Just wanted to let you all know that I made it through the very rough patch I've been having these past few days and hopefully the worst is behind me. The breakthrough came about a few night ago after dinner. I was sitting there, basically letting my ED thoughts run wild and feeling sorry for myself. And then I said “Enough!” Enough of letting my mind be overrun by these thoughts. Enough making up excuses as to why I'm doing poorly. This is my battle and no one is going to fight it for me. I have to get up, brush off the dust, wipe away the tears and fight for myself.
Unfortunately as much as I would love to say that things have been easy from that time on, they honestly haven't. Today I faced one of my biggest triggers. I'm not triggered by magazines, weight loss stories and comments half as much as I am triggered by this.
As a prelude I think I should mention that I am a very sensitive person. You won't know this when you first meet me, and you might never figure it out if you know me only as an acquaintance. But all my good friends know that I am a very caring, concerned individual. If someone close to me is in pain and hurting (physically or emotionally) it affects me in a very big way. If there is even a SLIGHT possibility that it's my fault I take the blame, and feel horribly guilty. If it's not in any way related to me I try my best to help, but usually end up feeling helpless and sad that I can't do more. Yes I realize I can't take the world's pain on my shoulders, but that's just the way I am.
So in regards to that my biggest trigger is someone in my family. They have battled with severe depression in the past, and although the worst is over, it still crops up every now and then. The way this person copes with their depression is particularly triggering for me – they don't eat for days on end and they “lash” out at anyone in their path. This is hard for me to be around because I usually assume it was my fault, that I somehow contributed to the way they were feeling or didn't do what I could to prevent it. Their hostile attitude towards everyone during this time does little to reassure me. To top it off my way of dealing with negative emotions is also to stop eating, so seeing them engage in this behavior justifies it in my mind.
Today I was faced with this person and their depression ALL DAY. Not only that, but it escalated into a very confrontational situation at lunch. ( I should also probably mention that I am an extremely non-confrontational person). I looked at the food in front of me and wanted to cry. The last thing I felt like doing was putting it in my mouth. All the tension and negative emotions in the air were just too much for me to cope with.
But then I realized that I could not change the situation by not eating. I am not responsible for the way this person acts. But I am responsible for myself. A trigger is not an excuse to give up. I cannot change the world, I cannot make the situation magically change into what I want it to be. Yes maybe this person is someone I look up to a great deal, and their behavior isn't what it should be. But is that a good enough reason for me to resort to the same methods of coping? No.
What I'm trying to say here is you are responsible for yourself. This can relate to recovery, to the way you deal with problems or the way you cope with difficult situations that cross your path. You are NOT responsible for what happens around you but you ARE responsible for the way you REACT to what happens around you. You may not be able to change the world, but you can change yourself and if you are strong enough to do so, you will be making your personal world a better place.
I've decided that I don't want to be part of the problem. I am going to be part of the solution. I am going to be strong enough to not allow things that others say and do affect me. I'm going to be the stable one in the family, the one people can lean on and share their burdens without worrying that I will crumble under them. Because I have choice – to fight or to surrender; to win or to lose. I choose to win.
(…and sorry Ana, but you lose.)