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.