Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Do we walk in legends, or on the green earth in the daylight?


Another new year! Time to make ourselves promises we don't intend to keep.

Lastyear's New Years mantra-thing never came true as far as 2011 not sucking as bad as 2010. If anything, I think 2011 was worse. So let's hope 2012 is a bit better, eh? And the only way to ensure that this year is a bit better than last is to MAKE IT better than last. We are the only ones who can make ourselves and our own lives better or worse, and this year, I want my life to be a little better.

I am determined to make myself a better person. I want to love myself as I am. I want to try and get back some semblance of who I used to be before the ED and this depression, and to do that I am not going to focus solely on my relationship with food; I'm going to focus on everything else. 

I am going to make more of an effort to go out and do things with friends and acquaintances, because this whole hermit thing is unhealthy. I want to do activities on weekends that do NOT involve going to the gym. 

I shall also stop the unrealistic fantasies about running away, and instead turn that into something doable--starting this week, I shall deposit as much as I can spare from each paycheck into the Maine Fund. No epic plans, no unrealistic goals; just saving. When I have enough money that moving to Maine is actually feasible, then I will decide if it's something I really want to do. 

My internal well-being will no longer be a giant pile of decaying sludge. It WON'T, dammit. I want the Old Mich back--the fearless (often reckless) Mich who scoffed at dangerous things like foul weather,

 wild animals,

 obnoxious people,

and poor body image.

That last one continues to be an ongoing effort, but it's actually going pretty well. I'm defeating each small obstacle (eating out, knowing if/when I'm full or hungry, not bingeing, etc.) as I encounter them. I have, however, just encountered an obstacle that is proving the most difficult one yet....
(...be warned, lengthy blather ahead...)

The bonds of friendship should be strong ones, right? Especially with people you've called friends for over a decade. Doesn't that make them practically like family?

A year ago I might have said yes without hesitation, until certain events cast shadows of doubt on that concept. After that, I would have said yes, but only perhaps for the CLOSEST close friends. Now after last night, I am doubting even that notion.

I've had more or less the same group of friends since the second half of high school. We gained and lost members of our group over the years, and we're not as close to some of the others as we used to be, but as for the two friends I've known longer than most of the other people in my life, we're still very close. I've known one of them for ::omgIfeelsoold:: 22 years, and though we probably could not be more different in personality/interests/etc if we tried, we will be friends until the day one of us dies. The other I have known now for 12 years, and even though there have been some rough patches, he's probably my closest friend ever. Out of all the friends I've ever had, he is the only one I would say is more or less, at this point, part of the family.

.....and by now I'm sure you sense the BUT coming...

M and I have survived as bff's this long because we are so alike in our interests, in our dysfunctional family histories, and in our numerous hang-ups. We're not so much alike in personality, but our natures complement each other, so that when we're together we just kind of bounce off of each other like Eddie &Patsy, and the differences don't matter. (For the record, I've always been Eddie.) We've had rough patches--M can be equally unreasonable and quick to anger, and I'm a stubborn mule who will not give in, apologize, or back down EVER--so there have been times in which we stopped speaking for months over something completely retarded. But we always went back to the way things were after a while. (Usually with no mention of the fight--we would just go back to being bff's while pretending the latest fight never happened.)

Among our shared hang-ups are the issues with eating and weight.

Our ED-behaviors are pretty similar: most of the time keeping a "healthy" weight as a result of the never-ending binge-starve-exercise cycles, with ocasional extremes. M tends to reach those extremes more often because he is that sort of person--he does everything in extremes, never with a happy medium or any kind of moderation. It's all or nothing.

So almost a year ago, M had lap-band surgery. He had been in a nasty binge cycle for a really long time and finally reached a weight that his doctor said was "medically" obese, and so I think his insurance covered the surgery. I didn't think M was anywhere near obese, but then he is 6' 5" and so he could probably weigh up to 400 pounds without ever looking obese. 

After the surgery, his eating didn't really improve. Yeah he couldn't binge like he used to and he couldn't eat a lot of the binge foods he used to without the lap band forcing him to throw up, but he found that he COULD binge on certain things (like ice cream) and so after the initial weight loss, he was really just maintaining a healthy weight.

