Wednesday, December 25, 2013

How I destress.

This topic is something complex to think and write about because I'm not good at destressing...

This last month has been the hardest of the last year. Harder than the first fourish months where I was out of work and in treatment. Harder than the schedule I carried during my last semester of my undergrad

What's interesting about it is the fact that really great things have actually taken place but it's how I've handled them that has caused the month to be so hard.

In the last 3.5 weeks I left my job of 4 years and started a new job, using my degree, at a great organization. I finished my bachelor's degree and I got into grad school. I feel like there's even more that have slipped my mind. 

The last 4 weeks have been SO stressful that I developed shingles. At under 30 I developed a disease people in their 50s and 60s are warned about. It's a disease that does have a vaccine but insurance does not cover it for anyone under 50.

Granted, I do have the foundation for developing the problem because I had chicken pox twice before I was one. But what brought it on was the extreme amount of stress and how overwhelmed I've felt. 

I thought I was allowing myself to be stressed and my body was telling me differently. Instead the stress built up until it came out of me in the form of a disease. 

So, I'm learning ways to de-stress. I've gone back up in modified sessions with my therapist and I've been given permission to do yoga. I have to leave the issues of work at work, as much as my mind will let me, and make sure I engage in social activities on weekends. 

Because stress urges me to push everyone back and I'm learning the only real way to relieve it is to let people in.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I am officially a college graduate

As of today I can add credentials after my name. In two months I am entering grad school. Both of these are just milestones on the path to my dream job.

I don't know that everyone has a single dream job; that would make an individuals life static and people change, their dreams change. But, this being said, I do have a current dream job.

My dream is to spend time traveling overseas and having time to spend at each location, so I can absorb the culture and see things from the locals point of view.

Realistically this cannot be done with some form of financing and I have my own. I want to be a psychologist for the Department of Defense and travel to the different bases overseas. This job is not a means to an end for me, a way to get to the places I want to visit, but the fact that I will be able to see different areas of the world does make the job even more enviable.

I want to work with the family centers on the military bases and work with the family of the service member. Military life is hard, not just on the service member but, on the family who is innately part of the life as well.

I want to be part of the process of building healthier families for our service members.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


favorite tv show; I don't have cable because I don't have time to watch tv and make it worth it.

But, I do have internet and I love to watch anything available to my fingertips. LOVE IT.

Mainstream television? My favorite is Once Upon A Time in Wonderland.

And Netflix, I love Netflix.

In the middle of the night

I love the middle of the night when I'm wide awake and the rest of the world is sleeping. It feels so quiet, peaceful, and the lack of activity envelopes you like a blanket.

This isn't something I experience too often anymore; I work a morning job so I go to bed early.

But those papers I have to write sometimes give me the opportunity. There's so much promise in the quiescence and the words flow to paper. I work on as the rest of the world is at rest and it feels like those stolen moments were there just for me to use.

Friday, December 13, 2013

How time flys

I have hit an important milestone this week; I have both finished my Bachelor's degree and been accepted into grad school. One chapter is ending so another may begin and, because of this, I'm contemplating the journey that was my undergrad.

When I told my supervisor about my acceptance to Argosy University we talked about the journey and I said I feel like I've finally, finally, come full circle and that I'm where I'm supposed to be.

5 years ago I was studying at Arizona State University and was doing the research for grad programs. But I lost sight of my goals and, even though the move across the country could have been a right choice, the decision to not pursue the completion of my bachelor's degree was the wrong one.

I do not begrudge this.

4 years ago I was offered a position at a prominent eating disorder facility in Arizona and I planned the trek back. This time I made the ultimate decision to stay put and, although this was the right choice, I became part of the nearly unemployed workforce in Maryland; I could not find a regular job.

5 years is such a long time and I wonder where the time has gone. I cannot say the time flew by because I felt every change, every heart ache, every loss; there is too much weight in the intervening years to feel like the summer of 2008 was just yesterday.

