It is Not Safe…Not Anymore: Walking Away from Relapse

So, I have been sitting here for quite some time, trying to come up with some sort of blog post. I have written and deleted sentences or even paragraphs, rewritten them, and then stared at an empty screen. It has been a while since I have seriously blogged. A long while. The days where I used to write so much that I posted more than once a day…seem incredibly foreign. My brain has been so dead recently and it has been so hard to get words out from my head and onto the “page” in a cohesive manner. Things have changed a lot recently. Life is in a weird place and I do not think that I have known how to blog about that/what I want to blog about. When I began this blog, I was standing in a much different place in my life as well as in my recovery. Back then, I was moving towards officially leaving treatment and things felt so foreign. It was not the first time I had left treatment, I had already graduated from residential treatment before in addition to leaving inpatient many times, and it was also much, much different.

Leaving IDC was markedly different because this was the first time that I would truly be transitioning to being independent about my recovery. This was, finally, the time that I was claiming my personal desire to keep going. I truly and honestly wanted full recovery for the first time in my life. That was bone chillingly terrifying and also incredibly thrilling. I was making the decision to fully open myself up to the chance that things could change. Sure, I had dabbled with the idea and I had experienced glimpses that recovery could be possible. However, the time where I would no longer be able to play around with that idea was swiftly approaching. In late October of 2015, I left IDC and I was doing well. Great even! That is…until I fell flat on my face. My old patterns of self-doubt and self-sabotage had come into play and I swiftly down spiraled until I ended up back in the hospital in late January. All of the sudden, I found myself sitting in a vinyl grey chair in the day room on the west wing of the inpatient hospital, and I felt more confused than ever before.

What had happened to me?

What was I going to do now?

Since that stay, it has felt as if I have been riding a roller coaster designed by a two-year-old, with a crayon in hand, who mistakenly scribbled on their daddy’s blueprints instead of the Crayola paper pad. For so long, I had been waiting for my life of working on recovery outside of treatment. Recognizing that I was in the midst of living that life had sent me reeling! For most of the spring, I pretended that nothing was going on and did my best to ignore just how confused and out of place I felt. However, these emotions proved themselves impossible to ignore, which lead to me slowly restricting. My meal plan fell to the wayside more and more, while I tried to deflect by focusing on my current volunteer teaching, and I refused to accept that the all too familiar eating disorder voice was creeping in. This all came crashing and tumbling down at the end of May. I had relapsed and I had relapsed harder than I ever wanted to admit. Conversations with my therapist and dietitian became ridden with warnings that a higher level of treatment was right around the corner if things did not change.

I was left with two choices. Either I could return to treatment and let this swallow me whole or I could look at the fact that the life I was terrified of was already happening whether I wanted it to or not. I hated both of these concepts, so I avoided once again, this time by beginning the job that I had been working towards being healthy enough for since having to leave in 2014 due to how sick I had become. Working meant I was facing the life of recovery, right? Someone who is sick and struggling is unable to work, correct? It became the perfect cover up for me. For the next week, I killed myself slowly, mainly emotionally, while I spent all day running around after children, meanwhile pretending that this was actually making me truly happy. Working with children has always been one of my favorite things and it is something that brings me a lot of joy. My days were filled with moments that made me smile, such as a camper’s face lighting up when she saw me in the morning, or laughing at the adorable things the kids said or did. And, I still was so far from feeling fulfilled. Certain circumstances at my job, outside of the campers, were really bothering me and I was also ignoring those, all in an effort to ignore, ignore, and ignore.

So, I did something I never imagined I would do. I quit. I left that job and now here I am. I am just as confused, or perhaps even more confused than I was previously. What I am going to do from here is a complete and utter mystery. (F*ck.) However, for the first time in perhaps forever, I am uncomfortably and confusedly content with that fact. Life is going to happen and there is no good way to avoid that from being the truth. I am still unbelievably terrified of that idea. Tomorrow, when I wake up, I still will be. Imagining a day without that fear seems impossible. What scares me more, however, is the fear taking over. What scares me more is that I will continue to run. It has become too exhausting to continue.

Perhaps, that is what is most poignant about my current life. The anxiety, self-doubt, and even disordered part of my thoughts want to convince me that the focus needs to surround the fact that “Oh my gosh, oh no, what on earth did I just decide to do?!” I want to fall back on that fear, more often than not, I want to cannonball straight back into it. In the old days, I would have done so, spiraling off a diving board of a thousand feet just so I would be “safe”

Dying is not safe.


One thought on “It is Not Safe…Not Anymore: Walking Away from Relapse

  1. Mary Windram says:

    Dear heavens, Lily. I’d like to say to you, “get up, get going, etc.” but that seems insufficient for what you’re battling. Just know that I’m here, in Ca, rooting for you but I realize that this is something you have to do on your own and for yourself when all is “said and done.” Please know that I’ve always cared deeply for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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