I compare my road to recovery like driving. When I’m on the road there are always people who speed by and others who are just creeping along. I usually just end up setting the cruise and pacing along. At times, even though I may be going faster than others, there is always that one car that ends up right on my butt and tries to force me along. There are also times, when I’m driving, that the traffic is heavy and I may end up slowing down, or even coming to a complete stop. These same roads may have potholes, or cracks in the pavement, as well as other obstacles that can appear. Sometimes, there may be an accident ahead, or a detour that takes me off my usual route, and through all of this there is the occasional car that is pulled off on the shoulder.
I hope this analogy makes sense to those of you reading because I see it as the perfect parallel to recovery. There are bumps in the road and obstacles that may get in our way. Some times we may be progressing well and other times recovery may be slower. There are also times when people may try to force us along, thinking that’s it’s for the best, and other times when we may be on our own. There is no clear path for recovery. Everyone is different and everyone is moving at there on pace. Some may not make it and end up pulling off the side of the road. Either way, Recovery is possible and I just keep reminding myself that “I can do this” and that one day I will be able to look back and be proud of what I accomplished.
Yesterday was my birthday, and I know some people can’t appreciate that, but I can. Yesterday marked another year that I am still here on this Earth. It’s the start of another year that I have to try new things, another year to accomplish new goals, and another year to make a difference. I can already tell that this is going to be the best year I’ve had in a long time. I am in a much better place in my recovery and my hope for the future. These past couple of months I have met so many supportive people, whom I now consider my “family.” We all have our biological families, but then we have our “chosen families.” My family has grown so much and I feel surrounded by support and love. How can I quit now when I have so many people that have my back?
This time last year, I never could have imagined that I would have come so far. Not to say that every day is easy, in fact it’s far from it, but I know “my family” will always have my back. Even these past couple of months I have seen a bigger change than I have in a long time, and I owe most of it to my “family” and my treatment team, without whom I never would have never been able to do without. Even in my best days you all are still with me, and in my worst, I know you all have my back. Without my “family,” and my continued motivation and work within myself, I know without a doubt I would have relapsed. Also, without my AMAZING treatment team, I would never have been able to fully trust myself. To my therapist, I have no words to how much your love and guidance have encouraged me. To my nutritionist, your understanding and willingness to treat me as an individual, has been my motivation for nutritional stability, and to my PCP, you are the most AMAZING woman I’ve ever met. Your love, and faith in my strength, has helped keep me going. You have always seen in me, what I never could.
There are so many other people I can thank and I hope you all know that I love you and that I’d never be where I am today without you all. I can finally say that I truly feel I am on the right track and that I know I am loved and supported.
A lot of times trauma gets pushed down into the depths of our soul, or even, in some cases, hidden within our unconscious mind. Most, but not all, people struggling with an Eating Disorder have experienced some sort of trauma in their lives, whether physical, sexual, verbal or emotional. It could be anything from abuse to neglect or abandonment. Even witnessing these things can cause one to counteract by turning to EDs. In turn, trauma can then be turned inward causing someone to blame themselves, or to feel so much shame, that they need to find some way to get those feelings under control. Turning to an Eating Disorder is a way for someone to feel they have control, or they might use it as a way to mask the feelings from the trauma.
In a way turning to an Eating Disorder is a way that the body and mind tries to keep it self safe. It is a coping mechanism that helps the individual get through the effects of the trauma. Even though it isn’t a safe way to cope, it may seem like the logical way for someone to deal with negative experiences. Some people think trauma is about physical or sexual abuse, but that’s not so. Trauma is anything that is a distressing or disturbing experience for someone. No matter how minor it may seem, experiencing trauma, can have a major impact on a person’s psyche.
Getting help to deal with trauma is the key to overcoming one’s eating disorder. Only when we can recognize our past situations and then work with a professional, can we begin to deal with the negative effects from it. In the case of eating disorders, it may be a way to feel in control, or a way to feel invisible, or even a way to disappear all together. Whatever the reason, the key is to talk about the trauma. Only when we can put it in the past can we truly move forward.
Today was a great day for me!! It was hard and exhausting, but I learned so much more about myself than I ever realized. When I was trying to figure out what to write for this post, I suddenly got this image of a bumpy, hilly road. Life it like that, if you think about it. No ones path is straight and flat; we all have hills and mountains to climb. I know that, for me, it’s hard to maintain the stamina to keep putting one foot in front of the other and it’s easy to lose my motivation. Often times I want to give up and just sit down where I am, but I try to remember that the view from the top will be totally worth it.
During the hard times in our lives we often concentrate on how far we still have to go; how far it is to the hop of that hill, but it is, at these times, that we need to look back and reflect on how far we have come. Every struggle we face is another hill we have to climb, but when we get to the top, and can see 360 degrees, it is totally worth it. Also knowing that we are not alone in our fight to the top, we must remember that we can, at anytime, reach out for support to keep us motivated. I am so very lucky to have some AMAZING people that are will to help me through my fight. They are always there to offer words of wisdom or a shoulder to cry on and a soft place to land if I am ever to fall. I know they will help me whenever I ask, and even when I don’t. So whenever I feel I can’t take another step and I want to give up, I look back at how far I’ve come and reach out my hand knowing that someone will always be there.
