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.

it’s not a fault 

For once, my brain can’t really conjure up the right words. There’s not much to say I guess, just a familiar feeling. I think of every single goodbye I’ve said, all with varying degrees of pain/crying, but the same feeling every time. Just this… emptiness. It’s not even sadness, just a horrible numbness and the feeling that something is missing, knowing that nothing will be the same. It’s funny how I remember feeling the exact same feelings as when I was little and the years that came… I wonder if I’ll ever get used to it. I remember all of them so clearly, actually. Every single one, every single person. Some were temporary goodbyes, some were ‘I’ll see you again someday‘, many that would never return. But then again, I’ve survived all of my goodbyes so far. Even the most painful ones. I’ve survived the crying (so many tears all the time, because I’ve always been an overly-sentimental emotional wreck) and I’ve survived the emptiness and the trying-to-fill-the-emptiness.

I actually really like change.. as long as it doesn’t involve people- but it somehow always does. Sometimes I feel like goodbyes always hit me harder just because of how deeply I love people, and how deeply I get attached even in short periods of time. I feel like I always end up hurting the most… and I can’t imagine anyone would ever be sad about leaving or losing me anyway, I’m not much. Goodbyes always hit me too hard, I don’t think there’s ever been one that didn’t hurt. Sometimes I think that’s part of why I hate opening up or getting attached, why I hate feelings and loving people so much.. because I’m just tired of the pain or even the possibility of it. I often wonder if it will hurt when I’m finally the one doing the leaving instead of always the one being left. (I mean, even in with friendships/relationships, I’m always the one being left instead of leaving. it hurts to be the kind of person that would stick with people and stay/be there no matter what, and then realize not everyone is like that. heck, hardly anyone is like that. but that’s just how it is eh) Would it be freeing, to leave everything behind? I’m starting to realize that sometimes the reason why I want to leave this place so badly is so I can finally be alone and leave all the pain/people behind. Does it work that way?

But all that aside I think, along the way, I’m slowly learning to see things in a different light. People and memories are worth it. I don’t regret loving any of the people/things I’ve ever loved- friends, and teachers, and helpers, and family, and places, and people, even that cute boy who took your heart and shattered it. My therapist is right, that protecting myself from possible pain is also taking away the possibility of good things and all the things that I do want and things I care about. Perhaps it’s just a part of being sensitive, you simply go through higher highs and lower lows. I’m glad I have found people that are worth the pain of going through a goodbye for, I’m glad I have people that are worth the risk of getting hurt for, people worth opening up to. Everything so far has lead to something (the butterfly effect, remember?) and so many times, the most wonderful people pop up in the most unexpected of places at the most unexpected of timings, but solid friendships are formed anyway. I’m blessed indeed. Besides, not all goodbyes are forever. A lot of them have been, but I’m glad this one wasn’t one of them, which makes it a bit easier to cope. I’m still pretty sad, more than I would have cared to admit, but it’s gonna be okay. i’ve come to realize even sadness has a purpose sometimes. happy times ahead. img_5332As I work on processing these feelings and past memories, I realize nothing is really forever. Not people or places or feelings or depression or illnesses.. or life. Revisiting these feelings today, it made me look back and well- I really have been through a lot. I really have lost a lot. I remember all the times I’ve felt my entire soul being ripped apart, and I wondered if I would ever be okay again. Spoiler alert: I’m still alive and kicking!! I’ve gotten so much in return too, even if all that’s left are precious memories and bittersweet moments of looking back and feeling all the ghosts & empty spaces they left behind. I still miss everyone that’s ever left, every good memory and place that has ceased to exist.. sometimes I feel like my heart has just been trampled and left with too many empty holes to fill. But I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe that painful as it may be, change is necessary, that things will always come and go. I also realized how important impermanence is, because it makes it that much more important to treasure every moment and memory. That’s one of my biggest lessons from all the goodbyes. The ending exists just to make what we have now that much more important than it otherwise would. Just like how you can re-read a book but it will never be the same, ya know? I think the same can be said about life, if the end didn’t exist, everything would be pointless wouldn’t it?

