Sentence.

I’ve taken a beat. I’ve taken a minute to step away from everything and really focus on me. And granted, by “taken a minute,” I definitely mean “taken a month.” Details.

I’ve reflected a lot on the last three months. On how much I’ve changed as a person. On how I’m in a place in my ED recovery that I never thought I would be. Even though it’s a daily battle, it’s a battle that I’m winning. And I’m proud of that.

But, whenever I’m least expecting in, everything that happened with my ex-best friend in March rushes back into my mind. Don’t we love it when that happens? I’m fine, and then all of a sudden I’m remembering how hurt I was. I’m remembering how hurt I was, compared to how much I loved her and all of the good moments that we had had. I was torn. I had no idea whether or not I wanted to let her back into my life. I didn’t know whether or not I would ever feel comfortable around her again. And then I had a moment with another friend.

One of my other friends, lets call her Friend X, has a close friend, lets call her Y, who suffers from severe anxiety. One day, Y completely went off on Friend X. And when I say completely went off, I mean completely went off. Everything Y was saying was completely ridiculous and off-base. Not to mention hurtful. It was very apparent to me that Y was having an anxiety attack. I was easily able to recognize it. I’d definitely accused others of similar things during an anxiety attack. But how Friend X reacted to Y’s barrage of hurtful messages shocked me.

Friend X was hurt and furious. Understandably. But I advised her to take a minute before responding, and not respond in the heat of the moment. Something that I’ve learned all too well at this point. And Friend X decided to take my advice, and then she went a step further by herself.

Instead of just ignoring Y’s messages, Friend X responded with the following message: “I’m not ignoring you, I just need to take a bit to figure out how I want to respond to this.”

It was just a sentence, but it completely changed my perspective. No one else is responsible for my anxiety, but a true friend won’t mind making certain allowances. Obviously within reason. I’m not talking about anything crazy dramatic or inconvenient here. But I can guarantee you that Friend X’s text was so important to Y. It was only a single sentence but it was a single sentence that made Y feel heard and not all alone in the world. Y was so worried about not being loved, and Friend X, instead of validating that fear in a hostile response, abolished it.

Asking a friend to send a simple, “I’m not ignoring you” text, especially in a highly emotional moment, is not unreasonable. And I realized that if my best friend was truly my best friend, she would not have tried to make me feel like a burden for needing that.

-X

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Worth.

“If you can’t love me at my worst, you don’t deserve to love me at my best.”

This phrase has been floating around in my head the past two weeks. I’m finally doing okay. My therapist, nutritionist, and psychiatrist have all remarked about how I seem lighter. There’s a bounce in my step. And being okay has given me the chance to really reflect on my relationship with my ex-best friend. Without the rose colored glasses this time.

She made me think that I needed her to survive, and then left me without a warning. All of when I was in an extremely vulnerable place.

I’ve come to realize that she took advantage of my vulnerability. She likes to feel needed, and I needed her. Until she decided I wasn’t worth it anymore.

Honestly though I’m grateful that all of this happened. I’m definitely stronger now because of it. And, more importantly, I know what I’m worth. Yes, when I hit rock bottom I sucked as a human and hurt her. I’m not trying to shrink responsibility for that. But also, I was at my absolute lowest. My brain couldn’t take anymore, and I was out of coping mechanisms. And ultimately the reason I ended up hurting her was because she fostered this unhealthy attachment- this need for her for survival. And when I was at my absolute lowest, instead of checking in on her supposed best friend, who was clearly not okay, she ran.

I’m worth more than that.

I’m normally a kind, funny, generous human being who goes out of her way to help people. Who is a good listener. Who stresses way too much over grades. Who cries when she sees roadkill on the side of the road. Who is addicted to Starbucks. Who is goofy and loves a dance party to Taylor Swift songs. Who buys candles just for their packaging- but never lights them. Who wants to be a teacher purely so she can make a positive impact on her future students’ lives. Who plans on keeping extra food and clothes in her classroom, so her students are always fed and dressed in clean clothes.

And she ignored all of that. All of the positives. All of the, hopefully, endearing weird quirks. Choosing only to see the one moment where I was trapped like a caged animal inside my own brain.

This took me a long time to forgive myself enough to be able to say it, but now I cannot say it enough- I am not me when I am wrapped up in an anxiety attack or panic attack. That does not define me as a person.

And I’m definitely not trying to say I’m perfect or a saint. I know I’m no where near that. But I guess what I am trying to say, is that a true friend will stick with you through the highs and lows. Because they know who you really are. And she didn’t.

She still thinks that we’re friends, but I’m not so sure that I have a place for her in my life anymore. I don’t know if the true her is the her who held me while I cried after I told my parents about my eating disorder, or if the true her is the person who didn’t give a *#$! that I was in pain for two months. The person who kept lying to me.

All I know is that I’m worth more than what she made me out to be. I’m not some broken thing that she needs to fix. I never was.

-X

Socials.

