Taking off the training wheels

So Dr. H (and her fantabulous Keurig!) loves metaphors.  Yet another reason we get along really well.  We were discussing my upcoming move, and she said:

"Your parents have really been like your training wheels, providing extra support and stability for you. And this move is kind of like taking off those training wheels. It's both scary and exciting."

It's 100% true.

I didn't have my dad take the training wheels off my bike until just before my 8th birthday.  He took them off once before, when I was about 5 or 6.  I remember starting to coast down our steep-ish driveway, gradually picking up speed on my training wheel-free bike.  I went to try and brake at the bottom, and I couldn't.  The brakes work, I just panicked.  And so I kept on coasting down the lawn and finally into the swing set.

I survived this escapade with only a few bruises, but I also had my dad put my training wheels back on my bike.  It was too soon, I was too scared, and I just couldn't do it.

It took until my friends were always racing around on their bikes to push me into taking those damn training wheels off.  As it turns out, my biking skills were just fine.  It was my confidence that needed some nudging.

And now, too, that is the case.  I know how to eat.  I'm not an idiot.  I do, however, have trouble believing that I can do it, that I can get better.  I'm not trying to convince myself that everything is fine, and I have nothing to worry about.  It's just that my self-doubts have often gotten the better of me in the past.  Maybe I did need those literal training wheels for several extra years.  I know I definitely needed these more metaphorical training wheels for the past 1.5+ years.

I also know that keeping these training wheels on for longer isn't going to make me any more ready to strike out on my own.  You can't really learn how to ride a bike until you take off those training wheels. 

There are safeguards, certainly.  I'm not moving to the moon.  I have a plan, I have a therapist, I have a lot on the line.  I'm motivated.  It's exciting and terrifying, all at once.

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Allessa said...


Holly said...

And it will be wonderful. What are you looking forward to about it?

Also, it cracks me up how you mention the Keurig EVERY single time you mention your new T. :)

Cathy (UK) said...

Happppy for you Carrie :)

hm said...

My favorite line:

"It took until my friends were always racing around on their bikes to push me into taking those damn training wheels off."

It's my favorite part b/c it shows that you saw something that you wanted- you saw kids having FUN, feeling FREE- and you wanted a taste of that too. And then you went after it- and you succeeded.

This will be the same.

Katie said...

I know how scary and exciting it is all at once - I moved out of my parents house last summer, and things were a little wobbly to begin with, but I'm still eating, still maintaining my weight, etc. I think you are right that it's more an issue of confidence than of capability. After all, imagining that you are capable of staying healthy for the rest of your life can be quite terrifying. All that potential that wouldn't be there if the ED was still hanging around. I have my fingers and other extraneous body parts crossed for you Carrie :D but I believe in you too!

Rebecca said...

how do you it? with one foot in front of the other. there comes a time in all of our lives we must learn to take those steps and accept that there may scraps and bruises along the way. it's all part of the process-- it's a bumpy ride, but every fall and scrape makes you THAT much stronger.

happinessiswithinblog.com said...

You totally have this--you can do it =) I'm sure of it...

HikerRD said...

I love this! I wanted to say it with a clever metaphor, but my mind's an empty slate.

Belief in yourself is key, more than those mini wheels.
Now it requires the leap of faith. And once you see that you land on your feet, you're golden.

Good luck in this next stage of recovery.

Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul said...

What a wonderful metaphor. It makes me think of all the things that can serve as training wheels for us.

Shiela Marvel said...

Wow! I only ran into your blog today and I feel like I've known you for so long. You have good writing skills. Trust and believe in yourself. We should all do. Good luck!

Sarah said...

I can't decide what is the best part of this post--the shout out to the Keurig yet again, the "I'm not an idiot" line, the metaphor (which is really great,) or the actual intention of the post (I'm really proud of you!)

Go Carrie!

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Carrie! I have a Keurig tip for you. Wait for the Kohl's 15, 20, or 30% off sale combined with the Kohl's Cash ($10 for every $50 you spend). During that sale, Google to find the 30% code and a free shipping code (Kohl's let's you combine discounts, isn't that awesome). You can get it delivered free, 30% off and $10 or $20 Kohl's cash. I got my husband one for Christmas for $75 and got $10 Kohl's cash too. True, it's still pricey, but we (yes, me too), love it! I've a question too. I've been wondering about zinc and the studies that state it can actually cause anorexia. Any thoughts? My recovering daughter is taking extra zinc not but says she wants to stop when weight restored because she read on-line that it can make you gain weight. But, I'm thinking it may help with relapse prevention??? I don't know but would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks and, again, congrats on your new place, Carrie!!!

Carrie Arnold said...

Thanks for the Keurig tips!

I'm not sure that there's any evidence related to zinc and relapse prevention in AN. I know mostly docs started prescribing it because levels were low in people in the acute stages of AN.

A review of different studies is here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11930982

Someone with anorexia is at a very low risk of gaining weight on medications that increase appetite (provided it doesn't trigger binge/purge symptoms). I don't honestly know that zinc does--it could be that lack of zinc saps your appetite but that doesn't mean that extra will increase your appetite. That being said, there doesn't seem to be anything indicating zinc's usefulness after weight restoration anyway. She will probably be better off with basic omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

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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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