My sweet sunshine.

I’ve thought a lot about this blog over the last couple years. I don’t even know how years have gone by. I remember the day of my last post. And everything that was going on. I remember posting. And it seems apropos that I wouldn’t change a thing between then and now.

Late last year I missed writing, so a couple months ago I started writing again. But this space no longer suits my journey. I’m not Jack’s bed and I haven’t been Jack’s bed in a long time. That isn’t to say I don’t have an eating disorder. I do. I always will. But I’m not my eating disorder. I’m Jill. And even on my most disordered and mentally questionable days, I will no longer ever just curl up in bed and take it.

I loved this blog. I love every hard word I wrote. I’m just so much more than this blog now and continuing to create words here feels backwards. I contemplated never posting here again. And I was mostly okay with that. But my husband checks in every now and again, with this sweet sunshine of hope that I didn’t end this blog with Ed Sheeran’s saddest words. So I decided to update. In spite of the likelihood no updates will follow.

I am around and alive and living. I even brought life into the world. A little boy. Seven months old now.

While I was pregnant, I reintroduced sugar into my diet for the first time in years.

I didn’t die.

It was where my journey took me and I’m happy I experienced having it again and then deciding on my own terms that I don’t want it anymore. Having it took its power away. And deciding not to eat it again gave me mine.

I’m enjoying being a stay at home mom again. I enjoy spending time with my older munchkins too. I love Chris and married life and domestication. It’s been a little too cold for outdoor adventures, but life still feels adventurous. Every day is goodness.

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Another light lost from your face.

It’s complicated.

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Make up your mind.

I’m grateful for peaceful weekends.

I’m grateful for productive days and getting the hell out of chaotic nearby cities alive.

I’m grateful for cuddling up with and then falling asleep on Chris.

I’m grateful for a super challenging day and also hopeful that tomorrow I’ll feel renewed.

I’m grateful for food fights in place of being mad.

I’m grateful for being such an amazing cook.

I’m grateful that while my family relaxed, I got a head start on getting lunches ready for tomorrow. (I want to be able to relax, but currently it hurts more than helps.)

I’m grateful that I have been taking more responsibility for my current inability to just stop and be still. I used to have moments where I’d be so annoyed that Chris wasn’t doing anything. And I’d think, “ohmygosh, there’s like a hundred helpful things he could be doing and he’s just sitting there reading manga or futzing around on his phone or enjoying a cigar outside!” but what it really comes down to is I was jealous that he could choose to take the time. That is an admirable skill to have—to find the balance between go go go and be still. I could take time to do those sorts of relaxing things if I really wanted to.  And I choose not to. Mostly I choose not to because not having things done gives me more anxiety than not taking time for self-care.  So I try to find a balance. Kinda. When I can. But mostly I’m just glad that the balance I’ve found is to not be upset with Chris. So instead I am glad he takes the time. I envy him that. He’s a good man, that husband of mine.

I am grateful for waking up each morning and falling asleep each night.

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It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.

Chris is my lifeline.

It is hard to convey in words what that means. Only people who get to see us—get to experience and witness our relationship—could possibly understand what it means. What it looks like. What it feels like. The beauty that radiates from us. That he is mine and I am his and most importantly, that it is symbiotic and healthy.

God (a god I didn’t even know how to believe in just a few short years ago) has truly graced us with this unicorn blessing.

We work. For whatever reason, we work. The whole world disappeared when our paths finally crossed. And we are still under the impression that our paths had to have crossed before that. There are too many events that line up just right. We are certain that, if life could be viewed as a movie, the audience would have seen us sitting in the same L car or passing blindly in the street. Our paths not yet ready to cross, but unable to stay far apart any longer.

Despite all this unicorn business and the symbiosis and the perfectness of being together, life is still life and even the most perfect, meant-to-be relationship isn’t easy.

I come from a long relationship with someone else who was very much not meant to be. Try as he meant to be the one, no one can fake something like that for long. He can fake a lot of things. He can try to be exactly who he wishes he could be. But he couldn’t make himself that person. There were too many cracks in a fake foundation.

So enter a divorce. Enter destruction. Enter doing the right thing even though the right thing is so.fucking.hard. So enter Chris.

Eventually.

Chris and I are the relationship of the perfect couple you see in movies. Except we’re real people and this is real life, so we have issues. And we get our feelings hurt and we overreact and underreact and we get it all wrong and then we make it right and then we do it all over again a couple weeks later.

