Today, May 10th 2018, marks exactly six weeks from the day I was discharged from the Cambridge Center for Eating Disorders (the CEDC). So much has happened in these last six weeks. I am usually very critical of myself, always quick to pick out the flaws, never blind to what could be better. But as I reflect on the past six weeks I come to the conclusion that I ought to compliment myself more often because I have a lot to be proud of. I have successfully kept a stable weight and a recovered state of mind is only the beginning of my latest accomplishments.
Since I discharged from the CEDC six weeks ago, I’ve lived more than I ever had in such a short period of time, short in terms of the grand scheme of things. I got a summer job with my hometown’s University’s Upward Bound, and I’m really excited about it. I know it will come with some challenges, but I think the experience working with low-income, first generation students will be incredibly rewarding. I’m grateful that I will be a part of something so much bigger than I am, so much bigger than my eating disorder. I hope in my life to inspire other people, because so many people have inspired me, and arguably the inspiration was the foundation of the hope I hung onto, and still hang on to today.
Other things I am proud of myself for is conquering a week away with my family. I love my family, and I am grateful for them to no end, but spending dawn until dusk with them for seven days in a row can become a bit tiresome. But alas I powered through. I’ve also been substitute teaching at elementary schools a couple of days a week, and opportunity that has also enriched my life beyond the eating disorder. Also on my list of accomplishments these past six weeks include learning how to paint, starting a garden, continuing with my blog and starting the very first draft of what I one day hope to be a published memoir. And also a new and wonderful relationship, with a really sweet guy.
The day I discharged from the CEDC I feared my growing knowledge of myself and experience of life without ED would soon come to an end. But I’m happy to say it hasn’t, I’m still motivated to live each and every day without ED. It would be unrealistic to assume that fresh out of treatment I’d never have an ED thought. And that is why there’s a difference between having an ED thought and acting on an ED thought.
Sometimes I catch myself having ED thoughts. Little mantras ED used to chant in my head sneak back “skinny skinny“, I’ll hear sometimes. But thankfully I can brush it off and continue on with my day. ED sometimes still knocks on the door when I have desserts or the old “fear foods” but then I remind myself not to label food. ED just wants to label the food I eat to make me miserable, that’s all. And I don’t need to listen to him, not even a little. Some days I feel tempted to step on the bathroom scale or stand in front of the mirror and body check, mostly out of habit and a little bit of curiosity, but I can walk away now, I can resist the urge and go about my day afterwards. I’m freeing myself each and everyday, even on the harder days, I’ve never been so happy, so full of content, and so full of feelings. Numbness and apathy are becoming less of an everyday affair and more of an occasional funk, they are normal emotions to feel every once in a while. Someday I feel sad, others I feel angry but I’d rather feel uncomfortable emotions than no emotions at all.
These past six weeks and the weeks, months and years from now I will continue not to find myself, but each day I will create myself. Every moment of every day living in a world that has less of ED and more of me. I’m really grateful for the wakeup call back in January when I was first emitted to the CEDC. Maybe it is true that you have to be at your absolute lowest in order to change or grow to your full potential. My friends are amazing and inspiring and my finding them and meeting them, I am immensely grateful for.
I will keep on being vulnerable. Keep on creating myself within the masterpiece of life. Keep on living in the moment. I will keep on being courageous, taking on challenges and being me, because I’m pretty amazing. I’ll keep wearing a smile too, I’ve been told it looks pretty good on me. I’ll take their word for it.