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 🙂

Raindrops

It’s been a sad day.

Sadness isn’t always a raging hurricane.

Sometimes it just is.

Just here.

A gentle pitter-patter of raindrops.

It’s quiet presence,

slowly chipping away at the soul.

It’s been a sad day

but this too shall pass.

droplet

A wave of sadness just hit me and I feel like I’m never going to be enough. Never going to be sick enough or good enough or smart enough or, well.. anything. What if I’m never thin enough? Then what will I be? When I was younger I wanted to be good at the things I loved, like dance and art and loving others. But I’m never good enough. Then I wanted to be good at being sick. But I’m never good enough either.

Sometimes it’s feels like I’m slowly slipping through the cracks, like the droplets through the street grates on a rainy day. Small, unnoticed. People walk on by, water splashes up the curb as the cars zoom through. Nobody sees the droplets, or the empty shell left behind.

I miss art. I miss yoga, and dance. I miss myself. I miss the little girl that was free to be who she was, free to laugh too loudly and love too freely and feel too deeply before the world broke her. I know what the missing puzzle pieces are, I just can’t seem to find them in the fog of depression and pain and numbers. I just want to be me, I just want to make art and read and learn, I want to cook and bake and travel and connect with the people around me and just live. Live, and be alive. But everything is quickly passing me by.

There is endless depth in the ocean beneath the still waters & crashing waves of a sad, broken heart. And yet, I don’t know if I’ll ever be enough. How many droplets do an ocean make?

 

just be

I want to be okay with imperfection, I want to be okay with just being. I want to try everything, and be painfully bad at it and be okay with it. I want to make art and i want to write and i want to make pretty things but i don’t know how to, not without feeling awfully, painfully inadequate and imperfect. I’m not good at the things I want to be good at, and I probably will never be, not by my books.

Art is in my soul, I want to journal and write and paint and take pictures and scrapbook. I want to make things, try different forms of art because I really do love it all. I want to express myself, to make my own art, to enjoy it. I want to make art without hurting myself with the thoughts. But it hurts, it hurts that i have always been driven by pain and inadequacy. It hurts that my self-loathing took the things I loved and turned them into weapons of destruction. It hurts that my depression ripped me of everything. Back then, even if I felt inadequate, at least I still had those things. How do I make art when mental illness has left me as nothing but a shell? How do I make art when I think of nothing but how painfully lacking and untalented I am? 

I know who I want to be, I know what I love and I know who I am. The girl whom I want to be isn’t even anyone else, just the best version of myself- she is happy, and recovered, she is doing the things she loves, she is making art and writing and loving others the best she can, she is fighting for all the things she’s passionate about, she is learning and laughing and travelling, she is nourishing her body with wholesome food and planting her soul with spirituality and healing. She is flourishing and living, not surviving. And yet, the girl whom I want to be is so different from who I am- I don’t know if I can ever reconcile the two of them. 

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You see, I feel so much and I need so much, I desperately long to feel alive. I need to feel alive so badly it scares me- and yet I’m depressed, empty inside most of the time. It’s almost easier to grow comfortable with emptiness than to feel the pain of inadequacy. Everything that makes me feel alive scares me. Art scares me. Spirituality and yoga and peace scares me. Connecting with and opening up to people. Being happy scares the crap out of me. Living scares me. I have this picture of what recovery is supposed to be (perfect) and what my life is supposed to be (perfect) and I’m starting to think it will never be that way.

‘I’m starting to think, maybe life doesn’t work that way.

I’m not going to wake up one day and decide to recover and stop hating myself, and even if I do, my life won’t change the way I’ve always wanted it too. I want to be okay with trying, and taking small steps, I want to be okay with just being me. I want to be okay with being me as I am, to strive to grow and be the best I can be right now but not strive for perfection. But to be honest, I don’t know how to silence the voices, I don’t know how to not want perfection, I don’t know how to be okay with myself. I don’t know how to try to live or try to make art or try to be who I want to be. But I want to, maybe someday. Maybe for now, surviving is the best I can do and that will have to be okay.

you are also fire

I’ve always been a child of the water

the Pisces, the fish

quiet, intuitive, mutable.

But I’m also starting to realize

maybe I have fire inside me

not a cracking, burning flame

but it slowly simmers inside.

I will never be the sunlight

never be loud or bright or bold

but I am at home in the night

soft, sensitive

a gentle moonlit glow.

All my life I’ve felt less than,

invisible.

All my life I’ve lived in the shadows.

But I’m slowly starting to realize,

I have light inside.

And I think

Someday, this light will take me places

Someday, the flames will fuel me

I have fire inside.

Fire that comes from feeling too much

Loving too much

Caring too much

Fire that comes from knowing exactly who I want to be, what I stand for

Maybe he was wrong

Sensitivity isn’t a weakness,

It is my light.

Now I know,

I don’t have to shine bright like them

I just have to shine like me, softly.

And someday I will shine

unafraid of laughing

unafraid of feeling

unafraid of living

I am water, but I am also fire.

When will people understand? It’s not about food.

I didn’t write this, but I saw it around on tumblr and it hits home, every time. 

“An eating disorder.

This is not about food.

This is not about looking good in a dress or wanting to be a supermodel. This is not about wanting the cute guys to turn their heads and stare at your beauty. This is not about going to a store, sliding a size zero skirt over your hipbones, and laughing all the way to the check out counter.

