Monday, April 11, 2011

Forging New Friendships

Corny but true!
This might be a bit tough to explain, and it might make more sense if I had posted that rant I mentioned a few posts ago, but I feel like I’m right on the cusp of really figuring this recovery thing out – I’m getting closer and closer to what I would consider being almost and truly recovered (minus some body image stuff that messes with my mind, but does NOT cause me to act out on ED behaviors). I think one of the last things I’m figuring out is that in order to recover and stay recovered, I need to start hanging out with people that aren’t really sick. Now calm down all my friends (mostly that have ED’s – ha!) that are reading this. I’m not giving you the boot, or telling you that you suck because you have an ED, and that I’m too cool for school and hanging out with you, because that’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m simply saying that in some ways, when I’m interacting with really sick people, it keeps me a little sick, too. Not because anyone is saying that they won’t like me if I’m all better, and that I’m more fun when I’m “thin,” and all that jazz, but, well, being sick so long myself, and being around only sick people, has kind of created this expectation in my brain that being sick is the only way to be, and that it’s normal. That it’s okay.

But it’s not okay.

So, with one friendship in particular, that I won’t go into details about, I’ve had to pull back. And by pull back, I mean we aren’t friends anymore. Does it hurt to lose a bestie? Yes. But it was keeping me sick, and I think in the end, it was keeping her sick too. I won’t be a part of something like that. I wish I could go into details, but I can’t, mostly because then I start getting all betchy and feisty and that was the whole reason I never posted that particular blog I mentioned. I guess the anger is still too raw and close to the surface, and I honestly can’t talk about it without getting really emotional and all hot and bothered about it. Maybe when a bit more time has passed, and it’s not so painful to talk about, I’ll try to approach this particular loss of a friend again. We’ll see.

I also think that one of the main reasons I solely had friends that had ED's (mostly from meeting them in treatment centers) was because I didn't have enough self-esteem to hang out with a "normal" person.  I felt so inadequate, so less-than, and I couldn't imagine how anyone sane would want to interact with me.  Why would someone who could eat normally and not need to freak out about it and someone who could go an entire week without sinking into a funk want to be around someone who was clearly emotionally stunted?  Being around "normal" moms who could function and appear happy only made me feel worse about myself.

But I think I'm starting to s l o w l y believe that I could be one of those "normal" moms - just maybe.

So. Anyone know where I can make some new friends? I’m a wittle lonely!
Calling all healthy people! Who wants a new friend? Married white female? Loves cats and cardigans and sharing witty banter! Has a big bubble, so no hugs are needed. I’m laid back, I’ll make you laugh, and I’ll even whore myself for some Diet Coke! (Warning: can pee her pants if you make her laugh too hard, or maybe if she has a particularly violent sneeze.)
Any takers?

27 comments:

eden said...

you make me laugh. i love your advertisement at the end. i would love to be your friend. (: check out my blog if you'd like (yay4fun.blogspot.com), and see how 'normal' i am. (:

i've had similar times in my life when i've had to purposely separate myself from someone who wasn't helping me stay or be healthy. it's hard.

here's to healthy relationships!

Lindsay said...

Me me me!! I've had such a hard time meeting any friends since moving back to Utah. If your sis and my bro can reignite their friendship I say we should too! :) Send me a message and we can do lunch or something!

kelly anne said...

i was JUST thinking about that whole type of friend situation the other day.
i have depression and a LOT of my friends have similar issues (i.e. depression,anxiety, bipolar, etc.) and i just came to the realization that when i'm struggling i need to be away from those friends, and around the ones who don't have those struggles, because they are the ones who can bring me up out of it.
otherwise i just feel like i'm just being pulled down further. it's crazy how much relationships affect you like that! good luck with your friend situation!

Courtney said...

Brie, I’m hesitant to comment because I’m one of those ED people who has struggled on and off for so long that I’m probably the world’s biggest hypocrite…but honestly I know EXACTLY where you’re coming from. Many times I’ve had to separate myself from the whole eating disorder “world” because even though I’m still not 100% recovered I don’t want the ED to be the center of my life and identity anymore.

