a victim mentality

I’m in a bad place lately, restricting, weighing myself, making plans to exercise and lose weight and obsessing over numbers. I’m still choosing not to recover and this morning on the way to school I noticed the passing thought of ‘well there’s nothing I can do about it, even if it sucks I have to live with the illness’. And then I realised that I want to push the blame to the fact that the ED/trauma are illnesses- ‘it’s too loud’ and ‘I just can’t get out of it’ and ‘it’s stopping me from living my life’ and ‘I can’t cope’ are all thoughts I’ve had. I’m adopting a victim mindset, which I now notice myself slipping into over the past 2 weeks? The feeling of overwhelming helplessness and reluctance to change or try or open up. I feel like especially with trauma, being a victim becomes a default mode? When I got triggered by Dr Kelly & my helper leaving, the fear and helplessness and overwhelm of feelings immediately put me in the place of victim because that’s what my brain knows. Learned helplessness. I truly felt like there was no other way, there was nothing I could do but use my illness, there was no way of protecting myself but shutting off. Even when I’m not ‘obviously’ regressing, I feel like getting triggered made the child-self/victim part of me very very strong which explains the acting out and relapse fuelled by helplessness and fear. I’m constantly overwhelmed and anxious. Now I see my Therapists have been trying to get me to do that, take some power back and get out of the victim mentality/child-self/emotional brain and use my healthy adult voice/wise mind.

Yesterday in therapy with AWARE she mentioned how my fear is so huge that I desperately want to be alone because I’m so scared of being alone. It’s so fragmented. The child-self is basically where the victim mindset comes in and then the relapse and destruction and shutting down. It’s completely understandable that I’m feeling this way because current triggers dig into same past unhealed wounds so it feels exactly the same as the past trauma, the same extreme fear and pain. I’m reacting this way because the only way my brain knows to react to this feeling of helplessness/pain is anger and pushing away. It’s what worked in the past and what I’ve done all my life, a survival instinct. Survival instincts are very strong. Emotions are very powerful.

But the truth is that it might not be my fault and it’s an illness but it’s still my responsibility and my choice. Yes it’s hard, but I can try to recover, I can put in the effort to change, I can choose to ask for help, I can choose to allow myself to sit through the painful feelings. I can choose to get better. Nothing but myself is stopping me. I have help and support now, I have resources, I have a choice now even though my child self didn’t. I am loved now, I am not alone even though I want to be alone. Being sick is not an excuse to stay sick. I’m always going to struggle with this, I’m going to feel like crap. I’m going to keep feeling so small and helpless and hurt. I’m going to keep struggling with the fear and anxiety, I’m going to keep struggling with the ED voice and desire for safety and weight loss and comfort. I’m not going to want to eat or gain weight. Yes, previously it was much easier because it was just the ED fear and anxieties I struggled with (and that was hard enough on its own, like a I-struggled-for-months kinda hard) and now I also have to cope with attachment/trauma fear and anxieties? But I cannot recover from these things separately. The trauma fuels a large part of the ED so there’s no point recovering from the ED without being open to feeling the feelings of the past trauma and allowing myself to not suppress.

Ultimately I have to find my healthy, adult voice and choose recovery for myself. Just like I did previously, when I chose ED recovery. I have to surrender control and safety. I have to eat and trust myself/my body/my team to get better. I have to choose to not suppress, I have to choose to allow myself space and grace to be, I have to have grace with my feelings and body and self. I have to be compassionate with my emotional, child self and let her feel and cater to her needs. I have to choose to let myself feel whatever might come, and I have to choose to stand in the face of the overwhelming fear. I have to choose to be okay with uncertainty and the fear of vulnerability and getting hurt. I have to choose to trust those around me and trust myself to support me. I have to choose to acknowledge the pain I’ve been running from for 9 years.

I also have to acknowledge that I’m choosing not to get better right now. I’m choosing my illnesses over my life right now. Restricting is choosing to not recover, engaging in behaviours is choosing to not recover, shutting down is choosing to not recover. That’s my responsibility, I can’t blame it on being sick or on anything else. Right now I’m choosing to stay sick because it’s easier and comfortable. I am choosing the false comfort of being sick, temporary relief and joy of weight loss, a sense of control and easy self-soothing over recovery. I’m choosing it because it’s easier. I’m choosing it because I’m too tired to fight, because I don’t want to fight. I’m choosing it because I don’t feel capable of doing what I need to do to get better. In terms of how good or wise that choice is, I’m going to have to reflect and think about it. But at least I’m acknowledging that it’s my choice and it’s my responsibility. I have to think about it and take ownership.

