The moment I left residential I could have easily gone right back to my behaviors. In my mind it hadn’t been detrimental, it was working for me, wasn’t sustainable, but was working. During treatment my boyfriend found out and didn’t talk to me for a while, my mom rejected me, and my grandmother has completely cut me out and still won’t even talk to me, I gained weight, lost my freedom, was hospitalized and was almost unable to graduate college. I went into treatment to placate everyone and shut them up. I didn’t believe it was serious, I wasn’t unhealthy, I clung to my eating disorder because it had been the only consistent thing in my life. I didn’t think I was even ready for recovery, let alone think I was strong enough for it. After all, I was strong enough to not eat, and strong enough to go running, I obviously was still “healthy” -right?
Weeks had passed in treatment before I even opened up. I scoffed, laughed, deflected, was snarky, or just wouldn’t answer and pretend like everything in my life was fine and there was no problem. My mom had trained me well. I used my defensiveness and my eating disorder to not only cope, but to hide. Kept people out, and made sure I was never vulnerable.
I still have the voice, criticizing everything I eat, lingering guilt if I don’t workout, I still lift my shirt and body check daily and probably workout longer than I should-still. Do you think I want to eat as much as I do? Risk gaining weight? Not particularly.
So what has changed? Why do I continue to follow the meal plan and attempt to do the same things that I did in resi that practically drove me insane? there are days, all the time, when I want to restrict so badly, skip a snack, feel bloated and want to take laxatives.
But, I wake up every morning, determined and sure that those three months weren’t for nothing. With help, guidance and love, it has all become a little easier. I’ve begun to fully understand that the food is only the shallow issue. It won’t matter if I’m 80lbs or 280, I have no confidence at all. I didn’t like myself any better when I weighed less, so why would it matter now. I’m still stuck in believing that I would like myself better if I lost some weight. Slowly but surely, that skewed mindset has begun to deteriorate.
I choose to recover so I can have energy and enjoy life.
I’m recovering because of the amazing support system I have. It may not be the people I wanted, but it’s definitely the people I need.
Why do I wake up every morning, eat my 8 am breakfast, then follow it up with a 10:30 snack and so on? The way I was living my life before recovery was not a life I want to “live” again. I can squat and dead life again without feeling like I am going to fall over, I can do push ups again.
I have changed, not just physically, but mentally.
As I looked in the gym mirror yesterday I couldn’t help but laugh. I had been there for over an hour, and as I opened my Clif bar and caught myself chewing in the mirror it hit me. The old me never would have eaten after working out, especially not in public, and definitely not something so calorically high. I am able to eat in public, I am becoming that person that pulls food out of her bag and will eat it to stick on her meal plan. Yes, it is still terrifying, and the spot light effect still hits me, but I have to do what has to be done. I am no longer up at 3:00 in the morning because the laxatives are ravaging my insides.
I am still recovering because even on days when I can’t stand myself, I have so many people around me that care and believe in me when I don’t believe in myself. I went into treatment feeling like a pain and a burden to the staff, not wanting to bother them, talk to them, take up their time. I expressed several times how I just felt like a lost cause and felt so bad for even being there. I had no self worth, I wanted to vanish in the corner beneath the “Strength” sign, that seemed to mock me. I didn’t feel worthy to speak up, have an opinion, or take up anyone’s time.
I wake up every day and continue to choose recovery, because even though it is so hard; those three months had an amazing impact on my life. I met amazing people, who didn’t reject me, but welcomed me and my difficulties. I left treatment no longer feeling unworthy, but with self worth, and the feeling that somebody actually cared. For the first time in forever, I had been vulnerable, spoken up about my life, what I had been through and people listened.
I still choose recovery everyday, because it is a daily decision.