Think of Others First

I'm not a born people pleaser. Of all of the stereotypical traits of those with anorexia, that is just about the only one that doesn't fit me. This isn't to say that I'm not...hmmm...pliable. I'm usually willing to go along with whatever it is. But if a potential husband wants a "Yes, dear" sort of gal, he can start looking elsewhere.

The title of this post doesn't seem to imply the putting everyone's needs before your own kind of thinking of others first. It means the reverse of the Golden Rule: Do unto yourself as you would do unto others.

I was toying with the idea of going to a conference the weekend before I had to travel to Baltimore for a teacher training. There were several problems, namely logistics and finance. I really couldn't afford the conference fees AND hotel AND (since I'm in recovery now) meals. Snacking on a little bag of airplane pretzels for a week just won't really cut it anymore. Plus I'd be left with two days to my own devices, and me+boredom+loneliness tends to wind up disastrously, to say the least.

I haven't been completely closed about my recent struggles, either. Although that's more of an increase in struggles rather than just starting to struggle. On top of that, I was so incredibly discouraged after doing so well for a month or two. It's been rough around here. Recovery isn't a straight shot.

My mom expressed concern over me going to the conference and after weighing everything (cost+logistics+recovery), I couldn't get things to add up.

I was quite pissed.

I really did want to go to the conference. I quite enjoy conferences, hearing about the latest and greatest research. One of my favorite lectures was at an American Society for Microbiology Conference I attended a number of years ago- it was about microbes on Mars. It was highly entertaining, largely because the scientists were completely whack jobs, so out in left field but so damn enthusiastic about it. It was a hoot.

But when it comes down to it, I realized this: I had to think of myself the way I would think of anyone else in recovery. If someone in a similar position asked: should I go to this conference? I would say "It's too risky." Maybe I could go and be fine. But do I want to risk it? I wouldn't advise anyone else to; so why would I gamble with my recovery like that?

I like to think that I'm "different"; that I can handle it, that I need to just suck it up, put on my big girl panties and deal with it. Sometimes, that is the case. I need to deal with it, accept life head on, accept that my rituals (food and otherwise) don't really make life any easier. But I don't take classes on AIDS because of my OCD fears surrounding it. I was in public health. Lectures on the subject were inevitable, and I was okay with that. I learned a bunch of really cool stuff on the genetics of the HIV virus in my virology class. A whole AIDS class, however, was just playing with fire.

So would be eating for 5 days, unsupervised, having to purchase almost all of my meals on my own. I have trouble eating. I have more trouble buying meals for my own consumption. I'm a little on the stingy side. Not good. Playing with fire.

In the end, I'm just going to sit this one out. I'm still going for my teacher training. They provide breakfast and lunch on both days, so it's only dinner to which I'm left on my own. And I have a decent stipend to use, so it should be okay.

Just...think of others, Carrie. Think of others.

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Liz said...

You should give yourself credit, you're definitely engaged in recovery . Even with the Weight Watchers fiasco, you kept true to the recovery route when any anorexic (or even non-ed person!) would have found it difficult to cope. You won the chocolates-on-your-desk battle, I think you'll express similar resolve at the conference. I hope :o) If not, the bumps on the recovery journey continue....

mary said...

In a way you outsmarted ED! You trusted 'that sometimes worried mom' of your's to help guide you.
Part of the role she has is to be mindful of the risks. It seems you yourself have weighed some of the possible situations you might find yourself in. You know your weaknesses.
Maybe now it's time to bolster your strengths, which are many.
Do you know how brave you are even when you are frightened out of your wits? VERY.
Do you know how much smarter you are than an wimpy old ED? These days you're an expert and you know it's not a friend and never was a friend.
How creative you are at seeking new paths and avoiding the one with the abyss, thats only strength is in your conforming with it, agreeing to it's demands.Be that "no, dear" woman to that which abuses the privilege of knowing you.
You are on to the BS scams of ED and how it can affect all this time of hard work, to your biggest investment ever, your life.
You will get stronger and eventually able to manage on your own. You may always want an advocate or someone who'll force you to open your eyes if you start to fail yourself. You may have to expand your circle of support, perhaps tell on the ED so it's in the light, not in the dark where it thrives. You have nothing to be ashamed of!
Are you ready to practice? It's all baby steps. Conferences will always be there but the goal is for ED not to be. Keep your eye on the prize. LIFE!



Oh the WW fiasco continues. They're not done talking about fat grams and calories almost every time that more than two people are together. It is hard when people say they've lost X pounds and that's about how much I've gained. It's also quite isolating when you can't find anything else to talk about, though they know by now that talking about their diet gets them nowhere with me. Le sigh.


Being a "no dear" person to ED. I like that idea. I may even have to blog on that idea. And my sometimes worried mom? Oh no, my friend. She's the 'always worried mom'. Trust me. We both love her anyways, though, don't we? :)

mary said...

Some parents have likened recovery to having a huge weight lifted off their chests! So, yea, we worry. It's a natural healthy instinct when something isn't right for anyone in our family.
Maybe we need to shore up her reserves Carrie! I'll send her tickle her. No that's not the way it works.
I can imagine you calmly and quietly telling ED "no dear" and then kicking his sorry butt out. As they say in the Goonies...F-O-R-E-V-E-R!
go ahead and do it!

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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