My first year at Calvin went nothing like I expected or wanted. Last September I was 100% confident in my recovery after a bandaid week inpatient. I would finish out all of my pre-reqs in one year to enter nursing the next fall. Not long after relapse hit, then worse relapse, and soon I was left with failing grades and really no choice but residential. That was the best choice for me and part of why I am in a good place now, but even after has been a huge rollercoaster. This unexpected year has taught me so much more about myself and what I can do.
- I don’t need to be perfect. I’ve struggled with perfectionism since I can remember, but that has been challenged constantly this year. I had to quit halfway through a semester, changed my entire timeline for classes, was late to class, forgot to do assignments, let down friends, and in general messed up a million times. Was I a failure because of it? Not at all. I make mistakes but that’s just part of being human. I can’t spend my life believing it isn’t.
- Disappointment is okay. There have been so many areas where I’ve felt disappointed in myself or the situation going on. Its okay to feel sad about the way things have happened but dwelling on it as I have in the past only makes it worse.
- My grades aren’t as important as my health. I would never have left college without being pulled out if I didn’t believe this just a little. Ever since coming back from residential I’ve done my best to put my recovery first. If I needed more time to relax or use skills or do yoga, I made time. My grades aren’t what they could have been, had I created more stress for myself and possibly even slipped more into the ED. I would rather never have an A again than cause more harm to my body and mind.
- I am strong. I have been through some really hard shit this year. I wanted to give up so many times. I easily could have. I didn’t because my will to fight is stronger than any hopelessness I may face. How else could I come back from my recent relapse on my own?
- Others help, but I am the one who makes the changes. I could go to therapy 7 times a week and still not get one step closer to recovery. Anybody else can put in the blood, sweat, and tears to get me better but unless I do, its futile. The progress I’ve made has been possible, in part, due to others but mostly because I took each baby step to get closer to where i want to be.
- I determine my progress. I know I’ve said this over and over but it has been an important part of my process. Ever since week two of residential I haven’t allowed anyone else to determine whether I am doing well or not. I know when I’ve made positive change and I can give myself that praise instead of relying on others to do so.
- I can feel joy. I never though I would be this happy again. I figured I was meant to be miserable until I died. That isn’t true at all. I’m filled with more joy than I ever thought I could experience. Its all because I’ve been finally working hard enough in recovery to see how beautiful life is and how much I am blessed.
- Everything is better when you have good people to do it with. I love having my people at school. We played euchre and other card games, had Survivor nights, ate together, did homework, and enjoyed each other’s presence. Friends have made my day go from terrible to fun and light in just a few minutes. I was always a loner but now some of my happiest moments are with others.
- Sharing my story is amazing. I have been completely open about my struggles on social media, here, with my friends, and when people ask questions. I was so ashamed to suffer from mental illness and my ED before. Instead, now I tell my story so I can help others and feel free. Its the bet decision I could have made.
- I CAN and should love myself. Self-love has become a part of my daily life. I’ve never felt that before. I can’t really explain how it happened, but at some point I began to accept my flaws and realize I am worthy of love. Now I see no reason why I shouldn’t!
- Life is so much better without being held back. I used to avoid so many things and let my ED/MH issues control my life. It was dull, I felt trapped, but now I am free. I can go eat random foods at parties, actually want to hang out with friends, feel confident, and be spontaneous. I can do anything I set my mind to.
I can’t help but smile and cry tears of joy considering all of the positive change I’ve had this year!