How do you know when to move on? How do you know when enough is enough? How do you know when it’s time to give up on one dream in order to pursue the next?
This past year has been intense, to say the least. It has been the most thrilling year of my life, but also the most devastating. How is that possible, you ask? Well, let me tell you. From May 2016-January 2017, everything was GREAT; I graduated college, landed a full-time job, bought my very first home, and got engaged. Everything happened so quickly and perfectly, which left me flying high on Cloud 9. After so many years of struggling with depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder, I finally felt like my life was coming together in the way I always imagined it would. But, let’s face it, life isn’t a fairytale and good times don’t last forever—after all, what’s life without a little struggle?
I began relapsing into my eating disorder this past fall, after a particularly stressful season of work travel. Anxiety and depression quickly followed suit– isn’t it funny how that works? Not long after I began relapsing, I began noticing complications in my relationship. Those complications were too substantial to overlook and I decided (more or less) to end my engagement in the beginning of February, right before my 24th birthday. I tried to use our breakup as motivation to end my relapse and focus on recovery; however, after several months of “trying,” I am more absorbed in the eating disorder than I’d care to admit. At this point I feel completely and utterly stuck. I feel like I stumbled into a pit of quicksand and no matter how hard I fight I cannot get myself unstuck. So, where do I go from here?
I am not particularly satisfied with my current job situation; although I was ecstatic to receive this position just under a year ago, it has proven to be more challenging than I anticipated. It requires a lot of travel and interaction with other people, which is something my eating disorder despises and thrives on at the same time. If you’ve read my earlier posts, you know that traveling took a huge toll on my health; it was and continues to be the catalyst to my relapse. And, interacting with a variety of people with my crippling anxiety and depression can sometimes turn into a nightmare. In addition to all of this (yes, there’s more), my paychecks do not accurately reflect the extensive amount of work I do.
Some of you might say, “Well, why don’t you just find a different job?”
You see, I live in a very rural community where jobs are few and far between. My current position is considered “higher end,” as a vast majority of my city’s residents hold minimum wage jobs. Unfortunately, unless you are in the medical or higher education fields, there are not many opportunities for career growth or paycheck increases. Now, I have considered returning home (Chicago) to pursue other career opportunities, maybe even higher education opportunities, but that in itself opens a whole new can of worms. If I were to move home, I would have to give up MY house, my friends, and my freedom; the cost of living is SIGNIFICANTLY higher in Illinois and I, without a doubt, would have to move in with my parents before finding a place of my own (even with a higher paying job). Sigh. Not to mention, it’s freaking cold in Illinois!
Another issue… my health. If I can barely function day-to-day in this job, how in the heck can I move onto another? Does part of getting myself unstuck involve going back into treatment? At this point, I would welcome treatment with open arms—that’s how awful the eating disorder has gotten. However, treatment is time-consuming, expensive, and indefinite. How do you put your whole life on hold for treatment when there are bills to be paid, animals to be taken care of, and numerous other responsibilities to be completed? It is much more difficult to seek help when you have to be responsible and “adult.” It’s also very difficult to seek help when your family has given up all hope for you.
I guess I’m going to end here. I feel like I rambled a lot in this post, so I apologize. I guess I just want to know how others have picked themselves up after they completely fell apart? How do you turn a nightmare into a fairytale again (is that even possible)?