Recovery is exhausting – constantly being on guard, being self-aware of motivations for behaviours or feelings, fighting that voice telling me to stand up as I type this, questioning whether I am doing what is just us (AKA good for ME). I am reminded of one of the blog snippets (a little eating disorder specific with regards to recovery, but it fits nonetheless) I keep on my computer’s desktop from http://risforrecovery.wordpress.com/2013/08/:
I’d forgotten a lot of things about recovery. Like that it’s exhausting. Not just physically exhausting, but emotionally too. And terrifying.
Terrifying because of the fear of the unknown and the giving up of something that has served such a beautiful, yet awful purpose. … I’d forgotten the feeling of dread that sits in your gut every time you sit down for a meal and really feel no sign of hunger whatsoever and everything within your being is shouting at you not to pick up that ham and cheese and tomato toasted sandwich and bite into it, but you know you need to do it or else you’re going to end up having to gulp down a mug of Ensure. I’d forgotten about all of the comparing that your eating disorder imposes upon you as you seek to be well again. About the difficulty of urges that come alongside the feeling of fullness, about the difficulty of merely sitting with those urges instead of engaging in compensatory behaviours.
I remembered perhaps a handful of the difficulties that come with recovery, yes. But I never remembered the recovery process itself being this hard.
Tack this blindingly, deafeningly and stupefying difficult recovery onto an already stressful set of circumstances (working in a job where I keep stocking the fire of initiatives/projects just to keep warm, to not feel the cold distance that this place infects people with; a brother suffering from mental illness and in the midst of a fight to get him the support he deserves; parents who have been battered by it repeatedly and a wife who is exhausted herself), and I believe I have never felt more drained as I do right now – mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically. This could be because I hadn’t acknowledged it before now, but I truly believe that statement.
I want to just say “fuck you” to the world right now. Every sound is like a hammer onto my already-pummelled soul. My eyes are heavy, my heart is worn and I need to crash into someone. I need some happy.
It would feel excellent to have a nice little coma, to treat myself to an escape from the world. I feel like I’m in a fog as is, just waiting for the clearing, but I know that doing nothing will do nothing but keep me stuck in the cloud. Using the tools we have acquired, the strength and courage to use them, the serenity and love to accept what I cannot use them for and the wisdom and respect to know the difference, being that person (the person I want to me, the one that is just us) will push us along this path of recovery – today at least. For example, writing this journal entry will give me perspective and respect for the monumentalness of what is happening in my life right now; help me find strength to fight through, empowering the little penguins flying around in my head and heart to keep me afloat; and show me that there is love in the world that I can use as a resource at these times of exhaustion. I need to be honest with myself and with those I count on as a support system (and I can’t feel bad or guilty about it either, which was the next illogical step):
I also need to remember that recovery is worth it, that trudging along this path (or dragging my lifeless body as far as it will go that day and accepting that for that day, that’s enough for us) will bring betterness into my world. The aforementioned blog entry ends quite well, so I’m going to rip her off for this one:
Lastly, I’d forgotten that I deserved better. Better than an eating disorder, better than the same food day in and day out, better that overexercise and exhaustion and sadness and isolation. I’d forgotten that I deserved to be nourished and well. I’d forgotten that I deserved recovery.
Don’t forget it. You deserve it too. You truly, truly do.