The point is though… We talk to one another. We humble ourselves. We offer suggestions and sometimes they’re not good suggestions, but we try. And sometimes…sometimes we fall down the rabbit hole.

Mostly it’s me falling down the hole.

I live inside my head. And this is a dangerous place to be because I (read: the anxiety and fear and paranoia) make up stories and dialogue in my head and then I go on trips with these imaginary falsities and I put in a lot of effort to go very far away with them, to only have to make the long trek back to reality alone. I don’t do this on purpose, mind you. It’s just how my brain is and try as I might to curb this ability, it’s really tough. So Chris is often trying to pull me out of the rabbit hole, all the while trying not to fall in himself. Like yesterday.

Yesterday I asked for his help with a suggestion I had. And he offered his help and all was good. Except my reaction, I guess didn’t make it seem “good” and so he offered further suggestions. I took these suggestions as him trying to invalidate my initial suggestion. And my god, his suggestions gave me huge anxiety and so….rabbit hole.

In hindsight, it is sorta kinda fairly easy to recognize that I could have calmly said something like, “that’s cool, thanks for those suggestions, but let’s stick with my initial suggestion” and that could have been the end of it. Ta da! All wrapped up with a pretty little bow. No harm. No foul.

But that is not how I reacted. Instead I decided he didn’t think my suggestion was a good one. He didn’t think it was good enough. He didn’t think I was enough. He wanted to be the one to fix me because I can’t fix me. I wasn’t capable or worthy or enough. And I got so damn defensive. And everything turned upside and got really blurry and it didn’t make any sense. And my throat closed off and my chest was heavy and my face was scrunching up in that weird way it does when I refuse to give anything or anyone the satisfaction of letting those hot tears flow from my eyes.

This reaction occurred involuntarily and without my permission in the matter of about 2.7 seconds.

And then I felt I had tainted the entire rest of the day with my childish, yet “I fully deserve to be acknowledged and validated damnit!” reaction.

So then I wasted a lot of time trying to find a way to nicely say “I felt invalidated” without then putting him on the defensive. He gets very upset when he says something that causes me to react badly. He doesn’t want to be the thing that causes my upsetness and I don’t want to be the thing that causes his upsetness. So then we just got back and forth walking on eggshells trying not to further hurt the other person or muck things up.

This moment in time sucks. This moment in time is spent with me frantically trying to figure out how I can fix it, but still have it be okay that he is just feeling his feelings.

By this time, I’m exhausted anyway because my brain just spent a half hour going so fucking far down the rabbit hole again that I’ve imagined Chris can’t possibly want to be with me anymore because I am so beyond fucked up and that he’ll want to call the whole damn thing off. Feeling invalidated two hours earlier is just a fucking blip because all I can think about now is that I’m too far gone and he’s done with me.

And this is where I try to remember to breathe. Because I’m pretty sure it hasn’t happened in quite some time. The breathing thing.

So I breathe. And I try to remember that Chris can feel his feelings, even if his feelings hurt. And even if it hurts me. I don’t have to fix it. I have to breathe.

And I have to kiss him. Because it is all too much and it is all suffocating and it is all a lie I just spent two hours exploring and forgot it wasn’t real.

The rabbit hole is fear and insecurity and so many dark thoughts running away with me. The rabbit hole is not feeling like I’m enough. The rabbit hole is prison. The rabbit hole is all those visitors knocking on my door and me flinging it open and shouting, “let’s go on an adventure!!” and then frolicking away with them.

Chris is sunshine. Chris is life. Chris is that touchstone that brings me back down to even.

What I wish is that during my rabbit hole moments, it didn’t bring him down too. Unfortunately, the catalyst that brings me out of the rabbit hole is usually that I see him going down his own and I can’t bear that. My head can be all sorts of fucked up and for whatever twisted reason, that is okay with me. But Chris getting himself all twisted up… That’s not okay. Seeing Chris upset reminds me that I can’t frolic with those friends anymore. That I have to be on my way to my own adventures. That I can’t go traipsing off with the visitors. That they’re not my friends. That it’s not safe. So I bid them farewell and I walk away. Because I’d much rather walk with Chris than with them. Sometimes—most of the time—I then have to invite Chris to walk with me instead of with his own visitors.

We find our way back to one another in a short amount of time, all things considered. Sometimes people are gone for months. Sometimes they never find their way back at all. Chris and I only have to endure it for a couple hours every now and again. It is excruciating. But no one ever said finding your way back home would be easy. They only said it would be worth it.

