… and still I think of you. My “Recovering Girl’ Facebook Page keeps reminding me that it has been WAY TOO LONG since my last post. And I’ve been meaning to write. I have LOTS of things I want to talk about and tell you about, but I’ve been struggling to focus and find the words (you don’t even want to know how many unfinished posts are in my draft folder).
I’ve always been afraid to commit to a number of posts in a given time period, because I didn’t want to over-promise and under-deliver. Incidentally, the assumption that I wouldn’t be able to keep whatever goal I set for myself is also why I used to diet in secret. I always thought it would be better to be successful at not trying than to fail (here’s just one of many examples of that). But setting no goals for myself is really just enabling me to procrastinate and continue to hide, which is not really what I WANT to be doing either. So… I’m sending it out into the universe and committing to at least one more new post in the next week. And if that goes well, then I’ll commit again for the week after that. Just like recovery, one day/post at a time.
Now that that’s established, the last couple of months have been pretty magical. I quit my fancy corporate job in December and got a part time job doing very similar work for significantly fewer hours each week and with considerably more flexibility. I’ve also started school. About a year and a half ago I wrote about transformation and wanting to use what I have learned in recovery to help others. That turned out to be the right plan, but the wrong time. I wasn’t ready yet. I had somehow worked myself up to an optimistic, almost manic high that ended up in a pretty colossal crash and a depression that took a lot of time and work to climb back out of. But I’ve come a VERY long way since then and feel ready to help others who struggle, because (a) everybody deserves to know that they are unconditionally worthy of happiness and recovery and (b) supporting others in their recovery supports me in mine.
I have LOTS of prerequisites to take, before I can start a master’s degree program in a totally different field and as luck would have it, they are all prerequisites for EACH OTHER, so I can’t even take them simultaneously. In the past I probably wouldn’t have been able to get past that news and would have given up, just thinking about how long it’s going to take before I can even start the actual program, but I’m getting more and more comfortable with enjoying the journey instead of focusing on the outcome.
That sounds pretty simple, but I actually didn’t come by it easily. I was starting to feel very empty and unfulfilled again, just working towards being able to contribute in a meaningful way in the future, but not actually *doing* anything NOW wasn’t enough, and I was noticing that I was starting to fill that emptiness with food again. I was so desperate to start living my purpose and so disappointed that I wouldn’t be “qualified” to do that for several years, it was really bumming me out. But I realized (with a little help from my friends/peers/therapist) that I gain the most feeling of purpose when I am working with people and I see that I am making an impact. I *just* (my favorite 4 letter word) needed to figure out HOW to work and connect with people in the meantime, so I decided in lieu of being a qualified professional, I would be a qualified volunteer and started an EDA meeting (Eating Disorders Anonymous) in my city, which has been absolutely FANTASTIC.
I also went “public” about my ED recovery journey on the Facebook during NEDAwareness Week at the end of February. There’s a blog post in my drafts from a year or so ago talking all about why I WANT to go public, but can’t. Well, I did it and nothing bad happened. In fact, I learned that a couple of other people I have known for most of my life ALSO struggle with eating disorders. I’m sad that we all feel obligated to suffer in silence, because of shame and stigma, leading us to not know something so profound about each other. We could have been supporting each other all these years.
I am reminded that silence keeps us sick and that recovery (at least for me) is in vulnerability and connection.