Today is the 3rd day of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. It’s also the one year anniversary of when I first walked through the doors of a place now all too familiar. Little did I know I would spend 4 months walking through those doors and feeling every emotion under the sun. But what I remember most is the fear.
Fear of feeling flesh cover the bones I had worked so hard to expose. Fear of giving up my security blanket, my comfort and my “thing”. Fear of actually feeling my feelings and doing nothing to stop it. Fear of finally facing the 21-year-old mountain of pent up hurt and shame and fear and loneliness shoved so deep inside.
I grew up always pretending I was fine because I didn’t know there was any other way. I rationalized and shamed my way through every feeling because it was just easier that way. Feeling lonely? It’s your fault you don’t have more friends. Feeling scared? You’re tough, you can get over it. Feeling sad? You have so many things to be grateful for, cheer up. Feeling hurt? Well obviously it’s your fault so you have no right to feel hurt.
There are so many things I wish I could say to that little girl. A lot of it summarized here. I would give her words of truth and life to speak grace into her soul. Words that turn her face towards the inherent glory of her heart made by a God who rejoices in her beauty.
I don’t really know what I want to say with this post. There are so many words and yet none seem good enough to express what this last year has been for me. How do I explain the process of recovery in a way that doesn’t seem cliche or attention-seeking? But honestly part of me does want attention because I’m human and, as much as I hate to admit, I need it. We all do.
How does one sum up their journey of self-awareness and self-discovery, while recognizing this process is life-long? It would be naive to claim some therapy (more like A LOT of therapy lol) and vulnerability suddenly makes it all ok. Because we all know it’s not. I’m not ok now.
Am I better than where I was a year ago? 100% Yes.
Am I fully healed? Absolutely not.
I’m not gonna lie and say I don’t miss how I felt when I was incredibly sick. I miss it a lot. Much more than I would like to admit. I miss the looks of concern, the constant checking in, the feeling of clothes always falling off no matter how small they were. I miss the high from every skipped meal and long run. I miss the expressions of worry from friends and family and being the person who everyone was praying for.
I miss the attention. The feeling of being seen. The ability to voice my pain without actually saying anything at all.
But when I really take a step back to place a magnifying glass on such an incredibly dark time, the idolization and nostalgia slowly begin to fade. One of the many reasons I love keeping a journal is so I can look back on certain seasons and truly remember how I was feeling. Pages and pages and pages of such sorrow and confusion fill the lime green moleskin I kept during those frightening months. I’ve been going back and forth on if I should share this excerpt because it’s extremely raw, but I’m stepping out in fear in hopes that my voice can fight past the shame. (Some parts are cut out because I’m not trying to share anything potentially harmful.)
“I’m scared God. Scared of myself and the thoughts I’ve been having. I’m confused and now I don’t feel like I can trust myself or predict my own actions which is so weird and scary. I feel so alone and lost and unworthy and broken. I’m so mad at myself for what I did and ashamed and it has become this horrible cycle of anger and fear and shame and I’m grasping at any sort of calm. So I’ve been majorly restricting today. God where are you? I’m trying to listen but I can’t hear clearly? Why are you doing this God? Help me. I don’t want to feel this way anymore. I feel so broken and worthless and attacked and confused and overwhelmed, yet I’m trying to keep living my life and I can’t pretend anymore. What should I do God? I need you to show me. I can’t keep trying to figure everything out on my own. Take it away from me God. Out of my hands. Heal my soul God. Reveal to me what I need right now. Calm my anxious fears. I want to lay it at your feet but I need help. I’m so scared of my own head. Show up God. I need your peace.”
Dang. I honestly feel pretty speechless right now. Every time I read my words I am struck by the desperation. It’s difficult to remember how I felt since I’m not in the same place anymore (PRAISE JESUS), so I often find myself glorifying that time because it’s so much easier to remember the good feelings than the bad.
I’m sitting here wracking my brain for words to summarize this year (or this post for that matter). 365 sunrises and sunsets. I graduated college and started this blog, started and completed treatment, travelled and spent time at home, started nursing school and reaffirmed my passion, made new friends and dealt with rejection, lost the therapist who truly saved my life and gained a new one (who is incredible). 365 days, and every single one a challenge.
It’s weird to think I’ve made so much progress and none at all in the span of 10 seconds. I thought I would have more consistency by this point, but the only thing that’s consistent is inconsistency. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel stable, whatever that even means. It’s hard to imagine the possibility of one day being completely free from the racing thoughts constantly gnawing at my brain. For right now I’ll settle for the lower volume.
No joke I just took an instagram break (gotta keep it real) and MY GIRL Morgan Harper Nichols just posted a mic drop of a poem. Reading her gentle and kind words feels like my heart is getting a hug. So instead of trying to somehow wrap up this post myself and clumsily slap on a bow, I’ll let her do it.