now the calendar’s just one page

It’s the first of December today and it’s going to be a blink of an eye before 2018 rolls around, and I can’t help but feel like it passes so quickly. Yes, it’s so cliche and I say this every year, but it really does, and it makes me scared. I feel like I *just* relapsed but I actually relapsed in May, which means more than half the year was spent in this relapse, which yielded.. nothing. I’m at the same weight as I was before the relapse, but is that even a surprise anymore? I’ve been considering recovery, and yet, it feels like there are so many things in my way, I don’t know if I can do it. Do I want to fight? I don’t know. What do I want my 2018 to be? More relapse? More trying to lose weight? More obsessions and messed up eating and hiding in toilets purging? More isolating myself? It’s not a choice of course, but at this point it feels like this disorder is a part of me, a part of my lifestyle, and even if I wanted to change, it’s not that easy. Just like with depression, I’ve probably spent most of this year (and the 4 years before) in depression.. not that I know what life without depression is like anyway.

Time is flying by, and it makes me scared and sad. I want to make the most of the time I have now with these people around me, in this school, with my family- before everything changes. I was freaking out about turning 18 and look, now I’m turning 19 in 3 months. That’s insane. I mean, we’re going into our final year and then graduating soon, that’s insane as well. If I had a choice, I would want to do it all over again, I would want to put myself out there more, I would want to get to know my classmates more, spend more time with my friends. I would want to volunteer more, work more, do more. But alas, it feels like my life isn’t dictated by important events like everyone else, it’s dictated by the state of my mental health, dictated by what I was eating or not eating, how much I weigh. When I think about 2017, certain periods of time stand out to me, mostly the times I was really restrictive.. and I’m not sure why. Do I remember those periods better because I was doing better? Because I was more miserable? Or maybe those I just remember it better because it’s easy to recall- nothing mattered in my life but how much I ate and walked and exercised. Even now, it seems bittersweet, even now I miss it. And yet when I look at my instagram, there are the best moments of 2017- our devised drama performance, mine and clarissa’s 18th birthday, travelling to japan and seeing cherry blossoms/snow with mum, our finding fatin performance, the launch of lumiere, our family trip to Gold Coast. So much has happened, these amazing things that I loved, and yet what I remember most is the times when I was losing weight or eating x amount. I’m not surprised, but putting it this way.. it just seems sad.

I can look back and say I’ve come so far, in mental health, in life. I’ve survived. I cope better, I’ve learned, I’ve gotten through every bad day. I can count the number of times I self-harmed with two hands, I haven’t tried to kill myself or ended up in the hospital, I’m okay. And yet, most days I feel like the exact same person I was when I was younger, still chained by the same fears and same thought patterns and negative beliefs. I still feel inadequate in every way, still hurt that I will never be good enough, still hate myself, still isolate myself, still feel out of place, still struggle to rely on anyone emotionally or open up, still trying to lose weight and hoping that would be a magical solution, still triggered by family. I could go on. I feel like I’m not changing, and this hurts like hell to say. That despite every external change in my life, despite good times, despite times where my mental health was in a better place- ultimately I haven’t changed. I suppose this is why I always felt the ‘good times’ were temporary, the supposed ‘recovery’ was false because I never made any effort to actually recover, it was merely circumstantial that I was doing better. I haven’t changed, because I haven’t fought for it. Change isn’t just going to happen, not when we’re talking about years of beliefs and thought processes and mental illness. It hurts to think that I’m mentally and emotionally stuck here (even though I feel so stuck all. the. time.) and what if I’m stuck here for the next 5 years, or even the next year?

