This is either completely the wrong time to be writing this post, or an ironically appropriate one; I can’t decide. For entirely self-inflicted reasons (I ripped the scab off a barely-healed, still crippling wound, and really, *really* should have known better), I’m in a state as close to depression as I’ve been for a long time, and all the things that’ve developed meaning over the last two years have faded to grey; I feel like the guitar line from How Soon Is Now, and am dribbling words all over social networking sites to prove it. However. It’s pretty significant that despite a momentary gladness that I hadn’t just eaten, cos I’d feel sick, I did *not* do what I would have for a considerable proportion of te last decade, and push the pain away or avert the anguish by focusing on food, assuring myself that I’m hungry, planning what (not) to eat, etc. In one sense, it’s a bitch (see Things They Don’t Tell You About Recovery, i) but in another, it’s progress.
Speaking to a fellow recoverer having her own little crisis the other day, she mentioned in passing a few occasions when she just ‘couldn’t be bothered’ to engage in her previous dysfunctional behaviour. And I leapt on it, because that, for me, is actually the essence of this recovery lark. There’s no moment of epiphany, or wasn’t for me anyway; because if you’re even going to make a vague stab at ‘normal’ eating, or even if you’re not, hunger and/or the need for food and/or the desire to eat are a continuous, or at least several-times-a-day-ly, occurrence. Even if at breakfast you decide to eat a reasonable amount and/or not throw it up again, at lunchtime you’re gonna face precisely the same dilemma and options and decisions, and if you opted for the failsafe dysfunction at breakfast, possibly continually during the morning too. It’s never as easy as a moment of epiphany, a sudden relief and release n the triumphant realisation that you Don’t Need This Anymore, that you can Focus on the Feelings and live through them rather than displacing them with the much-more-manageable food, and a gradual yet speedy progression towards Health and Normality (whatever *they* may be in contemporary culture, especially for women; see rantage elsewhere, or comment and I’ll send you a 5-page list of relevant medical papers. I’m not kidding.)
Instead, it’s much more difficult, and complicated, and guilt-ridden. You realise one day that you don’t actually want to starve, throw up, whatever. Not right now, anyway. It’s a lovely day, you have things to do; you actually feel more like talking to someone, having sex, reading a book, cuddling, working, thinking, feeling, going for a walk, swimming, watching something, climbing trees, dancing naked in the rain, whatever floats your boat. You just can’t be fucked to do it right now. You *will*, of course; of course you will, because that’s who you are, that’s what you do, that’s how you know you’re OK and the world is all right, but just..not right now. Later, when this is done.
And then, maybe, one day, you forget. Maybe you do what I did, and find yourself in so much sheer mind-numbing agony every crawling second of every dragging pointless day that it seems a bit futile to be in any *more* pain because you’re hungry, and to try and use a wet kiddiplaster to staunch a metaphorical brain haemorrage. Maybe you find you just can’t be fucked to put in the effort when dealing with the pain takes everything you’ve got. Or maybe you’re luckier; maybe one day you’re with a friend or a lover or working on something you love and you just don’t think about it, you eat when they eat or when you’re hungry so you can get back to concentrating on what you were actually doing. Maybe it happens a few times.
But the thing is, maybe it happens a few times, and you notice. It’s there. You’ve put on weight, or the rigid structure that’s supported your days and your thoughts for as long as you can remember has shifted or stumbled, almost without you noticing. And you feel…awful. Guilty as fuck, for who will defend you, keep to your rules, protect you, if not yourself? Here you are, you had this pattern, it was safe, and you shattered it, almost without noticing. And yet….maybe you can’t be fucked to start it up again. Not all the time, anyway. Most days, yes, but maybe not all. But if that’s the case…who are you? Who is this ‘you’ of whom I speak so confidently? You’ve lost yourself, and worse, betrayed yourself, and all because of laziness. You just…couldn’t be fucked. Yes, this is healthier, mabe, you know that, but…is it you?
It is, you know. You find out. And ‘i can’t be fucked’ can be amazingly liberating. But still…you lose something. And I’d be lying if I said you never looked back.