Half an inch of snow and the city shuts down. Had to help the mailman get unstuck, bless his heart, he had no clue what he was doing. This Utah girl can’t help but laugh at all these folks and their inexperience in the white stuff. Nothing like snowflakes to make me want to get my drink on though, it’s a day in the South where you don’t have to be accountable for anything. I keep seeing a trail of neighbors walking in the direction of the local bars. I know where they are going, I know what they are up to and I almost wish I could join them. Almost. I took my dog, Cowboy for a big long walk and got some provisions at the market and left triumphantly without beer. On the way home, this John Prine song got stuck in my head. I love this version, the happy enchilada.
I saw my therapist yesterday. She asked me what made me think that this time I was going to stay sober. I didn’t have an answer for her. I’m just going to keep trying I suppose, is what I told her. I know I can’t promise anything. All I know is that I feel better and that last year was pretty much hell on wheels. I was so sick in the eating disorder and depression that staying sober was really problematic. She said it was scary on her end too. Trying to figure out what keeps me stuck from making progress in recovery is difficult. It’s a myriad of things.
My childhood was violent. I watched my dad beat the ever living hell out of my mother and my brothers. We also had a lot of money. If I didn’t look or act like I appreciated what I had, I was criticised by my family and my friends. My mom and I would go shopping and she taught me to count the fat people at the mall and told me how disgusting it was while we had the money to buy any of the designer clothes that my heart desired. If I had to guess this is the root of the eating disorder, somehow, through the criticism of jealous schoolmates and the crazy, terrifying home environment, somehow I developed a core belief about myself that I didn’t deserve food or the nice things that I had as my dad would say, “who do you think you are? why are you so proud of yourself?”
I finally relented last year and went on Lexapro. I know I have had episodes of depression throughout my life looking back. How I made it through college is a mystery to me. I did pretty well in school considering I basically lived at the bar. There were a few secret suicide attempts that I haven’t ever told anyone about except for my therapist and last year, last summer the thoughts got really dark again. The suicidal ideations have been periodic throughout my teens and twenties and thirties. Hell, it’s how I moved to Nashville. I was, either going to kill myself or move. I had just gotten out of the Peace Corps, I was medically discharged for depression because I chose not to take medications. It was my choice. I had spent a few weeks in DC on medical evacuation and I was so angry, so pissed at the doctors that were trying to help me because to me, being diagnosed with depression was a character flaw. Who did they think I was? I’m not depressed, that’s for weak people. I had some fucked up shit happen to me in the peace corps and it broke my heart. All of it broke my heart, leaving three months early, not continuing on with my plans to travel afterwards. I was so ashamed and disappointed in myself. I came home unwilling to open up and tell my friends nor family my feelings or the real state of my being. I did six months worth of hardcore drinking and started doing cocaine because it was there, not because I liked it (and I haven’t touched it since) and all I wanted to do was die. I couch surfed, couldn’t really find a job and it sucked. So, I got the hell out of there. Packed up my car drove to Tennessee because it couldn’t get any worse. Stayed with a childhood’s best friend’s mom and slowly started over.
I got into a community of people here that supported me and helped me. And that’s a whole other post for another day. The drinking subsided and was controlled but still present. I moved a lot, drove a truck, got engaged, broke that off, bought a house, got a good job as a social worker, found a man that I loved but he has issues, lost that job, was unemployed for a long time, got this job, got a fiance, lost my fiance and all this time no one would acknowledge that I had anorexia. Until it all snowballed and I was a mess and I ended up in a therapist office writing on the intake paperwork that one thing I would like to learn is how to eat. She took one look at me and said, “well, it looks like you have an eating disorder.” Thus began this journey to wellness. I’m stubborn so it’s been a slow process.
As I told my therapist yesterday, not the one that sent me to treatment for anorexia, but the one I have now, I feel better. I don’t feel so lost and helpless. I didn’t tell her this part because I hadn’t thought of it yet but I will tell you. I’ve spent hours and hours reading and listening to people about wellness and recovery and stories and strategies. I’m not stuck anymore because I am making changes in my life that my heart wants. I have tools to get me out of the danger zones like lexapro and boundaries with people. Being out of contact with the two men that I oscillated between has helped tremendously because I don’t have to consider them as factors in my life choices anymore. I don’t feel so broken. I still have issues and sometimes my issues have issues but I feel more of a sense of peace with them. It’s ok to let them just be. The key for me to do that is by not drinking and taking care of myself with nutrition, exercise and meditation. I feel fortunate that I found this out, that I am ok with who I am now. I don’t feel like I am suffering from who I am anymore. This is what I am and I am good with it. I am finally on my own team. And I know I need to ask for help when I forget or feel scared.
I think I am going to have to make some enchiladas now. Day 7. Happy Sober Snow Day