Managing continued remission

Hey folks!

It’s been a hot hot minute since I’ve written a post specifically about remission/recovery. Most posts as of late are hike recaps with the random life update sprinkled in here and there, and some writing I’ve been sharing as I work on my book. But this topic felt extremely relevant as I sat down with my laptop.

DISCLAIMER: if you are in recovery from or currently struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating please read this post with you own self-care and best intentions in mind ♥

The last few months have been a rollercoaster. Actually no, the last year has been a rollercoaster. Between graduating, moving out of childhood home, living between three places for about two weeks, writing and publishing a research article, moving North, living alone for the first time ever, starting my business, leaving my part-time personal training job on the seacoast, finding a part-time job up North, losing health insurance (oh hey 26th bday), starting the book writing process, having one of my best gal pals move across the country, being diagnosed with endometriosis, and probably other things. It’s been a lot. Mostly good or wonderful, but A LOT.

Life transitions throw us off. All of us. It doesn’t matter who you are, your story, or how “strong” you are – transitions are pivots.

TRANSITION
PATIENCE
TRUST

Those have been the three words of the year.

It was the year of so many transitions, trusting that the universe would do its thing and trusting my intuition on what I knew were the right choices, and having patience in it all coming together.

Real talk: it’s been a lot.
Real real talk: I’m thankful to be so far along on the healing journey. With all the pivots, it has felt so much safer and more sustainable.
REAL TALK: there have been a handful of days where my brain is just like “can things puhlease settle down soon”, especially during the period of living between three places.

Then of course there is the settling into a new area. Meeting new people. Finding my humans up North. Becoming acclimated with the vibe here (it’s much different than the Seacoast).

A re-self-discovery if you will. Post pivot/shift/transition self-discovery.

I wrote a post back in 2015 titled being committed to recovery means that, and I do suggest reading that post as well. I’d say this current post is kind of a version two, five years later update on that post.

My two cents after five more years of this process have unfolded.

At this stage of my life (gosh this makes me sound old, ha!) the following practices are the ones that I try my best to implement as needed for self-care and supporting myself. Sometimes this means daily or weekly, or even monthly. It varies. There are so many factors which come into play such as overall stress levels, what’s going on in my life, etc. which influences how much I might need to check-in with myself and include some of the following practices. To start the list will be practices I tend to focus on daily and then I’ll get into other things which are helpful as needed and even some internal mindsets/dialogues that can be useful.

Nourishment – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. This one is broad so hear me out. Engaging in nourishing myself on all “wellness/health” levels. This takes time to cultivate a practice of but it’s FOUNDATIONAL for me. Think of a literal pyramid, these are the base, kind of like my “non-negotiables”.

  • Physical nourishment: movement that feels good to my body and mind, that is participated in out of joy not “should”; food – finding what my body feels best with and fueling it with these foods, listening to my hunger cues, and being as intuitive as I can.
  • Mental/emotional nourishment: sleep is a big one here for me, I need enough sleep. Checking in with myself about what I can do each day to best support myself – whether it’s writing, getting outside, taking a nap, listening to music, calling a friend, etc.
  • Spiritual nourishment: including activities which connect my mind/body on a deep core soul level.

Outdoor time – time outside daily, whether it’s a half hour or a full-day hike is helpful. Connecting with nature.

Love, space, grace – this is SO SO SO CRUCIAL. Love for myself for choosing myself and continuing to choose to keep going. Space for the process. Grace for what comes up during the process.

Writing – this has many forms. Book writing, blogging, poetry, journaling. All have their place and a big focus for me is knowing when I need which one. Some days working on the book is so right (and cathartic) and other days I just need to journal either to a prompt or free-write.

Therapy – I have a therapist. She’s wonderful. We sit on the floor, drink tea, let out a lot of “ugh’s”, and chat. Having a neutral human can be so helpful.

Being honest – honesty is a pillar of recovery. When I was in the depths of my eating disorder lying was crucial to the sustenance of the disorder. Lying to myself and my loved ones. Now, it’s being brutally honest (in the most loving way) to myself first and foremost about where I’m at and what my needs are. Sometimes it’s easier than others to be honest to loved ones, friends, people in my life. But most importantly being vividly honest to myself and at least giving a general idea to others.

Connection – ranging from self-connection which is most felt when I’m in a good spiritual health internal space, to friends/family/community. Connection to self and connection with other humans whose presence and vibe feels good.

Curiosity – when negative feels come up (because they do and will), getting curious about them. Why are they there? What lesson am I apparently going to learn? What can this teach me? No matter how much we go through as humans, icky feelings will always show up throughout life, navigating these with curiosity is something I’ve found extremely useful.

Understanding and acceptance – these two are rather helpful during periods of transition and uncertainty. Understanding that I may have different needs than usual, that some dark stuff may pop up, and acceptance of this and allowing myself to pull in the appropriate tools and support.

Check-in – so easily can we opt into auto-pilot or cruise-control without even consciously recognizing it. Making sure to check-in with myself every so often and do a kind of “inventory” on how things are going from the physical/mental/emotional/spiritual perspectives.

