Opposite of Understanding This Emotional Life - PBS

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   Troy Roness

Troy Roness's Bio

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

Opposite of Understanding


“We have to believe that even the briefest of human connections can heal. Otherwise, life is unbearable.” - Agate Nesaule

I’ve never experienced an emotional response to someone or an event as I have recently. I never knew that you could hurt that deeply, feel so intensely and literally experience an emotional response physically, all at the same time. I’d definitely say hearing positive statements that are foreign to you from your perspective (you are strong, logical, physically attractive, intellectually bright and that you are contributing to someone else’s happiness) from a person you hold in the highest regard is quite the rush. To be blunt, I never thought this kind of thing would happen to me.

Have you ever wanted to kick yourself for saying something when you didn’t get the “right” response? I sure have. These past few days have been a big reminder of that.

I’ve had to ask repeatedly over the past 36 hours why in the world I am currently telling myself that even though an event that was, in many ways, the most heart-wrenching occurrence I’ve ever been through, could also be deemed the most paramount in regards to personal innovation at the same time? I guess you could relate this to addiction and recovery, too. Think about it, no matter what has occurred during your existence, no matter the danger that something in your past or present may have presented; generally, we often find in the end that we are thankful for what we have gone through.

Self reflection and improvement, in my opinion, can lead us to more confidence, direction and peace; ultimately allowing us to give our best to the highest priorities in our lives. In my case, this translates to the happiness of an individual I consider so monumental in my progress towards my physical, emotional, and most importantly, spiritual health. It is the worst feeling to know logically I don’t have control in making sure they are happy or that I’ll be the one to make them feel that way. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to accept. I am easily able to rationalize this in my mind, but I wish someone would explain it to my heart.

I have just a short reference to my illness in this entry; but it has major implications with regard to the power that another person can have in your recovery.

The idea that your entire existence you must improve, reach the next big goal or overcome another hurdle just to be “okay” not only in the eyes of others, but more importantly your own, is self-defeating in thousands of ways. By beginning to realize, perhaps through a simple phrase that you are “okay” even in the midst of life’s hardships and the dim reflection you have of yourself, translates into something amazing. 

This individual I am referring to has seen my best, my worst, my strengths and my crazy quirks; yet allows me to be completely indifferent about my perceived flaws. I participated in activities, LIFE’s activities around this person that my illness would normally have otherwise obstructed in some way or another. I then realized I didn’t need to try and be “perfect,” because being “perfect” to someone means trying to be “perfect” for everyone and that always leads to self-destruction.

I don’t need my insecurities anymore. This has helped me own, with a few painful admissions, how much this illness really makes me focus on nothing BUT me. This doesn’t mean it’s a conscious decision each and every time, but it aids in putting “real living” back into focus.

Whether it’s addiction, pain, abuse, trauma, eating disorders or illness; these are all the surface manifestations of deep, internal hurts we are not accessing. Interestingly enough, when you look closely at those individuals in your life (maybe you) who do have apparent difficulties; much of the internal suffering that causes each issue is universal in nearly everyone. We have to sometimes take the plunge before we think in order to realize just where we are. We cannot regret phrases/experiences that are said or had in purity just because we realize how true and deep they are. They aren’t momentary or accidental; they’re simply carried into eternity with those who choose to embrace them.

I admit I felt weak during the course of this experience for several reasons. Emotionally, physically and psychologically I wasn’t sure where any of my feelings were coming from, yet in hindsight I realize it was phenomenal to experience every single one of them. Also, the experience presented opportunities for strength, too. In therapy, we learn to “get out of our heads and into our senses, to control our emotions rather than letting them control us.” Well, in this case I know my emotions weren’t in control. I was feeling them, letting them come to the surface and allowing my body to interpret my experiences. I don’t believe I have ever cried so hard in my entire life. Yes, I am a young man and I cry. It’s a testament to not only how strong I am, but how far I have come. Emotions such as happiness and sorrow, anger and frustration were altogether bound with chains of unanswered questions and for me, an uncontrollable future. This is something I am definitely not used to being “okay” with.

I’ve known this individual for nearly five months. I must say, their influence in my life has been nothing short of a miracle. Through them, I have met challenges, new people and ultimately, well, my match. I look at this experience as something I knew going into I would probably not want to let go of; yet I was (and still am) in the mind-set that I would rather experience the hardship that follows than experience nothing, or always wonder, “what if?”

To sum it all up, I am emotionally drained at this point. I’ve been given great news, experienced heart-wrenching encounters and don’t really know where things are headed. But you know, the best thing about life sometimes is knowing you need to do what makes you happy, be with those who make you smile and realize that you cannot change the past; but you can mess up the future when all you do is worry about it.

“One day at a time, this is enough. Do not grieve over the past for it has gone. Do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.” - Unknown