Therapy Monday!

Today’s Mini Goal: Wake up early enough for my run tomorrow so that I am not rushed to get out the door for class.  I hate when I’m eating breakfast, checking my email, and brushing my hair at the same time, but this always seems to happen.  I guess I need to wake up a few minutes earlier.

Today was a rest day, thank goodness.  My body was totally craving a day off.  I did a good amount of walking (2 miles?) and might do a bit of yoga before bed if I find the time.  Gah, I hate being so busy!

Lots of fun eats today:

Breakfast: strawberry-banana chobani with strawberries, bananas, warm cinnamon h2h cereal, and almond butter blob.  Taste was wonderful; the fact that it was eaten the library was not so wonderful.

Lunch.  Also had a bit more cereal.  FYI, the frozen yogurt mountain was originally way taller, I just couldn’t wait to dig into it until I got home!  And that sammie is pb and spinach.  Both pb and ab go really well with spinach in sandwiches.

Can you see the pb peeking out?  Afternoon snacks included a few nuts, an apple, and half of one of my homemade bars.

Dinner: Squash bowl!  I steamed the squash in the microwave then filled it with spinach and leftover veggies from last night (onion, mushroom, broccoli, rainbow chard).  All topped with leftover salmon, ground lamb crumbles, and hummus blob.  I was really craving protein and was cooking up the lamb tonight anyway, so I threw a bit on top.  This was perfect.  It was also nice to get in so many veggies at once!

Dessert: no picture because I didn’t consume it until after I started this post, but it was one of the best dessert combos ever!  Chocolate oikos, spoonful of DCD, and sweetened shredded coconut.  Nom nom nom nom .

Woe, I think I just covered a whole day of eats.  Interesting.

As I was eating my healthy, but admittedly meat-filled dinner, I felt a twinge of blogger guilt. So many bloggers seem like they have perfect vegetarian or vegan or raw diets, and I just felt a little…bad?  This is the first time I’ve ever felt that way.  But I also know that eating meat is something that really works for my body, sort of like Heather, and that I try to do so as ethically as possible (organic/local/wild/free-range/whatever).  I don’t actually think I’m feeling guilt so much as…different, maybe. I don’t know.  Thoughts?

Therapy Monday!

No matter how distraught/tearful/full of confusing emotions I am when I leave therapy, I always feel a deeply embedded sense of comfort afterwards.  If all other aspects of me fail, I know that at the very least, my therapist believes in me (sad, but remember where I’m coming from).  I relish that feeling of comfort; I’ve realized that although I have definitely come to a point where I have days or even weeks of happiness, I haven’t quite reached a place of comfort.  I love my friends to death, but I don’t always find comfort in them, and I am not the best at comforting myself.  Basically, happiness isn’t the same as comfort; they’re two different (but not incompatible) ways of being, and I want to experience both of them.  I’m actually really happy that I am able to identify that.  So much of therapy, for me, has been learning to identify things that I want.  It sounds so simple, but that’s deceptive: our emotional wants are extraordinarily easy to neglect, which is precisely what I did for the first nineteen or so years of my life.

I have begun to adopt a new habit whereby I allow myself to recognize moments when I am proud of me.  I think I mentioned yesterday that I talked with a nice guy on my floor for a while, and I told my therapist that I am proud of this fact, but also a bit ashamed of such pride.  I’m an extremely capable and competent young woman, shouldn’t meeting men, flirting with men, being around men be easy for me?   No.  I do not come from a place where men have been consistent and safe and happy and, until I was about 16 or 17, I didn’t understand that men could be these things.  So I talked to a boy.  For a while.  And I didn’t panic.  And I am proud of this.  And that’s okay.  I hope to be able to transfer this new ability to say “I’m proud of me” to other areas of my life.

