I’m conflicted today. A lot has been happening, I feel like I’m moving on to the next phase of my adult life. These times are exciting. But tomorrow I will be attending the funeral of a friend who was desperate enough to take her life last week. This is the fourth friend that I have lost to this disease. My first thought when I heard the news? I get it. This is scary. I know better. But it’s still the automatic thought. My second thought? Anger. I’m angry that this illness is taking so many beautiful souls from my life, from this planet.
Everyone deserves to feel better about themselves. Everyone deserves to find the peace that my friend sought. No one deserves an eating disorder. I don’t think anyone would disagree with the above statements, at least when it comes to people other than themselves. So why are there still so many people suffering? Why do more and more people develop eating disorders and other self esteem afflictions every year?
There are lots of answers to those questions, each just as right as the one before it. We all now know there is no single cause to eating disorders, and that it is rather a culmination of life events, biology and surroundings. I, along with many others, long for the day when we can figure out, as a society, how to correct these mini issues, to prevent the host of ailments that a negative self image can cause1. What do we do until then? Well, I am going to stay angry. This anger is inspiring me to keep searching for ways to help those around me, which in turn helps me. Little by little, I hope to make a positive impact on the society around me. But mostly, I want to teach others how to prevent the things I and many others have been through.
The confliction I started this post with is arising because I want to celebrate the good things that are happening in my life, but I feel a moral obligation that is pulling me to be upset over the loss of another life. Starting to apply the tools that I have long since been “learning,” I am trying to accept that it’s okay to sit with both feelings, that one does not lessen the other and that each are equally valid. So for now, I will sit with the excitement, anger and sadness, hoping one helps me to understand the others.
Sorry for such a short, yet rambling post today. I’m still trying to make sense of what is happening/has happened , but it’s leaving a mess of emotional fragments in my mind, a puzzle, of sorts. Thank you for listening.
1I am a firm believer that many eating disorders can be prevented through targeted self esteem enhancing strategies in schools from grades 1 through 12, and beyond. In fact, I think this has the potential to enhance many aspects of life in the people lucky enough to receive it.