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Just wait a minute.

I’m grateful for blogging today. That felt refreshing and scary and connected and perfect.

I’m grateful for Lulu connecting with me.

I’m grateful for misunderstandings and making up.

I’m grateful for the warmth of the sun.

I’m grateful for Chris’s unending love.

I’m grateful for See You Later kisses from my daughter as she gets out of the car in the morning.

I’m grateful for the raccoon ferrets giving me their love this afternoon.

I’m grateful for recovery and another day of abstinence.

I’m grateful for almonds—for all the goodness and challenge they provide.

I’m so fucking grateful for waking up today.

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I got it right sometimes.

Even while feeling all the feels, my brain is still trying to get me out of it. I can be sobbing here and my thought is, “It will be better on the other side. Just get to the other side” and then I go on autopilot and don’t feel any more. The feels are so big.

I want to go through and not around all the feels. I do. I really really do. I want to learn how to do that and not go on autopilot. I want to not have my default be shutting down and turning off. But fuck, all those feelings feel. I could sit here sobbing for hours and it would all feel so much and when do those feelings ever run out??? They don’t. They would all still be here. Oh fuck, that scares the shit out of me.

Being alive hurts so much sometimes.

That thought makes me sob uncontrollably. God, it hurts so much. So much. And yet…that’s somehow exactly what life is supposed to be. It’s so much bigger than me and makes so little sense and I’m just supposed to keep going. Keep trodding along. In spite of the pain and because of the pain and to get to good and to come back around to painful again. It’s this unending path that just keeps going and going and makes no sense and hurts and feels good. Back and forth. Over and over again.

This sounds like the single most asinine thing on the face of the planet.

Yet I wouldn’t give it up for all the world.

Okay. Back to the point I was trying for earlier before fear pummeled me.

Feelings feel. I spent months reverting back to old, familiar behaviors in order to not feel feelings. Which of course, if you don’t already know, doesn’t work. Feelings will insist on your attention. They will demand it. They leave no room for your absence. No matter how much I tried to stuff the feelings down, they’d come back with a vengeance. Feelings want to be felt. That’s why they’re called feelings. And really, they only get pushy when you push them away.

I didn’t know that though, so I have been actively bingeing for the last few months. I had some good moments (a week or so) of abstinence. That felt good.  But not as good as the bingeing and the avoidance and the complacency.

I used life being too much as an excuse. Even when life felt pretty even and balanced. Nothing kept me from wanting to use. Balanced and even is just as hard as the chaos because during the even, I’m either recovering from the chaos or preparing for it. There is no real downtime. Not ever.

There is no downtime from my eating disorder.

Every moment is a good moment to slip back. Every celebration or grievance. Every victory and every loss. It’s all prime for the taking.

So I got pregnant and it was a good time to not feel feelings. We lost our baby and it was just as good of an excuse. We prepared for a wedding. I ate. The chaos of the wedding subsided and I turned to food. The kids had summer break. The kids went back to school. I ate. We packed up our apartment in preparation for moving. We moved. I ate. We unpacked. I ate.

I wanted to simultaneous be there and be not present all at the same time. Best of both worlds.

I can’t multitask.

Feelings feel a lot.

My feelings don’t turn off. My brain doesn’t turn off. My anxiety doesn’t turn off. I let the eating disorder do its thing.

This morning I was so full of bliss. The visitors were gone. My head was clear. I felt so light. The anxiety that never turns off dulled.

I did things this morning that normally scare the shit out of me, like going to the car dealership and asking them to print out my tire options and going to the pet store for an adoption application. I just did these things! Without overanazlying them and without the paralysis. I felt all…normal. They weren’t easy still, but neither were they hard. I want to feel that more often—the normal. I don’t want that to be so elusive. I do stuff that other people consider brave all the time, but it never feels brave and therefore I can’t get my brain to file it under bravery. But man…when I go and do something that scares the shit out of me—that is an awesome feeling.

I never know though what is going to scare me. I don’t like the not knowing.

I don’t like that I just typed that sentence and suddenly felt like I was at a dead end.

Maybe that’s what not knowing feels like—a dead end.

That’s where a lot of my anxiety comes from too. The not knowing. I feel like I can’t get anywhere without more information and “not knowing” leaves me with no information. It’s paralyzing, and then I can’t get anywhere anyway.

