Yesterday I decided that I didn't want to have an eating disorder any more. This probably sounds ridiculous but let me explain. I have been in some kind of treatment and recovery for almost 3 years now. From the beginning I have taken my recovery pretty seriously. While there have been many bumps, stumbles and very rough times, I have never completely given up hope.
I have done a lot of personal development work in the last three years. Countless hours of therapy, nutrition appointments, support groups and even inpatient treatment for a few months. I will spare you with the amount of books and blogs I have read, in order to learn more about myself, break the old habits and patterns and ditch the eating disorder. I've seen how amazing and freeing life can be without struggling and have learned to love the person I've become.
With all of this said, I have still wanted to hang on to the eating disorder. I wanted that identity still, at least the "good" parts.
Recently I found out about the death of a good friend. A friend that I met in treatment. To say that it rocked me to my core would be an understatement. I have gone through some of the stages of grief and I am sure that are plenty more to come. I know I haven't completely processed her death. However, I am sure of one thing.
I don't want the eating disorder to be a part of my life any more, at all. I don't want that identity and label. I am more than ready to close that chapter of my life.
Now, I strongly believe that eating disorders are mental illnesses. So recovering isn't just about saying you are done. Hell if that was the case, I am hoping that I would have made that decision years ago. But I have done all of the other work. I know my stressors and triggers. I know when and why eating disorder thoughts come up for me. I even have quite a few newly built neuro-pathways to counter those thoughts. Although I don't always act accordingly, I know how to listen to my body and even feed myself properly. Not to toot my own horn but I am positive I have the knowledge and compassion to help others recover from an eating disorder. I've put in the hours. I've done my share of the dirty work.
With all of this being said, it wasn't until recently that I really was ready to fully commit to this. My eating disorder was a part of me and I didn't want to lose that. But that doesn't scare me any more.
My daughter is growing rapidly. Her little (actually pretty big) personality is starting to show through. Her motor skills are improving daily and she is already ready, at least mentally, to be on the move. My husband and I have been finding small amounts of time to do things together, mostly snuggling and watching old episodes of Knight Rider. I am starting to feel stronger both mentally and physically and finally feel like I am healing from the pregnancy and hormonal issues.
I still struggle with anxiety and depression yet I am finding new techniques to make those things a lot less crippling. I am also working on developing a positive relationship with my body. All in all, there isn't much room in my life for an eating disorder any more.
My sweet friend didn't have the chance to see what life could be like with out an eating disorder. Unfortunately, this is the case for many. But it doesn't have to be the case for me. In honour of Kristen, I have been living my life to the fullest every day. There are ups and downs, but I feel like a big weight has been lifted off of me. Because I have struggled for 12-13 years, I have felt like I have to be the girl with an eating disorder or even the girl in recovery from an eating disorder but I don't want either of those things any more. I am grateful for all I have learned and this entire journey. I also have no doubt that I will have my struggles here and there.
I feel like this post really makes recovery sound really simplistic and even easy. That is the farthest thing from the truth. Recovery has been the hardest thing I have ever done and probably will ever do.
For now I am closing this book. Focusing on the things that matter. Living my life. Thriving instead of surviving. Living in the present and taking each day as it comes. Rest in peace Kristen. I am so thankful for our time together. You are free now my dear friend. I love you so much and you will always hold a special place in my heart.