ER Season 9, episode 15, “A Boy Falling Out of the Sky”:
Abby: You know, my life is on hold…It will always and forever be on hold. You don’t wanna be on hold.
Carter: Don’t put it on hold.
Abby: I have no choice.
Carter: You do…Right. Your life sucks. There’s nothing you can do about it [sarcasm]…I want you to stop being so afraid.
I was watching this episode last night with some friends, and Abby’s claim that her life is on hold, with Carter’s challenge to her that there is nothing she can do about it, really stuck out to me.
At the risk of oversimplification, Abby claims her life is on hold and will forever be on hold because of the history of bipolar disease in her family. She is constantly waiting for bad news to come, and she also claims that she attracts misery wherever she goes.
Carter, however, challenges her assumption that she is a passive by stander with his comment about there being nothing she can do about it. He challenges her to stop being afraid of bad news, and to basically start living despite her fears.
I think the reason this quote really stuck out to me right now is because I struggle with feeling like my life is on hold because of the eating disorder and depression. There is a part of me that feels like things need to be going a whole lot better than they actually are in order for me to move forward. However, what I am learning from my wonderful therapist, as well as experience, is that waiting around doesn’t really work. Not to be too corny, but recovery is all about building a “life worth living”, and it’s hard to stay motivated with recovery or figure out what you want in life if you are just waiting for things to get better.
That’s not to say that you should rush into things or try to work full time while doing treatment or something. However, I think that when it comes to figuring out how to build a life, sitting down and making pros and cons lists falls way short of building experiences that help give you and idea of what you want. Right now I have some big decisions to make about my future, and I feel paralyzed. It’s really tempting to crawl back into the grips of the eating disorder, or lay under the covers in the grips of depression. These decisions I have to make will really push my life forward in a way that it has not been for the last few years. I will really be taking any hold button off with these decisions, and that’s scary. But, ultimately I know that it is for the best, and the best way to make these decisions is to keep pushing forward, rather than moving backwards. Just as Carter suggests, I do have the power to change things.