I’m doing it. I’m fighting back. I’m observing all my thoughts (with judgement, but I’m pretty sure that’s going to take a much longer time) and acting opposite to the eating disorder abuse.
It feels almost unbearably wrong. It feels surreal. A part of me is dying and even though I know that part of me was (is) literally and slowly trying to take my life, I feel sad and unsure.
I wish I was just angry. It would be so much easier if I were outraged. But I feel frantically lost when I try to look ahead at what not being consumed with an eating disorder looks like.
I’m so tempted to give it (more) life. Why don’t I feel ready to say goodbye? What purpose is it serving me at this point? It’s an automatic gravitational pull for my brain to freak out and want to go back to being consumed, when I’m doing a bit better.
Feed the good wolf.
IT HAS BEEN AN ENTIRE YEAR OF THERAPY, DEAR GOD.
In 7 days. I want to feel proud of showing up. Of being brave enough to admit I needed help, and sticking with it until everyone agrees I can fly on my own. I never thought it would surpass a year and I only see a flicker of some dim light at the end of a terribly long tunnel.
I do feel proud.
But I also feel fearful that something is going to happen that propels me quickly backward. Sometimes I want that. It’s a very strange feeling to sit with: fear and pride … and grief.
I think maybe that’s what’s actually happening: I don’t know how to handle grief and it feels confusing.
A year of this and I am both scared of not fully recovering and scared of being fully recovered. Which is at least better than a year ago when I couldn’t even comprehend recovery. So there’s that.
A year of therapy has taught me how to take a deep breath. Over and over and over until I don’t need to anymore. It has given me a space and taught me how to be vulnerable when I couldn’t fathom speaking at all. It is an open invitation to keep going, to start new, to be accountable, to cry, to embrace, to feel. Last year I wasn’t sure those things could happen for me. On August 14, 2018 when I walked through my therapist’s door I had no hope–I went because I needed someone else to hold hope for me. I still need that regularly but it has gotten so much better. The mental struggle is still so hard. I still have days where I question what I’m doing and can’t see anything but darkness. It’s a minute-by-minute fight. I am exhausted and constantly feel like I need daily support in order to stay in the fight. In fact, the very first thing my eating disorder says in the morning is don’t contact anyone today. Because reaching out is so detrimental to it.
Reaching out has taught me that I need authentic connection to survive this life. I need people in my life that make it clear I’m loved and accepted as I am.
The last year has shown me the true meaning of grace, forgiveness, and kindness and that I am missing these things for myself. It has brought the opportunity to find strength to explore my spirituality and the tools to begin to lay a foundation for spiritual support.
Finally, a year of therapy has taught me it’s ok to meet myself where I am at, in every moment. There is no timeline. This phase in recovery of grief could take a week, or another year (although I may not make it if it does take that long!), I may have to revisit this phase or other phases, and all the hills and valleys that follow with the next phases of recovery are supposed to happen. I will learn something from all of it, and I will have support when I feel like giving up.
After all, wasn’t that the point to begin with: to grow and to keep growing.
An overwhelming mix of very strong emotions resides in my gut when I think about the last year. But I’m choosing to take a moment to focus on one particular emotion right now; excitement to grow.