From a young age I knew that I always had to have answers: to know the “why” behind everything. When my parents, despite my incessant pleading, told me that I could not have a pony, my first question was, of course, “Why?” My parents explained to me multiple times that not only could they not afford a pony, but that keeping one on .75 of an acre of land in the middle of a subdivision would not be healthy for the horse, and “Wouldn’t you want your horse to be healthy?” I also learned at a young age why keys do not go into light sockets, but that’s another story.
As I got older, my why questions strayed away from ponies and concentrated on issues I saw surrounding me like “Why did the kids who lived in the trailer park approximately 10 feet and a chain link fence away from my house always turn to drugs and alochol?” or “Why do people have to be homeless?” In time, I learned the answers to those questions and worked to find solutions by engaging in community service.
As I began therapy, my why questions quickly turned into a pity party “Why is it so hard to get better?”, “Why does everyone hate me and want me to get fat?” or the ever present “Why me?” The only thing these why questions lead to was more restricting, more purging, more laxatives, more cutting and more self -hatred. For me, my constant need to know “Why” was only helping to fuel my negative thoughts and behaviors.
Eventually I learned to ask the right kind of why questions–the questions that could point me towards health. Questions like “Why does it mean so much for me to get well?”, “Why do I deserve better than how I am treating myself now”, or “Why do I owe it to myself to recover?” I know I still have a lot a work to do to get to that goal of “recovered”, but the “why” part of me continues to keep focusing on a future without self-harm and ED because I know life can be so much better without it. Why? Because I’ve seen it. I know it can be better. I know it is worth it and I know it is worth it to keep trying. I must remind myself “Why”. Why life is worth living, why I am worth treating well, why I am worth loving and why I continue to fight.
“There is never a sudden revelation, a complete and tidy explanation for why it happened, or why it ends, or why or who you are. You want one and I want one, but there isn’t one. It comes in bits and pieces, and you stitch them together wherever they fit, and when you are done you hold yourself up, and still there are holes and you are a rag doll, invented, imperfect. And yet you are all that you have, so you must be enough. There is no other way.” Marya Hornbacher