Friday, August 27, 2010


I just watched the movie, UP!

It really made me stop and think about life and the plans we make.

Carl spent so much time trying to fulfill Ellie's dream, that he didn't look all the way to the end of the book. He wasted so much time trying to do what he thought someone else wanted him to do. She loved him and their life together. She wanted him to have new adventures.

By focusing so much of my life on doing/being what others wanted, I didn't get to have my own adventures.

In the past 4 months I have had a major shift in my thinking. I am taking life by the horns and treating each new day as an adventure. I am doing what I want. I am trying new things. I am letting the real me shine.

Thanks Ellie for reminding me to keep looking for new adventures!

New Day

I am attacking today! I will not take it lying down! I will "OWN" today!

I am determined to make a difference today in a person's life. It may just be a smile, or a hello. Maybe I can inspire someone to keep going on when they don't feel like they want to.

I am making a conscious decision to be positive! I will project...JOY!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Learning Confidence

Confidence: a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances confidence in her ability to succeed>

This is the definition as found in Merriam-Webster dictionary.

I was a teenager that lacked confidence. I thought that I could do nothing right and that no one would ever like me. I didn't think I had any power or the ability to rely on my circumstances. I really didn't think I could succeed.

I had always loved going to Girl Scout summer camp. I loved being outside, learning new things, and getting away from the chaos of the "real world."

I learned life skills there. I learned how to rely on my strength to hike up and down hills to get to where I wanted to go. I learned how to be strategic as I navigated rivers, canoeing during a drought or flood. I learned how to overcome my fears as I did the trust fall into my friends' arms, and climbed down the side of a cliff as I found out how much I loved to rappel. I learned how to teach others the things that I knew.

I had mentors along the way, they believed in me, they entrusted me with responsibility and they knew I could do the things I most afraid of.

These are all the lessons that I learned at camp, and I carry them with me today. I have been blessed to know them, and to have some of them still in my life.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Eating Disorder-Counting my Blessings

Today I am reminded of the phrase:
"There is always someone worse off than you."

I really don't like this phrase so much, as it implies that someone else is suffering even more than I am, especially when I am feeling so low.

It is a true statement though. I have had a miserably rough few months, surgery, being injured, losing my job, two more surgeries, and being confined to a wheelchair through most of it. Now I am facing some eye issues that are going to be rough. I am blessed though. My kids are relatively healthy, my husband has a good job, my family loves me and I have great friends and a wonderful support system.

These past few weeks I have watched as one of my dearest friends growing up has taken on the battle of Pediatric Cancer with her 12 year old daughter. I cannot imagine the pain that entails. I also am overwhelmed with how much I love this little girl and I have never met her. Her mom and I lost touch for a long time and through the miracle that is social networking, have only recently re-connected. I pray for this family every day and know that their fight is much more challenging than my own.

I also have been praying for a little boy that I have never met, his name is Sam. My sister told me about this little boy, and I have been following his progress with Pediatric Cancer through
CaringBridge. He lost his battle last week, and even though the family has faith that he is no longer in pain and in the arms of a Loving God, they miss him very much.

There are others that have lost their homes to devastating floods in Iowa. There are people that have lost their families entire way of life on the Gulf Coast. There is suffering everywhere.

I have an eating disorder, I suffer from depression, but I am truly blessed to be who I am and where I am today.

Eating Disorder-Trying to be Perfect

I have stated that my goal in my eating disorder was to have control in my life, which seemed out of control.

It was also my way of being good at something. I was good at being thin...I thought this would make me "perfect." I wanted to be the perfect...
  • Wife
  • Mother
  • Friend
  • Employee
  • Christian
I knew really wanted to be what I believed others wanted me to be. I felt that I was falling short. I didn't know how to make everyone else happy, and I thought that by being thin and beautiful I would be all that I "should" be.

I only heard this song today, and it really sums up what I was trying to do. Thank you Alanis Morissette! Alanis has admitted that she struggled with both Anorexia and Bulimia as a teenager. She has been in recovery since and has taken a different approach to staying healthy by exercising moderately and eating better.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Origin of my Eating Disorder

When I was growing up I had to finish everything on my plate. It is/was a common order from parents. There are many reasons why:
  • So their children will grow up healthy and strong
  • So they don't waste food
  • So they can taste new things and find new favorite foods
These are all noble reasons. I have caught myself doing the same thing with my kids, and then thought, you sound just like your mom!

