Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now. – Mister Rogers
I am being slowly surrounded by people who understand this. Despite my apprehension, anxiety, timidness, and internal push back, people are showing up for me.
I don’t know if this is normal or common or weird. But, I’m beginning to understand, the way my eating disorder works is that it’s hard to thrive amidst love. Love in terms of; care, respect, consideration, appreciation, emotion. The nonsexual kind of love.
I have gone into every initial appointment with a tiny bit of recovery-me hope and a lot of eating disorder noise desiring to find something wrong with the situation. So that I could quickly back out and tell myself, see, this isn’t going to work. That person was terrible. This place is horrible.
That has happened before. I have encountered terrible doctors and therapists. But this time it is supposed to happen. I am meant to get well. Everyone is on recovery-me’s team. Everyone (save for me, sometimes) is rooting for me. Everyone is going above and beyond, and showing me love in ways I have never experienced before or thought I was deserving of.
It’s such an odd feeling and difficult for me to accept, but I think I’m slowly getting better at accepting help. I feel hopeful right now. I felt awful Tuesday morning and the days leading up to the psychiatrist appointment. I felt like a huge failure. I didn’t feel ready to keep talking, to tell my story again, to be drained and judged-but-not-judged again. But I showed up, and powered through and I am going to fucking make it. I’m probably not going to remember this when I need to the most but I can do this.
So many seemingly small but significant things happened to me Wednesday that chipped away at the eating disorder’s cement layer. The psychiatrist left a voicemail on my phone basically saying he believed in me. My husband called me exactly when my appointment ended to see how I was doing. My best friend texted the same. My dietitian sent a random encouraging text before the appointment. My therapist offered space to come to therapy early. And hugged me on my way out, which, despite the pure terror that runs through my veins, shuts down the eating disorder noise so hard and grounds me and I suddenly feel like I can face things. I’m sure that sounds weird. I feel awkward writing it. I can’t really fully explain why every time my physical barrier is broken in a caring way, I panic but then feel a million times better. My in-laws literally group hugged me as their response to finding out what I’ve been struggling with. I feel loved by my team and the small group of family and friends that know what’s up.
All of these things are giving me hope. All of these things were so unexpected that it’s impossible for the eating disorder to preemptively put walls in place to make it too difficult to accept.
At the same time, the eating disorder voice is fighting to hang on. Ok, fine, people know– now you have to prove to them exactly how sick you are.
But why am I even entertaining listening to that? There is still so much of me that can’t comprehend being well or even just continuing to hang out in this gray area. I have such an urge to be all the way deathly sick or all the way I-love-my-body-at-any-size well. I have more of an urge to be deathly sick. And just this sort of pipe dream desire to be well. As if I can’t really believe in that dream because I don’t believe in myself. Yet.