It’s such a hard balance because there is something really comforting about having friends that can understand and relate to your struggles, but at the same time it really can keep you stuck in that mindset. I think a huge part of recovery is learning to do what’s best for YOU…even if it’s not easy or creates tension with people you care about. There’s a time and a place for everything and I know for me someday when I’m really solid in my recovery I’d love to reach out and be more of a support for people who are struggling, but that time isn’t now.

I wish I had more tips for making friends but that’s something I struggle with myself. I KNOW there are a million and one people that would DIE to be your friend, sometimes it just takes time and patience for those relationships to develop.

I promise I won’t be even the slightest bit offended if now’s not the right time, but I would LOVE to hang out. I’m definitely not perfect and it’s just recently that I’ve started making some HUGE changes in my life, but I can honestly say I’ve never felt so separated from the ED as I do now (and as horrible as the anxiety is I’ve never felt happier either!). I think there’s something about having kids that redefines your priorities and changes your perspective and for me having Hannah has made me want to be 110% recovered for the rest of my life.

Anytime the sun is out we spend lots of time playing at the park and when it’s rainy (or blizzarding like last week! yuck!) we spend lots of time chasing the train at South Towne (I’m too cheap to pay $6 every time we go) or hitting up the Aquarium. Or we've got the world's messiest basement full of toys that never get put away and we'd love some playmates!

Again, no pressure at all, I just want you to know that I’m thinking of you because I know how lonely that limbo stage is when you’re truly leaving the ED behind and trying to regain a “normal” life.

allegri said...

Brie, I am so proud of you! It indeed is one of the hardest parts of recovery. But it is a HUGE step. Feeling "normal" is scary. Especially after being "sick" for so long. I know you can do it. I believe that you are going to continue to kick ED's ass. And your life will bloom like field of tulips because of it!

<3 you!

Jonny and Haley said...

Um, please hang out with us. I know it might take you back to high school a bit, but we love our Bear Lake trips together. And I think Cade thinks I'm pretty cool. And by hanging out with us, you get to see friends and family at the same time. It's really perfect.

Sarah @ Bearing, Eating, Being said...

I think this is a really wise decision considering the circumstances. I haven't really had to leave friends behind because they had EDs, but I HAVE left a friend behind because he put unnecessary stress and pressure into my life during a time when I was very vulnerable (when I was sickest with my ED.) I still look back and regret the loss of our friendship, and I wish that it had ended differently, but I also know I made the right decision for myself at the time. He wasn't thinking about my wellness and putting that first, and ultimately, that means he wasn't being a good friend. Harsh, but true. Your friend should understand, and if not, he/she isn't the best friend for you. I know this is hard. xoxo

Em said...

So technically I'm a relative, and I'm not at all normal, but I do like hanging out with you. Sometimes, just mixing up the kind of crazy you spend time with can give a new perspective. I think learning to negotiate and respect boundaries is a normal part of growing older and gaining independence. I'm still learning how to do that, though the particular reasons why that has been hard to do might differ somewhat from yours. In the end, I think you're neat, and hope you're able to learn what works for you. Hope to see you more in the future.

Justine Taylor said...

Hi Brie :)

I don't think I've ever commented on your blog before, but I thought your little friend advert was cute & funny :)

I so understand feeling inadequate, and being afraid of befriending "normal" people. In high school, I was painfully shy, mixed with some body image issues (nothing big, just super short and terribly crooked teeth).

Now that I've grown up a bit & have more self confidence, I still can't make any Mom-friends because most of the moms in my city are scary drug addicts who treat their children poorly. Not exactly the type I'm looking for...

I know I'm all the way out in Canada ...but I love cats :)

brie said...

so grateful and loving all these comments! it means a lot to have your support and understanding. i will reply individually to a few of you - i appreciate the friend invites, and will take you up on them! xox

Carrie Arnold said...

Brie,

Checkout meetup.com There are a number of mom groups in my area, and the people in them (who I've met through other meetup groups) are really nice. Especially when Avery comes, it might be a nice way to connect with other moms.

And, of course, there are lots of other groups of the non-maternal sort, too. I have 2-3 groups I regularly do things with, and it's really helpful because you're not meeting someone totally from scratch. You already have stuff to talk about.

Sia Jane said...