I will be okay, after all. It’s been rough lately, but nothing lasts. It’s been rough lately, and I’ve lost sight of the important things for a bit, or maybe I’ve been trying to find it all along. But tonight has reminded me of all the good things, like people. I love people and it’s not a fault, it’s not a fault to feel. I remember my therapist once made this observation ‘I think you actually love people a lot, especially those you care about. Your heart is huge and you love so much, you’re just so scared so you just shut the world away and isolate and ignore your emotions. But you love people, you’re a people person.‘ I was shocked when she said that but she’s pretty spot on.. not many people would be able to say that, not even myself. Hey. People are good, ericia. Don’t shut people off. Don’t shut people off. It’s okay to get hurt, it’s okay to be vulnerable, it’s okay if you’re always gonna be a big softie at heart. It’s okay to not have to pretend to be someone else who’s heart is cold and feelings don’t exist. You’ve always wanted to be that person because if your heart was cold then nothing would hurt it as much. But that takes away the wonderful parts too and honestly you’ll look back and realize you regret nothing in this game of life because everything always leads to something else. I tell my friends all the time, ‘if it hurts, that means at least you were lucky to have something important enough for it to hurt to leave’. I think that’s very, very true and I’m very lucky indeed. Well, here’s to better days, forward.

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.

pursuit of happiness

I’m in love with places I’ve never been to, and people I’ve never met.

Wanderlust has always existed in my bones, it comes and goes like the waves, though it’s been hitting me more often than not lately. An ever growing bucket-list of places to go, an ache to just get away- somewhere, anywhere. I was talking to friend today, one of those rare people I’m not afraid to share a piece of myself with, and I realized… maybe I’m scared. Is there a part of me that’s scared to be who I want to be, a part that’s scared to leave, a part that’s scared to live? If you ever asked me, I would tell you without a doubt, I know who I am. I know who I am and that has never changed, and yet the edges continue to blur and morph with society’s expectations and my family’s expectations and my expectations. 

We are ultimately a product of our environment, aren’t we? I would like to think of individuals as entire constellations, and yet we are all trapped on the very same lonesome star, the same cycles and systems that keep us in orbit.

Would I burn up in this quest to turn into a shooting star? To live outside the universe, the cycles and systems that keep us in orbit. To burn as bright as I possibly can, while fading into the endless midnight skies. How is it possible to be, and not to be, all at the same time? I think I might know how

just go a little further

Maybe I’d burn brighter than I ever imagined, or maybe I’d fall off the map in this aimless pursuit. Have I ever mentioned, I suck at maps and grids and directions?

Maybe it’s time to find solace in the fact that we are a product of our environment, and yet, we could be so much more than that. I don’t want to be like them, I will never be like them. I don’t want to be a part of this system, a part of this society, a part of everyone around me and the same old ordinary. I am learning to say, some things are simply not for me, learning to say this is who I am and I don’t belong here. And I’m okay with that, I wouldn’t have it any other way. tumblr_ouqv9axnK41uxn3zto1_1280I think of every person I’ve had the privilege of crossing paths with. New friends who have inspired me to live a little more fearlessly in the pursuit of happiness and be myself, old friends who have been a big part of my story, people who have come and go, people who have stayed. The friend who has taught me how far empathy and kindness can go, the teacher who has taught me how you can be authentic, emotional and still successful, the boy who has taught me how to live and love and let go in a random hurricane, the old friends who have taught me how much it hurt to lose myself and everyone around me, the therapist who has taught me how to open up for the first time, the grandparents who have taught me that compassion is boundless and love is unconditional, the ones struggling the most who have taught me what strength and beauty can really mean.

I could go on, for a long time. You see, sometimes people come into your life in the most unexpected of ways, and sometimes people leave just as abruptly. Sometimes they barely leave a mark, sometimes they leave a note in your story forever. Sometimes a scar, sometimes a beautiful reminder- sometimes both. If you’re lucky enough, sometimes they stay a little while longer. I don’t think I would ever really forget. Still, I look around me and wonder at how temporary everyone, everything, is.

I try not to let it hurt too much.

