Sunday, March 27, 2011

Working hard and perfection

I have to preface this with : This is a general statement about a variety of things right now not any specific people I promise if you are worried please ask me and I can explain better. I'm more upset by the perception of society not the people themselves.

Sometimes I get really frustrated because it seems like people believe those in treatment are working harder than others. I was talking to one of my best friends earlier and we agree that when someone goes back to treatment it can seem like they are working harder or trying more. People will claim that they are working hard and yet that just inherently downplays the amount that people who aren't in treatment are working. I have no doubt that most people work hard and I think people can slack off in treatment or when out. It's just hard to hear a lot of people right now saying they are working SO hard but have to go back. Because you know what? Most of us are working our asses off. This is NOT an easy thing to overcome and recover from. This just seems like a theme right now with people and I'm not saying anything about individuals because I don't know individual situations. It's society- it's the fact that people worry about people who are sick and assume that people not in treatment are fine. It's just the assumptions involved that bother me and make me feel like no one notices how hard other some people are working simply because they aren't obviously sick.

And you know what? There is more to this as well. There is the fact that people in my life make me feel like I couldn't relapse- like I'm too smart, work too hard, worked through it enough, want it too much, have done well enough, have my life back, have a future, etc. But you know what? People said that before they knew I was sick. People have always had high expectations for me and that's good, and yeah I hope they are right. But when everyone thinks this it also means I CAN'T relapse. It's like I just KNOW it couldn't happen. But sometimes it just sucks. Like right now. I’m not saying I want to relapse, but it sucks knowing that once again you are that person who is going to be ok. No matter what. With no other option. It makes me want to scream. Has anyone ever thought of the fact that not having an option isn’t good either?? It sucks that I feel like all these other people can get away with needing help or to work through things. But I'm stronger, have more resources, am passionate about my future, am about to graduate, and am finding my real support. Other people can put their lives on hold- but I've worked too hard. Other people can feel ok if their families pay but I feel way too guilty and couldn’t do it. Maybe I'm tired of always being the perfect one. Maybe I’m tired of having the perfect life where my parents pay for everything so I cant complain. Or where I can’t really move on because I might not be perfect for awhile. If I’m in recovery why do I still feel like I am forced to be perfect?? At this- just like everything else. In some ways NOTHING has changed


  1. I agree with you Jennee... I might sound like a hypocrite, but it is harder not to be in treatment. Treatment is a cushion and the easy way out. Being in life is so much harder and treatment can be handicapping and crippling. I think you should be PROUD of yourself for not taking the easy way out. You COULD if you really wanted to but you DON'T. Your eating disorder and self-criticism might still be in your head but you are choosing not to act on it, that does NOT invalidate that it isn't still there. I feel like now that I am a normal weight maybe people don't know how much shit I have been through or how much I am struggling but I don't need to prove myself to anyone, I know my truth.

    Comparing yourself to other people will eat you away inside. There will always be someone sicker, there will always be someone smarter, there will always be someone better. We will ALWAYS be jealous of someone. Comparing yourself to your old self will eat you away inside too. You can't live your life wishing and comparing to other people... we all have a different path. That is the motto I am trying to live by. It's just not worth it, as hard as it is not to compare...

    I am trying to compare to my FUTURE. What I am capable of. That was Alfred Adler's motto (I am learning it in one of my classes! lol, he is my hero!). You can shape your identity by your future and not your past. (I actually think I might blog about Adler!)...

    Be proud of yourself. Forget about everyone else relapsing. They are postponing their lives and screwing themselves over. Don't leave them behind, but set boundaries with how much emotional energy you are going to put in comparing yourself to them or wanting to fix them.... Its not worth it. Be proud of who you are, what you have accomplished, and what you will accomplish. The rest doesn't matter... you are you without that identity. You don't have to live up to labels or identities you have set for yourself or feel like others have set for you.

    I wish for you so badly to stop comparing yourself to other people- it would free you so much. You don't have to be perfect. You can struggle. Recovery is not perfect. Life is not perfect. I love you, please know it is okay to struggle, to slip, to be upset. You don't have to have a perfect life, but you do need to LIVE IT. We are going to go on trips, get our MSW's and maybe more, and be in LIFE. Those who don't want it, are gonna miss out. ;)

  2. treatment isn't "a cushion and the easy way out"...maybe it was for you or is for some people, but is by NO MEANS true for everyone.

