Further north into the Rockies: a change of mental scenery

I finally did it. I booked my ticket for Montana today to go stay with my aunt. I am leaving  this weekend.

Glacier National Park - I'm not going this far north but isn't it beautiful? 🙂

I am scared to leave my home. And I DO love my home. But I live with my parents and I kind of need to stop thinking of this as “my” home. I am 25 years old.

Every time I have lived here, or stayed here for an extended period of time, since I left for college at age 18, this same sort of pattern has happened.

I think it’s because I don’t feel like an adult when I live here. I feel like a kid. That unconsciously lowers my self-esteem and confidence and then I get afraid. When I am afraid, I don’t believe I can do things on my own. I don’t believe I have control over things. All of these feelings build up unconsciously and manifest in my binge-purge behavior.

I told my mom this once. That I always fall apart more than usual when I live here. I get depressed, I feel like I can’t think straight. She got so upset…”What is so horrible about living here? I don’t understand. Don’t we have a good family?”

The thing is, I DO have a great family. I have a wonderful, close, supportive family. But something about living here that I have NEVER been able to define (but have been aware of since sophomore year of college) does this to me.

This would happen when I came home from college for breaks, sometimes even for a weekend. It would happen when I lived here in the summers. It happened when I lived here Fall 2007 after I had graduated and was working in the hospital lab.

The only exception is probably the summer right after I graduated college (Summer 2007) when I was totally manic and thus had a great time regardless of where I was.

When I met my boyfriend, I started staying at his place all the time and I was fine. Then I got my own apartment Spring 2008 and I was okay. Then B. left that May and things got hard for me. My sublease was up at the end of July. I moved back home. I was in and out travelling with B. so managed to do okay. Then in September and October 2008 I lived here again and I just fell into this same pattern. I did okay last summer/fall because I was in my DBT class, but after that…fell apart. Really fell apart when B. left. I would have done that no matter where I lived. At least I have a place to stay here because I couldn’t have worked for a long time.

SOMETIMES it happens in other places too, I am not going to deny that. But it doesn’t ALWAYS and it doesn’t last as long. I get out of it somehow, it is less frequent. I have other problems in other places. I am still anxious, I still restrict. But I don’t get into this binge-purge cycle where I can’t get out of bed and am so afraid of MYSELF that I am terrified to move.

I am talking in circles. I don’t know what it is. I always struggle, I always go up and down.

I do know that when I am with B., I feel the most safe.

Regardless of what other things I struggle with – with restriction, anxiety, depression, restlessness…and these follow me everywhere sometimes – one thing is for sure: an increase in bingeing behavior can be seen when I live here. This has been true for years. I don’t know why it is. It is the thing I most want to escape from because it steals all my confidence and makes me feel like I am not alive. It is the one thing that has brought me from despair to being suicidal.

So if I can go to a place where I am around people, am busier, and FEEL SAFE FROM THAT, I have to overcome all of my other anxieties about eating with people, where the pool is, being stuck inside, and adjusting, and go for it. Because most the time, when I get there, those other things I am anxious about end up being okay. When I am a guest in someone else’s house, I fare better somehow.

So my ticket is purchased. I feel more free today. After I binged and purged this morning, I thought…at least for a little while, I don’t have to be afraid of this every day anymore. It might happen one time, two times there. But I feel unmotivated to do it when I am with people, when I have to keep on top of things so I can handle each new situation, when I don’t have a room to hide in all day, when there are consequences because I have things to do.

I feel shitty today still, yesterday was the worst day I have had in a long, long time. But its going to be over soon. I feel like I am prepping now for this trip and I don’t want to do that again because I don’t want to ruin it. I want to swim here while I can still go whenever I want. I want to clean and get ready for the trip. I don’t have to be afraid of myself because I won’t have time to be.

I finally see something. Why am I forcing myself to get through this deployment like this? I deserve to go somewhere and distract myself to get through the rest. I keep reading my book, set in the early 1800’s, and thinking … when the ladies have a hard time, someone says, “Oh, come stay with me. We will get your mind off of things and go to parties and balls in town.” Yes, that is what I am going to do.

I see myself being waaay less anxious in the evenings – more distractions, something different.

I see myself being able to set up a good schedule with my aunt because I know she wants to swim too.

I like being in the presence of people that don’t know everything about my problems, but that I feel comfortable with (like they would be there for me if I needed to talk for any reason). Just good, kind, non-judgmental people.

My aunt is my favorite aunt because she is like that. She is so kind and caring. I also love my cousins up there. And I get to see my cousin’s new baby (well, he’s 6 months old now). I don’t even like babies! But I like this little guy… :). I think because I love my cousin so much, she is so happy (even though it was an unexpected pregnancy), and he is extra-cute for some reason.

***Roughly 71 more days until B gets home…I kind of prefer to think of it in weeks so 10 WEEKS! Then just another month until he comes back here to be with me.

***Maybe after Montana, I will go stay with his mom in Seattle. I am even more nervous about that for some reason, but it would keep me even busier. And she has been bugging me since March to come out, and I know it’s really important to her. Travel-hopping around has always gotten me through things in the past, it breaks up the time into manageable pieces. Then we will be together again and I will be on Cloud Nine!

Fact of the day: The theory is that the term “Cloud Nine” (meaning absolute bliss) comes from the US Weather Bureau. In the old days, they used a number system for clouds. Level Nine was the highest type of cumulonimbus, which can reach 30,000 or 40,000 feet and appears as beautiful white mountains in the sky. So, to be on cloud nine is to be at the very peak of existence.

Do you have a fact of the day for me? 🙂 I love random trivia.

Do you ever feel like you regress in your feeling of independence or adult-like behavior when you live with your parents (if you have)? My sister says she experiences this too – in a different way than me because she doesn’t have an eating disorder. She says she acts like a rude teenager and doesn’t clean her room when she lives at home. And she just has a more pessimistic attitude about being able to achieve things she is working on.

Have you ever forced yourself to have a change of scenery and get out of a rut? DBT says this works even in little ways – like getting outside or out of the house.


2 thoughts on “Further north into the Rockies: a change of mental scenery

  1. I love changes of scenery. I’m a huge fan of traveling, though I don’t do as much as I’d like due to work and school (and being 23). I’m actually going to Seattle for a week over Thanksgiving. I hope you can get out that way. It’s one of my favorite places in the states. And I hope you have fun in Montana! My best friend has been to Glacier a few times, and he says that area is breathtaking. I went skiing once at Red Lodge in Montana, and I’ll simply call it a failed attempt.

  2. Great post Katie. Just remember though that you can travel to the ends of the world – but unless you change YOURSELF, then things will eventually return to the same cycles. Trust me – I know.

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