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

Advertisements

Where Did The Time Go?

I’ve been struggling emotionally lately. I’ve been feeling a lot of anger…but more at myself than anything else. When something bothers me, I don’t know why, but I hardly ever say anything. It’s so automatic that five minutes later, I’m wondering why I said nothing. I had several opportunities this past week to speak my truth, and I naturally skipped out. So I am left with myself, laying in bed at night, hating that I have no courage. Hating that it’s so damn automatic for me to just shut up. I don’t even know that I think to say anything in the moment. I just…freeze.

Anxiety is building, anger is building, and feeling trapped is almost consistent in my life right now. I want to have five minutes to myself, yet I’m always caught up doing something. I feel like I need a retreat. To just take a few days to myself. I’m too overwhelmed with this fast pace of life. Especially since I don’t feel like I’m getting closer to anything. I’m just gliding.

On the more positive side, I applied to volunteer for the Crisis Text Line. I would spend four hours (or more) a week with them, answering the texts people send in. I could see it being somewhat difficult, just with my nature of wanting to save people…but they provide a lot of training and assistance, so I think I can learn how to be effective in this role. I’m really looking forward to it…it’s something that actually works towards what I believe is my purpose (helping/inspiring other people). After going through treatment for seven years, and going from hell to the top, I’ve always thought I made it through so that I can help other people do the same. So…maybe this will help me feel more positive about my own life.

I don’t know what else to say. I will try to update more, I suppose.

-March 31, 2017

When You Read a Book That Sparks a Light Inside of You

I bought a book the other day from Barnes and Noble. Well, I bought several, but this one was read first. It’s called, “The Princess Saves Herself In This One” by Amanda Lovelace. While there are several pages I have tagged, and I did make a word document out of all my favorite passages/quotes, I think I’ll talk about these two today:

Pages 96-97: Fuck the idea that there is such a thing as destiny, that there exists some kind of mysterious master plan, that there is a god who simply does not give us anything we cannot handle. The pain did not make me a better person. It did not teach me not to take anything for granted. It did not teach me anything except how to be afraid to love anyone. I am far too young to be so goddamn broken & if I could go back in time & give myself her childhood back, I would. –what was the point?

Page 142: I let myself know that my life doesn’t have to be over just because theirs are & I went ahead & painted the sun back into my sky. –I am allowed to live my life

I’ve been working on this a lot- living my life even though my dad can no longer live his. Living my life despite the fact that several people have lost theirs in the past few years. Living my life despite the fact that I have no idea why it was them and not me.

I’ve always been so angry with the world about this topic. Why did God take my dad? There was no good reason. No one can argue with me that, like she said, there is some “greater plan”. I bought into that for a bit. I believed that there was some reason for everything, some explanation I wasn’t aware of. I thought, maybe it’s (I don’t have a good word, because “tolerable” and “okay” are not it…so fill in that blank yourself), because now my parents aren’t fighting. I don’t have to live a life at home in constant fear. I don’t have to feel on-edge at every moment, because there won’t be any more of the screaming, the banging, the tears, the wasted energy…the hope that maybe one day it’ll stop. Because it has. It has stopped. Silence has greeted this house, for once.

Then the battle began- did I do this? Every year, when I blew out my birthday candles, I wished my parents would stop fighting. I went to bed hoping that tomorrow, things would change. That the chaos would cease.

I battled feeling like God misinterpreted my prayers, to telling myself that I’m really not that important/this can’t be my fault, to being angry with God for doing this, to disbelief in any higher power listening to me anyway.

And that’s where I remain now.

It’s hard for me to believe in any higher power loving me, taking care of me, watching over me, or giving any justice in this world. My dad was a good person. He was smart, he was funny, and no, I will not agree that it was “his time”. He could have done so much more in this world.

I spent years trying to work through this mess. I nearly killed myself in the process. Yes, I am “together” today, for all intents and purposes. I’m alive. I have learned things. But I feel like I could have learned them another way. It doesn’t take my dad dying to make this happen.

People die- that’s life. I understand that concept. But I don’t agree with how it happened for me. I don’t agree with a lot of deaths that happen. It’s not fair. And no, I don’t care that that is a childish statement. Sometimes, it’s just not.

I had to learn the second quote eventually, though. I had to let go of a lot of that anger, the “it’s not fair” attitude. While that statement remains true, I learned I cannot live out that statement. I cannot ruin my life based on the fact that it wasn’t fair that my dad died.

I still hold some of that anger inside of me. It’s extremely difficult to ditch all of it. And I did learn that I have to “paint the sun back into my sky”. I can’t live my life in anger with something that I can never personally change. I can’t will my dad back to life…but I can progress in my own life and try to make him proud.

Sometimes I forget that intention. The more I was sucked into the eating disorder, the more I believed I had already disappointed my dad- and there was no way out. I imagined him looking down on me, wishing I wasn’t his daughter. Or worse, not even recognizing me.