“If this post doesn’t get at least 100 likes I’ll delete it.” “150 likes is acceptable, but a good post is 200+ likes.” For a really long time I’ve always set standards for myself on social media. I’ve felt that likes were a reflection back on me. On whether or not I was doing enough. On whether or not I was attractive enough. I’ve let the number of likes on social media posts define me as a person.

But then enter yesterday. When I posted a photo of my dog just because it made me happy. And it only got 75 likes. And as I went to go delete it, I began to wonder why deleting it was my knee jerk reaction. The picture made me happy- shouldn’t that be enough?

And so I didn’t delete my picture. And began questioning why I had even set these social media requirements for myself in the first place. Why did I need to prove that I was worth loving through social media? And the crazy thing is that I know I’m not alone. A lot of people place way too much value on their social media presence.

So I’m trying to step back and be more authentic. Post things that really make me happy, along with the typical iPhone portrait mode edited headshots. And care a whole lot less about the number of likes I’m getting. Because when it comes right down to it, I don’t need validation in order to be happy. I don’t want my happiness to be defined by others actions.

X

Lessons.

This post is a little bit different from my other posts, but I just wanted to share a few life lessons that I’ve learned over the past year.

  1. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is struggling. So be kind, because you never know what someone is going through.
  2. Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Not taking care of yourself helps nobody.
  3. Never ever live with someone you have feelings for. With the exception of marriage. When things go wrong, it’s miserable – you can’t get away from it. And yes I know this makes me sound jaded, and people will disagree with me on this one, but it’s a lesson that I learned the hard way.
  4. Breathe. Specifically “square breathing.” In for 4, hold for 4, out for 4, breathe normally for 2. Repeat. It helps more than you think it will.
  5. Mistakes happen. Don’t beat yourself up for them. Just try to do better next time.
  6. Always be the sun. Never be a planet orbiting around someone else. You exist for so many reasons- your sole purpose in life should never be to make someone else happy.
  7. You cannot be everything for everyone.
  8. Find a hobby- something that you do purely because it makes you happy.
  9. Perfection does not automatically equal good. I repeat, you do not have to be perfect to be good.
  10. No matter how awful you feel, you will always get through it. The sun will continue to rise, and eventually you will be okay.
  11. Don’t be afraid to let go.
  12. Your real support system will be there when you least expect it. When it feels like everything else is crashing down.
  13. When in doubt, pet a dog. Seriously, my dog has gotten me through so many anxious days.

I really don’t mean to come across as preachy here, but as I was going to bed I was thinking about all of the things that I had learned recently and wanted to share. Hopefully, reading this will resonate with someone, and maybe even help them. Anyway, I’m actually going to bed now. Goodnight, Internet.

X

Growth.

I thought I was over it. I thought I had really, truly found my peace with what happened with my best friend. My therapy session actually ended five minutes early this week because I was doing so well. I had accepted responsibility for what I was actually responsible for, and nothing more. I had accepted how toxic, and anxiety inducing, my relationship with my best friend had gotten.

But then my best friend came back to finish moving out of the apartment today. And I was caught off guard. And then I was swept away by a wave of hurt. Seeing her in person hurt. I was reminded of all of the ways in which she hurt me. Honestly in which we hurt each other. And when the wave of hurt washed across me, it took my inner peace with it. And I was left feeling caught off guard, vulnerable, anxious, and abandoned. On the verge of tears.

Normally, I would have immediately retreated to my room. Isolated myself. Made myself feel worse and more alone. Worthless. But today I couldn’t do that. My dog is staying with me and locking myself, and him, into my room for the entirety of the weekend is so completely unfair to him. So I made myself stay out in the living room and deal with the hurt. And I’m not going to say that I did it perfectly. I definitely didn’t. I ended up restricting. But I still ultimately ate something for dinner.

And then I paused and realized just how much progress I’ve made. Even from a few months ago. I didn’t let me emotions, or my anxiety, completely overwhelm me as I’ve done in the past. Instead I allowed myself to feel them. And let them pass without a reaction. Even a month ago, that would’ve been nearly impossible. And I realized that, wow, I’m really proud of myself. I’ve grown so much in the past few months. And that’s an accomplishment worth celebrating- at least in my humble opinion.

-X

Nomination.

Thank you to Jill (Food, Feelings, and Freedom) for the nomination for the Sunshine Blogger Award! The award works normally works like this: first, I answer 11 of Jill’s questions. Then, I ask my nominees questions of my own. However, since I’m still relatively new to the blogging community, and the person who I would’ve nominated, nominated me instead, I’m going to just encourage anyone who reads this post to answer my questions in the comments section. That way, we can all get to know each other a little better, and spread as much sunshine as possible! And yes, I fully realize how cheesy this sounds.

Question 1: What do you do when you’re having a bad day?

Honestly, I’ve only recently learned how to take care of myself during a bad day. Before, I would always just try to push through it and ignore it. I would not recommend doing that. Now, instead, I like to curl up in my favorite blanket (shoutout to Target for providing ridiculously soft blankets for only $10) and listen to some music or watch Netflix while scrolling through my recovery board on Pinterest. I also try to make plans with friends who I know will support me, because I am very much an extrovert, and feeling isolated only makes me feel worse. Lastly, I remember that just because I’m having a bad day doesn’t give me an excuse not to eat! So I always try to eat something at every meal time, even if it’s just a smoothie.

