Posted in Recovery

Homecoming

I sat in the hospital parking lot for 20 minutes convincing myself to go in. I had a bottle of sleeping pills and a bottle of vodka I had bought the night before in my passenger seat and I knew that if they came home with me there would be a large chance I would get drunk and take every last pill. I couldn’t live this life anymore and I felt that my only way out without shaming myself and those around me was to get out of this life permanently. After 10 more minutes, I decided I didn’t have the strength to go in and admit something I had never had to do before – I was suicidal, and I had a plan to kill myself. No matter how much I was struggling, the perfectionist in me decided that was unacceptable to admit and I saw a trashcan 10 feet away from my car, so I got out, threw the pills away, and went home to pretend like none of this had ever happened.  

In the moment between deciding not to walk into the hospital and seeing the trashcan, I knew something had to change. I couldn’t keep living like this: crying every day after school, praying that I would get into a car accident on the way to work so that I wouldn’t have to go, eating half of what I knew I should have been but because my anxiety and depression had caused every ounce of appetite I had to disappear. It was quickly becoming an unsustainable lifestyle and it had only been a couple of weeks.

“But my students need me,” I thought. “I can’t quit on them.” I had of heard the repercussions of quitting at Institute: long-term subs and even less learning than if there was a crappy teacher in the room. And then I realized: I can’t teach if I’m not taking care of myself. I can’t be there for my students in the ways that they need me if my health is going downhill quick.

Teaching has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, seriously. Harder than rehab, harder than 4 years in a major that I hated, harder than recovery, and it’s proven that by testing every ounce of mental and emotional strength I have.

Listen, when I applied for TFA my junior year of college, I knew it would be hard. I spent the entirety of my senior year tackling things in therapy I had avoided because I knew they had to be talked about before I left. I knew that to be the teacher I imagined myself being: one that supports and challenges her students the way that my teachers did for me, I had to be in solid recovery.

I had to make recovery a priority, my top priority.

I’ve always made the claims that recovery has come first (well, technically second after my main man Jesus), but I always found a reason to put something (school, work, my life goals, etc.) above it. Recovery wasn’t my reason for pursing things in life, it had merely turned into a process that ensured I could pursue those things.  If recovery had truly been my main priority, I would have left Kelley and pursued a major that made me happy and probably made my recovery process a lot easier. If recovery had truly come first, I would’ve realized that my timeline can wait. If I needed to take an extra semester to graduate, so be it. If I needed to postpone my TFA commitment a year, so be it. Whatever needed to happen to make sure that I stay healthy and happy and on the road to recovery, so be it.

But those things didn’t happen so here I am.

tumblr_inline_mrdq5niknt1qz4rgp

You see, I’ve always been the person with a plan, with an end goal in mind. In high school my goal was to get to college, in college it was to get to graduation. Nothing could interrupt my timeline: I was going to graduate in 4 years, teach for at least 2, and then go to grad school and be happy. That was my motivator for everything. It was why I worked so hard in treatment, restarted classes just a few weeks after I got back, took grueling summer classes 2 summers in a row (shout-out to you, summer ICORE), and refused to let myself relapse senior year despite going through the worst depression I’ve ever experienced (and continue to experience).

I had to graduate in May and move to Mississippi.

That was my plan and I wouldn’t even let myself imagine a world in which it didn’t come true.

Until now…when my plan, my perfectly developed plan, didn’t turn out how I thought it would. How it was supposed to. You see, ED doesn’t care about a stupid plan. I may have been able to trick it for a while; convincing it and myself that if I just kept it at bay long enough, ate mostly what I was supposed to, took my meds, and attended all my appointments, recovery would still come. Turns out, pretending to pursue full recovery doesn’t actually result in full recovery. When the going got tough, guess who showed right back up and started convincing me that all my problems could be solved by eating less or shutting people out or whatever. And in that moment, sitting in the hospital parking lot, more scared for myself than I ever have been in my life, I realized that my recovery had to come first. For the first time in my life, my health had to come before my plan.

