Good morning! I woke up this morning feeling as though I needed to write. Today is, in some senses, my recovery anniversary. Three years ago today, I left Indiana for Montana, where I would intensively focus on recovery for the next two years. As I prepared to write today’s post, I had a hard time narrowing down what it was that I wanted to say; there is so much. My life three years ago feels entirely unrecognizable, as if it happened to somebody else and I merely read about it. I remember snippets that stay with me, though, and they still send shivers down my spine. I remember the feeling of panic that was always within me, as if my heart was going to collapse in on itself with anxiety. I remember getting back from my early morning bike rides and being so cold that I couldn’t use my hands for half an hour. I remember having a breakdown when my mom changed our dinner plans. I remember the drive back to Montana with my dear cousin, feeling like a failure the entire way.
Looking back over the last few years, it is clear to me now that I was in no way a failure. I was courageously seeking a life better than the one that anorexia had offered me, and moving home was the way in which I needed to do that. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary. It’s still hard for me to believe that I uprooted my life in order to seek treatment at home, but then I remember how desperate I felt. I didn’t have a choice, and in some ways I’m grateful for that. There are people who live for years, if not decades, with anorexia, bulimia, or another eating disorder because they have not yet reached a breaking point where recovery is the only option, or because they haven’t had the support necessary to pursue recovery. I’m grateful that my breaking point came early, and that I was lucky enough to have the support that I needed to halt my life full-stop and make a change.
In my pursuit of recovery, I found some excellent resources for support in addition to my friends and family, such as this website and this one. I found these resources immensely helpful and I wanted to help others in the in-between of sickness and health, which is why I began this blog. I wanted to be a resource for those who felt crazy and confused, and I hope that I have been able to help readers feel understood through this site in the way that I felt understood when I found resources for myself. None of these sites alone have made recovery easy, but they have certainly helped me along the way. Even though it sounds cliche, recovery is a journey, and each and every resource that helps us along that journey is worthwhile.
I still get down on my body. I still feel discouraged by my shape and my weight. It is still hard for me to hear people talking about diet changes and workout routines and not feel compelled to jump on board or, at the very least, feel really shitty about myself for not doing so. Recovery, for me, has not meant full body love and acceptance. I’m working on it, but I’m not there yet.
Recovery has not given me a magic key to body acceptance, but it has given me countless other things. It has meant no longer having dry skin or tattered hair. It has meant one or two (or three) drinks out with friends. It has meant dinner dates and movie nights. It has meant the return of my sense of humor and goofiness. It has meant living in a house with shared food and having that be completely okay. It has meant adopting a cat from the animal shelter and feeling like I can care for and about something outside of myself. It has meant falling in love. In short, recovery has given me life.
Thinking of how small my world was in the depths of anorexia, and even in early recovery, devastates me. I was petrified of gaining weight, and my entire life revolved around food and exercise. My parameters were so ridged that I couldn’t enjoy anything, all in the interest of keeping my size under control. What a fucking waste it was, and how glad I am now to not know my weight, to buy bigger pants without a panic attack, and to know with confidence that I am actually living my life. I feel like I say this in almost every post, but please know that recovery is worth it. It is so worth it. And it’s the only way to show society that being smaller does not make us happier. I feel as though sharing my story, teaching those around me that losing 100 pounds did not give me nearly as much purpose as gaining 50 of those back has, is the only way to help people understand how detrimental our obsession with weight is. I weigh more now than I did three years ago, and I am a hell of a lot happier.
This brings me to the end of my post, where I make an exciting announcement. A few months ago, a dear friend of mine contacted me about appearing on the podcast that she works on, called Here Be Monsters. She knew me at my heaviest weight, watched me descend into anorexia from afar, and wanted to know the story behind the experience. I was honored to be considered, and we spent a wonderful weekend talking together. And today, on my three year recovery anniversary, the show is airing! Head over to http://www.hbmpodcast.com/ to check it out after 1:00pm Pacific Time!