Secrecy feeds eating disorders

The most valuable lesson I’ve taken away from recovery is to never apologize for showing feeling because it only means you’re apologizing for the truth.  Learning to speak my mind was the greatest gift recovery gave me.  I am a much happier person for it.

However…

Sometimes I just want to say, FUCK THE TRUTH, and let it fester away and die.

It is hard for me to admit that I need other people, as well as their support and love.  It’s terrible to need.  I hate it.  Somedays it’s hard to no longer live in a body sheathed with the ironclad armor of an eating disorder.  Empty is strong and invincible.  When I feel overwhelmed and vulnerable, it’s a tempting to retreat back into its’ shell… I miss the days when my eating disorder and depression were secrets.  I know it seems a bit contradictory to have a public blog dedicated to my recovery and struggles when at times I feel crippled by shame and loathing and guilt, but I know deep down it’s too late to go back.  I can’t hide this part of me, and even if I could, I shouldn’t.  One of the reasons I started this blog was to accept that.  Secrecy feeds eating disorders.

It’s lonely when such a big part of your life is secret to your friends… but sometimes I wish I was strong enough to be alone, than risk losing more people I care about or infecting them with this disease that is so damn hard to understand.

There’s a point in everyone’s recovery where you realize that you cannot do it alone.

3 years out of treatment and I still struggle to accept this.

Every time I reach out to someone, I feel this sharp pang of idiocracy and embarrassment mingled with the guilt that I just disturbed the universe.

I wish pumpkin spice lattes and wooly sweaters were enough to keep the triggering thoughts of this time of year out, but they’re not.  The sadness just lays across my eyes and I pass through the days in a haze.
…..I’ll still keep drinking the lattes though.

It’s a chronic illness.

I’m going to apologize in advance for any lack of grammar and eloquence this post may contain.  I’m emotional and in my experience, those things tend to go out the window when I’m in such a state.

I either want to be locked away so no one can see me or I want someone to wrap their arms around me and smother every bit of doubt pulsating through me with kisses and snuggles.  A tad contradictory, I know.  But I feel like such a nuisance and am embarrassed of my disordered thoughts and momentary breakdowns.  All of a sudden, I feel utterly disgusted with my body and life for reasons that probably have nothing to do with my weight, but of course, I will fixate on.  Why?  Because weight has a simple solution.  Exercise, starve – problem solved.  Associate weight with any other problem and with every pound you lose, your problems will shrink as well.

That’s how eating disorders work.  Or at least, one way they work.  Eating disorders and depression are far too intricate to have just one explanation.  Either way, it’s just a lie presented in a pretty little package begging to be unwrapped, and right now I feel like a 4 year old waiting to rip open every present under the Christmas tree.

I’m scared.  I thought I was doing so well.  I exercise moderately.  I eat moderately.  I’ve been feeling good and confident.  Then I go out and socialize, indulge in things that I like, and then feel like utter shit after.  I just – asdfghjklasdfgwhatthefuck?!  Is this how life is always going to be?  Take a couple days off from exercising and suddenly I’m the victim of self-abuse?  Has the progress I’ve made these past 3 months been an illusion?  I don’t think so.  Then whyyyyyy?  Will I ever get to a place where I can do things without a free pass from exercising or starving?  A place where if something unexpected or bad happens, I don’t immediately fixate on my body and beauty.  I just can’t imagine a world like that.  Not today at least…

I’m grateful for the growth my struggles have given me, but god dammit, I hate this fucking disease.  I hate my polluted blood.  There are days where I just get so mad that this happened to me.  Days where I do nothing but cry over the person I might have been if it had been different and pine after the years I’ve lost to this disease.  I want it gone.

All the leaves are falling…

And the sky above my head is very grey.

September is a triggering month for me.  Maybe it’s because I hit my lowest moment this month three years ago, but September always eggs me on to breakdown.  I start to feel scared and unsure of myself.  My head is suddenly covered wall-to-wall with mirrors, and the space between my elbow and wrist prickles when I think too hard.  The changing leaves begin to fall in a flurry of bad memories and feelings.  I’m constantly pulled down by waves of fear, struggling to keep my head above water.

