What better way to start off this post than share what I posted earlier on both Instagram (piece o cake) and Facebook (SCARY!!!).
July 31, 2014 was by far the scariest day of my life. I entered into eating disorder treatment at Forest View, not knowing what would come of it. I trusted that somehow, within those walls, I would find help and begin to change. The next 3.5 weeks were HARD. There is nothing that brings terror like being forced to eat so much food (including ensures!) and attend groups where you were expected to actually talk about everything going on in your head. I came back each day anyways, because something within me wanted the freedom and type of life recovery promised. I wasn’t healed by the end of my time there, but it was the reason I continually worked to recover this past year. I am healthier and happier than I ever imagined. God knew FV was exactly what I needed to get to where I am today. I am so grateful to not be the same girl who entered treatment a year ago.
I also want to add how thankful I am to everyone who supported me, prayed for me, offered advice, or just showed they care this past year. I truly appreciate each one of you. You’re all a huge part of why I’m here today as well!
I look back on this past year and it feels like I was just entering Forest View yesterday but also a thousand years ago. I love to think of all the good experiences I had there and it chokes me up a bit. I so wish I still had that amount of support each day and the other strong women to talk to. At the same time, I realize that the fact that I’m not in that place anymore is a very, very good thing.
Jenny was more than elated when I shared what today marked. Knowing me like she does, however, she gave me a challenge right away. It’s so easy to get stuck in comparisons, where I am now vs last year vs where I want to be. I’ve tried to own the notion that “comparison is the thief of joy,” but its hard. I think its our natural tendency to compare ourselves to others and our own expectations. It also happens to be one of the ED’s favorite ways to shoot down any positive thoughts I’m having. Jenny realizes all of this, so she came up with a way to make this day a positive one: pay it forward. Do something nice for a stranger, write a note, do a post on social media, and take someone special out to lunch were a few of her ideas. At that point I kind of halfheartedly said I’d do it but didn’t truly follow through.
I was going through some old verses I’ve marked off in my Bible later that day and suddenly I knew. I wanted to write letters to the most important people in my life: Livvy, my mom, and Jenny. I wasn’t going to stop with that, however. I thought my mom and Livvy deserved something more because they were there for me from Day 1. I’m not sure how or why I thought flowers, but I searched online and found a bouquet to deliver to each in addition to the letters. It hasn’t been easy to deal with everything that accompanies having your best friend or daughter struggle with an eating disorder. They along with others deserve appreciation and recognition for this past year, too. Lastly, I chose to share the above post on social media. It was hard to go into that much detail, especially on Facebook. I actually cringed when a few coworkers liked the post. At the same time, I don’t think this year is something I should be so ashamed of. If someone is going to really judge me for being open and honest about one of my hugest struggles, I don’t think the problem is me. I should be proud and open about this year and my recovery in general. It’s my story to tell and its one that should be shared. I always pray that it will help someone, someway.
All of those things I’ve done today muffled almost all thoughts of “I’m too ___ now” or “I wish I was like ___” or even “I wish I was still that sick.” I wouldn’t be as strong in my faith, working this summer, or headed to college in the fall is it weren’t for my progress over the year. I can’t compare myself to the false picture of happiness I think of whenever my mind says “thinner.” I am changed. I am different. That doesn’t mean bad though. To probably everyone BUT my ED, this past year was a huge success. I want to believe that. I choose to try.
I want to end this post with some encouragement for those in various place on this recovery journey. It gets better. Maybe not today or next week or in a few months but it will get better. Treatment is the strongest thing you can choose for yourself. Take everything a moment at a time without worrying excessively about the future. Ask for the help you need and deserve. Don’t be terrified of recovery. Most importantly, recovery is the only way you will live a happy, free, fulfilling life (note: not could but will).