I’ve gotten into a new show on Netflix. It’s called Nurse Jackie and it’s about a woman named Jackie (duh), who’s a nurse (duh, again). Jackie’s a super awesome nurse – she acts as her patients’ number one advocate, knows more than most of the doctors she works with, and is the mother of two beautiful daughters. She’s just got one problem: she’s addicted to narcotics.
As the show progresses, you learn to love Jackie more and more despite her addiction, and even begin to ache for her as she relapses again and again. During her longest stint being clean, she gets into a car accident that she’s at fault for. It’s not bad, a fender bender, really. But the first thing that’s called into question is her sobriety. She’s quite offended, as she’s been working incredibly hard on her recovery – attending all of her required meetings, seeing her sponsor, passing her drug tests, etc. It’s been over a year since she’s used. Why can’t everyone just accept that she’s a different person now, she’s doing well, she’s clean? Why can’t it just have been one bad day, an accident, like it would be for a “normal person” who was in a fender bender?
Because there’s been a pattern here before, and it takes a while to build trust back. Hers, while it has been increasing with each drug test she passes and each meeting she shows up to, is not built back yet.
I could (can) relate to Jackie A LOT in this instance. There have been numerous situations when something’s happened that, if it were any other person, would raise no concern whatsoever. But because of my history with anorexia, it raises a zillion and one flags.
*Gets into an argument with mom*
Are you restricting?
*Forgets to do something I said I’d do*
Were you consumed in your E.D. thoughts? Are you struggling?
*Sleeps in one morning and misses breakfast*
Were you sleeping to avoid breakfast? I hope you’re planning to make that up at lunch.
*Is caught up in conversation with someone at the gym and loses track of time, ends up being gone for 45 minutes instead of 30*
Were you over-exercising? Did you do cardio? Is this E.D.-related?
*Says to therapist that it’s been a good week*
Are you lying to me? Was it good because you were able to get away with disordered behavior? Is your weight going to be down when you get weighed in on Monday?
It can be really, really frustrating at times, to have “normal” circumstances bring about what seems to me, in the moment, like an interrogation into my recovery. It can seem like the effort I’m making isn’t worthwhile, like none of my progress is being noticed. Am I still regarded as the same person I was when I was hospitalized, when I went to residential, when I was in the DEPTHS of my eating disorder?
No. I’m not. But until the trust is built all the way back again, I’m just going to have to learn to live with it. And not only live with it, but embrace it. In the moment I’m being asked them, it can feel like I’m being attacked, like my character’s being called into question, and it’s really easy to take it offensively. Seeing it from an outsider’s perspective though, such as on Nurse Jackie, has actually really broadened my perspective about it.
Odds are, the people who are “interrogating” me are the ones who are the most concerned and who have my best interest and my recovery in mind. Watching those who love and support Jackie the most be the ones who are “interrogating” her, is helping me to realize that.