I want to start off by saying that I got this idea from my dietitian, who I saw today, and suggested a goal be looking back at this year in its entirety. I was curious as to why she wanted me to do this, because usually, setting goals with her means to achieve something. That a certain something in my recovery needed to be improved - whether that'd be "drinking more water", or "trying more fear foods", etc. So, I thought to myself, "What can possibly be achieved when looking back at this shitty fucking hell-hole of a year?". As if she had read my mind, (and I swear she can at this point), she told me to simply look at how far I've come this year, and that she was proud.
I honestly did not think that I would survive this year. Each day was heavier than the last. Every part of me was tired, all the time. I was so tired that I stopped loving and caring about everything I used to love and care for. All I thought about, every second of every day was my eating disorder. I became a person that I, my family, and my friends could no longer recognize. I truly thought that whatever hell I was in, was unescapable. I remember calling my case manager one night, sobbing, begging her to help me - because I did not know how to help myself anymore. I got a point where I forgot how to survive, let alone live. I did not know how to feed myself, I barely slept, and I could not do anything sober anymore. I told myself every night that if I did not wake up the next morning, then that would be a fucking miracle - for me, and for everyone around me as well.
In June, I went inpatient to detox off of substances. I could not have done this without my psychiatrist because she fought for a bed for me. I honestly believe that if she did not do this, I would not be alive today. I am forever grateful for that, and for being alive. The biggest thing I learned from this experience was that I was loved, and that people wanted me to get better, to fight for myself again. During my inpatient stay, I was busy, Everyday I had a friend come down, for hours, and stay with me. When my friends could not come, my mother would. They distracted me from the reality of the detox, and tried to take my pain away. They tried to help carry that pain, so it was no longer crushing me. I cannot thank them enough.
When I had successfully detoxed, I started the Eating Disorders Day Program. Looking back, I was still incredibly symptomatic at the time, because I was not fully ready to let go of my eating disorder. I still could not see a life without it, and so I did not take treatment as seriously as I should have. That being said, I was kicked out three weeks later. I felt like a complete failure, a reject if you will. The staff in this program said that maybe I was not ready to take on recovery, and that my life was too chaotic. What I didn't know at the time was that what they had said was actually a blessing in disguise. I called my dietitian as soon as I was discharged, and told her that I needed my life back. I was willing to work my ass off and fight for recovery in order to prove the staff wrong. See the thing about me is, I will always, ALWAYS, prove you wrong.
The day of my appointment was one of the best days of 2018 for me. My dietitian and I had our session outside, sitting on the grass. It was a beautiful day outside, and I was excited. It was the first time she was meeting me sober. Sober, determined, and angry. Angry at my eating disorder for taking my life away. Angry enough to prove someone wrong. I knew for a fact that day that I would recover, and live the life that I was capable of living. I also knew that I was not alone, and that she would be by my side every step of the way. To this day, she is still one of my greatest supports. She has been the main support in my entire recovery, and I am incredibly thankful.
So, what have I learned this year?
I learned that I was born with a fire inside of me. This drive, this passion, this motivation. This light that never burns out, but can fade from time to time. I learned that I have to be careful when the fire is dim, because it feels all consuming, yet it is not. Everything may seem dark, and sometimes the light is so low that it appears to be lost. But it is not lost, it is still in me. I learned that the fire inside me can burn bright. That I am capable of tending to a fire that is strong and brave. A flame that crackles because it is so loud, and takes up so much space. This is the fire that helped fight for recovery. This is the fire that will continue to help me through my life. And knowing that I have this fire, is the greatest lesson I learned this year.