I am about to say something that is intentionally vague.  I hope that it isn’t vague to the point of being unintelligible, but it’s something that I need to say without hurting anybody:

There have been people in my life who have struggled with addiction — drugs and alcohol, primarily.  These people suffer from diseases (alcoholism is a disease) which they have not always been able to manage.  This inability to manage said disease leads to an inability to manage large components of one’s life.  This inability of important people in my life to manage their lives has affected me in a million ways.  More than a million, probably.  Basically, I have issues with trusting men and putting myself out there.  I do not blame the (recovering) addicts in my life for my issues at all, but that is the place where I come from.  And at times that is a very very painful place.  I have been trying to think of a way to say this for weeks now, and I feel much freer now.  So much freer.  This comes up in therapy basically every week.  At times I felt unloved.  At times I have felt desperately alone and abandoned.  My relationship cues have been totally off; while my parents are deeply loving, they have been divorced since I was young, and I haven’t seen a lot of other beautifully happy relationships since. I was 17 the first time I felt like I really saw and understood a successful romantic relationship (that of my mentor/teacher/friend who basically saved my life in high school). He and his wife seemed to love each other so perfectly, so roundly.  I was totally in awe of it.  In a lot of ways he was an alternative father figure to me, and I needed him so very much at the time.  I’m not sure how to quantify just how much he helped me, but he had this incredible ability to understand my “issues” without me ever saying anything.  I hadn’t thought about this man in a while until I started telling my therapist about him today, and then I realized that I have seen a relationship that works.  Even if it’s only this one, I have seen it, and I remember it very clearly.  I always will.

Okay, moving on to happier things!  I spent a lot of today’s session telling my therapist how happy I was yesterday, and for the first time, I really began to understand how much I have the power to make myself happy.  I have to take care of myself.  This is something that I know I can do.  This afternoon, I made a list of things that make me happy, so that when I am depressed, I can take a look at my list and pick something out and, hopefully, feel a little bit of joy.

1. A mug of cocoa or jasmine tulsi tea in the evening.

2. Snuggling up in the corner of my bed with a bunch of pillows, my stuffed duck Herbert, and a good book or movie.

3. Frozen yogurt with chocolate chips.

4. Oprah magazine.

5. The process of creating new recipes and cooking ingredients in fun new ways.

6. Talking to my friends in low-key settings.

7. Doing the crossword and the Sudoku from the newspaper before bed.

8. Yoga classes, especially finding my balance in half-moon pose.

9. Running in the spring when the buds on the trees are about to open up.

10. Neck and head massages.

11. Drawing with pastels and smudging the colors together.

12. Aimlessly exploring fun new neighborhoods in the city.

13. Smiling at people who look like they’re having a bad day.

14. Pretty jewelry and hair accessories.

15. Leaves, rocks, seashells, loose flower petals: finding things from nature and taking them home with me.

16. Learning new things about myself.

17. Learning what my body is like.

18. Playing; acting like a kid and not caring what people think.

19. Water: rivers, oceans, puddles, bathtubs, etc.

20. Lattes, because you can’t actually taste the coffee.

21. Talking to family members on the phone, especially my youngest cousin.

22. Watching the students I teach college prep to suddenly grasp a new concept.

23. Listening to classical music or good hip-hop.

24. Being Iranian because it’s unique and comes with lots of interesting traditions.

25. Shopping for new kitchen appliances.

Making my happy-list was wonderfully refreshing.  I totally encourage you guys to make one, even if you don’t struggle with depression or emotional health.  It’s just a nice thing to have around.  I’m going to pin it to my wall by my door.

I have no idea where all these post-therapy thoughts come from, but sometimes it feels like they’re flying around in my head like rabid bats until I write them down.  I actually really enjoy blogging about them because it helps me keep things straight.  I hope it isn’t too painful/sad for you guys to read them.  If so, let me know.

That’s all for this busy girl on a school night! I hope you are happy, healthy, and well!


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sophia
    Feb 22, 2010 @ 23:31:28

    I loved your happy list. And I loved this post, how well-thought out it is , and how thought-provoking it is too, abt the difference bwn happiness and comfort. I haven’t thought about this, and I’m glad you raised it up!
    It isn’t too sad/painful…it’s rather fascinating!


  2. EE
    Feb 23, 2010 @ 00:22:29

    I’m motivated to have the kind of marriage you observed years ago.

    You are a wealth of good ideas. Hope you can treat yourself to some of these happy things!

    Hope to read about your cultural traditions, too.


