Fashion Dense (Part I)

For a long time, I've been considering a blog series called "Fashion Dense" (as opposed to Fashion Sense... HAHA see what I did there?....) This idea has been rolling around in my head for a number of reasons which I will sum-up in lovely bullet points below:

1. I have always been a tomboy and never really cared about "fashion", per say.
2. As I struggled with my eating disorder, I didn't think I deserved to wear nice things, and I was paranoid about how I would come across if I was always "gussied up" and such. I would've rather appeared as if I wasn't trying at all than as if I was trying too hard.
3. Clothes shopping isn't super fun for me for a lot of different reasons. Most poignantly, because -- as someone who as struggled with an eating disorder, body image, etc. -- it can be pretty damn horrifying.
4. I don't know jack about how to look presentable/like an adult/woman and that makes me pretty self-conscious; I worry that I'll dress like a 12 year old for the rest of my life.
5. Spending money on myself is nearly impossible for me to do.

As I was thinking about these reasons (I'm sure there are a lot more I will soon discover), I figured there might be a lot of other people with the same issues/concerns... especially if they have struggled with an eating disorder in the past. But, really, I think lots of people avoid shopping regardless of whether they've had an eating disorder.

Me, shopping for clothing

Me, shopping for clothing

Thus, "Fashion Dense" was born. Because aren't things more fun if you can find a way to laugh about it? And I figure trying to find my way through clothes/fashion/understanding my own style just has to be chock full of hilarity. Plus, I figured it would better help me deal with the process if ya'll were tagging along with me. :)

So, in summation, please to stick around. Because, if you're like me (see picture above) it might just make us both feel better about things in the long run. :)

- S

K, M, J...

I've been struggling lately with the fact that people come and go.

I suppose I always thought if I wanted someone in my life, and put forth the effort, they would stay. But that isn't always the case.

It is not really a secret that I haven't always been the best at keeping in touch (read: um, I'm kind of horrible at it). I realize this could be a lot of it. But, over the last couple years, I have reached out to a few people from my past, and it always seems to be a reach that is never met. Is that because I did something wrong? Because I did such a poor job in communicating? Or just because people grow apart through no ones fault, and that is something I need to accept?

I think one of the hardest things for me is when this happens, when people don't want to talk to me/don't want to be my friend anymore/move on, and I don't know why.

But that's just how the cookie crumbles. There are people who I was absolutely, positively, certain would always be in my life and, for whatever reason, they no longer are. I guess the worst part is that I wonder if my depression or anxiety and such had something to do with it. Not in the sense that they couldn't accept me with those, but more that I withdrew into myself so much that I just wasn't really "there" to them anymore. Maybe they kept reaching out to me and I was the one who never returned their effort.

Or, of course, it could all just be because people come and go.

It makes me sad, but it makes sense. You change, people change. Your heart has to make way for those who help serve it at this point in your life. But, I suppose what doesn't change is the fact that there are some people who were really important to you, and -- for whatever reason -- they aren't anymore.

Do they know that they were? If they did, would we still have grown apart? Maybe, what it comes down to, is that they were more important to me than I was to them. Not in a vindictive way, but just because our hearts are our hearts.

I don't know what I'm trying to accomplish when I try to get back in touch with people from the past. Maybe I want to understand what happened. It might be my way of trying to say sorry, Or, perhaps I am just trying to be at peace with the fact that, at one point, we sat next to each other in a car, driving through a late night, singing songs and laughing as the future was splayed out in front of us.

And now, for whatever reason, there is only space and memory between us.

Memory which, in all possibility, is alive only for me.

 

March Against ED

I've been seeing #MarchAgainstED floating around on le Twitter the past bit, but only just today clicked on a link to read about it further.

I'm glad I did.

I have been recovered from anorexia for 7 years. Prior to that, I bounced around to various therapists (many of which were complete idiots, I have to say) over the course of 3 - 4 years. And hey, guess what? Therapy isn't cheap. Thankfully, I eventually found my God-sent (for sooooooooo many reasons) therapist, Carolyn, who worked with me on a sliding scale. But the bills still added up to at least $400 a month.

Guys, I'm a teacher and writer... I may have plenty of children's boogers and crippling self-doubt, but I do not have $400 just lying around.

Oh, and this is before I went to an intensive outpatient program. Which, for the record, was not covered by my insurance. The deadliest mental health issue and they (like they do to so many others) just told me, over the phone, with no intonation whatsoever, "We do not cover that."

So, wait a tic, I finally built up the courage and fight and desire to do the most difficult thing I will ever have to do and I will have to pay for it on my own? That's super awesome, thanks.

According to this article in the New York Times, it costs around $30,000 a month to attend a residential treatment program. And individuals typically need treatment for 3 to 6 months in order for it to be effective. So $90,000 - $180,000. OH, and did I mention this was the quote in 2010? Who knows how many thousands of dollars to which it has increased in 2014.

When I was in my recovery, I was lucky enough to have a family and a husband that not only supported it, but also did not bat an eye at the price of treatment. And, luckily again, I was able to get the majority of help I needed through appointments with Carolyn, rather than an extended stay at the outpatient program, which would've cost God knows how much.

But not everyone is as lucky as I am.

In fact, most people -- people who have found the absolute, unbelievable courage to finally seek treatment -- are turned away at the door.

THAT IS SO MESSED UP.

What's even more messed up is that http://eatingdisorderscoalition.org quotes that 1 in 10 people receive treatment, whereas 11 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder. This means 9,900,000 people are not receiving treatment.

Just in America.