I wish I could tell you that since moving home everything has been great and I got right back on track with recovery and whatever else people are probably assuming happened, but that would be a lie.

I’m still struggling, y’all. Like, a lot. I don’t feel like going into details, just know that things aren’t great. But I’m working to get back on track. I’m crawling back towards recovery and one day, I’ll get to where I want to be. I’m using this period as a time to grow in my faith and really address some doubts I’ve had about God and His will for my life. I’m using this period as a time to really learn what it means to trust God with everything, not just the easy stuff.

This is all completely uncharted territory for me, but good thing I have a God that goes before and behind me and has never failed to walk me through a valley. He’s been with me through everything, and it’s in these times, where I’m lost and frustrated and ready to give up, that He shows up in the biggest ways possible. I just have to get out of my head long enough to see it.

 

71e27da23a6320fbf16f4ad5a6bc523e

 

Advertisements
Posted in body image

i hate my body pt. 2

I found this journal entry the other day. I wrote it in August of 2017 and sent it to my therapist as a heads-up-this-is-where-I’m-at-and-I’m-really-hating-recovery-right-now warning before our next session. I thought she would read it and then we would talk about it (the easy way out) but she didn’t read it. Instead she made me read it out loud to her and boy, did I hate her in that moment.

Anyways, I found this and it resonated with me and went along so well with my last post that I’m sharing it. I don’t talk about my weight and my body with anyone but my therapist. Even the thought of posting this makes me squirm but I think it’s a great peek into my brain and I’m feeling bold right now so what the hell?

So, without further ado:

8/31/17

I just want to like my body. Heck, I just want to accept it. I just want to be fine with it. I also just want to be able to express how much I don’t like it though. How much I loathe it right now. I know that it’s not a good mindset to stay in but I don’t know if I’ve ever really expressed how much I don’t like my body, ever gotten it out of my head and formed it into actual, cohesive thoughts. And maybe it’s because I’ve never needed to but seriously I tone down my body image issues so much. I can’t even look in the mirror right now. I can’t stand the thought of sitting down because I know that my thighs will get bigger. I’m squirming in my seat now just thinking about how this shirt makes my stomach look or if my bra is giving me back rolls or what people have thought about my body as they walked by me today. I look at the weather every morning hoping it’s going to be cool so that I can wear jeans or a sweatshirt and justify it.

I think I hate my body because it didn’t do what it was supposed to do. I was eating no food and exercising and I didn’t lose weight. That’s why I care so much about the number on the scale. I still feel like a fraud. I feel like I’m always going to feel like a fraud by saying I struggled, and still struggle, with a restrictive eating disorder as bad as I did because my weight never showed it. Not once. I only lost weight when I made it my life’s goal to lose weight before treatment because I knew there was “no way” they would believe I had a problem if I weighed as much as I did. And it’s so frustrating because I feel like I have no one to talk to. All of my treatment friends are anorexic and skinny. They don’t get it. They don’t know the concept of thinking that you’re fat but then it actually being true, or I’m not fat but what they think they see in the mirror and what is actually there is so different and that’s not the case for me.

I never got the external validation of weight loss to tell me I had an eating disorder. I never got that proof and I feel like it’s holding me back from really recovering. Deep down I still think no one believes me or that I’m doing it for attention. Like I know that my team believes me, but besides that I don’t think people get it. Weight is what people think of when they think of an ED. Even my mom was like, “every time you came home I would look to see if it looked like you had lost weight but you never had so I assumed everything was fine.”

I just hate it. I hate that I’ve struggled for so long and I feel like I don’t have any proof. I don’t have any pictures or anything. Just some crappy memories from middle school and a whole lot of body negativity. It still scares me to think about what my body looks like. Someone posted a picture of one of those body tracings on Instagram and it made me cringe at the thought of doing one. Jan has mentioned them a few times and every time I would shrug in indifference but internally I would be freaking out about whether or not she was serious about doing it. I don’t think I’ll ever do one, or if I do, I know that I’ll intentionally draw my body bigger because what if I see my body one way in the mirror and it’s bigger than that? I don’t think I could handle it so I’ll just choose to keep up whatever delusion I have in my mind. I mean, I think it could be a good thing for me to do. I just don’t know how much of it would be authentically true, though, or what would be me protecting myself or me living up to the ED standard that I should see myself so much bigger in the mirror because that’s what people with “anorexia” do, even though I don’t think I really do that.

