Birthday post pt 1: 22

Last week, I turned 23. I truly can say that 22 was the fastest year of my life thus far. The days were long and full of struggle, but I sit here today (one whole week into my 23rd year) wondering how the hell it passed on by so quickly.

I’ve been in a reflecty/nostalgic sort of mood lately, so I wanted to look back on all this year brought.

The good:

  • Made it through the first year of nursing school! And did better than I ever thought!! This one deserves all the exclamation points. If I had to name one thing that made 22 pass by so dang fast, this would be it. I started out still very uncertain in my ability to truly be a nurse. I knew I could probably handle it academically and I love learning anyways, but working with patients was the real unknown. I’m grateful for the progress I’ve been able to make. I feel a thousand times more comfortable with patients now. I can see the ways I’ve grown and I’m proud of that.
  • Kept on going, no matter what. I’ve faced many obstacles this year. There were infinite moments I could have given up or given in. I did at times, of course, but overall I chose to fight instead. My stubbornness and resiliency helped me stay afloat in a pretty wide range of areas.
  • FINALLY got on good medications. I have zero shame about being on psychiatric meds. I felt pretty ambivalent about them before, but I finally ended up changing some things around with a new psychiatrist and the difference is CRAZY! I am so so glad I listened and decided to make steps towards healthy.
  • Giving up perfectionism in tiny ways. My nursing classes have naturally brought greater challenge and less likelihood of just acing a test without studying. This means I’m not the straight A student I once was. I’m learning to be okay with it, though. Test scores this year have had a large range, but I now can at least fight the negative thoughts that come with a B. It doesn’t have to ruin my day or week anymore.

The bad:

  • Lost my Challenge Queen title. My nickname at residential was always the “Challenge Queen” because I went above and beyond to fight back against the ED. This meant daily fear foods and completing difficult assignments, opening up more, etc. Ever since then I’ve tried to implement that same mentality. It has been seriously lacking this year. I have done pretty much the bare minimum (or less) and that’s it. I have no desire to try harder and make progress. This is frustrating and I feel stuck, but I also don’t want to make a change.
  • Relapse and treatment. Well I couldn’t exactly talk about the bad parts of this year if I skipped this whole part. I spent nearly all of 22 in varying stages of relapse. It was miserable and probably a large part of why the days were so very long as weeks and months whizzed by. This relapse was bad enough that I ended up in PHP for a month, something I swore I would NEVER do again. I still carry around a great deal of shame for everything that happened ED wise when I *should* have been better by now.
  • Isolation. This past year has brought way too many days with little to no human interaction minus what was absolutely necessary (think going to class and the dining hall). I sat in my room more often than not. If I did happen to do something socially, it was always support group or bible study or hanging out with treatment buddies. Most of the time i just felt too broken for anyone else.
  • Less time enjoying. I didn’t allow myself to sit back and relax with a book or go out on a photo shoot. My days were filled with monotony and not much to look forward to. I also got very stuck in the “work, work, work” mindset.
  • Giving up my passions. I’m pretty sure that my photo count for the year is in the hundreds (instead of thousands). I’ve also written way less than I had hoped/wanted to. Somewhere along the way, I just stopped caring about doing things I love.

22 wasn’t a bad year by any means. It certainly didn’t turn out as I’d hoped, but I have faith knowing that even the hard points are shaping me. I’ve learned and grown through it all, and that matters. I’m (mostly) ready to take on 23 and make it better than the last.

Part 2 is coming soon where I’ll explore my goals for the next year

20

I turned 20 yesterday. I want this to be the start of a new me. I will cling to these hopes for my next year:

  1. Work  my ass off in recovery
  2. Begin to discover who I am, without any of my chains
  3. Develop meaningful relationships
  4. Let go and let God
  5. Be accountable for keeping myself healthy at school
  6. Show myself love, even when I can’t stand the thought of it
  7. Journal at least daily
  8. Spend time in God’s word/prayer/worship
  9. Allow myself to enjoy life
  10. Go out in nature more often
  11. Ask for help when I need it
  12. Learn deeply
  13. Actually use coping skills
  14. Grow closer to my mom
  15. Do yoga because I love it, not for exercise
  16. Fight back against perfectionism
  17. Practice resiliency
  18. Turn towards not away from God in the hard times
  19. Be a badass (thanks Sheri!)
  20. Procrastinate less

18.

In around 25 hours, I officially turn 19. That fact alone is pretty remarkable with everything that’s happened this past year.

18 has been the hardest year of my life. I fought (and finally beat!) self harm (another post coming on that in the near future). I had major stress coming from my senior year of high school/second year of early college. I felt alone a lot of the time. My relationship with my parents and brother suffered a ton of damage. I lost some friends from isolating. My depression and anxiety sky-rocketed. I sunk into my eating disorder. At times, anorexia’s grip was so strong that I felt I wouldn’t even make it to 19. In fact, I didn’t want to make it to 19 for a good majority of the time.

Even with all of these things, 18 wasn’t all bad. I met and became friends with Livvy and Lily. I don’t know what I would ever do without them. We officially switched to the best church ever full-time. I was single the entire time which allowed me to take time for me. I am finally opening up to others again. I graduated from high school with a gold cord like I always wanted. I met some amazing people in my Christian fellowship club at college. I’ve applied to transfer colleges to begin my future. I’ve grown very close to so many people at our church. I’ve found the best support I could ask for in Kim. I switched to a great therapist and psychiatrist that work for me. I am working towards loving myself again. My time at Forest View changed me forever. I became a youth leader. My faith in God has grown tremendously. It’s incredibly hard, but I am slowly saving myself from this disorder and recovering.

18 was a year of hardship, struggle, and challenge but also growth, resiliency, and recovery. I have so many hopes for 19. I know it will be even better.