It has been said that eating disorders aren't really about the weight. It is about control and trying to find some of that in a world that feels so out of control.

I dipped my toe in the "pool of eating disorders" in high school. I would tell my parents that I was eating at my friends' houses and tell their parents that I had eaten at home. Suddenly I had control. I started to feel lethargic and wanted to stay in bed a lot of the time.

This didn't last long, but it is something that I think was always in the back of my mind.

When I found myself, at the age of 24, mother of two, stay-at-home mom with only one car, bills piling up, a new diagnosis of Diabetes, and feelings of insecurity and fear from my childhood...the thought came back. I was so out of control and this was something I could control.

I don't blame my parents for my eating disorder, I made choices that took me down that path. There were circumstances in my childhood that led me down this path, I take full responsibility for my part.

I have found other ways to take control of my life. This is by choosing to do the following things:
  • Take my medication as prescribed
  • Eat well balanced meals
  • Exercise moderately
  • Spend time with my family and friends
  • See my therapist regularly
These are all "rules" that I have previously felt others had put on me. I now know that to be healthy, these are "rules" that help me to survive.

As I explore my past and dig deeper into the origins of my eating disorder and why I allowed it to take control, I can have victory over it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Trying to Eat Better

I have been doing so well with my eating disorder and Diabetes. My numbers recently were wonderful, even after 3 surgeries since April. I am very proud of myself.

But tonight I realized that I am not eating the best foods for my body. I am getting older and it is easy to pack on the weight. This is hard for someone dealing with a lifelong struggle with eating. I know that I should be careful about the foods I eat, however, spending too much time thinking about it could lead me down the path of destruction.

How does one make sure that they have a regulated diet without obsessing about it?

I have been there before, but it is never easy to follow through on the "program."

I need to eat a balanced diet and get moderate exercise. Seems easy enough. I will do my best to eat more veggies, les bread and do some sort of activity each day.

Are you with me?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Child Abuse, the Impact: Fear of Intimacy

Being abused in a sexual nature as a child has impacted me on many levels as previous posts have demonstrated.
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Self Worth
Fear of intimacy is tied into all of these others. Getting close to someone makes one vulnerable. It opens up areas of one's soul that are sometimes scary to reveal.

I am not just speaking about physical intimacy, but emotional as well. To be intimate with a friend, lover, spouse, entails letting them see the ugliness beneath the nice girl image. By letting them hear about the pain, you are opening a door that can be really scary to someone that has not gone through it.

They may not understand why it happened, or the choices you had to make during and after the abuse. They may not totally get why you are or are not okay now. It may be something that they cannot get their thoughts around and it just may be too much for them to handle.

And that in itself is why it is hard to let someone completely into your heart:
  • "What if they leave?"
  • "What if they take advantage of my vulnerability?"
  • "What if...?"
I have told my story to a lot of people, through speaking engagements, this blog and talking with friends.

Sometimes my story is too much for them to handle and they leave. Sometimes they don't.

I have really only totally opened up about my abuse to a few select people. Most of those people have been professionals in the Mental Health industry or people in the group therapy sessions. There have been a few others along the way that have heard the whole ugly truth, those are the people that I have become truly intimate with on an emotional level.

I am blessed to have those special people in my life and I am so glad that I let them in to see the real me, scars and all.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Eating Disorder: Health Complications

Eating disorders are so damaging to one's body.

There are problems with the GI tract, the esophagus, teeth, hair, nails, skin as well as many other things. When the body doesn't get the nutrition it needs
, every system that is not vital to immediate survival begins to shut down. There are also issues with purging and laxative use, that can harm your insides. Over-exercising can cause a lot of injuries too.

I have other complications due to my Diabetes being out of control so long. A lot of my complications are seen in the elderly that have had Diabetes.

These pictures show some of the things I have to use to walk or get around these days

This is my wheelchair that I have to use right now after my surgeries these past few months
My fracture boot
After surgery shoe

Brace for my left leg
This is the walker that I have to use when I am not in my wheelchair

There has been a lot of damage, and I have to fight the pain every day. I hope that no one else has to go through this pain and frustration. If I can tell you one thing that I regret in my life, it is that I did not take care of my body the way I was supposed to.

