Today marks the end of my first week back at school. More than anything I’m relieved that its over. I know, not the best reaction but its a hard situation.
I was fearful moving back into Calvin. This was a place where I had previously only been sick, and very sick for most of my time there. Stepping onto campus gave me flashbacks to last fall: fainting episodes, overexercise, isolation, failing grades, emptiness. I didn’t get a college experience last semester, instead I was slipping more towards death each day. No matter how solid my want to recover is now, I still worried that just being on campus again would send me slipping. Thankfully I was (mostly) wrong.
I’ve definitely had more ED thoughts since coming here. I can’t go anywhere on campus without being reminded of the “before,” the old me, the sickness. At times it is almost enough to make me flirt with that lifestyle again. What I can realize now is that all of those euphoric images I hang onto from my darkest days were false. I wasn’t happy, healthy, or anywhere close to flourishing. Recovery this past almost two months, on the other hand, has gotten me much further.
So yes, there have been some hard times. I anticipate even more in the coming weeks. The difference between now and back then is that I am working hard not to give in to ED or any negative thoughts. One of the things that has helped me the most and I never believed in before is my skills. I have employed basically every one CFD taught me that I had available: deep breaths, thought stopping, though records, reaching out to support, affirmations, stress ball, frozen orange/clementine, lentils, scents, and general distraction at times. Thanks to my own hard work and these skills, I haven’t had any behaviors or restriction at all!! I am beyond proud of myself and I deserve to be. I took a scary and stressful transition while being just out of residential and proved that I could handle this.
Beyond the eating disorder (now that I can finally focus on anything other than it), I am finding my place here. I really enjoy my interim class so far on eugenics and genomics. Its a challenge with the amount of reading and work packed into each day but I am welcoming the opportunity to learn. It almost feels like I wasn’t gone at all when it comes to my friends. I’m honestly surprised they didn’t forget about me. I’m so excited to form even more relationships and deepen those I have. I went rock climbing yesterday and truly enjoyed it even though I was really rusty. I feel like its going to be both physically and socially engaging as the year goes on. I plan on stating up my yoga practice very soon and I’m hopeful that with good intentions it will become a great outlet and way to appreciate my body. Lastly, and most importantly, I am working on my faith. Its a process that the ED once again nearly destroyed, but I know God is capable of building it back up. Overall, I am going to be a well-adjusted, involved, and more joyful college student this time around.
Here’s to a second week of learning, self-compassion, and fun!