It is not my fault this hurts and it is not my fault my brain is this way and I am sick. It hurts more than I can describe, it hurts like digging your nails into a fresh bullet wound. Every trigger deepens those bullet wounds that have not healed. It hurts so much I have destroyed myself for 9 years to run from the pain. It hurts so much that drinking/cutting/starving/purging and even suicide hurt less than the pain of the trauma and fragmented child self. I cannot minimise that child self, the pain she is in. I have to validate her and let her act out. But I am not helpless. I am not a victim. I have to choose to get better or not. I am the only one that can do that, nobody is going to help me if I’m not helping myself. I have to choose to let go of the desire to be thin, the desire to protect myself, the desire for safety and control. I already know that being sick sucks and it’s not sustainable. I know that recovery is going to hurt but things aren’t going to get easier and I can’t live the life I want if I stay sick. It’s going to be hard either way. So what am I going to choose? I am running from the pain again, right now, it’s what I do best. It’s understandable but I can’t keep ignoring the problem and pushing away responsibility. It’s exactly why I chose to get the tattoo I’m getting next month. The wand in my hand, the control in my hand, the light is in my hand. I have to cast the spell and create my light.

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Post-therapy thoughts // struggling with recovery

Basically therapy today for me was me continuing to be destructive trash and shutting out and pushing people away and her telling me that recovery means having to feel the feelings, and it’s not gonna get easier or better. Sometimes things aren’t gonna change, and we might be people who are gonna feel anxious or sad or overthink and it’s ok. Recovery doesn’t mean feeling better, the triggers are always going to come and we can’t change who we are but we can deal with them better.

She was saying that sometimes we need to act opposite to what our brain is screaming at us, in my case, I need to choose recovery, especially since I have the insight. I guess it’s true, that I once felt like what my brain is screaming is true but now in recovery, i know that that’s just my brain and rationally it’s not true.

Not all our thoughts are true.

I also told her how I identified that I’m acting out, out of anger and fear, and I identified the cycle. I also told her I was frustrated and upset at myself for acting out? She brought up self compassion, and asked ‘why are you beating yourself up for acting out, that’s what your parents would do and you’re so scared of that happening but you do it to yourself?’ The acting out comes from somewhere, I’m not doing it on purpose so I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. But it is also up to me to choose to do otherwise.

And it’s ok that your brain feels that way, sometimes it’s just a scared child and deep down I know I’m just scared of feeling, I’m scared of being rejected/hurt by people so I get angry and defensive. But Dr Kelly said that the truth about life is that everyone will get rejected at some point, there will always be vulnerability in relationships and for me the fear surrounding attachment will always be there but the only way to get over it is to lean into it– the same as any other anxiety.

I told her that I just feel like I can’t cope with the feelings and if I haven’t been able to cope with the feelings for 9 years how can I cope with the feelings now?? Like it’s so bad that I would have done anything to run away from it in the past but now I have to face it to get better and like… no?! She said that it’s true that I couldn’t cope with it in the past, but I have also never really tried recovery in the past- not in this way, And even if I did, im different now than I was a few years ago. I told her how frustrating it is to have a life I like and not be able to live it, and she was really amazed

she said that’s the first time she’s really seen that separation between my illness and me.

In the past there was so much resistance and reluctance to get better but now there’s a difference, and there’s a reason for me to get better. So I’m different too, and now I do have the resources and support and I can cope with it. She really drove home the point that I need to accept that I’m going to have to allow myself to feel the feelings in order to get better, and rationally I understand it and rationally I want to get better but emotionally I’m still resistant to the idea of feeling the emotions and letting go. I have to let myself sit with the feelings, much like in recovery previously, tolerating the discomfort of food and weight gain. I told her that was hard enough, but now with all of this it feels overwhelming and it’s like I’m at a crossroad and both directions lead to death and I just want to be wrapped in a blanket and I want someone to come in and help me.

She said that I have a very very fractured attachment style and she’s noticed my ED is very much driven by my attachment trauma and unfortunately there’s no way of separating the two. And it will always come up, these attachment issues, as they have over the years.