I just wish I could find the mindset I had in treatment. I just want another body acceptance aha moment like I had. I don’t even care about liking it at this point. I just want to be able to see myself and say, “Oh hey, that’s my body, and move on.”

As I’m writing this I’m trying to think of things to thank my body for and I have this whole list of things. I’ve done so much to it and it has continued to function basically like normal. My brain still worked despite not getting any fuel, my heart still beat despite all the weird things purging was doing to my electrolytes, my muscles functioned and let me play soccer and do everything I love despite me not doing basically anything to take care of them. That’s amazing. My body is amazing (gag). I get it…but I’m also a little upset that it’s a little too amazing. Everything functioned so well despite everything I put it through. All I want for once in my life is an abnormal lab result or test result or EKG or something. Who wishes for that? Who wishes to be unhealthy? I’ve been recovering for more than a year. 15 frigging months I’ve been doing active recovery and I’m still wishing for stuff like this? This is some treatment mindset shit. It’s just like, I know all of this. I know the answers to all these questions and thoughts and I can’t help but think them and ask them anyways.

Rationally, I get it. I understand that eating disorders are not about weight and that I was sick and I had a serious problem and my issues are valid even though I never lost the weight or had the abnormal test results. I get that I don’t have to love my body and that how I see myself probably isn’t how everyone else sees me. I get that the word anorexia or looking like what someone struggling with anorexia “typically” looks like literally has no effect on my recovery or the validity of my eating disorder. I understand that but ED isn’t rational and I also understand that, and the dissonance between the two still just makes me so angry. I feel like I could read the rational words until I’ve memorized them and they’re all I think about in my head and I still wouldn’t believe them. Like, why? Just believe the rational side, Melissa. The rational thoughts aren’t trying to ruin your life.  

 

Side-note: I actually did end up doing a body tracing with my therapist. It took me 6-months to work up the courage but I did it and it was incredibly eye-opening and  both one of the best and hardest things I’ve done while in recovery.

Originally I took that part out before posting this, however, I left that part in because the same thoughts arise when I think about doing one with my current body. I’ve gained probably 30 pounds since I did it and my body looks very different than it did then. Maybe one day I’ll work up the courage to do another one. I guess we’ll see.

So, here’s to vulnerability and all that jazz, I guess.

Thanks for reading (all 3 of you or whatever),

Peace, y’all e16d92698b895b4e35f0654bfd743529

 

 

 

Posted in body image

i hate my body

I hate my body.

There. I said it.  The words that always incite responses to the tune of, “But you’re beautiful!” and “If only you saw yourself the way that others see you,” or some bullshit like that.

I get it. I know that I don’t see my body the way other people see it. I know that I am the last person that I would ever call beautiful. I know all these things, but I also know that I am the biggest I’ve ever been. I know that I’ve never weighed more than I do right now. I know that I am constantly having to justify and point out this fact so that people don’t make assumptions about me.

“Yeah, I’ve gained a little over 40 pounds in the past 9 months thanks to…well, we’re not really sure. My treatment team is assuming medications, but my eating disorder is convinced otherwise.” Probably because I got less afraid of eating sweets than I was before. Probably because I stopped following his rules, the few rules that remained after my 2 years of hard work in recovery. Probably probably probably.

Whatever the reason, I hate my body.  I have never felt more uncomfortable in my skin. All of my clothes don’t fit. The clothes that I just bought before I started teaching. The clothes that I intentionally bought in a bigger size because I needed to start feeling comfortable again.

