Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Feeling better doesn't mean I am better

I'm engaged in a process right now that is going to require a lot of me, and I have to remind myself not to let it go because the tapes have become quieter. Since I've been keeping my food journal, reading my books and writing to you to keep you updated, I've been more mindful of my value and the volume of Mable has been turned down. 

But she's not gone yet. This whole process is meant to give Mable a retirement. I want to get to the point where I don't need her, and where I can simply take care of my fuzzy-self (Emmie) without needing supervision or tapes of this subconscious creature that doesn't really know what's best, but has always been there for me. Mable isn't bad. She's not trying to destroy me, she's trying to protect me and when I'm not in an environment or situation where I need protecting, she'll take a backseat, but she's still there keeping a watchful, witchful eye. 

The thing though, even though she means well, is that she does destroy me. If I'm not careful about what I put into my head, if I'm not careful about my habits and my needs, she'll come back again. Feeling better, (which I do right now, after a week of giving myself permission both to eat and to not eat), does not mean that I am better. Just because my symptoms go away because I'm paying very close attention to them, does not mean that I am magically fixed. That was the problem the first time I dealt with this. I decided only to treat the symptoms, but I never had the tools to treat the underlying cause and prove to myself that I don't need Mable.

My circumstances are not what they were when I developed disordered eating. I almost never feel so anxious that the only way to alleviate it is to throw up (almost never). I almost never get lectures about what, when, how, or how much to eat or not eat. I am not surrounded by vapid teenagers (or adults) parroting their parents' views on what a person's body should look like. I am also not an awkward, ugly teenager. But I have been in touch with those feelings very recently, and it still stings. 

Actually, it doesn't sting. It hurts. It aches. It aches a lot. All that love from my childhood lost, and it burns from the core of me, destroying all of my good memories because sometimes it feels like Mable is the only thing I gained from my childhood. Now, I know that my various parents did the best that they could with the tools that they had. I know this because I developed a parent/care-taker in my eating disorder, who is still trying to do her best to make sure that I am taken care of and that my need to be loved is met.

That's all this is about, really. I needed love. I was taught that you couldn't be loved unless you did things a certain way. I was denied love until and unless I did things that way, and it taught me to have a disordered relationship with food, and that the only control I could have was through Mable. If my parents knew better, they would have done better. But they didn't, and that's not necessarily their fault now. Maybe they can be blamed for not knowing better then, but in order to do that, I'd have to get into my TARDIS* and go give them lectures.

That I feel loved now may eliminate the need for Mable to keep me "in line" and lovable, but it doesn't make her go away. My thoughts and tendencies aren't repaired because I've spent a week affirming myself, being affirmed by loved ones, and giving myself permission to feel my feels, rather than suppress them in an attempt to control my appetite. Feeling better doesn't mean that I am better.

But, you know what, I'll take it. It's a start.

*Time And Relative Dimension In Space; also, you can't travel around in your personal timeline, it causes problems, even if you are a Timelord

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