I’ve written about how my self-esteem has skyrocketed since my medical crisis. In general, I am happier with myself. My depression has disappeared almost completely and my anxiety is reduced by roughly 60%. Considering that I first wanted to die when I was seven, this is a massive improvement for me.
In addition, all my body issues disappeared. I can’t overemphasize what a big deal that is. My mother put on my first diet when I was seven. She made frequent comments about how fat I was and what a shame it was. But, because she was an Asian mother, she also insisted on feeding me too much food and making me finish the food on my plate. The conflicting messages did not help at all.
I dealt with two bouts of anorexia with a side helping of bulimia the first time. I’m not the usual person when it comes to eating disorders because…I don’t know how to explain it exactly. But when I decided to give it up, I swung in the opposite direction and started overeating. It really is a matter of willpower for me and not the disordered thinking that other people get.
I’m not explaining this well. I had the disordered thinking as well, but it was more a byproduct of my willpower and not the central thing. I have read about anorexia and how difficult it is to treat. That it’s distorts a person’s thinking in a way that grooves new brain patterns.
I definitely had disordered thinking while I was dealing with anorexia (thinking I was a fat cow, even when my thighs didn’t touch), but once I stopped being anorectic, well, I stopped the thinking as well. Or rather, I swung in the opposite direction. Which is how I work in general. I swing to the extremes.
After I returned home from the hospital, my opinion of my body changed 100%. I went from being studiedly neutral about it (through many years of Taiji and I wasn’t really neutral) to being positively in love with my body. It might be the drugs talking. In fact, it probably is the reason that I felt kindly towards my body in the first place.
In those halcyonic days (daze?), I could not get enough of my body. It saw me through death–twice–without a scratch. Well, not quite, but close to it. I will sing it from the rooftop all day song. Walking non-COVID-related pneumonia, two cardiac arrests, and a stroke don’t mean shit to me! I can still walk, run, do Taiji, and drive. Presumably (and I’d like to find out soon), sex would be fine as well. I can sing and dance, and I sleep better than I ever have. Seven-and-a-half hours to eight hours a night, which is unheard of for me.
So, yeah. I’m much happier with the current me than I was in the past.
That’s not to say that I am happy all the time or that I’m suddenly ignorant of my flaws. I didn’t drastically change because of my medical crisis, so I’m still the same person I was beforehand.
Since I’m a normal human being, that means I have flaws. And they’re annoying me at the moment. First of all, I talk too much. In person and online. Because I’m expected by my parents to only listen and not talk, which has caused me to internalize that what I have to say is not worth hearing, when I do allow myself to speak, I overdo it.
In addition, my training as an emotional support animal means that I have to make sure no one is ever left out. That’s a problem because it causes me to talk too much again. In chats, forums, and in person. It’s not my job to make sure the misfits are all taken care of, but I feel it as a heavy mantle upon my shoulders. I’m actively working on letting go of that implied responsibility, but it’s slow-going.
I’m a procrastinator and I blow things out of proportion. Whether it’s things like opening a piece of mail (for the former) or obsessing over how some responded to me in a forum (or didn’t), it’s exhausting. I’m better at cutting the loop short, but I would like to find a way to not get into the loop in the first place.
I’m also lazy when it comes to cleaning. I hate cleaning. I have someone who comes in every other week (a cleaning agency so it’s not the same person), but I do zero maintenance between visits. I know it’s not enough and I had a fly problem for a month this summer that really caused me stress. I did a few things, but it wasn’t until Ian came and suggested we thoroughly clean the kitchen (where the flies were) that the problem was solved. Yes, it would have resolved itself a few months later because of the weather, but it really stressed me out that I couldn’t figure out the locus of the fly problem. I still haven’t. It’s just…gone.
I am not resilient at all. You may think that’s funny given how I’ve bounced back from my medical crisis, but it’s true. I freak out at the smallest thing, and, yes at some point I figure it out–but not without agony and teeth-gnashing.
I am too prickly. Not going to say I’m too sensitive, but I do react in an outsized way to perceived slights. At least I recognize this about myself and am able to not scold myself for it. It’s not me doing it–it just happens. I can’t help that, but I can help how I outwardly react. That’s what I’m concentrating on, and it’s better than it was before. I feel the initial sting, but can usually talk myself down. It may nag at me in the back of my mind for a few hours, but it’s better than how I would brood about it before.
I dwell on the negative too much. Again, it’s not as bad as it was before, but I would rather not do it at all. I think that’s the common thread running through all of these. I would prefer not to let things get to me as much as they do. I know that is part of my anxiety that things get to me so deeply, and it’s also me being a highly-sensitive person. That doesn’t bother me because that’s just how I am. I have gotten used to the fact that I feel things more deeply than other people. I neither judge myself for it or hold others to the same standard.
Overall, I’m much better about my flaws now than before my medical crisis. I wish I were better still, but, well, nobody is perfect.