She said I’m thinking about recovery really big-picture and black-and-white again and I have to think about it one step at a time and it starts with going against what my brain is instinctively telling me to do, like emailing Dr Lee and making a choice to go back for treatment and stop self-sabotaging myself. She said that underneath the anger and numbness, she hears that I want to get better and I want help and she told me I have reasons to get better now so am I just going to throw it all away? I was still very adamant about holding onto restriction and losing weight and I can get better and stay sick but she was like ‘lol no. also, remember if you want to do clinical psych you have to be mentally well and be able to eat properly, I remember my own supervisor telling all of us to go for therapy ourselves because all of these issues will come up in our own practice so we need to resolve them first, and you can’t do psych if you’re sick, especially since the incidence of those with mental illness and those who study psychology are so high, they will do screenings.’

I really realise it’s a cycle and it’s not even always the current situation, but when the current situation mimics the past, my brain can’t differentiate so it feels as catastrophic as it did in the past. When that fear gets triggered, the ED and self destruction gets really bad. I totally get that because at many points I really WAS alone and I really had no other way to cope, so if I didn’t shut out I would have been too overwhelmed, especially for a kid, But the problem is that now I am not alone and I have other ways to cope but my brain is still like ‘no’. In a way my brain is like ‘bitch look at these wounds that haven’t healed from people leaving you in the past!!! Why would you risk that now!!!’ And the smallest things right now are rationally manageable (like dr Lee going on MC, or when a Friend doesn’t reply) but to me it feels like pressing into the wound that hasn’t healed and it hurts. The only thing that will help the wound heal is probably not shutting the feelings away and processing it and not running away. I have to feel the feelings and stop using my disorder and stop shutting out. And I’m really good at sabotaging myself so I have to stop doing that.

Also, she swore in session today that was hilarious, she re-enacted what me/my brain was doing to the world right now, And she basically said ‘fuck you all I’m shutting down’ and then tried to correct herself. Sigh, a huge huge part of me is still really resistant to treatment and I told her that every time I feel myself softening I immediately shut back out. I don’t know how to break that cycle, I don’t know how to allow myself to want to get better. The ED is unbearably loud.

Burn

they all believe in my ability to get through this.

Dr K said she believes I can work through this separation and learn how to cope with attachment and relationships. she believes I have so much ahead of me in the future. she wants me to have healthy relationships instead of staying in this trauma forever. she thinks I have come far, and this will only help me to grow and I can get through it. she said the process can often be the most beneficial part of recovery because it teaches me that there is nothing special about her and I can and will survive breaking an attachment and form new ones. she urged me to use my wise mind to make my choices.

Dian said I am the one in power and I am choosing who to let in and what to believe, I have the power to cope with this right now. she reminded me that the almost 20-year-old me is the one who wants help, the one who goes to appointments, the one who can soothe the inner child. she reminded me of what my inner child needed, she reminded me to carry a part of everybody that left, with me. she said losing weight and restricting and rejecting help was just the inner child acting out and she urged me to do what the 20-year would do. she said it’s safe to breathe outside without my oxygen mask. I don’t quite believe her.

my friends said it is not worth throwing my progress, my effort, my life and recovery away. Jolyn reminded me that I will always carry a part of her with me, and 5 or 10 years down the road I can look back and say I made it, that how she impacted me and helped me grow will always be a part of me and that’s not taken away. Clarissa has promised to stay and I do believe her. Twinnie is always here. Cal reminded me that if I can’t recover for my Therapist, I have to recover for me. Everyone is still here for me and reminding me that acting out will not solve anything eventually.

They all believe in my ability to get through this. I don’t. I want to set myself aflame.

I’ve gotten glimpses of this pain, during sessions, before blocking it out again. The pain tears me apart. I remember it all too well. I am sad and angry and tired. So very tired. I don’t want to exist right now. Why have I become so quickly suicidal when a week ago I was so motivated in recovery?

This pain hurts so much that I have destroyed my body and soul and life for 9 years just to escape it, so what makes them think I can cope with this now?

