Friday, February 3, 2012

The Invisible Cage

I'm feeling a little bit down lately. I don't know why. Just a little bit sad, a little bit lonely. It's not quite the crippling depression from last summer or the paralyzing anxiety from last semester, but maybe elements of both. There's some body hatred, although that's better than it has been at other times. More so, I'm just feeling discouraged with recovery. I want recovery, I want it so bad. I'm even almost sort of maybe ready to accept the fact that I will get bigger...I'm almost willing to subject myself to that. But actually following through day in and day out - that's where I fail again and again and again. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I just can't do it.

It's discouraging to be in therapy twice a week and still feel like I'm not making any progress. It's discouraging for one bad therapy session to cast a gloomy shadow over my whole week. Since R has been out of town since Tuesday, we skipped a session today and I'm not seeing him again until Monday. Part of me feels overwhelmingly lost without that extra treatment boost, and part of me is disgusted with myself for feeling so reliant on it. Most people don't need therapists; most people do just fine on their own. Why am I such a needy freak?

When I saw J, my dietician, on Wednesday, she asked me if I ever have moments of clarity when I realize how much time and brainpower I'm wasting on the ED. And honestly? I have those moments constantly. I am fully, painfully aware of how ridiculous the anorexic thought processes are. That doesn't stop me from compulsively tracking my calories and walking the long way to class to burn off a few more. It doesn't stop me from arranging my day around insane food and exercise rituals. Or from avoiding lunch out with friends because I've already planned my meal. For whatever reason, this pathetic pathological obsession trumps everything else in my life, hands down.

I don't know why I'm suddenly feeling so lonely. I have friends, I have my roommate, I have my mom, I have R and J. I just can't ever shake this nagging sense that there's something wrong with me. It's impossible to articulate how scared I really am sometimes, how hard it is to break out of this invisible cage I've erected around myself. Before going out, I am meticulous about assembling my happy face, and I refuse to discuss the ED on pain of death most of the time. I am: the perfect student. The smiling, helpful intern. The reliable friend who always listens. So then why does a tiny part of me have this incredible urge to get it all off my chest? To admit that I am bound by a million unspoken self-imposed rules? To tell someone: I'm not okay. I don't know why, but I'm not.

Sorry this was so lame, guys. I'll be more interesting another day.


  1. I've had moments of deep despair, what gets me through them is the knowledge that they'll pass because they always do. I'm here for you. You're not a needy freak, you're unwell, there is a big difference, and you simply need help getting well again, because no one can get well from such a serious illness on their own. Best of luck honey, you are loved.

  2. I don't think this was uninteresting (or lame) at all; it was actually incredibly insightful. I think there is sometimes a place in the process towards recovery where we can get our numbers looking healthier but are still totally trapped by patterns, routines, rules, etc. It definitely feels like a cage. In my experience, I've found it sometimes frustrating to see my body change and yet to not feel like my life revolves around food/exercise rules any less. I think it's key to remember that it's a process, though. This isn't the end point, so don't feel discouraged; it can and will get better if you stick to your guns. Easier said than done, I know. The intermediate steps suck, but it WILL be worth it in the end...and you don't deserve to settle for the cage.

    I'm really sorry to hear that last week was rough, and hope that this week started off better for you.