So now the calendar’s just one page, and there is nothing I can do about it. I can try to document moments as much as I want, try to record everything and take pictures and write, as I have, in fear that I wouldn’t make the most out of those precious moments. But what is the point of doing all that if I can’t even live in those moments? What’s the point, if all those amazing, heartwarming, filled-with-love moments pale in comparison to the times where I only ate half a bun on the day of my rehearsal or the mornings I woke up shivering (with no air-con) at the pre-u seminar, or the times when I was purging at 4am. I don’t even know what I’m writing this, because I’m not going to write this and then have a sudden realization that I should definitely make a change and recover and live life!! I feel like I should do that- be positive! and definitely recover! and be great at recovery and life!! (note: sarcasm). But you know, like what I learned in therapy, maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I just thought of this, but what if I’m a perfectionist when it comes to life itself? When in fact, life isn’t going to be perfect and I’m not perfect. What if I have all of these ~grand expectations of what life is supposed to be like, this perfect little image of what I want life to be.. when the reality might never come close? The literal cause of my long-standing relapse/recovery tormenting internal battle wasn’t because I truly wanted recovery but because I felt like I should make the most out of life, I’d already wasted so much time after all. And even when I decided I actually wanted recovery earlier this week, I had all these expectations, and I felt like I was failing at everything, at recovery. I think I feel like life should be perfect, and if it’s not, I’m doing something wrong. And I wonder if that’s stopping me from getting better, because I’m scared I will never reach my expectations I have of myself and of life.

I remember talking about this in therapy, all these ‘I should‘ statements I have about.. everything (myself). I just didn’t realise I did that to life itself as well. ‘I should make the most out of every moment, I should live well, I should give the best I can at everything, I should be happy, I should chase my dreams.’ And those are not necessarily bad things, but maybe they are bad when they turn into self-imposed perfectionist expectations. Because I beat myself up for not ‘achieving’ those expectations and my brain works in such a black-and-white way that if I’m not achieving those expectations, I’m inadequate and might as well be in the depths of hell. You see, I always have all these goals and expectations, of myself and what I want for myself. Every new year, and even every month or week, I set out all these goals.. not necessarily realistic goals. So, what if I let go of that? Underneath all the things I feel like I should want or should do, what do I really want? It’s hit me that underneath all the things the disorder wants, underneath all my expectations, underneath every relentless voice in my head- I don’t know what I want. I haven’t ever made room for, well, me. Even if I chose to try to really recover, it’s not going to be perfect, and I’m going to have to accept that. So what if I chose to let go more? What if I’m try to not be so hard on myself? And I keep referencing therapy, but it feels like what we’ve talked about is just about finally clicking- mindfulness, taking a step back from the beliefs and voices so that there is room for me.

Looking at my new tattoo, the cherry blossoms.. it means to me that life is fleeting and we should make the most of it, but it’s also about mindfulness and living in the present. It’s not about the pursuit of the perfect life or perfect moments, it’s about living and appreciating. So maybe that should be it. Living. Accepting that it’s not going to be perfect because these negative thoughts are still crowding my mind, these fears and even this unbearably intense self-hatred, it’s going to be there. That I still very very much want to relapse, to be sick, because that means something to me, because I need it to cope. But I also want to be happy. Honoring my feelings and thoughts, both the good and bad. It’s never a clear cut recovery/relapse- nothing is going to be easy anyway, so what do I want? I guess I’ll figure it out as I go. I hope 2018 is kind to me, but more than anything, I hope maybe I could be kinder to me in 2018, that I could grow in 2018, really just.. grow. Change. Make the most out of therapy (my last year and a half? yikes) and make the most out of family time and make the most out of DADP, but really just taking it a day at a time. Remembering I’m trying the best I can, remembering there are people around me who care, remembering I don’t have to listen to every thought in my head, remembering there isn’t always a ‘right or wrong’ thing, that it’s great to fight for life and good things and recovery but it’s okay if I’m not. This isn’t a ‘positive recovery post’, but somehow I feel like with this post I have made progress, through honesty and acceptance. It’s.. different. Let’s see how December goes, now.

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too much/ light

why is it so hard to be myself?

it seems like all my life i’ve been cutting myself up into pieces to fit into the boxes others create, throwing out the pieces they deem inadequate. too emotional, too unstable, too crazy, too impossible to understand in my parents’ eyes. not thin enough or talented enough or smart enough or cool enough or pretty enough for everyone else. and this little girl swallowed it all, turning these boxes into a self-imposed prison.

it’s not hard, not when you’ve always been alone. so painfully different.