I just made a YT collab video about this!
And I basically said exactly what you have.
I went through this in recovery, and unfortunately, and it doesn't mean you no longer care, it is necessary to let go.
I have had to leave a lot of people behind...
Some have re-entered my life, and are too, in recovery and doing well.
I am careful.
I follow this blog because I have seen you grow into someone more than her illness.
I will follow blogs then remove them, because ultimately, I too have to protect myself.
So yes, you make perfect sense.
I, myself, am fully recovered from my eating disorder.
So drop by.
Engage in so fashion and other fun :)

Lots of love xxxx

Tylaine said...

I so get what you're sayin' about being choosy in your friends. Danny's PB says he should choose his friends wisely. It's been tough (not with friends but family) which makes it even harder. Anyways I know its not exactly the same but I think it relates. You gotta do what's best for you sometimes.
You said something interesting near the end of your post. You said "appear happy" I think that's so true cause you really never know.
I can also totally relate to the feeling inadequate, less-than and how anyone would want to interact with me.
We have a play group over at Southwood Park on thurs. morning if you and C wanna come we would totally love it! (I know what you're probably thinking...oh great a mommy group just what I wanna do right...ya kinda my attitude too...but I think we're a pretty cool bunch of people :))

Cammy said...

Definitely hear you on this issue. I used to be really active on the Something Fishy forums, and even though they're about as tightly moderated as humanly possible, just being "surrounded" by people in unhealthy mindsets ended up really bringing me down, and I ended up having to nix my membership.

I think one thing that is a challenge for me is worry about being that toxic friend, albeit unintentionally. I'm never overt about ED behaviors, *never* talk about weight or dieting or anything like that, but I do worry sometimes that just the fact that my EDer friends know I'm having a hard time could make them extra self-conscious or awkward around me. I think if anything, I do pre-emptive withdrawal, trying to protect them whether they need it or not and trying to protect myself from being protected against, if that makes sense...again, I go way out of my way to avoid doing/saying anything triggering, but sometimes I wonder if that's enough.

One of my best friends in college had major ED issues, and I think we really did a good job of respecting and not triggering each other and making our friendship about more than just the ED, but sometimes that dynamic is hard to find (we just happened to have a ton in common besides our disease). That being said, it is SO hugely helpful to me to hang around people with healthy attitudes towards themselves and food, so I totally agree with you on the value of that.

Supermajor kudos to you and all you've accomplished. You're incredible.

Adam and Cassie said...

I love making new friends and I am semi normal and pretty healthy (not quite to the tree hugger degree).I am a perpetual married college student as well as a mommy to a very busy toddler. Though I'm allergic to our feline friends, I have been known to carry around Benadryl.I will also do just about anything for my daily dose ( aka 2 liter, but who's really counting)of Diet Dr Pepper so I'll be very understanding of your whoring habit.

Alicia B. Designs said...

UM I'm totally into being friends! I actually have NO friends with ED's and I wish I had at least one so that I could seem "normal" to them. Or I could be like, i feel like BLAH BLAH BLAH and they could be like OMG ME TOO!!! That would be great...but I like in NYC an you live in the midwest...but...I love diet coke, i'm engaged, in recovery, and...thats it. it takes a lot of courage to admit that you need to distance yourself from a friend. It's better for you in the long run and maybe you can loop back and be friends down the line. Good for you though!

xoxo
Alicia

Amber said...

Well . . . I am not a huge fan of pussy cats. But, I like cardigans, I am on the fence with hugging. I could take it or leave it. I love laughing and diet cokes. Sounds like a match.
oh I love to read too!!

Keely said...

Me! Me! I love cats and movies. I don't like diet coke (gasp!). But look at it this way- more for you! :) I like movies and chillin'.

Keely said...

I said I like movies twice in the above post. That is how much I love them. :)

eMiLy said...

