Friday, April 15, 2011

Brie Betrayed

My heart feels heavy. I cried almost the entire hour in therapy today and I’m not even sure why. I just feel betrayed. By my body, by my best friend, and by intuitive eating and recovery. I think most people are under the false impression (including myself, sometimes) that once you are recovered, or in recovery, (whatever that means to you) that things are grand. That you are suddenly happy and that your problems seem to flit away, and that you are strong and capable to handle whatever happens – and that you’ll do so in some sort of socially accepted “healthy” manner.

But I don’t feel that way. Yes, there is absolutely no denying that I’m happier now that I’m not actively engaging in my ED. No question there. But it doesn’t mean things are perfect. In some ways I still feel pretty lost. I still feel pretty out of control.

Last night in group, it seemed like the really sick girls (i.e. the girls who are new to treatment and still heavily engaged in their ED) just look up to me like I’m some recovery goddess on a pedestal; happy and perfect. And it’s hard to keep up that image. Cuz I just think, if you really knew what was going on in my head, would you feel the same way? Or would you balk at my insecurities and heinous body image and how out of control I feel? Sure, I’m not grossly underweight, and I’m no longer hooked to a feeding tube or in and out of the hospital, but I still hurt. I’m just not displaying my pain anymore for the world to see – but it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

And I’ve always been terrible with actually saying how I feel out loud – with expressing my anger or pain or fear through words, or through some other appropriate and healthy means, rather than starving or cutting to say HELP ME HELP ME I’M DYING I HURT HELP ME PLEASE. I’ve always used my body. And now that I don’t have that…I’m quiet. I’m withdrawn. I’m hurting, but I have no idea how to actually say that. My walls are back up. And that’s making me terribly lonely.

My body size, my weight, and how quickly I’m putting on pregnancy weight, has really thrown me for a loop, too. I can officially and irrefutably say that I weigh more now than I ever have in my entire life. It physically feels different. It’s hard to get used to. I’m so aware of my body and of how much space I take up and it moves and looks differently. It feels alien and out of control and gross. I understand that a good portion of feeling this way is distorted, and can change, but until then, I almost feel like one of those pod people – like I’m inhabiting some foreign body that doesn’t belong to me. ET, phone home, right?

So, forgive me for this post. I sometimes stumble along in recovery, trying to find my way through the twists and turns life and recovery can throw at me. Things feel a bit tricky and more than a little messy, but I’m slowly figuring things out. And don’t you dare think I’m giving up – I’m not – I’m simply trying to be honest with my feelings, in expressing that recovery isn’t always perfect. And neither am I.


Tylaine said...

One thing I've noticed a lot of people do in they're blogs that they shouldn't is apologize. It's your blog you can say what you want, what you need to. Your honesty is refreshing and inspiring. You are an amazing person Brie but I also know that sometimes we just need to vent and don't necessarily want someone to say "nicey nicey" stuff because things just suck and we need someone to sympathize not condescend not matter how well intentioned (that's just how I feel sometimes) I know I can't relate exactly to this. I don't have an ED. I can't empathize but I can sure sympathize and I do.
You're awesome! (did I already say that? well you're doubly awesome!)
Love and cyber hugs to you

Em said...

I don't know what it's like to struggle with ED but I do know what it's like to feel ENORMOUS and self-conscious in a giant pregnant body. It doesn't get easier as the pregnancy goes along. It sucks, and it still sucks after the baby comes out and you think, "dear Lord, whose body is this?" It just sucketh. I'm really happy you've made it far enough in your recovery to have these moments of pregnancy weight gain horror. This means you're getting better, and your baby will be healthier, and you will be healthier in the end. Hang in there. Don't give up on yourself or the process. If venting makes it better, vent away. You're doing great.

Tylaine said...

duh I was thinkin' empathy meant being exactly in the same place but it doesn't so X that part of the comment :)

brie said...

em and tylaine both, THANK YOU. the validation and simply "hang in there" really was helpful. xox

Laura said...

