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

Running in Circles

Short Update:

I feel like I’m “back on track” with eating. I put that in quotes because, yes, I am eating “normally”, but I don’t feel good about it. I feel like I am overeating, eating shitty food that isn’t good for me anyway, and eating with no self control whatsoever.

I hate that I always eat when I’m hungry. I hate that this happens multiple times in between meals. I hate that whatever I eat never seems to be enough. I hate that I feel like a slave to my hunger.

I know I’ve gained back some of the weight I’ve lost. I think knowing this is enough to mess with my body image, to extreme proportions. I looked in the mirror tonight and hated what I saw. I see curves…everywhere. I don’t know why my ideal body is that of a child. I try to tell myself I’m 24, I am a woman, and I am supposed to have curves. But that’s kind of like telling myself that the sky is actually orange. It’s not true to me.

Why am I the exception? Why do I get to be different than everyone else? Why do I want to be different than everyone else my age?

I don’t think that I’m better than anyone else in any way. I don’t think I’m completely different than everyone else my age. I have similarities, and I have differences…just like everyone else.

Yet I hold myself to different standards. I impose rules on myself that I would never impose on someone else. I treat myself like I would never treat someone else.

Because it’s me. And I am not comfortable with me.

I wish I could eat without hating myself…because I eat several times a day now. I don’t enjoy the self-loathing that follows every bite of food. I don’t want to spend a majority of my day hating myself for “indulging”…or not being able to stop myself from eating when hungry.

Rationally, I am not over-eating. I am probably eating a fine amount, according to a dietitian or whoever else on my treatment team. So it’s very frustrating when I know this, yet can’t apply it.

I am frustrating myself. What else is new.

-February 17, 2017

Forward Movement

Things have changed, yet again. It’s kind of weird for me to think about. I don’t know how things changed…but they did.

I ended up talking to my boyfriend last week about the possibility of needing a higher level of care. I can’t explain why this conversation was different than others I’ve had with people…it just was. I felt extremely supported, loved, etc. It made a difference in my motivation and eating that day, which was carried over to now.

I’m eating a lot better than I have been. I stopped weighing myself every morning. I stopped intentionally trying to restrict.

And it’s weird to me how quickly that changed.

It kind of feels like a mood swing. I can’t find the words to explain it. I’m not taking it for granted, though. I’m really glad things are changing.

I couldn’t have gone anywhere positive with the behaviors I was using before. I was digging my own hole, deeper and deeper.

Eating again hasn’t come without it’s difficulties. My stomach still has a hard time tolerating more than a certain amount of food. I’ve been having intense nausea and stomach issues. It’s strange to be hungry, yet nauseous, at the same time. It’s not a very pleasant feeling.

But I’m doing what I can. I’m taking medicine to help with the nausea. I’m not giving up. If I give up again, I’ll have nothing again. I just have to do whatever I can do right now. And that is enough.

I just really hope this lasts.

-February 6, 2017