Dear Universe, kindly go f*ck yourself. Love, Carrie.

I think my feelings about recovery are echoed in my feelings about life right now.  I feel almost like I'm banging my head against the wall.  I'm frustrated because I feel I'm throwing all my effort in and nothing seems to be happening.

This month has been way off the mark, financially.  As in: I have yet to earn a single cent since July 1. 


I've been doing everything a good freelance writer should do, but still, no nibbles.  Just rejection emails that keep piling up.  If they were letters instead of emails, they would be a fire hazard by now.

And so it goes with recovery.  I'm doing everything I'm supposed to--every last meal, snack, and hated glass of juice--and yet all I feel is foul, disgusting, and frumpy.  And, oh yes, that other "f" word: fat.

There have been other things going on in my life that aren't helping, but those won't be mentioned for privacy reasons.  I've found out that more friends than I can count are pregnant or getting married or doing something else significant with their lives.  And I'm bitching about Ensure.

I know a lot of this is my insecurities writ large: that everyone is going to see the nasty, awful person I really am, that I'm going to be a failure, that I'm going to be alone.  Those kinds of insecurities.  And they're all hitting at once.  I'm frustrated that I'm not "over" my eating disorder.  Part of me (okay, most of me) wants to go running back right now because then at least I wouldn't care so much. There would be less food and more exercise and everything would just be okay.

Rationally, I know that's a load.  The ED might make everything feel okay or seem okay, but it doesn't actually fix anything.  It does seem to take the edge off, though.  At least then I could slash my grocery budget, right?

::eye roll::

The most frustrating bit is that I'm doing everything--everything!--I can and it's just not enough.  Everyone loves to repeat the platitude, "Just do your best."  But what if "the best" just doesn't pay the bills?  What if "the best" still leaves you miserable, only now, you're fat and miserable.  What then?  Does anyone have advice for those days?  When nothing you do seems to make any difference?

I feel like I should just delete this whole post.  That it doesn't belong on a recovery blog.  That I'm supposed to have a positive spin on things. You know, like "I guess I'm just going to lift my chin and try again tomorrow."  What I want to do tomorrow is hide under the covers.  And maybe throw something breakable.  Yeah, that sounds more like it.


PJ said...

I think on a recovery blog is exactly where this post belongs. By blogging even the utter crap of recovery, you are reminding your readers that everyone struggles, and slips. Recovery is not a smooth ride for you - just as it isn't for anyone. If readers came to your blog only to be told that recovery is sunshine and rainbows (and yes, ofcourse *those* unicorns too) then you wouldn't be being honest or fair.
Thank you for being honest. Recovery is utter sh*t. You know it, I know it, and everyone reading this needs to know that when their recovery turns to sh*t too they are not alone :)
Having said that - I really hope things pick up for you soon. Financially and recovery wise...

M said...

Carrie, it SUCKS that you are feeling like this, but can I say that I love this post? Because it is raw and honest and captures just how hard recovery is and the lure of reverting back to ED behaviors. Sometimes recovery blogs are hard to read because they are too positive, too rosy and when it feels like my world is caving in, recovery seems too far away. I hope you can keep fighting and that things start to look up soon.

Anonymous said...

i just sent what felt like such a ridiculously fear based, whining, pity party, i suck and so does life email to a friend. i don't think i've ever sent an email like that. it scares me. i'm so good at protecting everyone from my crap that they're all freaking clueless and then i feel like hell because i know i need help but...

so for now i'm practicing being about 8 years old mentally because the Universe doesn't seem to want to play nice and i could stand a hand to hold through it.

denying yourself free rein on your own blog isn't really going to cut it. it's not like we don't know, ya know?

besides the fact that really the ED blows ass and you're still stuck with all the other BS. you're just brain damaged on top of it. sure your grocery bill might be smaller to match the casket size but is that REALLY the point? i'd be far more concerned if you weren't upset. not upset equals resolute to the pain and that's NOT cool at all. that's the con of the ED.

so i second the Universe in f*cking off but i think it's perfectly okay to take out the word kindly.

hm said...

