Friday, March 9, 2012

Re-establishing Trust

I have trust issues and the deepest ones are with myself. A few months ago I had absolutely no faith in my ability to make any kind of decisions that involved me. I am pretty responsible and have been given many big leaderships roles where I have had to make huge decisions that affect many other people and have risen to the challenge every time. Yet when it comes to me, all bets are off. A few months ago I wasn’t even convinced that I knew how to adequately take care of myself and that is a pretty basic skill. I have spent so many years mirroring other people’s behaviors or making decisions based on what those around me are doing, that I completely lost touch with myself. And with that, the trust went out the window. I didn’t trust that my body knew how to eat properly and how much. And I definitely didn’t trust that my mind could be “normal” around food. (What is normal anyways? But that is another topic completely)

I figured that since I couldn’t make basic decisions like what to feed myself on my own or to allow myself to sleep adequate hours at night, then I definitely couldn’t make bigger decisions either. I constantly sought out others advice and opinions for everything. It finally hit me how ridiculous this was when I texted a friend asking her whether I should go to a Catholic church or a non-dominational church one Sunday morning. Really? How in the world was she supposed to know which church I should go to? She wasn’t even currently in the same state.

It was with this incident that I really began to see the problem. The light bulb had finally turned on and I realized that I needed to figure out a way to re-gain this trust back.

You know how they say that the first part to fixing something is admitting that there is something that needs to be fixed? “They” (who is this collective they anyways?) should also tell you that this step usually opens a can of worms. I realized that I needed to start trusting my gut and stop using others as a guideline for my life, but I had no idea where to begin. I was having trouble asking for what I needed and didn’t even begin to know what I wanted. I was so out of touch myself, that I really didn’t think I actually had opinions or desires. (Which of course everyone does) Because of the confusion, I figured that if I trusted myself I would be led astray and I wasn’t going to allow that to happen.  

In the beginning of my recovery, if you looked into my kitchen it looked like only one person lived in my apartment and I have a roommate. My designated cupboard space was filled with about 3 things (diet coke, luna bars and tuna) and the rest was empty. The same was true for the refrigerator etc. I didn’t think I could be trusted around food. I was so convinced that after months of starving myself, that if I allowed myself to have any sort of food in the kitchen that I wouldn’t ever be able to stop eating.(which biologically would have made sense) I really didn’t have any solid evidence of this from past experience, but the fear still held strong.

If you walk into my kitchen now we are running out of space for things and we have a pretty large kitchen. In all seriousness, it actually looks like more than two people live in this apartment, and Gary, my roommate’s cat isn’t to blame. I now have to strategically maneuver in and out of my cupboard in order to get something out without knocking over everything else and every Publix trip turns into a game of Tetris.

This clearly didn’t happen over night. It took starting small and a lot of pushing by my nutrition therapist and others to get to this point. But the point of the matter is, it happened. Now, for the most part I trust myself around food and believe that my body knows what it’s doing. Minus the people on my treatment team, I no longer look to others for guidance in how and what I eat.

So how exactly do I spread this same trust to other aspects of my life?

Practice, patience and a lot of compassion for myself.

Lately I have been really confused. As most of you know, I was accepted into Law school at UF. I was also offered a really good job, something close to what I would consider a dream job. So what do I do? This has been the million dollar question for the last week. Thank goodness that I have a decent amount of time to make a decision, so there really isn’t a reason to rush. I’ve been rather torn and it’s been about more than just the two options, it’s mostly been about my ability to make this decision myself. Part of me has really wanted to go and ask everyone around me what they think I should do and I have already received a lot of well meaning, unsolicited BAD advice. On the other hand, I have also received a lot of perspective and good reminders from other people. Another part of me has wanted to call on my old trusty friend the eating disorder and see what he thinks, but I’d actually like to make a decision here, so that isn’t an option. And an even bigger part of me knows that I am fully capable of making this decision on my own and that this is where the true test of trust comes in.

I am an almost 25 year old independent women with a lot of accomplishments. It is my hard work that has led to these opportunities in the first place and I have no reason to believe otherwise. In the past few months, I have used my voice to speak up and make decisions for me many times. I am no longer running on blind faith but have seen hard evidence of my decision making skills for myself. I know that I have a good head on my shoulders and good reasoning skills. I have gained a lot of confidence in myself and my abilities.  

As shaky as it may sound, the trust is there. Now comes the hard part of corralling it all together.Throughout my recovery so far, I have heard time and time again things like "trust yourself", "forgive yourself" and "have faith in yourself". And I guess it's about time to start listening.  

disclaimer-I have never been the cheerleader type and am usually not overly peppy, but some times I think pep talks really do work and that is exactly what this post is for. So rah rah and happy Friday to you all!

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