During my second or third round of attempting to get into a full recovery, I began to get really frustrated. My mom was pretty much the only reason I was trying to get better. She would lay off me for a while, and then try to get me back into recovery mode full force. Today, I am thankful for her encouragement and forcefulness. Without her, who knows where I would be. But at the time, I would get so angry that she was trying to help me. She didn’t know what I was going through, who was she to try to make things better when all I wanted was for everything to slowly get worse and fall away? Sometimes I would say things that I really, truly felt and meant, but when I voiced them, she would respond “That’s just the eating disorder talking”.
I remember one time I was making spaghetti for all of us for dinner. Somehow we got on the topic of me and my issues, and I told my mom that I didn’t feel like I belonged in our family. “I never have, I feel like I’m not like the rest of you. Some thing’s wrong, I’ve always felt different. I don’t belong. I’m not the same as all of you.” She asked me if I really felt that way, if I had really always felt that way. “Yes!” I replied. “I think I’ve always known I’m different. I don’t think I’m supposed to be here.” I couldn’t place these feelings. I really felt them though. and I often still do. It’s like I’m on the outside looking in, but it is so much more than that. At times I used to feel like I should have never been born. I know that my mom meant well, that she was trying to help me identify my legitimate thoughts from the more illogical ones. But it really pissed me off when she said that kind of thing. My eating disorder did have a voice, but this one wasn’t it. This one was real, and I felt like she was just brushing it off as lunacy. Some of my ideas may have come from the depths of my depression, and the voices inside my head, but sometimes when I really think about it, I still feel sure of what I said that day. I have never fit in. I have never felt normal (well, ever since I became self-aware). Some days I feel all right about my differences, and others I worry that maybe my whole life is a lie.
I’m not trying to pick on my mother in this post. Far from it. Without her love and care and listening ear, I would be a mess. But I am trying to say this: if you are fortunate enough to be the one someone in crisis turns to for advice, or just to talk to, please, please hear them out. Love on them, listen to them, care for them if they will allow it (and maybe even if they won’t). They may not be ready to admit it, but they need it. They need you. We need you. My mom listened so many times. She hugged me even when I resisted. She prayed over me, even when I was audibly asking the devil to come and stay in my presence. And I don’t think she knows how much this meant, how much this means.