Sunday, September 23, 2012

Save Yourself!

Put on Your Big Girl Panties

Be Your Own Hero

Over the course of the past few days I have had a revelation about figuring out my problems, staying healthy, and living my life. No one else is willing or going to be able to do any of these things for me. In the past I have tried to depend on friends, doctors, treatment facilities, etc to get me through and make changes but it has always failed. Friends have left or abandoned me. Doctors have given up or filed me away under lost causes. And treatment facilities have done the same- kicking me out or discharging with the belief that in time I would return. I hate to concede but I must say they have all been right. As much as I resent my friends for leaving me it was unfair for me to expect them to carry the burden of my problems. They couldn't solve them for me. And as unethical as it may have been for doctors to just give up or refuse to treat me further they too were right. As long as I was depending on them to cure me I was never going to make any progress. And of course the treatment facilities were right also- I did return after discharge not once but twice. All of these experiences have ended up teaching me a valuable lesson- no one else is going to save me. I need to be my own hero and save myself! Now that I have come to this revelation it's time for the hard work being putting it into action. How am I supposed to save myself and work out these issues that have haunted me for so long. Well I guess the first step to becoming my own hero is putting on my big girl panties and facing the problems head on. What do I want from my life? How do I want to live? And what do I need to resolve and do in order to get me where I want to go? I am considering creating a to-do list that will include all the things I need to do in order to get me where I want to be and what I want in life. So far my list looks something like this:
"To infinity and beyond..."
  • Work with my doctors and gain some more weight until I'm at a healthy and stable place.
  • Have fun with friends but drink and "party" in moderation.
  • Eat something I enjoy or am craving at least once a day.
  • Follow my self imposed schedule to complete work.
  • Journal more often (at least 3x a week).
  • Depend less on my parents for help with things I should be able to handle on my own (ie. laundry, food decisions, feelings of sadness...)
  • Accept that my 23rd birthday is approaching and begin to act my age (or closer to it).
This is just the beginning of my list and I am sure it will expand and change as time goes on and I reflect more but I wanted to give you an idea about what I mean by a to-do list for life. Some of these are long term goals and others should be completed sooner rather than later but they are all things that are challenging or I am struggling with. Each one will pose a different challenge for me but they are all necessary steps for me to be who I want to be- an independent, fun, responsible, young adult who is heading in the direction of graduation and building a future for herself. No one can do these things for me even if they wanted to. (I am sure my parents would love to knock a few of these things off my list for me.) But no one can force me to confront these issues and actively work on them. It's up to me to put on my big girl panties and act as my own hero by overcoming these challenges and ultimately saving myself. I think one of the hardest things to face is recognizing what I am saving myself from. In the end I am saving myself from myself. I am interceding and shutting up the destructive, negative, debilitating voice that exists within me and convinces me to restrict, to engage in harmful behaviors, and tells me that I am a failure, unable to achieve my dreams. You'd think this voice would be easy to shut up. Who wants mean and harmful thoughts floating around in their head all day? But somehow these thoughts have kept me emotionally safe. The restricting and weight loss has made me feel confident and capable and fulfilled when I felt as if I had nothing else going for me. My regression and refusal to accept my age has helped me avoid reality, deny change, and feel comfort. My dependence on my parents has served a similar purpose. So as you can see admitting that these things are an issue and holding me back is already challenging for me. But choosing to make changes and taking the actions to do so will take even more strength that I'm not sure I have. My plan is to ease my way into and take it slow. Maybe I'll start with the the easiest thing, in my case journaling more often, and work my way up to bigger more challenging things, gaining weight and eating something I enjoy once a day. But completing every task, no matter how small it may seem, is a step in the direction of becoming my own hero. I have to because no one else is going to swoop in and save me from myself- it's up to me. As usual I have some quotes to accompany my thoughts in this entry. Today I had a hard time choosing just one so I'm sharing three with you- feel free to skim or skip over ones that seem irrelevant for your life-
The first quote is actually a simple proverb about breaking habits-

"Bad habits are easier to abandon today than tomorrow."

- Yiddish Proverb

I am looking at this proverb in two ways. First I am interpreting as words of advice that urge us to be proactive and break bad habits sooner rather than later because ultimately we will have to let go of them so why not do it now. My second notion about the proverb reflects about why it may be easier to abandon a habit today rather than tomorrow. The longer we act in a certain way the more it becomes ingrained in us and the harder it is to change. I have been acting in the previously mentioned ways for a long time. They are fully ingrained in me, so much so that I feel as if they are who I am. But I need to believe there is more to me and as I let go of these inhibiting habits and behaviors I will begin to see the true me that most certainly exists. My true self is buried deep behind these thoughts and behaviors that I have come to associate with my identity. If I start working to break these habits today then it's one less day that they have the ability to become further embedded. Lets start now- the sooner the better- don't let these bad thoughts and habits control you for even one more day.
The next quote I chose seems to directly relate to my ideas in this entry and poses a question for us to ponder-

"How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I'm committed to?"

- Anthony Robbins

Robbins asks what are we going to do today in order to make our wants for tomorrow a reality. I am asking what are we going to do for ourselves now and in the near future in order to create the lives we desire? What steps are we willing to take to reach our goals? Are we willing to put on our big girls panties and face our fears in order to save ourselves? Do we believe that we can be our own heroes? Well this series of questions leads me into my next and final quote-

"When you see someone putting on his Big Boot, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen."

Time to bring out the "Big Boots"
- A.A. Milnes, Winnie-the-Pooh

Lets make our to-do lists, put on our "big boots" or big girls panties, take action, and see what marvelous adventure unfolds. The adventure I am speaking of is your life! We all have dreams and desires but at the same time we all have thoughts, feelings, and situations that prevent us from reaching these dreams. We cannot sit back and let these hindrances run our lives. At the same time we can't wait in the hopes that someone else- friend, family, boyfriend, spouse, doctor- is going to come in and rescue us. Deciding to face our challenges in pursuit of reaching our dreams is up to us. Only we can decide when, why, and how. In order to live the life of our dreams we need to be willing to do the work, be our own heroes, and save ourselves from the obstacles that prevent us from getting where we want to go and being who we want to be. The time is now, don't wait, don't hesitate, just put on your metaphorical super hero cape and fly toward in the direction of your dreams.

Time to put on your big girl panties and be strong,

Hero, Mariah Carey

How to Save a Life, The Fray


  1. The list is a great suggestion. I need to put on my big girl panties to move on. You have given me a starting point and direction. As always, you are so wise!

  2. I'm really proud of your Rachel! I feel like you have had a few really big realizations and moments from your posts over the past few weeks. I've always believed in you and it is so good to finally see you start to believe in yourself. I know it doesn't happen overnight and neither will your goals but having them and a desire for something different is what makes a huge difference. Be patients with yourself but also remember to be honest with yourself fans everyone else there to help you. I can't tell you how happy it makes me hear that you are actually considering listening to your doctors :) YAY. This is the old Rachel I remember when I first met you- not that it was too long ago and I know we all have many layers. As I watch your struggle and recovery process so much of it reminds me of mine. And I know what a big realization this post really is and how much that alone means! I hope the kitty is well! I have to meet her. I tried to beg my mother to get me one for Christmas and she flat out refuses! I'll have to live through Milly ;) I'm here for you whenever you need me. I want to give you your space because I never know if I am too much or too boring to hang around so know I am here when you want :) Love you!