To Everyone Struggling to Recover-
You have heard that this journey is not going to be smooth. You have heard that there will be bumps on the way. You have heard that you will make mistakes, and that true recovery means being able to pick yourself up again. You know all these things, and yet you may not KNOW them.
Those of you who know me see me as- or at least I hope see me as- a relatively strong person. Someone capable of making the journey out of this hell hole into life. Someone who has faced a lot of tribulations in her short lifespan, and has taken them on. But I think that sometimes I put on a brave face, a face that says, "I am so over this disorder! I'd never consider going back in a million years!" And well, that's not true. I don't know if I speak for everyone, so I'm not going to say that I do, but I know crossroads come up many, many times, and it is our decisions at those times that really make or break us.
Today I chose not to be broken.
If what I am about to say next will trigger you in any way, then don't feel obligated to read it. But it has a happy end, I promise.
The story: I thought I'd been doing well. I'd been eating, enjoying food, cooking, starting to run again, and even getting over my fear of the gym to start lifting weights and regaining strength. I was excited for college, excited for summer, excited to move on. Then I went to the doctor, and got a shock. I'd lost 3 pounds. Not an earth shattering amount, mind you, not something that I even knew had happened (I took a baseball bat to my scale. Highly recommend this). I was shocked and even a little angry.
My doctor was not pleased, to say the least. I need a medical release form to go to college in the fall, and it is due in 2 weeks. She hasn't signed it yet. She told me that if I didn't gain back the weight by my next appointment (this coming Monday) she wouldn't sign it. And I wouldn't be going to college.
I left the office with a resolve to increase my meal plan, because there was no way I was not going to college in the fall. Nothing could stop me. But as the days started to pass, I hadn't done any increasing. Something always put me off- I wasn't hungry, an extra tablespoon of this or that wouldn't even matter... And then tonight it hit me. I had 4 days to get my butt into shape. And I was terrified.
I started to just eat, in absolute terror that I wouldn't get enough. "Do it for college, do it for college," my brain was saying. Part of it was healthy motivation, but I think some of it was ED driven as well, because by the time I stopped, it had been a binge.
I was mortified. There was my slip. I thought I had lost control of recovery again. I felt guilty, sad, ashamed- and no one was home with me. The self-hatred started, as did the walk on auto pilot to the bathroom.
I crouched down, flipped up the toilet seat...and stopped. I put my hand down and just sat there, the urges screaming at me so loudly, the stress and shame and anxiety building. But I forced myself to just sit and think about it.
What was this going to accomplish? Did I want to wake up tomorrow dizzy, with a sore throat and a headache? Sure I'd tell myself that this was a "one time thing" but what would happen the next time I felt guilty? The justification would only be too easy. Yes, I felt horrible in the moment. Yes, I had binged and that wasn't healthy, but two unhealthys don't add up to a healthy. This wasn't the right way to do things.
I sat in the bathroom for ten minutes, hand wavering in the air, wanting so badly to do what I had always done.
And I walked away.
In those five steps out of the bathroom, I felt like I had just run a marathon. But I did it. And it was important. My crossroads came, and I may have started to veer left, but ultimately I righted myself again. Yes, I made a mistake, but people do that. I'm not perfect. I am guilty sometimes of pretending to be, but I'm not.
I don't know how many of you have read all the way to the end of this. In fact, I don't know how many people will even read this to begin with. But you have the capability within you at this moment to say, "No." To do what is right. No matter how fucking hard that may be- you are stronger than it.
Today I walked away from a toilet. What's your small victory?