I wanted to write today because I haven’t been doing well. Yesterday was my first abstinent day in quite a while. It’s been good to do daily gratitude work. It’s been good that I’ve been listening to recovery podcasts. It’s been good that I’ve been keeping myself in the circle of recovery while my habits have been anything but. I know that recovery is who I am and that using is the visitors. There have been countless days where I’ve wanted to turn my back on my true self. Days where I thought it was all pointless. Days where I wanted everything else to win out over me, so I didn’t have to be anymore. I checked out so I could get a bit of a break.

Even with my meltdown a little bit ago, I feel like I’m back now. I feel like I’m good to lead myself again. I’m good to not have it be Despair and Desire and Destruction who run the show. I’m good to clean house.

I don’t even mind right now in this moment that feelings feel. I’m content with that.

And I only mind minimally that I just went back to proofread this and it doesn’t feel cohesive at all. I’m going to put it out into the world anyway and let the universe take care of it.

If you are reading this, I love you. I wish you goodness and light and moments of contentedness.

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It all came down on me.

The visitors are gone right now.

There is a Buddhist philosophy I’m going to now not do justice to explain, but that won’t keep it from being an extraordinary line of thought.  It is that we all have a true self.  And then there are visitors.  These visitors have names like fear and jealousy and greed and anxiety. And they come knocking on our door and we usually refuse to let them in.

Unfortunately these types of visitors don’t just go on their merry little way merely because their knocking goes unanswered. Their normal m.o. is to break down the whole damn door and make themselves at home. Which is what keeps happening to me.

Today I feel like just me. Untethered by these forces. And so it’s important for me to write while I can sit here and be clear.

I have spent the last couple months hiding from all of these visitors. These feelings. Fear, anxiety, sadness, joy, despair. Feelings just feel so much. Some days I just have no idea how human beings manage at all. I didn’t want to feel. I wanted to avoid feeling at all cost. So I’ve been eating. Eating feels good. Well…it doesn’t always feel good, but it feels familiar and familiar feels good. So I turned to food.

Or well…what I really did was turn away from everything else. And good ol’ reliable food was just right there to bring comfort and familiarity.

I knew what I was doing. I allowed it to happen. It seemed like the best possible path. The path to bingeing felt like the right path and the perfect path and the good path. I wanted to feel like I was doing right and perfect and good. And fucking hell am I good at bingeing. I mean, seriously, in all complete genuine and raw honesty—I’m a fucking rockstar when it comes to bingeing.  I’ve spent my whole life perfecting this behavior. I don’t have to work at it. I don’t have to fight. It comes more naturally than breathing.

Herein lies the problem. It’s not what I want.

It’s not what I want for myself or my husband or my kids. It’s not what I want for my future. Or my present, for that matter. I don’t have room for it in my life if I want to be able to live the life that I want.

The visitors though. Oh, those visitors. They come knocking. And I go hiding. I hide and I give up all my power.

Wanna know a secret?

Those visitors don’t get stronger or weaker at any given moment. They remain exactly the same. It’s me that ebbs and flows. When I hide, I don’t get to own any of my strengths.

Even right now in this moment. My brain is going a mile a minute. I’m trying to figure out if I’m even saying what I mean to get out. If I’ll make my point. If I’ll say it right or wrong or not quite right. I’m talking myself out of writing entirely. And it’s not because the anxiety didn’t exist five minutes ago. It’s because—without conscious thought—I entertained the possibility that I’m not enough to write this. I entertained the thought that this post could be something great that so many people could potentially see and that it could mean something to someone and suddenly the fear of that gripped me. It was too big. It meant too much. I wasn’t enough. And immediately this post that I had intended on writing to declare my truth of what the last few months have been like has turned into me trying to figure out how to best wrap this up so I can go eat.

This suffocation. This shroud. This overwhelm. This is what it feels like to feel and gosh, I want no part of it.

And even though I sit here trying to will the tears not to break from my eyes and even though this pressure in my chest and this tightening in my throat feels like it may quite literally kill me… I am just going to sit here.

And I’m going to feel all the feels and I….I will be back soon, after this paralyzing not-enoughness subsides, to write my peace.

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I might actually feel something if I don’t cover it up.

I am grateful for a day of calmness.

I am grateful for a day of sobriety.

I am grateful for 15 minutes of good conversation.

I am grateful for the sun that warmed my body today after the cold had chilled me to the bone.

