Hold the Line

I struggle sometimes to decide whether or not to leave a post up if I am embarrassed by what I’ve said or no longer feel that way because the situation has changed. Ultimately, I choose to leave them because they were – at that moment in time – my reality.

On one hand, some things I mentioned in my last post were cleared up within an hour of writing it. I had not realized that the friend I mentioned in the first half of the post actually subscribes to my blog and thus, she was greeted with an e-mail of my blog which understandably seemed very passive aggressive. The lack of invitation to the baby shower was, of course, an oversight and I took it entirely too personally and, as I am wont to do, jumped to the worst possible conclusion. (My apologies again to this friend – who has never been anything but loving and gracious. Also – and this is for everyone – if I ever do that sort of passive-agressive bitchy move you are allowed to chew me out and/or slap me.)

On the other hand, even though things were sorted with that particular friend, it did not change the hurt and grief I felt over the other friendships. The immediate situation with the first friend triggered all sorts of feelings that I am not entirely equipped to handle. My coping skills have grown leaps and bounds even in the past two months (no self-harm, what what!!), but sometimes I am still at a loss for what to do with my emotions. My emotions seem to have two options: on full-blast or off.

Spring break in Florida was positively delightful, but I didn’t really deal with any sort of feelings aside from “Yay Disney! Yay friends! Yay camping and hiking!” I very intentionally left my homework/reading for therapy buried in my bag because I just did not want to open that can of worms. I noticed in therapy last Monday that this was a way for me to close myself off to any emotion. So when I prayed for openness to emotion….well, the damn broke. I was a weepy mess for most of Monday night.

Y’all, I just feel raw. The slightest touch hurts. I had to walk out of my Tuesday night class because the activity hit (oh so tangentially) an area I’ve been working on in therapy and I could not handle it. I stuck it out as long as it could, but the class and situation just continued to feel more and more unsafe. I bolted after class. A classmate told me when I saw her later in the week that she had been praying for me and that my professor was really concerned. So now I have that awkward situation to walk into this Tuesday night.

I texted my therapist when I got home. I had taken a detour to EarthFare, hoping that picking up a couple of things would be enough to reset my brain. It wasn’t, so I asked my therapist how I was supposed to shut off these stupid emotions so I could get my schoolwork done. “Because beer is currently looking like my best option,” I said.

“Hold the line,” she said. “Your healing is way way way more important than homework. It will stop. You will catch up. Keep going until…it is finished.  Jesus did.”  A brief exchange occurred, wherein I realized just how human I am and my therapist stated that she was extremely glad that I was in touch with that humanness.

I know that this is what I am supposed to be doing, how I am supposed to be feeling. I know that the nights when I am so sure I’m just flat-out going to die from THE FEELZ are progress. I am feeling. I am allowing myself to be broken. I am trusting my family and friends to hold me while my Saviour binds the wounds.

But first – I have to take off the crude bandages I spent so long putting together and feel the pain that was always there.

Internet Elegy

Some statistics for you:

  • Only 10% of people with eating disorders ever get treatment.
  • Of those, only 1/3 will get treatment at a facility that specializes in eating disorders.
  • 1 in 5 of people diagnosed with AN will die prematurely due to complications of the disease (including suicide).

 

So when you consider that I’ve been to residential treatment THREE times in as many years, at all places that specialized in eating disorder treatment, I’m pretty damn lucky. Blessed is a better word, honestly. And when you consider that over those years I have met at least 15 people that I consider friends, it’s rather amazing that today was the first time I got news of one of their passing. And while the sparse obituaries never say it, I have only to guess that her anorexia was a contributing factor.

Isabel was my roommate at my first treatment center. We were in a room together directly across from the nurse’s station where the door was left open at night and the blinds on the creepy window that took up half our interior wall were left open. We were never out of the nurses’ sight. She was at high-risk for medical complications (as all my roommates would be – hence their being situated there), but man, did she shine. She had a great sense of humour, which was helpful, because I was a suicidal wreck. Most of the nights, the door was left open because I was the one on 24-hour-watch. Obnoxious, to say the least, but she was so great about it.

We loved doing crossword puzzles together. She was better than anyone I’ve ever met at crossword puzzles, save perhaps my father. Under her careful tutelage, I tried to learn how to knit. (Until the knitting needles were deemed dangerous for me, anyway.) It didn’t matter how terribly I had screwed up a line, she could fix it within minutes. I was completely jealous of her t-shirt collection. Any time I asked, she said she had gotten the t-shirt at a thrift shop. As she got better and her hair fell out before growing again, I would do her hair. I’ll never forget the morning I accidentally burnt her ear with the curling iron. For that matter, she never let me forget.