You dont know me but I read your blog all the time. I just have to tell you that you really are great. Lately I have been reading your blog more because I am too pregnant and am filling the same thing that you are filling and it is reasuring to know that I am not the only one who fills this way. And that there is hope and a light at the end of the tunnel. You really are amazing!!! I hope that with the sun shinning today that you you can suck up the goodness that the sun brings and hopfully have a better day.

Sarah @ Bearing, Eating, Being said...

Thank you for your honesty. It is tempting to think "recovery=perfect," but I have learned that being actively in recovery brings on a whole new set of problems. The difference is that you know that you have already overcome something so hard that these problems can't defeat you. You're doing such a great job, Brie--your children and your husband and your friends and your blog readers are all so proud of you. We don't think or expect perfection from you, though! Keep being honest with us and yourself and keep doing what you're doing. In a few months when you hold that little girl in your arms, it will all seem SO worth it...

Krista said...

So I just wrote a reeeeaaaaally long comment and decided to email it to you instead. Prob nobody would want to read it all. Love you and your blog!

Karen said...

I completely understand. I currently look healthy enough that no one would ever suspect I had an ED. But the way I think about my body is still completely awful. I recently gained a little weight and now feel completely uncomfortable in my body. Even though I know I was sick at the time and wouldn't want to go back to how my life used to be when I was at the depths of my ED, I still miss the body I had back then. Thanks for expressing your experiences with recovery so honestly!

Anne said...

Hey there,

I'm a long time reader, and I think this is my first comment.
I'm pretty much in the same situation as the commenter above Karen. I'm at a healthy weight but inside I feel like a train wreck.

Anyway, I just wanted to respond to your comment about perfection after or during recovery.
I don't think it's healthy to have the mindset that once x and x happens, things will be perfect. I believe it's the same kind of mindset when one is in the throws of an eating disorder, e.g. everything will be perfect when I lose x pounds or weigh x amount.
Perfection is simply an impossible standard to assess yourself with. Nothing is ever truly perfect for anyone, regardless if they've have an eating disorder or not.

With that in mind, perhaps it might be beneficial for you and the new girls in treatment to understand that life will never be 100% how you want it to be, but it's important to do your best to live in the best way you can.

Thank you for all you're wonderful posts and I can't wait to see pictures of the baby!

Take care,
Anne in Portland

bananas said...

What I'm learning in PHP right now (which I already knew, but it's nice to get a reminder) is that you have to feel and honor your feelings. If you had no feelings, you'd be a ROBOT. You have to feel a range of emotions to be a healthy human being. This is normal! You're not supposed to be happy all the time. And there is NO SUCH THING AS PERFECTION!

I'm in a similar place with feeling completely betrayed by my body. I know it hurts so much. It's mind-boggling insanity making honestly. So I just really feel you on that one. I probably look all healthy on the outside and shit since I weigh more than EVER, but that doesn't mean I'm not suffering, or even "well." My health is even shittier now. For the first time in 19 years (since I've had my ED) I'm anemic. I have like NO iron stores. I'd be in deep shit if I lost blood. Le sigh.

Just remember that life is supposed to get messy sometimes -- or pretty much a lot! You can't have the highs if you don't have the lows. Just say no to robots!

alriggells said...

I love your honesty. Thank you. I hope we can get together for a play date. I miss you. I hope I can be that shoulder to cry on, that ear that listens, and that friend that is what you need at that moment. Hang in there. You are a rock star.

Penny said...

I, too, totally loved your post. You continue to help me with your honesty and also the ability you have to communicate what real, women feel. Recovering from an eating disorder doesn't take you away from that simple truth. Em wrote that pretty much every woman becomes huge by the time the pregnancy is over and all have to deal with that fact! and Heather wonders if post partuum doesn't also have some of the same exasperations! Its called our life. I am glad that you are in mine! And you will survive yours" Because you want to. Now.