when you spill and overflow in every direction, build the foundation of your soul upon feeling and intuition. when you see the world in a fundamentally different light. when you’re filled with too much to contain, too much pain and brokenness and darkness, too much love and life and light. you hold the world within your soul, a soul older and wiser than your years, a soul longing for life and growth and peace. you’re the kind of soul who wasn’t meant for half-hardheartedness, you love deeply and ache deeply care too much and think too much. you crave life, you live apologetically and fearlessly. you hold it all inside. prison turns into fear, and fear winds itself into chains that keep the door tightly shut.

prison turns into home, too.

so i continue to kill myself. slice away parts of my soul, turn the self-hatred into poison that runs in these veins, starve away life. i couldn’t stop if i wanted to- and i want to, so badly. I want to, and yet i find myself holding back, even when i try to allow myself to be. i rein myself in. too much. always too much, or not enough, i don’t know. 

taking away these chains would cause an explosion, and taking away this prison would take away home. too much. light can too, be blinding, when you’ve been in the darkness for so long.

why is being myself so painful?

someday i will find in it me to live again. i’m sorry i’m still scared. but i’m trying. i’m growing. i’m getting there.

home

She stretched out, leaned in

felt every inch of this body 

this home,

that’s become so alien

turned into a battlefield 

scars stay where love should be

a war, branded upon

she breathed in

out

she touched her soul once again 

looked upon the child still inside 

the multitudes that exist within her

right on the other side,

of paper thin walls 

close enough to break

one touch would let it all explode

let it all go.

she sees it, hauntingly close 

the answer is within, it has always been right here inside

there are mountains and galaxies

stories and magic, inside.

she wants to live

yet she turns away

quietly whispers

i’m sorry

i’m sorry for branding this war upon you

i’m sorry for turning home into hatred

i’m sorry I can’t find it in me to love you

to make peace, or find the courage to leave this illusion i’ve constructed 

i’m sorry I can’t come home,

not yet

Where do I go from here?

I had therapy today and I didn’t know how to feel about it. I was as honest as I could be, but not completely so with my intake and current state of relapse. I just didn’t feel comfortable talking about recovery when I’m in such a negative relapse-y mindset, and therapy can’t work if you don’t want to help yourself. The thing about my therapist though, she’s so close to me + she understands me so well that she always has a way of getting through to me. I’ve told her everything before, and she completely gets why I don’t want to recover & the functions my ED serve for me, and how impossible jumping 100% into recovery would be. She doesn’t expect me to recover now (she knows I don’t exactly want to) or make a lot of progress but she kinda pushes me gently in the direction, to try to take small steps? She’s just really really trying to help me and I feel bad for not even trying because I have zero motivation to recover right now.
Then again, going to therapy always makes a small part of me feel like I could try to move towards recovery. Having someone so understanding and validating really helps, she’s always been my safe place & she’s being super gentle and encouraging with this whole recovery thing. I really really wish I could do this too but I can’t, I know I need to want recovery for myself and I’m not at that point yet. I expressed this to her today again, that I feel like I need to just get to a stage where I’m finally ‘good enough‘ and I can just stop all of this. But I also said that I know that’s a lie, because nothing is ever good enough. She gets that. She also asked me to think about the negatives of restricting, and we talked about how I want to live and do things with my life but restricting food = restricting life and it kinda sucks sometimes. I told her honestly that I feel like I need to recover because life is passing by so fast and I don’t wanna miss out, I want to make memories with my family and friends now. I’m at the stage of my life where everything is changing (uni, moving out, going into my 20s etc) and I want to cherish what I have now and make the most memories. She pointed out that my ed is dominating most of my life right now and stopping me from doing what I want and well, I can’t argue with that. We talked about how I did over the past two weeks and she pointed out that despite the weight gain and breakdowns and purging once/twice, I actually did pretty well with intuitive eating and made a lot of progress. She pointed out that this shows that hard as it might be, I actually do have the strength/ability to recover. I just don’t want to, hahahah..We’re working on that too.

But today I realized, maybe I don’t need to have an answer now or label my progress, perhaps just trying is enough. Despite my ups and downs, and general reluctance to recover, on a whole I’ve actually still grown a lot and made progress in my mental health. Especially in the past 5 months when I really started opening up about my ed in therapy. I’m not in a place now where I want to recover or let go of my ed but maybe I can take small steps forward to challenge myself?

