I thought my absence from this blog reflected having more pressing things to attend to (with school and work being back in full swing) but I realized this afternoon that it might be a reflection of the larger trend of not prioritizing my own recovery or self-care.
With school once again providing a competitive atmosphere emphasizing performance and evaluations I quickly reduced this blog to a number and lost sight of why I wrote on here in the first place. As much as I appreciate all the connections I’ve made, I never wrote for a follower count. I wrote to share my experience and (admittedly-fundamental) knowledge with others but also to support my own healing. Writing allows me to hear my own voice when I can’t find the words. It helps me make sense of the never-ending thoughts racing around my head. It might be more important for my self-care than I thought.
It has been clear to me for the past month or so that I have been neglecting my health. With the start of school and work again in September, I let myself get swept up in old perfectionistic habits and understandably, I was left with very little energy to dedicate to maintaining my recovery. I lost sight of myself and what I’ve been working towards.
As much as I wish it were easy for me to live a “healthy” life and not fall back on self-destruction, actually keeping balance demands a lot of me. At least it does for the time-being. Maybe it will get easier in the future, but the only way to find out is to keep the pattern of self-care going. To keep challenging the negative internal narrative and toxic thoughts. And much to my chagrin, this requires time and effort. Precious resources that have to come from somewhere. So it’s time to prioritize myself. Not because enjoyment comes second to achievement but because a balance of both work and play is necessary. I realize I speak from a privileged place where time for myself comes merely at the cost of some schoolwork but I’m no longer going to deny the fact that this is hard for me.
As someone who tends to be dissociative, a full-schedule tends to override my natural instincts and I lose touch with myself quite easily. I’m trying to get Me back. A process which requires a lot of energy dedicated towards actively practicing being self-compassionate. It’s time to make space for my human needs, limits, and imperfections regardless of how unworthy I think it will make me. I’ve spent so long living at odds with myself and it has only ever made me unhappy. The only way to discover that I might be worthy as I am is to find out who that truly is.
It’s time to prove to myself that it’s safe. I’m older now, I have more control over my environment than before. I have skills now – I can take care of myself better than before. I don’t need to shut it all out to avoid what I’m afraid of. I have people by my side just waiting for me to lean on them. My instincts tell me to run – to leave them with less of a burden. But resisting fear is a coping strategy from the past. Maybe a different future calls for a different approach.
I’m good at working hard. I always have been. Now I find myself yet again having to choose between the kind of hard work I have to do. Am I going to continue invalidating my experience and dismissing myself and my struggles to play the role of a “good student”? Or, am I going to find power in fighting the voice in my head that calls self-neglect strength?
My whole life has been dictated by self-hatred and a destructive internal narrative. Maybe it’s time for me to start writing one of love. If not for myself initially at least for others. For good music & morning coffee. For my boyfriend and the future I want with my loved ones.
So it’s time to be brave. Times like these, when my internal perfectionist is screaming even louder and my eating disorder is digging in its heels, are when it’s more important than ever to push back. To build myself a life worth living and to find the love. No matter how frightening it might seem or how much I don’t feel I’m worth it.