Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Conflict Continued

The thing I am struggling most with right now in "choosing" recovery (by "choosing" I mean, giving it my all) is that I want some sort of guarantee. I like to plan ahead. I like to know how things will pan our, what's going to happen, what shape things will form. Life does not work like that (much to my annoyance). I want some type of guarantee that life will be better- I have this vision in my head of being happy and healthy and functional in a conventional sense of the world. I find it hard to accept that I have quirks and personality traits that are what make me *me*- I want to become somebody else through recovery.

This of course defies all logic. Life won't suddenly become sunshine and rainbows. I probably will struggle to find a job at all in this economy, let alone one that matches my dreams and aspirations. There will always be broken friendships, bills to pay, rainy days. That's LIFE.

When I think about the "guarantee" that comes with an eating disorder (physical problems, inability to function, memory/concentration problems, isolation, obsessions) it seems ridiculous that I won't just take the risk of stepping into a world which has both ups AND downs. Why would I choose a life that is pretty much jam-packed of the "downs"?

Because it's guaranteed. It's predictable. It matches how I function- it's all very scientific and mathematical. It goes more by logic (eat x = y occurs, do z = yy occurs). It shuts me off from having to form friendships or relationships. I don't put myself out there to be rejected by friends/family/jobs because I am more concerned with what's going on in my head. Depressed? Walk X miles. Anxious? Purge. There are "simple" problems and "simple" solutions. It's straight-forward, and for something that needs order and control (oh, how cliche), it's easier.

But is it really?

I have nothing. I live alone and I talk to precisely 4 people regularly- one of whom is my mom, the other 3 are treatment professionals. My "hobbies" are all food related. Food can't hurt me the way people can. I tell myself it's easier like this. That I am safer like this. That this is the best option for me.

Honestly? I am scared to death of leaving this behind because I don't know how to function in the world without an eating disorder. I didn't know how to handle it when I was dealing with the stress last summer of getting rejected from one job interview after another. I didn't know how to cope when friends cancelled plans or didn't return calls. I took it so personally: obviously there was something wrong with ME. I couldn't step back and see that maybe the economy is just s*** right now, maybe the job wasn't a good fit, maybe my friends were busy... I just saw it as evidence that I was not cut out for working/friendships/normality.

It just seems to stupid. I look at the guarantees that come with anorexia and it's NOT what I want. But I choose it because I understand it. I know where I stand, the way the path weaves, the journey it takes, the consequences.

Life is just one huge mass of scribbly lines and bright colours.

I feel crazy writing this. I regret deleting this afternoon's post because it was pretty much identical to this one- but with me recognising that I was copping-out BIG time and saying over and over again that I DO NOT WANT TO BE 'THAT' GIRL. I wrote about not wanting to be the girl who stays home obsessing about food/calories, who never eats her own birthday cake, never does anything with her life. I wrote it and I mean it. I really do. I hate that I dole out advice and never take my own. I hate that I complain about hating my eating disorder, about wanting to move to New York, about these amazing plans I have- yet that I don't actually make any real concerted effort to change my situation.

I've been in treatment enough times to know how to eat. I have the CBT and DBT handouts. I can spout therapy jargon in my sleep. Yet something stops me from putting it all into practice.

I read a lot of blogs and I want so badly to be part of the "recovering" community. I know that you guys struggle each and every day, and I see you fighting so.damn.hard. I feel like my blog is just one big joke, and I am "that girl". The one who sits at home bitching and moaning and being miserable whilst having a rather intimate affair with the disease she claims to hate.

That's the real reason I deleted my earlier post. Not because I didn't mean what I said, but because it felt ridiculous reading it back. Like "the boy who cried wolf". I read it and it just didn't match up with "me". It was full of resolutions that this needs to stop NOW, that it's gone on long enough and I am so damn tired of it and tired of myself and tired of the same old s*** every.single.day. But staring back at me from the screen it just looked like some cheesy cliched crap. I feel like I bring the whole blogging community down (which is really rather egocentric of me- nobody is forced to read my blog!)

I don't know if I am making sense. I am literally all over the place right now- feeling like I am at a crossroad, and have been for quite some time. I debate constantly about having to choose either recovery or anorexia, when really it's just an excuse to delay things because I keep clinging to the hope that at some point, there will be an awesome pay-off to my eating disorder (which yes, I am aware will never come on an intellectual level, but emotionally I still want things to match up and make pretty patterns/colours/rainbows).


dancelikenooneiswatching said...

babe, the fact that you wrote all that shows that you want to recover...i often ask myself do i want this why cant i try harder...but the fact that we recognise we are ill and want to get better and live a funfilled life shows that we are on the right path...it wouldnt be a journey to finding our true selves if it was easy. hang in there xxxxx

Cacti Don't Cry said...

Did you write that, or did I? ...

I feel kind of silly commenting in the first place, since you've basically already said everything I could possibly say about it... but the fact that you're conflicted at all shows that you DO want to beat this.

Anonymous said...

damn, I don't have to read your blog? See you later then :P
/pathetic attempt at joke.end

I don't think you're crazy, ridiculous, cliched or bringing anyone else down. I do think a lot people, particularly those with mental health problems, spend a lot of time feeling like an outsider and not realising that they are in very good company. This was such an honest and powerful post, and I'm not just picking those words out of nowhere. Your confusion and frustration and anxiety came across so clearly. It's not surprising that you feel that way - eating disorders are bloody confusing and frustrating, and the most irritating thing about them is that they seem to promise to provide a solution to the chaos they create. I chose to hang on to anorexia for the certainties too. I still have no idea how I'm going to cope without it - I haven't worked for six years, I've dropped out of uni three times, I have a grand total of two local friends who I both met in treatment, etc. But that's not likely to change if I sit around starving myself for another year/five/ten. It's scary, but...I don't know, the idea of living with this for decades and dying with huge regrets is far scarier now.

I wish we lived closer, bah. I hope you can reach some sort of resolution with this - if not a final one then something which helps you take another step forward. It's no fun being stuck.

Stef said...

Brilliant, insightful post. I'm sorry that you're still having a hard time, but don't feel like a cop-out or a sham for not REALLY being committed to recovery 100%. I guarantee that EVERY SINGLE ONE of us has/still is saying one thing and doing another in terms of ED recovery. But saying it is the first step! Truly, this disease will take soooo much time and hard work to kick, but getting yourself into the right mindset is so important. "Fake it till you make it" helps more than you know! I just wish it wasn't such a stretch from the truth for you right now :)

Anonymous said...

I think everyone feels like they are recovering 'wrong' and everyone else is doing it 'better'. But isn't that part of the perfectionist nature of EDs? You must do recovery PERFECTLY.

But what is that? What does that mean?

Recovery is about stops and starts, ups and downs, emotional highs and lows. Its about feeling confident one day and feeling like a failure the next.

What I think starts to happen is the better days start to overtake the harder ones until eventually you find that those harder days are fewer and fewer...and then they're gone.

Hang in there. And try not to compare your recovery with someone else's. Everyone's disorder started/manifested differently, and everyone's recovery is different.