Sunday, 24 April 2011

Just a feeling...

So I've been getting this feeling lately. That recovery...isn't really gonna happen for much longer. Like, I'm going to relapse, and *want* to relapse.

Don't get me wrong, I've been doing amazingly well in recovery for a long time now. I've gone months and months without any behaviours, my weight has been healthy and stable for well over 2 months, and I eat pretty much whatever the hell I want.

But it's not sitting comfortably with me.

Somehow, it just all feels fake. Like I'm going through the motions, but deep down, I'm not feeling it. Those thoughts I used to have, that used to protect me; thoughts like 'you need to eat, it's natural' and 'everyone's telling you to eat, so you should'...they just aren't really cutting it right now. In fact, I feel more and more like I don't even care whether it's healthy or natural or not. Like, yes, I know you need to eat to stay alive, but I don't care. I don't. care.

It's kind of frightening, but at the same time, just feels right somehow. I don't understand it. It's as if the momentum that has always kept me propelling forwards into recovery has just switched off. I was always afraid of taking my eating disorder from my teens into the rest of my life, into 'adulthood'. Well, I've already brought the bloody thing to university, I'm graduating in a few months and it's still there. Fucking hell. So it's like I've crossed some kind of threshold - I'm already into what I thought of as adulthood, and the eating disorder hasn't gone away, and maybe that's alright. I'm getting used to it. It doesn't feel as strange as I was expecting it to. It did for a bit, but not any more. It feels ok now, ok to still be ill, ok to still be feeling like this. As though it's a part of me that I can never change.

And I won't say it isn't terrifying to think that I might be stuck with it for the rest of my life. But at the same time...the thought of letting go of it for the rest of my life is pretty terrifying too. I don't understand people who are just happy all the time, in general. I honestly, don't get it at all. Like, how is that possible? How is it possible to be alive and not be suffering? Seriously?

Ok, so I'm starting to experience some little joys here and there, which is great. But I don't feel able to appreciate it, because in the big picture, things are still not ok. And even when they are ok, it feels so foreign to me that it's almost unreal. I don't know how to talk about being ok, because I'm so used to things being bad. I'm used to everything being wrong, and over the past couple of years with therapy and what have you I'm getting quite good at articulating it. But enjoying things? Not a clue. How do you even describe it? Like, I have a review with the eating disorder research team at the hospital, and I'm going to have to tell them that my behaviours aren't as bad as they used to be. How do I do that? I honestly don't know.

Anyway, I'm just rambling here. Not sure what I want to say, or if I'm saying it coherently (unlikely). I suppose the point is, things have been improving...but it feels false. Fake. Like deep down, I'm still exactly the same, and that no amount of improvement will change that. It's not manifesting itself in behaviour at the moment, but who knows how long that will last?

1 comment:

  1. I can't imagine what it's been like for you living through the ordeal of having an eating disorder, but this post concerns me because the kind of feeling you describe here has consistently held me back in the past as I've struggled to make progress with self-harm and especially social anxiety. I've thought to myself: "however much I change my behaviour, I'll still be me on the inside, and that's the real problem--perhaps I can become more proficient at pretending to be a normal person, but I'll never be one." From this point of view, recovery seems like an act of denial, just another lie that's exhausting to tell yourself over and over again, because deep down you "know" you deserve to suffer.

    The trick, of course, is overturning the belief that suffering is the appropriate and inexorable emotional state for you to exist in. I've never managed it (not even close), but I can tell you that it only gets harder as time goes on. I used to fear taking the problems that I developed in adolescence with me through to adulthood, but at 26 it's no longer something I'm scared of, rather I've just accepted it as reality. Now, even though I know it's utterly perverse to feel this way, the prospect of letting go of all my neuroses is far more terrifying to me than living with them for the rest of my days, and that only makes it all the more unlikely that I'll ever recover from them.

    OK--so far, so unhelpful, I know. I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that you shouldn't underestimate the importance of this feeling you describe, because I think it's more than just a feeling; it's symptomatic of a malignant core belief that will drag you down every chance it gets. Somehow, you need to hold on to the truth that you are not meant to suffer, that you are more than your pain and you can leave it behind without losing yourself or being fake, even if it feels strange at first.

    You say that the admirable progress you've made in recovery thus far isn't sitting comfortably with you right now, but I submit that this may be inevitable in a way, because "comfort" for people like us often amounts to a psychological prison that we build for ourselves out of our fears and doubts, only succeeding in keeping us "safe" from any possibility of finding happiness or fulfilment. It doesn't surprise me at all, for instance, to hear that little joyful moments seem foreign and unreal to you after years of being trapped in unremitting gloom. However, if you persist along your present course, surely they'll start to feel a lot more natural as your inner expectations gradually shift to reflect what you've shown yourself to be emotionally possible through recovery.

    Maybe I'm making too much of this--I'm far more prone to ramble nonsensically in text form than you are--I just absolutely hate the idea of the progress you've made being imperilled by this feeling. Don't let up Liza! As Churchill put it: "if you're going through hell, keep going."