I also told her about how I finally acknowledged for a moment (instead of living in denial) that maybe I do need to be loved and I need people. That my family environment growing up affected me. But that pain inside is too much so I numb it with disordered behaviours and push people away. She could tell today, how numb I was feeling about everything. It’s all just really hard. I wish I didn’t have to deal with any of this. I’ll probably put all of this behind me for now though, I still have two weeks until I see her next. But I don’t know, today just made me think.. again. Even if I don’t chose recovery now, maybe she’s right, maybe I *can* try to take small steps forward or work on certain things. I might try, though it’s equal parts horrifying and terrifying and my ED brain is a downright bitch yelling at me. We’ll see. Over the past few years I’ve been floating on a continuum of recovery/sorta recovery/relapse but really do I want to recover eventually because I know I can’t live like this forever.. this is not that life that I want. ED is just hard to deal with. Really. damn. hard. I don’t feel like I deserve anything good at all. I want to get to my GW first. I don’t want to let this go. I hate the thought of being normal. I don’t know know how to want to recover. There is too much pain and I can’t cope without my ED. I know I’ll never fully be ready and at some point I need just push myself but when? But How?
Help.

maybe

You see, the thing with ‘good’ days like these, is that just makes me feel so.. ‘inside’ myself. I’ve been feeling more dissociated and distant than usual, it takes me a lot of effort to ground myself and stay in the moment. Otherwise, most of the time it feels like I’m watching everything around me happen like a movie, an invisible fourth wall between me and the real world. I’ve always been like that, part of it is just.. me. I naturally withdraw, I live in my own head and I observe. But this doesn’t feel right, somehow, I don’t feel like myself. I’m neither here nor there, I don’t feel like anything or anyone at all. I ‘laughed’ so much today at yet if you listen closely, you’d have realized how forced and hollow it really is. I have somehow faded into a shell, unknowingly. A side effect of depression, or restriction, or both?

tumblr_o2u41wLZAx1rpoo8ro2_1280I hate how much effort it takes for me to simply participate in life. Actually, I don’t mind being here, alone. As horrible as this might sound- I like where I am right now, safe and curled up with the disorder, numb and away from the world. It’s just that, I’m so hyper-aware of the fact that these are all precious moments that I need to savor. Deep down somewhere, I know the real me- wherever she is, she would want to live. Not survive, no, she is built for more than just surviving and always has been. She would want to live and be alive, and feel.

She is built upon emotions and her heart will always be a floodgate. She would tell me to live and love and feel, fearlessly, because life is way too short to be wasted like this. I’ll only ever be 18 once, only ever be right here in this moment once, only ever feel all things I feel right now once. I’ll never have another moment of laughing and talking in the carpark with Ms O and my friends again, never have another chance to be with these very people at these exact moments. I spent far too long in the dark, consumed by single-minded pursuits and an almost blissful unawareness of anything but my disorder, and what I (it) wanted.

I know, as I do with the simple certainty of this beating heart, that I have fought like hell to get to where I am today.

I am proud of how far I’ve come from those dark places. I have continuously faltered and stumbled along the way, and yet here I am, still here and worlds apart from the girl I used to be. But maybe that’s not enough, because here I am, still here with the same self-hatred and beliefs that have plagued me all my life. The same thoughts, the same desires, the same pain that’s never left. It’s almost too easy to slip into the shell of who I used to be, this pain that has come to fit me like a second skin.

tumblr_o2u41wLZAx1rpoo8ro1_1280I look back onto happier days & moments of joy, I look back and hold on as tight as I can. The funny thing is, those times weren’t really the rose tinted bliss I remember it to be. I know I was still struggling, the pain and self-hatred and disordered thoughts were never far away. I guess I simply chose to filter out the good bits to hold on to- I don’t have much– I’ll take what I can get and keep those moments locked away forever, somewhere safe.

I look back and I miss it all so much, I miss living and I miss being myself. I miss the days in the sun, those split seconds of pure, elevated bliss, those times where I’ve looked into the endless sky, or the ocean, and truly felt free. I have spent far too long in the dark and most days, it still feels like that. I’ve fallen countless times, risen to experience momentary sunlight or simply keep my head above water, only to fall again, sometimes harder than before.

