Thursday, August 30, 2012

Keeping it real today!

I have hard moments, day, weeks even. That's okay for everyone else – can it be okay for me too?

That sounds more accusatory than it could but writing it here, with the opportunity for explanation, rather than as an apparently bitchy Facebook status seems mildly more appropriate. It is not an accusation of anyone but rather a request to be allowed to struggle, to still need help and encouragement. A request for ongoing patience as I seek out second, third, and fourth opinions on things that might be second nature to people who have perceived life from a more well perspective for longer. Yes, a request from people in my life but also of myself and I believe that allowing myself further patience with this process that I must see through to the end is a lot bigger request than what I ask from others.

I need to be allowed my fight – as some days (fewer and fewer!) it truly remains a fight, to voice it, and for others to know that I am not going backwards or falling into some “dark place”. I'm still going to be okay in the end, I'm still okay in most moments, there just remains some further tweaking to be done. :)

I've had a number of more difficult days, emotionally, since coming back up North. Maybe I came with the wrong attitude - in fact, I'm sure I did. I have tried to turn myself around and it worked at times but I'm also finding that I need a lot more support than I thought I would and in addition to that, I'm having to make a much heartier effort to seek out that support as well as really drawing on the inner strength I have developed. I continue to be astounded by the support and genuine care offered by so many...

I realized today that maybe coming back to the place that I made my best attempt at extinguishing my own life, though also being the place that saved me from exactly that, is probably not the place for me to use as a stepping stone back into the “real world”. I have lots of support but I have different needs now that are not adequately met in this town. I often joke with people, rather sarcastically, by twisting a familiar phrase: It's not me, it's you. In this case, all jokes aside, it's actually me.

Perhaps it is and it isn't (oh yay, another eloquent evening!). It is me now that doesn't quite fit the surroundings that housed the sick me. Therefore, if the sick me was not the true me – that's the isn't part. However, I can't blame the town, the people, the climate, myself, or anything else on having the place not be for me. It just is...or is not!

I arrived already conflicted: scared that I would “settle” in this town and reduce my potential; and hoping beyond hope that it would work because I would love to have significant time with the people who sacrificed so much, cared beyond what was ever required or expected with the real Me I've become. Both ideas were rooted in expectations I placed on myself and I was aware of but felt they were appropriate expectations (to achieve my full potential as I see it as well as give back in the relationships from my past). What I've learned from this is the importance of paying it forward because, in this case for me, paying back would be at the sacrifice of myself that these people helped bring me to. In the end, who is that honouring? Not me because it doesn't fit with who I've become and not them because what they have always wanted is for me to be happy and they gave freely with that hope.

I think that the best thing I can do is move forward and maintain a grateful heart.

It's not a new concept to me, just one that I am understanding – finally. Keeping myself respectfully in the equation is not always an easy task, but a necessary one.

Another concept that being in this little town has brought up for me is a different view of really never knowing what I'd lost...until I wanted it back.

Friends, fun, interests, community, those are some of a few things that an eating disorder robs a person of and I think they are some of the last things I noticed dropping away many thanks to the people of this geographical place. It didn't matter how much my health deteriorated, those things kept me holding on to physical life and even hope for a long time. Once I had lost (clarification: all but lost...many friends continued to make amazing efforts with me and my community, as we know, kept holding on even if I felt like a freakish outsider) those things, that's when losing my life seemed completely acceptable.

What I couldn't see then, was that I could have the opportunity to experience those things again and I let them slip away as the eating disorder took over more and more of my mind.

That's the opportunity I have now and with that, a journey through grieving things that I didn't know/realize I had lost has spontaneously commenced!

The navigation of this has been, to date (it's only been a week!) so classic Kubler-Ross it's almost amusing – almost! I'm not sure where I'm at or that each stage (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance for anyone unfamiliar) occurred in isolation from the other but I am aware that the process continues and the sooner I fully step into acceptance, the better! With the help of many, and this awareness in myself, I will get there and continue my forward movement.

Figuring this out and actually putting words to it makes my previously planned post a little irrelevant because I'm recognizing it as part of a couple of the above mentioned stages. That's kind of neat. Sometimes it is a wonderful thing to be “text book”.

While I'm sitting here being honest, I must admit, this work towards wellness hasn't gotten a whole lot easier. It has changed drastically from what I perceived to be my main battles 14 months ago, 6 months ago, and my priorities, the areas where I need to focus on achieving growth, continue to evolve and morph without much say from me! Absolutely every aspect of the process has things that hurt; times where – as a good friend said recently – it feels like my brain is hemorrhaging still;and many challenges. The only “ease” that has been achieved has been through developing a real Self and knowing that I can persist as well as more readily identifying when I need more help. These things, arguably, have made the last number of months a lot better, but not easy.

It's not that I think that life after this – once really deemed to have overcome my eating disorder and it's affiliated mindset completely – is going to be simple. I wouldn't want that (though I do bask in simplicity often at this point just because I finally can) but I do see myself being very well equipped to effectively deal with a lot of “normal” situations that I never could have known that I was capable of handling.

That said, I'm not there yet and that is not easy for me to say. If I could have been “there” yesterday, I would have been! I don't know when I'll be able to call myself well. I don't know when...but I'm learning how.

I'm listening.
I'm trying.
I'm talking.
I'm risking.
I'm practising.
And therefore,
I'm learning.

Those are qualities and efforts that have brought me to this point, I'm sure they're what will keep me moving towards eliminating the last scraps of this from my mind. It sure does keep getting better so despite the slumps now and then, I know there really is no backward movement and a whole lot of hope for improvement!

On that note:
Lotsa love,
Ever optimistic Me

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