Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

what do we do with this?

My general policy has always been one of honesty.  And I’m not about to change that policy just because my mind resembles the mess of tangled yarn in the picture.  That mess will, at one point, become a rather neat and unique scarf.  So I’m hoping my mind will disentangle and become something spectacular as well.

I haven’t known how to bring this subject up without getting a whole bunch of “But I thought you were recovvvvveered?” type of comments.  I still don’t really know how to do so, so I’m just going to take my chances and lay it all out there.  In my “How I Did It” post, I described how recovery was a long process; it wasn’t just some place I woke up one morning to find I had arrived at.  It took time.  There were relapses, there were doubts, there were slips, and there were times when I didn’t think I would make it.  There were times no one else thought I’d make it, either.  But I did.  And there’s no going back.  I used to have a written out list of all the things I would lose if I relapsed.  I don’t need those things written out anymore–I know them and feel them in my gut.  Life has a hold of me, and it’s not going to let go.  I’m not going to let go.

So my mind right now is something I just don’t understand.  I find myself thinking about size and weight.  I find myself wishing I could be smaller. But the thought of returning to the eating disorder?  There’s a list of reasons why that’s not an option.  I know part of this is tied very tightly to the major depressive episode I’m currently entrenched in.  When these episodes happen, my logical thinking is severely impaired.  And if you spend enough time curled up in a tight little ball on your bed, you start wishing you really were that size even when you decided to move off the bed.

But then I went to therapy this week.  And in the middle of session, I looked up from the floor where I was gazing, and suddenly exclaimed, “I hate change!”  How this did not hit me before, I have no idea.  Maybe the depression is slowing my thinking down a bit, too.  For the first time in my life I am not a student, nor is there a plan for me to return to student status.  I’ve had jobs before, but now we’re using that word career.  Suddenly I’m thrown into the big adult world with no classroom to retreat to, except the one I’m teaching in, which is quite a bit different.   I’ll spare you all the self-deprecating thoughts and the questions I have about my abilities and will just sum it up rather bluntly: this scares the shit out of me.

No wonder I want to retreat.  No wonder I want to shrink from the world.  No wonder I want to disappear.  I know better than to fall back on those old coping skills, for I know that instead of saving me from the scary world, they only make things worse.  Much worse.  But I do take comfort in knowing why these thoughts suddenly popped into my head after years of absence.  My past is my past, but I now have the knowledge that I no longer have to let my past determine my present or my future.

Instead, I’m taking a lesson from my recent adventures in mindfulness:  I see the thoughts, acknowledge their presence, and let them be.  I am not judging myself for having them.  They are only thoughts.  If I attach any emotion or thought to these thoughts at all, it is to give myself credit and take pride in how far I’ve come that I can notice the thoughts and not let them define me or control me.  I determine what defines me, which has nothing to do with a set of habitual responses to massive change.  I am in control, not habits from another time.  


June 10, 2011 - Posted by | Body Image, depression, Eating Disorders, mindfulness | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I stumbled across this blog and I really love it. You’re a wonderful writer and I totally relate to everything you say – your entries remind me quite a bit of the email exchanges I have with my two dear friends who help me through these thoughts.

    Have you read “If the Buddha Got Stuck” by Charlotte Kasl? If not, I think it would really resonate with you. It’s totally my bible. There’ve been times I just carried it everywhere with me and read it whenever I needed to get my mind in a healthier place. Books like that don’t let you sit around and outright lie to yourself (“Life would be so much better if I was skinny!” No, no it wouldn’t.) You can fight back in your head – but sometimes it’s hard to conjure up those healthy thoughts in the moment. Sometimes it helps to have another outside voice to drown out the not-so-healthy ones.

    Hope you’re doing well–

    Comment by Lauren | July 30, 2011 | Reply

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