Coping with change

Now that I've closed on my house and am waiting to hear about several writing gigs in the near future, I'm sitting with a lot of anxiety.  Like many people, especially those with eating disorders, I find change difficult.  The thought of change makes me nervous and apprehensive--what if things don't go right?  What if they do?

Then there's the simple fact that I don't like change.  It's a fact.

Let's face it: I'm moving from an environment with a built-in support system to living on my own (albeit only fifteen minutes away).  I have some career uncertainty, and with that comes financial uncertainty.

In the past, I have tried to cope with change in some, shall we say, less-than-productive manners.  I have too much on the line now.  I don't want to go back to the eating disorder.  Which means I am going to have to figure out some way to cope with the change.

Basically everything in my new place will be familiar, as I already have most of what I need.  I'm having a new sofa delivered tomorrow, but that's pretty much it.  I will also have mostly the same food around, and use tried-and-true recipes.

Oh yeah--I'll also have the same cat. :)

In the past few months of freelancing full-time, I've come up with a solid daily routine. It can be a little unusual (I hate mornings and don't expect that to change), but it works for me.  So I have that to rely on, too.

What has helped me the most is reminding myself that I have the skills and strength to cope with these changes, even if they do go pear-shaped. That I've coped with it in the past and I can do so again.

Change does stir up a lot of ED crap.  The body dysmorphia has never really gone away, and the chattering has gotten a little louder recently.  I've started to fantasize about having my own exercise equipment--what fun I could have!  I know that's a Very Bad Idea, and even if I didn't, I don't have the spare change to buy it anyway.

I have to keep telling myself that these thoughts are just a sign that I am stressed, not a sign that I am a fat, lazy cow.  Having a thought doesn't make it true. {{See, TNT, I really was listening!}}

I also have to keep telling myself that it's normal to feel apprehensive at times like these.  When I was first diagnosed with anorexia, I was told that I was having trouble "individuating" from my parents.  Aside from the fact that, outside of my mental health issues, I was handling my own life just fine, thank you very much, didn't seem to matter.  I've been itching to start my own life for months now.  But with the privileges of adult life (you mean I don't have to go to bed on time?) come the responsibilities.  Paying the bills is a pain in the ass.  So is emptying the dishwasher and taking out the trash.  As much as I hate the fact that I'm currently living with my parents, I also know that I've had things pretty plush.

My goal for the transition is to establish healthy new routines so that I can stay sane and stay on track with my recovery.


hm said...

You can do it, Carrie- same kitty, same recipes, same blog, too. Same YOU- the you that got strong at home with your parents can be strong in your new home as well. I wonder if maybe all that inner noise is compounded not just by transitions but also by the damned holidays- for whatever reason, my inner berating voices are all kinds of loud these days too, and I'm not moving anywhere. (They've been so loud they've actually woken me up before my alarm the last couple of days. So nice to wake up to "Get up, you fat, lazy bitch!" screaming in my head. Grrr.) Anyway, my point is, this anxiety, the increase in volume of the inner chatter- try to see it as temporary (as well as untrue). The only good thing about change is that it usually ends at some point- at least, the big stuff. Things do settle down again and feel normal. I think it's great that you're focusing in on and stating 'aloud' the healthy routines and things in your life that will NOT be changing. That's a great coping strategy.

Emily said...

I wanted to ask you about what you said about mornings always being difficult for you? For me, evenings are the hardest because it's when I have the hardest time eating. What makes mornings rough for you, and how do you cope with that?


Lily said...

Your blog is so wonderful. I find you to be extremely inspirational.
You know that you want a life away from this and my god, you're not going to settle for anything less than your dream.
You should be very proud of this blog. Although it says you're suffering, it also shows that you know it is okay to suffer. You should be very proud of yourself, my love xxx

Yali said...

I can relate to every word you say -- change is difficult, and leaves us, especially those of us battling EDs with brittle fingers and scattered minds. I can feel the strength through your words. Congratulations on your very brave decision to make a change! The best part is you can take your routine with you--it doesn't weigh a thing! Good luck on all your move, your endeavors...and most of all, keep writing :)


Stephanie said...

Congrats on all of the exciting things taking place. It is "normal" whatever that word means to be ambivalent and feel unsettled when there are so many changes and yet you are arming yourself with your skills, support and planning accordingly. One of my favorite quotes came to mind as I read this entry:

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
-Anais Nin

Carrie Arnold said...


Mornings are hard simply because I'm not a morning person. I just can't seem to wake up (mentally, anyway) before 9am.

ED-wise, I've usually had more problems in the evening. It's been helpful for me to plan things during the evenings, especially with other people. Community ed classes can be fun- they're inexpensive and you're almost forced to be social.

Emily said...

Thank you for sharing that, Carrie! I do think I need an evening routine of some sort.

Unknown said...

Hey Carrie -

I've been reading your blog for years now and have never commented. I just wanted to tell you how fantastic and inspirational you are. I would also love to hear any tips you have on dealing with body dysmorphia. I have been in recovery for a little over a year now and still struggle terribly with discomfort and loathing. Thanks!

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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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