You can totally hang out with me. :) Bonus... I come fully equipped with a perfect little friend for little C.

heather said...

hey girl!

i've read your blog since the begging of TIMEEE and have always lurved your honesty, personality, and your writing style as well.
i think i commented a few times over the years but nothing consistent, however this post really struck home to me.
i am also at a point in my recovery where i am more actively trying to hang out with "normal" folks, and reconnecting with my non ED friends from my past.
i too have felt that i was less than adequate and i just didn't feel right hanging out with normal people. like they could see my...damage. and i thought, i am so complicated, i have so much baggage, how could i relate to anyone normal? maybe my non ED friend could pick up on those things, i don't know because i never really gave anyone a chance. i holed up in my apartment by myself for a long time and just made a bunch of assumptions which really only belittled my self worth.
but then i realized that none of my friends were "perfect" yet i still loved them all. and if i could do that, love them and their imperfections, why wouldn't people feel that same way for me? i wanted to see if this could be true so i conducted an experiment and tested the waters, made plans that normally would scare me (lunch and dinner dates, one on one hang outs, movie watchings) and found that i did have a good time! i got positive feedback as well. of course i still was a nervous wreck, but a nervous wreck with a little more self confidence :)
it's been totally terrifying and scary but at the same time energizing and i am happier now than i have ever been, and i keep that happiness in mind when i am freaking out about something that scares me.
so i am so happy and proud that you are taking these steps! and i would totes be your lady friend if you'd have me, ahaha. i'd wish you good luck but i know you'll just be great so, kick ass lady!

Cindy said...

Be true to yourself Brie! Anyone who loves you, will understand that you have to take care of you first. You are a wife and mother and I am so proud of you for making such a difficult decision. I've said from the beginning that this disease is an every woman for herself disease! People will understand this and if by chance they don't at this particular time, it is their alter ego ED reacting and acting. Your closest friends love you and want you to be healthy, even if they aren't able to set the bar to the same height for themselves. Stay strong sweetheart. You are doing an amazing job!

Stevie said...

Funny, I was just thinking yesterday how much I miss being in regular touch with you. Yes, there's Facebook and I read your blog, but when was the last time we, like, really emailed each other? Obviously it would be long-distance friendship, but then it always was. And I've been recovered for years, so no worries there. So anyway, I'm here, if you want to reconnect.

Steph (or Stevie, or whatever you prefer to call me. Libby still calls me Steph.)

KC said...

I definitely relate. I think I may have really hurt a few people in the process because I went about this all wrong, and I'm sorry for that, but I think I know what you mean about needing to separate yourself and spend time with people who make you feel well. When I moved I didn't want to be "the girl with the eating disorder" anymore, and it was really astounding to be able to just drop myself into a place where I could pretend to be a normal person and everyone else seemed to go with it. It was pretty cool too.

Meeting people has always been so hard for me!! Especially because everyone I met was either in treatment or in class. I'd suggest looking into classes and groups - like art and writing classes and if you're up for it a sport. I also try to go to other people's work social outings and then I just pretend to be more outgoing and charming and less insecure than I actually am, and then that seems to work out some of the time too. It's taken me a while but I've slowly established a new network of friends in this big polluted city. :) xoxo

Also I feel funny commenting only like once a year because it seems to give a gravity to the lone little comments I do make, but alas, here I am. I have gotten way off of the correspondence train.

bananas said...

There's a whole Sarah Silverman Program episode where she makes new friends and there's a silly song about it. "Making new friends is really fun, making new friends 3-2-1!"

Alexandra Rising said...

Notice I've disappear from blogging. Mmhmm. It's not that I don't care for everyone...it's just...I'm in recovery [far from recovered, but very much in it] and it's hard for me to read blogs now for the reason you mentioned...it sucks me back.

I feel where you're coming from.

I hope you are doing well and I'm quite happy for you :] I myself am doing fab-u-looouuuuus!

alriggells said...

Me, oh please pick me. I can send you pretty grand What if's, and I can even be a ear to listen. I love being outside in that pretty little thing they call the sun. However cats are not my favorite animal, but the fact that yours do not seem to warm up to me easily makes me want to be around them. It is an odd phenomena.

I have made friends by joining a basketball league, talking to people in class, in a group I have joined, etc. It is hard as hell, and it makes my anxiety really uncomfy, but it is worth it.

I love you girly and know that you are fantastic. Good luck on the friend making business and lets get together. When we get together we should talk about lots of things like, summer lovin, how some peoples boobies sag and others are really crooked, and how baking cookies is an art, but one that can be mastered. :) I misses you mucho.

Alisa