Just as I am very much myself, I am a product of my environment, shaped and touched by everyone I’ve had the privilege of crossing paths with. To me, home isn’t a place, home will always be people. I don’t belong anywhere, but my heart will always belong to those I love and the universe. I would never want to leave, yet I once again find myself yearning for flight. How is it possible to be, and not to be, all at the same time?

Do I need to get away, or do I want to run away?

I have always been a paradox, and collision of a million different things. All I can hope is, I’ll construct a life I love someday- chase happiness and live however I want to. I want to tell this little heart to keep dreaming, keep wanderlust-ing. Nothing is ever too far way, don’t let the muggles (or expectations) ever kill that childlike wonder. It shouldn’t hurt this much, not in an ideal world. One day I’ll be brave enough and crazy enough to do the things I’ve always wanted to do. One day I’ll be okay again, I’ll look into the night sky and feel alive again. One day I’ll no longer have to fade in and out of existence, because I know it’s okay to be. whoever I am, to just be.

Don’t float away, not just yet. Stay here with the ones you love, the ones who stay. e3f401396ee5e36878a6283259030227.jpg

sometimes I think, if I’m not careful, I’d run so far away inside nobody would ever find me again. maybe this is why infps are the crazy ones. the ones who lose themselves if they’re not careful. the ones who love differently and see the world differently. the artists and dreamers and idealists and writers. vincent van gogh. johnny depp. tim burton. hellen keller. edgar allan poe. jk rowling. hans christian andersen. tolkien. I remember how amazed I was when I found out that most of my favorite artists/writers/people.. even fictional characters, were actually all infps. but then again, it makes so much sense. they, too, have helped me find myself- but that’s a post for another time.

There is so much potential for madness, and so much potential for beauty. Perhaps, to see the world the way we do, you need a little touch of crazy. Who’s to say what’s wrong and what’s right? Who’s to say what is and what isn’t? Perhaps, to see the stars, you need to know what true darkness is like. I’ve lost myself too many times, but I’ve found myself again- though not always, and not quite so. Maybe there too, is beauty in the brokenness, directions in the endless constellation maps. that little voice that always whispers, don’t give up on life, don’t stop believing, you’ll find your way someday.

Tonight, I’m thankful for the people who have left in a brick in the path and the people who are walking this path with me. I’m not floating away, not just yet. I’m looking for myself too.

Beware: Sharp Edges

I remember my therapist once asked me, why do I hide everything? Even when I talk to her, there is always a self imposed barricade, the pain always masked with a smile and a ‘oh but don’t worry, I’m okay‘. What am I trying to hide? I told her there is so much pain and ugliness inside, much more than anyone can imagine. Too much for me… or anyone else to bear. I’m scared that if they came too close they would see just how shattered I really am. I’m scared if they came too close my pain would drown them too. It’s been years and nothing’s changed. Every time I go in for a session she asks ‘how have you been‘ and I reply with a smile and ‘I’m fine‘ even though we both know ‘fine’ is never really fine. Sometimes we look at each other and laugh, sometimes she just waits for me to start talking.

Just last session, she asked me how my talk with my teacher went. I had to talk to my teacher to explain why I’d missed school, and tell her what happened with the anxiety and assault and ptsd symptoms. I told my therapist how my teacher was so sad for me, I gave my teacher a hug and comforted her. ‘So, did your teacher offer any support from the school?‘ I nodded. ‘And I’m guessing you said you didn’t need anything?’ I nodded again. At that point, my therapist just… I don’t think she meant to show it, but I could see it clear as day on her face, her heart breaking a little. ‘oh you silly girl, I’m not surprised you did this… but you really don’t have to be strong, you really don’t have to take care of the people who are meant to take care of you‘.