I have learned a valuable lesson in a very difficult way. My body is the only one I will get so I will treat it with the respect and care it deserves.

Monday, August 2, 2010


I am going to take a departure from my last few posts, but will return to that series soon.

Today I want to write about power.

I started dabbling in my eating disorder (Edith) when I was about 13 years old. I, like so many other teenagers was worried about fitting in. I couldn't control the fact that my parents couldn't afford the latest name brand fads. I couldn't control where I lived. I couldn't control my life in many ways. I thought that if I was thin, people would like me because I would be beautiful. This I could control.

I began to feel like I had some of my power back that was taken away from the abuse.

Suddenly I was in control of something. That made me feel powerful.

As I said, I dabbled in it at first. Edith did not take complete control until I was about 24. At that time I was a mother to young sons. I was trying to find a job that allowed me to be home with them most of the time. I was trying to be a good wife and wasn't really sure what that meant. I was trying to manage a household budget that did not have a lot of income coming in. I was trying to be Supermom, what I thought I "should" be based on what I saw on TV and in magazines.

Suddenly, when I started controlling what went into my body and what I did with it, I really felt in control and powerful. People commented on how good I looked as I lost weight. I was thrilled to finally get the attention I had been craving.

It didn't take long for that power to be stripped away as I lost all control.

Approximately 6 years later, I realized that I no longer had the power. Edith had taken complete control and stole that power away from me.

After years in recovery I can now see that I finally have true power. I have taken back my life and control of it. Food, exercise, medications do not control me. I am no longer focusing on these things every waking moment of every day. This is not to say that it isn't still a daily struggle, but it is no longer all-consuming.

I am a powerful woman. Not because I am thin, but because I finally have taken back control!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Child Abuse, the Impact: Fear

I have lived in fear for most of my life. Whether there is a real threat or not, the fear remained.

I was afraid of being left alone. I was afraid of large crowds. I was afraid of being hurt. I was afraid of loving. I was afraid of being loved, and it ending. I was afraid no one would ever love me. I was afraid of dying. I was afraid of living.

The list goes on and on.

When you are a child whose innocence and wonder of the world is stripped away, it is hard to ever feel safe again.

I have suffered in many ways beyond the actual abuse. I have also suffered many other hardships in my life. There has been a near constant need to flee or fight. Those moments that happened nearly 30 years ago left in me with that constant fear that it could happen again and that I had to find a way to keep myself safe.

I have constructed walls around myself to ensure that no one could really get to know the real me. It took almost 10 years of marriage for me to really start to let my husband behind those walls and nearly seven years later to let him truly see the real me down to my core.

I have told my story to countless people, I believe that by being open about it I am not becoming a statistic and becoming an offender myself. (There have been studies on people that were molested and the likelihood of them becoming abusive themselves. I know for a fact that my abuser was abused as a child and suppressed the memory. I think that had he been able to tell someone and talk about it, he may not have committed the crimes he did. That is not an excuse for what he did, but an explanation.)

After having said that, friends and loved ones may have known my story, but very few really knew me. I was afraid if they did know me they would not like me at all.

Fear has made me hide myself away at times. I have had times in my life where I didn't leave my bed unless I absolutely had to. I would get up to go to the bathroom, and to make dinner for the family and then go back to bed to eat. I would sometimes even let my kids make the food themselves once they were old enough and would spend the entire day in bed.

Other times I was afraid of being alone and I would constantly be out and about. I would go shopping, to restaurants, to fairs, wherever people were. If you notice where I chose to go, I was not going to be with friends, I just wanted people around me.

I have released a lot of the fear, and thanks to people that have become real friends, I am continuing to let go. My husband has helped me a lot. He has helped me to let go of people that are not in my life to help me, but to keep me down. He has helped give me wings to try new things and to try things I have been afraid to do before. He has done a lot for me, but the biggest change has been what I have done for myself.

I have so much more strength and bravery in me that I didn't know was there. I have talents and gifts to share with others, and I know they want to know about them. I have become open to love, letting it in and giving it out.

I have no reason to fear, I am Rachel and I can do anything I set my mind to!