I just love you, Carrie Arnold. Your "best" IS good enough- for ME! I totally get the grocery bill thing- I laughed when I read that- I'm always thinking (esp. lately) how nice it would be to slash the bill- and, of course, how prudent and financially mature it would be of me to do so. I'd laugh again, except it's not actually all that funny- it speaks of frustration and sadness and scare. I'm proud of you for posting this. The more you acknowledge the shitty things you feel, the better chance you have at making healthy choices. Choices that will benefit a helluva lot of people- me definitely included- when your next book comes out. You're freaking publishing a book, girl- FOR THE THIRD TIME! You fucking ROCK. I've always wanted to write a book (I'm sure tons of us could say that) but have never had the time or motivation to do so- you fucking did it. Twice. And going on three times. You are a fucking success, wearing rainbow colored clothes, sitting on a fucking unicorn- to me. :)

Katie said...

When I was 16 a friend and I (both struggling with EDs at the time) held a F*ck the World party. It was highly entertaining. We basically got drunk and thought of all the things which could go f*ck themselves, and giggled about it a lot (possibly because we were drunk).

Anyway, I think this post definitely belongs on your blog, Carrie. Recovery sucks sometimes, as does the rest of life. You are more than entitled to complain. I mean yes, stress makes ED thoughts worse and ED thoughts make stress worse, so it's pretty easy to see how this sort of situation could make someone feel very overwhelmed on a logical front - but sometimes you want to tell logic to sod off and go shout at things instead.

This is normal. Feel free to bitch at everyone close to you, or write about it on here, but keep doing what you're doing. Whenever I feel rubbish and start veering towards relapse-type thoughts (yeah, still happens sometimes, but it happened a lot last year) I always feel horribly embarrassed because I'm supposed to be all recovered and everyone will be disappointed in me and blah blah blah. Doesn't matter really - it's a normal part of recovery, and as long as I keep telling myself that and keep talking to people rather than acting on those thoughts, it will sort itself out.

F*ck the Universe indeed. It needs telling sometimes!

Libby said...

This absolutely belongs in a blog like this because the truth is that sometimes things just plain ol' suck. Suck, suck, suck.

I do hate that things suck so much right now. But at least you can think rationally about it and recognize that as much "fun" as it'd be to stop eating, start hyper-exercising, and let ED take over... that "fun" isn't a viable option anymore. You can see that and name it. That's a pretty big deal.

I'm sorry things suck. I'll pout with you for a while. Things have got to turn themselves around eventually. Right?

Anonymous said...

I think in times like this self care needs to be doubled. ED is going to jump in anytime it sees an opportunity and it will use any ammunition it can to get back in your life. So take time to be good to yourself. Yes it's easy to have a bubble bath or watch a funny film when your feeling good in yourself but it's most needed when ya aren't and that's when it's hardest. Be patient Carrie. And gentle on yourself. Oh and one thing I was told this week when I was giving out about stupid juice was that that so called stupid juice is helping to keep me alive so it actually is necessary.

ED is an illusion. Once ya see it for what it is ya can't really ever go back to it in the same way again.

ckhalifa said...

You are fabulous. Having the courage to post this at such a difficult time reminds the rest of us that we are not alone. You know firsthand how important it is for us suffering the way you are that isolation can be deadly. So whether you realize it or not, your words are helping us. Thank you.

NS said...

Carrie, I am so sorry that you are going through such a low spell. I imagine the financial uncertainties come with the freelance territory, and must be scary.

As for the other stuff... I know that when someone is in a funk encouraging comments do not necessarity work magic - but I want to say a few things anyway.

Now, I'm not knocking marriage and pregnancy, but let's look at the phrase "doing something significant with their lives". Your blog, books, and articles are reaching THOUSANDS of people who need the information and understanding that can only come from someone with your unique combination of experience and skills. I have not come across anyone else who is doing quite what you are doing. I see comments on your posts every day from other ED sufferers, clinicans and family members who are thankful to be able to read what you write about your experiences. As a parent of an AN teenager, I am thankful for your ability (and those of your commenters) to help me understand things she can't or won't say, and for the Sunday Smorgasbords, and for the clarity and intelligence of your scientific approach. In your present state of mind this may boil down to "bitching about Ensure", but I say - If this all ain't significant, I don't know what is.

