Monday, 6 April 2009

The Task At Hand

Yesterday's post has made me really question what recovery actually means to me. I feel like I am flailing at the moment- taking baby steps here and there, which surely add up to *something*, but it's times like the past couple of weeks when I wonder where I am really heading with recovery/my behaviour/my thinking/my life. I don't think there will be some grand moment when I leap from "sick" to "normal". More a slow stumble towards a life worth living. I don't know if I'll ever have that moment I am waiting for when I can look back and say "AHA- THAT was when I was cured" so I think I really need to get my head around the fact that this is a s.l.o.w. progress.
"Be not afraid of moving forward- only afraid of standing still"
Every step forward is something. I'm a person who likes to follow directions though and it's hard to find my OWN way without any real concrete guidelines to follow. I guess that is part of why I struggle so much giving up my eating disorder- it's so cut and dry, so black and white. It fits so well with the way I think and operate. Maybe that's the biggest part of the problem. Breaking FREE from rules and boundaries and seeing them for the prison walls they really are. The walls anorexia builds me aren't safe boundaries to keep me secure- they fence me in, box me up and silence the real me. Tearing down these walls would mean:
  • discovering who the real me is
  • discovering what I want to do with my life
  • learning to find my own structure and purpose, without anorexia to give my existence meaning
  • finding a way to deal with stress/disappointment/hurt/anger without starving it away
  • feeling worthy of taking up space in this world
  • learning to like myself enough to treat my body well, without hitting the default self-destruct button when things are hard

It was brought up in a couple comments that the recovery I imagine is one as if my eating disorder never existed. A huge part of me (okay, all of me :P ) wishes that I COULD go back in time and somehow do things differently. But would I? Probably not. I think that things happen for a reason- perhaps not a very valid one, or maybe just a really vague one. Maybe I can use this whole experience to my advantage: I've definitely learned a lot about myself and the way I think. The same way that anorexia has skewed my perception of food/my body/health, I hope that recovery shines a different light on those things and I emerge from these shadows with a new found respect for my body as the amazing thing that all living creatures are.

Maybe I'll never love my body (really, what woman does?), maybe I'll always order my salad dressing on the side, maybe I'll always feel self-conscious in a bikini/have fleeting thoughts about how life might be better if I lose Xlbs/weigh out my portion of pasta. I don't think it's uncommon for people to DO these things. Not to say I think it's great, but it's something I can live with.

Maybe I'll recognise that losing Xlbs won't miraculously get me a great job/apartment/boyfriend. Maybe I'll just recognise that losing Xlbs will make me Xlbs lighter. No more, no less. Maybe I'll use the same drive and determination that fuels my eating disorder to do something POSITIVE. It's likely a character trait that will always be a part of me, but I don't need to use it to destroy myself- I can channel it somewhere different and use it to my advantage.

Things I want to work on:

  • defining recovery
  • separating what are personality traits of ME and what are anorexia
  • looking at the traits and seeing where else I can direction them

10 comments:

Lexi said...

I'm so glad you made these lists; they are full of great goals and mysteries to solve. Keep pushing through. I often wonder that also - will I ever feel good about my body? Maybe not, but that doesn't mean I can't feel good about myself; about who I am as a person.
Love always,
Lexi

aussirish said...

hi hun

i think its really interesting what you said about thining recovery would be like becoming who you were before but not really thinking thats possible. i think we go through so much in recovery and learn so much about ourselves in recovery so we change, but for the better...were stronger, we recognize emotions more and we learn to deal better without harmful coping mechanisms.

every step, no matter how small, puts you one step closer to recovery and further from the ed, so keep taking steps, no matter what size :)
much love
xxxx

Sam said...

It is a slow process. Right now, I feel like I am at a brick wall and only picking at it with a platic shovel. And the shovel's breaking. I wish we could just leap into recovery. As much as I want that, I know that deep in my heart it's a slow process.
Thank you for the quote-it is truly inspiring. Yes, I can relate to the concrete guidelines. For ex, I feel like my meal plan by my nutritionist is too open ended, it's like give me a number and I'll hit it--or it's something so much more concrete that I want to follow.
I don't know if the thoughts will ever go away, but with work and slow progress, I know that you can live a better life--you deserve it. Not everything needs to have rules. I hope this isn't too depressing, but I love your honesty and I do want to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it's just so dim right now.
Just don't stand still!

Sam said...

It is a slow process. Right now, I feel like I am at a brick wall and only picking at it with a platic shovel. And the shovel's breaking. I wish we could just leap into recovery. As much as I want that, I know that deep in my heart it's a slow process.
Thank you for the quote-it is truly inspiring. Yes, I can relate to the concrete guidelines. For ex, I feel like my meal plan by my nutritionist is too open ended, it's like give me a number and I'll hit it--or it's something so much more concrete that I want to follow.
I don't know if the thoughts will ever go away, but with work and slow progress, I know that you can live a better life--you deserve it. Not everything needs to have rules. I hope this isn't too depressing, but I love your honesty and I do want to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it's just so dim right now.
Just don't stand still!

Lauryn said...

ellie,

i love your lists; i feel like i am seeing and understanding your thought process, and i'm so glad that this is a place to get it all out on the table and push through the tough times because you see what's possible ahead. i like your sense of realism, and, as always, applaud your strength!!! xoxo

Elle said...

I love that you've laid things out in terms of what breaking down the "walls" would mean and what you want to work on...definitely things that you can work toward a little each day. I also am so glad that you've reminded yourself that this whole process is slow - we can't rush ourselves and gloss over things that could come back to bite us.

Much love,
Elle

Stef said...

I know you can tear down those walls! It's great to outline these things you want to work on..and I agree; if I could go back, I wouldn't necessarily change things because I've learned SO much about myself, and the whole world really. It has made me a more compassionate and insightful person, and I think you're right about everything happening for a reason!

Sarah said...

Every time you write, it not only inspires me (and all your other readers!) but brings you that much closer to understanding and your true self. Though you may not see it right now, you are full of so much strength and courage, and are fighting in the best way you know how and are capable of at the moment, and that is all you can ask of yourself. I have found so much inspiration these past weeks from reading your insightful words and observing your desire to take back your life and continue this fight. I KNOW that you can do this-you deserve more than to live by hanging on. Take care of yourself!!

Sheena said...

Hey sweetie!

I really enjoyed reading this post. I think this post just shows progres in itself.

My nutritionist told mme the other week, in talking about her own body she said: "Could I lose a few pounds? Yes. Would I like to be thinner? Yes. But am I willing to give up the joys of chocolate and cake for it? No. Am I willing to give up the time it takes to do crazy exercise instead of spending that time with my kids? No."

I think we might always want to lose a few pounds here or there, but it's about prioritizing. We don't have to love our body. We have to learn to accept it, and accept that the shape of our body does not define us -- it's not the most important aspect of our lives.

I also like your goals. i have always had an addicitive personality, my mom has said. High school I was addicted to softball and school work. In college I was addicted to the school paper. I was addicted to helping a friend in deep trouble. I was addicted to my ED. It's hard to re-direct this addiction to something positive. I became addicted to running, and started to overdo that even.

I think it's great to realize what characteristics in you helps drive your ED and where you can redirect those.

Take Care sweetie!

burpandslurp said...

amazing post. I agree with you. ppl may think we're crazy, but I give thanks for my ED too. I have learned and experienced and grown so much because of this disorder. not to say I have totally recovered yet, but each day of fighting only serves to strengthen me day by day. same for you, and I admire your strength, positivity, and determination.