And then a few months ago, he stopped eating. I didn't see him for a good while what with the holidays and me being a hermit because I've been in an epic funk, and then just before Christmas when I saw him again, he looked EMACIATED. On a 6' 5" frame, that looks kind of alarming. He's also--I have only very recently discovered--been seriously abusing vitamins*. But unlike me (only using them when I work out) M is using them all the time. And I'm pretty sure he's been using them for a really long time. Like long enough that he has stopped paying his credit cards and his car was repossessed for non-payment, and M is now filing for bankruptcy. I also heard hints that he's not paying his phone and his dad was helping with the car insurance. And since he only moved into his apartment a couple months ago, I would imagine that at least most of his money has been going towards the vitamin* habit.

I am in no position to tell anyone they should eat. I am also in no position to tell someone they have a drug problem and should seek help. It would obviously be hypocritical of me.

On Sunday night, M showed up at my house completely off his face on vitamins*. He informed me that he had just come from the hospital, and that he had snuck out of the hospital because they wouldn't let him drive. M had surgery on an ulcer a few weeks ago, and he said he went to the hospital Sunday night because he was in pain.

I'm not sure I believe this, because our vitamin*-friend decided to quit the vitamins* last week (>:O) and so is no longer selling them. M was getting desperate when I spoke to him on Friday, and then lo and behold, he comes over Sunday night fresh out of the hospital hopped up on dilaudid and with a prescription for 20 percocets.

-________________-

I want to help M, I really do. But he doesn't want help. He wants to be thinner still, and he sees no reason in quitting the vitamins* (whereas I Officially Stopped on Saturday because my supply ran out and I am not looking for more). I've also been doing ok in the eating department as well--not perfect, but ok.

As much as I hate to admit weakness, I have to say that it's REALLY FRIGGING HARD to remain hell-bent on this recovery when M is deep in the madness of anorexia. I see him looking gaunt and sick and I would be a total liar if I didn't admit that I feel jealous beyond words. I see him looking like a chemo patient and I want it too--I want to not eat, I want to lose 20+ pounds, I want to look half-dead--and the more time I spend with him the more my carefully constructed foundations of healthy eating start to crumble.

The part of me that wants to be free of this hell--the part of me knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that being that thin, aside from being unhealthy, IS NOT ATTRACTIVE IN ANY WAY--that part of me is saying OMG RUN. That part of me wants to distance myself from M so that I don't sink as well, because I have come way too far to let the same old demons sink me now.

But I feel like a coward, and a bad friend. Running from someone else's problems has destroyed some of my past friendships. I don't want to destroy this one. I don't know what to do.

The only thing I can think of to save myself is sitting M down and telling him that, while I don't want to tell him how he should live his life, I cannot continue to be around him if he's planning to stay on this path of starvation and drug abuse. But that feels cowardly, and bad-friend-ish. 

What do y'all think? If you've kept reading this far, that is... I'm scared for M, but I'm twice as scared for myself. 

31 comments:

  1. In all seriousness Mich, your fears for M are not unfounded, you should be scared for him. The fact he wants to be thinner still is worrying but hopefully he'll manage to find a way to beat these thoughts and become healthy again. Also, please don't aim to be like him (ugh, I feel horrible telling someone else how to feel), it's not healthy to be that thin and it wouldn't be healthy for you so try your best to avoid it. That weight should not be desirable at all, it should be the opposite.

    Good luck to your goals in 2012 as well, just like you I miss the old me so I can empathise. Sure others including ourselves may have failed in the past when it comes to keeping resolutions but maybe now is the time to change that? We're not failures so why should we spend our time failing at things like maintaining resolutions? Thought provoking post as always anyways, here's hoping you get out of this funk soon! :)

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  2. I support my friends no matter what. That being said, I would have to support recovery and health in this situation. I don't know how I would go about that, but if you want to keep M from dying, you should try something. Aka talk to parents, him, etc.

