This slipped out yesterday when I was talking with my RA. We hadn’t really spoken about my recovery and how I’m doing for a few weeks and she wanted to check in. To be quite honest, recovery has not been all rainbows and butterflies so I told her that. I explained my wins but also struggles. The thing is, she sees me so much clearer than I can see myself. I am misguided by perfectionism. If I can’t do recovery, or anything, perfect then it isn’t good. My RA isn’t bound by this at all. What she sees is someone who is not at all the girl she met last fall. This one laughs and probably doesn’t stress her out so much and can eat what she’s supposed to without being told. This new girl is someone she’s proud of.
“I am doing the best I can.” I said it. She affirmed it. Most importantly though, I do believe that. I am happy believing that.
I’m not perfect and my recovery process is far from it. I have bad days. Sometimes it’s a whole week feeling less than great and falling into negative thinking. That doesn’t take away from my progress. Despite it all I continue to push forward and do the best I am able with where I am at.
Today in group we had an open art session. I struggled with what I wanted to do but ultimately decided to write “I am doing the best I can” over and over. I so need that right now. There are so many circumstances and responsibilities. Its not limited to just recovery. I can’t do it all and I can’t put that kind of pressure on myself. I will instead press on, meditating and living out this statement.
Yesterday I finally got to meet with my normal therapist at school, S. I was so excited to see her again. I wanted to share all about residential and the growth I’ve made. The first thing she said once we started talking was “You look really, really good.”
I teared up. She didn’t have to explain herself to me. I didn’t fight it. ED thoughts never took hold to decipher what she really meant by “good.” I knew.
I’m not ready yet to look at my body and be okay with the changes. I feel it all of the time: me taking up more space than I used to, more than the ED would ever allow.
What I am ready to recognize and share is that I DO look good. I smile and radiate the joy that everyone at CFD so hoped I could have. The worn out look I had every single day has disappeared. My skin has a little color to it. I look more alive than I have in years.
My appearance does reflect my recovery in this way. It isn’t about the weight gain. That can happen without any change on the inside. I have put in hard work. My soul, the real Emily, she’d coming back more each day. I may have bad thoughts and sometimes give in to them, but my life is not the ED’s anymore. I am truly living.
Three months ago I would have argued with S. I could never accept that compliment, or any. All I would hear is the ED’s voice telling me how fat I must be for her to say that. I would have left her office feeling down and disgusted. I might have still cried but for a much different reason.
Right now I am thankful, empowered, proud, courageous, and so happy. These tiny changes I’m making are truly paying off. Its easy to forget the amount of change that has taken place until someone points it out. Moments like these affirm how much recovery is worth to me.
For now, I will bask in the fact that I do look really, really good. I’ve earned it!