Wow, I never would have believed I’d receive so much love and support from launching this blog last week. To everyone who read my first post, checked out my other pages, and told me how much you liked it, it meant the world to me. It really did!
To be perfectly honest – which is what I’m striving to do here – I must say that after I published my first post, I went to bed with a nearly crippling fear, and some dread. I thought what the heck am I doing? This was a bad idea, maybe I should just apologize, say it was a big mistake, and stop… I didn’t really believe this because everyone reading this so far has given nothing but positive and loving feedback! Like I mentioned in my last post, I think this irrational freak out was the work of my anorexic voice. Let’s call her An.
The last thing An wants is to be talked about with others. It’s like a bad relationship. An eating disorder is the abusive partner, and they don’t want to be discovered or told about. They want to stay secret, and boy do they thrive on silence! All those little times I used to leave out a detail, or decide not to say that I skipped breakfast, they snowballed into a big dark presence that forced me to lie to people I love, turn food against me, hate myself, keep me from doing what I really want, and… well, you get the idea.
Jenni Schaefer’s book, Goodbye Ed, Hello Me, which is one I almost always have on hand, is all about that. Schaefer tells readers that to help one get over their eating disorder, one needs to personify the disorder, picture it as something separate from them. Because people with eating disorders are not their eating disorder. It’s really like any other illness. My counsellor told me to picture it as a tumour, something that just latched on to me and grew, and it’s not me. It is very important for those affected to see An, the one telling them they’re not good enough, they can’t have more food, they have to work out more, or whatever the case, as something outside of them. I actually picture An as this gaunt, vile, uptight, and spiteful thing, just sulking in the corner, mad at me that I’m weakening her power and giving it to me, Nikki Thériault. Take this blog, An!
“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”
I absolutely love that message. I saw it on Instagram a couple of weeks ago, and it just made me so happy. Carrie was a brave and strong advocate for mental health, especially for manic depression and drug addiction, which she struggled with. I loved that she admitted this very simple thing: you don’t have to do everything with confidence. Whenever I couldn’t always do something with confidence (mainly because An was making me feel awful about doing almost anything), I’d feel so bummed out because I thought that’s what one was supposed to do, all the time, be confident! But being afraid is ok! An still scares me sometimes, but my actions against her include things like eating more Nutella, laying down whenever I feel like it, telling my jiggly arms and tummy that I’ll love them no matter what, and writing about her here. I can’t stay silent about my struggles anymore because if I sit passively, I give An more power. I also want people to be aware of these kinds of problems in case they know anyone who might need help and inspiration to recover.
On another note, making this blog brought up some old thoughts. I think it’s a combination of the worries of starting this blog, the fear of having to explain myself to people, and not as much sleep as I’d like the past few nights. All this makes me more vulnerable to my unhealthy ways of coping, namely to restrict, so I need to take extra care of myself in these times. Getting love from my readers really makes me feel better, and more excited for the future!
But this blog will help clear some of those old thoughts because in order to “get over” something, you can’t just keep doing activities or other things and not address the problem at hand – otherwise, it will fester. You have to dig down, bring those unpleasant feelings out, acknowledge them, and then you’ll be able to leave them behind.
Although I’m still feeling pretty vulnerable and I’m afraid to give too much information, I waited on writing my second blog post about my dark journey with An and how I decided to recover. It will be painful to write, but I need to expose her, once and for all, so that might be my third post. (If anyone is getting worried, don’t be, she’s becoming weaker all the time, and I am working hard to stay on track!) I would just like to get that story out of my head, and move on to sharing what I really want to, which are the things I’m passionate about. Writing, books, music, inspiring people, art, culture, New Brunswick, more writing!
So, if you’re not so keen to read about eating disorder recovery, that’s ok. I totally understand, it’s not an easy thing to read about, especially when it’s coming from someone you know or love dearly, and this blog won’t be all about that, I promise. There are some great pro-recovery blogs out there who are dedicated to that and nothing else (shoutout to them, they help me so!), but The Little Nikkster’s main theme is not only about that. I don’t want to make my life about recovery. In a way, I think that will just keep a little piece of An there, all the time. On second thought, researchers and psychologists aren’t really certain if the eating disorder really goes away, but the person in question just gets better at not engaging in destructive habits. Anyway, back on track! Recovery and healing is not very rosy and fun to talk about. It’s mostly bloating, fatigue, fighting An who’s putting me down, stuff like that. I would really like to work hard right now on getting better, so that I can focus on my life again and share better things with you! I’m a generally happy and excitable person, and I want to be more like that with you, my dear readers.
I’ll end of this post with a quote I came across a few months ago, which pulled me into it like a magnet. It’s from Aldous Huxley’s 1962 novel Island, and it really spoke to me. I have this written in almost all of my notebooks, so that I’ll be reminded of it everywhere I go to write. Here it goes:
“It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.
I was so preposterously serious in those days…
Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice given me.
So throw away your baggage and go forward.
There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet,
trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.
That’s why you must walk so lightly.
Lightly my darling,
on tiptoes and no luggage,
not even a sponge bag,
-Aldous Huxley, Island
Maybe I’ll write it out in pretty letters and stick it on my closet door, so I’ll see it all the time. Because I get so deep and heavy into things, mostly in my own mind, and that’s not always the best thing to do because I just end up over-thinking everything, and I’m just sitting there, steeping in negativity and self-doubt. It helps to just get the heck out of there, to climb up and see the sun. Lightly, lightly.
This doesn’t work all the time. If there is a real problem I need to address, like… gee I’m not sure, like I’m running late for work and I need to get a metro pass but there’s a HUGE lineup, I just need to think seriously of what I’m going to do. But this quote applies to me at most times: stuck in my head, thinking everything is worse than it is, when it’s really not. Lightly, lightly.
I’ll share a few of my tips that I’ve found help me get into a better mood later, but recently, this quote has been a saviour, every time. :)
See you Thursday, my dears! In the meantime, think lightly, and if you want, tell me what makes you feel better and lighter! I’d love to hear about it.
PS – I’m sorry if anyone got confused or got a blank webpage when you looked up my blog! I should have done it earlier, but I simply altered the webpage name a couple of days ago from itsthelittlenikkster to what it is now, thelittlenikkster.wordpress.com . Sorry again for any confusion!