Hi friends! Happy
hump day Wednesday 😉 It’s been a hot minute since my last post where I talked about my coping skills and what I find works for me to dial things into perspective. Vaguely mentioned in that post was how crucial it is to find coping skills which work for YOUR goals and support YOUR purpose. I wanted to delve much deeper into that purpose in today’s post and have an open discussion about what I’ve been up to. To preface this entire post: it’s on the deep and long side (how I like things). I started crying two or three times while writing and just went with it (note: I did read it through after to make sure it makes sense!). I honestly find that when I read others blogs which are very raw from an emotional standpoint I take so much away, so hoping this post is a takeaway for at least one person.
First off, here is a song to listen to while your read:
I added a quote to my last post, “Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds… Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.” ― Neil Gaiman… THIS speaks so much to me. It always will I think. At 23 I’ve been though a lot, and I’m not trying to say that most 23 year old’s haven’t, ect.. just speaking in my personal experience. The quote itself makes me think of chaos, internal chaos more specifically. I have so many thoughts, feelings, internal dialogues and at times being able to fully grasp that is a considerable task. The “secrets” of my past, apprehension of my future, and then everything about where I’m currently at in my life. Oddly, I’ve found more mental clarity and peace recently than I have in years. In the midst of chaos I’m finding a sincere sense of calmness and things make more sense than they have in my entire life.
Rewind five years and I was doing a lot of endurance and adventure events. I loved it and felt so alive. The hindering variable is that I was still so deeply involved with my eating disorder and after sustaining some considerable injuries (two lower body stress fractures simultaneously), I relapsed. I had found my passion but it wasn’t my time. I had mental work to do. I knew the general direction I wanted to head, my vision was vague, but I had an idea of what I ideally wanted for my life. There were so many goals, goals which felt entirely surreal in such a mentally and physically low place but I just trusted the process and continued step by step to grow and one day achieve the things which seemed like dreams and only dreams. My mindset was rather positive, I had goals, dreams, aspirations.
About two years ago I am much better mentally and physically fairly healthy. Progress is a process, right? This was an awkward stage for me in my recovery and in discovering who I am and what I want to be doing. I felt physically so much healthier than I ever had (because oh wait apparently fueling your body is useful…) but very disconnected to myself mentally and emotionally. This is when I stated my current college journey and although I am a good student it didn’t feel right. The only place where I felt “at home” was the gym which was confusing because when it treatment I was told time and time again that I needed to “be careful” because putting that much emphasis on the gym and fitness is dangerous. Look, I get it, honestly, it is dangerous if not in the right mindset and at this time I wasn’t. It could have ended differently but instead I kept using fitness as a means to process my discomfort with school and keep myself out of my eating disorder (not ideal and not recommended but it worked for me and I think it only worked because I was EXTREMELY aware of my feelings at this time point and knew that going back to old habits would inevitably kill me). While I did feel disconnected to the world I felt connected to myself and expressing that wasn’t something I was capable of doing during this time which felt uncomfortable and nerve wracking. I kept going, three steps forward, four back, two forward, one back type of deal. Everyone has rough patches and this was mine.
Looking back, between two years ago and now, the thing which I have found to be the most beneficial for growth is exploring more. Exploring the deeper meaning of my thoughts, spending time outside, adventuring, cultivating stronger relationships, and making an effort to trust that now is my time to pursue my passions which made me feel so alive and still continue to do so. Letting go has been a form of hanging on. Exploring has been a process to develop a greater understanding of my deepest self, it helps teach me who I am, how I react, and what my basic needs are.
To the present… I am so aware of my feelings that sometimes it hurts me and I have to take a giant step back and look at the entire picture. I get caught up, hiccups happen, things aren’t perfect in a traditional sense but they honestly feel so perfect. Through the use of many many coping skills, adventures, and a considerable amount of thought processing, I’m at a point where I can say I feel like I am where I am meant to be. I understand my feelings, am able to express them for the most part. I’m not saying my anxiety has disappeared, I never have thoughts of old behaviors, and I’m happy all the time… nope, nope, and nope. The difference is that I accept it all, take it for what it is, try to understand the underlying meaning of what I’m experiencing, and then work from there. My life is probably the most upside down from most peoples perspective (read: I’m all over the map), but I feel more grounded and in control than ever.
“Stop taking pride in your ability to destroy yourself.” – Michelle K
I’m not going to lie, I used to do this. I never admitted it but I found an intense sense of pride and accomplishment for destroying myself – physically, mentally, emotionally. It didn’t matter. Abuse to myself felt good. It felt calming. I felt like I was in so much control when in reality that was the complete opposite. I still haven’t come up with a way to vocalize what was going through my mind during this time other than that I was in pain, confused, unsure, scared, and felt like taking all of this out on myself would solve everything because after all I was the problem and therefore self-destruction was the answer.
A couple year ago my biggest internal struggle was a product of the fact that I still felt like I needed to change who I was in order to get though my demons. I felt like I needed to lose a part of who I was (the fitness enthusiast, adventure seeker, adrenaline junkie) to get to the illusive place of full-recovery and ultimate self-acceptance. Maybe that’s the case for some, and that’s cool. This IS NOT the case of me. All of that was a part of me prior to dealing with the negatives. Sure everything is intertwined and involved and I have to be careful with how I approach certain things but my need for fitness and adrenaline highs aren’t the cause – ultimately I have found them to be the solution. My work lies in being vulnerable, raw, and open to both myself and those I’m close with. I find that this helps me keep in tune with myself and when I’m actively doing this I feel the best and the happiest.
My path might seem off kilter and different. I’m not lost. I’m finding myself. I’m finding my soul. Each adventure helps me find my soul and that isn’t something I’m giving up anytime soon. I’m mastering my internal chaos, I used to think running from it was the answer, but now I find the answer is channeling it into energy to drive me forwards and grow.
“Make your choice, adventurous Stranger, Strike the bell and bide the danger, Or wonder, till it drives you mad, What would have followed if you had.” ― C.S. Lewis