    None of that is more important than YOUR health. You want out of this "scared to eat three peanuts" lifestyle. Your health and happiness have priority over EVERYTHING ELSE. Whatever it takes. Being around M defeats this recovery. It seems pretty clear (however painful) to me that distancing yourself from M or anyone else with eating issues (including people on here) WILL make you healthier and happier.

    I love you.

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  3. I'm sorry. I have friends with addiction problems as well and it's a scary thing. How do you remain supportive without enabling? How do you stand firm without pushing away? How do you tell them you love them but you can't see them like this? It's hard and harder still I'm sure if you are also prone to suffering the same addictions, whether it be vitamins or alcohol or anorexia or cupcakes. I'm truly sorry, but you seem to be a very strong woman, but you know what you need to do. You need to distance yourself from M for your own preservation and even for his. You will be no help to him if you let him take you down with him. You have to look out for yourself first. And maybe it'll take you distancing yourself to be a kind of wake up call for M. Good luck, it seems 2012 is going to be a challenge.

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  4. I am deeply, massively proud of you, M.! I know you can do anything you set your mind to and you will, I believe in you! You've come so far and I feel like this will be your year to shine!

    I'm so sorry your 'bestie' is in such dire straits. You're a good friend and deserve to be happy. You should be your first priority, so I don't think you'd be cowardly to tell him how you feel. You can only help people so much, if they don't want help, there's not much you can do for them. It's difficult, especially when people want help, but are afraid, because their illness has become their identity and recovery means losing that identity.

    I'm thinking of you and love you fiercely. :)

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  5. Hi Mich. Mmm.. Yeah your in a real pickle. Friendships are important but M is out of hand. Especially since you want to move on to the brighter side of life, with M that will basically be impossible. Your going to have to choose you and cut M off until he gets it together. Its going to get real nasty and codependent, you dont want to be back on vitamins... This is it. Either you change your environment, or your environment will change you. You have such good goals for 2012, you deserve to live them out:)

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  6. You're absolutely right about making our lives better; no one can do that but ourselves. And we have to work at it every singe day. We have to choose to love ourselves despite our flaws, appreciate who and what we have, and avoid making the same choices/mistakes that send our destructive behaviors spiraling out of control. We've got to get up every morning and be willing to fight those depression//disorder demons with every weapon in our arsenal.

    Cheers to you for coming to this conclusion about yourself, and making the choice to take your life back. You can do it Mich! Be strong, be fearless, be happy, be... whatever you were before your ED. And then come down to Union County and hang out with me. Skip the gym some time and make a 'new' friend. I'm tired of being a hermit too! :D

    As for your old friend M....oy vey. Last thing you need right now, eh? I think you need to take care of yourself and make your own recovery a priority. But does that have to come at the expense of your friendship with M? Only you can say for sure. I guess I would suggest that you try to help him any way you can without directly subjecting yourself to his ED (phone calls/e-mails/IM chats maybe?) but I'm not sure if that will work for either of you. Your idea of sitting him down and giving him that 'ultimatum' (for lack of a better word) is what a GOOD friend would do. It takes a lot of strength to not only tell someone how concerned you are for them, but to make your own well-being a priority. It's very difficult to tell someone you care about that they will not drag you down. You're not being a coward at all if you decide to do that.

    Good luck with everything!

    xoxo

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  7. Oh dear, I'm really sorry your in this situation and I hope M will turn things around soon :/ I know you want to stay friends with M and everything and I think you should, but you also need to put yourself first. I don't think you should let him trigger you and spoil your hard work :/ maybe you could just talk to him about it and say while you really want to help him you need to think of yourself and distance yourself too? If you did it tactfully I'm sure he would understand, but it's very diffictult isn't it? Or you could tell someone else and get him outside help? Well I'm sure what ever you choose to do you will make the right choice :)

    I hope 2012 is better than 2011 and 2010! I'm sure it will be :) your aims for this year are great :)
    Lottie x

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  8. Oh Mich, what a situation! I think most of us are going to lean on the side of "your friend is very important, but you have to take care of yourself." I'd say if you were 100% back on your feet, recovered, and invincible, you would be in the position to throw yourself into helping M, if he would have it. Being around that destructive behavior is going to have a bad influence on you, and I don't want anything bad happening to you.

