“It is not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
My life for the last 14 days has been utterly defined by mess and stress. My house was nothing but a giant mess for most of those 14 days, as I vigorously cleaned, organized, and de-cluttered on a daily basis in order to prepare our house for the market. The realtor came today to take photographs and I couldn’t be more relieved that part is over. In the last 14 days I’ve moved furniture around the house and out of the house. I’ve given away more stuff than I ever thought possible, and realized my house contained A LOT of dog hair. Seriously, I probably could’ve made a third dog from all the loose hair I cleaned up in random places…and trust me, I vacuum on a regular basis. What does all this have to do with my body? Everything.
Stress can make or break me in recovery. When I was in high school, college, and even in the Army I told myself I liked being stressed; I wasn’t really living my life if it wasn’t stressful. It saddens me that I truly believed that until I started really uncovering the truth about my eating disorder in recovery. I learned that stress was a way for my eating disorder to make me believe I need it in my life. The truth is stress is the mask my eating disorder uses to get into my life. It creeps in when I’m overloaded and before I know it I am engaging in behaviors and slipping up left and right. Well, not this time. Don’t get me wrong, the last 14 days haven’t all been sunshine and rainbows; my meal times have been off and I’ve broken down crying more than once thinking I would never get everything done in time. It is moments like that–the crying, utterly overwhelmed moments–when I used to throw in the towel and run back to the eating disorder to “get me through” the tough times. I used to think, “I’ll only do this until this stress passes.” Believe me, the temptation was there, “I could use ED and coffee to just get me through the next few days then I can quit.” However, I’m smart enough now (and strong enough) to know it never works that way. I can never “just” do it for a short amount of time. That rabbit hole is closed and I have no desire for it to be open again.
Even though I didn’t turn to behaviors to get me though the last two weeks I also didn’t exactly take care of myself either. I stopped doing yoga. I started going to bed well past midnight (usually 0100 or later) and getting up at 0730 with my toddler to do it all over again. Oh, and that 0730 was negotiable as she hasn’t been sleeping well with all my stress, anxiety, and the constant changes so several night she woke up at 0430 and wouldn’t go back to sleep. Talk about one sleep deprived Momma! I slept more than that when she was an infant! I actually think I slept more than that in the Army. Needless to say, not only was my house a mess but I was a complete mess. I wasn’t taking care of my mental well-being and, as a result, my physical well-being suffered too.
Without yoga to relieve tension my body began to ache.
I carry stress in my back and when I got on my mat tonight, (for the first time in almost 21 days) I felt it.
Without sleep I became irritable and easily angered.
Even though I was sticking with my meal plan, albeit at odd times and random food combinations, I was also stress eating certain “once forbidden” foods and that was adding to my stress. I was CONVINCED I was gaining a ton of weight and my dietician got more than one late night (think 0100 0r later) e-mail about it. (For the record, I actually have no idea whether or not I’ve gained weight over the last few weeks and tonight I realized it doesn’t matter.)
Even though I’ve been very stressed and I am also very blessed.
I’m blessed that I’ve been able to live in such a beautiful home for the last 2.5 years.
I’m blessed that I’m in solid recovery and I can realize when I’m not treating myself well.
I’m blessed that I have a wonderful husband who tells me to slow down and take care of myself.
I’m blessed that I have a loving family who offers to watch my toddler for a few nights so I can sleep and put the finishing touches on the house.
I’m blessed by that toddler who, without knowing, makes me take breaks for playtime and cuddling at bedtime.
I’m blessed that I’ve discovered yoga is the link to taking care of my mental health and centering myself.
While the next few months could continue to be stressful, as we *hopefully* find buyers for the house, go into contract, and move, I know I need to absolutely make taking care of myself a priority.
Yoga needs to happen. Sleep is a necessity. Nourishment is a must.
All the stressors I’ve been managing are really just blessings in disguise.
That will be my mantra for the weeks and months ahead as I move forward in recovery and life.
With Body Love,
P.S. For those who were wondering how the house turned out…it looks GREAT! My dogs, however, are unimpressed with the new yoga location in the basement: