Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
--William Ernest Henley
I stumbled across this poem while I was reading this afternoon, and it made me think more about the ever-thorny issues of nature and nurture, biology and environment, and chemistry and culture. At first, the idea that eating disorders are fundamentally rooted in biology can seem depressing. You're stuck with your genes for life. Your fate was written in the stars before you were even born. So you're stuck and you're screwed because basically you have no control.
I don't have any control about the fact that I was born with a genetic predisposition to AN. I can't control that. Even I, control-freak Carrie, am well aware of this. I also don't have any control over when (late 20th century) and where (United States suburbia) I was born. I can't change the fact that I developed depression and OCD and anorexia.
What I can control is my future. Despite my current ED illness, I can start to take control of my future. I can engineer accountability so that I don't start restricting and over-exercising again. I can learn better ways to deal with anxiety and depression. I can make sure I'm not in a situation where I would have to skip a meal. I can ensure that I eat enough to keep up with my metabolism. I can stay in therapy and I can go back to therapy if I start struggling again.
I don't believe I'm omnipotent and can totally prevent the possibility of another relapse. It will always be within the realm of the possible, and that will help keep me on my toes. But I can start to take steps to make that possibility as small as possible.
Out of the night that covers me,
- binge eating disorder
- biology of EDs
- body image
- disordered eating
- eating disorder
- Grand Theory of Eating Disorders
- narrating anorexia
- normal eating
- obesity hysteria
- weight gain
- weight loss
- Carrie Arnold
- 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.
Drop me a line!
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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