It’s been a recurring theme over the course of these 4 years of therapy. ‘You don’t have to be strong’, ‘it’s okay to ask for help’, ‘I’m your therapist, I’m here for you, you don’t have to take care of my feelings’, ‘are you really really sure everything’s fine?’. The best one: “I’m going to bring a bell for our sessions and ring it every time you downplay things or say ‘it’s not that bad’ or ‘it’s okay‘”. She says these things because she knows me better than anyone, she knows the depths of the pain I hold inside, she’s seen me at every breaking point. She’s the only one who’s seen me really break down. She’s the one I’ve turned to every time it got too much, she knows how exhausting it is. Admittedly, I’ve gotten much better at asking for help, I no longer wait until I’m at the very end of my rope before reaching out, now I actually do it a lot sooner- I’ve learnt to drop her an email or book an extra appointment to get the support I need. She was so proud of me for asking to see her the next day after the assault happened. I didn’t want to ask for help, but I did anyway. I still tried to brace her for the impact though, I tried to say it wasn’t a big deal but I still remember how her face crumpled as soon as she heard about it.

Actually, I remember almost every time I felt her heart break for me- the times I told her about my family or my father or the things I feel and the things I’ve been through, every time I open a trapdoor to the floodgates. It’s so honest and raw, and I’m thankful. She’s not condescending the way some Doctors are and she doesn’t feel sorry for me, she just really.. empathizes, it’s an unspoken connection of ‘I’m so sorry, that is so awful and you don’t deserve that, and I don’t know what to say‘. I’ve don’t know how to accept it because I’m so used to keeping it all inside. I used to laugh and shrug it off, now I just sit there silently.. that’s an improvement, I suppose? I couldn’t count the number of times she asked me ‘why didn’t you tell me sooner?‘ and my answer was ‘I didn’t want you to worry‘. I don’t know how to not take care of others. We’ve talked about this a million times, how all my relationships are one sided, how I always give and never take, and it’s not always a good thing.

That’s all I want to do though- is to care, because it comes naturally to me. It means so much to me when my friends come to me for support, because I genuinely want to be there for them. Sometimes my friends offer me support, I know they will listen and be open, they will be here and I’m thankful, yet I still can’t talk. A part of it comes from not wanting to be a burden, a part of it is ingrained in who I am, and a part of it is wanting to protect the ones I love. The closer I am to you, the more I back away when I’m hurt, the more I want to care for you, to protect you from me.

You see it in the way I reassure my best friend that I’m doing okay, the forced laughter after I told my friend about things that have happened to me, the casual shrugs after my classmates found out about my relationship with my parents, even my smiles in my psychiatrist’s office. I push everyone away because that’s all I’ve ever learnt to do- I carry the pain inside, alone. If you saw how broken I was, you wouldn’t recognize me. You wouldn’t recognize the girl on the bathroom floor or the girl on the ER bed or the girl on top of the bridge. I don’t recognize her either. People only recognize the girl who’s always put together, the one always smiling and there for you, that ‘pretty, rich girl’. There have come to be a few I trust, mostly my therapist, but also a few friends. I’ve mastered the art of telling someone about myself without letting any of the emotions out. My therapist once said, “you know, you talk about your assault or illnesses or traumatic experiences like you’re talking about the weather”.

I don’t know how else to talk about it. It took me so long to even start talking to my therapist or get to this point. I reference my therapist so much because that relationship is the only relationship in my life that has gotten this far, and that’s only because it’s literally her job. Even with my closest friends, I still hide so much. Every time it gets hard again, I retreat into my shell. I don’t know how to say ‘I’m not who you think I am, I’m more broken than you could ever imagine”, “you don’t want to know what I’ve been through, if I told you, you wouldn’t know what to do”, “sometimes there is so much pain I don’t know where it ends and where I begin”, “I hide it from everyone including myself”. I have been to incredibly dark places. I am not who you think I am, and if anyone had the slightest glimpse into my head or the things I’ve been through, they would probably break down. I just want to protect those I love from my sharp edges, there are too many of them. I’m used to it though, I’m used to this pain. I’m used to carrying it all alone, I’m used to being ‘strong’. I never ask for support unless I’m at the end of my rope and it takes a lot (and I mean, a lot, to push me there). Maybe it’s not the healthiest, what can I do? I’m still learning to open up, I guess… maybe I’m making progress, slowly but surely. It’s still easier for me to put my feelings onto a blog post or tell a bunch of faceless strangers on the internet than to talk to the ones I love. I just don’t want to hurt you. I just don’t want to hurt anyone. Don’t worry, I’m fine. It’s not that bad. See?

