They tell me that I'll never be able to race again. I tend to believe them. Aside from the anxiety piece surrounding competition, there's the fact that I'm quite slow and out of shape now. I don't know if I have it in me to train myself into a deadly weapon again.
But I'm not satisfied. I'm not satisfied with this civilian life I'm living. There's no excitement and little to look forward to. Goals are gigantic and long term and reaching them seems like an endless exercise in monotony. I crave the adrenalin and I miss the pain. I miss feeling cleansed after an event, completely detoxed of all the shit that had been brewing inside of me. I can't find that feeling anywhere now. The shit just builds and builds and it has absolutely no place to go.
Is it any wonder that I lose my mind periodically and hurt myself so that I can get a taste of the pain and the adrenalin that I so crave? I think it makes perfect sense.
I'm terrified to go back to that life though. I'm not the same person I used to be and I can't do the things that I once did. That person is dead and gone away now. I am all that remains. And I am less, so much less, than the person I used to be. At least in all the ways that I care about at the moment. I've grown in so many new ways and I've made leaps and bounds in areas of my life once neglected by my passion for competition but I don't care about any of that right now. Right now I would gladly trade all of that progress for a good strong set of legs and a race date on the calendar
The world was much smaller then, but at least I was successful in it. I feel like I have so far to go in civilian life before I can claim something approaching success and I don't know if I have the patience to see the journey through.
I'm feeling discouraged today. I binged the night before last and the experience shook me to my core. It's been such a long time since I lost control like that and feeling powerless over food once again was frightening. I don't want to lose what I've worked so hard to achieve over the last two years because I would have nothing to fall back on if my recovery were gone. I can't go back to my racing life. I can't go back to my eating disorder life. My only option it seems, is to move forward with my new life, whatever that may look like.
And I couldn't help but compensate for my binge with restricting yesterday. It was eerily familiar to find myself cutting out calories at each of my meals because of the guilt and shame I felt over my loss of control the night before. For the first time in a long time I felt that I had no choice, as if one act necessarily leads to the next because there can be no other chain of events. I know this isn't true. I've eaten more than I felt comfortable with before and picked up and moved right along in a healthy direction the following day. I know that I'm capable of it but I just couldn't bring myself to do it yesterday. I felt that I had to take the easy way out and today I'm feeling discouraged and low and certainly no less guilty because now I have to contend with the guilt of restricting as well as the guilt brought on by binging.
Was it really a binge though? My dietitian might encourage me to think of it as having just eaten a little more than normal but I felt a loss of control just like I used to and I was using the same all or nothing thinking that led to so many insane nights of puking my guts out in a past life. It doesn't matter. What's done is done and all that matters now is that I get back on track as soon as possible. Hiccups happen. Recovery moves up, down, backward, and forward. I just like to believe that my recovery is somehow unique, terminally unique in fact, and that it will move only forward and up, never down or backward. But that's not really how this works, is it?
I know the answer to that question as well as any of you but I also know my tendency to develop habits which become rituals and addictions which I can't seem to give up without clinical intervention. I'm not going down that road again so in my eyes it's best to just avoid the slip ups in the first place. If only, if only. If only it were that easy and I could simply decide to do well all of the time. Wouldn't I? Wouldn't we all?
I'd like to believe that we would but I know I've been in places before where I wanted to do nothing more than burn my life down and piss on the ashes. I'm not there now, thank god. No, now I'm actually trying to build a life for myself that is worth living and I will reluctantly accept the fact that I will stumble along the way from time to time. Reluctantly.
But I accept, that is the key. I accept that my recovery is not perfect because I have come to accept that perfection absolutely does not exist. It's scary to accept that the thing that I have tried to be for so long isn't actually real but my fear makes this fact no less true and beyond the fear there is hope that I can strive to be a human-being one day, beautiful and perfectly imperfect in every way.