The Carousel

“I have to believe there’s a way. There has to be a way to step off the carousel. To start again. To start fresh…It’s a choice I’m making, to move forward. To move past this.  All I have to do is begin.” ~ Grey’s Anatomy

This quote from this past week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy made me really think the treatment cycle I have been stuck in for the past 6 or so years.  I’ve been on this carousel that involves going into a higher level of care, doing ok for a few weeks or months, slipping back into old patterns, ending back up in a higher level of care, getting back out etc.  I always say “this is the last time” or “this time will be different”, but so far, I’ve been stuck on the carousel.
I was talking with my friend Grey Thinking about this analogy, and she made an excellent point about getting off the carousel.  I could try to wait for the carousel to stop.  I mean, in the real world eventually they do stop and let riders off.  But, I can’t really afford to wait – what if it is a really long ride?

So, let’s just say that it’s clearly not stopping anytime soon, meaning I have to jump off.  In my mind, learning skills in treatment is sort of the equivalent of getting ready to jump.  If you are going to jump off the carousel, you need to do a little planning.  Learning skills, whether they be DBT, CBT, meal planning skills, whatever, they are the equivalent of figuring out where to stand on the carousel or scoping out a soft landing spot.

Ultimately though, no amount of planning is going to make you feel 100% confident about jumping, and at some point you just have to do it. As my friend pointed out, while you should aim to land on your feet, the chances are you are not going to.  Chances are it is going to hurt, but it probably won’t kill you.  Even if you are hurt badly, a broken leg for example, ideally you have a support system (treatment team, friends, family) to help you manage the injuries and get you back on your feet (literally in the case of the carousel, figuratively in the case of ED treatment).

Great metaphor all around.

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