Last September I experienced my first relapse.  It happened so fast.  In a matter of weeks, I somehow crossed the line of healthy and destructive, and by October I knew the thing that was talked about like some cautionary tale in treatment had finally happened.  I relapsed.  Everyone had always said you’d never realize it was happening when it was happening, and WOAH were they right.  To make a long story short, I took the necessary steps to pull myself out of it (i.e. reach out to supports, consult therapist, be open and honest with loved ones).  It didn’t take me long to get back on track.  But of course, life happens and I got derailed again.  I threw out my disordered behaviors for depressive tendencies.  I was not in good shape emotionally and physically for the latter half of my senior year.

But as with every year, I am reunited with September once again.  The month of new beginnings, right?  I’m much healthier and much happier, but there’s something ominous about September, and it’s off to a, let’s say, contemplative start.

This past week I made the trek up to Keene to see one of my best friends.  She’s never been without me throughout her college career thus far, so even though we’re only a week into the semester, a trip was needed.  However, my little weekend visit turned into a week long stay.  It was great.

I got engaged.

Well, fake engaged.  But if this is what it’s like to be really engaged, I think I need to reevaluate my marriage priorities.  It was quite the spectacle, I assure you.  I got to spend time with some really cool people I haven’t seen in a long time, I was reunited with my TAD friends, and enjoyed the New Hampshire air I’ve missed.  So much, in fact, I didn’t want to leave.

Now, I’m seriously considering moving back.

There’s nothing wrong with that.  I just need to make absolutely sure that I’d be doing it for the right reasons.  It’s not enough to say, “It’ll make me happy.”  No.  I need to know what about it will make me happy.  Going out to the bars and having fun with friends are not a legitimate reasons for moving back.  That’s not what I want anyway.  I don’t want to go back to hold onto the college “Golden Years”.  Besides, my “Golden Years” were more like “Bronze Years” or “Certificate of Participation Years”.  Having an eating disorder and depression kind of ruined the romanticized notion that my time in college would be the best years of my life.  However, that means that there are better years ahead of me… which is exciting, but also why I want to be smart about this decision.

My initial worry was that people would judge me for staying in my college town, but fuck it.  At nearly 24, I need to stop caring what people think of me.  Aside from that blip, I’m concerned that the reason I’d be going back is because I’m too afraid to delve somewhere new, which is partially true.  I am scared.  I’d rather be more financially stable if and when I move to a city like Chicago or Boston.  And I’m still so unsure of what I want that I don’t feel ready to move somewhere new either.  So why not use Keene as a transition platform?  Work a couple jobs, save money, but be in a place that I love and also be near supports.  From a personal and recovery standpoint, it balances out.

As great as I’ve been doing with my recovery and inculcating a healthy lifestyle here in Rhode Island, I also feel like I’ve been slowly becoming an agoraphobic.  I’ve been isolating.  Here, I don’t have to deal with social anxiety.  But I need to tackle it.  Socializing is a part of a balanced lifestyle.  Going out in Keene made me realize how much I need to work on that.  I was having fun, but I felt very self-conscious and uncomfortable a lot of the time, especially in social settings that involved food or alcohol.  I didn’t exercise much while I was there, and that completely shifted my mindset.  It scares me how easily that happened and how I rely on exercise everyday to give me permission to eat.  I don’t want to have that mentality.  I still have a lot of work to do, and once again I am reminded that recovery is a life-long commitment.  As dramatic as it sounds, I can’t let my guard down for a second.

Also, I love being close to my mom and living with her.  She’s the most wonderful and caring support I could hope for in a mother.  But I also worry that she is my security blanket.  My binkie.  And that’s moms are for, right?  It’s ok.  But after this weekend and realizing that I’ve been isolating intentionally and unintentionally, it feels like a crutch.  So I’m not sure if it’s in my best interest to stay.

Transitions and change is always hard for me, moreso than the average person.  If you think I’m over-thinking all this, I’m not.  I know how I work, and the steps I need to take to make transitions easier for me… I can’t risk relapsing again.  Ultimately, that is the biggest fear here.  I don’t want to go through it ever again.  But that possibility will be there no matter what decision I make so the important thing to do is to acknowledge it, but not let it hold me back.

I could run in circles around this forever, but at some point I need to put down the Pro/Con lists and just make a decision.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Criticism?  I want ’em all!