Contemplation, apprehension and a good dose of uncertainty
“What next, where to now, can I really go through with releasing this website? Can I share MY life, good and horrible, to anyone who might stumble across The Picture Healer? This is not me; this is not how I do things!” ED’s fighting hard, doing what he does best!
The intense anxiety was triggering a mini relapse.
In the days leading up to the launch of The Picture Healer, I felt a buildup of something messy inside. It was like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that needed to be put back together in order to get an answer, telling me what to next. Would I proceed, or jump ship? The doubts, reasons why proceeding was very bad idea (photography won’t protect you for long), the self-doubt (you know nothing) and criticism (you think you can take a decent photo; you can’t) were flooding my mind; it was noisy inside, very noisy. Heart racing, nausea setting in, sleep disturbed; why put myself in such a vulnerable position? Am I out of my mind? Why, why, WHY?
Until this point, my life had been a big dark struggle of nothingness, a fictitious exterior. I slipped into this fake role each day in order to step out of my hidden and small but seemingly safe world. So, here I am, asking why? Why expose myself now to an intense sense of vulnerability without my accustomed protective layer to hide behind? Until now I have had an ever-present loyal companion. “A model employee” would be an excellent description. Always reliable, always willing to give an opinion, a truth, his truth, always having my best interests at heart. This companion has been a soother, a helper, my acclaimed protector from the big bad world, constantly by my side. ED has been my best friend but ironically, my worst enemy at the same time. Upon reading my story, what if people are cruel, judgmental, mocking of me? Who will protect my vulnerable self then?
At this point, ED is fighting to remain in my life; he’s carefully plotting steps to lead me to a dreaded relapse; in part successfully. He caught me out, reestablished his power over me, at a recent family trip (See blog 7). I returned home feeling horrible about myself, convinced that X kilos had suddenly showed up on my body from eating food, I felt somewhat defeated. But positively, I fought back, I reached out and talked to many supportive people about it. They listened, responded rationally and, although my healthy Sam mind has not yet got fully back on track, I haven’t gone down the path of bulimia either. I’m not in the red zone and I’m trying hard to keep myself out of it.
So, while I might be afraid of my life becoming an open book, the alternative of hiding away with ED was far scarier. ED wanted to keep our little arrangement relevant, under wraps and within his total control. Why wouldn’t he? It was familiar, comfortable, at times captivating and satisfying but there were those other times, those times that no human being should have to endure or feel about themselves, those times when I found myself asking, “What’s the point?”
Where to now? Website, no website? Website!
Take home message
So, here’s my moment of truth, my reality, the harsh facts I must face. It’s now or never. The decision: do I choose life with my family or do I succumb to ED and slowly but surely fade away? I’ve hidden from life for too long, listened to my ED abusing my mind and body repeatedly, ending up in the same miserable place each time.
I’m sitting on a fence, looking at both sides and I can see the good and the bad in both worlds. One side is full of blue skies, landscapes, travel, my smiling children and my backpack full of photographic equipment. The other side is dull with grey skies and everything is dying; it’s empty, suffocating; it’s sucking the life out of me and my family.
It’s time to find the strength to move forward and not look back; it’s time to do what I love; it’s time to break free from the superficial life, it’s time to not give a damn about what other people might think or say about me. There is nothing good for me in ED’s world. “Move away Sam, keep moving away.”
The release of the Picture Healer signifies my big step in rebelling against the eating disorder’s demands to destroy myself. I am taking the power back from ED, taking it firmly in my hands and taking one step forward at a time. This is my decision, my journey, and I invite you to join me as I explore this path to freedom.