I've been wanting to do a post that wasn't just "work is busy and I'm sad". A post that actually focused specifically on some of the issues I deal with daily. I probably have enough of those posts to last me a lifetime but as good as it feels to talk about them, they are hard to write. I'm not really sure why. I guess it's because not only are they personally revealing but then I worry about sounding like I'm somehow proud of these issues (I'm not, I swear) or worse, triggering someone else. I know at the end of day that can't really be my responsibility and I'm pretty clear about what this blog is but I still worry.
So in traditional Abby fashion of never going easy on myself I decided I'd talk about one of the issues that I have the hardest time admitting. Seriously. I don't think that I've ever even manged to bring it up in therapy. (As much as I liked my various therapists I always worried about them judging me for my crazier aspects.) I've read many, many blogs where people talk about things that keep them from ED recovery. And I've already talked about it myself, in not knowing if I could have a normal weight without an ED and how my ED soothes my stress. This is one of those things. The problem is that I don't think I've ever heard anyone else talk about it. Which convinces me I must me the only one and I'm crazy and broken and a bad person.
I am terrified of having to take care of myself.
Or maybe more accurately, I'm terrified of having to be solely responsible for taking care of myself. I can completely understand where the misconception that anorexia was about adolescent girls not wanting to grow up and wanting to stay children came from. Because from the very beginning this has been a theme in my eating disorder. It's not why I developed an eating disorder but it's been a reason to stay sick. And it's not surprising to me that my eating disorder started right as I was looking into the scary distance that was post-college adulthood. If I was sick and couldn't even feed myself I certainly couldn't be expected to take care of myself in any other aspects of being a grown-up.
I remember talking to my best friend (who has fought her own battle with bulimia) on the phone when I was at the height of my anorexia. I said something to the affect of, "I want my parents to know how sick I am. If I'm like this then they will take care of me forever and I'll never have to worry." I don't remember exactly what she said back but it was about how this was so strange to her because her bulimia was something she never wanted anyone else to see, something she was so ashamed for. She was the only one I ever told because I've been terribly embarassed about it. Admitting this sounds so selfish, so pathetic. But I still feel this way.
I do actually do thing to take care of myself daily. I've carefully cultivated this grown-up image. Masters degree at 23, actual career job 6 months later, living with the boyfriend, no debt. I get up, go to work, cook, feed my cats. But I also want people to take care of me, worry about me. My boyfriend, my family, my friends. I know I've lost friends because of this. They couldn't handle that a relationship with me includes these things. And I don't blame them. Someone to take care of is certainly not what most people are looking for in a friendship. I hate this about myself.
Underneath it all though I really, really miss the days when I was so sick with my eating disorder and everyone cared about how I was doing. As much as I hated it then I miss my parents asking if I'm eating, I miss my flatmate crying about how worried she was about me. I believe this makes me a horrible person. But when I'm restricting the ED voices say to me, "Lose some weight and people will care about you again." Because why would anyone care about me if I'm not actively killing myself, right? It's not that I doubt that my family or my boyfriend love me. I know this to be true. But they don't worry about me anymore. I guess I should be happy about that. I've come far enough in recovery that I can take care of myself and not scare everyone around me. Too bad it just makes me feel so lost and alone.
See? I can't even get anorexia "right". People with eating disorders are supposed to want to hide them, not flaunt them for the attention. This makes it easier for me to really believe that I somehow chose this eating disorder. I clearly chose it because I'm a bad person who just wanted attention. The really sad part is that even though I feel this terrible about it, it does nothing to stop me from wanting to be too skinny again so people will care.