Friday, 24 April 2009

The Shape Of Things To Come

I was going through some of my unpacked boxes last night and found a folder of worksheets from treatment. Included was on of the assignments we did in "Motivational Enhancement Therapy"- two letters we had to write to ourselves, 5 years from now, one as if we had recovered and one as if we hadn't. They were both rather chilling to read- I wrote these almost exactly five years ago and BOTH seem to have come true.

The letter I wrote as if I hadn't recovered was pretty much the same advice I would want to give to myself back then. I had written that I still had yet to find some true meaning/purpose to my days, my social life was still very limited and physical consequences of my behaviour were still a prominent feature in every day life. I wrote about my world still revolving around food, rituals and obsessions- about living from one hospital appointment to the next, one crisis to the next. Loneliness, depression, pain.

The letter I wrote as if I HAD recovered talked about having moved to New York, work, friends, hobbies. About being healthy and LOVING feeling strong (both mentally and physically), and being comfortable with a healthy/strong body. I wrote about how I was seeing my family again, eating my mom's cooking, the birthday cakes I had I was an active participant in a world I had created for myself, that included food/diet, my certainly didn't revolve around it.

I look back on the last five years and can see periods of both wellness and sickness- the ups and downs have been in stark contrast...the downs more so probably because of the "ups" in between. Good days/weeks and bad- I guess they balance out somehow.

What it really made me realise is how quickly time does go by, and how easy it is to delay making changes/recovery for "just a little longer" when the reality is that the world doesn't stop turning- things keep changing and moving and I can only ignore it to a certain extent. As long as I stay stuck in my "anorexic bubble", I pretty much block-out the outside world, live in my head and continue to miss out on the LIFE around me- not to mention the life within me that I starve/exercise away because it scares me. It scares me to try in case I fail. In case it isn't what I hoped it would be, in case my eating disorder is the lesser of two evils and that I am better off somehow remaining "safe" with the devil I know rather than taking a risk that doesn't work out.

But I am bored of playing it safe. I know the kind of life anorexia gives me- yes it's predictable, familiar and to a certain extent, feels safe. It's also limiting, suffocating, lonely and insanely DULL.

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for”
Life isn't about always playing it safe, taking the easy way out. It's about branching out, doing new things, exploring, discovering, making mistakes, falling down and getting back up again. Daring to dream, daring to dream BIG and taking the risk to see if those dreams can come true.
And that's my shpiel for the day :P

Onto some food!

Breakfast: overnight blueberry almond muesli...

  • oats

  • unsweetened fromage frais (Greek yoghurt's runny twin sister)

  • vanilla extract

  • sweetener

  • frozen blueberries

  • almonds

Left to soak overnight, then mixed together to eat...

I love this- it's so refreshing and would be perfect on a hot day. Too bad Scotland doesn't have many "hot days"!

Lunch was another Mexican bean pate sandwich. Still unspreadable, still delicious- loved the addition of alfalfa sprouts! I bet this would be great on a baked sweet potato...


Anonymous said...

I really like that exercise! I think I'll give it a try. It certainly makes you think. And I appreciate the 'now or never'/why wait thoughts. I always like to tell myself I can't start 'today' because its 'the weekend/too stressful right now/whatever', but those are just excuses....

The yogurt looks great. I actually just made some myself because I thought it would be so refreshing. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that you looked back on those letters, it must have really put things in perspective!!! Try doing something completely spontaneous today, whatever it may be...and see how it makes ya feel! :)

You totally deserve a good life free of this eating disorder and free of all the rules and sadness! Start pushing yourself farther away from ed so that you can eventually move to your dream city, get a job, and live life!! Don't fear the future or failing, just take a risk and see where it takes you!!

Your overnight oats look DELICIOUS by the way!!

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I did that exercise a couple of months ago. I did it when I was still really unwell and it creeps me out even reading them now, I can't imagine what it'll be like in five years. A bit of perspective is a great thing :) Your sandwich looks really good - I am on a sprout kick at the moment, I'm trying to grow my own!

dancelikenooneiswatching said...

this exercise shows you what you can you xxx

Cacti Don't Cry said...

I always find that I annoy myself most when I start to wonder "What if" ... what if I'd given real recovery a chance X number of years ago? Where would I be today? ... and oh well, if I haven't done it yet, I already wasted all this time, so what's the point in doing it now? It's not a good time because Y is going to happen, or I have to be at Z place, blah blah blah. Yes, makes great sense!

Hot days seem like an impossibility for everywhere right now... *sigh*

Stef said...

What an interesting assignment! When I read this post I felt a little overwhelmed thinking about how you must have felt writing those emotional and scary to think that years later you could still be facing the same struggles, and also scary to think that you'd be living life WITHOUT all of those ED thoughts and therefore would be taking risks and living life! I hope I'm making a littttle sense right now, I feel like I'm babbling big time lol.

I'm really glad you're bored of playing it safe, and I really love that ship quote! So true!

Anonymous said...

ellie, I was really touched and inspired by this post. You're right. Recovery...actually, life in itself, is about taking challenges and stepping out of our comfort zones. Playing it safe will only limit us and rob us of the better happiness out there, and restrict our potentials.
I'm sure there will be struggles, but you'll overleap them to fully enjoy life once again!