Re Dis-covery

I started to write an eloquent post about the semantics of the word “recovery”.

It has stuttered and spluttered, for the past few weeks, and I have made myself feel misunderstood. I do not want to write about it nicely, at the moment. I don’t want to phrase how I’m feeling in pleasantries or flowery terms.

To be honest, I’d rather just sit and cry.

Recovery is meant to be a positive term and somewhere that I am pleased to be heading, but a momentary flash of word play and I have tumbled down into a gap –

Recovery. Recover. Return. Regain.

It is beginning to dawn upon me that there has been a fundamental flaw in my approach. Whilst trying to move forwards, I have been constantly looking back (because this seems the obvious place to find what I have lost).

This is why it jars, and clashes, and squeezes me. Stuck.

I can not return to the pre-eating disordered Melissa, because I can no longer remember who she is. And, recovery can’t be about recovering that pre-ED girl, because things have moved on and she is irrelevant, now.

Which is where I fall down.

I have been looking in the wrong direction and tripped over my own feet. Found myself wedged between an impossible and an unknown; and been clutching-at-clinging-at fragments of an outdated identity because it’s the only example of Melissa when she was well. There is nothing, tangible, to hold onto ahead; and no image to fix my gaze on. Just fragmented memories.

Discovery, and not recovery –

Which scares the hell out of me, because it means saying goodbye and accepting that some things – and some stages – are non-recoverable.

They are just lost.

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4 Responses to “Re Dis-covery”

  1. Abby says:

    But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing…
    I think that all of us have a hard time remembering who we were “before” and also who we want to be “after,” when neither of those things can really be changed in the long run. Every day, every minute, you are working towards creating a new sense of self, a new sense of worth and things that are lost in the past are just that–lost. That means there are more opportunities to find and accept new parts of Melissa that were stolen by the disorder.

    It can suck, but it can also be an opportunity to let the cards fall where they may. You don’t know what the future holds, what that “identity” you’re searching for is defined by, as each and every day and decision will play a roll in that. To be honest, that’s exciting; almost like a second chance. By letting go you can move ahead and discover who you are with healthy intentions.

    I think being sick has made me much more aware of my own feelings and values, as well as compassionate towards others who struggle with anything. This might not have happened had I not “lost” myself and attempted to rediscover who I was.

  2. Roisin Thompson says:

    This aspect of “recovery” frightens the life out of me too to be honest. All too often I hear people say that they “want to get their life back” and others often ask me do I not want my life back too? Actually the answer to this is “no” because it is precisely that life that ultimately led me to develop an eating disorder! Also, like you say, I don’t really know who I was before I got ill although I have lots of memories of what I DID. It is reassuring to read in your blog that you seem to share similar sentiments because for a long time I’ve been feeling that I must be some kind of freak to be feel so hopeless about “recovery”. I do not feel the sense of hope and positivity that I feel being in recovery should bring a bit at least. Nor do I feel particularly pleased about it either. Apologies for the negative overtones to my reply but I just wanted to say that I think that I connect in some small way to what you are feeling, and if this is the case, then perhaps what we feel is common to many people going through this process. This gives me a small bit of hope because although I still don’t have a solution for how I’m feeling, at least it makes me think that it might not be just “me” that is the problem here but rather an illness that has simply warped, distorted and twisted my mind and personality. Thank you for sharing again with such honesty and openess. What you write is simply brilliant.

  3. Abby says:

    P.S. Roisin, you said what I couldn’t quit figure out how to say. I completely relate and you’re SO not alone. Thank you (and Melissa) for so eloquently expressing it.

  4. Melissa says:

    Thank you so much for sharing these experiences, and for your kind words.

    It has been interesting to process these posts, as I am realising that in some ways, this letting go is just a ‘normal’ part of growing up and self development. Okay, there’s the added challenge of pressing play when your life has been on hold, but I imagine change evokes mixed feelings for a lot of people and there are things that we don’t want to return to – and those that are harder to let go.

    I suppose the other thing I have noticed is how absolute I have been with the process. That I am either better or ill, old Melissa or new one, an adult or a child, good or bad….that kind of thing. Maybe it would be easier to view these changes (and recovery) as just part of a long journey where, as Abby notes, things contribute and help to create something….

    I think this process, and recovery, is hard….but maybe that’s why the illness is so difficult to shift? And also why it’s important to remember that it can be overcome; and there is definitely hope.