It hurts because I know they are right, this isolation is suffocating me. A part of me desperately wants to trust all of them, to let them comfort me, to let myself be lulled into any sort of security, to let myself open up. A part of me wants to let in help. To just let SGH support me and let Dr K support me and let my friends support me. But that is a ledge I cannot jump off. A part of me is tired of hurting and a part of me is tired of fighting. Just let go. Trust. If you fall, you fall. Yet my survival instincts kick in every time to remind me to stay protected and shut off. Something always kicks in and reminds me why trusting anyone or relying on anyone or even feeling safe is a bad, bad idea. I trust that part of my brain. It is keeping me safe. And Dian is right, I don’t think I can cope and I don’t trust myself to cope. But maybe I don’t want to cope. I don’t know. I am tired of being alone, I am tired of fighting alone, but I cannot trust I cannot trust I cannot trust. I trusted Dr K and see what she did? She left. Everyone leaves. I hate this. I hate this existence, this illness, this pain. I hate this loneliness. Dian said that today too, ironically this isolation just makes me even more alone. I talked about this with Dr K so many times in the past, how I self sabotage and push everyone away and how awful it feels. I hate it. I hate hating myself, I hate this body dysmorphia, I hate having to starve. I hate having to fight alone and be alone to protect myself, I hate not knowing any other way. I hate that I can’t trust anyone enough to take that step, not even myself. I hate that this survival, inner child part of my brain is so painfully stubborn. I hate that I cling onto the illness for control. I hate that I finally have an awareness of my triggers and what I am doing and now I cannot do it without knowing how I am just acting out. I hate that I am not being kind with myself. I am tired and sad. I really do need help.

I am close to setting myself aflame.

Guilt and negative thoughts/feelings are inevitable side effects of not-restricting and not-compensating and going against the eating disorder. Restricting or compensating to cope with those side effects is like a recovering alcoholic drinking more to cope with the unpleasant side effects of not-drinking.

~an analogy i came up with while talking to a friend

when we miss our disorder

Remember you can miss something and not go back to it. We might always look at our eating disorder with rose tinted glasses, and we will want to go back to it, because it was home and comfort and safety for so long. But take a moment, take a deep breath and think about it- were you really happy living with your disorder? Genuinely, truly happy? Did you really love yourself and your body? Think about the worst days with your disorder, think about the worst things your disorder has made you do- are you really in control? Did you enjoy restricting, compensating, skipping meals, working out, hiding, isolating, exercising? Did you really feel good doing all of this? What did you really get out of your disorder? Think about all the days you’ve spent ill, do you want to live like that forever? Because you will, if you don’t choose to get better. There is no other way out, and change doesn’t happen by chance.

Can you tolerate and sit through the negative emotions & anxiety & the thoughts that will come up in recovery? Can you tolerate the inevitable side effects & distress & negative body image days that will happen? Can you tolerate the temporary discomfort in order to build a life you want? Choosing to skip a meal, or restrict, or not-gain weight, or giving into the disorder in any way is choosing to not recover. Choosing to prolong recovery is only prolonging your suffering because unless you truly want to live like this forever, there is no point in waiting to recover. You will have to recover eventually, and it will be one of the hardest things you’ve had to do, and it won’t feel good. But you will have to go through it, and the longer you wait, the harder it get. The longer you wait, the more you miss out on life. It’s never going to get easier or be the right time. I say this over and over again but the only way out is through.

Remember body dysmorphia is real, and the more we lose weight the worse the dysmorphia gets. The only way to get over it and build a healthy body image is to keep gaining until our set points, because only then will your brain be healthy enough to start seeing clearly. Remember your thoughts right now about food and weight and your body are all skewed by your illness, and it is not representative of the truth. Remember that your brain is still sick, your brain is malnourished and obsessive and the disorder will get very very loud. It will get better but the only way for it to truly get better is to keep pushing through it and not give into it. Remember this is an illness, and while it’s completely normal and okay to slip, it is not an excuse for relapse. Remember this is an illness but at the end of the day, only you, the real you- has the control to choose what to do. Remember that you will never feel sick enough or thin enough, there comes a point where you just have to sit down and acknowledge the fact that you are suffering. Regardless of anyone else, you are suffering and you are sick, so you need to get better. There is no such thing as ‘not sick enough’ you are either sick or not sick. You don’t need anyone’s validation. The simple thought of ‘not sick enough’ shows how sick you actually are because a normal person never think that. Remember there is no value in sickness or thinness or misery. Remember there is nothing better about being sicker, or thinner.