One of my best friends got married a couple of months ago and it was such a fun wedding. It was our last big event as friends before everyone moved away (a.k.a. Anna and I moved away and everyone else stayed in Bloomington) and began their careers. It was such a great night and I am so honored to have been a part of it. I felt good that day. I was showered with all  the compliments that bridesmaids get, and it felt nice. Then the photographer’s photos came back (peep some below) and I saw what I looked like…well, what my body looked like and I cried.

I seriously cried. How pathetic, right?

I cried over how my body looked and I cried about the fact that my memories of this day will now be clouded over the fact that “that is what I actually looked like”.

A little over a year ago I had one of the best nights of my life. The US Women’s National Team (the only “team” I follow) played in Cincinnati, so my best friend and I drove out there and I got to see them kick ass and it was awesome. I was in such a good place at that time. I had recently thrown away my scale and I decided that I was ready to start doing the body image work that was holding me back in my recovery. I had struggled that summer after an intense class load with ICORE and things started to feel normal again.

My best friend sent me a picture from that night a couple weeks ago and looking at it made me stop. I hated my body at this time too. So much so that I took back my scale from my therapist after giving it to her in February. It had been sitting under the couch in her office for 6 months and I decided that I was ready to start weighing myself again because I knew I was gaining weight and I couldn’t stand not knowing the number. I had the scale for 3 weeks before I realized how detrimental it was and I threw it away.

My first thought after seeing the picture?

“I would kill to have that body again. I am going to have that body again, no matter what it takes.”

I don’t care that it goes against everything I’ve been working on for the last 2 and a half years. I don’t care that my rational, recovery brain is screaming that this isn’t healthy.

Listen, I’m not happy or proud or excited that this is where I’m at but…it’s where I’m at.

Recovery y’all. Raw and honest recovery. That’s what I’m about right now so…I guess I’m just trying to accept that.

rashida-jones-the-office-shrug-gif

Posted in Recovery

When Ed Hijacks your “New Normal”

I’m pissed. I’m mad and frustrated and sad and exasperated and so many other synonyms for fed up. Mad at myself for not admitting that it was disordered before it got to this point. Mad at Jan that she told me the truth and what I need to do about it. I don’t want to do it. I don’t know if it’s out of rebellion, or as a way to say “fuck you” to Jan, or because I don’t really believe it’s necessary, actually I knows it’s pretty much because of all three which makes it worse. I have so many reasons not to do it and so few reasons to, it seems. I felt like I was making so much progress with eating. I felt so good about it even thought I know part of the reason I felt good about it was because I was kind of restricting but still. Things felt normal and effortless. I was being flexible and normal! That was the best. I had so much free time that wasn’t spent with meal planning and figuring out food shit. I walked into the kitchen and decided then and it made things less of an ordeal. And I know that I wasn’t completing and I know that it was disordered but also where’s the line? Am I going to be on some sort of a meal plan for the rest of my life? Never able to not be concerned with whether I’m eating enough and if it’s intentional or not? It’s just so annoying. I just want to not have an eating disorder anymore. I want to not have to deal with this shit like the rest of my friends. I’m pretty fine with ed now. I’ve accepted him and know that he’s on his way out but it’s so hard for me to not just give up right now. I know that I won’t because I really like where I’m at and I don’t want to go back. I think about restricting again, and my first thought is that I don’t want to feel like crap all the time again. Which in ED’s terms means I’m weak, but whatever ED.

Recovery is weird. I’m typing this reflecting back on what has been the hardest week I’ve had in at least 6-months. ED has control over my brain that he hasn’t had in a long time, but he doesn’t have control over my behaviors. Today in therapy we discussed how cooking was too overwhelming for me right now, so maybe it be best if I eat out at some safe restaurants the next couple of nights, and I agreed. I love that that is my new compromise. Before it would have been, how about you eat safe foods and have a Boost with dinner just in case, or just try your best and have a Boost as a back-up. We then talked about how I’m having trouble accepting support from my treatment friends because, “I’m the one who supports them, it’s not the other way around.” I, aka ED, spent so much energy before competing to be the sickest and now I’m competing to be the most recovered. ED, what are you doing? I can’t handle you anymore. If you could kindly see yourself out that would be great.

