dealing with failure

I’m currently dealing with failure. It’s a failure that’s totally out of my control. Unfortunately, there are mitigating circumstances that were in my control, and I’m having a hard time not blaming myself for them.

Blaming ourselves for our historical actions is problematic and pointless. We can’t change what’s already done. That doesn’t, however, erase the struggle.

The dental implant I received two weeks ago has failed. It was inserted to replace the first one that failed. Getting them put in hurts, a lot, and the now-pointless pain is annoying. I endured it, twice, for nothing.

The self-blame is connected to why I needed an implant, and why it failed; both can be traced back to my eating disorder. It’s the gift that keeps giving. If I ever come across someone in the early stages, I will hold myself up as an object lesson on why you should fight hard for early recovery. The damage it causes is severe.

I needed an implant because I lost a tooth. More than one, actually. I lost the tooth because it rotted away. The reason it was in such bad shape was because I spent years throwing up multiple times a day, and decades of exposure to stomach acid does damage.

I struggle with accepting that the eating disorder was not my fault, and therefore the ensuing damage was not my fault. It’s hard to make myself believe that, notwithstanding that I believe it wholeheartedly for other people. We are nothing if not ridiculous and contrary creatures.

I struggle to accept that I needed the behaviours I adopted in order to survive, and I’m not to blame. I struggle with the idea that I don’t need to hate myself for my actions.

We kick ourselves when we’re down when we do things like that.

I’m working on it.

Along with the eating disorder, I developed a cutting disorder, self-mutilation of the face. They’re related. It’s an extreme behaviour, and it, too, caused significant damage. Damage I see every time I look in a mirror or see a photograph.

Some of the cutting was severe. It led to infections, abscesses, and ultimately to a chronic infection that no longer responds to antibiotics. It’s become resistant. I live with it, and it’s mine forever. It’s not unlike a cold sore; it flares up in times of stress. Apparently, getting an implant is stressful.

The infection, which is concentrated very near to where the implant was inserted, is acting up. Even though I was on antibiotics, the infection spread into the gum and prevented the bone from adhering to the implant like it was supposed to.

The implant failed.

They pulled it out today. In a way, it’s a relief. I’ve been in pain for the last two weeks. That’s my fault entirely; the people in my life told me to go back sooner but I waited for the preset appointment. It wouldn’t have changed the outcome, but had I gone earlier, I’d have been pain-free sooner. I didn’t want to make a fuss, however. I hate to be a bother.

I’m working on that too.

It’s tempting to let myself sink into despair and let the blame I feel forming spring into life. I’m going to try hard to do otherwise. We’re hard on ourselves, in general. Most of the time, we do the best we can, regardless of what that looks like from the outside.

I’m going to try and accept the mitigating factors that are beyond my control. Blaming myself won’t change anything. I can’t go back and undo what was done. None of us can unring a bell. I’m going to try and channel Doris Day instead. Que sera sera. What will be, will be.  

5 thoughts on “dealing with failure

  1. That’s a lot of hard growth lessons all rolled up at once. I think it’s wonderful that you’re working on change. It is amazing how empathetic we can be to others while being so damn demanding and hard and downright cruel to ourselves. Be easy. I understand cognitively and now some times am able to practice- when I continue to wallow in the transgressions of my past, I allow it to rob me of any present joy. And then it’s like well what’s the point of all this hard work?!


    1. thank you. the difference between the cognitive and the emotion is challenging at times; it’d be nice if it was easier. i like that phrase “rob me of any present joy.” it’s totally true.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So sorry for the pain 😦 both physical and emotional/mental. I think one of your greatest strengths is your ability to rationalise it all down to what is really going on in your mind and whether those thoughts are productive in your recovery or you feeling better. I think that’s pretty amazing and I’m glad you share that with us ❤️


    1. thank you. i appreciate the compliment. it’s something i try to do, get to the real source of what’s going on, beyond the immediate feels.


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