Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Choices, choices, choices (again)

the daily dilemma

Every day I have a choice to make: what bracelet do I want to sport with my MedicAlert tag? I suppose I could choose not to wear one at all, but that wouldn’t really be a smart choice given my heart’s tendency to do some weird things.  So these are a few of the choices I have available to me.  Periodically I make another one just to match a particular outfit.  If I have to wear one, I might as well be stylish.

On a more serious note, I’m jumping back to the world of Facebook and Formspring.  I recently chose to delete my Formspring account since the questions and accusations were getting out of hand, and even though I personally wasn’t tempted to change my behaviors, I was afraid that other people reading the comments would start to question their recovery.  So left the drama of Formspring in the dust.

At one point during the whole drama, I did leave a comment asking that if anyone did not agree with my beliefs about where I was in recovery, they could feel free to “unfriend” me.  I asked this open question since the people making the accusations were doing so anonymously.  If they had left their names, I would have taken action myself and unfriended them on my own.  I don’t need people calling me names or making assumptions based on information from the all-knowing news feed.

I’ve seen a few status updates lately that raise the question of choice and personal responsibility in the world of online social networking: “Please delete yourself if you are not in recovery.” “Please unfriend me if you are going to post triggering photos.”  “Please unfriend me if you are going to comment about your eating disorder.”  These are just a couple of examples.

I think the intention behind these status updates is okay.  An individual is realizing that he or she is currently finding other people’s posts or photos on Facebook to be upsetting and is seeking to change that.  The problem, however, is that the individual is not willing to accept personal responsibility and take action to resolve the situation.  By this, I mean that the individual is asking other people to decide whether or not they may or may not be triggering to this individual and then to delete themselves from his or her profile.  How is one supposed to know whether or not they are providing upsetting posts or photos?  What is triggering to one person is not triggering to another person.  And a person cannot inherently be triggering.  Their actions or words can stir up unpleasant thoughts, but you have to make the choice to let them trigger you or not.  So if someone’s posts or photos are upsetting, accept the responsibility for your feelings and delete/unfriend that person on your own.

Two points from the previous sentences need to be addressed/clarified:

A) There is nothing wrong in admitting that someone else’s actions are upsetting you/triggering you.  In fact, it’s a sign that you are becoming more aware of your personal triggers and by taking action and unfriending that person, you are taking steps to ensure your own recovery.  You should not worry about upsetting the other person.  If he or she is truly interested in your welfare, he or she will understand your actions and will respect them.  You may even inspire them to make similar choices in their lives.

B) You heard me right: You make the choice about whether or not something is triggering.  If you want to remain in a 100% trigger-free world, then lock yourself in your bedroom with your declared safe objects and never leave.  Do not listen to the radio, do not watch television, do not buy any magazines, do not read books, and whatever you do, do not go online.  My point is that it’s impossible to erase every potential trigger from your life.  We live in a media-saturated society and there is no escaping it.  You can see a magazine in the checkout line that has some extremely thin actress on the cover and choose to not eat dinner that night or you can say, “I’m not going to let another person affect my health and my recovery.”

I’m not saying any of this is easy.  And in the beginning of recovery, you will constantly have to make the choice not to let something trigger you.  And in the beginning, surrounding yourself with as many positive people, both in the real world and online, is a smart choice.  Personally, I am at a point in recovery where I can have people on my friend’s list who are nowhere near wanting recovery who post pictures that could easily be seen as thinspiration and not have it affect me.  Four years ago, I would not have been able to say that.  But the longer you spend in recovery, the stronger you become and the better you are able to resist those eating disorder thoughts that pop into your head in certain situations.  Eventually, those thoughts don’t even pop into your head at all.

Again, as I’ve stated before, this is a process.  Each person will take a different journey, a different route, and each person will take a different amount of time.  Each person will have different needs.  But it is not fair to ask other people to read your mind and know what you need and what bothers you and what your triggers are.  That is your responsibility.  Choose to accept that responsibility and, therefore, choose to strengthen your recovery.


July 7, 2010 - Posted by | Communication, Eating Disorders, recovery, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. This is one of my favorites. I can identify with and echo so much of what you write here.

    Comment by emily | July 7, 2010 | Reply

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