I'm sharing my recovery journey from an eating disorder and trauma. I'm writing my truth- my reality of the recovery process. It is far from perfect, it is harder than I ever imagined, and yet at the end of the day I can also say I think it is more worth it than people know. I have learned throughout this process more than I could have imagined, but mostly I have seen that recovery IS possible. Living IS possible. And fighting for your freedom WILL pay off- If you NEVER STOP FIGHTING.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Short Recovery Writing
I had my Ed for six years. It went back and forth between anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and over exercising-basically every aspect you can have. For as long as I can remember I have been playing sports. I had always believed that you are only as good as what you can do. In school I had to get the highest gpa. In sports I had to be the best and make the highest team. It was the only way I could be happy I thought. I had to be the support for everyone-my friends and my family. And when none of it made me happier and anxiety and depression entered the situation I needed my ED. It was my way to show others and myself that something was wrong. I lived with my ed for six years. And all I know is I have never been in so much pain- yet able to hide it. The ed lets you do that- mask your pain. Otherwise I would have had to ask for help, have a voice, and believe that I deserved and was worth anything. And I didn’t. I went into CW last june and honestly went to show people that I was unsaveable. I never thought I could get better and frankly I didn’t want to. But I went through the program and slowly got more used to the idea of having support around me. I was sent to a trauma center a few months into treatment and when I left I felt like I was losing everything that I started trusting. Everything that gave me hope. I really thought that would be it. I would die- but one day I got really angry. I got angry that something external could be hurting me that badly. I recognized that pattern all too well. I have lost a lot in my life. And each time it killed a part of me. I was always in pain because the things I relied on were not stable. But I am. I as a person have important qualities that no one can take away. I have passions in life that I will do anything to pursue.
I have been out of treatment for awhile now and I am happier than I ever though possible. I never wanted this. But I am so grateful that I got it. When I first got out I got a job and just took the semester off. I told them I would die without school and sports. I had nothing else. But maybe that was exactly the reason I needed to take the second semester off. I needed to see that I am able to live without certain concrete aspects of my life. And it sucked. It sucked to have to keep symptoms under control when I felt like I had nothing. But I learned to do things that made me happy- not that made me feel successful. I learned how to be ok asking for support from a variety of sources. I learned how to live with ME. I don’t have tons of supportive people in my life but I have the few people who know who I really am. I am closer to my sister than I ever have been before. I am more able to use my voice in situations. I had always been a doormat in my life and I have become assertive and it feel great to not feel forced into things. I am able to counter the thoughts about being perfect because I have seen that imperfection is beautiful and the price of perfection is too great. I have realized that school, sports, etc are not as imp as relationships. You can lose everything else more easily than you know. But you won’t lose true friends and family. I have felt abandoned by good friends in the past when I watched them hurt or leave me. I lost my ability to trust and still have to work on it but I am able to see how those people in the past were not real friends. I just thought they were. I am able to get closer to people now- open up and ask for and receive support. I have best friends that mean the world to me and I could never do this without. For the first time in my life I am happier. I am excited about my future even though I am unsure of the path I will pursue. I am ok with that. I am ok with not being perfect in school so that I can have more fun in life and be around people more. I have recently quit track and volleyball because for the first time I don’t NEED them. They don’t define me anymore, and neither does my ed. I am defined by who I am, not what I do. Nothing but loving yourself, others, and what you do can bring you happiness. I wish I had known this sooner. But I would never change anything I’ve been through. I know what it is like to be at rock bottom. To look up and not see the light anymore. I know what it’s like to want to be sick, to want to stay in treatment because it is easier and to not want to let the whole ed go. But when you hang onto a part of it yes you can function. You can be fairly happy. But you will always be held back. You will always be stuck between two worlds. And that is worse than being in either one.
But now I also know what it is like to live without my addictions. I always thought life would be easier once I wasn’t in my addictions, but one thing I wished everyone knew is that it isn’t. Life is hard and it always will be. Life doesn’t get easier when you leave treatment, it gets more meaningful. You begin to understand what it is like to be alive and have people in your life. And you want to keep the meaning in your life. You begin to be willing to fight for it. I recently was also forced to stop significant contact with those friends who were making the decision to continue to go back to treatment. It was one of the hardest things because I have never met more amazing people than the ones I have met in treatment. But I made a decision. I made a decision that some people will stay in the treatment bubble, but I’m out. I’m ready and excited to move on with my life.
I know that hearing me say these things might sound great. Might be great for me but not everyone can get there right? Unfortunately that’s right. But not because you can’t recover but because some will decide not to do EVERYTHING in their power to win. I have told my team when I have been acting on symptoms at times I didn’t care. Because I knew that it will take seeing life without the ed to realize what it is worth. And I know that part of the reason this is one of the hardest things I will ever have to do is because you have to trust. You have to trust that wherever you are now it can get better. You have to trust yourself to fight harder than you think possible. You have to say yes when all you want to do is scream no. Eating disorders are not a decision in any way. What becomes a decision eventually is what you are willing to do to keep yourself moving forward. Will you do anything? Because recovery cant happen until you answer yes to that question. I know how treatment is. I know people want to be the sickest, that it gets you a certain amount of attn and takes you out of the anxiety of life. And I know that some people will never want out. Which breaks my heart that they will never get the chance to see and feel what I have. But I think what hurts me more is the fact that no matter how happy I am, how many people I talk to and how passionate I am, there are some people who will never trust others and mainly themselves to do whatever it takes. There will be some people who don’t believe they can. I know how scary it is to believe, to hope. I know how afraid I was of failing. But I also know how happy I am to have taken that leap.
I have seen the amazing things others have accomplished in recovery and sometimes I don’t feel like them. They try so hard. They can do it. They will be ok. THEY. But I have to remind myself that they are not they they are us. It will be hard. It will suck and hurt and we will want to stop and maybe even die sometimes. We will fly and fall and have to crawl. It won’t be over in hours ,days, or months. But it will be over. When you get past the pain and see what your life can be I guarantee you it will be worth it. If you don’t give up life can be so much more than you think. There will still be pain but it will be freeing to deal with it through normal coping mechanisms.
I have urges. Sometimes they are very hard to resist. I know that if I just do X I will feel better. But what is different now is that I also know that that is a temporary fix. I know that the only way to truly feel better is by dealing with what I am feeling. Not having all of your pain inside frees up a shit ton of room to devote to living a full life.
I have been in my eating disorder for years and was at rock bottom for too long. I didn’t think I could recover. I didn’t think anyone would care enough if I did or not. I relapsed and lapsed and tried and gave up over and over again. But through all of this I have realized that I don’t have to live like that. I can live for myself not other people. I know I am worthy as a person and that I can find people who will always be there for me. Even with all of the ups and downs, with things getting worse before they get better, I would change nothing about the process. If it was easy what would it teach you about yourself and the people around you? The Hard is what makes it great. And the fight is what makes it yours.