Asking for help/support – we’re not meant to do every single thing on our own. While this process is totally my own, it’s completely valid to ask for support in all of this.

“Extra self-love/TLC” – little things that make me happy. Podcasts, hula-hooping, candles, essential oils, dancing, laughing, reading hiking books and blogs, accupressure mat, hanging out in child’s pose on my living room floor, bird watching. These help.

There are many more I’m sure, but these are the main ones coming to mind as I type this post. One of the biggest points I’d like to mention is how this is all a journey. A healing journey. A self-discovery journey. It’s a trail that is walked, sometimes over hills or mountains, sometimes rivers are to be forged and storms are to be managed, other-times you experience the rays of sunshine and fields of wildflowers. It’s the process of walking the trail home to yourself that makes it beautiful and wonderful.

I’m not sure the trail ever ends, and I’m not sure I want it to either. The further I walk, the more I learn about myself, the more I heal, and the more I grow into everything I never imagined possible.

Keep walking.

“Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what’s out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it.”
– Pema Chodron

Sarah thoughts

Hey folks!

Happy Wednesday. Sharing some more writing today with all you lovely humans who read my blog ♥

The fire will eventually cease to be stoked.
The fire being the internal battle,
with our demons,
our darkest stories,
our trauma.

The demons never go away.
The dark stories don’t magically disappear.
And the trauma, it remains.

These things can’t be changed.

What can change,
with time, understanding, grace, and a fuck ton of love for our own self and our process,
is a different path.

I could have stayed on the path I was on in 2012.
I could have kept holding that trajectory for my life.
I could have decided to keep placing the voice of the darkness and the trauma just slightly above the voice telling me that somehow, even though I didn’t know how at the time, healing was and is possible.

Healing is time.
It is layers.
It is like an onion.

The things I have learned in the past seven years make it all worth it.
It’s incredibly painful.
Honestly more painful than the darkness and the demons because I’m no longer numb to all of it.

But it’s worth it because I feel so ridiculously alive,
in touch with my soul,
in touch with nature,
and experiencing joy and stoke instead of fear and shame and numbness.

I’m not sure if healing is ever over.
Our process is never over.
It’s not a static thing.
Just like we as humans are not static beings, we are very dynamic.
Therefore our healing and our process is dynamic.

Forever morphing,
as we gain more insight into our story.
Ebbing and flowing,
as natural life changes occur and seasons occur.

We exist in cycles just as nature exists in cycles.
There are seasons for growing,
expanding.
There are seasons for healing,
grace,
love.
There are seasons for doing the deep work,
and feeling like we are barely bobbing above water.

While it’s all a continual process,
sometimes harder,
other-times easier.
It feels lighter compared to when the fire was always being stoked.
The fire will go out,
and it will probably be out for a while before you realize it’s out.

Keep going.

Solo Mt.Tom – 2/9/20 & being a safe space for yourself

Hey pals!

Two solo hikes in one week. Two Winter 4000 footer solo hikes in one week. Who am I becoming? I’m not quite sure, but I dig it. I really really deeply dig it.

Pierce was a wonderful solo day this past Wednesday, and I think that hike set the tone for this one. Like I talked about in the Pierce blog post, it’s all the process.

Yesterday was MAGIC. Epic. Stunning. Narnia-land.

It was also gratifying, freeing, and comforting.

I woke up unsure if I was even going to hike. I knew of a few friends hiking various mountains, none of that felt right. I’ve been angsty the past few days. Lie. The past few weeks. It’s just been a little more in my conscious awareness the past few days. Knowing this, I knew yesterday needed to feel good on a soul level.

It did.

Ultimately I decided I would drive to Crawford Notch to hike something in the Tom/Field/Willey Range. Tom ended up being the decision, and while my ego wanted to go tag Field, I didn’t. Quite frankly, I’m tired of doing things purely out of ego. It’s self-deprecating and when I do things out of ego it gives the vibe to my being that the internal soul self is less important.

OVER IT.

I think ego is arguably the hardest component of personal growth to tackle.

It’s so intertwined. To everything. And it’s easy to live based off ego in the Freudian sense (can you tell I have a degree in Psychology/neuroscience 😉 ) without even recognizing it. There’s a lot of unraveling to be done when getting to the core of why we do what we do – like peeling an onion.

Mt Tom summit

So, Mt. Tom hike from Crawford Notch: a lovely 5.8 mile frolic through the woods using the Avalon trail, A-Z trail, and Tom spur trail.

I LOVE the Tom Spur, it begins as dense trees and slowly opens up as you near the summit. While A-Z trail for about the half mile before you get to the junction with Tom Spur is consistently moderate, the Tom Spur is a lovely section of relatively easy trail.

I met some wonderful folks along the Spur, one who is also in the NH Women’s Hiking Group on Facebook, and two others who referenced themselves as “seniors”, ha! It was great to have conversations with all of them. This is one aspect of solo hiking I love – conversations with other hikers. When hiking with friends I rarely spark conversation with other hikers outside of the usual “hi”, “hello”, “happy hiking”, but when solo it can range from meeting new hiking pals to learning about what got someone into hiking, it’s so fascinating.