This is not about wanting attention. This is not about enjoying feeling death and refusing food until you need to be force fed with a tube in an ICU. It is not about deliberately pissing off the nurses on the ED unit by hiding your clif bar and boost under your sweatshirt and stashing butter in the bed pans. It is not about selfless starving for all the children in Africa. It is not about the latest fad diet or losing the holiday weight. It is not about reading fashion magazines and pining for the Body Mass Index of Paris Hilton’s pet Chihuahua. It is not about getting a good man/woman. It is not about religion, G-d, the media or culture.

This is about having the self-esteem of an insect. This is a polite way of committing suicide. This is about having no life because it’s impossible to go out with friends to a restaurant and order a bowl of dry lettuce. This is about weighing, measuring and counting pasta, cereal, raisins and anything that passes your lips, including toothpaste. This is about secrets and lies and shame. This is about not wanting to admit that you need to eat. That you deserve to live.

This is about being scared. This is about being terrified. Of everything.

This is about control. This is about numbing away the feelings of abuse. This is about starving away the pain. This is about wanting to disappear as to not be taken advantage of again. This is about hiding under layers of clothing that are mostly black so that no one sees your womanly body. This is about non verbal communication. This is about avoiding. This is about denying the past. This is about intense self hatred.

This is about needing so much that you can’t stand it. This is about wanting to not need anything at all. This is about not wanting to be touched but afraid to be let go. This is about having emotions that bubble up and spill out and scare people away. This is about being so overwhelmed and traumatized that it’s easier to avoid everything by obsessing over the amount of calories in a grapefruit. It is about getting lost in the mirror and scale instead taking responsibility and just f*cking dealing.

This is about wanting to be safe. This is about wanting to curl up in a nutshell and ignore the big bad world that’s too noisy and dangerous and can’t be trusted. This is about not trusting anyone and relying on food (or lack of) to give you an all enveloping comfort blanket when the feelings bloat you up and make you feel fat, ugly and intolerable in your skin.

This is about really crappy coping methods. This is about a way of life you’ve known for 13 years. This is about habit and second nature. This is about making a choice that will quite possibly kill you. This is about chaotic relationships, hospitalizations, devastated families, worried friends, treatment programs, trying and failing, and more hospitalizations. This is about losing your period, failed kidneys, and hollow bones. This is about cardiac arrest at age 21. This is about being sick. This is about not being sick enough to think you need, or agree to go into, treatment. This is about being so sick that you have to be court ordered into a hospital.

This is about trying to be understood. This is about fighting with all you’ve got and more hard work than you ever imagined. This is about exhaustion and tears and needing support. This is about fighting a battle with yourself and the world. This is about trying to survive.

This is not about food.”

just let me be angry and tired, for once

You know what? Life hasn’t been very kind to me. I’m bloody exhausted. I’ve been fighting my ass off for god knows how long (practically my entire childhood). I’ve struggled and struggled and struggled. I’ve always kept going, try again and again. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’ve done it so much that at this point, I know I could be in hell and probably still keep going. But I’m tired, and it’s not fair. Why do I have to keep going? I never asked for any of this, I just want to throw in the towel and I want to say no to life. No to school and people and feelings and responsibilities and life. I’m so sick of it. It’s not fair that I’ve never had a choice. It’s not fair that I have to go through so much pain and rubbish day after day, year and year. It’s been years? Literally all my life, I’ve had a bunch of crap thrown at me to deal with??? What the hell?

Of course, I’m okay. Of course, I can keep going and of course, I can get through this. I know I can. I used to wonder ‘How am I going to get through this?‘ but now I know for a fact I will get through it because like I always say, I have an impeccable track record at not-dying. I’ve carried myself through just about everything alone and I will carry myself through this too. Just.. where is the option to stop? I’m so exhausted. Life is really, really, hard. I feel like I’m being punished- having to live is my punishment. The fact that I had to live through all the pain and bad things I have lived through, and that I will continue to. The fact that I somehow wasn’t killed (by my dad), or haven’t died (by suicide). I just want to know, what am I being punished for? I’m not religious, I don’t believe in a god, but whatever gods there are out there, what the hell am I being punished for? What did I do to deserve all of this?? Not just this weekend, or this year, or these few years butall my life. As a person, I believe firmly in science and psychology and empirical evidence but at this point I’m starting to genuinely believe that I must have done terrible things in my past life, that I’m paying for in this life. Or maybe I’m just inherently worthless.

I’m just so, so sick of living. I want to say ‘I can’t do this anymore‘ but the worst part is, I can. I can, and I will. I’ll finish my work tonight and wake up tomorrow and go to school and talk to people and smile and pretend everything is okay and I will keep going. It’s like a trap I can’t get out of. Maybe what I want to say is ‘I don’t want to do this anymore‘. But I don’t know how to say that without hurting myself or swallowing a dozen pills. I don’t want to die or kill myself, not even close- I’m just tired, so tired nobody even knows. I no longer know how much pain is too much pain, not when everything is painted in pain. But alas, school awaits, and life awaits, and I will keep living while wanting to die.

Author’s note: “But I don’t know how to say that without hurting myself or swallowing a dozen pills”- actually I take what I said back. Change it to “I didn’t know how to say that without hurting myself or swallowing a dozen pills”. Yes, didn’t. Past tense, because that was a couple of years ago. I think I might actually know better now, though I’m not sure because I’ve never tried. Oh well. Also, to put things in perspective my entire life hasn’t been completely rubbish, I have an amazing family and supportive friends and there are many good things I am thankful for. There are always good things- but the good things don’t make the bad any better.