So - this won't bring in any cash, and it may not change the way you are feeling right now, or banish any wistful thoughts about what other people have going on in their lives....but nevertheless. Your work has an enormous personal impact on so many people, and I would like to THANK YOU, as a reader who is grateful for your blend of experience, intelligence, humor, insight, articulateness and courage.

HikerRD said...

Forgive my directness, but this seems like a bit of overgeneralizing going on here. I look at your accomplishments as a writer and am totally wowwed--Psychology Today, personal ED blogging and your more technical science writing. Sounds like you are looking through a distorted lense. Accomplishments shouldn't be measured by monetary measures (although I realize bills need to be paid). What I mean is that self worth is not about your income, but on the dent you make in the world. I think your readers do a great job attesting to that.

Knowing you, there will be a post to counterbalance these thoughts sometime soon. Looking forward to reading it.

KrisB said...

Carrie, thanks for posting the naked truth. I hate that you feel this badly. I am supremely frustrated that the complexity of human life that makes consciousness possible, also ensures that enough variation occurs to allow for the misery I see in those with EDs and other mental health issues. Grrrr.

And I am not a fan of the phrase to "just do your best". In certain, small circumstances, yes, our best is called for. But doing our "best" is an enormous, out of the ordinary undertaking, by definition. "Just" and "best" don't belong together in the same sentence. Ever.

Love your blog (and I am not a sufferer, but the mom of one.) Hope you feel better.

Anonymous said...

I totally understand what you're going through! And I think that on a recovery blog this is the right thing to have posted-it is what all ED sufferers are feeling and reminds us we're not alone! No matter how hard to gets, hang in there! In the end this will be for the best we will be happy in the long run. Just believe in yourself Carrie!!

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, Carrie.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Miss Carrie. Why is it that when we doubt ourselves, we begin to disregard our own talents and imagine everyone is living in a dreamland?

There not, you know.

Food/weight/eating disorder is not our savior.

I remember a blog(?) for PT(?) possibly that you did about being the perfect freelance writer. So jealous. I only wish that I could write. I only wish that I had published books. So often we disregard our accomplishments, because we want it all!

I don't know anyone who has it all. If they appear to, it's just a facade. They still have oodles of problems keeping people happy and meeting the needs of everyone.

Life is this ultimate compromise. If children are what you want, put it on your list and make it one of your reasons to get well, with the first reason being your health and because you love yourself so darn much.

Recovery is work, but fun work because I am looking forward to a goal. While I may never publish a book *sigh* I still will touch lives.

(btw, please don't mentally correct my grammar you writer, you)

Tiptoe said...

All I can say is that I feel your pain. I feel like I keep doing the right things in job hunting, and nothing catches. It is frustrating as crap! I know something will bite for you soon though.

As for the post, this is part of what everyone loves about you--that you can be honest about your own journey. Let's face it, recovery, though the end result is far better than the ED, it is still not a bed of roses. There are all the ups and downs. People need to see that, so they realize that someone else got through that difficult time and got to the other side.

Keep your chin up.

ola said...

Your Great Writing about bitching about Ensure has pushed me into serious recovery about 2 years ago. I know you are not paid for saving random weird girls, but I wish you know that the worth of your posts, linka, the whole recovery atmosphere you and the other bloggers create can't be measured by money.

One of the hardest things in recovery is (for me) It´s unpredictability. Non-linearity. I used to use a word unfair, but life is not always fair (if it was, you woud enjoy some nice icecream or something like that right now!). Handling unpredictability is part of adulthood and part of recovery, so this phase probably is essential, isn't it? (it doesn't really sound helpfull).

Keep figurínu Carrie!

ola said...

Keep fightihg. I am sorry.

Jenn said...