I’m doing better this week. My therapist said something in our last session that stuck with me. “You don’t have to give this so much power. You don’t have to let it control your week.”

What do you mean? Of course it has to control my week. It’s the end of the world as I know it. The end of my recovery world that is. It’s been tough not to just let this turn into a complete relapse. A lot of my friends are doing well, so I can struggle. It would be okay. The world would stay in balance, ED tells me. Because apparently, in my head we all can’t be doing well at the same time even though I know that’s what we’re all kicking ass to fight towards.

But I tried to take that to heart. She was right, I didn’t have to let it define my week and it doesn’t have to define my recovery.

So I’m taking it slow. Not letting these increased thoughts and behaviors define my days and remembering what it’s like to celebrate small steps, like not skipping a snack or completing my meal plan for that day. I feel like I’m completely overreacting to two weeks’ worth of struggle, but I’ve been told that’s ED convincing me to minimize everything, so I’m just not gonna think about that and keep focusing on getting back on track and making sure ED keeps working on finding his way out of here.

Sending out so much love & strength to all of you

Melissa

 

 

 

Posted in Recovery

Thank you

I’ve really been trying to express gratitude more, especially within recovery so I think I’m going to start doing a series of thank yous. Here’s part one:

1 year ago today I discharged from inpatient treatment and started outpatient recovery full-time. Ho-ly crap. What a year it has been.

When I left EDCD a year ago I had no idea what the future had instore, but boy was I excited. I was in a place I had never been and for the first time in a long time I was so happy. I mean, I was equally as terrified and guilty and nervous and angry about coming home but I also knew that things were gonna be good. I kept thinking, “You feel the same way about going home as you did about coming to treatment and look how good that turned out. Everything it going to work out.” Besides, I had to face real life eventually. As much as I would have loved it stay in the comfort and safety of treatment, I had to get back to my life.

As I think about this last year, I can’t help but get emotional. I celebrated the anniversary of the day I entered treatment but man, this is a day worth celebrating too. Guys, recovery has given me so. much. Yeah, it’s taken a lot too, but when I let myself look back I can’t help but smile on the past year.

One thing I’ve tried to become more intentional with as I recover is being grateful. Realizing the opportunities that have been given to me, whatever they are, and being thankful for whatever I can get out of them. So I just wanted to write a quick thanks to a place and a group of people that absolutely changed my life for the better. One that I don’t think I could ever thank enough, and one that I’m sure will never actually see this post, but I wanted to put it out there anyway.

To the wonderful, caring, hardworking therapists, doctors, dieticians, chefs, and staff of EDCD,

I thought I had an eloquent letter in my head, but I was wrong. Where do I begin? What do I even begin to thank you for?

Thanks for giving me my life back? Heck, thanks for giving me my life. I’m not sure I ever had it to begin with. Thanks for introducing me to Melissa, the real authentic Melissa. I wish I could say that I love myself and never struggle with self-acceptance or body-image, but I can say that the more I get to know authentic Melissa, the more I like her.

I’m writing this to say thanks for showing me that I’m not the person ED told me I was. I got 3 Cs this past semester. Yep, 3. Cue the audible gasp. The girl who couldn’t stand the thought of getting a B a year ago and who finally agreed to go to treatment only because it was affecting her academics got 3 Cs. This. Semester. Sucked. I wanna say it sucked more than treatment. The thing that pisses me off is I worked my ass off for those 3 Cs and still only got Cs. I want to say I’m totally fine with it and I’ve moved on with my life and whatever but the truth is it’s wrecked me. ED has managed to take full advantage of this opportunity to prove what a failure I am and what a failure recovery has made me. But you know what hasn’t happened because I got Cs? My world hasn’t crumbled around me. I wasn’t kicked out of my program. My family didn’t disown me and I didn’t ruin my chance of getting into a good grad school or getting a good job, in fact I got a good job. I got into Teach for America, C’s and all, and am going to teach elementary school in Mississippi after I graduate. You know what has happened, however? I saw my roommates a heck of a lot more than I used to. I spent time with my friends and let myself have some fun. I decided to sleep instead of torture myself with all-nighters. I focused on me and what I needed.

