Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Lightbulb moments


 

 

Coming from my Questions page:

“I was wondering … how did you get from the *lightbulb moment* ‘this isn’t life – I need to not be anorexia to get better to do what I want to do’ to actually *doing* it? How did you get from the wanting it stage to the doing it stage?”

 

My lightbulb moment came shortly after I was attending a conference with one of friends and mentors.  We had already presented our papers and a group of us were getting ready to go out to dinner.  All of a sudden, my heart rate spike, my blood pressure drops, and everything is fuzzy seems like it’s a few worlds away.  I could barely hold onto a glass of water and I was shaking and then I began having problems breathing.  Eventually, we called the ambulance.  And my friend sat by my side as I was clawing at my throat saying, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”

He had lost his daughter to bulimia less two years prior to this.

I remember telling my brother later that “I can’t do this anymore,” which, of course, raised alarm bells until I explained that “this” was “having an eating disorder.”  I felt a tremendous amount of guilt for putting my friend-and, therefore, his family–through that situation, through me relapsing in general.

So I went inpatient.  For the longest I’d been, and then did their intense partial program.  I didn’t want to be sick anymore.  (notice that I do not say, “I did not want to be anorexic anymore” yet)  And for 1 1/2 years I wasn’t sick.  But then, to be honest, I basically freaked.  Because I did start thinking “I don’t want to be anorexic anymore.”  I wanted to be part of life.  Part of school.  I was on the sidelines of everything, and I was starting to want to be part of what I was watching.

So what did I do?  I say it’s the one thing someone with an eating disorder will do when in my situation–I clung to the eating disorder.  I went back IP.  And it was then that the lightbulb clicked.  Hospitals, for all I didn’t really like them, were always safe places for me.  I could avoid the world.  I could be the sick patient and not pretend that everything was fine.  I could cry and scream if I wanted to.  The world was outside double locked doors and I was on the inside, and I liked it.

Except this time, the world didn’t stay on the outside.  This time, I realized how much I was missing by being on the inside.  Friends wrote me almost every day, which I loved.  But some of these friends were from my program.  They were advancing in their degrees, and I wasn’t.  Another patient asked me what I did for a living, and I said I was a graduate student.  And I realized what I lie that was.  In the 3 1/2 semesters I had been at the school, I had been to the ER a handful of times, IP/PHP for 9 weeks, on a cardiac unit for 5 days, and was now in the hospital again for what would be 7 weeks.

This was my second lightbulb moment.  I was not being a grad student.  And I wanted to be.  My dreams have always included getting a PhD.  And how could I get a PhD if I couldn’t even get a Master’s (where I was at the time)?  How was I supposed to succeed at any job if I couldn’t go two years without being in the hospital for lengthy periods of time?  How was I supposed to have friends aside from the eating disorder world if I was never out of that world?  Don’t get me wrong, I have met some great people through treatment, but we have always had more in common than the eating disorder and would have been friends regardless.

All I can say is that the desire to truly live hit me full force 3+ years ago.  That’s not to say it wasn’t easy right after the lightbulb moment, or even the second lightbulb moment.  It still took a great deal of really difficult work.  And it took a lot of soul searching to find out who I was, what I could label myself besides an anorexic.

What am I?  I don’t label myself anymore.  Yes, I’m a PhD candidate, but that doesn’t tell you who I am.

Who am I?  I am a creative, intelligent, curious, persistent, caring individual who loves her family and friends.

(To clarify:  The 5 day cardiac stay mentioned in this post was before the ARVD diagnosis.  Although with hindsight, it was obviously tied to the ARVD, my condition was aggravated by the eating disorder)

 

Advertisements

November 6, 2009 - Posted by | Eating Disorders, identity, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Your sentence

    ” I didn’t want to be sick anymore. (notice that I do not say, “I did not want to be anorexic anymore” yet) And for 1 1/2 years I wasn’t sick. But then, to be honest, I basically freaked. Because I did start thinking “I don’t want to be anorexic anymore.” I wanted to be part of life. Part of school. I was on the sidelines of everything, and I was starting to want to be part of what I was watching.:”

    Is the perfect sentence to describe how I think I am right now. I don’t want to be sick anymore, but I am not sure if I don’t want to be anorexic anymore. Wow…this week has truly been one of those light bulb moments in so many ways, and this simply added to it.

    Thank you.

    Comment by Jessica | November 6, 2009 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: