To figure out my ‘self’

Addictions are, in most cases, ways to dodge life. Coping mechanisms to avoid facing the truth, to avoid feeling difficult feelings, experiencing hurt and sorrow, making choices, etc. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that our addictions can make us forget who we really are. Or were. Or wanted to become.

I know that, when I embarked on the road of recovery, I found myself completely clueless of who I had become and who I once was. Was there a me left or was it just my addiction? Who was I without my addiction? Who was Sooz? What was her core? Her values? What was she good at, what did she like, what didn’t she like? What were her goals, motivations, plans? I was completely lost for any of those answers.

So I made lists. Religiously. About anything and everything really, but also about ‘me’. And I made others’ do the same. My mom, my best friends. I asked them, too, to make lists or ABC’s of things that reminded them of me. Just so I could get a grip again on who I was, who I was to others, who I was to me and to figure out who I wanted to become. You can’t make choices if you don’t have a clue of the direction you want to go. In order to recover and ‘find myself again’, I had to understand where it was that I was heading. To lead the life of the woman who I wanted to become, I needed to understand who she was.

In learning to find, accept and eventually love myself, I needed an understanding of what that ‘self’ was.

green green grass

If you struggle with the same thing, find that you  are lost in who you are and who you want to be in the future, maybe doing something similar could help. Like making lists or collages or mood boards or ABC’s etc of things that you like or love. Things that suit you, that make you happy, that mean something to you. You could ask others to do the same thing as well. What things spur to mind when they think of you? What do they appreciate about you? My collages had quotes, colours, fabrics, words, photo’s. My ABC’s (my own and others’) were not focussed on physical references (“tall”? I knew that!), but words like “truth”, “mom”, or, “bare feet in cooling grass”. Things that feel close to your heart, or that once did and with which you would like to reconnect. Memories, plans and things to figure out. It doesn’t have to be clear, or even ‘graspable’, as long as they mean something to you.

What makes you your unique and beautiful and amazing (and maybe sometimes annoying) you? What are some words that spring to mind when you think of ‘your self’?

PS: I am linking this post to the gorgeous Anne-Sophie, who is hosting a ‘self-love blogging carnival’ this week. Do check it out!


11 thoughts on “To figure out my ‘self’

  1. In answer to your questions, ‘argh! I don’t knooooooooooooooow!’ It’s funny, today this post is very relevant.

    It’s weird, because I actually had the panic stricken ‘who am I? I am nothing without an eating disorder!’ moment earlier this evening. My own ED is a lot less strong these days. Yeah, I binge a tonne, but I’m also eating things that look a little like normal meals again, at normal meal times. I hid behind the ED a lot last year, basically because lots of horrible things were happening and I couldn’t cope, so I needed the distraction to avoid reality.

    Now all the stresses have gone in my life and the ED slowly ceased to be relevant. I still count calories, but I forget, I miss things out, I’m more vague. I binge from time to time but no longer restrict and been lax free since June. These weren’t conscious things either, just slowly started happening because I had less to hide from.

    However now it’s going of it’s own accord I feel stuck, because for the past few years I’ve been so wrapped up in self destruction of some form I have no idea who I am anymore, what I like and so on… I had the ‘I am nothing’ rant to someone earlier and they just looked at me and said, ‘that’s simply not true.’ I do have things in my life, and did. I just have to work out what they are again…

    I might have a go at the lists :)

    By the way I did talk to my dad, eventually. He found and trolled my blog which is why I deleted it… Yeah, so he found out everything the worst possible way… But he came to see me the other day, I got two hugs, and we had a long chat. We’re getting on better than we ever have, ever, so success! You were right… In the end they’re my parents and want what’s best. I’m just a little crazy and hysterical at times… Oh! I also have my son to stay in a few weeks which I’m excited about :D

    Also, I owe you an email! I shall get on to it soon. A lot of crazy things have happened to me… Although this comment is getting very wordvomity!