And yeah, right now I’m trying not to convince myself that I need straight A’s for the rest of my college career to make up for this “abysmal” semester, because I don’t, but I can let myself smile at the fact that yeah, last semester may have been my worst semester academically, but outside of school I’ve never been better and that makes up for it ten times over. And I have you guys to thank for that.

I could go on and on. Thanks for not giving up on me. Thanks for not letting me give up on myself. Thanks for challenging me in ways I’m challenged in my everyday life, even if I hated it in program. Thanks for doing what you do. You guys hear it all the time I’m sure, but you are changing and saving lives and it takes special people to do that.

Lastly, and you guys don’t have much control over this one, but I want to say thanks for being in Denver. I have a great team here in Bloomington, but that’s it. There’s not a lot of extra support besides that. I remember so many weeks wanting to give up and quit. I saw all of my treatment friends going to ANAD or EDF groups or going back to IOP and still having a life. I didn’t have that option. My options are do outpatient or pause my life entirely to go to treatment, in Denver, Indy, St. Louis or wherever. And while I still struggle with wanting to just give up and go back, I’m so thankful that, while I was there, you guys never let me stop thinking about my goals. You never let me forget that treatment was just a stop, it was never the end goal. And while there was no shame in being in treatment or going to treatment, I was always going to have to leave my treatment bubble no matter how many times I came back, so I decided that I’m not quite ready to go back into my treatment bubble. I’ve had one unnecessarily secretive but luckily pretty short relapse but besides that I’ve decided ED’s taken enough of my college years.

I only get one undergrad, and I’m a senior, so it’s time to have some real fun, there’s no room for you ED.

So thanks again, EDCD. Thanks for giving me the ability to look towards my future with genuine excitement.  You guys really are changing lives.

Peace y’all,

Melissa

Posted in Recovery

A-okay & staying that way

So I’ve been doing pretty well lately. I always feel like I’m bragging when I say this, especially when I know people that are struggling but I’ve always told myself this was my space to be completely authentic and honest and also, it’s not something I should be ashamed of, so yeah: I’ve been doing pretty well lately. And I kind of hate to admit it.

I realized the other day that my disordered thoughts have decreased a ton within the last few weeks (well, excluding spring break.)  Over break, I went on a missions trip with Chi Alpha, the ministry I’m a part of here at school. We went to the Baltic countries: Lithuania, Latvia, & Estonia, and it was absolutely amazing. We visited campuses in all three countries looking for potential ministry/partnership opportunities and God did some amazing work in my heart, and the heart of our team while we were over there.

tartu brudge
Not great quality, but a picture of me in Tartu, Estonia
vilnius street
A main street in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania

More on that to come except that the food part was pretty tough. It was a whole ordeal and way out of my comfort zone and when I came back all I wanted to do was weigh myself and compensate for whatever damage I was sure to have done to my body *eye roll*. But surprisingly once I went to the grocery store and restocked my apartment, it took literally no thought for me to get back on track.

And that’s what I hate to admit. I hate admitting that I’m having good weeks. I hate admitting to myself that I’m doing well. Why? Because then I’m actually getting better. I tell my therapist all the time that in my head, I can envision myself in the future without an eating disorder and believe it. I can see myself with kids and a husband and a career and not have an ED, I just can’t envision that process. I just can’t imagine the process of actually letting it go.

