Friday, October 14, 2011

More or Less

Lately I've been thinking a lot about where I was a year ago. Getting competitive with myself, I guess. Compared to last year, I now weigh more. I eat more. I know more about myself - what my limits are.

I also cry more. I worry more.

Last year, I had more fun. I liked myself more. I laughed more. I took more classes. I was involved in more clubs and activities. I was more productive. I put myself right in the thick of things until my low heart rate put me in the hospital. Until then, anorexia hadn't taken me out of commission whatsoever - and I feel like recovery has.

I'm better off now -  I know that. But there's more anxiety, more stress, and more self-consciousness. Everything makes me nervous. Part of me wants to go back.

My confidence is just shot. I feel like I can't do the same things I used to be able to do. I used to zip through my reading each night, grind out papers, sail through exams, raise my hand in every class, and still go out every weekend and have a fantastic time.

But now? Now I can't concentrate on a textbook for more than five minutes at a time before I start picking my nails and jiggling my leg and counting calories in my head. Essays take me forever to finish; the ideas just aren't there. In class, my mind starts spinning and it feels like everyone else is three steps ahead of me. I got a B on an exam that I was positive I aced. (Yes, I know I won't get much sympathy for that. But it still bothers me.) I am so fucking uncomfortable in my body that sometimes being around my friends - even the best ones - makes my skin crawl.

My mom has gotten more than a couple distressed calls from me. I freak out randomly about things that do not deserve my attention. I hate hate HATE how I look. As if it even matters.

After almost nine months of treatment, I feel like there's less of me in me, even though there's supposed to be less of the anorexia. What gives?

I am, however, finding that I have more intense friendships. I rarely go out with a big group anymore, but I go out with one person, or two, and feel more alive afterwards. Last weekend, one of my best - and first, actually - friends here took me to dinner. We couldn't get a table for an hour, so we walked around the neighborhood, just talking. Then we spent two hours in the restaurant, talking. Then he took me home and we talked some more.

So, maybe less fun, but more memorable? Less adolescent, more adult? Less exciting, more important? Sometimes it's just so hard to accept that I can't be who I was before. I was manically productive and my days were jam-packed with a million things I couldn't wait to do - but I was sick. So I can't be that anymore, and I'm not sure where to go from here.


  1. I feel the same way. I think when I could ignore the underlying problem because I wasn't diagnosed, I didn't worry about things like nutrition appts or trying to hide myself from other people. I feel like I I'm not sure sometimes what I am doing.

  2. I think one thing to keep in mind is that the adage "hindsight is 20/20" is not always accurate (if it was no one would ever have more than one child!). What I mean by that is that sometimes it's easy to look back on a time and see all the things that were going right, without remembering the negatives in so much detail. Our minds do this to us automatically. I remember slamming my finger in a door, but no details about the pain and fear. You were productive and social and X Y and Z, but do you remember how it feels for your body to be depleted, your heart to be sluggish, your head to be swimmy from hunger? Or to be walled off from food options, both in social situations and in private? Maybe I'm overstepping here because I know nothing about what your personal experiences have felt like, just trying to make a friendly suggestion to keep in mind that memories can be biased, and the grass is often greener on the other side, no matter where you stand at the moment.

    That being said, I definitely feel for you on this. And it's hard to know that you can never go back; you just have to go forward, which means eking out a new identity, to some degree at least, which means a ton of stress and uncertainty.

    And I have cried over Bs on tests before, so I get you on that one. I'm sure you'll be a star on other assignments for the semester, though, don't let it get you down too much.

    Really glad to hear that you're forming more intimate friendships with people; letting people get closer than arms-length from you is actually a huge sign of progress. And you're a cool person so it's a gift to them too!

    I'm always impressed with how insightful your posts are, this was a great one. Hang in there, hope you're having a good weekend.