For the first time, I am beginning to understand how a fear of excess and indulgence is constraining me and restricting my ability to live happily. I believe this is a common fear for people who suffer with eating disorders, anxiety and depression. When I speak of excess, I really mean to speak of the illusion of it and when I mention indulgence I am not referring to food or drink.
In recovery, as in life, we dream of having a full life; a life brimming with colour and love and music and movement. I have always wished for this sort of life and have tried in so many different ways to achieve it.
In the last month –much to my shock- I have been exceptionally happy. This sort of happiness has resided within me very quietly, it is not the euphoric sort of happiness, but a peaceful contentment.
Everything is just so.
When I look at what I have been doing, it is easy to see how I have reached this point. I have been earning money in a job I enjoy doing, I have seen my family and friends, I have stayed at my boyfriend’s house, partied, I have bought books and traveled a little, graduated from university and kept my weight stable, I have met new people and smiled and laughed, I have eaten out at restaurants and painted and read in my spare time.
Some days have been so lovely that I have reached the end of it and almost sighed in disbelief at how lucky I have been. It’s not that I have been waited on hand and foot, or been traveling to the Bahamas or anything out of the ordinary, I have simply been able to enjoy what I end up doing each day and I have been thankful for it.
I am learning to accept that to be happy is alright. And it is a struggle I can’t quite explain. If it isn’t a voice within me that says “you’re having too much fun”, it’s a “you don’t deserve this” or a “you’re not allowed another good day”. That sense of dull anxiety when I am too happy, or laughing too much or having too much of a nice time is, I expect, incomprehensible to some but is becoming a reality for me. The irony is that these thoughts then dampen my otherwise perfect day!
I am inclined to put this down to overthinking but the idea that I am simply not used to dealing with feeling and experiencing happiness cannot be overlooked. I am used to dragging myself through the day, I am used to oversleeping and exhaustion and lethargy and misery. I have been to the depths of despondency and I have built my home there. I know it very well. To have left and instead be surrounded by the good and bright and wonderful is a shock to the system.
I have perfected the art of survival and now I must try to thrive in this surreal and colourful world in which I have found myself. It is exciting and fantastic, of course, I would far rather be here than where I was 18 months ago.
I am so proud to have reached a point where I can be happy. I had given up on the idea long ago. It is a strange thing I am going through at the moment, but I shall continue to challenge these silly thoughts.
With happiness, there is no limit. You cannot be too happy, so smile, laugh and love as much as you can!
If anyone else has experienced this, do comment below! I’d love to hear from you!