I look back at wonder where all that.. life, went. Maybe restricting food, is also restricting life, and numbing pain, is also numbing life.

And yet, I need to remember I am not who I used to be. I was telling some friends, that our disorders grow and mature and change along with us. I might still be struggling, but I have learned so much about myself and my disorder on the way here. It is no longer a simple-minded pursuit of a single goal, it is a coping skill, an anesthetic, a friend- it is a something I don’t know how to get rid of. Now I know, it is so many different things. Now I know, there is life outside waiting for me and I can choose it if I want to, someday. If I’m brave enough.

Maybe it’s not just choosing ‘recovery’ or ‘relapse’ that matters, because how do you draw the line anyway? Over the past 5 years I’ve struggled with good times and bad times- times where the disorder was quieter and times where it was unbearably loud, times where I could almost pretend it didn’t exist and times where it controlled my entire life. The disorder morphed and changed, as I did. I was never in real ‘recovery’ and never made the decision to, and yet, I grew and learned, regardless. My ‘relapses’ aren’t real relapses because I wasn’t in recovery, but they’re still relapses from the better periods in life. Ultimately, it’s the journey that matters, the small things we choose to do, the words we choose to speak to ourselves with. I am broken, but, maybe not inherently so- none of us are inherently broken, it was simply the world that smashed us into pieces. Who knows, maybe someday I won’t have to break myself to try to find myself anymore. Maybe I’ll find it in me to fight to live again. I’m in a deep deep hole right now that I can’t don’t want to get out of, but maybe it’s not the end- it never really is. No hole is too deep to evade the sun’s rays forever, right?

paradox

why do I find myself constantly yearning?

for life and adventure and a momentary thrill

for love and sheer unadulterated bliss

yearning for deeper valleys and higher peaks

yearning for more

to hit a new goal weight, a new high, to see how far I can go

I don’t know if it will ever be enough.

why do I find myself attracted to everything that takes me away?

away from life, away from reality

away from pain

I run away in art and daydreams

in books and magical fictional worlds

in travelling and exploring

I run away in numbers and numbness and control

even if it’s just a mirage

I run as fast as I can, until I find myself

lost.

// I suppose that’s just who I am, and it manifests itself in different ways, good and bad. I see the good in everything, viewing brokenness through rose-tinted glasses- but I fall trap to idealism and escapism. I’m drawn to the stars and the ocean and the great unknown, I’m drawn to self-destruction and numbing pain- anything that will take me away. I find meaning in anything and everything, I see more and feel more and want more. Sometimes it’s never enough. This chaotic, kaleidoscopic soul of mine will take me on adventures and travel the world and climb mountains and meet people and learn and live. It will also lead me straight into the dark woods, jump headfirst into the rabbit hole and never find a way out, trapped by chains of fear and insecurity and the pure wrath of self-hatred. 

perhaps if you knew me, you’d get a better glimpse at how my eating disorder is a part of who I am, or how the best and worst parts of me are actually the same- and I can’t quite figure it out. 

fading into nothing

There is one particular disordered thought I’ve always had, but never quite been able to express to anyone.

I’ll recover only when I’m hospitalized

Because only then, will I ‘sick enough‘ to be able to recover, even if recovery has always been the long term goal regardless. Why has hospitalization always been a goal? Why do I crave all the physical signs of damage to my body, as if to prove something? Why is sicker, better? The endless tugging, desire pooling in the crevices and empty spaces of a heart left in pieces. Something inside applauds the missed period, the dizzy spells, the constant shivering and cold, sharp bones- while the healthy blood tests and healthy heart and healthy body leaves an inexplicable, stinging pain. And the most painful of them all? A healthy weight.

It’s not the kind of thing you bring up in everyday conversation.

The desire comes and goes in waves, but the fire never really put out. A part of me quietly shuns these thoughts and desires that nobody-can-ever-know, a certain shame in the knowledge that all of this exists in the workings of a disordered mind. Yet all the gears click perfectly in place. It makes perfect sense in the hierarchy of the disordered mind. If every dizzy spell and low number is an accomplishment, hospitalization is the ultimate victory. If I’m hospitalized, that surely means I’ll finally be sick enough. good enough. I’ll finally be good enough, for once.