Remind yourself of all the reasons you wanted recovery in the first place. What kind of life are you going to live if you hold onto your eating disorder? Do you want that life? What’s the worst that could happen if you gain weight and eat? What’s so bad about being recovered, or normal? The disorder makes us think that weight gain is the worst thing that could possibly happen but the truth is we can tolerate it and at some point when your brain is less starved and sick, your weight wouldn’t even matter that much. Is weight loss really worth giving up everything else in your life for? You can’t give into our disorder, you can’t bargain with them or negotiate, you just have to do it and keep doing it and commit to recovery. You are in control. You can recover, you’re just scared, and it’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to not like it, it’s okay to feel awful- you can still do it because it will be worth it in the end.

What do I want? Day program anxiety.

I’m going for program tomorrow morning (well, technically today) and I can’t sleep. I feel so anxious I want to cry. I’ve been crying an awful lot lately, which is hard to get used to because I never cried back when I was sicker. Which makes a lot of sense, considering how restriction numbs you. I had a bad breakdown earlier wanting to relapse, and I’m still thinking about what I really want to do. I’ve been feeling so lost. I fought so hard to get to a point where I’m actually finally recovering but now that I am, I realize I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what recovery might mean and I don’t see a life without my illness. It actually scared me, how I could easily picture living the rest of my life with this illness. At first, my motivation for recovery was what I didn’t want- I didn’t want to keep living like this, I didn’t want to be miserable. But what do I want?

I’m blinded by the fog of the storm and every step forward is infinitely terrifying because I don’t see what is ahead of me and I don’t know what’s on the other side.

I don’t feel particularly motivated for recovery right now but I’m at a place where there is no turning back and I am doing it no matter how I feel. What keeps me going is knowing that I will let myself- my true self– down if I give up. I don’t feel it but I know at some point I wanted this, I fought so hard for this and I will keep going for her sake- for little me and past me and future me. I did go back and read blogposts, and it always comforts me to read what I tell my younger self. I told her that she is scared and lost but I will hold her hand through this, she is doing her best. I think that little girl still lives inside me, she is the pain & fear I feel, and taking care of her is also taking care of myself. It makes me feel better knowing I am not alone, knowing I am seen and validated and cared for- even if it’s from myself. Perhaps that’s the best kind of care, self-care.

It’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to feel lost and scared. We are doing it in spite of the fear anyway, and I think that is really brave.

People say there is a life outside of this illness. I think there is, even if it’s hard to imagine. I want that. I want to be free from the disorder, I want to eat ice cream and pizza whenever I want, I want to go out with my friends for meals, I want to have cocktails on a full stomach instead of an empty one, I want to be able to eat chicken rice and nasi lemak someday, I want to feel emotions again, I want to spend my time painting and making art and advocating and volunteering and doing anything but obsess over numbers, I want to eat without having to calculate the calories, I want to be able to go out for a meal and not have to plan & compensate for it a week in advance, I want to live in the outside world instead of staying in hospitals, I want to travel and cook and study and graduate and become a doctor and help others and I want to be a mother. I cannot live the life I want if I am sick, no matter how many times my brain says I can do it, I cannot. My illness no longer gives me anything. I don’t need it’s control, I will survive without it, I will survive at a healthy weight, I will survive the fear and uncertainty and tidal waves of emotions. Feeling everything is better than feeling nothing.

I want to live. It’s ironic because that is my biggest fear and biggest desire- life. I want to live boldly, fully, wholeheartedly. I want to paint with every color of the rainbow, not just black and white. I want to cry my heart out and laugh until I cry. I want recovery because recovery will give me life. A life I never really got to have, a life I’ve been running from because my life is painful. It’s okay to be scared because fear doesn’t have to stop me. I cannot always be strong, but I will be brave. I’ve been crying everyday because I hate recovery but I have to remember I also do want recovery after all. I am so proud of myself and how I’ve kept going despite the pain and anxiety I feel about recovery. I am so proud of how far I’ve come, even though I have a long way to go. I talked to Kelly today and it was a reminder that recovery isn’t black and white, I have to take it one step at a time. Change is not easy but I am fighting for me. I am fighting because I deserve better.

I am going to be imperfect, and my journey will not be black and white but messy and filled with color, much like the world is. It will be different and confusing and scary, but at the end we will look back and see how the colors make a kaleidoscope after all. Healing is not linear, and it is okay.

