Promise

I’m still getting used to her new couch. It’s gray suede and gorgeous, but it doesn’t give the way the old one did. The cushions are stiff, and so I perch gingerly, thinking it’s still the softest thing I’ve felt all week.

Sometimes I sit across from her knowing I am going to cry. She’s going to ask me how I’m doing and where I would like to begin, and I’m going to open my mouth to respond, and approximately nothing is going to come out. Nothing coherent, anyway. My face is going to crumple — contort into the universal symbol for IMMINENT TEARS — and then I’m going to be in for 59 minutes of not reaching for the tissue I so desperately need.

Here we go. Deep breath.

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She really is so great. While I am positively losing it, raining salty splotches all over her brand new suede, all she says is: “Okay, let’s begin there! That’s a great place to begin!”

And then I am crying and laughing and feeling like something is breaking but something is also fixing, fixing, fixing.

It comes as such a big blow, every single time I realize that I’m not better. I mean, I am better, but I’m not better as in cured. And there are a lot of very smart people who believe there is no cure. Am I allowed to respectfully tune out those people? I have not done this much work to not get better.

I realized I was sick in September. Started getting help in October. Decided I was onboard in November — knowing I’d be looking at 3.5 months of terrifyingly fast (torturously slow) re-feeding.

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I didn’t just leave my job to get better. I left my life. Life as I’d known it.

I made myself vulnerable, so unbelievably vulnerable. I didn’t drag my feet. I took up yoga, when it felt like I could no longer breathe without someone telling me how. I gave away 75% of my clothes, none too happily, and hid myself away from the world, when the world felt too harsh.

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I am still hiding. Sheathed in soft sweaters, stuffed into stretchy pants. Stashed in the corner, hoping no one will look over at me. Praying somebody does.

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It doesn’t feel fair. It doesn’t feel fair to have gained the weight and still be feeling this way. It doesn’t feel fair to not be on the home stretch.

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In my lowest moment on my worst day, it feels like all of the promises I made to myself just aren’t true.

But I know that’s not the case. I know this is just another phase — maybe a funny little plateau, or one of those dreaded downward dips. We talk about the ups and downs a lot at therapy. This is a down, and there will be another up.

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There can be another up right this minute, if I just take 60 seconds to appreciate what a wonderful thing it is to be able to work full-time again. Even if I need to get on nodding terms with anxiety, ASAP. (More on that tomorrow.)

It’s uplifting to know that I never question whether or not I’ve made the right choice. Not truly. I know this is the right choice. I know it even when I feel furiously envious, whenever I see someone not-sick and small, and so obviously loved. I know it even when I feel enormous and alone and so screwed up, still.

I know it’s comingall of the things I’ve never known, never been able to have. All the things I’ve never been able to experience, let alone enjoy. I know life will not continue to feel this quiet, this empty. It just won’t. It can’t. I won’t let it.

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{Portland at sunset via @batmobile88, St. John’s Bridge via @karalieshaw.}

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