21 January 2011

"I am strong..."

"I can do anything. I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman!" Helen Reddy, 1972.
My strength continues to grow as I realize I am strong and can do anything if I really want to. I am determined to leave the unhappiness of anorexia behind forever, and live my life with joy and happiness and love.

The week did not start out this way. I was very depressed by Sunday evening and I didn't leave the house until Wednesday. My darkest moment came on Tuesday night when I decided that my life wasn't worth living, and unbidden thoughts taunted me to just get this sorry excuse for a life over with already.

All my past mistakes, my failures at recovery and the uncertain future of my marriage hammered in my brain. I hated myself for again relapsing and driving David away, hurting him because I was just not able to sustain recovery and I didn't have an answer to why I couldn't.

Then I called several friends and after hours on the phone, I felt as if I could breathe again. I was still sad and anxious and depressed, but I felt a tiny flame of hope that I might someday have a life worth living.

I was calm enough to do some homework on Wednesday, and I left the house that afternoon to go see my therapist. Then I went grocery shopping and bought exactly the types of foods that Dr. S has told me to eat. (I can't afford a nutritionist, so my psychiatrist is taking on that role.)

I proceeded to carry my bags loaded with healthy foods (including Stouffer's, and yes, I know I said I would never eat those foods again, but whatever Dr. S says goes and he told me to ditch the Healthy Cuisine and buy something with more calories.) Then two of the bags ripped apart and my food scattered  all over the snowy walk.

I screamed out my rage. My rage at anorexia. My rage at David leaving. My rage at what a mess my life seemed like. My rage and fear of the future. I'm surprised my neighbors didn't call the police. (I think I screamed quietly until I was in the house.)

Of course, it was at this moment that David returned my call and I was crying about the dropped groceries. Then I poured my heart out to him. I said I was going to beat anorexia and put it behind me, and that we would get back together and have love and laughter in our lives again and grow old together and ... and then he said, "I've always loved you."

I'm not sure what prompted him to say that. I don't remember what I said before he said that. But I do remember he said earlier in the day that I had hurt him by relapsing after he returned home, and I told him I was very sorry and that I had not meant to hurt him. I realize how hard it must have been for him to admit I had hurt him so much, and I am sorry.

On Thursday, I decided no more depression and anxiety. I worked on my schoolwork and managed to have a calm day. I went to bed early enough to get a decent night sleep, and said my usual prayers to God for healing of myself and my marriage.

Today I woke up to the bright, cold Michigan sunshine and got up to make my two-hour trek to see Dr. S. I plugged in my iPod and started playing some new Christian contemporary songs. I found myself singing along, and realized it was the first time I had really sung - sung from my heart - since David left. Dr. S smiled as I told him that I was playing music and singing on my way to see him.

Then I asked him if he thinks I will recover from anorexia. Think? I don't think you will. I know you will recover from anorexia this year.

As I shook his hand goodbye for the week, I felt hope rising as I realized this kind, gentle psychiatrist believes in me. And I thought, Yes, I will recover from anorexia this year. Driving back north, I again began singing to the music, the sun streaming through my sun roof, as David and I chatted for awhile.

It was then that I had my epiphany. I am a strong woman. And that's what I need to be, both for myself and my marriage. I thought about it all the way home, and remembered this song by Helen Reddy about being strong. I have been listening to it every since...

"Oh yes, I am wise. But it's wisdom born of pain. Yes, I've paid the price. But look at how much I've gained..."

Dr. S says I am gaining myself and freedom. I will be free. I will break out of the prison of anorexia, and I will peel back the layers and find myself.

"You can bend but never break me, 'cause it only serves to make me, more determined to achieve my final goal..."


Anonymous said...

hey, beautiful, *strong* lady!!!

This is a great post!!!

I can relate to so much of it. I know you can beat this, you will!!!

Don't ever listen to those taunting thoughts! they are lies from the pit of hell and from the enemy himself!

You are a precious child of God, who deserves to live, and to eat!

and don't ever forget: You are braver than you think, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. :) :)

Harriet said...

I've been praying for you during my time away at the counselling centre. [Hug] I love reading your blog because you articulate what I'm thinking. I want to get rid of the eating disorder, I want a good life back, but at the same time I'm afraid to let go. It's hard to know what I'll be without the ED. There are so many possibilities, but I'm scared of them too. ED closes down your horizons instead of opening them up, and that makes me feel safer. It's something that has got to change. I think it already is changing for you, and I can see it in your posts. It gives me a lot of hope.

The prayers that help me the most in my struggle are the rosary and the Litany of the Loreto, I think because I see so much power and beauty and strength in Mary, even when she was at her weakest. You mentioned in another post that you're an Anglican who has considered converting to Catholicism, so I hope it's OK for me to suggest this - Mary is not part of everybody's tradition, evidently.

Angela said...

Beautiful! You give me hope:) Have a great week!

Kristina said...

How are things going for you?
Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way!
Keep fighting!

Take GOOD care of yourself,

«Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why we call it 'The Present'.» — Eleanor Roosevelt