Busy with life

I realize this is a good thing, being busy with lots of other things that have nothing to do with my eating disorder. I filed three stories in the past 24 hours, which was a measure of vague insanity. Tomorrow is my day off after working through the weekend, and then about 12 hours each on Monday and Tuesday.

What were the stories? You can see two of them online:

Cheating yeast help group (you may have to register to see this story, but it's free!)

Social network predicts flu spread

In the last story, I got to use the words "trendspotting," "hipster," and "fashionista," which has to make this piece one of the coolest things I've ever written. And definitely the coolest thing I've ever written with an 18 hour turnaround time.

It felt good to be so busy with my science writer-y life. To have confidence that I am not only capable of writing stories but capable at making a living writing stories. I knew I could write about science. I knew I loved to write about science. But I didn't know if I could do this writing well enough to make it my career.

With every frantic email to editors and every story possibility that I evaluate, I'm realizing that I do actually have the chops to do freelance writing for a living. It's hard work. Harder in some ways than I really thought it would be. But when world-famous scientists give you their cell phone number for an interview, or you get to use the word "hipster" in your story, or your editor thanks you for convincing him to run your piece after he initially turned it down, it is all worth it.

Days like these past few days are when I know anorexia has beat a steady retreat. I still have the always-present body dysmorphia, the sky-high anxiety (am talking to my psychiatrist about this next week), the not-always-so-stable moods. I still sometimes think about how much better I would feel if I could exercise the jitters out for, oh, several hours a day.

But that would bite into my writing time. A malnourished brain can't be juggling phone calls and questions and scribbled Post-It notes. It can't fact check. The anorexic thoughts may still be present, but they are no longer welcome. They finally feel like they originate from that diseased part of my brain. Which they always did, it's just that I was unable to recognize it. Or maybe my entire brain was diseased and ill with AN so that there was no way to distinguish my own thoughts and my AN thoughts.

It's odd because recovery usually happens so slowly that you almost don't even notice it, but these slow changes add up. And then you look around and realize that life looks completely different.

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Fiona Place said...

I am sure you will manage the freelance life - I do hope it works out well and that you manage to keep your blog going! Well done!

Carrie Arnold said...

This blog isn't going anywhere, rest assured of that!

Libby said...

I am SOOO happy for you!!!

Kate said...

i'm really happy for your, carrie. this gives me so much hope.

now...to get people to pay me to write...

Amy said...

You are such a rockstar!

hatinged said...

i just returned back to work after a 4 month medical leave to get treatment for my ED. before, i was worthless at my job. now, the amount of work i am producing is rather comical. as i tell my friends, it's amazing what nourishment does to the brain. and you're right -- recovery just sneaks up on you, it's hard to notice till it happens.

Erica said...

What a great post!

Anonymous said...

Yay for feeling positive again! Yay for SEEING success! Even BIGGER YAY for acknowleding it! I think that writing this blog keeps you accountable- once you have made public the fact that you are recovering, you are accountable to the people you've told, even if you don't know them. I think that's a HUGE lesson to be learned from you- we may not have our own blogs, but we have our own families and friends- we can make our recovery "public" to these people and that will help us stay strong. The ED tells us we're not worthy- but our friends and family want us around- remembering that can help us to do it for them even when we can't do it for ourselves.

KristineBaldo said...

Now that is the BEST news! Congrats on this, the first day of your new life when you have realized that your healthy thinking/feeling has surpassed the old negative way of thinking/feeling! Cheers to you!

Charlotte UK said...

I am so pleased that this is working out. I am well aware that it was a huge leap of faith for you to do this and I am so proud of you. Well done, my clever friend.


Cathy (UK) said...

I'm soooo pleased for you Carrie :)

One phrase stood out for me in this post:

"I still sometimes think about how much better I would feel if I could exercise the jitters out for, oh, several hours a day."

I must admit that frenetic exercising is the only thing I miss about my 'former life'. For me, exercising was not just about relieving anxiety, it was deeply linked to my identity because I was a child athlete. I also loved exercising and my main sports of running and swimming. However, my body is wrecked from a long history of over-exercising and undereating :(

Laura (Collins) Lyster-Mensh said...

yes. yes.

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About Me

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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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