Hello again my friend: My friend and co-author wore a t-shirt the other day that reminded me of my recovery. It read "Gotta Run." I consider myself an avid runner, although I am by no means a "natural runner" although as I write those words...maybe I am or at least I was. Relevant to the message of this blog, while active in my eating disorder, I would have been easily defined as a "runner" by the definition as someone who runs. I RAN, literally, and I RAN figuratively. Running helped me cope. I ran from problems. Specifically, fear and insecurity. My Anorexia was at it's worse at a time in my life when I was the most alone. I had few people I referred to as friends and no purpose except completing a masters degree (ironically enough in psychology). I was faced with what my life meant and I had no answer to give. So, I ran.
I ran from my past but I was not running to anything. I was lost and, as I sit here reflecting and writing to you, running in circles. My co-author's last blog entry was about her experience with walking a labrynth and how it paralleled her search for the inner "truth." The spiralling of the eating disorder was on her. Well, running was like that for me. Running (again, literally and figuratively) kept me from the introspection that my friend had experienced with the labrynth. Running kept my mind and my body busy.
One thing that made a huge difference (among so many on this journey of self discovery and life acceptance) was that I began to run because I enjoyed it, I wanted to do it and stopped running because I felt I HAD to. I stopped running my life and started running purposefully. The parallel of physically and running mentally is evident to you, I think.
When I was active in my eating disorder I starved because I felt I HAD to and only then tricked myself into believing that I WANTED to. No one WANTS to starve. It is against every survival instinct. But, amazingly enough, that is exactly what I was trying to do...SURVIVE. All I knew to do was run. Gotta Run!!!! That was all that was in my head. Over and over in my head....GOTTA RUN!!!! I had no choice, didn't anyone understand that?! I realize now, that I do have a choice. When I run now, I listen to my body, sometimes I push it further to see how far I can but never too far. I listen to it. When it no longer becomes fun or meaningful I stop. That was not a concept I was familiar with in life. You mean, I can stop? What? That was baffoling. I can stop the chaos? What would I do, then? I now know that if I push too far, I will feel bad afterwards, my body will be too tired, I will get easily irritated with others and I won't feel good. When I was anorexic, non of that mattered. All that mattered was that I was running. I was surviving.
People run from so much. Our lives are so busy. Everyone's running from somewhere to go somewhere else. I saw a billboard the other day that read "Nice to meet you, gotta run." That says it all, doesn't it? It's encouraged to run so that you don't think and so that you don't feel. I feel pained that it is that way. I feel pain for old self that believed it and how painful it was to run.
I run now because, as I said, I enjoy it. I meditate, create, listen and am calmed by it. I neither run from something nor am I running to something (say, a skinnier body), rather, I run because I feel good. My readers, my friends---ask yourself "why do you run?" And, on that note....you guessed it...."GOTTA RUN!"