I’ve been on Family Style for a couple weeks now, and I’m still struggling with restricting. Not as badly as before, but still not great. I’m supposed to take 2-3 sides with every meal, and I’ve been taking 1-2. Usually one. And it’s not because I’m not hungry. Sometimes things don’t look good to me, but usually it’s because Frank has this new rule:
“If you take more than one side you are gross and fat.”
I feel like a failure. There are already people in my life who are sure I’m going to relapse and never recover.
“I don’t see you ever getting fully better. Anytime something hard happens, you’ll relapse.”
“Why waste money on treatment when you’re obviously chronic.”
I don’t want them to be right, but what if they are? I feel so much pressure to recover because people are contributing to my treatment; but what if that pressure is doing more harm than good? It’s simultaneously motivational and overwhelming. Focusing on recovery is difficult (not impossible, but difficult) when the pressure feels overwhelming. My mind is so often preoccupied with all the people I’ll let down if I fail.
Anyway. . .
Anyway. . .
Right now I’m working on two specific goals: 1) Planning a life without Frank. 2) Connecting to God.
Having a life without Frank becomes more real as I get closer to discharge. I’m afraid of having to leave too soon--the other day I was told my discharge date would be January 18th. Luckily my dad, Kamiakin Jr. High, and Walquist Elementary contributed some funds and I’ll be able to stay at least a week longer than that! But the situation got me thinking: if I had to, could I do this? Am I ready? I think I could do it right now if I had to. I would have to make it work. Relapse is no longer an option. Frank is not an option. Coping with ANYTHING using my eating disorder IS NOT AN OPTION. Leaving so soon would be a difficult and abrupt transition; right now I’m blessed to have constant support and people watching me, guiding me, letting me know when I’m slipping, and encouraging me to improve. These are professionals who know what to look for and call me on my BS. I’m afraid to leave the safety of the Center. I know I have to eventually, I would just like to feel more confident when that times comes. I’ll get there. Maybe even sooner than I think.
In my post-Frank life I’m going to cope in healthy ways: reading, playing the piano, going on walks, playing with the dogs, sleeping, taking a bath, calling a friend, writing in my journal, perusing antique stores. . . Life without Frank includes friends and family time, hobbies, trying new things, eating at restaurants I’ve never tried, taking classes (hello, Hip-Hip and Sushi-making!), maybe going back to school, finding a job I love, meeting new people, and I’m sure many other epic things I haven’t thought of yet. I have to keep telling myself that Frank will never provide joy--only short-lived, counterfeit “comfort.” True joy is found LIVING, not just existing.
Regarding my second goal, I’ve felt distant from God for a while. I have been praying, reading my scriptures, and taking the sacrament every week, but I don’t feel much of anything. Recently In spirituality group we talked about how we view God, our relationship with Him, and how we view ourselves. We even took a little test to ascertain different facets of our faith. I was disappointed in my results. My faith in God’s character and my relationship with Him was not great. But I guess I already knew that. I know there is a God. I know it. I know he gives me life and sustains me day to day, but I don’t feel Him as a loving, kind, patient, attentive Father. More as a judging Being with impossible expectations who looks down on me with shame and disappointment.
An idea was presented that how we view God mirrors our view of our parents. I adore my parents. I know they are there. They support me and take care of me. They think I’m smart, beautiful and capable; I guess that’s why I assume they are constantly disappointed in what I’ve become. A smart, beautiful, capable woman should not be nearly 30, unemployed, unmarried, and in a rehab facility. I think my parents are disappointed in me; I think that God is disappointed in me. I also struggle with trusting that my parents listen and understand when I talk about things that are difficult for me. I can’t say for certain whether they do or not, after all I’m not them. But to me it seems like not. (Dad and Mom, please know I love you and this is not an invitation to tell me I’m wrong--I know that I might be wrong, this is merely my perception.) I am often interrupted with suggestions of how to “fix” whatever I’m talking about. Or they might be distracted by something and not really paying attention. Neither of those things are bad, everyone does those things. But sometimes I just want to talk and have someone listen and validate that I have feelings and frustrations. Likewise I have a hard time believing that God listens to or even hears my prayers. I don’t feel much when I pray. I can count on one hand the times that I’ve really felt God’s spirit and presence while I’m praying. I feel it other times. For example, in the temple I KNOW who I am: a Daughter of God. No one could feel so comfortable in a building as stunningly gorgeous as the Temple unless it was their Parent’s House. And I believe it is God’s house.
I’m not sure how to work on these issues any more than I am right now. I make goals and plans for my post-Frank life. I think about God frequently throughout the day. I pray . . . At the suggestion of a girl here, I’ve started praying every time I go to the bathroom. That might seem sacrilegious; but it keeps me in consistent contact with God. Sometimes you just have to keep plugging along. This is a trial of my faith and of my patience. I struggle with both of those. I know God is there; I am trying to believe others when they tell me He loves me and hears me.
So there it is, my people: my two goals. I will probably be working on these for a while. I’m hoping this will process will make me the most patient person in the world. But if not, that’s ok too. Just keep swimming. And remember,
“Goals are stars to steer by, not sticks to beat ourselves with.”