Friday, May 20, 2011

Preparation for your worst times, not for mine.

I was having a bit of a hard time figuring out what topic I wanted to touch on today, so I asked a friend of mine, Hillary, for inspiration. She reminded me of the previous morning when her head and stomach were being less than agreeable with her morning alarm. She mentioned  how she wished she was more prepared for how she was feeling, meaning she should have drank a gatorade the night before.Or, maybe she could have done something else if only she'd known she would be feeling like a big bag of poop the next morning.

We all wish that we'd been prepared for something that came at us like a bullet from a gun. We all do. As much as we'd like to tell ourselves that we are going to live on with no regrets, I'd be curious to find the first of whom can honestly say they've been successful in doing so. As much as we would like to feel set and ready for all of the worst to come, it's kind of impossible.

We can only be as prepared as we are capable of being. Life throws curve balls at us all the time, and we are going to react only in the ways that our experiences have taught us how to. We're not supposed to be prepared for everything. If we were, I think that life would have a lot less meaning to it. As much as I hate to admit this, I do believe that the worst of times teach us the best of lessons. 

When a good friend of mine was killed in a car accident last summer, it caught me more off guard than a truck crashing through my bedroom wall could. It hurt more than anything I had ever experienced, and it still hurts to this day. As much as I wished for the answers to the endless list of questions I created for whatever higher power may be up there, I had to realize that there weren't answers. There was no explanation for what happened, and there was nothing that could make it okay.

This is why we're not alone. The people we love and trust are there to fill in the pieces that we don't know how to shape ourselves. Sometimes, we just need to be saved. Sometimes, things are out of our control and it sucks. Believe me, it fucking blows, but that's the beauty in the chaos. We need to allow ourselves to lean on those who are next to us, those who are always next to us... those who are next to us when they'd rather be anywhere else.

It's hard to let yourself believe that you deserve to grab on to that helping hand, but you do. If you're any kind of friend, you know that reaching out isn't work. It's about putting that shoulder next to the crying eyes of a best friend so they know they've got more comfort in you than they would in scratchy tissues. It's what makes life worth it. Living and sharing, and taking it in and providing.

Now, I'm not sitting here trying to hate on the Boy Scouts of America or anything, because they're right. You should be as prepared as you can for obstacles coming your way. But, to be honest, most of the time you won't be. Most of the time you won't know what's coming. Most of the time it won't be what you've learned that will get you through the toughest of times. It will be what your best friends went through, and what they learned. And, when they fall down, it'll be what you went through that will have taught you how to pick them back up.

We've all got each other, and that's why we're able to keep going. Friends create and keep each other. I know that I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am in terms of my recovery if I didn't have the amazing friends and family that I do. Sure, I've learned a lot and figured out a lot of answers for myself, but if it weren't for my best friends sitting next to me through the worst, through all of the E.R. visits and every single day of being in the hospital, I wouldn't have been able to learn anything for myself. I didn't know how to worry about myself or care enough to get better, so they did it for me. They did it for me until I was ready, and they showed me how. So just try and remember, we're not alone in the craziness of our lives, and thank goodness for that. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Where were you while we were getting high?

So, I've realized that I am a huge procrastinator and I put things off in far too many aspects of my life. Just to think of a few examples, I procrastinate in school, my health, running errands, grocery shopping, doctors appointments, and etc. When I put these things off, I always have this sense and feeling of having plenty of time. Even when there's just enough time for me to get something done, it always feels like there's more than enough of it for me to wait a little bit longer.

I've noticed that I've also been doing this in terms of my recovery. I just get this feeling of having plenty of time to choose whether or not I really want to start making an effort towards moving forward and making real progress. It also makes me think of time that's wasted. I mentioned in my earlier post something about "buying more sick time" and I think that I feel that I need to do this just because I'm so unsure of what I want. In reality, I don't have more than enough time but I have become very good at convincing myself that I do when I feel the need to put off making a big decision.

I used to see myself as being lazy when I procrastinated, but now I'm realizing that it doesn't really have much to do with being lazy, but rather with being extremely indecisive. I really hate making decisions that are not concrete, or black and white. Weighing out the options of a choice often leaves me frustrated and not wanting to decide at all. Even looking at the seemingly simple tasks that I put off all the time, I can see that there are deeper issues behind them all which leads me to avoidance.

In school, I'm often afraid that I will fail or do something incorrectly, therefore I put off even starting it or trying it out because in reality I'm putting off failing. In terms of my health and making and keeping appointments, I'm often afraid of what doctors will tell me (in terms of good and bad news, and changes that they expect me to make) and if I avoid them completely, I won't hear what's wrong with me, I won't have to face the damage I've done over the years, and I won't have to behave as if I actually valued my health. (Still trying to figure out how to do that, btw.) I put off grocery shopping because I'm afraid that it will either a. end up with me failing and not getting anything but safe things, or b. it will lead me to buying practically the whole store and end up binging. Neither of those situations are very likely, yet it still prevents me from taking the chance and getting the shopping done.

