03 September 2009

So... What Exactly IS "Recovery"?

I've been left in a heaving ball of internal guilt and emotional pain. Why? Because last Thursday, I had three friends (all at once) tell me that they would not talk to me until I "got real help." Also, in the last month or two, I've had three other individuals refuse to speak with me, or make devastating claims about my mental state, feelings, nutrition intake, intentions, daily activities, etc (without seeing me, face to face). And today, I spoke with two people who 1) asked if I was "in recovery" and 2) hoped I would "seek recovery."

I'm not so much holding anything against any of these friends and acquaintances, as I realise they are only concerned and/or protecting themselves. What I am more interested in is how they define recovery. I decided to look it up- "What is recovery?" After typing it into Google search, this is what I found:
I believe these all to be valid points, a good include-all explanation of what recovery entails. I definitely agree with and am pleased to see "hope" as the first listed in this list.

However, I definitely believe "empowerment" and "self-help" are intimately tied to "hope" (and as such, should be listed immediately after "hope"). Without promoting your own well-being, mental health, and sanity, there is no hope of receiving and applying tools you are given in treatment ("Treatment"), sticking to a medication regime ("Medication"), using the education and knowledge you have to positively cope ("Education/Knowledge"), taking spiritual guidance to heart ("Spirituality"), gaining friendships or exploring other relationships ("Support"), and certainly not using your God-given talents to do something you have passion for ("Employment/Meaningful Activity").

So, what do I have or do with of this list? It's interesting, because I certainly am empowered to live my day-to-day life, pushing through any sort of depression or internal pain to continue upkeep of my home, etc. I take my medication appropriately everyday, with only the occasional forgetfulness that most people have. And treatment? Well, I've tried. People don't seem to really get it when I say that therapists here are seriously undereducated when it comes to eating disorders, nor do they believe me when I say any therapists I have found that have experience with EDs don't accept "out-of-pocket" (AKA cash-pay) clients. But at any rate, I am on the waitlist (have been since 8 June) for Mercy Ministries, which is my only option at this point. No, I don't enjoy the stress of needing to do the "helpful" MM assignments every two weeks, and the check-in calls seem hurried, rushed, false. In honesty, I am more interested in just getting a part-time job, or going back to school for a few classes (meaningful activity and employment), but I'm on this neverending wishlist, and the day they call to give me an admit date is always up in the air. (Their "estimate" of how long I could be waiting ranged from six weeks to six months!) Anyway, I'm certainly well-educated and knowledgeable about this illness, and all the deep complexities of it, and I continue to explore and use spirituality to help me see more clearly (though admittedly, I wish I were more active within the church family, and definitely want to apply the Word to my life much more). I truly have little "support" if you were to refer to community resources, friends, and/or family, so I turn to what I can, which is generally online friends who are in recovery themselves (despite potentially never meeting them face-to-face). This can definitely be a double-edged sword: It can be very nice to have someone who understands the ups-and-downs of this term called "recovery." Then again, it can truly drag you down when these friends are struggling, making assumptions about your state of mind and intentions, or even making negative remarks about your physical appearance (while ignoring your own perceived progress). It truly is just a vicious human circle- support is necessary, but it's so incredibly difficult to make sure there's a balance or give-and-take connexion- not just emotional dependency (the Strong friend vs the Weak friend, both who are "needy" for the other).

That leaves us, in the end, with "hope" and "self-help." So, do I have hope? Not exactly, I've realised. My hope is rather short-lived. I hope that I'll wake up tomorrow. Or hope that I won't get too tired this morning, so that I'm able to get some chores done. Occasionally, yes, I do have hope that this grand, macroview of my future will be exciting or something that is fulfilling. But in honesty, I've felt that this life will be short for me (well, almost hoped it would be), so some fabulous and rewarding future seems like static on a television or as though I'm trying to see through a pea-soup thick fog. And I guess I question things much too often, since I often internally ask: "Okay, so what's really the point of being here on Earth? Why continue to run the rat race?" And self-help... what does that mean? Does it mean helping myself survive? Because, if so, that is certainly what I am doing. I constantly must weigh and balance (no pun intended!) the anxiety of living a "behaviour-free" life (which could lead to severe panic, pain, fear, and debilitating depression) versus staying "comfortably numb" within the confines of anorexia nervosa. Ah, the self-doubt is tangible!

Where does this leave me? Asking more questions than I have answers.
+Harvesting Our Personal Efforts. "What is Recovery?" Accessed 3 September 2009.
+National Eating Disorders Association. "Get Help Today." Accessed 4 September 2009.
Resources and Links." Accessed 4 September 2009.
+My Inspiration Lounge. "Home/About." Accessed 4 September 2009.
+WeRFreedomFighters. "Welcome."
Accessed 4 September 2009.
+Something-Fishy. "Remember It Hurts Community." Accessed 4 September 2009.
+FINDINGbalance. "Treatment and Recovery." Accessed 4 September 2009.
---"Spiritual Aspects." Accessed 4 September 2009.
+Simply|Hired. "Home/Search." Accessed 4 September 2009.
+VolunteerMatch. "Home/Search." Accessed 4 September 2009.

1 comment:

  1. I, too, have not been impressed with therapists and their dealings with the illness. I hope some day someone will figure out an effective and helpful form of therapy.


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