Things that keep me going

I spent most of the day yesterday getting random stuff done. I gardened a bit in the afternoon and removed many of the dead plants. I finished making a lovely necklace that turned out to be the piece from hell in terms of work load. But damn it looks good! I made scones with my mom. I read another chapter in Charles Darwin's journal The Voyage of the Beagle. I loaded some CDs I bought at a local Scottish Festival on Saturday onto my iPod. And so on.

Not exciting, not world-changing, but good.

It felt good to be a part of everyday life again. Even the parts that give you a sunburn.

See, there were all of these "Big Things" that I hoped would keep me moving forward in recovery. School, career, travel. Things like that.

My first job out of grad school was my dream job at the time. Couldn't have asked for better. Good salary, good benefits, and a great ability to put my skills to work. And I loved working there. No psycho dieting co-workers. Decent camaraderie.

And I crashed after several months. Part of it was due to stress. I always dreaded picking up the phone on Friday afternoon because it was probably going to be a disease outbreak or some other brush fire that needed extinguishing. I solved this problem by turning my ringer off at 4pm. Perhaps not the most professional of things, but if it was a really serious emergency, they would let me know.

This job, however, wasn't enough. Ed was totally willing to sacrifice it to keep me in his grasp. There was a part of me that didn't care a whole hell of a lot, either. It was a good job, but still just a job.

Right now, school is still a big motivator for me. I want to finish out the year without having a complete nervous breakdown. The biggest skill I have learned is how to reach out, ask for help, and also how to self-correct. If I see the old AN patterns creeping back into my life- the rigidity around food choice, the constant vigilance of calorie counts, the urges to abuse exercise- I can recognize them, give myself a good talking to, and phone somebody (usually my mom) to have her reassure me to stay in recovery.

The biggest victory I've had in this past year is truly understanding that anorexia was an illness. That I was not the person wanting to starve myself- that was the anorexia talking. It's still hard, because it comes from within my own head. But slowly, I'm learning.

Now, the things that keep me in recovery are much smaller.

  • Noticing that my kitty has itty-bitty eyelashes
  • Feeling the warmth of her body and the softness of her fur as she sits on my chest
  • Finding out my favorite band has a new CD
  • Exploring new types of food
  • A cup of hot chocolate when I'm cold
  • Needing to know the ending of the Harry Potter series
  • Great books I've never read
  • All of the great blog friends I've made

For some odd reason, they have more meaning. I find it harder to write those things off than things like jobs and careers and school and life.

It doesn't make sense...but it does.

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ms. em said...

hi carrie,

makes so much sense.

in one of my posts, i wrote out the poem, 'The Little Things.'
here is the link:

your post made me think of this poem and i thought you might like it.


Sarah said...

I think it makes a lot of sense. Because the little things, you can reach out and touch them, or at least anticipate touching them (come on, July 21, I need my new book).

The big abstract things are, well, big and abstract. We only get to see little pieces of them at a time. I think that's why it's so important to remember that recovery is one day at a time. You can string a lot of beautiful beads together and make a gorgeous necklace, but each bead has its own intrinsic beauty.

Girlcat is definitely a chest cat (I call her a rack cat). Boycat almost never does that, so what a nice gift it was from him to me yesterday when he stretched himself across me and went to sleep. (He also left me a not-so-nice gift in the hallway last night but I won't go into that here.)

Jeanne said...

I've blogged about this subject recently as well - after watching a YouTube v-blog post by Kat on "Little Things."

It makes perfect sense.

Abe Lincoln is quoted for saying, "And in the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

Sarah - the beading a necklace was an amazing analogy!!

Laura Collins said...

As usual you've nailed it. The eyelashes of cats...

carrie said...


Thank you for the poem. I shall print it as soon as I scrounge up some paper 'round here.


I'm so pissed- I'm going to Cleveland that weekend for an Irish festival so I won't get my book until later. Blech!

That bead analogy is lovely, BTW.

Kitty only sits on my chest when I force her to stay there. She'll sleep next to me, but never on me


Indeed, that video (the first minute or two that my attention span allowed) was kind of the inspiration. It just started some ideas kicking around. Consider this credit given, 'kay?


Before I got my little bundle of joy, I didn't realize that cats had eyelashes. Then again, I also didn't realize that cats farted, either. It's true! She does! ;)

Anonymous said...

I didn't know cats had eyelashes. Now I've gotta look! *finds kitty*

samsi77 said...

As I read about the things that keep you going the phrase "Meaningfulness" which i do not believe is a real word comes to mind as well as Mindfulness. It sounds like you are now at the point in your life and recovery that you are starting to see the aspects that have meaning. These are the things that keep you going and that will drive you through the rough times too. Keep on adding to the list and if i were you seeing my name as the author on a newly released book would also be a driving motivator. Keep going. Keep pushing forward, You ROCK!

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About Me

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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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