The other shoe

I have this nagging sense of dread. Doom shall follow. I know it. I can feel it in my bones, deep down inside, my heart tapping nervously in my chest.

Things are, of course, going well.

I am certain this can't and won't last.

I know- things are going to suck at some point in the future. That is the nature of life.

Yet. And yet.

This is an entirely new phenomenon in my life. Events just don't go smoothly. I've had a breakdown upon starting school since I was 11 and starting middle school. Every damn time. So here I am, in my nice little apartment, looking around at the pigeons divebombing the building and waiting like Chicken Little for the sky to start falling.

I feel like I'm missing something. Something big. Really big.

Could I be relapsing and not know it?

If things start going too well, am I going to get too relaxed and get fat?

Erm. Nice to know that little fear of mine. I don't want to get un-paranoid about food and weight because then I will gain like no tomorrow and wham! wind up fat.

I know this isn't realistic. I know that I wouldn't care if it happened to one of my friends. They'd still be my friend. Then again, I still don't quite know that I'm my own friend, so would it really matter?

So here I sit. Waiting.

I don't get this. I can't enjoy the good times because I'm too busy looking over my shoulder for one of the bad times to come flying at me again. This won't last. Breakdowns in my program are somewhat legendary. Granted, my breakdowns are somewhat more intense than the average person's. I want to tell myself: enjoy this while it lasts. Because it won't.

I think I'm missing something. That I should be worried and terrified about something and I'm not and that means something hugely bad is going to happen.

I'm walking down this dark alley, and it opens into a dimly lit street corner. I can hear the dripdripdrip of the rainwater splashing off the gutter. The screech of far-away tires followed by a wailing siren. My footsteps echo, the loudest thing in earshot. I whip my head around back and forth, eyes darting over each shoulder. The bad guy is there. Somewhere. I grip my car keys tighter and my heart begins to race.

Is the boogieman there? I don't know. It certainly seems that way. Every horror film has a scene like this, where the protagonist should be afraid (very afraid) only they can't see the danger lurking. And just when you think they're safe, the bad guy leaps out and strangles them.

That feeling. The watching and waiting knowing the main character is in danger but you don't know when and where it will strike.

That's how I'm feeling.

Wariness is good. I know Ed rarely gives a whole lot of warning before he begins to worm his way back into my life. I do need to watch out. He's gotten me that way before. I'm not stupid enough to think he's gone entirely. But the constant watching and waiting is getting to me.

And pissing me off.

This anxiety over things, even things that don't exist, has been my downfall in the past. Rationally, I should save my worry for something real. Oprah would say that she's done the excessive worry thing and then she learned that life is short, etc. She has all the answers. I don't get answers like that. My income is also several orders of magnitude less than hers, so there's that.

I'm worried that I'm worried too much about nothing, and simultaneously worried that I'm not worried enough. That I'm missing something.

I wish my mind would just pick. Either I should be worried or I shouldn't. If nothing is going wrong, then why freak out?

Because this is when Ed usually strikes. Only now I'm afraid I will have worn myself out so much that if he does, I might not have the strength and mental fortitude to keep him at bay.

Sometimes I hate my brain.

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em said...

Oh I get into those intellectual battles too - where i'm doing well so i start to feel worried that i can't continue to do so well and then bring about my own downfall with all the worry (which makes relapsing inevitable).

that said, out of the ed realm, i generally try NOT to worry about things if they are only possibilities. i figure there is no point in worrying twice (once before the event and then during the event... ) once is enough.

Laura Collins said...

It could last. Things last sometimes.

And really, it only has to last once, right?

Jeanne said...


What helps me when I have thoughts like yours is to breathe deep and often.

It's taken me a long time to learn to live one moment at a time. I try really really hard not to think too far into the future. When I do, I take a few really deep breaths and remind myself to stay in the moment.

In high school, when I couldn't fall asleep because my brain was flooded with everything things that I did and still needed to do, I would repeat to myself, "there is no tomorrow. There is only now and sleep."

That mantra still helps me. As does, "it's okay to feel everything that I'm feeling," "I am not a number," and "I'm more than my weight."

You aren't alone, carrie.

thinking of you,

Harriet Brown said...

Hi Carrie,

What you're feeling? I've felt it many times in my life. And I'm not anorexic or bulimic and never have been.

It's part of growing up when something bad has happened to you as a child/teenager. It's part of learning to trust the world in a whole new adult way.

You're doing it, right now, one minute at a time. You're doing great. Sometimes the most important thing in the world is learning to tolerate the anxiety. Once you can do that, everything else is a piece of cake (ha ha).

Sarah said...

Oh, I know that feeling. That waiting. That doom.

Not the specifics that you have, but the feeling -- oh yeah.

It really sucks. I'm sorry you're having it.

But I think you know so much about the enemy now. The way it operates, where it hides, how it strikes. All that knowledge, you can use that -- you are using that -- to fight back.

Hang in there. You aren't alone Carrie.


Jen said...

Carrie, I've been reading your blog for awhile now thanks to our mutual friend, Mary. Fear is the basis of so many things but it's only that -- fear. It is a thought; it isn't reality. The mind (the ego) can take us down many paths, but only if we let it. If we move into our heart and think of our connection with the universe/spirit and with all of those who love us who are in that universe, we gather strength in the knowledge that we aren't alone. You are not alone. I'm going backwards now in your blog(s) and am going to respond to one you wrote a couple of days ago....


carrie said...

Thanks for your support.

I know that all of this freaking out in advance over something that may not happen is basically shooting myself in the foot. I wish I could be the type that would worry about it if and when the time comes.

It could be anything. I know the "it" is a function of the anxiety disorder and not anything in particular. Yet there you have 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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