Going into treatment for my eating disorder felt like what I image to be mid-life crisis. My world got completely shock up and thrown all over the place. I had who I thought I wanted to become as I was working on my career in acting. I had my values and everything that I believed was important to me. When I left my treatment center, I was completely detached from who I thought I was when I originally went. This I later would call my destruction of the BubbleStar.
I always considered myself a very bubbly, outgoing, personable person. However, I was very surfacey with people. No one got to see the true me, no one got to know all that was really going on. I had many people tell me however, they knew I was holding back, or I had friends tell me I was selling myself short since I wasn’t allowing the darker sides to come out.
Before, I went into treatment, I had my own burlesque company. Was working as a server as I was pursuing my acting career. I also had my own production company that I had started a web series with. This is all things I originally believed I wanted with / in my life. Things that were going to bring me success and happiness and a life worth living.
I got out of treatment were I no longer ran my burlesque company. No longer wanting to pursue acting and put off doing my web series because I didn’t want to be associated with the character I had established for the content. I didn’t feel like I could do fluff anymore. When I really looked into what I wanted I realized none of this was ever really want I wanted. Rather it was stuff I stumbled upon that I thought would help and serve a purpose down the line. I still believe all of it has served a purpose and was in my life for a reason, but in the long run, it isn’t part of my journey anymore.
I went into treatment having my objective for what needed to happen. The only thing I was going to work on, the only thing that needed to be fixed or the only thing that was a problem was my eating disorder. WRONG, I was so wrong. Little did I really know what the experience was going to entail. My identity felt lost and more confusing. All these things, I had identified with, were stripped from me as I began to go back to who I really wanted to be.
I couldn’t fathom that there was deeper issues, more things than just my eating disorder that needed to be taken care of. I couldn’t see that everything that was in my life at that moment was what was feeding into my eating disorder. I remember being so distraught for a while as I had to let go of things in my life that I knew deep down were holding me back from truly getting to the life I wanted to live. I also knew that if I truly wanted to recover and not simply put a band-aid on it or get better temporarily I had to really evaluate everything in my life.
It was hell though. I would get so upset, feeling like, how much more was there to peel back? How much more was there that was going to get taken away from me? I felt like an onion that was never going to get to the core, as more and more layers kept popping up. New challenges, new things to face, that I never realized where even a problem. The hardest thing too, was I got constantly told how I couldn’t joke or try and laugh the hurt away. I remember telling my treatment team that things weren’t that serious, as I again tried to make a joke about me constantly making jokes. However, as soon as the mask of the jokes, or the bubbly personality were stripped the water works came. This I called the first impact blow to the BubbleStar. The real legit tears, not the tears from drinking myself silly, or the surfacey I should cry now because that is what we do in treatment, the real tears I had been holding back. I sat there one time feeling like I was a faucet that broke and the tears were never going to stop.
It wasn’t until I allowed the tears to come, and I allowed myself to keep crying that the release finally happened though. The growth began. It felt contradictory to me, that crying would make me feel stronger, more alive. I always believed tears were weak, stupid, I would get so embarrassed if I allowed myself to cry in front of anyone. However, after a good cry, the weights would start to feel a little less intense. The burden not so bad to bear.
Going to a treatment center felt like what I feel would be like a mid-life crisis. It was if I woke up one morning and realized I wasn’t living the life I wanted to live. I had to look at how I was living, evaluate everything I was doing that I thought was suppose to give my life substance. I had to look at my life and realize that what I was doing currently wasn’t working for me. It didn’t serve a purpose anywhere and in order to give my life some real meaning, I couldn’t keep trying to hold on to something hoping it would eventually work. I had to destroy the BubbleStar Galactic and start from fresh and rebuild with a better foundation. A more solid core.
The rebuilding process has it’s own set of challenges too. The tendency to try and use old screws from the previous ship don’t work or fit correctly but it would be easier. The desire to just do things on autopilot, but then realizing that I Just have to take that down again and keep going. Keeping building away. I liked to remind myself of a saying I heard so much from my Dad growing up, that “Rome wasn’t build in a day.”
So with everyday – with thoughtful and careful planning. non-judgmental mindfulness, and doing things everyday to take care of myself – the core gets stronger and the pieces align themselves the way they are supposed to.