Evening everyone. Today was one of those days that I just don’t really remember much of. I can’t believe it’s nearly 9 pm but I know that I woke up about 12 hours ago, took Angie on a walk, made her breakfast, had breakfast of my own, did some reading, took a short nap, made Angie lunch, got a haircut and color, went to lunch, etc. etc. I don’t know why sitting in the hair salon getting my hair done felt like a time warp, but those two hours felt like FOREVER. Oh well, at least I have a cut new hair cut and dye that used organic, chemical-free coloring
I feel like I’ve been kind of absent from my usual blog routine and blog world activities lately, and I thought I’d share my feelings in a more direct way. You’ve probably heard me mention before that I try to stay away from certain websites/blogs that talk directly about weight/numbers etc., and I also don’t like to read blogs that show before/after pictures or describe in graphic detail what one’s body looked like during the depths of their eating disorder.
I feel like I’m in a bit of a tough spot mentally because on the one hand, I understand the desire for validation and hearing, “Yes, you are/were sick enough.” In my own journey, I really didn’t think that I was “allowed” to recover until I hit a certain mark where I could be called “sick enough.” Even though I’ve written about the few treatment centers I went to, I never EVER mean it to be some sort of a competition. My sharing that information is more of a desire to show others that hey, I had chances to get better and it was really difficult and I didn’t take recovery that seriously for most of those stays in various levels of care. Let me make this clear though, YOU DON’T NEED TO BE IN TREATMENT TO HAVE AN EATING DISORDER and YOU DON’T NEED TO BE IN A TREATMENT CENTER TO BE SICK ENOUGH TO GET HELP!!!!
What I didn’t understand and couldn’t accept for myself was that even though there’s kind of a spectrum of eating disorders and treatment levels, if you are struggling with food, body image, self-worth, self-esteem, self-acceptance, confidence, depression, anxiety, emotions that are painful, grief, loss, etc., YOU DESERVE HELP. Period.
I want my readers and those who are learning about eating disorders and other mental health issues to know that I’ve been on both sides: I’ve been ambivalent about recovery to downright opposed, as well as a semi-annoying pro-Recovery cheerleader who talks about recovery like it saved her life…oh wait…it did. I know what it’s like to not feel sick enough and I know what it’s like to not want to give up something that you know isn’t good for you, but at the same time is so comforting in a dangerous way. I also know how much better my life is without my eating disorder. I’m AMAZED by how much my depression has lessened and how I can wake up and have okay days just like other people. They don’t have to be terrible and they don’t have to be extraordinary, they can just be ok and I’m grateful as hell for that.
At times I worry that someone will call me out for hypocrisy. I started this blog last year and when I started it wasn’t really using symptoms. Now when I say “really,” I mean that I wasn’t following a meal plan and probably should have been. According to one treatment center I was at a normal, healthy weight, but I knew that I wasn’t healthy. My mind was still sick as a dog and I tried to hide it, like pushing a beach ball under water until the day after I hit 13 weeks without one particular symptom and all hell broke loose. Pretending to be ok like I did was absolutely the worst thing for me and landed me in a hospital (indirectly related to my eating disorder but I’m not quite ready to share the whole story). I felt like a hypocrite that I was trying to write about recovery but began using symptoms. I was forthcoming about my BPD diagnosis and blogged a little bit during my time in treatment. The “Raw” in Raw Recovery is meant to signify my raw honesty about what it’s all like, and what’s like is that sometimes you might be really into recovery and at other times you might not be. I’m thankful that I was able to turn things around with the help of family, friends, a great center and therapists and make it this far.
Now that it’s summer, I feel like recovery is getting harder again. I’ve been wearing winter/spring clothing because I’m still having a difficult time showing skin. I don’t like tight clothes and honestly the thought of wearing shorts or any kind of skirt just kind of terrifies me right now. The pool at my apartment complex is also open and I am avoiding it like the plague. Every summer my mom, sister, and I would order bathing suits online and then when they arrived try them on and get each other’s opinions on them. Guess who cried every single time? Not this summer. I personally am not going to go out of my way to go swimming publicly because I know that for me seeing other women in bikinis will make me think poorly of my own body and it will trigger me because it is and already has. This summer I’m giving myself the gift of wearing whatever the flip I want in order to keep myself in recovery and if that means flowy clothing then that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not confident enough about my body to be around other people I don’t know in a bathing suit so I’m just not going to do it. Nobody ever told me that I could make this decision and had the right to do so, so I’m giving myself permission.
Going back to my main point, I want to say two things. The first is that if I have ever triggered any of my readers, it was completely unintentional and I am very sorry if I did. I try my absolute best to not post graphic details, pictures, or memories because never once did reading those things on other people’s blogs help me in my recovery. It did help my eating disorder get worse when I’d read how many calories others were consuming and saw before/during/after pictures. If however I have said anything to trigger anyone, please accept my sincere apology.
The second thing is that I know that I am going to be making conscious choices about where I put my attention from now on. I have my moments when I get jealous that other blogs might get more comments or be more “popular” but that is my ugly competitiveness coming out in some way other than in eating disorder behaviors. Moving forward, it is imperative that I create both an external, internal, and virtual (if I can call it that) world that helps maintain my recovery and health. What doesn’t serve me will no longer be in my field of vision, whether this is blogs, websites, certain clothing stores, people, etc. What matters most is that I continue to learn how to nurture (and I still have issues with that word but it is important) and care for myself and as I continue to do this, I will share with you all the things I learn along the way.
With that being said, tomorrow I will definitely be posting my interview with Doris Smeltzer, Co-Founder of the foundation, Andrea’s Voice. Get ready to have your life changed like I did. Have a wonderful evening!