Looking at my journey and knowing I have finally come full circle and am where I'm supposed to be, I wonder if I feel this way because I met a long ago goal, or if the interveining years were a campaign of some sort to bring me back into myself. Maybe it was the act of 'stepping' into my own skin that finally allowed me to realize I am where I belong.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

the most important gift I've given and have received

This is so hard! Trying to qualitate something I've done/given from another person's point of view? I think that's why the most important gift we can give anyone is the gift of our time. Not only the chronological aspect of being at an event but actually being present in the moment with them. I would hope that I've been able to do this for others

It's so hard to center oneself and focus on the 'here and now' so, when a person is able to do that with me, I feel like time has stopped for just a moment.

It's the time I was given to find the ground after I had lost it, having friends take a moment to help me find my way.

It's the time I was able to give to my step-father before he died.

It's the times people have put their neck on the line because they believed in me.

It's the small moments of victory that, no matter how insignificant they may seem, create lasting memories.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Turning Points

There have been several turning points in my own life; each one changed my course of action and the course of my life and, whether for the best or worst, they have guided me to where I am today, into the person I have become.

I have a lot going on in my life right now. I start a new job on December 2nd, using my degree, as a case manager at a crisis non-profit agency in Baltimore Maryland. This also means I am leaving my job at the hospital I've been working at for almost 4 years. The job that was my first place of stability, but also the job where I was sick.

I finish my bachelor degree in two weeks. TWO WEEKS. Completing my bachelors degree means closing a chapter of my life where the journey took ten years, many states, and several false starts. On the cusp of this journey ending I have interviewed for a masters degree program with, hopefully, the school I will be going to for the next few years.

With everything ending/starting at once I have to acknowledge a few things; the first is that I'm not taking my eating disorder identity with me, whether my coworkers knew I had an eating disorder or not, my time at Harbor Hospital was marked by hospital stays and reduced hours at work. The second is that I am in a place in my own recovery journey where I am healthy enough to start helping other people in their own mental health process. My degree is finished which is good on the journey standpoint but it also means I have a few moments to just stand still and I need to resist the urge to fill those moments with other things. Hopefully I will be in Grad school this time next year...

All of these things are good, great, things and I know there have been several turning points in the making for them to occur. One of the big ones I'm noticing right now is that a year ago, if all the same things were happening at once, I would not be handling it well. The stress would've made the transitions miserable. But, I have changed, I'm looking forward to the next chapters.

When I need calming-

I love smells and textures; not necessarily together, lol.

Whether it's stickers, markers, candles...I have a tendency to stock up on them. Friends laugh at me because I get soooo excited when I find something new. A few weeks ago I found pencils with gourmet scents, I was so happy.

At Target-fucking target-I found these candles that also change colors. (I went in for prescriptions and walked out with a plethora of other stuff, no scripts) It can be hypnotizing looking at them.

They have been great. I think it's the ability to take in a smell that isn't part of the environment brings me back to myself. The sense of smell is has a strong connection to my own sense of self. For just a few minutes the smell of a cinnamon marker, apple pencil, or pine candle have the ability to dissolve the situation around me and re-instill my own calmness.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


It's interesting to think about one's most prized possession. I spent a long time trying to contemplate something 'tangible' but the undercurrent of my own self-worth kept playing loudly; today I realized how tangible this can actually be.

This is not something that can be easily broken like a physical object, but it can be shattered by circumstances. For so long I believed my worth was tied to a clothing size, what my family thought of me, what I the years passed and I never reached that elusive perfect number, constantly beared the weight of being a disappointment, and never 'finished' something I started, I thought my worth was non-existent.

What is true sings clearly, like a harmony in a perfect pitch; I have self-worth. When I realized I am worthy with or without my family's approval, even if I never accomplish something the world considers valuable, a weight was lifted.

My own prized possession cannot be lost like that pair of jeans that fit perfectly, or the job that fits who I am like a glove and, because of this, it has set me free.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Inspirational Person

I'm not sure if it's super corny to say my inspirational person is my therapist...but there ya go.

I don't plan on reading this to her until it's time to say goodbye, whenever that is, so it's a little bit of a future focused thought.
(explicit poetry/song)

The words of this song speak of my life; the life that was in ashes when I first walked into her office. In all of our sessions the equivalent of these words passed through our lips, in some form. She helped me reclaim my body, showed me I could be reborn from the ashes.