I'm not going to go into every decision I make and task I do on a daily basis, but you get the point. I put things off because I don't want to face possible results, even as unlikely as they may seem. But what's the logic behind all of this? It's kind of silly to wait around and put things off until the very last chance you have, just as it's silly to say "I"ll quit smoking cigarettes in a few weeks." If you want to quit eventually, then it means you want to quit. So, what are you waiting for? Why not do it now? Why waste more time hurting yourself when you know you want to stop anyways?

My ED makes me feel like I'm an addict. Sometimes I just feel like I can't give it up. I know that I want to at some point. Hell, there's no way I'd wish to live in that hell for the rest of my life. And, if it really is a "hell" of a lifestyle, then why am I clinging to it?

This brings me back to my earlier post about being afraid of the unknown. When we try to accomplish something, there's no telling whether we'll succeed or fail, but we try anyways. Why? Because we want to succeed, and there's no succeeding without trying. But, without trying there is also no failing. It's safer to put things off and not risk the bad consequences we may encounter. Safer, yes, but satisfying?

I'm afraid of recovery because I don't really know what it looks like. Sure, I've been in a better place in terms of it before, more so than I am now, but I don't know what it would be like to be completely free from it. I know what  being sick is like, and I know it inside and out. I know how it makes me feel, even with the shittiness of it all, it still gives me a high that I can't get from anything else. Sometimes it makes me feel as if I'm on top of the world and in control of it all, but sometimes it makes me feel like I am completely alone. So why am I still so ambivalent?

In reality, I know what I have to do and I could probably write a book about recovering from an ED. It's wanting it that is my issue. It's taking that first step even if I am afraid I'll fail. It's going to the grocery store before I've been out of food for a week and realizing that a binge is not inevitable. It's starting a term paper that I don't really know much about on time, and not getting discouraged because I don't have all of the answers laid out right away. It's going to the doctor when it's clear there is something wrong and realizing that yes, there may be bad news, but it would be worse to ignore. It's taking that leap of faith and trusting everyone who says that you can recover, and you can be free from the private hell of an ED.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fear of the unknown or curiosity in its finest

"We were sick!
We were sick at the talk!
So far from where we started,
Too far along to stop!

We were sick!
We were sick at the thought!
We never lose our grip,
And end up sick at the bottom!" - The Thermals, "We were sick"

I know it's been ages since I've posted last, but I'm just going to pretend like it hasn't been months since my last post and try to jump back into it. I write enough at my own accord, so why not share it with you guys, also? Here it goes.

Too often than not I find myself terrified of what seems to be unfamiliar or entirely too new in its kind. We all have our safety nets, and we all cling to what we know far too much. Although, when I look at what it is that I really find safe or familiar, I have to wonder if these so-called safety nets are there to protect me from anything, or if they are there to block me from knowing what I am capable of exploring and finding happiness inside of. 

It is so easy to fall back into old ways, old behaviors, and rituals that provide a false, but satisfying, sense of relief from the chaos of life. But, have you ever stopped to ask yourself what these comfortable vices are really giving you? Is it really all we know? Could these safety nets be trapping us in rather than keeping the bad out?

I think it's important to remember that we hold onto the memories that hurt us the most, rather than those that make us feel loved, worthy, and happy. Try and think back to the last compliment someone gave you. Can you even remember? Now, do the same for the last insult you received and I bet you'll have no problem reciting the pinching words over and over again, like they were thrown at you just now. 

So what is really safe? Pain? Suffering? Being unhealthy and sick? It's taken a lot for me in my recovery to realize that in order to really be healthy, I need to allow myself to replace fear of the unknown with curiosity. Rather than being afraid of eating normally (hell, what's normal anyway...?) and what that would mean for me, maybe I should replace that fear with curiosity. I should be curious as to what it's like to feel nourished, awake, and clear, rather than afraid of stepping outside of my comfort zone of restricting, attempted self-control, and confusion towards anyone who doesn't have a problem doing this. 

Right now, recovery from my ED is scary to me. I'm in a place where I am very ambivalent towards wanting health and stability, and I've found myself buying more "sick time" until I'm ready to make that decision. But, now I'm realizing that yes, changing what I know and have known for the past decade may be the weirdest and most uncomfortable thing in the world, but maybe that's because all I've known in terms of taking care of myself is completely backwards. New doesn't necessarily have to mean bad, especially when it's clear that what you've been doing doesn't work. 

It is true, curiosity did kill the cat. But, wouldn't you rather be that little excited ball of fur than a lazy feline spending half its time asleep, never really knowing what's in store for those who actually choose to wake up and live a little? That's exactly what we're doing when we hide behind what we know and what is safe. It's time to be curious about what we fear. Maybe if we were able to gain a little bit of insight towards the things we fear the most, we'd be able to find the beauty in them, too. It just takes a bit of understanding. How well do you really understand the things you are most afraid of?