Too much to lose

As the economy began it's nausea-inducing nosedive at the end of 2008, many US banks and insurance companies were loaned money by the government because they were "too big to fail."

This week, as I have been on my own and trying to bull my way through piles of writing and work, I have been hearing the siren call of AN. I wasn't looking for the call, I wasn't seeing it out. But with my routine shaken up a bit with my parents out of town and then visiting my friend for the weekend, I got off track. And sleeping through breakfast yesterday meant that I felt pulled to skip breakfast this morning. Surely it won't make a difference, will it? And lunch. Who really needs lunch, anyway. Think of all of the writing I could get done.

I did eat breakfast, and lunch, but not nearly enough. I knew this should have been a big red flag--a red light sign in my relapse prevention plan--but I felt strangely not bothered by this. I wasn't particularly hungry, and eating seemed like such a damned inconvenience.

Apparently, I was bothered by this at least somewhat because I mentioned it to TNT at our session today. Not in the on-my-way-out-the-door, at least I can assuage my guilt about lying sort of way (admit it--you've done it, too!), but in a way where I actually sought out feedback about what was happening. We discussed what I needed to do to get back on track (eat a meal plan compliant dinner and evening snack, both of which I did) and then plan out my meals for tomorrow.

We also discussed where I was in recovery, about my blossoming writing career and all that I want to do professionally. About the fact that I really, really want to get my own place and pick out paint colors. About how I want to travel to the Galapagos and Australia. I have a fighting chance at a real life now.

Like the banks that were too big to fail, I have too much to lose now.

Before, all of these wishes and dreams were so nebulous and ephemeral that I could shrug off their loss. I mean, I'm not going to own a Mercedes, either, and I'm not exactly bothered by that. But now, my dreams and my life are so much closer. They're realer (if that's a word). I'm making them happen, right now. I can't continue to make them happen when I am deep into ED. I won't be researching how bacteria can smell, I will be looking up calories in food and determining how much I need to exercise and staring at recipes all day long.

My last relapse brought me face to face with the stark reality that I couldn't have what I wanted in life and also have my eating disorder. I had to choose.

And I chose life.
I chose life and I didn't look back.
At least, I haven't looked back very often.

TNT told me I had worked my ass off to get where I am in recovery (I turned around, looked down, and said, "No, I didn't. My ass is sadly still there."). There's the reality that I always have another relapse in me, but I don't know if I have another recovery.

So I ate.
And hated myself.
And then forgave myself.

Eating can be an inconvenience, but relapse is a bigger one for me right now. I have stories to write and condos to find and places to go and dreams to fulfill. My ED is not part of this--it never was.


Lisa said...

this post is so inspirational! It's a great analogy you made!!!! GREAT! I am so glad you ate and that you forgave yourself. I think the forgiving yourself is even harder than the eating.

stay strong and keep on recoverying!!

you've got so much ahead of you! :)

Kristina said...

This post just helped me finish my snack. Thank you. I have too much to live for.

Tia said...

im going ip tomorrow... thanks for this post. it helped me ease my mind.
Tia @ Dietcolagirl

Cathy (UK) said...

I think this is a really inspiring post that will help many people in recovery from AN. I know you struggle with a lot of self doubt and self criticism, but you have already 'made it' as a writer and DEFINITELY have the potential to 'make it' even further. You have exactly the right skills to progress in your science writing: intellect, drive, determination, the ability to think in detail... etc. Many of these characteristics contributed to the development of your AN, but you're using them differently, in a positive and self-affirming way...

I look forward to reading more of your science articles :)

Amanda @ HopeHasAPlace said...

You are lovely, Carrie, and I always admire your honesty and willingness to confront the hard truths. You do have such a bright future full of magnificent possibilities---publishing, travel, just to name a couple. There's so much life for you! I know you don't want to let your ed ever get in the way of that again. Keep doing what you need to do, and I promise to do the same.

Anonymous said...

Not related to eating at all, but when I read "researching how bacteria can smell," I knew EXACTLY what article in Nature you were talking about. I just got the highlights delivered to my email inbox at work and was intrigued... And that cracked me up.

And related to eating, I love science! Having that being taken away by distraction with food and eating sucks. Go meal plan!

Charlotte Bevan said...

Watch out my friend. Any sign of a missed meal and I will be on a plane, drag you back here and make you drive a tractor! So there.....

Bought the New Scientist - yah! Have moaned on the forum about how you manage to put into two paragraphs what I have been trying to say for three months. Sent the link to edbites to four more people.

Need you to listen to me so I am going to shout.




Sarah said...

Good for you for facing this challenge head on. Keep it up, girl. You are so worth the work.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I immediately added on to my lunch after reading this. I want to get to where you are because I do see a future and right now I'm not taking enough action to make it reality. I know that doubts will follow me and fears will haunt me, but they are there now, so it isn't like not eating will make them go away.

Keep taking those steps forward - you have something special to add to this field and it would be a shame for us to miss out on it!

Munshi said...

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The Year of the Cookie

Anonymous said...

Inspiring post and the truth is that there is way more out there to live for and do beyond the narrow confines of an eating disorder.

It's exciting to hear about the places your going with the writing. Onward with positivity, recovery and making things happen in spite of the past!


Angela Elain Gambrel said...

You do have too much to live for! Dreams are never a part of an eating disorder. You are a real inspiration!


The_Timekeeper said...

I think a bigger risk for failure in maintaining recovery is the fear of failure in the new writing life ... and the lure of letting an ED slip slide right into a self-sabotaging relapse that could "excuse" or avoid the anxieties, expectations, perfectionism and ambiguity inherent in your new gig. Glad you were able to prioritize your values; talk about it; and get back on track.

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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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