One step at a time. Day program is a really good step, so let’s give it all we’ve got- remember recovery is meant to be uncomfortable, so challenge yourself! You think you can’t do it but you might just surprise yourself. Remember, you are not alone and everyone there is on your team and not against you, you are getting the help you need and you are not fighting alone. Trust those around you and live in line with your values- open-mindedness, adventure, compassion & bravery. Open your heart to change and trying new things, be brave and curious, see the unknown as an adventure and most importantly, have compassion for yourself. It’s going to be a hard week, but a good one.

fighting through the tears

I had another breakdown today, I was just posting a picture of dinner and thinking about recovery, when it hit me just how much I’ve been eating and how big a change it is from my low points. I cried because I’m so scared of change and recovery, because I’m angry at myself for doing this, because I’m angry at my therapist for pushing me to do this, because I’m so scared of weight gain, because I’m so scared of eating, because I’m so scared of losing my disorder and everything I’ve known, because I’m so sad and tired, because I feel so guilty for eating, because I don’t deserve to eat, because I’ve never eaten so much regularly without compensation before, because recovery is so damn difficult, because I don’t want to do this, because I’m so scared and sad and uncertain and yet I still have to push on.

I’ve actually been doing better in recovery since my therapy session on Tuesday when she said I wasn’t trying hard enough. I’ve been doing what I need to do to- following my meal plan and finally eating regularly (3 meals + snacks), I haven’t weighed myself (which is a huge win), I’m accepting help and being honest with my team and going for day program next week, I’m challenging my ED in different ways, I’m hitting the minimums I set for myself and I’m working on increasing. It’s all great, but it scares me to death because doing this means I’m actually changing. Just 2-3 weeks ago, I was in recovery and yet I struggled to even hit 700, the ED was so loud and I just couldn’t. When I was at my lowest I went days without solid food. But now, my minimums are 1500-1600 and i’m increasing to 2500 slowly. It triggers the not-sick-enough thoughts but I’m ignoring those. I’ve been in recovery since May- that was when I really committed to the idea of recovery and really wanted it but I was never really eating properly until now. It’s one thing to be in recovery and struggling, but it’s another to actually be doing okay in recovery. Doing okay or doing well in recovery means I’m making progress and things are really changing and there’s no going back- and today, the reality of that hit me.

As I laid in bed sobbing (again) tonight, I realized how different it is to just want recovery, and actually do the things and take the steps that will get me towards recovery. And I realized how absolutely terrifying it is.

I also realized what Dr K meant 2 weeks ago when she said that I wanted the end goal of being recovered but I was still ambivalent towards to steps I needed to take to get there, and she said it again on Tuesday- that I was ambivalent towards recovery because I wasn’t doing what I needed to do (follow my meal plan, eat, gain weight). I was upset by what she said because I had been putting my 110% into recovery and I desperately wanted it, because it has taken so much fighting to even get to a point where I wanted recovery and it was a constant fight to keep choosing to try. So I still dislike that word, but I think I see what she means by my ‘ambivalence’ because choosing to not follow my meal plan and choosing to give into the feelings and thoughts and behaviors and choosing to control my weight is choosing to not recover. Like she said, I cannot recover without doing these things.

Perhaps she’s right, maybe I was subconsciously still trying to avoid doing what I needed to do. Like the behavioral vs emotional argument she brings up often, I focus on the emotional aspect but never committed to taking action, and it’s definitely part of my personality to be super introspective. I wanted to recover and I was definitely trying to do it, but I was also self-sabotaging all the time. I was telling myself to take the leap, I was trying to take the leap but I was still standing on the edge going back and forth. Looking back, it was so much more comfortable to be in that space of trying to recover but still struggling, still sorta restricting/purging, still weighing, still trying to maintain- than it is to be actively doing things to change, to go against the disorder, to be struggling but still eating and sitting with the feelings and doing it.

Recovery is an active, constant state of discomfort. I am changing and it terrifies me but now that I’m doing it, there is no running away. Recovery is choosing to do exactly what makes you uncomfortable, and it feels awful but that’s the only way. Recovery isn’t meant to be easy, it’s going against every natural instinct you have- changing your life isn’t meant to be comfortable. No worthwhile change is going to happen unless you fight through the anxiety and fear and discomfort. Remember why you started this, remember what you want at the end of this and keep going.

