Tag Archives: healing

The Best and the Worst (Sexual Assault TW)

I’ve taken a break from blogging on this site for the semester– I’ve been blogging about math (my major at college) instead for a bit of a change.

What have I been doing? I’ve had both some of the best and some of the worst times of my life in the past six months.

The Worst:

It seems almost comical to have to add this to my list of problems. I was sexually harassed this summer by my boss at work. It took me over a month to realise what was happening, and to realise that my being so uncomfortable with what was going on was not okay. I’ve spent every bi-weekly counselling session this semester dealing with the emotional consequences of my summer “relationship.”

I wrote a poem in August when I was just starting to get out of the mess. At the time I felt SO GUILTY about what had happened– there was so much hurt existing between me and my boss, and between my friends and family who I’d been lying to. I felt completely responsible. The poem includes the line:

I wish I could erase
me
from your memory
I had thought closing my world off from you
was to protect me
but really
it was to protect you.

It makes me sick to read that I ever felt that way. It was to protect me. If I could go back to the beginning of the summer I would change everything.

I have the loving support of friends and family now, it’s not a secret anymore, and I’m okay. I’m so grateful for that. I need the support, as even though I changed my phone number and have blocked numerous people from my facebook, the memories still come up at random times and take over. I still have nightmares. I still think about how things were left with me being emailed “I knew you were an unstable crazy girl, but now I see you’re a pathological liar too.” No. Just no.

There is so much I want to share about this sexual harassment experience. I’m still processing, and I think it will continue to be a long journey for me. I’m finally able to see myself as a victim and not as the problem, but that took months of therapy. There’s still a ways to go.

The Best

Maybe because of my experience with depression, I was able to do a really good job of compartmentalising the bad summer during this semester. Thoughts pop up out of my control and I discuss the problems during therapy, but I’m so lucky I’ve been able to have a normal life in between that.

I’ve been living and studying abroad in Budapest, Hungary for the past four months. I love it here so much. It feels like home. I love my friends, I love my professors, I love my apartment, I love this city and all the things in it. I fell in love with a new boyfriend. I’ve been having the best semester of my life.

And not because the semester was easy and full of partying. Not at all. I’m taking four math classes in addition to Hungarian. I worked on a bioinformatics research project about neural networks in the brain. We had three days off the entire semester, of which I made up every single class! It was a lot. But it was fantastic.

I’m getting ready to go home now, and I’m not really looking forward to it. I’m excited about seeing my family and friends from my home school, but I am going to miss all the people and things here, and I’m afraid to return to my hometown where I know I will be overwhelmed by memories of my harassment. It’s going to be a tough readjustment.

Hopefully with Christmas and the business of the holidays there will be enough to distract me and keep me feeling happy.

All my love,
–gb

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“Adequately Thin”

I have this “365 Days of Cats” calendar. (Yes. I have a “365 Days of Cats” calendar…)

The quotes can be weird, they can be random, but they usually do make me think.

Thursday’s quote read: “The way he treats his body, you’d think he was renting.” (R. Brault)

I really doubt it originally had anything to do with disordered eating, but the quote made me think about the way I treat my body.

In my nutrition appointment this week, my nutritionist and I were discussing how far I’ve come since the beginning of the semester. And really, I have come so far. I am much happier with my body and who I am. I exercise more, I feel stronger, I am enjoying food again, and I am allowing myself to feel pretty.

But. I do written stream-of-consciousness reflections as part of my healing process. I write for a few minutes without censoring or erasing anything. It helps me do an honest self-reflection. And sometimes things come out that you didn’t realize were there.

This week: “I feel much prettier now, more comfortable, and thinner. I feel like I am thin enough for my clothes now. I feel adequately thin.”

I am doing so much better, but there is still this insane obsession with thinness and fear of gaining weight. I am allowing myself to eat more freely and feel better about myself because I am thinner.

It is so complicated. My nutritionist and I are now working to keep my eating the same, but to shift my mental focus away from the ideal of being thin toward the ideal of being healthy.