Thank you so much for posting this as I totally feel the same way. it is good to feel not so alone. I am feeling tired of recovery.

Christine said...

First and foremost this is your blog and while you are helping others develop insight into their own disorder, you too are still healing. I think that all of your posts are articulate, perceptive, and most importantly REAL. I was told by a registered dietician to read this blog so I hope that allows you to feel more credible than you were when writing this. Even though you are not at the peak of your writing career I believe that with your talent that something will come through. There is a chance that you are supposed to go in another direction career wise. I hear your frustration when you talk about the "accomplishments" of your firends and peers, I can unfortunetly relate. This summer has been packed with showers of all types and weddings. But we are doing ourselves an injustice when we compare ourselves (years of therapy and that's all I got) ;)
As far as the financial struggle is concerned maybe you could find a part-time job doing something that you enjoy or would benefit from(a store that gives good employee discounts!!)
It is admirable that despite all these struggles you still fight the good fight against ED behaviors. Keep it up, I look forward to reading your next post!

P.s don't judge me too harshly on my typing I wrote this on my blackberry!

Anonymous said...

Favourite post ever! I love your honesty and I identify with your anger. It's so great to see the healthy expression of anger. Screw the universe - just be good to yourself. x

Charlotte UK said...

Carrie, my friend. Life does suck. Some days it really sucks and duvet days are an essential part of life. Some days nothing is going to cheer you up and seeing beyond the end of the nose is too much effort. My sympathy and my hugs....

PS This is definitely a recovery post - life's not perfect

Jessie said...

Doesn't recovery just really SUCK smetimes? (OKay, most of the time.) I know right now you feel that awful, dreaded, feared, hated, and all other ways to say scared and loathed word: fat. But Carrie, I promise you, with all my heart, that you are not. The doctors would not let you get fat. They would get fired, and never hired again. I don't know how many times they've told me that, and yeah, I know exctly how little you believe it. But they are not lying to you. Like everyone keeps saying, you have to trust them.
And you're allowed to have your days where you just want to yell at the universe and tell it to screw itself.Like you said, this is a RECOVERY blog. And lots of times, that's what you have to do to recover. Let it all out. If everything was perfect in your world, we wouldn't believe you. We relate to you when everything has gone crappy. That's why we love your blog- you're totally honest. Don't feel you need to be happy-go-lucky. We don't want to pressure you like that.
Good luck with your writing, and with life in general. Everyone needs some at somepoint.

Angela Elain Gambrel said...

I also hate to write about when I am struggling. But if all we wrote about were the positive aspects of recovery - oh, isn't this great and everything is wonderful - it would eventually feel like a lie. Sometimes recovery just sucks. Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes we become overwhelmed and something pushes over the edge. I was in tears this morning because I saw a small hoard of ants in my kitchen and that was the final straw at that moment. Be honest. Hiding is what EDs like best. It's okay to say you are having a rough time, and reach out to others. As long as you keep working at recovery. And you will, and things will look better again.


Sarah at Journeying With Him said...

This totally belongs on a recovery blog!!! Recovery is not running through a field of daisies, singing, with birds chirping in harmony with you! Recovery blows most of the time! You see people (like your friends) who are achieving and going places and it looks so easy for them when something like, y'know, EATING and EXISTING is hard, and you get down on yourself and think you'll never get better. But recovery is also realizing that EVERYONE struggles, just with different things, and that you have (or can learn) the skills and support you need to make it through.

I know it must feel horrible right now to have had a financially unproductive July, but you never know if your queries which were dismissed will result in opportunities for you down the road. It has probably also forced you to work on your query writing skills and to be creative and think outside the box. You never know where the thoughts and ideas you've come up with will take you in the future.

Also, I would encourage you to focus on this: you have had a successful year (or longer?) of self-employment (not many people can say that) and have been published in some pretty prestigious places. Every writer has dry spells, whether it's their fault or someone else's. Just continue to persevere and try your hardest not to catastrophize this. Summer is a slow season for publishing anyway.

Ari J. Brattkus said...

Girl, you are amazing, and you are a published author! Most people can't say that! It will get better, and you have all of us rooting for will get better!