So what can I do? I've wondered that a lot. I can talk about my personal story, what I went through, my recovery, my struggles, anything. But, what can I do to help change the fact that, when someone has finally decided he/she is worth recovery, he/she does not hear, "Oh my gosh YES. We will help you. We will support you. You are strong. You are brave. You can beat this." But "You aren't covered."?

This is why I am so thrilled I stumbled across #MarchAgainstED (their website is here, btw). Because, as a single voice -- a voice my eating disorder tried so hard to take away from me -- I have learned I can do a great deal.

But many people bringing their voices together? To DC of all places?

What can't we do.

- S


(By the way, I still see Carolyn to this day. Sometimes I go without seeing her for years, other times issues crop up that I need to learn how to deal with and understand, so I see her every couple months again. I think, with any addiction like eating disorders, you can be recovered but you still need to be proactive.

My appointments are still not covered by insurance).

The Feeling of Sadness and The Sadness of Feeling

Good morning kind, single reader who might be a spambot. I've been having a rough go of things lately and thought maybe a nice, healthy, bitch fest might do me some good. Or, at the very least, it might help other people if they are going through something similar, or feeling something similar.

When I was officially diagnosed with dysautonomia in 2009 (after having horrible symptoms for 2 years), it took me a while before I could accept that I couldn't do everything. ("A while" being like, another 2 years...) Since then, I guess I've subconsciously operated under the idea that I could do a little less than everything. But, only recently have I realized that might also be an unrealistic expectation.

What I'm saying, I suppose, is that I've been struggling with some depression I think. I say "I think", which is weird considering I've had depression the majority of my life and intimately know what a bitchwhore it is. But there is an anger to what I'm feeling now that I'm not used to. A resentfulness.

For those of you who don't know, I'm a teacher by day. As I mentioned a bit in my previous downer post, I had an absolutely wonderful summer where I was able to rest, spend time with my family, and have enough "energy" to do a number of things I love... all in one day! ONE DAY, people! My God, it was AMAZING. But school has started back up and I am back to being an exhausted, pale, zombie. I can barely get through work, I can't do anything when I get home, and I'm so tired that I am snapping at my dogs and my husband. I hate that.

I love my job... usually. But I've absolutely loathed it since I've gotten back. Because I am chockfull of prickly, rage-y resentment. I've been looking at my job as the culprit -- that it has taken away all the ability and energy I had to do things over the summer. It's not my job's fault, though -- it's dysautonomia's. But how can I be resentful to that? It's not like it will solve anything. It's not like me saying, "Dysautonomia, I'm so fucking sick and tired of you. I've put up with your crap for so long and I'm just fucking done" will actually solve anything, you know?

I've worked so hard at trying to accept things because I know mulling everything over and being mad won't do anything except expend my already small well of energy. Hell, I wrote an entire blog post about it here and here.

But, emotions are emotions sometimes, I guess. I've spent a life fighting them when they just want to be, and need to be, felt.

I know other people with dysautonomia would LOVE to be able to get out and have a job. I know this. But... it's like maybe all of us have an idea in our heads of what it means to us to "live". Is it so bad to want such things? To want to come home and romp with my puppies and be able to cook dinner and write? Because it feels like it is.

I'm rambling. I do that a lot. I really have no idea where I'm going with this post or what I'm trying to say or even if there IS anything I'm trying to say. Other than we've been dealt a crap hand. Lots of people have, yes -- but that doesn't change that we have our own, unique, crap hand, too. And it makes me sad. I'm sad and I know you understand my sadness. I'm sad but I know it will get better because it always does. But it is hard. It is hard when that sadness settles in a little deeper.

So maybe all I can do is feel it. To accept it all, even the resentment and sadness. Because even sadness lets me know I am still alive.

Chronic Trading

You know, for the most part, I'm a fairly positive person. There is so much to look forward to and so many things to be happy about and excited for... somedays it's almost difficult not to be positive.

But then there are days where things catch up to me.

Today is one of those days.

I am fully aware how incredibly, insanely, ridiculously blessed I am. But it's just-- I want to do so much and it is so difficult for me to not be able to.

I have always struggled with limitations, though. The entirety of an eating disorder is ignoring limitations. I pushed myself too hard for too long in the most unhealthy ways and now, dysautonomia has forced me to respect my limitations. Because if I push myself too hard or too long, even just a little bit, I am immediately sick and bed-ridden for days. Sometimes, weeks. Hell, when I was really sick, overdoing it had me out of commission for months.

After a long, relaxing, beautiful summer, I'm back at work. And I love my job. But, working full time now means all that "energy" I had to do things I wanted to do, like write and go on runs with my dog and watch my husband play hockey, is gone. Now, it is reserved only for my 8 hour work day (and I can barely make it through that). I get home and I'm too exhausted to take my dog for a walk. I am too tired to even think about writing or editing or typing up a blog post. All I can do is sit on the couch and think about all the things I want to do but can't.

It must be so damn awesome to go to work and then come home and have enough (any!) energy stored over to make dinner or read a book or hang out with your family. To get to do all the things you are passionate about doing, and to do them, rather than having to pick and choose which ones you can manage. Not knowing when, or if, you'll get to the other things you love any time soon.

It wasn't long ago that I couldn't even get up and move around my house, let alone hold down a job, though. And that is something that is never far from my mind. And oh my God I am SO grateful that I am able to do what I'm doing now. I realize my health and situation and everything are things other people, who are in far worse situations, would envy. I get that. I do.

But some days it's like I just have to acknowledge it. That instead of keepin-on keepin on, instead of drowning in positivity and unicorn dust and bunny farts, that have to accept that the whole situation can be pretty shitty.  That it is really hard to have so many things I love and so many people I love and to not be able to throw myself into all of them as much as I want to. That somedays, like today, it is heart-breaking to have a chronic illness where you have trade parts of your life in for another.