reasons.

I have struggled with finding the reasons for my recovery recently. It might have been due to the conclusion that being a touring photographer might not be the healthiest & recovery-centred career right now. It might have been the realization that late nights spend on buses instead of sleeping or driving for 7 hours, sleeping in the morning and working late into the evening, isn’t ideal. Maybe in the future but not in the Spring or the Summer or next Fall for that matter. A few years down the road when things are changing fully for the better and I’m no longer holding onto my demons in a way that “protects” my soul.

As I ponder these things, I create a list of Reasons To Recover. Something I should have made so long ago and sure I did, here and there. But this is concrete. This is real. This is why I need to continue to fight for my freedom.

  1. To return to school.

I was in a program that was detrimental to my mental health before this treatment visit. But I had also been accepted to a program to further my craft in digital media – something I so badly wanted to persue. For treatment, I had to withdraw from the program and have to reapply for next Fall. This time has given me the time to ponder on whether or not that is exactly what I want for my life.

2.  Be able to travel.

Something that has been a trigger for so long. Going on vacation has never felt like a vacation with constant thoughts of how to be productive, how to lose weight, how to restrict meals, how to hide my body. All of this energy put into “protecting” myself instead of enjoying what life has to offer. My dreams to travel to the UK and other countries have been put on the back burner for life because of this eating disorder. I know that not eating means I won’t have the energy to exist outside of my hotel room. So I leave this fear behind, and jump into wholesome recovery.

3. Regain interests I have left in the dust.

Yeah, that’s right, I had interests and hobbies once upon a time. Sometimes I forget that someone existed before my eating disorder but it’s true. There was once a girl who twirled in skirts and who smiled to light up a room and doubled over in laughter. And that girl, was me. I used to play guitar and sing all of the time; the radio was just really intense karaoke…I used to play soccer and basketball. I enjoyed snowboarding on days off and walking the dog with my parents. All of these things that I lost interest in because my eating disorder decided what was okay and to what intensity. I want that girl who laughs so hard her stomach muscles ache and twirls in skirts back. I want me back. And I’ll leave my eating disorder in the dust this time.

4. Experience and describe real emotions.

One of the biggest losses of this relapse is that I forgot what it felt like to feel real emotions. I hid behind my hair and sarcastic remarks. I listened to my thoughts when they told me to arrange my place setting properly and eating in alphabetical order and make sure my liquids were at matching amounts. It was exhausting and heart breaking and I saw it as a safety net. Nothing could go wrong if I did these things. I didn’t feel immense sadness or shame or guilt because everything I tried to control could be justified by any thought. I was using my wise mind against itself. Feelings aren’t meant to be buried and forgotten, they are meant to be felt and shown. So why did I try to suppress so much, for so long?

I write these reasons out as I dive back into the worksheets I need to complete. As I take time to think about all I have accomplished even while my demons have tried to silence my thoughts. I am no longer just a diagnosis or walking, talking zombie. I am a human. Almost 20 and still piecing myself back together. It might take some time but at least I’m starting to move forward. Again and again and again.

I will fight for this. 

‘And David danced before the Lord with all his might.’ (2 Samuel 6:14)

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time.

It’s been awhile…probably not the amount of time most people would start a blog post with but for me, a week is a long time. A lot can happen in a week. My mood can soar, dip and maintain; all in a week. Why? Why has it been awhile? Why have I not been here? I guess the simple answer is: time. I have no time right now. I guess that is technically a lie since I watched Greys Anatomy all day instead of studying for either of my finals but who cares….

This past weekend was Easter Sunday. I know…a really important weekend in the Christian faith. And I even pondered the idea of attending church on Sunday morning since I missed the Good Friday service at my church. However I don’t really view it as ‘my’ church anymore and I have yet to find a church that makes me feel comfortable so right now I am “churchless” and that’s okay. I am not without God even though I don’t belong to a congregation. That’s not how this works. Instead, Sunday morning I woke up and went downtown to the local children’s hospital and visited a friend who was admitted earlier in the weekend. And I think God might have been okay with that because instead of sitting in a pew praying for myself, I was sitting bedside praying for my friend. So I think it’s alright.

Time. I’ve been taking a lot of time for myself recently. 

I’m not sure I find the same solace in my friends as I used to and this scares me. We are drifting and yet I am somehow okay with it. I have spent so much time fighting against God and what He has planned for me that I forgot to listen to His messages. And there have been messages. Like the pit I get in my stomach before I get home and my parents are upset with me, or the headaches I get when my mental health is sinking. All these signs are because God is helping me find my path. He knows that in order for me to be happy, I need to attend the school that is right for me and that might mean not getting into the University my parents would rather I attend. I am grateful for the love and support that He gives me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have been taking time and it is helping me. I am realizing what I want and who I would like to become. I know now that I need to better myself as a human being. Instead of doing things to better myself, I need to help better others. It’s not a one-man show, it’s a community play and I am ready for that. I want to lead a life worth living and that might mean finding the strength to let my parents meet the real me.

It’s strange to try and separate the two sides of my life but depending on who’s around, that is who they see. A half person. Lonely and half-filled, while I long for more. I recently bought a ticket to a concert in a city 7hrs away (in another country) where I will drive to with a friend. And I haven’t told my parents. At first, I blamed the fact that Mercury was in Retrograde (I believe in it) but I know that it was more of God’s plan. He knows that no matter how much my parents love me, they need to start letting go of the control and this is the first step. I believe that I am living for Him. Not my parents and not my friends or professors or even really me. I know that I need to stop working against His word because he has a plan. 

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. – Psalms 16:11

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – James 1:5

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