The other parts of this hike were, for the most part, me myself and I. Alike the recap of Pierce last week, this is another nontraditional hike recap.

Tom Spur Trail

When I first began solo hiking two years(ish) ago, I didn’t really enjoy it. There was some fear of the normal things one might be afraid of when being alone in the woods, but mostly I didn’t feel comfortable alone. I couldn’t necessarily pinpoint the discomfort at this time.

Being alone, in solitude – it’s a lot. You are all by yourself, in nature, with your body and mind. As a highly introspective and aware human being, this is overwhelming.

It was overwhelming because I didn’t feel safe in my body and mind. I still needed some level of detachment.

Avalon Trail

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so introspective, self-aware. Some of this is an innate tendency. I was a highly aware kid. Journaling and writing were practices I naturally adopted around age 12-13. Part of it is having experienced a near decade long battle with anorexia and working my way out of that. And part of it is what comes with doing personal growth work. But it can be lonely, isolating, painful. The more you understand yourself, it can, for a period, feel like nothing makes sense. This is an interim.

It’s understanding your own values, belief systems, intuition, and being able to honestly and gracefully call oneself out.

It’s not running from the dark that will come up.

This work – I wouldn’t go back and undo any of it. Because it really is the answer of why I’m able to actually help people. Because I’m doing the work, and I’m able to give space for people doing the work, and actually understand that it’s a long haul process.

This doesn’t make it easier.

Tom summit

I’m often asked if I’m afraid solo hiking. My answer has always been no – partly because I don’t feel like hearing peoples concern if I say “yes” and partly because even with some degree of fear it has still overall felt safer than general “front-country” life. My answer may soon shift to no because there really isn’t anything to fear if you trust your judgement and let go of ego/”shoulds”/”have to’s”/are aware of weather and surroundings.

I was grabbed by someone at work a few weeks ago. A male, 60’s-ish. I work in retail. THIS IS NOT OK. This is also reality. This happens. This contributes to the lack of feeling unsafe, from a different angle.

As someone who has been through a lot of darkness I still was taken back by this. And, honestly, I shouldn’t have an inkling of “oh well it is what it is and I can handle it”. It just isn’t ok. I’m tired of normalizing.

This shines a bright light onto why I am becoming more into solo time in the woods. I need time with my brain and body. I NEED them to be online with each other. I need to feel safe in my brain and body, because they are both mine and nobody can take that from me.

My fave Spur trail

Yesterday I found myself incredibly curious. Curious of what I would see around each corner. Curious of if I’d see any wildlife. Curious of how many mountains I’d end up summiting. Curious what would come up in my brain.

Solo hiking is incredibly healing when I stay curious and feel safe in my brain and body.

I’m learning that the level of detachment I used to still need, I don’t need it anymore. Rather, there is more of a craving towards more attachment and understanding. Less running from the feelings, and more embracing and thanking of them for being there.

The fight/freeze response I would often historically experience, it’s becoming very rare these days. It’s still here, in my physical body and mind, but avoiding it isn’t the answer. I felt it at work that day, and each shift for probably a week after. Our bodies know. Allowing this side of my being to feel safe is the answer.

Running from it only exacerbates it. No matter how good at running you are. It will catch up.

Oh hello Mt. Washington

The clouds are always moving, branches and pine needles rustling in the wind –

but you don’t notice until you stop to watch.

I didn’t notice I didn’t feel safe in my body and mind until I felt it. And, I FELT IT.

Likewise, I didn’t notice I felt safe until I stopped and watched the clouds. This is literal – I stopped on the A-Z trail headed back to my car and watched the clouds for close to probably five minutes.

In awe, content, happy, and SAFE.

There is a sense of becoming a home for myself.

“Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.” – Bethany Hamilton

Paradoxes

Hey blog fam!

As I progress further into book writing land (real talk – anyone reading this who has published a book please contact me), I will be sharing some of the work going into it – whether it ends up in the book officially or not.

Cheers to the first snippet being shared 🙂

I am a collection of paradoxes:

Reserved but edgy.
I have a calm and mellow side
and a stoked on all the things/chase all the squirrels side.

Kitchen dance parties start my day
meditation ends it.
Scattered yet freakishly precise.
A hummingbird and a hawk.

I enjoy indie and rap music equally
—> for different but the same reasons
—> Indie for yoga, rap for lifting
—> both to connect with my soul

Magic and muscles.
Solid home yoga practice but will go all in any day on a heavy lifting sesh.

Sarcastic and sassy as hell but an empath.
I yell a lot but love love and real hugs.

Zodiac and woo-woo but wrote a paper on the Psychoneuroendocrine factors in menstrual dysfunction.
Universal synchronicities and science.
Spiritual and nerdy.

I feel broken but whole – simultaneously.

In a world that boxes people,
I’m in too many boxes.

Everything feels too much.
I feel too much.
Nothing is enough.
I am not enough.

But it’s the only way.
There is no other way.

This is my way.