    BUT. everything else the above person said-i agree and couldn't have said it better!

  3. thanks guys :) Les I know what you meant in your post but I do understand the other comment because at the same time the fact that almost everyone I know looks down on treatment is part of what I hate. I get it but the fact that so many of my friends look down on it now is hard bc I feel like they are all part of who makes me feel like I'm "too good" you know? These isn't what I think but I feel like other people are basically saying I can't go back bc I'm too good. And that makes me feel like shit bc I know I could never go back with so many people thinking that. Not that I need to go back at all or anticipate needing to, but it's hard knowing I CAN'T because of what people would think. And that means I can't do anymore really intense trauma work, so it will always be harder for and take me longer to do the work I feel like. I hope that makes sense. A lot of people need to look down on it I think but I believe there is a time and a place for treatment and it can be helpful if used correctly and people work hard. I hate the fact that society for whatever reason can sometimes think people aren't trying when they are. And there are always people who aren't but I'd rather give someone the benefit of the doubt and people in my life don't which is just sad sometimes you know?

  4. I made an overgeneralizating statement when I said that, so I apologize. Treatment at times had been a cushion, at other times I worked my ass off like when I went to Oklahoma, and at other times it had been quite traumatic for me. I have had varied experiences in treatment. My current opinion for ME is that if I were to relapse it would be a cushion, so maybe I should have clarified that better and used those famous "I statements" we always hear about. Sorry, and yes, many people do work their ass of in treatment. I just believe there comes a point after so many years where treatment can be more harmful than helpful, if someone only has that one component to their life and not any others. I hope I am clarifying it better. For me, this juncture in my life it would not help propel me towards where I want to be in life. Next time I comment I will use more "I statements."

    And you are right Jennee, it is that attitude and I a glad you pointed it out to me. I guess I have to keep in mind a lot of my biases are from my negative experience and I have to keep that in check. I think I have that attitude when people are in and out week after week, but not when people go years of fighting their ass off, and if they need help then, after they have been fighting and advocating for themselves, then it is completely different. Am I making sense?

    If you ever needed treatment Jennee know that I wouldn't judge you. You have fought for years to work towards recovery. I get irritated when I feel like people don't want recovery and the center is working harder than they are. And you are fighting and keep fighting, and if you need someplace to fight WITH you on this journey together know you would always have my support in that. And I hope you would be able to support yourself in getting that too.

  5. While I don't think I ever had a day in treatment that was completely free of agony and exhaustion, I still think life outside of treatment is most definitely WAY more difficult.

    For one thing, you're not in an isolated bubble anymore, and the world can be a very cold place. Outside of those who are close to you, most people don't care about your problems. In fact, sometimes, acknowledging your struggles to people "in the real world" can even make them see you as a liability---at which point there's nothing to keep them from discriminating against you, even though it's illegal.

    When I was thrown back into reality after treatment, I thought it would be best to brief potential roommates about my "situation", mostly because I needed to ask questions about the environment that I knew would probably make a difference in my ability to be in recovery. And even though it's not technically the business of anyone else, I know that I would most certainly want to know if I were about to be living with someone who struggled with any kind of mental illness---I hate to say that, but it's true. Also, I just didn't want to lie about what I was doing in St. Louis. I've always preferred to be upfront about things. It's probably no big surprise then, that the people from the first two apartments I talked to decided to go with someone else (one of whom had initially said yes, but then called me the next day and said no, with the explicit reason being that they were concerned about living with someone in my situation). After that, I said nothing about my "situation"... only that I'd moved here b/c I'd outgrown VT, and had friends here. And wouldn't you know, they said that I could move in almost immediately! Of course, the flip-side of this was that I ended up living in a big-kid frat-house, which wasn't the greatest thing for my recovery, as you can imagine.

    Finally, let us not forget the hardest part... SELF-RESPONSIBILITY.

    There just aren't people on the outside waiting to give you a high-five for finishing your damn cookie.