Candid Recovery

One [tiny] step at a time January 30, 2014

Filed under: Recovery — Marie M. @ 06:39
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One [tiny] step at a time

 

It doesn’t matter how slowly you move or how much/little ground you are able to cover. The key to recovery is to keep moving, no matter what. Little by little, you CAN win your life back. Never give up! You are worth the battle.

 

-MM

 

Where do I go from here? October 26, 2012

Have you ever stopped to see where you are in your life and ask yourself how you got there? Did you choose this life, or did it just kind of “play out that way” over time?

The past few months, I’ve been purposefully much more aware of where I am, what I am doing, and why I am doing it. The sad (yet unfortunately common) truth is that I do not feel like I have actively pursued the life I am living. It just happened. In high school, it was assumed that college was the logical next step, so that’s what I did. Though I genuinely love mathematics and am happy with my field of study, I didn’t choose that major. In fact, I had a double major that was kind of the the polar opposite of mathematics for the first year and a half of my undergraduate career. I loved what I was studying, and quite frankly, I was good! My parents (dad and stepmom), however, are both two very educated and opinionated individuals, and needless to say they did not approve of my choice of majors, as it was not a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). So, following in the footsteps of my father, I enrolled in 3 math courses the next semester and promptly filled out the forms to change my declared major. To this day I still ask myself the “what if” questions, wondering where I would have ended up had I stood my ground. With that said, I met my fiance in graduate school for mathematics, so I certainly do not regret the path I eventually took.

In any case, the math major came fairly easily to me. Sure, I had a study, and the courses did get more challenging over time, but at the undergraduate level, it really was not that bad. The passion, however, was not there. I was passionate about my major when I made good grades, when I was praised by my professors and/or family, or when I got into research programs. However, was I passionate when I was working on my homework or reading the material in my room alone and no one was there to tell me I was talented? Nope, never. At least not that I recall. My passion was no internally motivated; it depended on other people.

As my undergraduate career was coming to a close, graduate school was thrust upon my radar. My professors were confident that I would do well and should most certainly apply. Might I add my parents echoed this line of thinking. Well, “what the hell, why not?” I thought. Fast forward 1.5 years and voila: I’m in my third semester of graduate school studying mathematics in Ames, Iowa. I am doing well? Yes. I’m by no means the top student, but I’m comfortably keeping up with the average students. Do I enjoy it? HELL NO. I hate it. I’m genuinely miserable not happy and dread going to school every day (except for the Spanish courses I’m taking for fun…those are awesome!). Why? Because I lack the passion. Don’t get me wrong: I love mathematics. It’s beautiful, intricate, and challenging. But I have no desire to study math professionally for the rest of my life. I will always have an interest in the field and will read topics au hasard when something catches my eye, but I do not want to be in a classroom learning math with a room full of people who care only about their own success, whether they admit it or not. It cheapens the value of the field. And I, for one, am a perfectionist and incredibly competitive, so this kind of environment is not a healthy, supportive one for me.

So I’ve been conflicted over the past semester or two. What do I do? Do I continue for 3-4 more years in a Ph.D. program just because I am doing well and have no academic reason to leave? My GPA is great, and I’m not struggling more or less than the average student (key word: average). Or do I leave simply because I’m not happy and have lost (never had?!) the passion and motivation? Well, I’m leaving! This decision did not come easily, but my mind is made up: I’m done. Luckily I have one job offer lined up, and Wednesday I have another interview (made it to the final round!) for a job that I reallyyyyy want. Couldn’t be happier!

For so long I’ve been hesitant to take action and look for a way out. Not only was I afraid to be seen as a quitter, I also was scared that it was going to look like I couldn’t do the work in grad school, when the reality is I don’t want to be there. Being seen as a failure or as unintelligent has long been a fear of mine, and Ed used it to trap me in an unpleasant situation for longer than I perhaps should have allowed.

Though being in grad school or finding a job has nothing to do with eating, at least not directly, making this decision does support my recovery. I’m listening to myself; I am refusing to let other people’s opinions stop me from being happy; and I am making decisions that honor Marie. Sometimes the most significant, and often the most rewarding, decisions and steps we take in our recoveries have nothing to do with our food intake! After all, eating disorders are truly not about the food. Every so often (once a month, once a week, or even daily if needed), try to step back and evaluate your life: where are you, how did you get there, do you enjoy being there? Once you figure out the answers to those questions, ACT accordingly! Make decisions. Take action. Sit in the driver’s seat and decide where you will go next. Ed has a way of stealing control of your life, and our job in recovery is to grab that control back and run with it! You can do it. 🙂

-Marie

 

 
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