With 6 other half-written blog entries open as word documents on my computer, here I am writing another. It is not for lack of things to say but a consideration that maybe it is time for me to wrap up this blog. My intention, in the beginning, was to keep people in the loop (who wanted to be) as to my progress towards recovery. Soon, the blog morphed slightly due to my desire for people to better understand the mindset of people with eating disorders and for those afflicted to really grasp that there is hope. Have I succeeded in those things? I am not sure, but I know I tried my best.
Do I have more to say on eating disorders? I sure do! I just have to wonder what good sharing my personal story does. I have to consider that those who are currently sick or working towards recovery are looking for answers and the potential for influence is great. I would not want someone to think that what worked for me will necessarily work for them; that my way is “right”, and end up more frustrated when it becomes clear that everything is individual when it comes to self-discovery. My way was, and is, right for me but not for everyone! This sounds obvious to me but is not always.
I have started two entries regarding body image as, when I was coming through, I searched and searched for some answers as to when things got better and when the changes would end - I didn't find much. I don't have the answers for anyone and, ultimately, have the same message for others that I came across: it is different for everyone but it does get better. It was frustrating, especially while my patience was very low and still being nurtured, to not be able to find an answer or a guideline for me. The fabulous thing about how personal it is, is that whatever happens is exactly as it should be. It's not an easy realization when one is in the thick of dealing with a negative mindset. There was a desire in me to be like everyone else, just in some simple ways, but also a deeper, stronger desire to be fully myself and embrace my individuality. If I speak to my experience with physical recovery, I have to wonder how many people will put themselves on a time line in a negative way or wonder why, when their bodies do somethings entirely different, things are not working out as expected. It's a delicate area to discuss but so misunderstood.
Another entry spoke to why such nice people say and think such awful things to and about themselves. I may come back to that topic. It is certainly a pattern of thought that begins at an early age and takes time and effort to correct. However, my why is not going to be the why for anyone else – so is there value in sharing it? I do not know.
In the meantime, while I contemplate whether to continue discussions regarding eating disorders and illustrate my points with subjective experience, I want to emphasize, today, how possible life after an eating disorder is.
I believe I have been clear about how beautiful I find life; how I delight in wonder at the world and people; and how connected and loved I feel. I am forever thankful for all of this.
To say what the biggest change is, is difficult but, it may very well be the dissipation of fear. And this brings me back to my query about continuing this particular blog because, to remain eating disorder specific is perhaps the wrong approach. Let me explain...
Fear is a human condition. It does not belong to only people with “mental illness”. Well people live with fear too: of the future, of change, of commitment, of death, heck, of spiders, birds, and heights! The list goes on. We all have it. Sensitive perfectionists (classic traits of many with eating disorders) may experience fears more intensely, especially related to these ominous concepts of “success” or “failure”. I was previously terrified that I was a terrible person under my illness. Now, does a truly terrible person worry that they are a bad person? I think not!
The "dissipation" of my person fears does not mean eradication. Fear exists for evolutionary purposes and to that extent, I have embraced some healthy fear.
Aha! So it is not fear that has left but my understanding of the concepts that I was so scared of before that has increased and changed!
Success has been redefined by my own standards (which I will not get into as I believe it is an extremely empowering task for each individual to find their own meaning of this concept). “Failure” has become an opportunity to learn and do things differently. In fact, it does not seem to exist in my thought process anymore because, if I learn from all my experiences and commit to applying that learning, how is there any room to conceive of a situation or event as a failure? Change has been embraced. How else can one survive this life if one does not relinquish the illusion of control? Change is uncomfortable at times and disruptive, yes. But, again, through each process of change, I learn more about myself and the world. By entering each day with a curiosity about what I can learn and how I can possibly change for the better or practice the way of being that I am developing that works for me (and those around me), change itself - becomes fascinating.
So you see, though I could go on, life for me, now, is much less about “recovery” and simply about joining the weird and wild world while getting to know myself and continue to improve on and grow into the person I want to be.
Now that I have written this, I think I have decided to maintain this space – though probably with a similar infrequency I have of late.
So with that, I will add that I have been back in Canada for just over 6 months and things keep getting better and more interesting. My past, though memorable finally, is only that – memories. To date, my experience is that life is as good as I allow it to be and I know I have the ability to choose how I perceive it.
Let it be lovely to you too. Happy May!