Because normal is hard

I've spent the last day or two feeling sorry for myself. Why? Because being "normal" is still so incredibly hard, a tremendous consumption of time and energy that leaves me feeling exhausted at the end of the day.

I was getting my lunch in the cafeteria at work yesterday, and I was in tears. All of the menu options had the calories and fat grams printed on the signs- right under the names. It was pretty hard not to see it. Ed wasn't keen about most of those choices. Too many calories, too much fat, too much sodium. Too much, too much, too much.

I was wandering around in tears, my pride at having challenged myself to eat at a completely unknown place dashed. I saw my boss, who made some comment, I don't remember what, and I pulled myself together because I didn't want him to see his new hire crying over lack of lunch choices.

I did find something to eat, and yes, it was appropriate (ie, not plain lettuce). But still.

I hear Ed telling me to use the worksite gym at lunch instead of eating. And I say, "Shut up, Ed. Shut up. Shutupshutupshutup."

All of this inner dialogue takes time and energy. Time and energy when I should be focusing on my new job, or my new surroundings, or trying to make new friends. And instead I'm crying about lunch.

I know I need more therapy to deal with this anger, sadness, and downright bitterness, not just of being sick for so long. But also about recovery, about the awful unfairness of it all. About how much I would like credit from people for getting out of bed and eating breakfast.

Writes Hortence in Jezebel:

It took a very long time, but once I went into recovery, I never looked back. When you lose that part of yourself, you begin to remember who you were before you were just bones and numbers and calories. You start to see things differently, to appreciate small, quiet things that your ED never let you notice before. You eat a fucking Snickers bar for breakfast and you feel like Michael Phelps should mail you a gold medal, because you are such a champion.

And I thought: yes. That's it! That's why I'm pissed. Because it takes most of my energy sometimes to just get up and eat and not have a total meltdown when the bus is five minutes late and you think crap I'm going to be late, I just started work, they're gonna think I'm lazy, they're gonna fire me, my apartment is expensive, crap crappity crap! And then I have to go to work and write my stuff, which is downright simple after figuring out what to eat and how much and when, for Christ's sake.

I try to remind myself that, dammit, life isn't fair. That I got a crappy genetic luck of the draw and live in a freaky diet culture and here I am and here we all are. That yes, I have it easier in some ways. I'm not rich, but I'm not destitute. I have a (mostly) loving family. I have the ability to seek treatment, and the support to keep in recovery.

Then I have to remind myself that, dammit, it doesn't make any of the rest easier.

I would like a break. I would like to remember what normal is, to experience it just for a moment. But instead, I wait and I hope.

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Unknown said...

I stand convinced, Carrie, that YOUR normal will be worth it. It will be glorious.

It is chasing you, and as soon as it catches up and catches its breath: glorious.

mary said...

Laura said it best!

Let it catch you. ;)

Libby said...

*hug* I totally understand. Hang in there!

Lisa said...

You're an inspiration. Hang in there - you've touched a lot of people and we're all pulling for you.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Carrie. Some days, life seems so hard that I tell myself that I only have to accomplish five challenging things that day, and getting up in the morning counts! Sometimes "normal" is hard for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Carrie. . .

I can relate to this myself -- I have found the same thing happening to me within the past weeks -- walking in circles almost in tears picking things up. . .

Nutritional information should not be bolded in red on the menu!

No one appreciates the effort need for normalacy because to everyone else, it is "normal" :(

I know where you are coming from 100% and it sucks. I can't make it better, but I can tell you I am standing in the exact same place :S


Anonymous said...

An excellent post, and an excellent example of why the sudden trend toward mandatory posting of "nutrition information" is just all wrong. I am convinced that the "obesity crisis", if it even exists, is a direct result of our calorie and weight obsession. And that's for folks without clinical EDs.

You are getting stronger every day.

Carrie Arnold said...

Thank you thank you for your continued support. You have no idea how much it means to me.

And knowing that other people know the difficulties of "normal" does make the pain just a little easier to bear.

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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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