    I think its horrible that your friend has to go through this, even though situations such as this always start out with personally made bad choices, the fact is, addiction and ED are diseases that end up way beyond our control. You are not a professional who is equipped to help him. I say be encouraging and loving and supportive from a distance. You cannot, unfortunately, save him even if he wants to be saved. It's not your fault and you need to protect yourself.

    I think you goals for 2012 are wonderful. It is time to take care of yourself, love your body, cultivate relationships, and have a stable (vitamin* free) adult life. You can do it Mich.

    Let me know if there is anything I can personally do to help (even if it's just knit you something to cheer you up and/or prepare your for the cold Maine winters!)

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  9. Before I put on my serious hat, can I just say that I lol'ed hardcore at that pic of you and the Kardashians.
    xD

    M could definitely drag you down if he doesn't get himself out of this situation. I know you want to do everything you can for your friend, but you won't be able to do much if he triggers you into going back to old habits. It seems like you have the right idea--let him know how you feel, and take it from there.

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  10. I'm so sorry you're in this situation, I know how horrible it can be. In the past, I've had to tell friends explicitly that we cannot stay in contact because one of us is dragging the other down, and it was fairly horrible. Someone said to me recently, though, that helping others comes from the surplus you have after taking care of yourself. And, since you're still in a fragile place, you just don't have that surplus, so it probably wouldn't be beneficial to either you or M for you to become too involved.

    Your 2012 goals sound lovely and attainable, and I wish you the best of luck in starting off! xx

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  11. Hmmmmm, jeepers your M situation is tough!!! If I were you... hmmm... well I'm a bit off a hardass of the 'nobody can talk trash about my bestie unless they want their tyres slashed ' variety. But sometimes being a hardass can work to your advantage with the bestie: sometimes things reach the point were you've gotta smash a whiskey, take a deep breath and give them a rough talking-to, just let it all out, your fears re him and re you in relation to him as well. Then I feel like - as he knows you so well - he may be able to help you work out a solution. and you will have been honest, cleared the air and clued him in. Ie: managed to achieve both selfish and selfless objectives. Maybe??? I've always found that a bestie can really surprise you :) So I hope your Patsy surprises you! And may 2012 be trulystupendouslyamazing for you and please keep posting. x

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  12. Haha, I love the long lists of promises we never intend to keep! I've made such a list myself- I just hope I can at least keep half of my promises! I hope this year is much better than last- and you're right, we are the only ones who can make that happen!

    Well, after reading about M, I agree you have a dilemma. I respect the fact he's been your friend for ages and you would still like to preserve that friendship. However, as you stated yourself, being around him is causing you problems- bringing up those "old demons" that you're trying to rid yourself of. Sometimes we have to distance ourselves from those we care about in order to do what's in our best interest- in other words, you're trying to get better while he has no interest in health, spending more time around him would only bring you down further and you do not need that! I wish I could offer more words of encouragement, but you probably know everything I've told you already! Take care hun and have a blessed week ♥

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  13. I'm terrified for you both and really don't know what is the right thing to say.

    YES I want the Badass Dragon to arise from her cave and once again wreak havoc on an unsuspecting world. North America must be complacently assuming you'll stay a puppet of your inner demons and not be unleashing your Pure Awesomeness again this century. Prove them wrong!

    With M. Ouch. Some people on the BDF board were in the same position as you, with us on the board as their M. They sat down and had a hard think and eventually decided that their own health and recovery came FIRST, even over people who'd known them as long as the board has been in existence. They told us that they were trying to recover and that we were holding them back, and that they'd have to leave for a while but would come back when their health was no longer so easily triggered by other's tales of illness.
    This is so much easier to to with internet people who you've never met IRL. With people you've not known for your entire life.
    You may need to do that hard thing. Decide your health and quality of life is the most important thing to you right now. Sit him down and talk to him, tell him that you want to life your life alive instead of half dead. Tell him that while you still love him, he is making it very hard for you to try to recover and that you can't hang out with him while his continued illness makes it very very hard for you to try to seek out health. When you are on a stronger, more stable footing in your own head you will be able to hang out again, but until then you may have to cut contact quite a bit. It is NOT cowardly, it's incredibly brave. It is NOT being a bad friend. It's guaranteeing him MORE years Decades even!) with you than he would have if you didn't try to get well. He may blow up, he may pull all sorts of unfair arguments out of the bag. One day, if everything goes well, he will completely understand why you have to/had to do it.
    There is a tactful way to be honest, but I don't know it >.< Sometimes doing what's best in the long term means doing something that may seem cruel in the short-term.

