I feel like all the puzzle pieces are starting to come together. After four months of therapy, things are finally making sense, and getting a bit easier, and FEELING GREAT. I know that by saying that I might be jinxing myself, and setting myself up for a few rough days, but as of right now, I feel the best I have yet about recovery.
Since July, I’ve spent all day every Wednesday at the Hope Center. It’s a FULL day, 9-6, of group therapy, one-on-one appointments, and meal support, and by the end of the day I’m mentally exhausted. Some weeks I leave feeling positive, others I go home feeling defeated and discouraged. Yesterday, I felt proud.
More than anything, I think yesterday was a day of reflection. And after looking back at all the changes and progress I’ve made, I think I need to acknowledge how far I’ve come. During a lot of my eating disordered years, I never thought I’d have a normal, healthy life like everyone else. Now I not only know it’s possible, but I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to it. The difference in just my way of thinking, now compared to four months ago, is amazing. I think the biggest change is that now I can recognize just how disordered my thinking had become, and now I can (usually) see things in a more rational, healthy way.
Mentally, and in terms of my way of thinking about things, I think I’ve made incredible progress. Physically, I know I still have a lot of work to do, but I can still be proud of what I’ve done. My eating habits, though still a long way from relaxed and “normal”, are so much better than they were. For practically my whole life I’d avoided fats, but now salad dressings, donuts, and peanut butter are accepted (and enjoyed) parts of my diet!
Even the anxiety has lessened. The first time I saw macaroni and cheese listed on the Meal Support menu, I panicked. As a kid I’d loved mac&cheese, but as my eating disorder got worse and worse, it graduated from a favorite, to an avoidance, to an all-out NOPE NOT HAPPENING. After the initial stress of encountering it at Meal Support, I eventually accepted it as a thing I had to eat, and yesterday I even found myself looking forward to dinner and that delicious mac and cheese! That alone is a huge accomplishment, in my books!
I know I haven’t gained any weight, and I know there are still a lot of foods that still cause me large amounts of irrational eating disorder stress. But I can’t expect to undo ten years of ED’s damage in just a few months. For the (relatively) short time I’ve been in recovery, I think I’m doing fabulously.
Others have noticed too, and those comments make me feel better than any of the “skinny compliments” ever did. Compliments on everything from my shiny healthy hair, to my much clearer complexion, to the fact that I seem happier, brighter, and more alive, are all reminders that I’m doing something right. The one that really got to me was from my mom. I was talking to her last night about recovery progress, and she said it was the first time she’s seen a true smile on my face in a long, long time. I want to keep that smile!
I think recovery is one time that it’s really good to brag a bit. It’s been rough, and I’ve struggled, and I’ve cried more than ever, but I’m also making huge, incredible, positive life changes. I think that’s really something to be proud of. I think it’s important to acknowledge that, and write it out like this, for times when I don’t feel so good about recovery. And I know there will be times like that, when I feel like giving up. I hope this will be a reminder that I’ve come too far to go backwards. I hope it’s a reminder just how wonderful recovery is and will be. I hope I never ever go back to the prison of an eating disorder I spent way too much of my life trapped in.
This is just a sneak peek of how good life is without an eating disorder. And I’m so happy, and so excited for life. I’m capable of so much more than I ever thought, and I’m so proud of myself.