Friday, May 17, 2013

Unexpected Triggers (Part 2)

 This week was the start of my summer semester. With the start of any new situation, we are faced with new people, new expectations, and potentially new triggers. Like many of my posts, I was not sure if I should write about this, however, it has been almost 24 hours since I was in class and this situation is still on my mind.

I will just be blunt about it - There is an individual in my class, who of course decided to sit directly in front of me, that is clearly emaciated. Over the past year or so, I have become aware that people do have different body types and some people are lucky enough to be naturally thin. This person, on the other hand, looks sick. Whether this person has an eating disorder or not is none of my business, but it definitely does distract me from listening to the professor's lecture.

For the most part, I am heartbroken at the sight of this and hoping my assumptions are dead wrong. A very small part of me, however, is jealous enough to feel triggered. I realize that feeling the slightest bit of envy towards this person is silly. A good chunk of my life was spent in that living hell, so why would I feel this way? 

As I was laying in bad last night, I realized that I am not necessarily envious of this person's weight, but more so of the control she has over her life; even if it is a false sense of control. In the twisted mindset that comes with an eating disorder, I find myself longing for that feeling of numbness. Rather than feeling disappointment, heartbreak, loneliness, or anger, this person keeps her emotions in check at all times. A part of me is also reminded of the high my eating disorder gave me. For once in my life, I felt worthy because I could control my weight and now that is gone. The "who am I without my eating disorder?" thoughts have returned.

Thankfully after a good nights rest, I woke up this morning with a different perspective on the situation. Although it would be nice to avoid uncomfortable emotions, that would also mean I would not know how to experience the good emotions. During my eating disorder I was so detached from my emotions that as I began recovery, experiencing joy and happiness felt extremely foreign. Somehow I felt like I was doing something wrong by actually feeling my feelings. Now, a year into my recovery, I often feel obnoxiously happy. Without years of pain, I would not be able to take advantage of all of the beauty left in my life.

Although it also felt nice to have some control over my weight and other situations in my life, I have finally reached a point where I can see the opposite was true - my eating disorder was controlling me. Eating disorder patients often refer to that high they get from feeling "empty" or binging and purging, but I can finally see that those supposed highs don't compare to the joyful highs I now feel in my everyday life.

Next Tuesday when I have this class again, I know the individual who sits in front of me will be somewhat of a distraction. Luckily for me, however, I can choose to view the situation however I want. This will not be the last time I will encounter someone who physically appears to have an eating disorder, but that does not mean I need to let it affect me. Once again, I will emphasize that I am making assumptions and I could be completely wrong about this person's heath; that doesn't make it any less triggering though.

Like I have said a million times before, triggers will always be there, it's how we choose to deal with them that pushes us further into recovery.


P.S. Last January I wrote a post called Unexpected Triggers, which is why this is Part 2. After rereading the original post this morning, it's exciting to see the change in myself after a few short months. I think that deserves another... Progress. :)


  1. Ah I can relate to this so much. I feel like I have a heightened sensitivity to observing people's bodies or at least knowing when it is natural and not. it breaks my heart to see some girls but also in a twisted way that jealousy, that they still have that 'control'. of course I know the control is not a control that is actually their own but still.

    1. "But still..." is key. I'm not sure why those thoughts still linger, but they are definitely there.

  2. This post is a whole a more than what it is written. Comparing, Judging, jealousy, doubt, fight and etc... And, yes, I can't even describe how much I can relate to it. It's hard to see the others who are like us and not doing what we believe it is good. It didn't mean that we started our recovery journey with good understanding, positive attitude and so much willingness. No, it was just desperation (called a gift of desperation). Some of these are in denial, and the rest is just different from us. And, now I look back and I see that I was not happy when my weight was lower anyway. At least, my brain works now.

    When people are in denial, they feel fine with what they have. They don't know! and sometimes, they tell us like they do! It irritates a hell out of me. It's like, "YOU EVEN DONT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. JUST SIT BACK. DONT TALK TO ME LIKE THIS!" In a way, it is happening all inside me. The others are not doing anything to us...

    What you feel is so valid, and definitely you are not alone in this. And, you are so normal to feel this.

    I was very low and depressed. Your post always helps me. Thank you, Kelsi. xoxo

    1. Definitely. I was in that "I don't have a problem" state of mind for quite sometime. At one time I was sitting in that person's shoes and that's where I struggle. Even when I was sick, I could see how sick others were, but I could never see it in myself. It's definitely a frustrating thing.
      Hang in there - sending lots of love <3

  3. What you described as envy, feels like the intense cravings one has for their addictive substance or behavior. As you have said repeatedly, one must choose recovery repeatedly.Can you sit in the front of the class so you are unable to look at her? Love ya..aunt Judy

    1. Yes, I totally agree that the envy is a craving for that addictive behavior. I didn't think of it that way. I will be sitting in the front of the class on Tuesday... Good tip :) Love you too!