The Crappy Road To Recovery

This is the third Spring in a row that I’ll be spending in treatment. Today I was admitted into partial hospitalization for my eating disorder. Although I was aware of insurance approval, my heart sank and I erupted into tears when the center called for me. Tears of hope, sadness, relief, fear; I have no idea why I reacted the way I did. I had 3 hours to pack and drive the hour it took to get here. My keep my thoughts at bay, I jammed to the ultimate Canadian powerhouse Celine Dion. But somewhere between, “My Heart Will Go On” and “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now,” I couldn’t help but judge myself for having to go back to treatment AGAIN. I was afraid what others would think of me. I left last year so strong, and now I felt so weak. My inner critic was having a field day. I started to tear up as pulled into the familiar drive and walked up the old steps of the clinic. I thought about turning around and running far, far, away. I couldn’t believe I was back after I work so hard at one time.

I was greeted by some old faces I knew, and some new faces I didn’t. I sat there feeling so alone though being surrounded by other young women, who had also once been through their first day. The silence was heavy from the elephant in the room; I was the elephant, the new girl. Thankfully the silence was broken by one of the youngest girls. “So I need to admit something to  you all.” She proceeded to tell us how before she admitted into she had a severe panic attack, and found herself in the emergency room. She informed us that she had been having an upset stomach for several days, but did not think anything of it. Once she saw the doctor and he brought up the idea of a eating disorder hospitalization program, she felt her stomach cramp up even more from the terror of the though. She bolted for the bathroom; no shoes, no socks. Her words were, “I ran with lightening on my heels. I was running to hid and because nature was finally calling.” Sadly, she didn’t make it. However, it made for quite the story. She concluded the story by saying, ” And that’s when I knew I had to go to treatment. Because it scared the shit out of me!”

Isn’t that true though. It’s the things that scare us the most, that we need to face head on. If it scares us, it’s worth the challenge. There is so much strength in braving through what we fear. If it scares us and we follow through with the challenge, it can only make us stronger. No matter how shitty the situation is. It doesn’t matter what others think of you, because reaching out for help is bravery at its finest. Especially because it is incredibly scary. I am not weak, I am strong and brave, and growing each day.

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That’s The Best I Can Do, And I’m Okay With It

“Fake it ’til you make it” has been a phrase I’ve heard all too often, and quite frankly I hate it. It’s basically insinuating that my original, honest attempts have not been good enough. If this is your life’s motto and it works for you, great! By all means continue. However, whenever I have channeled this attitude I’ve ended up feeling unsatisfied until I have reached my goal. And once my goal has been reached, then what? I still have a taste of despondency and end up craving the next big thing. Especially since the value in my journey to success has been lost in a lie.

The phrase “fake it ’til you make it” made a lot of headline in my military career. In my head, I really had no other option than to fake enjoyment of month long field problems with no shower. Or long ruck marches in the sweltering heat. That’s how I got ahead; just grin and bear it. Once I was on top, I needed to stay at the top at all costs. My “faking it” became a norm. Lying to myself on a daily basis all in the name of being the best and being “successful”. It was all too easy to get caught up in the lie, and I was never happy.

If I’m lying to myself and others on a daily basis, there is no way to be ultimately love myself. “I’m gonna fake loving myself, until I finally do.” NO; that makes zero sense. You can’t fake being a doctor until you finally receive a doctorate of medicine. You work your way through the grueling school work and exams until you are rewarded that honor. To love myself I’m gonna work through the debilitating days of self defeat and self hate. I need to work for it, and if I’ve truly put my best effort forward I’ll be much happier in the outcome.

That said, sometimes our most honest attempts and efforts and simply mediocre.  If I don’t want to put in the effort of color coordinating my top and bottom, I’m not going to. I’m not going to lie to myself and fake something that I do not want to do. And I’ll to rock my dusty pink skinny jeans and green sweater with or without confidence. I want to ensure that I always put my best effort towards my goals,successes, etc. no matter how small they are. And if I’m too busy faking it, there is no way it’s my best, and there’s no way I’ll be happy with it. Some days our best will simply be getting out of bed for the day. Some days our best will be something so amazing that we cannot believe we were capable. When those days happen, I want to be aware instead of being caught up in a lie that I told myself to get there. Mediocre might be the best I can do, and I’m okay with it.

12 Steps Back

After my recent break up with a long time “on again, off again” love interest, I moved back into my childhood home with my parents. Months ago I had so much planned, and this was not the future I had in mind. I was dreading this move not only because I was moving back in with my 60 year old parents, which is a demon of its own. But because I am 26 years old, and I am supposed to be moving forward with my life, not back. As I drove closer and closer toward Upstate New York, I felt smaller and smaller. How could it come to this? I was living on my own for many years, most recently living with my now ex-boyfriend. Things were a little tense, but we were happy; I thought. And I was beginning the search for career employment; optimistic yet being unsuccessful for months. Now it was over, I was a failure.

After about a week of post-breakup eating (or lack thereof) and subpar hygiene, my ex-boyfriend and I decided to make an attempt to salvage our relationship. [Believe me, I know some of you are internally screaming. And yes, it was as bad as you’d expect]. I was instantly happy again. I booked a flight out to see him for a few days, and things went well… for about a week or two. Then the imminent demise began. Much like during the length of our relationship, when things were good, they were fantastic. But when things were bad, my day was ruined. Not only did I already blame myself for everything, but he also had no problem pointing fingers and casting blame. He was taking advantage of my ability to love unconditionally. I took me a couple more weeks to realize that all the lies, the cheating, the pain weren’t worth the tears. Mr. “Blackhole for a heart” and I are no longer together.

This wasn’t the first time I experienced a relationship like this. I have noticed a pattern in all my past relationships. I give and give to try and make that person love me, so maybe I could eventually be happy and love myself. Unfortunately, other than loving me, my partners tended to love themselves and the beds of other women more. I was constantly looking for these relationships. Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t jump from relationship to relationship. But I was always left feeling empty until the next love interest came along. When I was single I felt alone, I was miserable; a failure. But when I was with someone, I felt as though I had a purpose. My happiness depended on my value and worth in the eyes of others.

This realization is what started my devoted journey to self-love. I am not a failure, I’ve just been self sabotaging by putting my cherries in the wrong buckets. I, like I’m sure many of you, have so much love to give. I’ve been giving all of that love to the wrong people. I want to have a sense of comfort when I’m alone, my happiness come from things that build me up rather than tear me down, and my worth dependent on no one but myself. I want to fully love myself in order to move forward.