    SOMETHING HAPPY: It was Tolkein's 119th Bday yesterday my time. So it's probably still his Bday in your timezone.

    The Boy bought me HOARD on steam. I can't play as the golden dragon, coz that's you. I'm usually the green or brown one, closes to a flying hellpig as I can get.

    Love you and want you alive and badass. I hope M doesn't go all irrational on you. Hugs for you both!

    xoxoxoxoxo

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  14. I'm so so sorry you're in this terrible situation. I can't really advise you here well, as I've no experience with intervention. I guess the only think I can say is that you should imagine yourself in reversed roles. Yes, this is a total cliche, but maybe you should try and think about how you would feel if he confronted you on vitamin abuse and unhealthy weight loss. If you feel you can't handle this mentally, STAY AWAY!!! And get someone who wouldn't be triggered by this to help. It may seem selfish, but recovery seems like a very precarious situation mentally. Try to see him, but if it gets to be too much you can always leave and regroup. You owe it to be there for him, but only within your own abilities. I'm sure he wouldn't want you down there with him.

    xxxxx

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  15. First off, I'm glad to see you positive about the New Year and I'm thrilled to see you cartooning again.

    You're M's friend and even though you think it would be hypocritcal for you to urge counselling, you still have the right to give the advice. And I agree with Clear Girl, if being around M is dangerous for your own stability, stay away. You must take care of yourself first.

    Sorry I wasn't here yesterday, but Hubby was admitted to hospital and I wasn't around the blogosphere.

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  16. first, a note that I adore your cartoons as much as ever, with spraying the kartrashians in my top faves (right up there with the old pic of you driving a school bus and you and the kids clearly screaming)

    serious hat time:
    I'm so sorry you're in that position. That really sucks. And I'm also gonna say you have to choose yourself.. at the very least because you won't be able to help him if you don't help yourself first.
    to quote Albus Dumbledore: it takes a great deal more courage to stand up to your friends.
    You're not a coward.
    to quote Samantha Ronson in "Promise": Though I blame me as much as you, I'm over being pulled under.

    Sometimes all that's left to do is admit you can't give someone the help they need. And save yourself.
    and i am so sorry.....
    :(
    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

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  17. I like the fact your getting your self back on track! I hope you keep up with it!

    As for what you should do in regards with M. I don't know. All I can think to say is follow your heart/mind. Good luck.

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  18. I wish I had good advice for you, but I seem to be bad at human relations since my bout with depression. I know you're smart and you'll make a good decision.

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  19. the sit down is actually the opposite of cowardly. Cowardly would be to do the easier 2 choices: RUN, or join him.

    I wholeheartedly support your idea of a sit down "I can't hang out with you if you're going to choose this path."

    Please let us know how it goes.
    Love, Jenn

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  20. I totally like that you seem kinda back on track of recovery and giving up on vitamins*, too :) ! As we like to say in German: Die Hoffnung stirbt zuletzt.
    So true that we are the only ones that can make things work out for us (though I often find it hard to WANT things to get better...)! We really gotta have faith in ourselves.

    I am terribly sorry to hear that about your friend M. But I agree with the others: it's anything but cowardly to have a good, calm sit-down with him and tell him about your thoughts. Acutally I would find it rather bad-friend-ish if HE'd have no understanding for your feelings. You're not turning him down but his ED (which seems to love destroying relationships).
    The whole thing would be as triggering for me as it seems to be for you, so I say you've got all the right in the world to NOT follow him on his path. Save yourself first, then him :)

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  21. Cool blog following :) I always love comic blogs!