That was my benchmark for recovery.

A part of me still wants to get to that point, but part of me also realizes how stupid it is to destroy myself and my body for a fake sense of control and a temporary peace of mind. I want move forward, and yet I want to fling myself as far back as I can before doing so, as if I needed to make the journey harder than it already is.

There are many times where I doubt it, the thought comes and goes, circling in an orbit- but deep down, I want to recover eventually. I need to pick myself up, stop being such a coward and chose to recover. I need to stop being scared of living and actually just fucking live. I need to stop being so absolutely terrified of happiness and everything good that I actually want. I’ve spent almost an entirety of my teenage years living this way, I don’t want to spend my whole life living surviving with these disorders. I need to recover eventually.

I need to, but I don’t want to.

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Yes, even after all these years and everything I’ve learnt- I still feel like I need to be ‘sick enough‘ before I can consider recovery. I don’t know what ‘sick enough‘ looks like or if I’ll ever even get there, but I want to try anyway. I want to wander so close to the edge that if I reached out far enough, I might finally soar. I need to. I need to just be good enough for once in my life, good enough at something. I need to be thin, I need to be sick, I need my body to fail on me. I need the numbness euphoria of emptiness. I need to fly and I can’t stop until I hit rock bottom. or maybe I’ll finally fly away from everyone, and everything , and all this pain, floating into nonexistence.

like a train going on full speed ahead, I couldn’t stop if I wanted to. I couldn’t even find the will to want to.

Perhaps I’ll never recover, or maybe I’m not even sick at all to begin with. Maybe I’ll never be satisfied, never be sick enough. Maybe the taste of heaven we’re so desperately searching for is but a highway to hell. The thing about living with an eating disorder, is that you’re not really living. A life dictated by numbers and fears and numbness is not much of a life at all. When I step outside of this disorder to look around, I realize I’m so very, very lost. At least the numbers are a compass, easy to follow, even if it leads me nowhere.

41 40 39 38 37 36 35

Will it ever be enough?

Will you find me then?

The very last voice holding onto reason

is fading into a mere whisper,

and the others growing impatient.

I’m sorry if I lose myself,

in an endless pursuit

for perfection and control

a rose-tinted portrait of your ultimate goal weight / like somehow, seeing that number would bring order to a chaotic mind world, make everything okay again

a taste of euphoria

a peace of mind

or simply, self-destruction?

numb the world / pretend everything is okay / something to hold onto / spinning until you’re off the rails

fading into nothing.

 

Though I suppose,

You can’t lose yourself if you’re already lost.

Whatever it takes

I just need to find myself,

even if it means going further into this labyrinth

and praying I come out alive.

Perhaps I should have stopped and turned around, but

perhaps this will take me where I need to be

i don’t know.

I just hope we find ourselves somewhere,

somehow

and all I can hope is at the end of it all,

I stumble outside the labyrinth

ready to live.

flavors of life

I see good things I cannot grasp,

laughing with friends over a meal after school

a mug of rich, hot chocolate on a rainy day

sharing an ice-cream sundae on a date

cooking grandma’s special chicken curry

having a the best sandwiches after a long walk

enjoying a cookie and a coffee, just because

a blissful unawareness of numbers

I see nuggets of happiness

head tilted back and laughter erupting

little fingers grasping onto mum’s hand

sunshine beaming through the foliage

people talking and walking

and living

Flavors of life.

I see the sunlight as I stay in the shadows,

comfortable and alone.

I don’t know what it means to live in the sun

how to grasp the good things,

life, and happiness, and freedom.

it’s not just restricting calories

it’s restricting laughter and memories

and all the flavors of life.

Bitterness, sweetness,

a melting pot of spices

warm cinnamon coffee and good conversations

takeaway street food and walks around town

chocolate ice cream and a long cry

freshly brewed soup and a family reunion

leftover cheesy pizza and disney movie nights

when did we start counting numbers

and stop savoring flavors?

