I spent last night drowning in self-pity. I was angry, embarrassed and ashamed of my eating disorder. I called it “disgusting.” Why did this have to happen to me; why is it still happening!?
That’s crap. I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself.
I’m not saying it’s not okay to fall apart. Everyone has hardships, and crying about how difficult it is does not make someone a weak person. The difference here is that I was questioning my life and judging an uncontrollable illness. Of course I do not want an eating disorder, but no one knows what cross they will bear. It’s ok to cry when life gets rough, but I was only focusing on the bad.
I was angry. And I’m torn about that emotion because everyone tells me I should feel angry sometimes, but why? Feeling anger is a slippery slope. In this case, like many others, it assigns blame. “Poor me” because of what so and so did. In this case, my ED. And who was I blaming for having an ED? Life? So I was angry at life? That’s not okay.
Today I woke up, initially embarrassed for having fell apart to my boyfriend. What if I lose Rob over this? I started to panic. Then I remembered my dream last night:
I was dating someone named Kevin, but had been calling him Rob for the duration of our relationship lol. He never corrected me because he thought it was cute (weird) but even dream ME knew it was because I’m only in love with one person and it’s Rob.Believe it or not that’s what made me realize I need to stop drowning in self-pity and pointing fingers at life for what it dealt me. I needed tough love.
What if I lose Rob… What if this….What if… What if… What if…
What do I have right now in this moment? I have a wonderful boyfriend that loves me. I have my family. I have the experience of treatment behind me. I have overcome mountains and tackled many fears I had about life. I am thankful to continue down this road with the knowledge I need when things get hard. I have my emotions and the ability to express them: laughter, adoration, gratitude, pride, generosity, compassion, love.
(Below is a tattoo I got– my grandmother’s handwriting to remind me of what I have)
What about the emotion of Anger? I only need anger to show me when I am being treated unfairly. But, that’s a very specific purpose. It takes two seconds to make that sort of realization. And then I can let go of the anger.
Without anger, I could not recognize that a co-worker acts the way I acted last night every single day. She self-pities and what-ifs and convinces me how hard she has it. I really believe that surrounding myself with someone with these beliefs had an effect on my psychology.
I started questioning if she was right about life. I didn’t know how to react to her opinions..
“I should feel bad for her. I’m a bad person because I judge her sometimes. I want to yell “cut it out, it could be worse!” … Does that make me apathetic? Maybe I would be just as ungrateful in her situation. I wasn’t dealt her hand in life. What if these things happen to me and what if I can’t handle it. Is something going to happen to me now…
STOP. Rre-evaluate this situation:
Anyone can drown in self-pity.
Let’s take someone else, perhaps with a similar situation (there are many people who have gone through hardships in life). And yet they wake up everyday and manage to smile. You would never know all the things they go through. They genuinely ask others how their days are going. They appreciate the big things: like what family they may have left, a roof over their heads. They take notice to the small things: like the beauty outside, the laugher of others. They may cry and breakdown, even get angry sometimes, but they always pull it back together. Empathizing is okay, but pitying someone is not. A strong person will appreciate compassion, but will never ask for pity.
And so, if my co-worker is asking for pity I have every right to walk away from the situation. She is reminding me of old fears about life. But I don’t like the person I am when allowing those anxieties back in! I don’t want to be afraid of life! And, I need to gently remind myself, that does not take away from my compassion as a person, but merely adds to my strength as a fighter.
Today, I gave myself a pep talk when I woke up. I know my situation isn’t as bad as I made it seem last night. But I had built up a lot of very real emotions inside me: frustration, confusion and (fleeting) hopelessness (have faith, always find your way back to it in lost moments). Therefore, I forgive myself for the breakdown. Today, I have to go to work and face the person that is angry at life and I don’t want to. I cannot just walk away from her (I’ve tried).
I made the realization that perhaps she influenced my way of thinking because it reminds me of old habits and anxieties.
I don’t want to have any pent-up anger, and I really don’t want to be surrounded by that way of thinking especially if I am clearly affected by it.
I don’t want someone talking about life as if it such a bad place. (I have to live here too!) I am grateful for it, and anyone can be, even those with hardships.
I am a stronger person after last night. And in choosing strength, I have to let go of badmouthing life and myself. I will not be embarrassed or ashamed for how I acted last night—I am human. But, I can commit to change. I am stronger today. And I am grateful for everything I have in this moment.