I chose the name Recovery Roots, for the sheer reason, my ED, as I suspect most ED’s, has roots tangled up in almost every aspect of my life. It has been choking out everything, right down to my soul, trust, connections, health, like a weed strangling the life from every element of good trying to get in.
Like I’ve mentioned before, The Disorder has been part of my life since I was a young child, tangling through, taking a bigger hold when I’m having a harder time, it became my main coping mechanism. When emotions ran too high and I was unable to deal, The Disorder was there to save the day. The emotions didn’t just need to be upsetting either, any which tipped the scale, good or bad, The Disorder was there to help me cope.
As time went on, without realizing it, I became more and more uncomfortable with feelings and emotions, I hated seeming weak or coming across as vulnerable. You would think, this would be more of an issue with people I don’t know, but the closer you got to the centre of the circle, the more guarded I became.
Leading up to entering clinic, I was at my sickest; I had become a machine; hardly sleeping, drinking buckets of coffee, eating a handful of safe foods and masking anything which was real. I should mention, I have a FT job in insurance, a fun PT job as a fitness instructor, a little boy, animals and I was in a relationship. With so much on my plate, juggling was tough; I gave everything I had in class, I smiled, flirted, laughed, used my entire ego to prove I was the fittest person there; with my little boy, we cuddled, read stories, made crafts and watched movies, I lost my temper here and there, but did my best to keep it in check; the pets, got cuddles and exercise, but my temper was shorter still, it didn’t take much for me to yell; as for work, I gave just enough so I wouldn’t get fired, I was good at my job, but was often exhausted and sick, so I just didn’t show up; and then there was Patrick, I loved him and wanted to be a good partner, occasionally, I may have ever pulled it off, but more often than not, I had nothing left to give him! I can’t count the number of times, he would attend a class I was teaching, I laughed, carried on, had what seemed like a great time and as soon as we got back in the car, it was gone, everything went back to numb; he would ask why, I couldn’t be like that for him too? Why he couldn’t make me happy? I had absolutely no idea!
I was very unhappy, miserable and angry, I took those feelings, the exhaustion and I placed it on his shoulders, I allowed Patrick to take the brunt of it all. The Disorder had tangled her ugly, diseased roots, through everything we had together, which, without question, I accepted. Of course the 2 of us broke up, honestly I doubt many people could stay in a relationship, with someone who is so ill, who is so angry, determined to blame, so unable to see where the truth ends and the lie begins.
As I moved through my stages of recovery in clinic, I stayed guarded, I continued to hide myself from those around me, to protect my vulnerability. With the mere thought of Patrick, I was upset, immediately falling into disordered thoughts, when alone, I always cried; so I continued to blame him, clearly he is linked to The Disorder, definitely he is a trigger, obviously he is bad fucking news! I did everything to forget about him, to push the thought of him out of my head; only problem is, we work together…
Being faced with him when I returned to work, was a challenge I decided to face head on, I went right up to him and talked, said ‘hello’ and asked how he was? The flood of feelings, guilt and shame was overwhelming. Of course, I jumped on the blame train, he’s back in my head, The Disorder loves him, he makes me feel guilty. For all the self work I’d done over the past year, I was still blaming, trying to escape my feelings, my shame and vulnerability. I went backwards, into feelings of inadequacy, contempt, guilt, mistrust.
Over the past 3 years, I’ve apologized and Patrick has forgiven me, more times than I care to think about. It took a couple weeks of not talking, when we finally talked, I allowed myself to sit in the sadness, to feel the emotions, I had fought so hard to block. It was excruciating, I was alone with my dog and I cried, I mean bawled so hard it hurt, for over 5 hours; finally ending it with a nice chilly walk and a lot of recovery tears.
Unfortunately it didn’t stop there, the following weekend Patrick and I met for coffee, we talked about everything we’ve been through and I finally put 2 & 2 together. All of the nothing The Disorder made me feel, all of the guilt, shame, fear, loss, hurt, sadness, all of it, I had linked to Patrick, so whenever I saw him, those feelings kept coming back, he had forgiven me, but not once had I forgiven myself, because I still viewed what I had done and how I had treated him, as absolutely horrible, which brought me right back to worthless. I had always masked my feelings, disgusted the vulnerability, and for once I was being completely open and honest. We were off to the races, the crying started and it only took moments, for it to turn into, full, tilt, ugly crying! And for once, I didn’t try to stop it, I just let go. As horrible as it was to cry like that, especially in front of someone I care about, it was astonishing to finally get it, to let go of control, to initiate forgiveness for myself.