Smart people do dumb things
What’s your addiction?
How does what you’re showing on the outside match with what’s going on on the inside?
I’ve always had a positive opinion of myself, not in an up myself kind of way, but more in an I’ve always known my worth sort of way. In a world where we’re encouraged to put ourselves down, I’ve managed to maintain a pretty healthy self-esteem, or so I believed. To those that know my story, this may seem like an impossibility, after all, how could a woman who suffered for 20 years with an eating disorder possibly have had a healthy self-esteem?
I’d always considered myself to be like a wise, old owl. From a young age, I’d always felt like my mum was here for her first time and I’d been here many times before. I can’t really explain it, I’d just always had a sense that I was wiser and not in a knowledgeable, I’m really smart way, but wise in that I innately knew not to sweat the small stuff. I think I’ve always approached life with balance and a level head. Nothing really phases me too much, I don’t have the time or the energy to deal with things that are out of my control, I know when to hold on to things and when to let go, or did I?
With this in mind, it’s hard to imagine that a smart person like me would get wrapped up in an eating disorder. Night after night, as I stood in the bathroom questioning my actions, questioning my inability to correct my nightly wrongs, wondering why I felt I was so unworthy of keeping my food inside of me, and all I could think was that I knew there was no way I was the only one, I made no connection to this being related to my self-esteem, despite the fact I knew it affected my body image.
Smart people do dumb things all the time.
My ability to separate myself from the things I couldn’t change, was now that I look back, one of the reasons the disorder stayed with me for as long as it did. I existed quite separately to it, we were not one despite residing in the same location, we lacked unity. There were times that I’d thought I hadn’t purged for weeks, until remembering later the episode I’d blocked out from two nights earlier. How crazy that I worked, functioned highly, mothered, taught, all completely unaffected except for the night times, and the times I was alone.
If you had asked anyone that knew me to describe me, they would have said I was outgoing, witty, confident, self-assured, calm and possibly a little on the cheeky side. I’ve always loved a laugh. I couldn’t think of anything worse than dreading going to work each day, for me, it was always so important to have fun, to live lightly and remember the importance of living a balanced life. With many teachers staying back until well after 5, I headed home early to be with my family. I worked to live, I never lived to work.
I had so many things going right in my life, I had a great attitude, a positive mindset, I was eternally optimistic, yet I was living a disorder between me, myself and I that filled me with nothing but gloom, I saw no way out.
I lived the life of a high functioning addict. I was no different to the alcoholic that thinks about their next drink constantly, but for me my vice was binge eating, stuffing myself with food and then getting rid of it. The fact that I have been able to completely turn my life around, is a testament to how highly I have viewed myself. If I lacked self-esteem, if I’d believed I was useless and worthless as a human being, then perhaps I wouldn’t be standing as tall and as proud as I am today, or so I thought.
What I came to understand was that I had been in conflict. My external world and my internal world had been in mortal combat. Internally, the less I weighed the more I was worth, however I’d failed to make a connection that it in fact was affecting what I thought was my healthy self-esteem.
Perhaps when you’re an addict, you’re too close to see the truth of your circumstances.
Unfortunately, I think almost all of us are addicted to something, whether that addiction be your Smartphone, your success, your failures, your lifestyle, or something else all-together.
Whatever it is, if it’s impacting your life, take steps to do something about it. I still believe that the fact I’ve always viewed myself as highly capable, has had something to do with how I’ve come out the other end. I encourage you, no I beg you, to start seeing yourself as the incredibly able person that you are. If you don’t rate yourself highly, how can you expect anyone else to? It’s okay to become your own cheerleader, to sing your own praises. Stop waiting for others to lift you up! No one will spend more time with you than you will, so recognise your worth, value your worth, proudly own your worth! You get one shot at life, don’t get to the end of yours and wish you’d respected yourself more. Here’s to knowing how awesome you are!
So, what are you addicted to?