I don’t know how to eat

i don’t know how to live

the woodland carousel

I had a rough morning, but I found myself picking myself back up almost immediately. Instead of self-destruction, I found a semblance of positivity and a hint of kindness to myself. I’ve been validating my feelings more often, slowly. Things have been really really hard, but I haven’t spiraled out of control like I once would have. Maybe it’s the therapy that’s helping, maybe it’s the medication, or maybe it’s just my stupid optimism and insight. And anyone would tell me- that’s great, I’m happy for you.

But I’m not happy for me. Not at all. I’m absolutely terrified. 

I’m terrified of any positive change, as if one good thought would suddenly make my illnesses go away. I need my illnesses, and the mere threat of losing them is unbearable. I’m terrified of anything that isn’t self-destruction and hatred because that’s all I’ve ever known. My brain refuses to accept anything less than self-destruction. annihilation. So what happens when positive changes occur? What happens when the work I’ve been putting in at therapy starts to help, what happens when all my insight and understanding starts to play a part, what happens when I start to validate myself and my feelings? What happens when I start to see things in a different, more positive light? What happens when I make progress without even wanting to?

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I never made the decision to recover and I still don’t want to. And yet, my mental health is improving in small ways. And yet, I still put in effort in therapy, I still choose positivity, I still chose to find beauty in small things, I still choose to do the right thing, I still chose to keep going because it feels like that’s just who I am. I am on fire, but I am still burning like the stars. inextinguishable. I am still burning, still going.

Don’t tell me it’s a good thing. Don’t tell me I should be thankful for my insight into my illnesses or ability to identify disordered thoughts. Don’t tell me I’m lucky that I understand an eating disorder and I understand recovery. Don’t tell me I’m resilient. Not today. I don’t want to be strong, I want to be sick. 

I very, very much want to be sick. I’m scared of losing my illnesses and my identity. I’m scared of being ‘okay’, I’m scared of being ‘normal’- don’t even get me start on the idea of being ‘happy’. It’s all so foreign to me. I say I’m scared of change but the thing is I’m really just scared I don’t belong there, because I’ve built myself a castle out of sadness and self-destruction. I’m scared that the truth is, I don’t deserve anything good. I’m scared of not living. I don’t know how to be happy, I don’t know how to live in my skin. I don’t know how to want to, or how to allow myself to even start to want to.

I just need to be sick. Sick enough, for once. Sometimes I find myself so desperately wanting to just be sick. And I’m scared I’ll never get there, because I’m getting better. My therapist said we didn’t have to run out of the woods towards recovery, we just have to work on staying where we are, and not go deeper. I thought I was okay with that, but I’m not- I want to see how deep I can go. I want to see if I reach the edge of the forest or fall off the map. But I don’t think I can, I’m not sick enough to get there. Besides, to do that would be to throw away everything I’ve learnt about mental health and myself and recovery over the past few years. To do that would be to let everyone down, to let go of the last part of who I am and let the disorder take over completely. To do that would be to destroy everything good I’ve held on to. I don’t know if I want to.

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The rational voice,

the whisper of hope,

the constant drumming of self-destruction.

I can no longer tell if they’re keeping me afloat, or rendering me immobile. I want to get better, I want to get worse. I want to get worse so I can get better. I want to get somewhere instead of forever being stuck in here sick-but-not-sick-enough. I just want to be something, anything other than sad and lost and tired. These woods are an endless maze, and I’m going round and round in circles.

author’s note: just wanted to say that these pictures are mine, so please do not re-upload without credit! i took them while hiking in Australia and thought they were a good fit for this post 🙂

if mental illness is a chronic illness that I’m going to have to deal with for the rest of my life, I don’t think i want to. I’m tired, i’m tired and it’s been 4 years (and maybe more) and I’ve already had enough. I see people in their 20s and 30s and beyond that, struggling with eating disorders and mental illnesses. I see mothers struggling in depths of their illnesses and i never want to go through that.

I don’t want to be a mother struggling, a uni student struggling, a wife struggling. i have spent all my teenage years struggling and i don’t want to waste my entire youth struggling, but how do i not? i need this to have an end point, but i see no horizon in sight and i could keep going like i always have, but long how until i say enough is enough?

i didn’t ask for any of this, i’m so tired. it’s no longer the kind of tiredness where the exhaustion runs in my bones, a weary heart fallen to the ground but the kind of tiredness that just is.