I am grateful for Chris telling me last night to scooch in closer to him. I needed his warmth and comfort and calm.

I am grateful for a day of letting go of the fight.

I am grateful that I can put this out into the ether and the universe will take care of it.

I am grateful for waking up this morning.

I am grateful for self care.  And because of self care, I am going to go to bed now and allow this day to become yesterday.

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Her name was April.

I am grateful that I have so much room for improvement when it comes to posting every day…

Seriously though…I just can’t seem to keep up with this everyday posting thing. I want to.

Sometimes.

Sometimes it’s completely out of my head though and days go by and then I think, “Oh shit. Again.”

I have been staying more vigilant though.  And for now that is enough.

Today I am grateful for the ferrets cuddling together in their new hammock.

I am grateful for an easy homework day for the kids.

I am grateful that I am loved.

I am grateful that I can love so many.

I am grateful for such peaceful sleep last night.

I am grateful for yesterday’s peppermint and lavender bath.

I am grateful for the path. And I am grateful for the dead-end detours.

I am grateful that the universe is taking care of me.

I am grateful that the universe is taking care of everyone.

I am grateful for waking up each day.

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We’re not gonna pay rent.

Ah yes.  And a good few days have come and gone again.  Let’s so how we can rectify that, shall we?

Monday 9.21
I’m grateful I was able to update jacks.  I really needed that.

I’m grateful that our new house didn’t burn down from the jacked up electrical wires in the dragon’s heat lamp. I’m also grateful our new neighbor let me use her employee discount at the pet store.  New heating equipment is expensive. Which leads me to….I’m grateful for the beardie forum that showed me cheaper ways to light the dragon’s home.

I’m grateful I have time on Tuesday to finish cleaning the apartment since I lost so much today.

Tuesday 9.22
I’m grateful for getting the munchkins off to school and immediately jetting down to the apartment so I could clean.

I’m grateful I could drop off another full trunkload of clothes and shoes and jackets to Goodwill. I appreciate that I am rid of those things and also that someone else will be able to get good use out of them.

I’m grateful that we finally got to have our Moving Out Ice Cream Party at the apartment.  We kept trying to do it and homework got in the way or bad attitudes or the prospect of sugar-ridden children who were already being obnoxious without the sugar.  So yay for finally!!!

I’m grateful that I can type.  This doesn’t usually feel like such a big thing, but recently I’ve been watching my daughter finger peck away and ohmygosh, I’m just so grateful that I know how to type and that I can do it so well.  (Note to self: Remember to find a program that will teach her to type correctly.)

I’m grateful that I stayed in the moment most of the day and didn’t make up stories in my head that weren’t true. It’s so easy to fill in the gaps and doubt and get angry and mad, all I’m not perfect.  But I practice.

I’m grateful for those tiny serene moments when being a mom is the easiest thing in the whole wide world to do. The boy just couldn’t fall asleep.  He wanted his mama.  He wanted peace while all this strange chaos is spinning about. And I’m so fucking blessed that I could just sit with him and be the peace he needed.

Wednesday 9.23
Ohmygosh, I’m so grateful that my therapist cancelled on me today! I had so much to do and sooo didn’t feel like talking today and gosh.  I’m just so glad the universe aligned and she was needed elsewhere today.

I’m grateful (so.fucking.grateful.) that the keys were turned in today.  The apartment stuff is done.  It’s out of my hands.  I did what I could and I can let it go.  The voices are in my head, egging me on. Did I clean enough? What will come of the security deposit? Will the landlord think I did a good enough job cleaning? Will she somehow be disappointed even though I worked my ass off? But… I’m not allowing these thoughts to consume me.  I’m just letting them be and when they creep in, I gently push them aside.

I’m grateful that the kids’ dad took them today for a few hours.  They needed good time with him and they won’t see him at all next week and my goodness did Chris and I need time together.  We are always vigilant that life creeps in and we don’t always get everything we’re in need of, but these last few weeks have been especially challenging with the move and the upheaval and the everything.  We only got a couple hours today, but it was a good couple hours and it was goodness.

I’m thankful that I switched all of our utilities today and that I have a plan of action for contacting all the places I need to to change my name and address.

I’m grateful that I have a nice bed to sleep in…which I’m going to go utilize right now.

Oh, and I’m grateful for The Phantom Tollbooth which I’ve been reading to Chris and the kids each night at bedtime.  It has been such a great bond for us.

And still, as always, I’m grateful for each day that I wake up in the morning.

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