Buried: Getting Out of Bed is Hard

Dear Self That Can’t Get Out of Bed:

I know this is hard.

You don’t feel like there is a reason to get out of bed.

There are a million reasons why you should, but you just don’t care about them anymore.

You see people doing amazing things. You see people graduating with advanced degrees, building robots, and founding companies. You see people making friends, getting married, having families. You see people trying, failing, and getting back up again. You see people being human.

You just feel so far away from all of them. You feel so behind.

The things you want from life seem like they’re on a rocket blasting out into space while you’re lying on the ground staring up at it too tired to even raise a hand. As if that would make a difference.

It’s true: your old plans are like that rocket blasting away and you are stuck here on Earth with gravity pinning you to the ground. You can’t fly, you can’t escape, you can’t get away. You are stuck here. You are you.

So, what’s next?

You have to start from scratch.

I know you see that rocket ship you were supposed to be on fading farther and farther away until you can barely see it. You tally up all the things weighing you down, like a big pile of stones you’re buried under that keeps you chained to the Earth.

Your upbringing: the way your parents raised you, how they made you feel about yourself, how they taught you (or didn’t teach you) to deal with the world. The years of damage you’ve done to yourself: having an eating disorder, isolating yourself from the world, poisoning your mind with toxic thoughts. The opportunities you’ve missed: the gaps in your education from getting treatment, the time and energy you wasted on dysfunction, the things you didn’t pursue because you were too scared. The things that happened to you: getting locked up in a hospital, being in dysfunctional relationships, developing PTSD. The labels assigned to you: bipolar, PTSD, eating disordered, addict, suicidal. The ways you’ve treated others: lied, manipulated, discarded. The ways you’ve treated yourself: abused, disrespected, punished.

That pile of rocks just keeps getting bigger and bigger until you can barely breathe.

How can you keep yourself from getting crushed, let alone get out from under all these rocks, let alone build a new life to support your hopes and dreams from scratch?

I don’t know. I’m so so sorry that I don’t know.

I just know that people have done it before and they don’t do it by sitting in bed and crying. I’m tired, too. I’ll get energy to do something and then it will just go away in a split second and I’ll never want to get out of bed again.

I’ll hold your hand in the meantime.

Please just hold on and don’t give up on me.

Love,

Signature: Ana (Dear Cookie Monster)

Ana

Endings: Growth After A Separation

Dear Reader and My Younger Self:

Apologies for the inconsistent blogging.

A relationship I was in just ended because we’re moving to different countries.

I don’t really know how I felt about him because we weren’t together for very long, but I liked how I was starting to feel. I felt like I was both floating and grounded when he was there. I would light up whenever he came into the room. His arms made me feel safe and his hands made me feel connected. He was just such a genuinely good, kind, and respectful person. Those don’t come along everyday.

I liked who I was when I was around him.

I feel like he let my better self shine through. He let me want to take care of myself and want to grow. He let me let down my hair and laugh, really laugh. He let me soften, let go, and trust. He let me go on adventures and be spontaneous. He let me stop disparaging myself out loud and apologizing for things I shouldn’t. He let me see that he wasn’t “letting” me do anything.

He was the kind of person I wish I could have been.

He spent his childhood outdoors with friends and excelling at school while I spent mine not eating or binge eating or throwing up or riding an exercise bike wishing it was over already or in treatment centers or unable to get out of bed or crying in my closet wishing I was dead or with my head buried in magazines to make myself acceptable or watching TV to distract myself from my life or binge drinking until blackout. All that wasted time and energy and brain space. Think of all the books I could have read, trails I could have hiked, camping trips I could have gone on, classes I could have taken, people I could have met, places I could have traveled to, words I could have written.

He said I can still be the person I want to be. I’m not dead yet.

But getting out of bed is so hard. I just want to stay here and cry and feel sorry for myself because of the cards I was dealt. And because he’s not here anymore.

In reality, what I’ve been given is but a tiny part of how my life has turned out.

The major contributing factor is what I do with what I’ve been given. I take it for granted, I’m ungrateful, I doubt myself, I waste my energy on self-defeating thoughts, I engage in behaviors I know are unhealthy, and I don’t take care of myself. I have come a long way in that regard, but I still can do so much more. Awareness may be the first step, but I’ve been there for a while and I need to move forward.

This blog needs to happen.

I need this. I want to write letters to my past self because she still has her head buried in a magazine or a toilet rather than in a book or an adventure. I can still move forward and become this new person without her, but I want to bring my old self with me. I don’t want to leave her alone crying in her closet wishing she was “brave” enough to kill herself.

Best wishes,

Signature: Ana (Dear Cookie Monster)

Ana