I’m still constantly surprised with how good a day can be. A day like today. It was simple enough, I had two classes this morning, finished some things on my to do list, went to the farmers market and came home to make dinner in my kitchen while listening to music. Just an average day, but I’m so happy. I love my life right now. It’s not perfect but I can’t believe how happy I am sometimes.
It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and reflecting back on past years I’ve never felt so good. Most people celebrate recovery by posting progress/low weight pictures on social media and I’m not here to police how anyone celebrates recovery. I mean I posted a low weight picture last year. This year I’m not and it’s precisely because I feel such a desire too. It’s the part of me that still wants to say “Look how skinny I was!!” It’s that disgusting sense of pride in how low I was able to sink. Low weight pictures can also be extremely triggering. I know they are for me. It brings back that desire for control. This year I’m celebrating by spending time with friends, cooking myself a meal and being happy.
I remember days, even at the beginning of this school year where I would lay in bed so intensely lonely wishing that I could just stop existing. I did not like my life. I felt alone and isolated and being in recovery made me even angrier. I wish I could go back in time and change so many things about my life. I wish I could tell myself to be kind to myself and to be happy, but on the other hand I’m happy that I went through hard times because than days like today might not be as important to me.
I do have regrets – a lot of them and when I have bad days they come back full force. I wish I had never developed an eating disorder. I wish I hadn’t royally screwed up my first three years of college by isolating myself and ending up in a hospital my first year. I wish I had taken full advantage of everything life had to offer.
This year has been my best year. I’m involved in Banana Slugs for Animals, which I love with my whole heart. I feel so inspired and supported by everyone in BSA. I’m making friends and I have plans on the weekend and people to call or text when I need to talk. I’m going on hikes and exploring campus and some mornings I even make it to the beach before class. So the thought of leaving, of this being the end of that experience after only a few months brings me to tears. I have fears that my new friendships might not last beyond this academic year. I have fears of once again being alone and out on my own. I wish I could go back and redo my college experience at least once a day.
It’s so hard to come to terms with the fact that I can’t change the past and I can only make my future better, but everyday I’m getting a little closer to that.
Recovering from an eating disorder is not just physical. It’s emotional, almost overwhelmingly so, and mental. I had to learn to be me again and make friends and be social. I wish I had the support I have now a few years ago. Maybe things would be different. And that emotional and mental component is so hard to explain to people.
It’s that nagging voice at the back of your mind when people talk about their diets or food restrictions, when they talk about their workouts and when they talk about health. It’s learning to live with that nagging voice and silence it when it raises above a whisper. No one can control my actions except myself and I’ve learned to take that control back.
And I’m wondering a little bit why I feel the need to write this but I also know reading about other people’s experience helped me immensely in recovery so maybe I can help someone too?
Good days are coming. Life does get better. And the days when you just feel simply happy? They make me feel victorious.