Cara has saved my life.

What's more inspirational than that?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Seeing myself through other's eyes

It is SO hard to say something positive about myself. This is not something unique to me, it's fairly common for people to not see themselves accurately. That is why, sometimes, we have to trust what other people see. I'm going to do this now because, if I try to reflect what these people have said through my eyes they get minimized. Hopefully, by using their words and not mine, I will be able to believe these things from a first person's point of view

I was asked what three words would describe me recently and the words that instantly come to mind are joyful, charismatic, and creative.

Joyful-adj; showing or expressing joy, as looks, actions, or speech. Always a smile. Something I've always hated because of one thing or another, others are drawn to. I'm known as peachy, smiles, Sarah smiles, and more at work. I'm able to put aside whatever is going on in my own life as I serve with others. Joy is a permeates the space around me and people notice. There's just something about my smile. joy.

magnetism-noun; strong attractive power or charm. I'm a person that impacts others without realizing it. Years later I've been told that I'm someones favorite person, that I'm the first person remembered upon an individuals arrival in a new place, that what I've said has changed anothers life/point of view. This is a strength. My therapist puts it this way; people want to know me, or are attracted to my personality. charisma.

creative-adj; having the quality or power to create. Always an artist. I don't just do something, I mold it into an extension of me. When I'm given a bag of items, a task at hand, I can see the pieces coming together like magic. create.

I made a funny

The process of learning to laugh at myself had made what happened yesterday really funny.

I am completing my degree THIS semester (whoop!) and part of the process is doing an internship. It was quite serendipitous for me to get a placement at a crisis organization because of my focus in crisis counseling and I work in the case management department. 

This past  week I have been filling in on the unit due to some staffing issues and yesterday I met a client for the first time. She needed to find out her payee status for social security so it could be changed. I gave her the number so she could call.

Except I have minor dyslexia and turned one of the 7s into a 2. I gave my client a number to a 800 sex line...whoops.

Good thing I've learned to laugh at myself, right?!? LOL

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Learning to Laugh

I have tripped over my own feet.
I have tripped over other people's feet
I have asked where the 'you are here' sign is on a portable map.
I have also gotten to a place and forgotten how I got there.
I have asked where the ingredient list is on a package of peanuts.
One time I 'accidently' stole a shirt from a store and it had the saying 'live free'
Incidentally, I have many more examples along each of these story lines.

I tend to be accidentally funny; I say things in such a way people can't help but laugh.

But, it wasn't until I could to start to 'laugh' at myself that life got better. If I could see the humor in my own life happenings I could have compassion on other people's embarrassing moments. When I learned to embrace what I had previously been flabbergasted by I learned to appreciated my own imperfections.

We are all perfectly imperfect. We are all beautiful.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Where would I be?

Everybody has that day, that moment in time, that defines their life.

For some it's the birth of a child, others it's a death of a loved one, for me it was the day I went to the ER because of symptoms of my eating disorder.

That was the moment I could not deny I had the eating disorder, my symptoms had left me in severe pain, seeking relief from Veteran physicians.

It's now three years letter and I've been in treatment for an eating disorder for the last 2.5 years of it. In that time I have had symptoms of bulimia, anorexia, and EDNOS. I have had two hospitalizations and been out from work 6 months and part time for over 2 months. I almost lost my job about two years ago.

Three years was the moment I realized I had the eating disorder but I had been ignorant of it, largely, throughout my whole life. It has been the symptom of a difficult life and a defense mechanism that has kept me alive. For a while it was what kept me safe, until it was the coping mechanism that had gone horribly array.

When something is part of you for so long it's hard to imagine what life would be without it. And, in that, it's hard to think about what my life would've been like without my eating disorder. The truth is, I may be better off, I may be worse, there's no way of knowing. What caused the eating disorder would've largely been there, still, so the likelihood of developing another symptom/'coping skill' would've been likely.

So, what I like to think, is that I would still be right here. Maybe fighting another illness but, hopefully with just as much insight as I have now.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I am lazy

What would be my super power? I would be able to make meals instantly and not have any clean up. The reason I say this is because I used to like to cook; however, the eating disorder took this joy away from me. Now, I hate doing dishes, going to the grocerys store, all preparation aspects actually... BUT I love a home cooked meal. Things get pretty desparate at my place when I only have things that need to be cooked in my apartment.

