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I've started this post about 80 times by now. I'll finish a paragraph or two, and then realize it sucks. So I delete it all and start over.

And over and over and over and over and...

I would really like to get to the end of a day and feel satisfied. Look back and think gee, I sure did a lot today. In terms of productiveness, today wasn't bad. Then again, it wasn't good either. I did laundry, which rarely feels productive, even though it is. Ditto for cooking dinner. Spend 45 minutes cooking something it takes around 15 to eat. And another 30 minutes to attempt to clean up.

I know I'd do a lot more elaborate cooking if I knew someone would pick up after me. Especially when that picking up involves scrubbing dishes with crusted on homemade spaghetti sauce. Yick.

Though, looking around at my apartment, the sinkful of dirty dishes is really the least of my concerns.

My to-do list is looming. I want to go to a neighborhood festival tomorrow, and with all of the other stuff that needs my attention, this weekend is going to be uber-busy. I have my first story due for class, I'm a week behind on reading for one of my classes, I have to get my lecture notes ready.

You know, I don't want to think about that right now. I just don't. I'm trying to be much more Zen about all this, but I'm almost never successful. I have yet to be egregiously late with a deadline (excepting when I had the flu in college and couldn't move out of bed because it was the top bunk and I was dizzy all the time and I passed out a couple of times, so I think that's excusable). My work always gets done. I'm never satisfied with it no matter how much time I spent on it, so why torture myself. I'm not being graded on my teaching abilities (thank God! or bye-bye scholarship).

Etc.

The problem is that the part of my brain that is worried about such things doesn't operate on the logical level. At all.

It's like trying to logic with the part of me that still wants to lose weight and exercise and everything. I can tell myself that I have life waiting for me! That I can be happy! And have fun! And I can't when I'm anorexic.

Duh. But that would make sense. And most mental illnesses are not about logic. Starving yourself isn't logical. If you accept a bunch of messed-up premises then maybe, but by and large, starving yourself does not lend itself well to behaviors that make sense.

Right now I'm at the point where I don't like how I look, I am convinced that people are staring at me and my jiggly thighs as I walk down the street, that I am gaining 20 pounds a week even though my team assures me the scale is totally disagreeing with me. In my mind, this is the Lord's truth!

But at the same time, I know that hating my body and living with it is better than the alternative of letting the anorexia win. So here I am. Existing.

Sarah mentioned this on her blog today, about wanting someone to take care of her, etc. For me, it's not as much wanting someone to take care of me, but wanting something wrong with me that can be fixed. That people know how to treat and know what to do with. With an eating disorder, people think you're vain (uh, no), you hate your mother (ditto), and/or you're a control freak (yes, but not in the way you're thinking). Part of me is still intensely angry that I can't understand and accept what's going on inside my brain. I mean, if my arm got infected and started rotting off, that would be obvious. Oh, look. My hand is black. Maybe I should do something about that.

But mental illness is a different beast. Especially when you don't look like you're suffering. Part of the reason my depression went undiagnosed for so long was that a) I was very highly functioning in spite of everything and b) I have this very dark, gallows-like sense of humor. So unless I'm really catatonic, I usually have a few wisecracks up my sleeve. It was the same with the OCD. I could still function.

I guess the difference now is that things are getting better, not worse. I do feel this was the right decision for me.

I just have to keep living with it.

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9 comments:

mary said...

I hear ya on the dishes thing. There were times in our earlier days where it seemed the sink was always full. At one point it seemed we spent over an hour a day hanging out by the sink and took turns! The dishwasher had died on us and we did this for several years. It IS a good place to day dream and a good place where ideas are born though. Paper plates can keep you a little bit ahead. Soak the dishes you can't get to. You'll be able to wash a pan quickly if you need it.
You really can't see yourself right now and that fat fear means you are leaving room in your day for Ed to have a voice. You really ought to knock his lights out.
Who cares if you have a jiggle to your wiggle? It's better to sit on! ; ) Fat is a good thing...fat is a good thing...fat is a good thing, in so many ways. Please don't fear it. I'm sure if your schedule is as full as most students that you are getting loads of activity including much in the way of fast paced walking.
BTW, I hope you make time for a little bit of the fair.

mary said...

/*** /**** /*****

;)

jana said...

Hi Carrie. I just wanted to drop by and say hello. I've been following up on your blog and enjoy reading it. I also read your book a couple of years ago and then recently re-read it again. I'm glad to see that you're doing pretty well.

Anyway, I'm a fan. Keep up the writing. :)

Sarah said...

Hey Carrie, I related to this a lot. I am so frustrated with everything my brain throws at me. I have a great team and yet it feels like its always a step ahead of us.

So frustrating. And tiring.

I hope today was better and that you got to the fair.

xoxo
Sarah

carrie said...

Mary,

Dishes suck. I can handle the actual plates and such, but the cookware. Ugh. I used to leave some dishes to soak until I noticed kitty drinking the yucky water. Fresh water in her dish and what does she drink? Toilet water and dirty dish water.

Jana,

Thanks. It's been a long 5 years since the book ended, and I got worse before I got better. But I'm getting better. Bit by (agonizing) bit.

Sarah,

We do seem to be on an odd parallel journey. Ed is almost always a step ahead of our team. Now my therapy focuses a lot on anticipating what the mangy bastard might throw my way next.

I'm getting an image of a dartboard with Ed in the middle. Target practice anyone?

xoCarrieox

Faith said...

It's so odd. We know what is best for ourselves and yet, we constantly have to continue fighting ourselves to stay on the path that leads to more happiness.

As for productivity, I have a to do list a mile and a half long. I try to do a little something - just 15 minutes or 20 minutes a day. Time it and reward myself afterward. It definitely will let me get a lot more done.

Faith

em said...

i'm exactly the same - my depression went undiagnosed because I am high functioning and functional... ie, i can get out of bed every morning... damn annoying in some ways, great in others.

emxx

elissa said...

hey carrie,
I have so often wanted to be in a 'fixable' position - I have a knee injury that's plagued me for like 5 years where, according to the MRI there's no structural damage anywhere. But I've felt this way about emotional issues as well. The desire for some concrete perscriptive solution.
I've spoken to roark about this - wanting the step-by-step fail-proof plan for recovery. "If you do this you will get better."

I hear ya.
El

RioIriri said...

Dude, you need a husband like mine. He DOES DISHES. He did them all before we had a dishwasher. I make him put them away out of the dishwasher, and he does so happily. I load the dishwasher because he doesn't have much confidence in himself on that part yet (I have more experience with them), but that's the fun part.

Putting clean dishes away is the part I hate the most.

We haven't had a stove since we moved here (in late August), so I've had to rely on a steamer, rice cooker, and toaster oven for all of our meals over the past month. (He won't eat microwaved food).

It's a pain in the ass, but I have managed to come up with some great stuff.

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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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Have any questions or comments about this blog? Feel free to email me at carrie@edbites.com



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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