Move along

There are days when I'm tired of thinking about my eating disorder. I still have to devote a considerable amount of time and energy to recovery, so not thinking about it really isn't an option.

That I hate the glamorization of anorexia is probably obvious by now. But I've come up with another reason why I hate it: this weird aftermath, when your life is still consumed by this damn disease, but it's not entrancing and enticing anymore. It's this slogging work. The preparing of meals, the eating, the cleaning of dishes, the shopping, the everything. Don't get me wrong- it beats the alternative.

I try to think of cheery statements like: at least this amount of obsession is leading me to freedom.

La la la la la.

Okay, fine, it's true. And it does get me through those hard days. On the other hand, it's really beginning to bore me. I think it's a bit like having kids. You love the little rugrats to death, but when someone pukes on you, the doorbell's ringing and you're burning the toast, motherhood doesn't seem all that great.

I really want to escape my brain for a couple of days. Go to a nice tropical island. Get a fru-fru drink with a pink umbrella on top. This ain't a charmed life, honey. I look normal and functional on the outside. It's astounding, really. But a brain constantly churning at a mile a minute isn't as fun as it might seem.

I keep reading and researching for this need to understand, to get it, to try and come to grips with why I got sick, why me. I do fit the mold: anxious, perfectionistic. I mean, if you look at my brother and I, it's fairly obvious who would have been at higher risk. My mom was certainly aware of eating disorders, but she said originally she never worried all that much because she figured I was "too smart" to start starving myself.

We both had an education coming our way.

The strength of the compulsion. I'm only beginning to give it the respect it demands. I never realized how strong it was until I began to fight it. And by respect, I don't mean the hallowed kind of respect one gives one's favorite author or world leader. It's like respecting Mother Nature after a tornado. You suddenly realize that you are involved with things much bigger and stronger than you. There is an odd need to role with her, let her take her course. It's the same with my nature. I can't fight it. I doubt I will ever stop being anxious and driven and perfectionistic. I need to respect it, protect against it, batten down the hatches and just roll with it.

So why do I keep writing? Because I hope that if I say things enough, talk it over in my head enough, then I will be able to move on. I can't just leave 1/4 of my life behind, just like that. It doesn't work that way. But I want to make peace with it. Let go. Move on.

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mary said...

Stronger than you? I don't know Carrie. The human spirit is amazing and our spirit will fight for/with us long after we've given up. It's why you are still standing. You are of that spirit so stick with it.
You are too smart to let this thing get you again. I know it, you know it. I said we'd drag you into recovery.
The day will come when eating will feel natural again. Keep following your plan. Be vigilant but also remember to play!/*

Kirsten said...

"It's the same with my nature. I can't fight it."

I believe that recovery is a journey and inevitably there will be days like this. Acceptance is a first step to letting go. And the next part is--and it is a long process--to make your qualities work for you, not against you.

But the process is exhausting, I know.

Sarah said...

Just to stir the pot. . . do you believe that knowing "why" will help you make peace with it? or could it maybe keep you looking backward instead of forward?


carrie said...


Thanks for the support. I wish I had as much faith in myself as you did! ;)


I grapple with acceptance everyday. And that has always been one of my sticking points- that my qualities can be used for good and evil, as it were. I wish it weren't that way, because then I wouldn't have to deal with them all the time. Yet those traits (perfectionism, especially) are probably why I've accomplished so much.


I don't know that I really want to know "why me" anymore. I don't think there is an answer to that. Maybe it was chance. Maybe if it wasn't the eating disorder, it would have been something else. Maybe maybe maybe. I know, basically, what I need to do and keep doing in order to get well, the why of it be damned.

I think some of the wanting to know is this need to make sense of everything. And maybe that is me consistently looking backwards, I don't know. It could be. Something to think about.

lauren said...

AHHHH I have so almost had that exact same experience with my little man....ha, SOMEONE GETS IT FINALLY!
Your a fighter sweetie, the whole anorexic thing DRIVES ME CRAZY!!! that was all I was around this weekend and it made me feel so huge!! It was only a few months ago that I was there, and all I wonder is what happened, but hun you have to know that you deserve so much to be healthy and I want the more than anything for you!!
Love you Lauren

em said...

i hate the way my ed colors everything too - it casts a shadow over everything... i hope to get to a point where it is all irrelevant...

Jeanne said...

Oh, yeah, Carrie - I get this post. I feel that I need to keep writing, keep thinking, keep uncovering... to remain vigilant, to remind myself why I never want to go back to life with an active ED.
And yet, I think I've found a balance - where I still can be vigilant while enjoying every moment of life. But then, I need to be aware to keep the balance I've found.

Thinking of you...


Jen said...

Carrie, as promised, here I am again. I'm 62. I descended into bulimia/anorexia in high school. I lived with the disease until I was 30. I didn't keep a journal so I cannot go back and study my life leading up to my eating disorder.

My daughter has been fighting this disease since high school and has gone longer than I did. I think the tendency is genetic; the response is addictive. Like other addictions, I believe the cycle can be broken by building new habits.

The other day, and before I read this entry on your blog, my daughter asked me if I could tell her why. What started it? I began to tell her and kept going off onto other tangents of the why's and wherefore's. In fact, I had no one clear answer and so many possibilities have been put into my head by others that I'm not sure what is "mine" anymore.

I also told her that trying to figure this out didn't help me get well and I wasn't sure that spending time on this would make a difference. Finding myself did. I think that many of us who have battled this disease think too much, analyze too much.

I do remember that I decided I never again wanted to be in the clutches of this disease. That I wanted to be well. That I wanted to enjoy life. That I wanted to be happy. I knew I was absolutely miserable with the disease; that it controlled my life. I didn't want to live that way any longer.

So thirty-two years ago I decided that I would stop and stay that way. That I would no longer allow my mind to hold a thought in that direction. When one came along, I would shut it off and immediately do something else. I got involved in volunteer work and in my own efforts to make changes in the world around me. I deliberately joined groups of people with like interests. I looked at my perfectionism and drive as positive things and put them to good use outside of myself. I didn't consciously do that as in any great plan. It just happened in combination with my desire to get well.

Was it easy? You know, I don't remember. I just didn't want to do it anymore. Getting well was a process. I can look back and identify the things that I did to stay on the path to wellness but the bottom line was that I was literally sick of my eating disorder. Life was (is!) so much better without it. The past is done. Being in the present moment feels so much better.

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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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