  3. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce
    Feb 23, 2010 @ 00:57:58

    i always look forward to your therapy mondays! many people in my life have struggled with addiction too, but it’s amazing how much we can learn from their struggles. so closely related to EDs too. it’s great that you always feel comforted when you leave T, and that she believes in you! i love squash bowls, heck yes!


  4. Sarah
    Feb 23, 2010 @ 02:52:11

    I too look forward to your therapy mondays 😉 I always believe that a good therapy session should be somewhat challenging, difficult, and sometimes distressing, but ultimately satisfying. I found my best therapy sessions were hard and uncomfortable, but no pain no gain and all that jazz!

    Your happy list made me smile reading it, I used to do those all the time in treatment, maybe I should start again…

    Sarah x


  5. Lauren @ BIOCHEMISTA
    Feb 23, 2010 @ 08:47:44

    I LOVED reading your list of things that make you happy! I think it’s such a great idea to write these things down from time to time as a reminder. Keep up the good work girl 😉

    xoxox, Lauren


  6. Maggie
    Feb 23, 2010 @ 09:56:00

    Wow. Your list is pretty much my list 🙂

    I need meat. I love lamb. I have been vegetarian and vegan and raw and none of them worked for me. I don’t feel bad. I used to, but I don’t anymore. (Or at least I fake it til I make it and tell myself I don’t feel bad.)


  7. Katie
    Feb 23, 2010 @ 11:02:17

    I love your list 🙂 It’s so cool that you’re Iranian – I like the fact that I’m half Irish, but that’s not nearly as exotic around these parts of the world 😉

    I’m vegetarian but I don’t believe that’s best for everyone. For example, going raw would play havoc with my digestive system, because I have IBS and can’t tolerate a lot of fibre. I also think it would put me at huge risk of relapse with my anorexia. Forcing yourself into a diet that doesn’t make you feel good isn’t healthy at all, health is doing what is right for you, and in your case that’s eating meat. It’s great that you have worked that out!


  8. Joanne
    Feb 23, 2010 @ 13:17:47

    So many good vibes from this post! Your eats look so good. I SO am craving a squash bowl now! And you should NOT feel guilty about eating meat. I like to think I have a pretty well-balanced diet and I definitely am a meat-eater. Not as often as most Americans but often enough to count. And I’m damn proud of it.

    I recognize things that I’m proud of all the time, even if they are little things like not having ED thoughts about some random thing. Or even just getting up the nerve to talk to a guy. It’s the little things that count.

    Love your list of things that make you happy!


  9. Christy
    Feb 23, 2010 @ 15:28:52

    I love your list! Check out It is a funny and happy sight. It has great prompts and ideas to get the writing juices flowing. I check it out almost every day…..and it makes me smile 🙂


  10. homecookedem
    Feb 23, 2010 @ 16:38:10

    Hey there! Thanks for stopping by my blog!! 🙂 I just wanted to let you know that you should not compare yourself to how other food bloggers eat. You know yourself better than anyone else know’s you. I tried being vegetarian, but it wasn’t right for me. There is nothing “wrong” with eating meat. There’s also nothing wrong with not eating meat. Everyone is an individual and has indiv. needs and even though I know it’s hard to not feel guilty when you see a blogger eating all vegan or all raw. In my opinion, it does not make them better than you or me, it just makes them different. Think about it that way next time you start feeling the guilt creep in. Your perfect just as you are! 🙂


  11. homecookedem
    Feb 23, 2010 @ 16:39:06

    So, so many typos in that comment. Haha! 🙂 It’s been a long day, sorry… 😉


  12. Kate
    Feb 23, 2010 @ 17:33:08

    i was trying to convince the kids in my before school program today that they should try mixing their cereal and yogurt. they were so not having it. foolish youth!

    i really like reading your posts. they are so thoughtful and i think it is great that you are able to put into writting the emotions/thoughts that you are experiencing. and i love you happy list!


  13. pen
    Feb 23, 2010 @ 18:07:29

    I love your therapy mondays! I had a therapist who had me make a list like that a few years back and it helped a great deal. You’ve inspired me to make a new list (I have no idea where the original is now…)

    Hope you enjoyed doing some nice things for yourself!


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