Anyone who has ever gone through a rough time in their lives knows that having supportive people to rely on is a necessity. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a death, a divorce, a loss of a job, financial strain, an accident, or a health issue; we all need someone to be able to lean on and help us through. For me, my rough time is a health issue. Having an Eating Disorder is not something can one can recover from on their own, as much as we try to convince ourselves we can. There are many “support” people that are a necessity in the recovery process. With a disease like this, it didn’t happen suddenly or overnight and neither will recovery. In fact, going through the healing process can be more painful and lengthy than the Eating Disorder itself. Recovery from this is a life long process so any and all support should be welcome.
Hopefully, we all have some sort of support from friends and/or family, but even more than that, is a dedicated and caring treatment team. These people are your guides to recovery and your sounding board for all your thoughts, feelings and emotions so they should be “perfect” for you. You cannot just randomly choose people to be on your team; you must have a connection and trust with them. Without trust there is no truth. Why would you tell some complete stranger, whom you don’t know, your deepest, darkest secret? You would, however, tell a really good friend so that’s how I look at my team. Even though they are essentially my medical providers, I tell them things that I would never tell anyone else and I know there will be no judgement or criticism, but only empathy and a drive to help. It may take time, and many assessments, but trust when I say finding that connection will be a lifesaver.
I am lucky to have found those people. It definitely took some time, but between my doctor, my therapist, and my nutritionist I have my dream team. I know that they truly care about be about my well being and are behind me 100%. They are there for my triumphs and my missteps. They are my push to keep moving forward and my soft place to land if I fall. They are my support through these hard times when I feel scared and alone. Without their help progress would be nonexistent and relapse would eventually be what I’d have to look forward to. Now I know that going uphill is so much harder, but the view from the top makes it all worth it. THANK YOU so much to the team that has my back. I love you all.
Have you ever wandered what it would be like to be able solve all your problems? Have you ever wandered what it would be like to feel like you were “OK” and everything was going your way? Well, from a personal perspective, I can say STOP wandering. Life will never be “perfect,” there will always be obstacles in our path, but overcoming those obstacles will make us stronger. I have been faced with many obstacles for many years, but I am still here trying to overcome. It’s not about trying to have the “perfect” life, it’s about making it through the life we have been given and with every tough time we make it through, the better person we become. Life is not supposed to be easy; if it were everyone would be happy and there would be no struggles or hardships, but that’s not reality. Our lives have already been pre-planned so these hardships that we face are in our path for a reason. We are the ones who make the final decision whether to fight and overcome, or not. We have every right to give up during hard times, and some do, but we also have the option to take the crap and work through it. Even though we can never know what’s on the other side of that obstacle, we can always hold on to the hope that it will be better than where we have come from.
Some people seem to have it easier than others and some seem to always been fighting something, but each person’s life it set up for them. Just because someone is struggling and having a tough time overcoming their obstacles doesn’t mean that they are worse off than someone who seems to been coasting through life. Struggling and overcoming it just makes that person that much stronger. I can say from personal experience that it is hard and exhausting and frustrating to work through a hardship, and it would be easy to give up, but for some reason I am still fighting. I know that there will be one day that I will be in recovery and I will appreciate all the fighting I went through, no matter how hard it was. I am who I am because of everything that happened in my past and I don’t regret any of it. I know that I have been pre-planned to face these obstacles for a reason and that I am still here for a purpose. In the times where most people thought I should be dead I was still fighting and even though I still continue to fight I know one day it will all pay off. Everything happens for a reason and some higher power must have seen the fighter in me to put me in the middle of this struggle, but all I can do it keep moving forward and eventually it will all be clear.
Anyone who has struggled with an ED, and has been in treatment, knows how hard it can be to battle through the tough times. Almost every one of those same people know what it’s like to want to give up. Of course it would be easier to succumb to the power of the Eating Disorder, so why wouldn’t we want to give in? The ED is our comfort place; a place where we feel safe, so why would we want to suddenly give that up? Then we are suddenly faced with the mind set of recovery. It seems impossible to think about living without the ED, but at the same time it would be a relief to live without it and all the rules that come with it. The scary part is getting from one place to the other. Everyone walks the path in their own time, but everyone will eventually experience obstacles that will make them question their decision. So what keeps us going? What is it about Recovery that keeps us fighting? Why do we make the choice to experience the hard and scary road toward recovery when it would be so easy to stay comfortable with our ED? There must be some reward we all expect to get at the end. We all hear about how much better our lives will be when we get past this, so that must be what keeps us going. Knowing that there is a better, happier, more freeing life waiting for us is worth fighting for. Every day is a fight, and every day is a struggle, but if we want a better life we have to leave our comfort zone and take the leap, knowing we will land on the other side. THAT’S WHY I CHOSE NOT TO GIVE UP!!!!