Lovely Green Eyes (of jealousy and envy)

This letter to my co-workers, in which I told them up which orifice(s) they could shove their diet contest, along with some thought-provoking responses I received, have really got me to thinking.

I'm jealous of those dieters.

I'm jealous that they got to lose weight and I didn't.
I'm jealous they were part of a group and I wasn't.
I'm jealous they got to stay and be friends and I felt backed into leaving.
I'm jealous they got compliments on their appearance and they stopped calling me "cute" and "tiny."

I don't know.

Maybe I shouldn't be jealous because I've been on a seven-year long diet (basically). An ED is not a diet, but still the resemblances remain. I know how to restrict my food. I know how to lose weight. And I also know how to gain it all back. That's an option that is no longer open to me, should I want to retain any sort of semblance of life. Dieting is not an option for me.

And I never realized how lonely that choice might make me.

I can diet. Lord knows I can do that. But these past few months I have been awakened to the fact that I have to make the conscious, knowing choice NOT TO DIET. There are lots of things I make the choice to do: keep my hair short, pierce my nose, not wear makeup, etc. I like being a little different, a little out of step. That's cool to me. However, I don't like how isolating recover made me feel during these past few months.

I thought anorexia was lonely and isolating, which it was. Probably way more isolating than not being part of a diet contest. But I had pinned so many hopes on recovery, so many hopes, among them that I would get to rejoin the human race again. So I go back to work 6 weeks after attempting suicide, hoping for the best and realize: nope. Can't join everyone again. Everyone isn't healthy for you.

This sucked.

The tiny world I had hollowed out for myself over the past few years was collapsing, and all of a sudden, I climbed out and realized I couldn't find shelter anywhere else, either. Loneliness is a huge huge huge issue for me. I have great online friends. I have great friends in other cities. Yet I spend all my evenings out with my, um, parents. My parents are great people. But they're not my friends. I don't feel I have a good place to turn. I don't have the tools yet to buffer myself from all of the shit the world throws at me. I can kind of wing it for a while, that's true.

I guess I just wanted my co-workers to understand more of what I had gone through. To feel some of the same repercussions. I would never wish them the hell of an eating disorder. But there's this small child deep inside that wants them to feel, however briefly, the same pain I felt. Like when this woman I was in treatment with kept pissing me off until one day I just completely lost it in her face and then kicked the wall hard enough to leave a dent. That poor unoffending wall. The dent was still there when I left. The wall (to the best of my knowledge) hadn't done anything wrong. It was there.

The dieters aren't innocents. Nor was I. But they were there. And they were a good target, and I took a swipe. Maybe justified, maybe not.

I guess I'm not as grown up as I thought I was.

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roark said...

hi, carrie.

i have a lot of respect for you, for writing this. i'm really impressed, and inspired, actually.

your old work environment seems like it was a very hard place to be - being around these women at work when you had no choice, settling into recovery in a very unsafe-feeling space.

and you had every right to feel bitter, angry, frustrated. those are all completely natural reactions. and every right to express that in your letter here.

i applaud your honesty and openness and commitment to recovery, carrie.



Anonymous said...

Absolutely agreed with roark's words. :)

Faith said...

Wow Carrie - you are brave and insightful for getting here.

What a weird part of recovery it is when we learn that we are envious of those who appear normal with all of their out-in-the-open flaws. Or just all of recovery - yes, I think all of recovery is weird. Can't there just be one day when we don't have some huge epiphany? Please?

No, really, GOOD FOR YOU!


Tash said...

I'm kinda speechless. But...what an amazing admission to make. Very honest. I just went back and re-read the comments to the letter post and understood a little more.

Loneliness is a huge huge huge issue for me. I have great online friends. I have great friends in other cities.

Friends are important but maybe you need the safety of your parents right now? In time you will have friends around you who you can share life and laughs with. Is there a way you can make friends? Join a class that would help body, mind and spirit?

I think that many ED sufferers can relate to the loneliness that envelops us. However that said, it doesn't make it any easier to bear. Can you arrange a regular phone chat with your friends? I know it's not the same as actually being with people in person but maybe it'll lift your spirits anyway and be a regular thing to look forward to.

Tell me to shut up if you like!!!

Big (British)hugs

Tash x x x

p.s. British hugs are the best!

Harriet Brown said...


Not everyone is like your co-workers.

You'll find your place in the world. And when you do, you'll know it. You'll develop friendships with people you can truly be yourself with. It will happen. Try to have faith. And keep on being your wonderful self!

carrie said...

To all:

My brain is rapidly deteriorating, so I'm going to do a group reply.

I think my response to this whole nasty situation was from a "should" point of view: this shouldn't be happening. This shouldn't be me. I shouldn't have to deal with this. Which may or may not be true. I don't know. There is a part of me that thinks: damn straight I shouldn't have to deal with this.

But whether I should or shouldn't doesn't change the fact that I have to. I completely reserve the fact not to like dealing with it. Not to like facing the realities that I have avoided for so long. And when you have spent so long not facing things, it's even harder when you begin to look life in the face again.

I've been trying to put myself out there socially. It's just so hard. And I always manage to find logistical reasons why not to (cost of gas, time, not worth it, etc). I know I need to be screw that and just do it but that pit of fear in my stomach is...I don't know, man. Woman, really.

And tash? Any hugs are the best. I specifically like those from my cat, but if you come across the pond and lick me, I might be a little upset. ;)

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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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