A little social re-positionning

I am having to undertake a little social re-positioning now that I am emerging as a person – and not an illness.

The parameters have shifted somewhat; and, there has been a little lag in the transition – which is only to be expected after 17 years of living within the clearly defined cage of an eating disorder.

So, I am having to re-navigate relationships and re-set the expectations. I am learning to show that the things that weren’t possible before are now okay; that the concerns that were so palpable are no longer overwhelming; and, that the hope that was previously cloaked behind self protection and past disappointment, can finally be enjoyed –

After a lot of pain, the best way to do this is by example.

Meals out were a no go area for my anorexia and the evenings were reserved for whatever assault course the bulimia was planning. The fear of the former – and the guarded protection of the latter had resulted in a social calendar constructed purely around morning coffee – or afternoon tea.

If you want to change the pattern, you’ve got to start providing an alternative.

Now, I am asking people for dinner in the evening – or a drink at the end of a busy day; and, gradually, the invitations are extending both ways.

For a long time, my conversations were characterised by neediness and dependency and a draining sense of desperation. When you don’t know who you are, other people’s opinion become particularly important; and, when you don’t trust what you’re thinking, you can’t get enough reassurance.

I hadn’t realised how one-sided the relationships had become until I started noticing that “are you okay?” was replacing “hello”.

Now, I am trying to reciprocate the favour and learning to give – as well as take. Instead of the despair driven phone calls, I am saving my emergencies, for emergencies, and my calls, for conversations; and, slowly, the fear is being replaced by friendships –

Because I hadn’t realised just how far the impact of the eating disorder had spread.

And I had been frustrated by the impossibility of removing the assumptions and the associations –

Until I started to realise that this new way of being needs a little introducing and a while to get used to – because the old way of being had left a few painful scars.

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