I actually started following my meal plan and committing to it because I was angry and frustrated after the session, because I didn’t see where she was coming from and my mindset was ‘fine, you want me to do it so I’ll do it’. But I’d also been trying to put my trust in her and trust that doing what she says will get me to where I want to be, and that is moving forward. And she’s right after all, until I commit to the behavioral change and follow through with it, I am not really committing to recovery and I will not get better. I cannot just ‘want recovery’ but keep self-sabotaging my efforts and giving into the anxiety. I’ve been thinking about what she said about having to just sit through the feelings of discomfort no matter what- that’s what Dr Lee said to me when I was inpatient as well, ‘you’re allowed to cry and feel awful but you have to sit through that and eat your meals‘- and that’s helped me push through. Something else Dr K said was helpful, and it’s that ‘your disorder is so ingrained and so strong, these negative thoughts and feelings and anxiety will always arise, so recovery is going to have to be a logical process, because you’re not going to feel better about doing it.’

I suppose that’s what I did tonight and what I’ll have to do everyday. Fight through the guilt and anxiety and discomfort that is going to arise. I remember the promises I made to myself, I know I cannot relapse because I would be letting myself down and I don’t want to do that. I cannot go back. And tonight I really see the importance of keeping in mind what I want at the end of the day. I don’t want to be in treatment forever, I don’t want to be sick, I don’t want to be miserable (and yes I was miserable, no matter how many times my brain lures me into thinking otherwise), I deserve so much better. Little-ericia deserves so much better. I want to have a life and I want to be unafraid of vulnerability and I want to help others and I want to study and I want to be a doctor and I want to eat goddamn pizza. Tonight, for a while, I faltered and I didn’t know what I wanted. The disorder gets so loud that I almost believe I genuinely want to stay sick because it’s comfortable. But I cannot live the life I want with my disorder. 

I’m terrified, for recovery, for change, for day program and the food next week- but bring it on, I’ll fight through the tears.

“I breathe in slowly. Food is life. I exhale, take another breath. Food is life. And that’s the problem. When you’re alive, people can hurt you. It’s easier to crawl into a bone cage or a snowdrift of confusion. It’s easier to lock everybody out. But it’s a lie.”

-wintergirls

submerged

pillows flung against walls
books strewn on floors
angry fists on skin
anguished, silent screaming
none of this is right

tears spring again,
saltwater streams
that make their presence
whenever they so please
all the feelings bubble up

agony winds around beating hearts
ribcages fracture under pressure
shoulder blades once poised for flight
now jut awkwardly from lanky arms
not quite hers

none of this
quite hers
not her body, or her being
or her carefully constructed bubble
the pain finally seeps through

Tiny feet leave the seabed,
only to find cold depths
floatation devices gently removed,
only to submerge in panic
surrounded by nothingness

recovery is an ocean I cannot navigate.


I know not who I am, or who I might be. If all I have known has been a lie, what do I know? I cannot bear the unknown and yet here I am, these anxious feet paddling in empty ocean waters, weak arms failing to stay above water. I scream to myself, every day, as the tears threaten to fall again. This doesn’t feel good. Recovery feels awful but for the first time on the other side, I see my disorder for what it is and I hate it. It is hell. I hate it so, so much. I see my suffering and the surface of my pain and I want to look away. I don’t know how to face those demons. I cannot bear the fact that I have been in so much pain and yet this is how I have lived 19 years so I must have endured it somehow. I have finally stepped off the shore and yet recovery has left me to find myself drowning. I feel so lost. I am no longer in control, I no longer know what control is. If restriction is not better and food is not bad and thinner is not better that what do I live my life by? I am feeling so many things and I don’t have the psychoanalyzed explanations for how I feel because all I can say is- pain.

A reminder from my past self

“Despite how much you’ve grown in the past few years, you are still the same miserable person deep down and if you really want to change, you need to put in the effort to make the change instead of letting circumstances dictate. It is not easy, and you take steps back and forth everyday. Life isn’t perfect, sometimes life doesn’t make sense and it’s okay to not be perfect, to not be in control. ‘Control’ is just false security because we are never really in control anyway, not of life, and seeking control through food and weight isn’t really control either. It’s okay to take it slowly and just remember to be kind to yourself because you are trying your best.”

-from my past self