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.