Question 2: What is one thing you are most proud of?

As ridiculous as this may sound, right now, the thing I’m most proud of is my inner strength. I’ve gotten through a lot of things in life that I never would have thought that I would be able to survive. I’m committed to my recovery from anorexia, I’ve learned how to cope with intense spells of anxiety and panic attacks, and I’ve gotten through nights where I cut myself because everything hurt so much. I finally told my parents about my eating disorder and anxiety diagnosis. I’ve rebounded from loosing my friendship with best friend, and have grown from it. At every point, I didn’t think that I could get through it, and yet I did.

Question 3: Do you have any pets? Want any?

Yes! My parents have a dog named Max, and I am obsessed with him! When I’m at school he comes to stay with me occasionally. And he takes over my entire bed, sheds everywhere, and snores, and I wouldn’t change anything. However, next year, when I’m officially out of my parents’ house, I want to get my own dog- a rescue, of course!

Question 4: What are three values you consider most important?

Honesty, loyalty, and empathy. The importance of these three values have really stood out to me recently, as I’ve discovered what friends I can really count on.

Question 5: What are some of your hobbies?

I love taking dance classes! And writing! Although my passion for writing is something that I’ve more recently discovered.

Question 6: What is one thing you would tell your childhood self?

It’s okay to not be perfect! Perfection is overrated and is not equivalent to your worth as a person.

Question 7: What is your favourite quotation?

Honestly, this so shifts depending on my mood. But recently, these are the quotations which have taken over my recovery Pinterest board:

“If you were able to believe in Santa Claus for like 8 years, you can believe in yourself for like 5 minutes.” -Unknown

“Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.” -Unkown

“I can do hard things.” – My Nutritionist

Question 8: Where do you see yourself (what do you hope for your future) in 5 years?

Ideally, I’ll be a first grade teacher with my own classroom in a great school system. I’ll have a dog, and live in an apartment with awesome roommates. I would love to be in a committed, loving, and supportive relationship. But most importantly, by that point, I’ll hopefully be very solid in my recovery, and in control of my anxiety.

Question 9: What is your biggest fear?

For the longest time, I would’ve answered this question with “being fat” or “gaining weight.” But now, I realize that these answers were just Ed’s way of masking my actual biggest fear- being unloved.

Question 10: What aspect of your life are you currently working on? (Work? Personal? Health?)

I’m sure y’all already have an idea of my answer to this one! I’m definitely focusing on my health right now- both mental and physical. I’m learning how to deal with my anxiety, and am working on improving my relationship with food. I’m trying to figure out what “normal” feels like, in regard to eating and working out. I’m also working on doing things that make me happy, and saying no to things that don’t.

Question 11: What is a risk you took that paid off?

So this is more of like a series of small risks, but just opening up to my friends about my eating disorder. For the longest time I was terrified of sharing because I didn’t want to feel vulnerable, but everyone I’ve told has been so incredibly loving and supportive. I’ve found that people care about me way more than I thought they did.

So if you’ve made it through all of that- congratulations! Here are my 11 questions for you:

  1. Do you have any tattoos? If so, what is the meaning behind them? If not, what is something that you’d hypothetically want to get tattooed?
  2. Where would you go for your dream vacation?
  3. What is your favorite form of self-care?
  4. What is your favorite quotation?
  5. What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
  6. What is your greatest accomplishment?
  7. What is your spirit animal?
  8. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  9. What do you do when you’re stressed?
  10. What is your favorite memory?
  11. If you only had one day left to live, what would you do with that day?

-X

Boxes.

For a really long time I’ve tried to fit everything into nice, neat little boxes. Everything has been either black or white. Good or bad. But recently I got a stupid long text from my ex-best friend essentially telling me that I sucked as a person, because I was so wrapped up in my own mess of a life that didn’t check in on her on one critical night in hers. My gut reaction was that I was a terrible, awful person who didn’t deserve to exist.

And then I realized that I needed to reevaluate.

Not everything will fit into the perfect little boxes that my anxiety would like it to. Not everything is black and white. There are areas of grey. And different shades of grey within those grey areas. Not everyone is going to be a good person all of the time, but they still are ultimately considered a good person. Even though they sometimes make decisions that hurt people. Being a good person doesn’t automatically equate to perfection.

Just because I wasn’t able to be there for one critical night, doesn’t mean that I am an awful person. While I truly feel so deeply sorry that I made things worse, I had no way of knowing, at the time, that I was making things worse. And, furthermore, this one night does not define me as a person. I’m a good person who isn’t perfect. Who sometimes unintentionally hurts people, and whose decisions sometimes fall into the areas which are shades of grey.

Even though my anxiety wants everything to fit into nice, neat little boxes, I’ve realized that the real world doesn’t actually work like this. Most things actually fall into the middle area- the shades of grey. And I’m working on becoming more comfortable with the idea of this. And hopefully, one day, I won’t feel the need for my boxes at all anymore.

-X