We are going to keep rolling with Shelly, from the HBO documentary THIN, because I can see you are all relating quite well. This dialogue is good for Shelly and for all of you.
I want to highlight the paragraph below because it strikes at the core of what I believe is a major issue for many of the girls of this community. My hope for each and every one of you, is you can reach the place Shelly has achieved, the place where I live as well, because this is a place of peace and contentment beyond compare:
“I guess I was scared to really look at my life because I was afraid that I wouldn’t like the person I was growing up to be. Actually, honestly, I guess I was more afraid that people wouldn’t like the person I was. So I hid behind an eating disorder and a raging addiction so I would have an excuse for why people didn’t like me. I always had some disorder or dysfunction in my life to blame. And now, since I am I am recovery I don’t have those things to fall back on and if people don’t like me or what I do, I know have to realize that it is their choice and I don’t have to take responsibility for them or their feelings.”
If you take away anything from Shelly’s statement it’s to live your life for you.
The take away from me is to pound this mantra into your head – life is not about making people like you.
On to Shelly’s thoughts for the day;
So finding out who I am has become the priority in my recovery. Trading in the identity I have lived with for so long for an identity that more accurately reflects who I am is daunting. Sometimes I wonder where I fit in this huge, scary world. While in the throes of my disorder I knew I fit in the world of eating disorders and I was comfortable there. I could relate to people who were struggling and I am sad to say I shared tips and thinspiration. I fed off the energy that others with ED had and often I became competitive with others. Every part of my day revolved around my eating disorder. Everything I did during the day was focused on how to get thinner and keep myself sick.
Now, here is where the difficult and fearful part of my recovery comes into play. When I finally resigned to the fact that I would give up my eating disorder, my addiction, and any other self-destructive coping mechanism I was left with 24 hours day to fill with things to do. I felt lost, confused, and extremely afraid. What was I going to do? I had no idea. When I voiced this concern to others they would tell me that I could do anything I wanted. I tried to believe them but deep down I was frightened and didn’t know if I could really play this whole recovery game. But I decided I would at least try it. I felt like there was no harm in trying and if I didn’t like it then I could always go back to my disease(s).
I have to be honest… at first I didn’t like it. But I didn’t dislike it as much as I disliked being consumed with negative thoughts all day long. Negative thoughts did come and they still do, but I treat them differently. I don’t listen to what they tell me. I just notice them and let them go. Accepting them and being aware was the first part of my recovery. When the thoughts told me that I shouldn’t eat that french fry…I ate more than one. It was difficult, but as I became more and more aware the thoughts became less and less powerful. I kept fighting and I made a commitment to not give up until I tried my absolute hardest for at least a year (I usually don’t like putting time frames on things but I did this time to keep myself going.)
It was so difficult that sometimes I would pace up and down my hallway because I was so anxious. I was trying to find things to do. I read, I knitted, I walked outside, I cried, I cleaned, I made my meals and then when my husband came home from work I spent time with him. The most important thing I did (and am still doing), however, was to look deep within myself. I started to figure out how I liked to spend my time, what my morals and values are, what makes me happy, what pisses me off, what stresses me out, how to handle it, etc.
It was overwhelming because in ten years I had not let myself look at things. For the past ten years I was merely surviving and I realize now that my ED and my addiction were merely distracting me from doing anything, especially finding out who I was. I guess I was scared to really look at my life because I was afraid that I wouldn’t like the person I was growing up to be. Actually, honestly, I guess I was more afraid that people wouldn’t like the person I was. So I hid behind an eating disorder and a raging addiction so I would have an excuse for why people didn’t like me. I always had some disorder or dysfunction in my life to blame. And now, since I am I am recovery I don’t have those things to fall back on and if people don’t like me or what I do, I know have to realize that it is their choice and I don’t have to take responsibility for them or their feelings.
Slowly, it is staring to get a little easier and I am grateful I didn’t give up. I am now trying to find a job. The nursing field is stressful and because I am now just starting to take care of myself I don’t feel I am ready to take care of people in that environment just yet. Plus, I might go back to school because I am healthy to do so. I guess I feel like I CAN really do anything I want to do. I hate to admit when I am wrong, but I guess everyone was right…again!
To those of you who are fighting don’t give up no matter how hard it gets…you have already made the commitment to at least start to fight. For those of you contemplating recovery my hope is that you try before it is too late.
Nowadays I go to bed so tired and drained. And it is not because I haven’t eaten or purged all day…It is because I working my ass (not literally) off to get better.