man was it a buttload!)
I left still on weight gain but determined. I wanted to fully recover and reach out to others. Then my world came crashing down. The custody battle got worse when a court counselor leaked my treatment to the "other" side. I was thankful the judge was caring and did not allow it to be used per se. But then things with my ex husband did not work out. Three days after moving in my new apartment I lost my job of 9 years. It was a crushing blow. I lost my insurance to see my therapist and didn't know how I would survive on unemployment.
Thankfully the court stuff subsided for 6 months through a stipulation and revising of things. During this time I found out about my father's passing, got in another car wreck on the freeway, and continued to struggle for a job. I started to date a man who showed me what it was like to have happiness in a relationship and treated me well. Soon a disagreement happened with the "other" side when I finally got a new job and court orders were violated by the "other" side and court started up once again. I was devastated, victimized, my boys were harmed, and my weight plummeted. I tried hard to find my footing. I soon lost my boyfriend to it all and days later 3 people I knew passed away within days of each other.
It's been an uphill battle but I am not down for the count. I have learned to barrel my way through it. I have come to the conclusion that I deserve the help I need. I have realized I need to reach out more and have been. For so long I stopped therapy mainly due to finances and gave up on me while focusing on the boys of course but also allowing 2 people that mean nothing to me and wont leave me alone, bring me down. "sticks and stones" need to learn they are insignificant.
My weight has risen about 10 pounds. I haven't gained in a while but haven't lost either. I am fighting hard to hold to where I am and try and gain. Reasons really took the focus off body. I actually think my body is ok and would be better with more weight! I am focusing on my boys, my job at the foster agency, and getting "me" back. When I get there I plan to speak at Reasons as I promised Dr. Lisa on my last day there when I was healthier.
I choose not to beat myself up over not being at my right weight yet and not further in recovery. I have slipped but I am finding my way again and being gentle with myself through it. My goal is to write a book about recovery, not about being anorexic. There's so much more to recovery than people realize and too many books focused on the symptoms and how to be anorexic, bulimic etc. I want to speak out as I do in my blog but to schools, colleges etc. I have so much life in me and need to get through this all so I can really start living. Hugs to you all and thanks for reading if you made it this far!
((hugs)) Brande