Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Not My Year


I’ve used this image before.  But it keeps kicking me in the gut, so here it is again.

I’m in a particularly scary stretch of not knowing.  I have been here before.  While living in DC, hospitals and cardiologists kept telling me nothing was wrong with my heart–aside from the fact that I was anorexic and “we can’t help you there.”  I move to Missouri, still complaining about my heart.  The cardiology team wrote me off.  My physician happened to be an eating disorder specialist, so when I fainted while running–after a solid year of symptom free behavior and health–he knew something was wrong and sent me to St. Louis.  I finally met a cardiologist who listened to me and believed me.  And then he diagnosed me.  And then I had my ICD put it.  And then I went through a fairly long period of doubt and questions regarding my faith.

Now?  I have spent the summer going to doctors in the area, and they kept telling me that all my labs were fine and I was normal.  I kept advocating for myself, because this is not normal, and my GP referred me to an ENT.  I only had to travel one hour and five minutes to get to his office–and found a doctor who listened to me and believed me and hardly glanced at my psychiatric history and believed I was in a great deal of pain.  Why the doctors here couldn’t see that, I have no idea.

I don’t have answers yet.  The doctor sat me down and discussed a few likely possibilities with me, all of which kind of scare me a great deal.  He ordered some special blood tests and is waiting to see my CT scan pictures before he decides our next move.  No matter what, I am probably on my way to a neurologist and possibly a rheumatologist.  I could be looking at surgery.

I’ve really been working on radical acceptance–I cannot do anything at all right now that would have any effect on the outcome.  So I am trying to stay focused on the present moment, not all of the what if? questions.  I try to put a positive face forward.  But the truth is:  I am very scared.  I can feel my faith; it’s still there.  But how do you maintain hope in this situation?  How do you maintain trust in this situation?  And the fact that this physical conundrum is happening right in the middle of a “What am I supposed to do with my life?” crisis does not help.

This may not seem to relate to my normal blog entries, but I promise there’s a link.

Yesterday, I had planned on cleaning my room, clearing out a space for my yoga mat, and doing some research for an essay.  And then I got a certain piece of mail and my positive attitude and perseverance and determination all crumbled away.  I curled up on my bed with my cats and cried and then fell asleep for a good while.  Not because I was tired physically, but because I was tired of dealing with “all this shit.”

I see this as progress.  There were no plans to self-injure, no plans to skip lunch, no plans to throw things at my walls.  I really wanted to stay curled up on my bed and never come out, but I had initiated a new Knitting Circle in my town, and last night was our first meeting.  It would have looked bad if I wasn’t there.  So I went, and had an awesome time and smiled and laughed–not because I “had” to but because I wanted to.

Some might say that curling up is maladaptive.  But honestly, I had been trying to stay busy all week and had been trying to solve certain problems and I know a lot of “normal” people who have days where they just throw up their hands and take a nap.  It did not spiral into a deeper depression and there were no dangerous coping skills involved.  And I realized that ten years ago, the outcome would have been a different one.  Hell, two years ago, the outcome would have been different.

One of the most important things (according to me) in recovery is acknowledging the progress and giving yourself credit for the hard work behind that progress.  Small progress, big progress, any type of progress . . . we need to step back and say, “I just did a good thing.”  We focus so much on our symptoms and behaviors and situations that helped lead to the eating disorder and, of course, we beat ourselves up for any sign of regression.

I challenge you all to get out a real piece of paper and tuck it away someplace you will always see it.  For me that’s my journal.  On that piece of paper write out your progress.  Every day write down one thing that you are proud of.  If it’s drinking all of a supplement instead of only have, write it down.  If it’s forcing yourself to go to a knitting group, write it down.  If you are deeply mired in a horrible depression and have been thinking about suicide, write down “I am still alive.”  Be proud of these things.  These are the small steps necessary for recovery.

I was listening to The Weepies “Not Your Year” today, and of course I can relate to that song right now.  But my favorite lyrics from that song are:

“Breathe through it, write a list of desires,

Make a toast, make a wish, slash some tires,

paint a heart, repeating, beating “don’t give up, don’t give up.”

Remember your desires and throw ice at the shower wall.  And if anyone can paint a beating heart with the words “don’t give up” for me, you’re my hero!


November 21, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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