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

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That God Effect

Apparently I have angels protecting me.

I got into my fifth car accident yesterday (my second in a row with someone without insurance). I don’t understand why this keeps happening to me. None of the accidents have been my fault (although yesterday’s I feel partially to blame for).

I was trying to turn left (in a center turn lane)…the person to the left of me stops and waves me over, so I go. A guy came flying down the other lane, swerved to avoid hitting me and ended up hitting two other cars. One was a pregnant woman’s, and one was a couple’s. So we all turn into the parking lot I was originally trying to enter. Guy gets out of his car, starts crying and screaming at me (the screaming lasted a good while). I call 911, which by the way, it took them 30+ seconds to answer. 911 was ringing. Who even knew that was a thing?? How can 911 be ringing for that long without someone answering it?

Anyway. It took the police another 20-25 minutes to actually get there (which also was surprising to me). I was hysterical for awhile due to the guy screaming at me. He told me it was all my fault, his car was totaled, it was his only prized possession, he just got a job and now won’t be able to get to work, that he doesn’t have insurance and now he’s probably going to jail…just basically reminding me of what a piece of shit he thinks I am. Yes, I do feel some blame for this accident (since I was turning left), but at the same time, he shouldn’t have been going 50 in a 35, and he shouldn’t be driving without insurance.

The woman and the couple were talking to me for awhile. They weren’t really that upset, just thankful that everyone was okay/that nobody got hurt. One of the women told me that if he hadn’t swerved, his car would have t-boned mine and I could have gotten really hurt. She told me I had angels protecting me, and that actually made me cry even more.

It’s crazy to me…earlier in the day yesterday, I saw someone’s post on Facebook thanking God for not leaving them when they had left God several times. That had sparked my thought, but I didn’t carry on with the idea too much after that. But after the car accident…I don’t know. I’ve been in five accidents in the past four-ish years. I haven’t gotten hurt in any of them. If my car had been damaged in this accident, I could have potentially lost my car (since it’s considered totaled already from my last accident). Then I’d be spending thousands on a car (which I’m not fully capable of doing quite yet, financially). Sometimes I don’t understand why in each accident I’ve experienced, I have walked away perfectly fine (minus some anxiety/hysterics).

As I was thinking about this yesterday, it made me think of my dad. My dad bought me this car, which is part of the reason I’m hanging on to it for so long. Maybe he is my angel, watching me and protecting me. My dad always protected me as best he could. I believe he has been with me through each accident, making sure I’m okay.

As well as God. I am alive today, when there have been far too many reasons that I should be dead. I’ve nearly killed myself over and over, been in situations where I probably should have gotten more hurt than I did…but I am alive. I am perfectly fine. There has to be a reason for that. Luck, fate, whatever, should say otherwise. They all point to a much worse outlook. I think God has been there for me, even when I have abandoned him.

I don’t know where this thought/journey will take me, but I need to find a way to improve this relationship, whatever that may look like.

-March 22, 2017

Don’t Give Up Yet

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“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.” -St. Jerome

I found this quote just now, and I’m surprised I’ve never heard it before. I really like it.

It’s basically along the same line as the other quotes- self-improvement, not giving up, etc. Which, obviously, I truly value.

Some things we’re not good at. I for one am terrible at public speaking. Maybe that’s why I love writing so much…because I can say everything so clearly that I wish would come out of my mouth, but never seems to. It’s very common for me to have so much going on internally, but be completely silent externally. Actually, most people I meet in life comment on it at one point or another. I’m told I’m quiet, I’m shy, I look like I’m upset, I give off a vibe that I’m angry/upset, etc. I’ll agree with the quiet and shy, but it really bothers me when people ask what’s wrong with me when nothing is actually wrong.

Anyway. I know that I’m shy and quiet, and I don’t think I’ll ever be an exceptional public speaker. However, I have to keep trying. I spent a lot of energy this past year aiming to improve my communication with others. I do this in several ways, but on my part, the biggest challenge has been speaking for myself. I’m used to either saying nothing or having someone else say what I want to say for me. I’ve gotten a lot better at speaking for myself, though I’m still not outstanding in that area. The moral of the story is, if I give up, it won’t improve.

There are necessary things in life you can’t escape working on. Speaking and communication is a big one. No one can help you if you don’t ask for it.

So I believe it’s important to keep working on your weak areas while also embracing your strong ones. Never stop trying. It’s not a lost cause until you stop trying. In addition, lay out your boundaries. If something isn’t right, and trying/trying again isn’t improving it, know how to set those boundaries. Find what works for you. I wish I could just google “how to solve _____ problem”, or “what to say when ____ happens”…unfortunately nothing is cookie-cutter. It’s individual.

You are a strong individual. You are capable, courageous, impressive, worthy, loved, strong…(I can keep going). If things aren’t going your way today, don’t give up. Ask for help, see what works and what doesn’t, and don’t believe the lies that you’ll never make it. With help from each other, we can do this.

-September 4, 2016