Thursday, January 8, 2015

The end of limbo.

A very very good friend of mine once described Anorexia in a way that left me speechless. She said that 
'Anorexia is an unwelcome visitor that sits in the back of your head, eternally. It’s a radio frequency I can’t quite tune out of. I can, consciously tune into other stations at the same time, and play them louder, but I’m still ignoring it crackling away in the background. Sometimes something great happens – and it’s like my favourite song has come on which I love singing along to and getting lost in, and for a moment I’m so enjoying it I manage to tune completely out of stupid-anorexia.fm which is playing behind it. But then that song finishes and I can hear it again. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to consciously ignore a noise, but it’s very hard. Sometimes your frustration with not being able to turn it off comes to a point where you almost think just turning it up loud enough to actually hear it properly would be better. At least then you can hear what’s actually playing on that station. Of course, I know that’s a stupid thing to do…but that’s the level of desperation this takes you to.'

I remembered this metaphor because just recently I have found myself tuning into stupid-anorexia.fm when I am on my own
and I've felt guilty for it as I have things and people in my life that make me so very happy; then I remembered this metaphor and realised that just because I have found myself tuning in when I am on my own it doesn't belittle the happiness felt when with others, or when listening to the favorite songs. It doesn't mean that you can't be happy at other times, it doesn't mean that you can't appreciate the other stations, the happiness you feel when surrounded by those you love.
It is, however, a scary thought to need the noise of others to be able to tune out of that ever so suffocating stupid-anorexia.fm.

For a few months now I have been in limbo. It has felt like I have just been waiting for the go ahead to get on with my life, I guess in a way, due to my uni course, I was. All I know is that, life wise, I have wanted more, I have felt inadequate and stagnant, not moving forward and desperately trying to not move backwards. Going nowhere.
It got to the point where because I wasn't moving forward I craved giving up and moving backwards, giving in and turning the volume up on the station that refused to go away, tuning in and checking out. I have been very lucky because even though I'd like to believe that I am stronger then that on my own, I also have someone who makes me extremely happy and with just his presence manages to tune out the crackling of stupid-anorexia.fm completley.

 The reality of recovery is that it is really fucking hard, excuse my french.

It is a fight, every second of every minute of ever day. You don't just decide to get better, you have to decide it over and over again, and sometimes you can't, sometimes you slip up, but that doesn't mean your failing, it means you have a chance to decide to fight at the next hurdle. The challenges are exhausting both mentally and physically, and even when challenges are achieved it doesn't end there, there's usually an aftermath of guilt and terror, a countless amount of 'what have I done's and break downs and your brain screaming horrible things at you. The act of recovering goes against every single fiber of your being, it is wanting to do one thing with all of your heart and soul but knowing that your life depends on you doing the exact opposite.
Its going against what has been engrained to keep you sane for such a long time, it is exhausting, it is hell, but it isn't permanent.
It is hard but it does get easier, life takes over, the decisions become less hard to make, the days of falling some how become less, you find ways of coping with the difficult feelings. It takes time, a lot of tears, a lot of challenges but you CAN get through the tunnel that feels so dark and scary.
You then get the chance to build the life that anorexia made you so fearful of, and you can find that the fear was unnecessary and that life has some amazing moments that you would of missed out on if you had carried on down the path of self destruction.

My limbo is over, and it is a relief, I have my ethics approval and it feels like I can breathe again. It feels like I have finally shaken the label of 'vulnerable', and I can now start to move on to another chapter in my life.
But this time last week I felt like I never would, I felt like none of this would ever go away, I felt like I was in my worst nightmare, in the nearly, not quite, nowhere. The recovery that meant you weren't ill anymore but not yet well enough to be enough for 'life'.

It just goes to show that when you think you have reached your breaking point, you're low that will send you backwards, that you might be closer out of the tunnel then you think. 

Never give up. Recovery is so hard and it can feel like you aren't making progress, but keep at it, you might be closer out then you think. Trust the process. It's going to be ok.

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