I was joking that this is the point in what’s been my typical recovery cycle since coming home that I would start restricting and regress because the thought of actual recovery freaks me out too much, but I haven’t done that. I haven’t done this well for this long for a while, definitely not since school started. This is where I should say it’s worth it and whatever, but honestly it’s weird and slightly angering. I’m sitting in a coffee shop killing time before an interview and I really only chose this place so that I would just get coffee and skip lunch. “I’ve been spending a ton of money on food lately, I’ll just get some coffee and eat when I get home,” was my reasoning. Sounds like a very valid, college student reason to me, even though I won’t be home for another 6 hours. Obviously I knew this was a terrible idea, so when I got here I got a sandwich too, which honestly wasn’t that hard. It’s all starting to come more naturally, and while I’m definitely appreciative, I’m still a little resentful.

I don’t know how to end this so I’ll just say that recovery is starting to feel like less of a process and more like my everyday life, and I just need to keep reminding myself that these feels and thoughts just come along with the experience.

Life is pretty good right now and I want to try to savor and remember this time in my recovery, it’s been a long-time coming.

Stay real, y’all,

Melissa

I’ll leave you with this picture:

cheese face meds
Celebratory cheese face after my first psych appointment that I’ve never had some sort of med change because things are working.
Posted in Recovery, Uncategorized

Let’s Talk About It

The theme for Eating Disorder Awareness Week this year is “Let’s talk about it.” So, y’all, let’s talk about it. I try to be open with my process of recovery but the things I share have typically been through several ED-free filters, for several reasons: mainly my well-being and staying true to what I’m comfortable sharing and not making social media my diary where everyone knows every aspect of my eating disorder because heck, I don’t even think I know every aspect of my eating disorder. So, if this is your first time here, this is probably going to be the most honest thing you’ve read about my recovery so far.

When I say recovery sucks, I mean it is literally the hardest, most miserable thing I have ever decided to do. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t question my decision of starting this whole process in the first place. It is me fighting back to thoughts that have manifested in my brain for as long as I can remember. It’s breaking rules that have been engrained into my head over the last 11 years. It’s fighting with myself basically every meal and snack. It’s having my mirror covered up because sometimes the thought of looking at myself is too much to handle. It’s making myself sit with feelings that I haven’t allowed myself to feel for years and trying to accept this body I fought so hard to separate myself from.

Recovery is taking 25 minutes at the grocery store staring at the nutrition labels on boxes of oatmeal, debating if the 20 extra calories in the flavor I like more are really worth it, before eventually reminding myself that calories don’t matter.

It’s putting my meal plan on the fridge so my roommates can know if I’ve been completing it or not. It’s asking Marie to make me dinner because I panic at the thought of having to both make it and then eat it. It’s eating mac & cheese several times a week for practically a month because that’s what it took for it to not be a fear food (my roommates are saints for living through that)

It’s wondering if I’m really worth all this effort everyone is putting into me.

Recovery is deciding to hang out with my friends on a Friday night instead of studying my life away. It’s remembering that getting a C on a test (or even in a class) does not define my self-worth and neither does getting an A.

It’s going to get Chocolate Moose with my friends and not worrying about how I’m going to compensate. Heck, it’s going to Chocolate Moose by myself because Chocolate Moose is freaking delicious (Plz come back).

Recovery is being vulnerable and open and forming deeper connections with people. It’s realizing that asking for help doesn’t mean your weak and makes your life so much easier when you don’t try and do everything alone.

Recovery has shown me the love of God and a whole new side of my faith that I never could have imagined. (Post on that later.)

Recovery continues to demand everything of me and then when I reach my end, it demands a little more. It’s something I continually choose. Every day. Every meal. Every bite. And I continue to ask myself is it really worth it?

The answer is my friendships. The answer is my functioning body. The answer is my life. Eventually this disease will kill me. There are two options: recovery or death.

It doesn’t get easier but instead simpler, and my answers get clearer. So, I’m going to continue to choose it. Until it is no longer and choice and until there is no longer an answer.

So there it is, my attempt to start a conversation. A conversation that is hard but needs to be had and I’m gonna try with everything in me in the most healthy way possible to keep it going. It’s time to end this shit.

 

Peace y’all,

Melissa