Okay, so Google tells me that my title song is actually called “The Scientist”, but that’s not a good name for this post. Also, I feel like the fact that I know ANY of this song is impressive (thank you, alma mater, for making “Commercial Performance” a college credit), given my strong feelings against most mainstream music. But hey, pretty sure I’ve already titled a post Easy To Be Hard, and the titles “Easy Street”, “Easy to Love”, “Easy Life”, “Ballad of the Easy Life”, and “One Hundred Easy Ways” just don’t fit the theme.
I got into a discussion today with a friend about how/why you keep going in recovery when everything feels like hell. I seem to be having a lot of those conversations of late. I know my last post talked about how things are getting better, but what I didn’t talk about is how much it really sucks a lot of the time.
It’s exhausting, this recovery business.
- In order to both live and be able to afford therapy, groups, etc., I have a full time, and a part time job. Come fall, the part time job will be replaced with part time schooling, in addition to the full time job. This I find to be the case with most people recovering from eating disorders. Life goes on, and life is expensive.
- My body is recovering from a life-threatening illness. It’s not cancer, but there’s plenty of physical mending to be done. It’s re-learning everything, training my new muscles to do what they’re supposed to do, trying to fix my digestion, hormones, bones, skin, nerves, and even my hair. It’s like going through puberty all over again. Again. You think teenagers need a lot of sleep? Meet a recovering anorexic.
- For years, I starved away my emotions. Have you ever cried yourself to sleep? I’ve got 16 years of crying to do, and emotions can be draining. Even laughter is foreign, and it requires a lot of energy.
- Nobody develops an eating disorder just because of a diet that went wrong. Everyone has an underlying cause (or 40) to their eating disorder, and sometimes even unearthing it can be a gruelling process. Every week in therapy, I unearth something else that contributed to my eating disorder. Some things are merely enlightening, some things are devastating. Everything requires digging deep and making changes. Even thinking expends energy.
So why recover? Why bother working so hard? Why go through so much pain?
Well, living with an eating disorder isn’t much different energetically. As much as we try to deny it (and somehow, magically conjure energy out of thin air) calories = energy, and anorexia leaves you with no energy. It is painful, both physically and emotionally, and while working through issues is excruciating, living every day with the thoughts, fears, and rituals, with no end in sight is a far worse fate to settle for.
We keep moving forward because it is the only chance we have at freedom. The only way out of the pain is to move through it. There is no freedom in illness, and even if we stop halfway through the process, deciding it’s “good enough”, we’re still left stuck in the exhaustion, with no hope of rest.