Until I am bestowed with this magical power I will be relying on tv dinners and the thought that I'll eventually use the meat in my freezer.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Something Positive About Myself

It truly is hard to think about something positive about myself. I can readily list the things I would change, even though this list is greatly influenced by culture and my own insecurity, within a few minutes. But, something positive?

The answer came to me while I was at work a while ago; I am a creative person. Innately. It doesn't matter what the task/event/etc is, or if I know how to initially do what I want/am asked, I will find a way to do it and add my own flare at the finish line.

I won't add all of the negations that are running through my head even though they are dripping from my tongue. It's easy to discount compliments but I do not want to discount this.

Being creative is more than putting some photos strategically on a board, or painting a beautiful pictures. It's about putting a piece of yourself in what you create so it carries on past your involvement.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Intimately proud

I am not comfortable in my own skin; I hate knowing that other people are looking at me sexually; I realize these are not mutually exclusive and that they are, in fact, intimately intertwined.

The right to explore myself was stolen before I can remember and I'm just now fighting for that right back. The people/places/things are not actually present, not anymore, so I am fighting from within myself to accept this need to find myself, this desire, as okay. Intense work is being done in order to work from my beginnings out to the present; apart from this work I'm also exploring what feels good. It is my goal that I don't find my way from my past just to be lost in what I would like to do with my new present.

I'm proud of myself for exploring myself and learning what it's like to be connected to who I am, at home in my own skin.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Process of letting people back in

In the midst of an appointment today I realized I had been shutting most of my treatment team out, with the exception of my main therapist. It became a topic of conversation today with my art therapist and it has needed to be one for a while now.

We touched on the fact that things changed between us after we did the body sculpture. That the act of having her next to my skin may have been a little too much for me, without me necessarily recognizing it.

Over the last few months I have been working on trauma and uncovering the pile of trash the city of sarah has been built on. Because it has made me sick, kept me sick, and has made it impossible to make authentic relationships with most people. This process has been so hard and so intimate that I have not let my treatment team in on the struggle to help me. My doctor does not know and thus some symptoms are not fully explained. My art therapist didn't know why things had gone flat between us. My dietitian may have seen a little more but not where it was understandable. Her end was more of the body's physical response to the trauma.

I know the hospital is not the answer. It helped me tremendously the two times I have been in the last 1.5 years but I felt that this would happen when I started working on trauma again. I know that the I'll keep ending up here until we work through the issues that effect my weight. It's not about body image for me anymore. The number on the scale is more distressing because I no longer want to lose the weight. I might not like my body but it's from the point of feeling like other people are objectifying it. The acting on symptoms are more of a reaction to stress and the really hard work I've been doing.

So, I need to let my treatment team back in. So they can help me through this time and my symptoms can be looked at with full knowledge of where they're coming from.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Last Time Someone Else Had Control

The last time someone else had control I was violated...words I never thought would come out of my mouth. Usually I think about the question I am asked and the answer gets filtered somehow but, maybe I was too flustered because, these spilled out immediately after I was asked why I was afraid to trust someone else with control over a situation.

I sat in stunned silence, trying to take in what I had said, contemplating what these words meant now that they were spoken. I couldn't take them back like one deletes mistakes in a word document; these words sat like bricks on the floor, each one shattering the film that covered the truth and allowed me to deny my past. They are weighted words that have held down my spirit and a dense mass that have reminded me I have been hurt. By saying them out loud I have admitted to myself and another person the truth; something very wrong has happened and maybe it's not my fault.

I've held this control tightly, so close it's suffocating me with its toxicity. I am being asked to hand over control to someone who has proven trustworthy thus far and I am afraid. I am being urged to hand over keys to my past so that closets can be opened to give the skeletons light, to uncover secrets that have kept me sick. It's a constant battle; for twenty odd years I have held the reins tightly and, even though it has been smothering my soul, part of me can't let go.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Is This What I'm In For?

