I never thought it would be me. I never thought I would be the one who lived on a hospital ward for what felt like years but was merely a few months. I never thought it’d be me who was possessed by the urge to slowly destroy myself from the inside out. I never thought it would be me, laying on the bathroom floor at 2am with laxatives searing my insides like a knife against flesh. I never dreamed of being ashamed of wearing a bathing suite because people could see my self-inflicted scars. I never though I would want to die.
By the age of 12, I had my life all planned out…down to the exact month that I would get married. But it never happened like that. It never happened like that because at the age of 19, I was quitting school and starting intensive treatment for anorexia.
It’s NEDA week – a week set aside to slam us with statistics about eating disorders and preach to us about the importance of awareness. This can be an awkward week for those who are very ill and even those who are trudging their way through their own recovery. So, I want to raise awareness about one thing, specifically…I want to raise awareness about RECOVERY.
I want to let you know that it’s POSSIBLE. No, it’s not easy, and it’s not a straight upward trajectory…it’s filled with many ups and downs and unknowns, but it is possible. I can’t say that once you’re “recovering” or “recovered” that you’ll all of the sudden love your body or feel confident in your own skin – if that’s the case, I know I definitely haven’t reached that point yet. The truth is that I still hate what I see when I look in the mirror. The difference though, is that I now place my value and worth in other things.
You have to decide what recovery means to you, as an individual. For me, recovery is building a foundation of Christ in my life – knowing and experiencing God’s unending love and making an effort to share that with those around me. Recovery is falling in love with my passion every single day – it’s enjoying every note I play on the violin, strum on the guitar, or even just singing in the shower. Recovery is laughing with childish joy at the love and power I feel when I’m able to concentrate on what it is I love to do…playing, performing, and teaching music! For me, recovery is reading my bible before dawn, before the world awakes and the rush of the day begins. Recovery is being able to have all the coffee that I want – and knowing when I’ve had enough! Recovery is working with little kids and being a crazy dog lady (which I totally am, and that’s okay). Recovery is using my voice even though it seems super duper scary lots of the time. For me, recovery is college, church, friends, music, animals, praise, worship, writing, art, and so many other things. But within all those things, there’s one thing that recovery has never been…it’s never been easy.
But here I am, sitting behind a computer screen, sharing what is probably WAY too much information with random strangers on the internet. Why? Because I want everyone to know that IT IS POSSIBLE. RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE.
Instead of throwing mortality rates in people’s faces (and don’t get me wrong – eating disorders are the most deadly of any mental illness and I believe that that’s important), let’s celebrate our recovery and make it known that recovery is possible to those who may be feeling hopeless and helpless during this tough time.
I hit rock bottom. You don’t have too. If you’re struggling, please seek out help. There are resources out there and people who care. You are loved!
“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.”
― Virginia Woolf
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.