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. 

Actually, there’s a lot I want to say.

but nothing ever comes out because I’m somehow too numb and tired, and the feelings are all trapped in this caged chest, only ever seeping through the cracks at night, shape-shifting shadows in the form of sadness. the dementors continue to circle.

a soothing presence, a smothering presence-  be careful, the invisibility cloak protects you, but it can also choke you.

I play this game well. You learn to fool everyone, including yourself.

Ingredients: A touch of makeup, a brave smile, and an unassuming tinkling of laughter. Tell yourself ‘I will keep going, everything will be okay‘. Say it enough and you might almost believe the demons no longer exist.

expecto patronum.

things aren’t meant to be this way

“it’s just a little sad to look back on all my school days being alone, missing lunches or eating salads in toilets instead of being normal with friends”

I look back on primary school days, hiding out in the library during lunch because it was easier to be alone than live on the outskirts. It was easier than feeling the pain of trying to fit in, easier than the pain of never being good enough. I wanted to not need anyone or anything. I don’t know if not-eating was a part of it, or simply a side effect, but not-eating felt good and okay.

I look back on secondary school days, hiding in the toilet or an empty classroom during lunch because I’d lost all my friends after I became depressed. Those were perhaps the loneliest and most painful times of all. My closest groups of friends were no longer my friends and it was painful to pretend otherwise. It was easier to be alone, at least I was safe. I ate my measured salads or granola bars in the enclosed toilet or quiet classroom, my safe foods and safe places.

I’m in tertiary education now, and I watch myself slowly float away, trying to find a new safe place. Somewhere to be alone, again. I have friends, the loveliest classmates, people who really do care- and yet it’s easier to be alone than fake smiles and force laughter. It almost feels like home, sitting in a corner alone, with my lunch of measured veggies and a granola bar while everyone else heads off to get whatever they want, blissfully unaware of the freedom of being able to eat. At least I no longer feel the need to fit in, I suppose it is something that gets easier with age.

It no longer hurts. On the contrary, I now seek the solace of being alone. And yet, there is a sense of deep bitterness and melancholy, like a fog over these memories. The knowledge that somehow, things aren’t meant to be this way.

tumblr_oj44aiCeVQ1r6xg0co1_500

Why is it always easier to be alone? I am very much an introvert at heart and I love alone time but this isn’t introversion, this is isolation. This is the feeling of never fitting in, the feeling of being fundamentally different, the feeling that you are simply wired differently from everyone else. This is loneliness and inadequacy and pushing away everyone & everything you need because you’re too scared. This is depression and an eating disorder pulling you away from any form of human connection because it thrives in isolation and because you no longer have the energy to pretend. You are dead inside. You just want to be alone, to eat your veggies and granola bar. You just want to be alone, physically and emotionally. You are exhausted from the weight of life and it hangs over you like a fog. There is no energy left to pretend. This is needing a reassuring hug and an ‘are you okay’ more than anything, but not being able to open up, because you are a burden.

These days, it’s always easier being alone. Even with the caring, open-minded classmates who make school so much better. Even one-on-one time with my closest friends. Even with the people I feel most comfortable with, my sisters or grandparents. Nothing feels as right as being alone, isolated from the world. I am an introvert but this isn’t me. I love people, I like talking to people and helping people. Spending quality time with people I love means the world to me, it’s my first love language. But right now, all I can bear is faking a smile and a ‘I’m just tired‘.

It’s all turning into a giant pantomime.

Maybe this is a sign that I’m not as okay as I thought I was. I’m tired. At least I can be alone, weigh my veggies, eat my safe food, count my steps. At least I can be alone to write, and rest, and do whatever I want. I don’t need anyone. I am okay alone, I am safe. That’s what I wanted, right? To not need anyone, so everything would stop hurting. That was what I needed all my life, that was what I needed in primary school. But it just struck me- is that what I still need?

I don’t know. All I can hope is I don’t end up in university, looking back and realizing I’m in the exact same situation. I hope I find it in me to make a change, I don’t know how, but I hope I do.