    Also I hope you’re ok!


    • Hi hon, good to hear from you :)

      Im glad you’re getting along better with your dad. I think he might be a big positive influence in your life if you let him be. Maybe he can help fill in the list, and so can the little one in his own way! Exciting he’ll be coming round!

      Also, didn’t realize you’d been lax free for such a while now, I AM SO PROUD! Now working on cutting back walking maybe? The binges, yeah, I have them too, still. But when there’s more to life than binges, it sort of puts them into perspective a bit, I suppose. xx

  2. I love this post, Zoe. I did the same thing when I began recovery. Recovery is a process where you can lose yourself so easily and with that, lose hope, that the true you is actually still “there”, still “inside, somewhere. Sometimes, asking others to share how they view you is a great stepping stone to rebuild your self-perception and self-esteem.

    • Scary, but helpful! But then again, isn’t asking for help almost always scary? Sharing is caring, so sharing struggles and asking for help is only a way of showing others you trust them enough to open up, and how they can do the same with you. xx!

  3. You’re so insightful Sooz!

    ABC lists are a great idea, and a lovely way to get to know your friends/family better perhaps, because I imagine they said things about you that were a nice surprise?

    You know I had the same weirdness, what *did* Meg like/do/enjoy before all that rubbish came along? I’m still not entirely sure, but just bobbing along and going with the flow and enjoying the little bits of the old Meg that appear every now and then!

    Oh, and the word which best describes me? Impatient.


  4. Pingback: Finding Self-Love Through Your Wardrobe With Lindsey Coco | Anne-Sophie

  5. What a great question ! I’ve realised lately that I work hard at recovery, however I’m not really sure, about who I am? I’m getting back into horse riding a bit. Walking, seeing people, journaling and I’m still seeing specialists during the week. My illness has gone on for 20 years, so this will be quite a discovery. I love the idea of lists, I’m going to give it a go! Hope your doing well, thanks for spreading the love, you inspire me…lol
    Love Ziggy

    • Discovering, exploring, learning.. Wow! You’re putting in major effort Ziggy and it shows. You’ve come a long way already and opportunities will keep opening up to you. Spread the love! xx

  6. Aw… I’m so glad you’re finding “you” again, sooz! It takes a lot of courage to ask your family and friends for help. A lot of thinking. and reflection. But to be honest? This doesn’t work for me. I realised.. that who I was led me down this pathway in the first place. Asking others what they thought of me, what they liked best -sometimes, it’s not a true reflection of what I truely am- in the case of family ( parents especially) it’s more likely to be who they want me to be. And how often have you changed yourself to please others?No, what they saw may not be the true me. What they desire isn’t the true me either. I need to start from scratch. Accepting that ED was a part of me is a part of that. I am me, which means I have flaws. And that’s ok. I don’t have to look backwards to find “me”. Its more important to look forwards. to create a NEW me. One that was better than before. New goals, new dreams. Never let the past hold you back :D

    • Aww shit, just typed an epically long reply and then it disappeared :(

      Anyway, I kinda not totally agree. I did need to look back to help move forward. Of course I am not at all saying that your past you should become the new you, a lot of things are better left in the past. But that baggage still shapes who you are today. And in the early days of recovery I had no clue anymore about those past preferences, emotions, trademarks, peculiarities etc. Also, even if your parents would write down ‘hard working’ or something along those lines, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. Even if it is what they want to see in you, it is still what THEY see in you. And that is all they are writing down, what they think is a part of you. And I highly doubt it would be the only thing they’d list. It’s not that it makes you you, it was about what other people might see that I didn’t. Broadening my horizons, looking through a different lense. Like taking a tourist to visit your own town, you see things differently through other peoples’ eyes.

      But I definitely agree with you on that last bit. Never let the past hold you back. Like that broadening of horizons, life has so much to offer if you open up and see the opportunities awaiting!

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