So is this what it all comes down to? Is this where recovery ends? What, because I can't use my hand and thus can't ride my bike, I just can't eat? Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Seriously though, it does. I'm not joking or being playful or funny or cute. This is where I'm at with this fucking cast on my arm and it's been nearly a full day. Only six more weeks to go.
No, it's not that serious. It's not like I haven't eaten today, I just haven't eaten that much I guess. Intuitive, right? Wrong. Intuitive doesn't mean that you get to stop eating just because you have no appetite. That's not how this is supposed to work. I know that on some level but at the surface, on my skin where I can touch it and feel it, I don't see how eating when I'm not hungry makes any sense at all. I can't understand how I sat around for five weeks in the psych ward and then another five weeks in residential doing nothing but talking and eating, eating and talking.
They'll tell you in those places that it's not about the food, but that might be a lie; just a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. It's about how I feel in my own skin, which is related to weight, which is directly related to the food I consume so I fail to see how it isn't at least in part about the food. A good therapist will admit that it is and it isn't which is what makes it so damn tricky to just get better.
It's just a cast, they'll say to me. It's not the end of the world, they'll reassure me. It's only six weeks. And they'll pat me on the back and move on with their lives because to them it is just a cast which is not the end of the world and is in fact an excuse to do very little to no work or physical activity for six weeks. Sounds like a fucking vacation, right? They just don't get it. They don't understand how delicate the balance of my life really is. Take one piece of the puzzle away and the whole thing crumbles to the ground. Exercise isn't everything, but it's an important part of the whole picture and without it, I can't help but worry that the picture will become grotesque and unlovable over the next six weeks. Without it, I feel like tearing the picture off the wall and burning it before anyone gets a chance to see how fat it has become.
I'm not better, not yet. I'm a work in progress and it's little bumps in the road such as this one that remind me just how far I have to go before I can consider myself fully recovered. How long does it take? I've been told that it takes half as long to get out of this mess as it did to get into it. If that's true then I have about five years to go. That's not so bad so long as I can survive my day to day life and the small catastrophes that come along with it. But I know that it doesn't stop there. I know I don't just wake up five years from now feeling all better. I know this doesn't really end. Not now, not five years from now, not ever. It will get better, or it will get worse, that's my choice. And there may come a day when I can look out on six weeks of sitting around and not lose my shit or try to starve myself but apparently I'm not there yet.
And my god, how far I've come? It's a wonder that anyone makes it out of this alive at all. I'm strong, and I'm stubborn, but that doesn't mean that I haven't lost ground. It doesn't feel so much like a day to day choice as it just feels like all that I know. Lying, cheating, manipulating the people around me so that they believe exactly what I want them to believe, this is just how it goes. I don't feel like I can help it but I don't much like the idea of just accepting that I am a dishonest person either. So where do we go from here? I guess I could start telling the truth... But the truth is frightening because telling the truth would mean gaining weight and hurting feelings. Telling the truth would mean facing the lies and accepting them for what they really are. It's much easier to just go along believing the stories that I tell.
These are beautiful stories. They tell all about the person that I wish I really was and the life that I'd truly like to be living. That person is somehow both thin and in recovery. That person doesn't tell lies because he's ashamed of the truth. That person is not impulsive. That person does not cheat when he thinks he might lose. That person isn't afraid to fail. But I am not that person, not really. I am an irresponsible liar who is terrified of failure and I will do nearly anything to make people believe that I am a success even though I may be falling apart behind this smile.
But people believe what they want and need to believe. If they looked a little deeper they would see that these lies are only paper thin. Why would they bother to look though when the lies only hurt me and my progress? This is my life and my recovery and it's not up to them whether I'd like to be successful at it or not. People are too wrapped up in their own lives to worry a whole hell of a lot about mine and for the most part that's just the way that I like it. Let me be and let me go on believing what I want and need to believe to survive. I get nervous when someone starts to pay closer attention to me because I know that I am transparent and they'll look right through my deceptions. Or maybe that's exactly what I want. Maybe I want to be found out. Maybe I'm still crying out for help in the same way that I always have, in complete silence.
It's not a game. It's really not and I understand that. At least I understand that for everyone else going through this process but I can't help but feel sometimes as though the rules still do not apply to me. Don't we all feel that way now and then? I feel like I am smarter than the rules which govern the universe and so I needn't follow them. It's sound logic, trust me. But it's eating disorder logic and eating disorder logic gets me nowhere but dead in the end and so I have to ignore the urge to break the rules and do whatever feels right in this very second. I have to look forward to tomorrow and the days beyond to find some sort of inspiration to make the right decision when the wrong one is all that I know and love.
So what is my recovery based decision for this evening? Everything inside is telling me to ignore my night snack, binge watch Orange is the New Black, and go to bed on an empty stomach so I'm thinking some yogurt with granola might be a good place to start. One step at a time is all that we can expect of ourselves although I know I'd rather be running marathons by now. This race is feeling awfully long today, and it's only just begun.