The reality of the situation is that it’s tough.
The kind of tough that feels indefinable, yet I’m no stranger to its heaviness.
The tough that feels too much.
I feel too much.
Shortly after I wrote about my struggle with suicidality in depression at the beginning of August, I myself in the emergency room. This relapse was uncannily similar to the one I experienced two years ago. Emergency room to psych ward to eating disorder treatment center where I’ve been for the past month.
In hindsight it seems like it’s only after the crisis passes that I’m able to see the intensity of the situation. Awareness can be a bitch. Sometimes we become what we don’t intend, but fortunately humor has helped sustain me this time.
There aren’t many mirrors or reflective surfaces for obvious reasons in eating disorder treatment, but the irony is that I still see myself.
I see myself from the inside out better than any surface can reflect.
I see doubts. I see shame. I see fear. I see gratitude transformed into guilt that I’m taking too much. I see that I need to make changes, and that I need to take baby steps into a future I don’t necessarily trust yet.
I’ve been focusing a lot of energy on exploring gender identity and how it relates to my eating disorder and trauma. The three make for a perfectly neat yet overly complicated triangle of behaviors. Triangles are the strongest shape though, consistently used for strength and support.
I know there’s effort being put forth, along with willfulness, regret, and fear.
I know there’s also trust.
I’m learning these can all exist at once.
I don’t know what I necessarily need to say yet, but I am starting to figure things out.
To start, I’m working on tolerating the unshakable discomfort that always acts as a barrier between full recovery for me. The discomfort is more than just being full. It’s about how to redefine body acceptance for me in such a way that I don’t have to accept my body as strictly female.
Tolerating is creating the understanding that I can have self-compassion that I don’t identify as being on the gender even though society says I have to.
Tolerating is challenging the schema that just because my definition of body acceptance has to be different than some of the existing definitions, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
Last night, I dreamt of the body my eating disorder never gave me. It was beautiful and unfamiliar. It was comfortable and was accompanied by a fleeting sense of euphoria. But on the inside, even in my dream, there was pain.
I woke up rather startled. I was sad that I was in my body. I was sad that the pain I felt in my back was most likely a result of wearing my newly purchased chest binder for too many hours that day. It’s difficult to reconcile the idea that it hurts to become the body I’m comfortable in.
The body is a complicated combination of a vessel and a prison, and my body wants to feel all that my heart does.
My heart wants to heal my body so that it can feel compassion, joy, healing, and acceptance.
“Everything is going to be alright,” my mind tells me, and that’s starting to feel like less of a pretense than it has in the past.
There’s strength within my body and myself to withstand. This I know. I try to validate myself with the compassion that all of what I’m experiencing is REAL. But, gosh, sometimes I really hate that advice. Self-compassion can feel like self-fucking-delusion. When your brain turns against you and has the ability to create such self-loathing, it’s difficult to believe that repeating perceived falsehoods will eventually make me believe they’re true. In reality, this is the epitome of gas lighting.
I want to challenge my doubt with reason, my skepticism with truth and believe that there IS a better way.
To do so I know I must give up something I’m holding onto. There needs to be a release. I can’t figure out the word that best describes how I feel. I’m grasping onto anything willing to provide me with control or relief right now.
While “surrender” resembles defeat, the terms feels inadequate because I’m not sure I’ve lost a battle.
Resignation feels the most right. I know what’s needed. I need to accept where I’m at which right now feels unbearable. This acceptance could be the key to getting past the limit I’ve placed on my own identity. It might be the answer I need to stop fighting against myself.
Until this point, recovery has seemed asymptotic, that is, like a line approaching ever nearer its destination but never crossing over into full health. With resignation, with fight, with discomfort, and with support I’m seeing progress and moments of clarity even amidst smaller moments of defeat. Each moment builds momentum and momentum creates the possibility of returning to a wholesome being.
in strength and healing,