I work with kids. In fact, I have my degree in Child Studies, and have spent many years studying everything from child development to learning disabilities, while navigating the provincial curriculum. My first job after graduation was as a behaviour therapist for children on the autism spectrum, and now I assess, program, and teach at a learning centre.
My days can be pretty exhausting... there is nothing quite like the energy of a school-aged child. I wouldn't trade my job for anything, though. Helping students achieve success makes me feel happy, so I guess you could say that I reap the benefits of their success, too.
That being said, my job requires a lot of patience. I need to be patient in managing the students' high energy levels, but I also need to be patient when it comes to their learning. Our centre sees students of diverse learning profiles, and for some, things that are "straightforward" to us as adults require a lot of repetition, guidance, and explanation, day after day.
Working in this field is what I was meant to do, especially because I have the patience needed to be surrounded by children and adolescents every day. (At least, my patience is there most of the time). Recently, though, I find that I am lacking patience towards myself.
Ten years is a long time. It's a long time to be dealing with eating disorder thoughts. Throughout these ten years, I have been at various stages of health. Everything from full-time student/career woman to hospitalized patient. But despite my weight fluctuations, and despite my varying levels of motivation, the thoughts have lasted a decade.
And now, I'm feeling frustrated. I'm frustrated with myself, really. I have been privileged enough to receive some of the most professional and specialized care in the world, yet STILL I am not recovered. I have finally secured a job that I am passionate about, yet STILL I am not recovered. I have the most amazing family and friends who continue to support me, yet STILL I am not recovered.
I am trying not to ruminate, or wallow, and I am trying not to obsess about this frustration. Both would just lead to an escalation of my feelings. But sometimes I wonder: "How can I be so patient with others yet not patient at all with myself?".
The thing is, I guess I kind of judge myself. For continuing to be sick. Although anorexia is a mental illness, part of me feels like I should "get over it" already. Enough is enough. Haven't I learned my lesson yet?
I'm trying to be patient. I really am. I would never, ever judge anyone for taking time to recover from any kind of illness. But sometimes, my head gets the best of me. The self-critical and judgmental thoughts have been known to come on a little too strong these past few weeks.
So, I am trying to take a deep breath and exhale all of my frustration. Being patient with myself is a skill I have not yet mastered. But, I am trying to be a little kinder to myself. Because getting mad at myself for staying stuck in my eating disorder is not a pleasant headspace to be in, and I don't want to waste my time with negativity. So, all I can do is continue to fight, really.
Continue to fight and continue to forgive myself for being sick. Two tasks which are sure to be some of the biggest mountains yet to climb.