There is a quote that I find I am repeating daily to myself. It is one that reminds me that for everything I do there is an effect and we have to decide whether we can live with those outcomes or not.
“We are our choices” – Sartre
The lives that we live are defined by moments. We continuously alter the paths that we are on based on split second decisions. We draw lines all the time and there is a before and after for the choices that we make. You don’t know at the time though which ones are the big ones, the ones that will change everything and that you can never properly come back from. You only work that out when it’s over and in my case, when you realise how wrong you have been. I made mistakes. I chose silence instead of words. I chose to give up because I couldn’t go any further forward. I chose pills and drugs and drinking and starving over friends and hope and self belief. I chose death because life was too painful. It all broke me if I’m honest. I think of the person I was, the one who according to my friend tonight was “wild, feral and the embodiment of fury” and I can see how I let those choices and those moments define me for a very long time. It was a cloud hanging over me and if I was my choices then I couldn’t choose a good thing because I was not a good person. I was not positive or worthy…at least that’s what I told myself.
However for all of my bad decisions, there are the better ones that equally define me and make me who I am. They were fought hard for. They are built on something less certain, more dangerous and with the potential to hurt me more than anything ever before. Recovery is one of those things. I know that I have to choose recovery everyday – not just one day but everyday – and that choice has to be active because giving my body what it needs does not come automatically to me.
Of course things are more complicated when an illness is involved and no matter how much I want to minimise it, I was unwell. It wasn’t all free-will. I didn’t go looking for Anorexia. I didn’t grow up with a wish of being someone who self harms or needed drugs to block the pain. I didn’t dream of being a girl who dreams about suicide. Those were not my choices but how I reacted was. I dealt with all that with hostility instead of compassion. I shut out the world. I didn’t trust people. I hid. The Eating Disorder programmed my mind to see destruction as survival and being respectful to my body as wrong and although I couldn’t change that, I still had a part to play. If I could change anything it would be all those times when I was a kid and I stopped talking. I would tell myself you’re not being cool, open your mouth and put an end to this now. Don’t let it grow so out of control that you can not put the lid back on the box. Hindsight is such a bitch of a thing. I want to undo something that doesn’t feel like it can be undone.
It’s like I was stood on the edge of something and instead of stepping back, I fell. I hit the ground and shattered. Imagine that fall, imagine the physical damage something like jumping off a building would do…everything breaks or ruptures or bleeds. The damage can be repaired, your bones will heal but you will never forget the fall. You’ll remember the ground rushing up to meet you and the snaps leave you aching when it’s cold outside. You’ll intact but you’re not quite. That’s what Anorexia feels like right now. I’ll mend myself from this. I’ll manage it, maintain it, control the pain, fix what I can, put up with what I can’t…but it’s traces are ingrained in me. I will never forget. I chose to recover because even I know that sooner or later I’m not going to get up from one of those falls.
You may be wondering where all this is coming from. Obviously I have random, come out of nowhere thoughts but I suppose it goes deeper than that. I have a brother who is not well right now, who won’t admit to it and who also crashed his car last night and threatened to jump in the river. I don’t think he realises right now that these little moments, they will haunt him. He will sit up in the middle of the night in 5 years time and wonder why he got behind the wheel of a car in the state that he was in. Or he will ask himself why he wasted so much time pretending he was fine instead of getting help. I want to stop him from making all the mistakes that I did, all the bad choices and the falls. I can’t though, can I? They are his to make and I just hope that when it’s over, I still have a brother left.