I am absolutely devastated. If I weren't already in therapy I would definitely need to go now.

Today I received the news one of the women from the shelter overdosed. I spent many hours with her, annoyed with her, concerned for her, listening to her; I was her residential advocate.

She came to the shelter from the hospital after giving birth to her son. He was going through withdrawal because his mom had been on suboxen during her preganancy. If she had tried to withdraw from Meth during the pregnancy she could've lost the baby.

She came through those doors running from her past, fraught with anxiety and battling the highs and lows of bipolar disorder. I watched her change her life, build a life for her son, and heal some deep wounds. Even though I moved on from the shelter before she did I know she walked out those doors a changed person.

Except she was struggling. She reached out to me, to those around her, but I didn't see it and those who saw her everyday placed everything on a 'spiritual' domain. Bipolar can be prayed over and a person can be healed, they just have to keep walking.

A few weeks ago she told me she was having problems with her bipolar. but that she was ok.

Obviously, she wasn't ok.

June 6th she posted the last things she would to face book. She went back to drugs and overdosed. When she had been found she was laying there with a needle next to her. Next to her was also her son. She had been dead for 26 hours before she was found. She had been dead 26 hours before anyone found Elijah. Elijah was crying for hours and no one in the apartment complex noticed?

I had been there for so long to listen and care but then I wasn't. I'm second guessing everything even though I know I did what was right and I did what I could. We cannot change the way another person is, ultimately, going to act, but it doesn't stop me from thinking 'what if?'

I'm hoping I don't ever get calloused from my career, from listening to the struggles of others, that finding out about the death of a client just flows off my back. Going through this right now, though, leaves me wondering, Is this what I'm in for.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Skinny Girl

Skinny Girl will freeze in the freezer; just to make you aware of that fact.

This is the end of two full days of carrying a heavy burden of loss and trying to handle things differently. I am tired but unable to sleep so I am on my computer drinking a bottle of skinny girl margarita...the things you get to do when you live alone.

It's not really doing much and I've found I probably have the tolerance I had when I first got out of the military and could do 5 drinks + shots and still function and wake up normal the next morning. Thankfully I do not have that kind of alcohol in my apartment tonight...I may be tempted to drink it.

I have my window open and I'm listening to the late night street racing going on in the neighborhood. I'm 'watching' an episode of Supernatural on netflix. I've gotten a decent amount of schoolwork done and have a schedule, tentatively, for the weekend.

But now I cannot find things to pass the time anymore. The things I could be doing, would be more beneficial to do, are too far away-both physically and psychologically-to grasp. So I drink.

I wish I could drink to sleep, drink to forget, drink make everything better. But that only works when I'm in groups. When I'm alone the alcohol goes down more like it's tea. What's the point in that?

I realize how much of my father I do have in me, especially at times like this. I can imagine him sitting in his apartment right before he died on May 26th listening to similar sounds. It's like I'm in the room with him as he wrote his final letter and stepped out to the neighboring apartment to give it to his neighbor. My hand is his hand as he rigs the lock to not open. But I careen back into my own apartment before he takes his life.

I would rather remind people of my father than have people I am a dead ringer for my mother. I see my mother as weak, insufficient, and neglectful. Every time I have a family member make the 'you look like your mom' comment on FB pictures I cringe inside.

It's easier to identify with the man I never knew than the mom who didn't take care of me. I wonder if she broke that year and the brokenness kept her from being what I needed. I wonder if she was already broken and his suicide was just the nails on the fragile coffin.

It's hard to believe that he didn't know what he was doing right over my mother's birthday. Suicide rates are higher after holidays because so many people wait...did part of him narcistically make her remember his death as 'her fault' every year for the rest of her life?

I am so mad, and I wish I were able to bury my head in the sand this weekend. I wish life were easy and I had it all figured out. I wish I didn't see myself creating a noose from a jump rope and knowing the aftereffects of that cording on my dads neck.

I wish I had something stronger than skinny girl margarita


I'm not going through a blind seated panic right now; my interactions with others have kept those waves at bay.

But they cannot be my beacons and they cannot make this okay.