I need to focus on being healthy— the way I treat my body, you might think I was renting. I need to take care of myself and love myself. Maybe that’s it. Maybe I like my body, but I still don’t love it.

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Power Naps and 5-Minute Workouts

Saturday, I was feeling really sad.

Honestly, I’m not sure what was going on. Probably a mix of being tired, nervous for a play I was acting in that day, overwhelmed by schoolwork, and all the usual other college-related stressors.

One of my good friends asked if I was okay, and if I wanted to talk. I didn’t. I didn’t have anything that needed to be said, nothing was really wrong. When I realized that, I knew I needed to do something to shake the clouded feeling that had taken over me.

In my years of struggling with depression, I know that when you have the cloud feeling but nothing is wrong, the only way to fix it is to stop whatever it is you are doing and take a moment for yourself. You can try to power through the feeling, but it won’t go away. I promise.

Saturday, I stopped, took a 20 minute nap, then woke my body up right after with one of the videos from the 5-Minute Workout Anywhere series (click for link–they’re pretty funny).

After doing those two things, which only took a half hour of my day, I was feeling exponentially better. Good, even! Excited! Ready to continue with everything I needed to do!

Yes, doing those two things took a half hour from what I had been planning on doing. But I know the increased productivity and happiness that came from my nap and “workout” were absolutely worth that half hour.

For me, Saturday was a good reminder that taking care of yourself is worth every minute.

Easier said than done? Yes, of course. But I am going to try.

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I like to pretend…

“I guess I like to pretend I don’t have this problem.”

I’ll be studying abroad in Hungary in the fall, and was discussing logistics about it during my psychiatry check-in this morning. I was feeling really good and comfortable with the plan we were working out–we figured out how I will get my prescriptions–but then she said to me:

“Yes. But what will you do if you are all the way in Eastern Europe on your own and you become symptomatic again?”

Oh.

I have no clue how, but that concept had completely slipped my mind. I had literally given no thought to what I would do if I was abroad and wasn’t okay anymore. I guess I like to pretend I don’t have this problem.

Even with my disordered eating habits, I have been doing so much better this year than ever before in my adult life. I feel so stable, so good, so in control of myself right now. I take my meds when I wake up, I go to nutrition and counseling check-ups, exercise, write in my diary, keep my food logs– I’ve found a self-care routine that’s working.

For the first time in my adult life, I know what it feels like to not live in constant fear of my illness.

I know I am so blessed and lucky to be able to say that. I never thought I would. But my appointment today gave me the necessary reminder that I will always, always have this part of me.

I will never outgrow my mental illness.

I will never be cured of my mental illness.

My mental illness will always be a part of who I am, and something I will always carry with me– even as far away as Hungary.

I’ve already had six years to try to reconcile myself with my illness, and even so, I’m still trying not to be angry about it.

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I wish I could tell you how much you’ve hurt me.

What do you do when the person you normally trust with things suddenly becomes the problem? When the person you love most becomes the person you need help dealing with?

It happens over and over. For me, two of the big ones:

Breaking up with my boyfriend.
My first reaction was to call him and tell him some jerk guy broke my heart. Then I remembered that it was him.

My anorexic best friend.
I usually talk to her about everything. She knows all my secrets and I know hers. But now, just looking at her makes me feel sick. It makes me so sad and it makes me feel angry. Angry at the world, angry at her parents, angry at everyone who has ever hurt her– now they’ve hurt me, too.

Time heals. With those two, my best friend is in recovery and we’re now as close as ever before. With my ex, we don’t talk anymore, but I’m okay with that. I’ve moved on.

But how long does it take to heal? And what do you do in the meantime?

This past weekend another relationship has broken for me. To simplify a complicated situation, I spent a very long night taking care of a very drunk best friend. She is okay, but it took more out of me both physically and mentally than I had. I’ve now shut down and am trying to recover and find my life again. I’m really hurt by the way things happened, and I’m really angry.

I hate being angry with her– I still love her so much. But right now I am not okay.

I have other friends who I’m talking to. I am taking care of myself. Everything will heal in time.

How long will it take? What do I need to do? I’m an impatient person.

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