Maybe…I can change my life.
Maybe…I can find the answer, maybe it’s somewhere deep inside.
Maybe…I can feel the way I used to feel – powerful, confident, glamourous, special.
Maybe…I can start now.
I read somewhere recently that human beings only have a certain capacity for willpower. I feel like I have a lot of willpower, often a lot of determination, but something is in my way. I think its the distorted thoughts and absolutes that I have about the world. This is what makes me give up. It’s the lack of self-love that has plagued me my whole life. Why can’t I stand up and say, I KNOW what I want, and I deserve it, and this is what I am going to do to get it. You know those people…the ones that FEEL that in their bones, they don’t even have to think about it? I put my boyfriend and my sister both in this category. They have had their struggles, everyone struggles. Despite what many people who talk to me think, I don’t think “Woe is me” all the time and have no perspective on anything else. But I see this as what is lacking in my life: my complete inability to feel love for myself. A grain of love was planted in my heart when I went to the hospital last summer. It grew a bit and then just withered. It is still planted there, which is more than what was there before, but what happened?! These last few months, I have forgotten who I AM, as I do in the worst of times. It makes me feel disgusted and ashamed. These secondary emotions just fuel my self-hatred even more. I am never GOOD enough, doing enough, worthy enough, to exist as a human being.
I gained so much confidence in my DBT class, the seed of love started to grow. Then I lost it, honestly a few weeks after that class ended, I lost it. I NEED to get back into a DBT group. Yes, sometimes it will be annoying to re-learn things, but I can do what I did at the treatment center and just reflect on ways to use that skill as they drone on or, my favorite, teach others how to use it, show them new ways to understand. I found that was so helpful to them and to myself. I am a DBT-pro as I say. It REALLY works if you USE it, you have PRACTICE often. So I want to get into a group again, work on dealing with all of this in the aftermath of my boyfriend being gone.
What would it take for me to take back control of my own life? This means something very specific to me. Maybe I smoke a cigarette here and there, maybe I forget to eat lunch, maybe I eat a piece of birthday cake, maybe I have a beer, maybe I swim hard every single day, maybe I relax in the evening and just watch mindless TV. BUT NO MATTER WHAT I DO, I DO ALLLL OF THESE THINGS WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT THEM SO MUCH, without analyzing if they are right or wrong or what I am going to feel like afterward or if its bad or good for hours and hours.
I would give anything to be able to be like that again. I was trying to explain this to my therapist yesterday but I couldn’t grasp it. Now its here in my mind. Take senior year of college, I would say the last time I felt REALLY good, confident, on top of the world, like I OWNED the world. I still didn’t want to eat much dinner before going out, I still worked out, sometimes I just watched TV all day if I had a hangover (I still got drunk 😉 ), I went to the bagel shop and got breakfast (I ate breakfast!), I studied, I partied, I ran, I hung out with friends, I skipped some organic chemistry labs, I went to lectures, I read, I slept with guys, I walked my dog every day around the park and enjoyed it. I slept when I was tired and ate when I was hungry and if I didn’t feel like eating dinner, I didn’t eat it. I DIDNT THINK so much.
It was glorious. There would be times after this where I felt like that again. Summer after college was a little TOO manic so maybe that isn’t the greatest example. Then that fall came and went not doing that great (Fall 2008). But then that winter and spring I felt like that again. I had IT. When my boyfriend left Colorado, I lost it, slowly at first as we traveled around and got to see each other a lot all summer, then in the fall 2009, it was gone. I was bingeing, lost, quit my job, scared, feeling like now. I moved to Tennessee with him in October. I felt alive on the way there, but quickly having no job and being so overwhelmed by everything, I turned into this major pattern of restriction in my diet and my head was clouded everyday by hunger and my heart clogged with bitterness. So I came back home last summer. I drove all the way here by myself in my ’92 Honda wagon. When I had come far enough on I-70 to see the Rocky Mountains, I cried. I felt this peace soar into my heart and I said out loud “I’m HOME!” I am still thankful every day for Colorado like I never was before I moved from here. But living with my parents and still feeling no self-confidence or direction took its toll on me. Sometimes, I believe I could have been okay if my nerve problems wouldn’t have hit me then. Suddenly, everything that made me feel better was taken from me – running, walking, driving, the possibility of work, going out with friends. But then again, this nerve disorder pushed me to go into the psych. hospital, which led me to DBT and to seeking help in general. I was a train wreck waiting to happen anyways, if it wasn’t this way, it would have been another. Everyone has to hit rock bottom at some point. Either your mind will break or your body will (in my case – both).
The thing is, I still feel at rock bottom. Writing all this, I can see how much how I think about the world has changed and how many more coping skills I have now. But why am I still at rock bottom then? Why is it just a DIFFERENT rock bottom?
- His deployment…This is the hardest thing I have ever been through. It has nearly destroyed me in so many ways. Yet, somehow, I see it as a necessary part of the way things need to be for us. Maybe because it was looming for so long. I don’t know. I just want everything for us and for me to come out good on the other side. I want, also, for him to come back and find me almost fixed. Like a puzzle that was once broken and is now mostly put together but for a few pieces (one of which is him).
- I don’t have a sense of living for myself STILL. I hardly know what that means enough to put it into words. If I could imagine living just for myself, not worrying all the time about what’s right or wrong, doing just what I want to do.. I would go swimming every morning (but what if that’s overdoing it?! What if my arms get hurt too?!)…I wouldn’t think about eating because I would KNOW that whenever I get hungry, there is something healthy to eat that makes me feel good, and whenever I’m not hungry, I never have to force myself to eat for other people, EVER…I would sleep when I am tired and never worry about it…if I wasn’t tired, I wouldn’t obsess over it, I would just try to find balance…I wouldn’t constantly ANALYZE ever single step I take and action I make (LITERALLY). I would still be ME, anxious sometimes, yes a worrier, but not OBSESSED/POSSESSED by this worrying.
So what do I need to do now?
- I think practice eating, eating ANYTHING. Ihave lost all sense of that even. If that has to be safe foods at first, then who gives a fuck? It’s better than now. Having a smoothie for lunch would be an accomplishment. Eating dinner with my family is an accomplishment. Feeling good is OKAY. It is my body telling me it’s right. I know what it takes to feel good? Why don’t I trust myself? Why do I think that eating healthy has to mean eating so MUCH, the SAME as everyone else, at the SAME TIMES? This is why I want to see a dietician that isn’t an e.d. dietician. I am going to try to set that up tomorrow. Then we can make up a plan for a healthy me, not push me in some guilty direction all the time.
- No all-or-nothing thinking! Just be guided by what feels good in each moment. THATS IT! THE KEY!
- Just think about myself, do whatever I need to do to be safe, enact my DBT refreshing plans, and let confidence build each day. Make my own life. I know my dream. Masters in non-profit management, pharmacy school. I can do that. I will do that. Loans are OKAY, they are the only way you get anywhere. Pay the bills I do have on time. I can manage.
- I really can live here til the fall. I need to, it’s okay. In November or so, I will enact my dream of living on my own, I will make that my goal.
***This post will be edited for clarity and content.***
I had this epiphany a few months ago that changed my attitude for awhile. My boyfriend was so proud of me. I forget it now, but it was something like…..
HALF-SMILE. FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT. ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING. (These things work!)
HAVE FAITH, BE PATIENT, THESE THINGS WILL COME. AND IN THE MEANTIME, YOU DESERVE TO FEEL GOOD IN EACH MOMENT…you know what to do – do it!