Being Special

In my most recent session with my psychiatrist, we happened onto an insight that I found surprising and shocking and, perhaps, useful.

I’ve spent most of my adult life denying the fact that I do want to be special, that I want to be the best at something. Yet I want there to be some reason for people to think that I am “better” than others. I’ve attempted to accomplish this by priding myself on my grit, in some form or another. I decided subconsciously that it is not okay to be proud of certain things (money, intelligence, looks, etc) but that it is okay to be proud of my determination and self-deprivation done in service of accomplishing something difficult. Over the years, this has taken many shapes: being a study-aholic in college, training and competing in triathlons, running marathons, sleeping only a few hours a night, and, finally, not eating.

So, all the while that I have been so forcefully against seeming to want to be special or recognizing that I have that desire, I’ve actually been engaging in that very behavior that I abhor.

I’m not sure what influence this insight will have on my recovery, but I am hopeful that there is something here. Is this something that resonates with others who are recovering? I’d love to hear thoughts.