I was someone completely different after he died. And I am someone completely different now. Some things stay the same, and I know he can see that. All things I learned from him…people-watching, cat loving, getting lost in books, writing poetry…they’re still there. And I’m proud of that. And if I’m proud of that, I think he would be too.

My dad was an amazing person, when it comes down to it. I got the pleasure of spending 16 years with him. While I have a long list of regrets, I always have the love in my heart that I need to believe he can feel. I choose to believe that if he knocked on my door today, we would smile together instead of feeling shame.

I still don’t agree that death like this is necessary…but the ability to keep going despite it, is.

-February 22, 2017

 

What Was On The Tip of My Tongue

Today at work, two of my coworkers were talking about diets. I’ve gotten more used to tuning out this sort of talk, since I work at Starbucks/this kind of talk happens all the time. I usually respond to their diet in my head with the wealth of information passed onto me by dietitians over the years. No, your no-carb diet isn’t going to work out…carbs are energy and you’re going to feel like shit when you eat ____ calories a day. No, using a shit ton of splenda when you can’t have sugar is probably not that great either. But go ahead, have fun with that.

Seriously though, you can’t eat fruits or vegetables because they have sugar and carbs? Really?

Okay, I’m done commenting. Moving on to my main point.

They were talking about how much weight they’ve gained, what they used to look like, what they want to look like. And then they crossed the line.

“I would kill to look like Carly”.
“Yeah, I know, right?”

Hi, 24 year old with an eating disorder here. You’d kill to look like me? I am killing myself to look like me.

Granted, they probably don’t know what I’ve been through. I am open (to a point) with my coworkers. I talk about my struggles and my past, but I’m not really the one to bring it up. I don’t go into much detail, but I’m honest.

I don’t think they knew what they were saying. But I so wish I could have spoken up.

I think society needs a reality check. Many people believe that being underweight is a goal, or it’s healthy, or it’s just something that everyone should be striving for. Just as being overweight can have its complications…so can being underweight.

I believe this upset me so much today because of how much I’ve been struggling lately. It’s not helpful to hear compliments, or hear people say they envy my body. I know in reality that I am torturing my body trying to get it to reach the point that my eating disorder deems “acceptable”. When people say these things, it’s adding fuel to the fire that is the ED. It confirms that my actions are necessary. It confirms that my behaviors are just. And it angers me, all at the same time.

I don’t want people to envy a disordered being. I don’t want people even looking at me like that. I am not a goal you should reach.

I am not okay.

I grew up watching America’s Next Top Model in my teen years. I posted the pictures of the girls on my walls. I wanted to look like them.

They were not healthy. They were not goals I should have been trying to conquer or achieve.

I understand the desire to live a healthy lifestyle. I understand that dieting can be necessary or beneficial. But not when you have other people’s bodies as your goal. Not when you are cutting out important food groups that are necessary for your body to function efficiently.

You will never look exactly like me. I will never look exactly like you. We are all different. Two people can be the same weight and look completely different. That never ceases to amaze me, but it’s the truth.

Go ahead, set goals for yourself. It is important to do that. But do not set my body as your goal.

It was painful to hold all this back today. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to tell them just how much I’ve been struggling lately, and that the conversation wasn’t helpful.

And I didn’t, because it wasn’t the right time, it wasn’t the right place, and I know it wasn’t said maliciously.

I just wish they knew.

-January 21, 2017

Something About Death

Hey, just a thought I’m having today. 

Carrie Fisher died yesterday (I believe) from a heart attack at age 60. I’m sure if you’re on social media, you’ve heard/seen posts about it. 

Carrie Fisher was bipolar, and open about her struggles with mental illness. Everybody seems to be posting quotes from her, articles she’s spoken in, interviews she’s done…etc. 

I believe it’s good that these quotes are being so widely publicized. My only question is…does it really take someone dying to make what they’ve said so relevant?

I’m not trying to bash anyone…it’s just something that happens when people pass away. You think about what they’ve said, or done, or impressions they’ve made on you. With someone famous, their lives are spread across social media. 

I believe what Carrie Fisher went through and what she has to say about it is very important. I think my point is, I wish what she had to say was of relevance and utmost importance every day of the year. 

When you have a mental illness, it is not your fault, and there is nothing to be ashamed about. Yet so many of us feel such intense blame, guilt, and shame over what we go through, and the actions we make because of it. I desire most that we live in a world that is constantly making us aware that we are not alone. One where people who have been through what Carrie Fisher had been through, or anything similar, could freely come forward and be secure in sharing their stories. One where someone’s death doesn’t have to be the reason we’re aware of mental illness.

I hope what I said here portrays what I’m actually trying to get across, and not anything offensive. If not, I’m sorry. 

And Rest In Peace, Carrie Fisher.