Getting Real This Emotional Life - PBS

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Resilience / Blog

   Troy Roness

Troy Roness's Bio

Troy is a twenty-three year old male exercise/eating disorder survivor and advocate originally from Crosby, ND.

Getting Real


It’s time for some genuine honesty, here.  I’ve been told that you need to “find what makes you uncomfortable, and do it.” Well, I’ve found something and it definitely makes me uncomfortable.  I’m struggling, hardcore.

Yes, sir. The guy writing all the ‘inspirational’ blogs telling you how to get your life on track is currently weighed down with constant thoughts about exercise, food and control. That war I’m waging against my reflection, negative thoughts and self doubt is rearing its ugly head, again. As I sit staring out my window gazing across the great golden plains and recently celebrating my one-year anniversary in recovery on September 3rd, I feel unbelievably worn down.

I believe I have what you would call a “tension personality.” It’s based on how much I do or don’t do, how industrious I am, how well I can help everyone else and how anxious I feel. Unconsciously, I define myself by how active and noble I am. Honestly, you’d think the easy solution would be to just give up the problem altogether, right? But giving up this type of personality characteristic is daunting, to say the least. Even in my anger, frustration and unending desire to be finished with this illness, letting go of something I’ve known for so long is scary.  I’ve thought this could be the major reason I’m still struggling with assorted issues for quite some time.  

First of all, going 24 hours a day, consciously or subconsciously trying to keep up a persona keeps a person continually stressed out. My typical thoughts aren’t reassuring and comforting; they’re driven by profound thoughts of insufficiency and/or questioning. Furthermore, living life based on existing in overdrive makes it tough to put the time and energy in other goals and dreams in life. After all, you’re the guy everyone “should” look up to and your world will crumble if you don’t stay on top of your game.

What makes me more upset than anything is the very fact I don’t realize this process is going on until I feel incredibly overwhelmed and that I needed to pump the brakes a long time ago.

Another problem with the “tension personality” is how good it makes you feel about yourself. Or rather, how it makes me think how well I feel about myself. Who would I be if I’m no longer the “great achiever”? How would I compensate to feel valued and recognized by everyone I’m surrounded by? What else would motivate me if being the “great achiever” elicits extensive praise for my profound willpower to hang on?

Now, I’ve been picking my own brain for months now, maybe even longer, trying to figure out why I have these tendencies. In pondering possibilities, I’ve had to painstakingly widen my perspective on life, my previous views and question subjects I would have never done for previously. I am definitely a man of faith and know that I am here for a purpose. But I’ve had to question whether the examination of my faith has been skewed? When it comes to God, I’ve always felt inferior, not good enough and as something that’s purely unworthy. I have tried to be “adequate enough” in my faith for so long that I now see patterns that really have made me internalize negative thoughts about myself because of those views. I am not perfect, life is not perfect and that isn’t the point of our existence. Even in the realization of this fact now, I am writing this entry to you as a man struggling with the lingering effects of those distorted views.

Have I lost my faith? Never. Have my personal beliefs changed? Nope. Do I know that I’m here for a purpose and THAT IS “good enough?” I’m working on it. J

I guess it all can stem back to when I made the decision to be honest about my struggles on national television. I thought to myself, “What would my students, peers, colleagues and family think if they knew I was living a lie? How could I look my students in the face without feeling intense guilt and shame? Or how in the world can I think of myself as a role-model?” Neither of the previous questions matter. The real question is, “What would my identity be if I weren’t pressured and stressed out all the time?”

So, who will I be when I get over this stumbling block? I’ll be an accepted, regular individual, that’s who. Even if I feel insufficient or unworthy for any reason or cause, in any shape or form; damnit I’ll know where I stand and I’ll be able to tell myself why that is. If I’m going to give up the control and “tension personality,” I’ll have to build a new, healthier, identity; an identity that is foreign and that nurtures character which has never been who everyone is used to. Will this be uncomfortable? Yes. Painful? Of course. Worth it? As we say in North Dakota, “you betcha!”

“It feels awesome that underneath these artificial smiles I’ve been dealing that I won’t lose my dreams. I’ll have the opportunity to get over this going nowhere. After all, life has to go somewhere.” – C.H.