I was given the name of this blog by a personal role-model, a mental health counselor from the Eating Disorder’s Inpatient unit that I’m currently on, fighting for my life back from Anorexia Nervosa and related disorders. She struggled with depression and anxiety when she was younger, and her story inspires me so much. I want to thank you so much for impacting her life so much that she was able to impact mine, with the same wisdom that you shared with her and that she read on your blog a long time ago. I have so much love for the both of you for that.
I had some questions that I really need advice on regarding life in general, and I don’t know if you can answer them, but I hope that you can.
How does someone decide that they want to live? How do they decide that the little things that are good in life outweigh all of the horrible things in their lives? I have teetered on the edge of wanting to live and wanting to die. I cling to very small things and hope that they are enough to motivate me, but sometimes it feels hopeless. Especially when I am in my eating disorder, without recovery, life seems dreary and monotonous and nothing I want to involve myself in. I don’t think you know the answer on how to stop restricting, over-exercising, and purging, but any advice that you have about eating disorders would be much appreciated as well. I guess it boils down to, what little things make life worth it? And what big things make life worth it? And how do you decide that you want to live rather than dig your grave “with your own fork and knife”? I want to live, but I want to die. I am a mess of contradictions, a mess of a girl. I don’t want to be a mess anymore, but I’m lost as to what to do with all of the hopelessness, worthlessness, loneliness, and feeling undeserving of life and food that I’m dealing with even as I type this.
I like the way you speak of being “in your disorder,” and how you’re fighting for your life “back from Anorexia Nervosa.” I like the way that you’ve separated yourself from your disease. You recognize it as something apart from who you are. Yes, it’s something that wants to kill you. Yes, it’s something that you have to fight every goddamn day. Yes, that’s fucking exhausting, so much so that I understand what you mean when you say you’re teetering on the edge of wanting to live and wanting to die. I understand how it would be so fucking easy just to give up and let it win.
That’s the thing, though. By simply not giving up, you’ve already decided that you want to live. Actually, that’s not even quite right. You do want to live. All you’re really deciding is why. You want there to be a good enough reason, something so profound and so obvious that you don’t have to keep burning all your energy scavenging around for a bunch of little things to keep you going. You want the magical secret answer to the question why that will finally and permanently beat down all that horrible shit that keeps trying to kill you.
The answer does exist. I discovered it. Your counselor discovered it. It really is profound and it really is obvious and it really will save you. You have no idea how much we wish we could just whisper it in your ear, but that’s not how this answer works. It has to come from inside of you. The most fucked up thing is that the answer is already there. It’s been inside of you all along, and once you discover it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
In the meantime, embrace your mess. Allow your contradictions to exist in the present moment. Practice radical acceptance of all the hopelessness, worthlessness, and loneliness. That’s all you have to do. Just let that shit be okay, because it is.
There is peace in the dreary monotony. It’s not the same thing as happiness. It’s not the same thing as health. It’s simply peace. That’s where you will find your answer. Come to a place of acceptance, unconditionally and with no expectations, and you will discover that there is no difference between the big things and the little things in life. It’s all one size and it’s all one thing, and yes, it’s all a mess, but it’s a beautiful mess. So are you.