First off, I must say Happy Independence Day to my American friends, and Happy Belated Canada Day to my fellow Canucks. There truly is no greater international relationship than the one we share across our expansive border.
Secondly, one of the recovery growing pains I experienced the other day: Sometimes I just want to stay in bed.
There are some days that just feel like a complete loss from the start. There’s usually no reason for this, in fact, it will often be directly corresponding with my hormones of the day, nothing bad is happening or looming. At the height of my eating disorder, I would give in to these feelings all the time, neglecting to do the things necessary for having a successful life....I would skip class, then labs, then finals; call in sick to work, cancel plans with friends, you name it....and wallow unshowered in my cave of a room. Those were bad days.
It took me a long time to realise that this model wasn’t working. And by the time I did, it almost felt too late for me. I hadn’t spoken to many of my friends in at least a year. My family didn’t like being around me. My school career was in shambles. But I eventually realised that I was the only person who could correct the destructive path I was on, and discovered that what everyone was saying was true: getting up, showering, doing my hair and makeup and leaving the house actually made a difference in how I felt.
This was a slow and painful lesson, but I finally did embrace it, which allowed me to go back to school and launch a career at the same time. But of course, I did what any good anorectic does, and took it to an extreme. Told myself that being busy was what was keeping the depression at bay. Days got longer and longer, and the stress started to mount. This, of course, lead me straight back into treatment. It took a few years of this cycle for me to learn the one thing that all my therapists, doctors, dieticians and friends had been trying to teach me: balance is key.
Again, it was a painful life lesson.
You see, I still really enjoy staying busy, and it definitely does help keep the destruction at bay. It's easy to build your life into a frenetic pace with no foreseeable pause, to move at warp speed, straight into the future. It is not necessary to heed the caution signs, but instead throw yourself straight for the unknown, because doing something is better than doing nothing.
Staying in bed all day, or even part of the day, is still a difficult concept. But I am trying to teach myself that in order to stay as busy as I want to (and to keep the negative self thoughts and behaviours at bay) I need to allow myself the chance to rest. Sometimes that rest is coffee with a friend, sometimes it’s sitting in the sun with the dog, and sometimes it’s staying in bed even when it is beautiful outside and I can hear everyone having fun through my bedroom window. That last one is still the hardest to justify.
Yesterday happened to be one of those days. I usually spend Sundays cleaning my condo, doing laundry, grocery shopping and visiting family. It’s the one day of the week that I do not go to work, giving me the chance to get all of the other things done. But the thought of getting out of bed, into the shower, and outside just seemed too much. In my true fashion, I still got up, showered, and tried to deal with my somewhat dysfunctional family. It was too much. I wound up crawling into bed in the middle of the day (admittedly, I had to wait for my sheets to dry) watching cheesy TLC shows and sleeping. Days like that used to feel like failure. Still do, in part. But I’m inching towards convincing myself that sometimes, it’s good to stay in bed (particularly when you have a lovely new quilt from Anthro J