Anonymous said...

This is totally the right thing to post here. Its what all people feel like going through this shit-recovery is almost as bad as the disorder itself. But just remind yourself that you're saving yourself. If you don't get better you may very well die. We all deserve a second chance at our lives. As for your bill troubles, perhaps ask your parents for some money help don't take money from your grocery funds its the most important thing right now that you keep eating. If you're tired of Ensure (which I fully understand) you can try mixing it with some fruits to makes smoothies, or you could eat the food amount that is equal to it, or try Boost instead or just find some good smoothie or milk shakes instead. I believe in you and recovery but I also fully support your statement. FUCK THE UNIVERSE!!

Cathy (UK) said...

I started to conclude, a few years ago, that life is like a sinusoidal wave. There are peaks and troughs. When I was stuck in AN (and I was stuck in it for a bloodly long time...) there were no peaks and no troughs. The latter sounds surprising when actually my entire life was, in reality, a trough. I was very NUMB emotionally, and nothing really mattered. If anything ever felt to matter I would unconsciously find myself restricting and over-exercising again - until my mood was even.

You're in a trough right now, but things WILL get better. A few months ago you were anxious about having too much to do. Please try to enjoy the lull at the moment and do nice things for yourself that you deserve!

Anonymous said...


I'm a freelancer who had an eating disorder too, and I'm on a deadline, but needed to write back to this, "What if "the best" still leaves you miserable, only now, you're fat and miserable. What then? "

You find something that makes you happy that isn't the ED, that's what's then- you find something that reflects the awesome parts of you and lifts you up. I've had a really rotten couple of years, and I've walked around at completely frustrated & disheartened at different times muttering, "I have four functioning limbs. I am not blind. I am not deaf. My lungs work. My heart works. My family is healthy." For me, even begrudgingly finding gratitude for those little things forced me to reframe a little.

I cannot tell you how much I freaking hear you over the lack of work and how frustrating it can be. When you love what you do and it's wrapped up in who you are, and you're a freelancer, and your phone just. wont. ring. it's heartbreaking. Your phone will ring again, and until that time you can just continue to kick ass with your ensure and with everything that is fantastic about who you are and what you are capable of until the freelance market catches up.

Take care. And keep writing- you are so talented & skilled at what you do.

Jen said...

Carrie, loved your post! So many times I've heard the expression "you're only as sick as your secrets". Well, woman, you haven't kept these frustrations tucked away in your brain where ED can have a field day. You've put them out here for everyone to understand that recovery is damned hard.

One day at a time; for that matter, one second at a time......

Missy said...

Ever see the bumper sticker "If you think everything is all right you are not paying attention?"

Well...If you don't ever feel like sh*(t then your not in recovery."

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for how hard things have been Carrie :( Always remember though, that it is okay to struggle, nobody ever said this was going to be easy. And it isn't. it really sucks, and it is times like thes that really challenge us. YOU are worth this, you deserve recovery. End of story. The fact that you are so honest about struggling is something i truly admire and wish i could do more often :/ You will get through this, I have no doubt in you <3

Stay strong love <3


Anonymous said...

Life is really unfair and s**ks sometimes. So you are entitled to a good rant! Highly recommended way to get it all out, take a look at what you said, big sigh, hopefully feel better, and just keep going! And it's your blog anyway!

You are really the best Carrie!

Breteni said...

I am glad you did not delete this post because it is exactly how I feel and sometimes I want to do the exact same thing. Pull a blanket over my head and throw something breakable. Thanks for being who you are..

Em said...

Carrie, firstly I want to say I'm sorry you're feeling like this a the moment.

But I was so relieved to read this post, does that sound mean? it's not meant to!

Right now I'm really struggling and feel like utter crap and to know that I'm not the only one is - well comforting seems the wrong word but I'm sure you know what I mean.

I really hope things get better for you soon.

Mel said...

Why SUGAR coat everything?? I have a co-worker and our motto is that


On occasion we invite others to be our LAB partner, because it all just sucks!!!

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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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