Time is such a crazy thing. Time’s meaning has changed a lot for me in the last two years. Throughout my ED journey I have seen how loaded time can be. I definitely feel that is the case for the last three months. This past August, I moved 877 miles away from home to start my college experience. I had no idea what was in store for me, but I was ready. I was both terrified and ecstatic. Walking out of my front door knowing I wouldn’t be returning for a long time was a weird feeling. I have never been away from home for so long before. I knew I was ready, but it was still hard regardless.
Yet here I am 3 months later. I didn’t burn down my dorm. I didn’t die from stupidity. I didn’t force my parents to come see me. I didn’t fail my classes. I didn’t relapse. I survived. Actually, I did more than survive, I thrived! I am loving college. This is the happiest I have been in a long time. A big portion of that is also because of how far I have come in my ED recovery. Being able to live my life mostly free of ED has made everything I do so much better. The past two years were full of so much strife that being here, now makes it just that much better.
In the last three months, I have continued to learn more about who I am, but also gain a deeper understanding of the world outside of the bubble I grew up in. Being in a completely different atmosphere has been good for me. It has reminded me that there is so much out there. It makes me hungry to keep exploring the world. I also have met more people than I can count since starting college, all of them with different experiences than my own. People are so cool and I am continuously in awe of others. I often think about how everyone has different experiences and the world is so diverse. Yet despite these differences, we are more alike than we are different.
I don’t know how I am going to feel when I am back at home again. I feel like I have changed a lot since when I was last there. I am independent now. I have a new home at college. As much as I love my old home, it is full of some dark memories from the past couple years that college doesn’t hold. It has been really good for my recovery to get away from where I developed anorexia and went through most of my treatment. It has propelled me further into my recovery. Because I have been able to make it on my own the last few months I feel confident in my ability to live a recovered life. Moving away to college was a turning point where I could’ve easily relapsed being on my own, but I did not. I continue to choose recovery every day, even though sometimes it can be hard.
Don’t get me wrong though, I am so excited to go home! I am elated to get to see my family, my friends, my dogs, my house, my therapist and my dietician. It’s like a big reunion of everyone from my life before college all in five days! It will be a lot all at once, especially after not seeing any of them for such a long time.
And so now as Thanksgiving quickly approaches I must reflect on all that I am thankful for because there is a lot. Too much to put in a single blog post. But for starters, I am thankful for my loved ones and those who have supported me throughout my struggles. The ones who sat with me as I cried. The ones who listened to me. The ones who accepted me unconditionally. The ones who reminded me I am worthwhile and my life is worth fighting for. The ones who make life worth living. You know who you are and I am sending thanks and love your way. I have a lot to thank them for this particular year.
I am thankful for how far I have come since last Thanksgiving and since the Thanksgiving
before that. Two years ago, some of my disordered thoughts were just beginning. Oh, how I wish I could go back in time and tell my sixteen-year-old self all the things I have learned on this journey. But that’s not how it works. And I wouldn’t have believed myself any way. Me, become anorexic? Yeah right I would’ve thought. Yet one Thanksgiving later I had been in treatment for about a month for my eating disorder. And I was miserable. It was definitely the worst Thanksgiving I have ever had. There is so much emphasis on food at Thanksgiving. Food was already a big enough emphasis in treatment as it was, but amplify it with a holiday. It was almost unbearable. The ED thoughts fought back hard and thus I was not able to truly enjoy the holiday.
Now is my chance to take back Thanksgiving. I am in a much better place. This Thanksgiving I want to enjoy the company, the experiences, and of course the food! I am excited to not eat cafeteria food. I know all the food could still overwhelm me, but I am going to do the best I can. I will remind myself that it is normal to eat more around the holidays. I want to relish in the yumminess of pumpkin bread and Hershey pie and deep dish pizza, all amazing things I can’t get in a college cafeteria.
Last Thanksgiving, I was surviving with my eating disorder. I was still underweight. I still wanted to restrict. I still had an intense amount of fear foods. I was in recovery, but things were rough. Now I am on the cusp of recovery and I know how to live again. I am thriving in college. I love the life that I have worked to create for myself. I am continuing to challenge myself in new ways. I am so thankful for how far I have come and all those who have helped me get there.