“without purposeful action, you’re just a passenger, being pulled along without self-imposed direction or control” p134 (Dr Phil, Life Strategies)
That was me in a nutshell. I was drifting along, with no set goals. For at least a whole year I felt I existed. I had fun, but was in a rut. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted, or even where I wanted to be. I didn’t even know if I wanted my job any more. But I was scared to step out and take a chance.
I had the dream about Mim dying, then only a few days after that I dreamt about an ad in the paper about me leaving my child care centre. The thought of that terrified me because it was my first job and I really didn’t know if I would ever get another job. I spoke to Mim about all of this, and she asked if I considered moving back home. I admitted to looking up jobs on the internet, but hadn’t made a definite decision. For a couple of weeks I toyed with the idea of moving, then eventually everything fell into place. I felt comfortable all of a sudden when I thought about being with my family, and being in a familiar town. I no longer felt out of place. For weeks I was on a high because although it was such a big change in life, I knew it would work.
Everything fell into place automatically. Mim’s friend said I could move into his spare room. So I already had accommodation provided. I had a few interviews, and was offered a 2 day a week position at a preschool, so accepted that. I knew it was the right decision to make. Resigning from my job gave me the most liberating feeling. I had done my bit there, and made my impact. I never realised how much I was valued by the parents until I left, as I was showered with numerous gifts. As I walked out the gate I was worried I might cry, but instead I felt as though I had walked into a whole new world.
The saddest thing about leaving the mountains was leaving my friends and especially the family I was living with. I will always consider them my family now. I could never have gotten this far without the help from them.
Moving back was scary, and it still is. I admit that I feel a lot less stressed as the life style is a lot slower, and more laid back. But there are times when I just want to cry. I figured out today what part of the problem is. A hug! It can say so much, and when you miss out on them you feel isolated and alone, and that’s how I feel some days. Just to be close to someone. Mim and I are so close, but there’s some things that I feel better talking to a friend about. I am discovering a new me. A me without the eating disorder. I am meeting new people and at the moment I can sense that people like who I am. Strange feeling! Some one commented that they knew their children would be alright with me babysitting them because of my bright and bubbly personality. That is me without the eating disorder. I was noticed as me, and I was trusted. I wasn’t chosen because I was skinny. I don’t want people to know much about the eating disordered me. That is the past. That is not who I am now.
It’s a fight though and it always will be. Few days go by when it is not a struggle to eat. I don’t fear food, but I don’t always accept it as a part of my daily routine. It is a real effort to eat some days, and it is even more challenging to recognise and feed my hunger rather than feel satisfied that I let it ride and had nothing to eat. I don’t deny that I have lost weight since moving. And I don’t deny that I feel secretly pleased when someone comments. But I can be honest in saying it wasn’t intentional.
I try so hard to stay on track with eating because I don’t want to turn into what I used to be. The door is open for me to step back into the anorexic cage. I want only to get close enough to shut it, but that frightens me because I like where I am at and I am afraid I will be tempted to put a foot in. I still have strange views on numbers. I only like skinny numbers such as 1, 2, 4, 7, and any number over 10 that contains the previous numbers. I don’t like my birthday because it is a number 8, and it is in May and May is a short fat month. I dislike the letter f in my name because it is roundish at the top. No matter how I write it, I can’t make it look skinny. I also dislike the letter s is my name. Well, I just don’t like the spelling of my name overall. These things may seem obsessive, but I’d rather just worry about these abstract things then worry about what I am putting in my mouth.
I know the day will come when I won’t be afraid. I can see already how far I have come in just two years. It’s not easy, but nothing in life is a bed of roses. As human beings on this earth we make choices that contribute to shaping who we are. We can choose living, or we can choose existence. The difference being that living is making something of who we are, to deal with issues, to create relationship with people, and discover our self. Existing is just what the word says. We are here, we are alive, but we are not living.
Anorexia is existing, but I choose to live!! (november 2003)