Under the Sea

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Over the past few days, I have been struggling. Not with food, but with my mood. In these past months, that’s how it seems to go. I have made the commitment to keep my food clean, yet my mind isn’t always as straight-forward. There are dips and turns and twirls and I’m not always able to follow the beat. Sometimes, my head splits.

Having gone home, something hasn’t felt right. It hit me on my last day, driving to the airport as I burst into tears with my mother as a witness, wondering aloud if I’ll ever be able to function in life, just as a person, not as a patient. She described it as a “hang over”, the drop after the high of the previous four days. The fact of the matter was that everything had gone so well, even I couldn’t quite understand. But it was just that.

I have been careful. Really, really careful in recovery. I follow my meal plan to a T, making sure I never miss any food. It is systematic, functional, and has worked to replace my eating disorder as my anchor in this life. My meal plan is my bible, as is the structure and simplicity of my days while I dip my toes back into the real world. Being home made way for flexibility, spontaneity, and unforeseen variables. It had all gone so well, yet four days of that had left me lost in where I was with it, questioning if I’d lost myself, who myself was, and how I could find her again.

All of these feelings climaxed at the question that always sits on my shoulders: How will I ever survive? The confusion that shot through galaxies of my amygdala generated a pronounced panic with the immediate response: I couldn’t. I would not be able to subsist if I submerged myself in the waters.

Though a dive right in might leave me washed up on the shore, I will always stand exactly there if I never test the ocean. It was the thinking in extremes that left me paralyzed. I couldn’t fathom wading in. I am beginning to realize now, though, that it is my fear of time that is ruminating within. My tears are culminated through exhaustion. I don’t want to wait, or be thrown, or live testing the waters. I want to be swimming deep with the bliss of fantasy.

Being home gave me a taste of that. I have been somewhat institutionalized, taken out of the world for a while now, and I went spinning on the axis after sitting so still. It was fantastical. Fashioning fear was the only way to subconsciously protect myself from desires I’m unsure if I can obtain. Having landed back in myself now, I’m starting to think it is how much I want more of a life without a label that left me feeling incongruent. It is the discomfort in having more to gain. It is the worry that what I want and what will protect me are separate. I’m afraid to hope.

Hope has been the one thing that has saved me. It was never giving up, continuing treatment, going from provider to provider after I was dropped by teams until I found a self that wanted more and people who could give me more, which let me expand. Hope is everything.

Today, I am making room for hope. I am allowing space for what could be; asking a new set of what ifs. It was only seven months ago that I asked myself, “What if I could follow a meal plan? What if I could maintain my weight?” I now ask myself, “What if I could fully enter life? What if I could have the necessary patience to wade in the waters, without running backwards or diving in? What if I’m not done?”

Cheers!

Alexandra

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