I'm sitting on my couch, my boat during this hurricane, as the gail force grief battles to overtake me. I cannot see through the ever-falling sheets of sorrow and I may have just sprung a leak.

The storm is flooding in through cracks and I'm like the captain of a sinking boat; I'm resigned to go down with this ship

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 26th-29th, 2013

Another year has passed without you in my life. However, I have found, I still carry you tandem at my side.

You're not there to push me towards my goals; your presence gives me guilt I have not succeeded.

I have so severely hurt, been broken and lost, unable to crawl into your arms for love and guidance.

The thing about riding tandem is the fact I can break free. But, you carry the parechute, and I don't know how to fly. to flee.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In One Week

It's amazing to think I am finally returning to work after, almost, 4.5 months ago.

Over the last week I have continuously had my attention taken up by one experience to keep me from focusing too much on the next thing. This has definitely served its purpose.

The last of those events occured last night; I discharged from IOP. There are so many overwhelming things occuring in the next couple weeks.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

You are not who you once were

Ever have something happen that hurts you so bad, and has been so influential to your life since, that you don't realize what is actually wrong with the picture?

Your flight/fight system reacts and you run, your shame kicks in because you should've said something, and should've been accountable and taken the consequences. For years this haunts you, it wedges its way into how you see yourself, and you don't even realize it.

Until something happens to pull the plank out.

All I wanted to do was shut down and be done. I had gotten all I could from the experience. I didn't want to share or be given advice anymore. I couldn't share and I felt guilty for who I was. I was convinced, if I just carried the lie a little longer, I would be free and everything would be ok again.

Except, if I didn't accept that this was occurring, realize how it was bringing up my past, and change my part in the outcome, the wound would fester with the added contaminant. I would have given myself another experience to add to the belief that I am worthless and a liar and unlovable.

So, this time, I stood up.

Monday, May 13, 2013

In My Chest

My heart is constricted in my chest. I'm having a moment of anxiety in which my life does not feel like my own. Life doesn't seem possible and it hurts to breathe. Motion is too scary so I sit on my couch with my legs crossed indian style, like I'm a child and the demons will get me if I put a toe on the carpet.

My fingers on the keyboard are what keep me connected to life around me. They sit on the keys because, if I lift them, I will be left alone.

My eyes burn with the tears I have not cried.

I'm not sure what to do.

Friday, May 3, 2013

At this time in my life

I've been silent for quite some time. I've read old posts and realize how my thoughts find their way to the virtual page. Most times it happens more eloquently than when I write in the pages of my journal.

My life for the last four months have been treatment and school. I haven't been to work since January 21st and, when I return, I will have been off the radar for four months. By the time I return to work I will be less than three months away from finishing the classes for my Bachelor's degree and 7 months away from finishing my internship.

The last four months I have been changing and am radically different than who I was in January. I don't know who I am, for identity is far too abstract, but I know who I am not and what I deserve.

I am not empty and I am not nothing. For so long I had seen myself as living on the peripheral of other people's life and failing their expectations but I have found myself and am able to say I have succeeded and I am successful.

My body is mine, I claim it back from those that have staked claim, or who I have surrendered it to. Those who have hurt me, betrayed me, had no right to take this away from me. I deserve to be appreciated and loved, not objectified and neglected.

I am gay. And I am able to say I have avoided intimate relationships and shut down in them, up to this point, because being so transparant with another human being has not been safe in the past, and I have not opened myself to the possibility and vulnerability to be loved. yet. I deserve to be loved and cherished.

I want to be a mom. Not to 'show up' my own mom who has never been what I need, or deserve. Not to fill the void family has not filled in my life. But to see this beautiful child grow into their own person and be a part of their growth. I want to be able to give my body over to my child as it forms inside my body, feel comfortable (at least to the point that is possible in a pregnancy), and see the process of my own body changing as beautiful.

I am not the person my family has said I am and I will never be that person. I have realized how grateful I am for this. I am forming a loving family from those around me but they will never replace those who are 'supposed' to be there. This is no fault of my own and I've accepted they will never be what I need and deserve. In the process of grieving this I have made the first real steps forward, greeted who I am meant to be, grabbed her beautiful hand, and began the journey down my own path in life. Working on becoming whole.