Liking Self Vs. Liking Life

I’ve been going through my old altered books today. If you’ve been to Sheppard Pratt Center for Eating Disorders, you know what that is. If you haven’t been there, maybe you still might know what it is. It’s actually a pretty good coping strategy. You take an old book (I’ve always preferred bigger books)…you cut things out from magazines and glue them in, draw in it, write in it, etc. You take an old book and make it your story.

Since I’m not that great at art, and art groups always kind of sucked for me, I would prefer to work on my altered books (most of the time).

The main reason I’m bringing it up is because I found a paper taped in one of them that spoke to me.

It’s a list of 67 “confessions” that I suppose those with eating disorders, or even anxiety/depression, can relate to. I starred the ones I had felt applied to me at the time. I will admit, I’m not sure what time period we’re looking at here…but it’s from SP, so sometime between 2009-2015. Probably closer to sometime in the early/middle years.

One of the confessions I starred was this:

“I wish that I didn’t hate myself but at the same time, I don’t know how it would feel to like myself.”

Earlier today, I was showing my therapist some of the books. There’s several pages dedicated to fear foods, skinny models, weight loss quotes from magazines, self-harm-related things, etc. She asked me how it felt to look at all of this. I said it felt weird. It’s kind of surreal, because I’m no longer in that place.

I can’t say I’m completely over my eating disorder, because I’m not. And honestly, I don’t believe that I ever will be completely rid of it. The thoughts still occur, but they’re different now, and more sporadic. They’re more manageable. They’re not the same.

But when I read this quote, something struck me about it. If I am being completely honest, I still don’t know what it feels like to like myself.

I don’t think I hate myself anymore, but I don’t like myself either. Where does that leave me? In a state of confusion, really. I’m in a state of…I just don’t like myself. I don’t like the way I come off, or the awkwardness I can carry. I don’t like my inability to confront people on things that need to come to light. I don’t like that I hardly ever stand up for myself, yet I’m totally willing to stand up for everyone else.

I like my love for animals, though when I say that, I automatically think about how it turns people off. They think I’m weird, because I love animals so much.

I don’t even know what else I like about myself. If I could, I’d change a lot. I like the people in my life, and I like the love I can give and receive. I like several qualities of my life. But I don’t like myself.

It’s strange, really. I thought in the process of recovery, one of the goals was to learn to love yourself. I haven’t really learned that. I’ve learned how to follow through with actions that compliment loving myself, such as eating, drinking water, working hard at school/work, and being social. I’ve made a lot of accomplishments, like paying for school, getting promoted, having my own apartment/moving out. But that doesn’t mean anything about myself.

I guess it would be logical to like yourself for making all these accomplishments. But it’s not true.

Does anyone else relate?

-May 18, 2017