Friday, November 22, 2013

Ready or not... I come! 

I remember shouting this phrase a plethora of times when I was happier younger.  These were the days of playing house and freeze tag, of dolls and Pokemon, of softball and kickball.  But most importantly, those were the days of hide'n'seek with the cousins.  

The rules are pretty simple.  One person is chosen to be 'the seeker' and counts to whatever number seems appropriate at the time, while everyone runs for a hiding spot.  Once the special number is reached, the seeker screams out (or in my case whispers) "Ready or not, here I come!" to warn the others that they better have chosen a good hiding spot because he or she was going to come find them.  The goal was not to be found.  

I remember my favorite hiding spots were the mousehole in my uncle and aunt's house, their linen closet behind some pillows, or in rare cases, under the bed or behind the couch.  I had default hiding spots and would usually take a younger cousin along with me, placing my hand over her mouth to quiet her when the seeker came looking. But whenever "Ready or not, here I come!" was bellowed by one of my cousins, I usually erred on the side of not.  

I knew that I would be searched for, I had a default plan in mind, so I never had to search for a hiding spot, and I always had plenty of time to get to that spot before the seeker was done counting.  But I was never ready to be found.  

In high school, we began playing hide'n'seek with our church youth group, and eventually switched over to a variation of it, known as sardines.  In sardines, the roles are basically flipped.  One person hides and everyone seeks them. Once that one person is found, instead of the game being over, that person hides as well.  The game ends when everyone is hidden in the same space (hence the name, 'sardines') and only one person is left looking.  

When playing sardines in my church, I also had default hiding spots--in the closet with the choir robes, under the table in the library, and in the back of the church, under the pews where the choir sat.  I had a default hiding spot, always plenty of time to get there, but I was never ready to be found.  

I always erred on the side of not.

Today I met with one of the group leaders for the adult day treatment program I will be starting soon. She told me that I will either be starting this coming Wednesday or the following Tuesday.

Ready or not... 

Yesterday I touched on the idea that there is not "perfect time" to start treatment, that a person with an eating disorder will never "be ready" for recovery.  I know this.  I know that ready or not, my body needs this.  I know that ready or not, my mental state needs this.  I know that ready or not, my future and my life need this. I come. 

It's the part that's coming that's going to be miserable. The eating part. The looking into myself and changing cognitions part. The being vulnerable and not hiding behind my anorexia part. The part that author Marya Hornbacher describes here: 

"This is the very boring part of eating disorders, the aftermath. When you eat and hate that you eat. And yet of course you must eat. You don’t really entertain the notion of going back. You, with some startling new level of clarity, realize that going back would be far worse than simply being as you are. This is obvious to anyone without an eating disorder. This is not always obvious to you."

Right now, I feel as if I'm hiding in that linen closet at my uncle and aunt's house or under the table in the library at church and someone is opening the door and saying, "Sarah, I found you! You can come out now." This prospect terrified me as a young child.  

I hated seeking.  I hated feeling confused and alone and trying to find what I who I was looking for because they were always so much better at coming up with hiding spots than me.  Everyone else was safely hidden away, and I was wandering around, confused.  I knew exactly what I was supposed to be doing, but I wasn't sure how to do it or where to look or what course of action to take.

That's exactly what recovery is going to be like--a lot of knowing what I need to do, but searching blindly for it.  A lot of feeling lost in the process and confused and alone. But luckily for me, my treatment program is going to be more like a game of sardines that hide'n'seek.  A group of people, all searching and reaching for the same goal.

I have some many people on my side, supporting me, helping me find the right room where recovery is hiding.  I have a lot of people holding my hand and walking with me--my family, my friends, my treatment team at home, and some very wonderful adults who have done nothing but encourage me in this process.  

I don't know where recovery is hiding.
But ready or not, here I come.