I have avoided or lacked the motivation to write for a while because things started to go downhill for me halfway through treatment. And when I say downhill, I mean, like a downhill slalom skier on a day when the wind is behind him (or her) and his skis are as sharp as razor.
I was pretty honest with my family and very honest initially with the treatment team. An extremely wise family member advised me to stop writing and to start reading.
“You have written to help others but now you need to read to help yourself”, she said.
I did for a while. I read through old journals to try to inspire myself, I read through old posts to try to achieve the same end but it felt like it was all in vain. Like the rot had started to set in and as though decay was inevitable.
Are there moments in your life where you say to yourself “if only I had chosen to go left instead of right, things may have been different”? For me, that moment came exactly two months and one day into treatment and although what is done is done, it is true that it is in those moments of high anxiety, high sadness, high stress that we need to be most sure-footed. And yet, it is in those moments that chaos reigns in my head and reason gets thrown out of the window like the belongings of a recently discovered cheating spouse.
In my last two months of treatment, I felt to some extent like I had given up on me and consequently or perhaps inconsequentially, some in my treatment team too. Yet no matter what the role of others was, I know that I owed it to myself to continue fighting and I think I lacked this fight towards the end.
At the point of leaving treatment, I had become truly disillusioned with the whole process and it felt and still feels hard to say to those who know me, love me, have or are invested in my recovery that “Hey, I think I am in the midst of a collapse or a relapse” but I think that would be my honest assessment five months on from treatment. Putting on weight is the easiest part of it to some extent. The toughest part is achieving the mental work required to live a live free of food-based limitations.
Sometimes, I look at my time in treatment and wonder what it was all for but I know it was not wasted. Maybe every step I take, even the backward steps, bring me closer to home and closer to the person I was created to be.
There is some saving grace in my story thus far:
a) I now know that I have the best set of friends in the world.
b) I will always remember the kindness shown to me by individuals in the treatment team.
b) I have become so much closer to family members and am able to speak about some of the things which ail me and am more able to say “I have an eating disorder”.
c) I feel very supported in terms of the aftercare that I am currently receiving and for all the butting of heads that I did in treatment, I think having this support now was worth bad days in treatment.
d) I am achieving a greater level of independence and getting to know who I am.
e) I am learning to live with regret.
f) I am learning to live.
To all those who have helped me along the way and who continue to support me, THANK YOU.
I don’t know what the future holds for me and sometimes, that is a blessing and exciting and in low periods, that feels devastating and anxiety-provoking. I will continue to hope that even though I have lived with an eating disorder for many years, recovery may be possible. I know I need to do more than that. I know I need to believe but hey….
We are all ‘works in progress’ right?
Finally, I was recently inspired by Ernestine Shepherd to make a ‘Things which help me list’. This woman is an 80 year-old body builder who started late in life. She embodies “where there is life, there is hope……”. Caveat: I don’t advocate an obsessive regime in any aspect of life but it is more the fact that she knows the things which keep her well mentally and physically and that is what she focuses on.
A good day to you all.