We lost touch within a few months of treatment. I didn’t have her address and one or both of our phone numbers changed. As I looked this afternoon at my journal from those months of treatment I found a letter I had written to her on a crossword puzzle notecard about six months after I discharged. I didn’t have an address to send it so it continued to lie in wait. Even if I had sent it, the address she would have had to respond to me would have been useless. Within weeks I would be on leave from work to go back into treatment.

My heart has been rubbed raw lately and this news only took off another layer.

I am angry. Angry that I spend time virtually every day worrying about friends I haven’t heard from. Angry that this diseases kills so many brilliant, creative, passionate men and women.

And angry that it still has a pull on me. I am doing better than I have in more than four years and yet it was only yesterday (literally) that I was looking at photos on my computer and wishing for the body that I had before I checked into treatment in April. Only this morning that I tried to silence the hunger and sleep instead.

Fuck you, dictator. Fuck you and your stupid rules and your broken promises and your army of skeletons.

Fuck you.

The Video!

Due to a request for the video in the comments of my latest blog entry, and after realizing that not everyone here is my friend on Facebook (where the video premiered) I present, for your viewing pleasure, 2012’s Greatest Hits!

I had so much fun doing this video and sincerely hope that my friends will let me join in the next one they film.  :)

Also, I have a favour to ask of you, dear blog readers.  I know a lot of you have blogs of your own and probably have far more readers than I do.  As you know, I’m writing a blog over at HealthyPlace.com about recovering from an eating disorder.  AWildernessLoveStory has a lot of my personal story and random musings, while as Surviving ED has a lot more practical advice, ins and outs of recovery.

I’d love to gain a larger readership because the point of the blog is really to start conversations with people in recovery (and their loved ones) and begin breaking some stigma and misperceptions.  And while I adore my friends for commenting, these are conversations we have with some regularity and I’d love to get additional input.

So would you mind pimping the Surviving ED blog over on HealthyPlace.com on your own blog?  I’d appreciate it greatly!!

Why I Love Helping You

I could be studying for the GREs right now, but let’s be honest, what am I going to learn in 3 hours that I am actually going to retain?  Studying at this point would be pretty useless, but I’ll still go over a few things to jog my memory.  Later.

So instead of studying, I am updating this little baby, which I’ve been meaning to do for a week, but keep getting distracted from doing so.  I want to share with you why I love helping my friends (and even strangers!) through tough spots in their recovery.  And it’s totally selfish.

  1. Helping you taps into some deep part of me that is meant to serve and help others.  I’ve always known that my call in life is to serve others in some fashion.  Helping you reawakens this in me and reminds me that I have some sort of bigger purpose in this world than counting calories and obsessing over my weight.
  2. Helping you strengthens my own recovery.  Every time I tell you to stop purging, stop restricting, that yes, it will get easier, I’m reminding myself of these things, too.  I believe every word I speak to you and if it’s true for you, why isn’t it true for me?  Am I really so special as to be the exception to every recovery “rule”?  No.
  3. I just freaking love you.  Helping you and knowing that you might be moving closer to a true recovery from eating disorder hell fills me with more joy than you could imagine.

If you know me in real life, you might find this slightly hypocritical.  I’ve been struggling lately.  But I genuinely believe that what is pulling me out of this funk is having conversations with friends who are also working towards recovery, and even if I’m not sharing my struggles with them, I am reminding myself of just how worth it recovery is.  Worth every bite of food, worth every minute sitting in uncomfortable emotions, worth every dollar spent on meds and therapy (and trust me, that’s a lot of dollars).

Many thanks to the friends who have confided in me over the past week and helped me by allowing me to help you.  Keep reaching out (to me or anyone else on your support team) and fighting the ED voice and it will gets easier every time.

Maybe only by .00000001%, but eventually that adds up to something significant.  And the road to recovery is paved with seemingly mundane actions repeated over and over and over again until you find yourself further along the road than you ever thought possible.

LOVE!

Tangle of Words

Just a quick post this morning, a poem I wrote earlier.  It’s still technically in the draft phase, so I’d be willing to take criticism!  Hope you all are doing fabulously, dear readers.  I will write more later (you know, when I’m not at work).

—————–

For H

You watched me walk away,
even followed for a while
until self-preservation required
that you pull back.

You left me at the edge
of the desert you knew
so well,
hoping I could find my own way.

After a while,
you wondered where I had gone –
told me to hurry and get back
to where I had been.

I wandered hopelessly
for months,
knowing I couldn’t find my way
back to you.

You waited at the edge
never once stepping foot into the desert –
but by the time I had found myself
capable —

Of returning to where you had waited so long,
you had already left.
I called out to you,
seeing you in the distance.

But you insisted
that you had already waited too long,
that I must catch up
and come to you.

The grip of the desert
is still too strong,
dear friend.

As much as I desire
to seek you out —

I can’t.
Not yet.