Dude…yesterday was deeeeep. I’m talking tears, brutal honesty, and feelings of helplessness. Most of the time I’m afraid to show how I’m genuinely feeling, (hello, one of the main reasons I developed this ED) open up to others and talk about my REAL emotions. Yesterday I spent the afternoon in Hershey with my treatment team and the other amazing girls who I confide in and relate to 100%. I look forward to Tuesdays because it’s comforting knowing I’m not alone in this struggle. However, I realized yesterday, I’m not always letting my sincere emotions come through.
I truly am an optimistic, positive, and hopeful person, but when it comes to believing in myself, that’s not always the case. Every Tuesday on my way to Hershey I feel the need to be that upbeat, cheerful encourager for everyone else that I forget the reason why I’m even going there in the first place. I need help (and that’s okay). I have this false sense of responsibility to make others happy, remind them recovery is possible and not stop until you get there. Here’s the catch 22, as I continue to reassure others to believe in themselves and not give up, I myself don’t listen to my own advice.
I broke down. I tried my hardest to hold it in but the tears started falling. I didn’t want to show my weakness, fear and feelings of worthlessness. But, you know what, it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders (LOLz, or should I say weight was gained). These girls can see right through my bubbly personality. If anyone can see through it, it’s these girls. I mean honestly, if I were constantly positive and optimistic why would I have to be there? As I watched one of my friends break down about her struggles, something hit me. I felt an overwhelming amount of compassion and wanted to do something to help her so badly. I slowly began to see myself in her. The more and more I could relate, the harder it became to hold back my emotions. I finally just let it out.
Have you ever felt powerless in your life making you want to reach out to that reliable support that never lets you down? Ev. er. y. day I experience that helplessness and want to resort to my ED, but I know now my ED will let me down. It lies to me every time and never helps in the long run. I am so much stronger than that and able to fight back. Sometimes I still don’t win the fight.
At transitions we read a blog post that asked, “Do you FEEL stuck and powerless, or ARE you actually stuck and powerless?” The way you feel doesn’t always mirror reality. I realized I sometimes FEEL powerless and my ED allows me to distract myself from all the negative things I am FEELING.
The blog later states, “Often individuals feel a sense of powerlessness as a result of events of the past. Many individuals learned early on that speaking up for what they needed would be met with negative consequences. This learned helplessness or powerlessness is often perpetuated through adulthood, even when the events are in the past.” This rings true for me. I won’t get into it, but maybe in the future I will be able to open up about it. I need to look for that strength deep down (or in my biceps) to get me past this. I know it’s in there. I also need to USE my amazingly supportive friends, family and faithful God to help me.
After transitions I hung out with my sweet (he upgraded from being just a meat head) friend to go for a walk. We were going to jalk, but decided a long walk would be even better. Have I mentioned he is pretty funny? Like funnier than ME (I like to think I’m hilarious). As we walked and talked (and had police following us…do you have something to tell me fruit cake!?) I felt more and more comfortable telling him anything and everything. We stopped at the football field to jump on the big squishy mat (and act like mature adults) when he politely asked if it was okay to ask me how I was doing (with ED).
I forget how difficult it is for other people to understand an ED. My family couldn’t begin to understand until they started researching, attending doctor’s appointments with me, reading books on the matter and actually ASKING me questions. If you don’t ask it’s hard to comprehend. His thoughtful questions and sincere concern actually made me feel like he really cared. The simple question, “Well, how can I help you?” is all someone with an ED needs to hear. That simple, supportive, question means more than you could know.
Here is the best way I can try to explain an ED to someone who doesn’t struggle with food restriction. I take out my frustrations, worries, fear, and basically any emotions on my food. Imagine you are stressed or worried about final exams, getting a job, worried about a family member etc. Rather than dealing with those emotions, I take it out on my meal plan. As I sit down to a meal and something is bothering me or going on in the back of my mind, I put those emotions on the food so it becomes slowly but surely so unappealing that I just want to throw it out (just like I want to throw away and get rid of my emotions). This can be the same for someone who struggles with bulimia (binging and purging, over exercising) or compulsive overeating. It is a way to get rid of those emotions and not deal with them.
The more I realize this and pinpoint what emotion I’m feeling and what is causing me to want to restrict, the easier it will be to overcome. As difficult and uncomfortable as it is to identify those feelings, I need to do it if I want to get better. It’s like a sport or working out, I need to push myself to the point of discomfort to git’r done.
WOW. That was a long post. If you made it through this entire tangent, thank you for reading my rambles. I just want to take a second to let you know how much I appreciate all the feedback and support I am receiving. It helps me more than you could ever imagine. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.