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  22. Passei para conhecer o blog,
    beijos

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  23. oh gosh :( mitch im so sorry, that sounds like a really difficult situation :( i think its a time old example of a head and heart conflict...

    head: focus on your recovery.
    heart: stick with M and risk relapse.

    i dont feel in a position to tell you what to do. i think listening to your head would be the stronger action. but if it was me, i wouldnt be able to do it :(

    x x x x x

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  24. I just noticed the Legion caption over your blogroll and it made me very happy. :)

    You are a truly amazing writer. I hope you know that. You seem to be an amazing person in general, so I know you'll do the right thing with M, whatever it is you decide to do.

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  25. I'm not going to pretend like I know you all that well and offer anything beyond what I see here, but all I can offer is honesty.

    You may love this fella very much, but ultimately you need to look out for your own well-being first. If you're not well, you'll never be able to help anyone else. I think your final idea is a good one. Best thoughts and wishes to you!

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  26. Well, I guess you need to look after yourself so you can then look after other folk.

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  27. If you try to be his friend through this, you'll be enabling him and hurting yourself. He will need to hit rock bottom before he gets better. You won't be abandoning him by simply saying that you need to focus on your own semi-recovery. You need to do this for yourself.

    I'm also sending you an email with my more detailed opinion.

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  28. Oh,Mich,
    This sounds so cliche, but i am so, so sorry about your friend. i haven't commented until now because i just don't know what to say. So many other people have given such excellent advice, i just wanted you to know i am thinking of you and hoping you find a way to deal with this while keeping yourself safe.

    i just love, love your drawings...You go Lady! Congrats on your new, fighting attitude! You will suceed!

    Much Love,
    tracy

    Ha, ha, verifecation was "trudge". That's exactly how i feel!

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  29. That was the Care Bear I had (I think? Is that the sleepy one?).

    One of my reactions to this is that if you feel scared for yourself, then that is a *good* thing: it shows the turnaround in your thinking - and an awareness and...acceptance? of that turnaround, and I agree with others that self preservation is vital. You're doing amazingly, and it's not easy (at all), not when it feels like 'well' is in conflict and alien to everything that is or has been engrained.
    Perhaps honesty is (as cliche as it is) the best option? You've been friends for a long, long time, and he cares about you too. So maybe telling him you want to help, but also laying out how all this is affecting you too, and you can't help him if you're falling down the same hole at the same time. Maybe from being open about your fears (for him and yourself) you can figure out where to go from there, and find the best route for both of you, for you both to get to the places you need and want to be?
    None of this is probably any help, but I think maybe taking it in small steps, and assessing after each step (i.e. step one being to tell him you WANT to support him but are unsure if you are able to,and also your fears) could help?
    Maybe, just maybe, if he sees how worried you are not only about him, but also about the potential impact of his desires and behaviours on you, he might, too, start to realise that this is no way to live? I'm sure he wouldn't want to harm you. And it may sow the first seeds of recovery for him, if he sees you adamant upon it for yourself? Recovery is a slow and hard process, but it has to start somewhere, from small realisations, or fearing what will be lost if you carry on.
    I'm sorry I have nothing useful to offer (I tried to comment the day this posted, but blogger was being an arse), but hopefully you'll find strength and some answers in all of the amazing comments above. Whatever you decide, we will all be here to support you and help you through this.
    Please keep yourself on the recovery path, missus. You really are too good and fascinating a person to be drained away.
    much love to you.
    ps. quite liking your new avatar thingum ;) and I'm working on a wee gift for you as I sit here.
    xxx

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  30. Sorry to hear about your friend, hope it all turns out ok in the end.

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  31. if you can do it (LIVE), so can i!

    about M, i think you have to come first, Mich. You're making progress, and you need to get better before you can help him. If he's bad for your LIVING, there needs to be distance between you. I hope it works out though!

    please stay strong, you are such a motivation for me to get better as well. You've been struggling for pretty much the same amount of time as I have and I'd like to believe that there's more for us to live for than restricting and over-exercising to the extent that we have to use vitamins*

    <3!!!!! xx

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We say whatever we want to whomever we want, at all times.