Everyone tells you, no matter what you’re suffering through, that the road to recovery is difficult and strenuous.
And they’re right, there’s no doubt about it.
I have technically been in recovery since around March- that was when I seriously injured myself and my brain suddenly clicked and I realised that I had to do something in order to be able to have any sort of future for myself and Mr OneBigStressball.
The thing no one tells you about recovery is exactly how hard it is.
As much as I’d like to tell my boyfriend, my closest friends, even myself, that recovering has been a journey I’ve been able to approach easily, I know that I’d be lying, and lying isn’t something I like to do.
The truth is, that time and time again, I have fallen back into bad habits, rotten patterns of thought, and self-destructive behaviour… in the most basic terms, I’ve still not learned how to be kind to myself. And, without sounding too depressing, I haven’t been able to see the finish line- a point in my life where I won’t have to be worrying every single day about what I eat and how much of it stays in my stomach. Or how many calories I’ve burned or how much I’ve been able to squat or run. I’m not being bleak, that’s just the whole-hearted truth of my current situation.
Recovery is like trying to re-wire your brain. To rehabilitate the destructive nature of your own thoughts and feelings towards yourself into healthy ones that get you through the day rather than slow you down and make you shrink into a shell of the person you know you are capable of being.
Unfortunately it doesn’t happen as quickly as you want it to. In an ideal world, I’d hold the key to a perfect balance between eating and working out, and any negative thoughts towards food would be boxed up somewhere in the back of my mind. Of course I want to be better. But recovery is testing. It pushes your mental capabilities, and your willpower to their absolute maximum, and it is an everyday battle between telling yourself that you’re okay, or giving into your thoughts and destroying yourself that little bit more.
I am 23 years old- I do not want to grow old and look back on my 20’s and say that I suffered through most of them. I don’t want to look back and remember all these amazing dinners I’ve had with my friends, what laughs we had, but then also be reminded about how I had to sneak off to the bathroom to purge. Who does?
If you’re reading this and you’re also going through a stage of recovery- for whatever problem that may be- or even if you are going through a rough time and you can’t see an escape from your situation, I can only give you the only piece of advice that is helping me right now.
Make long term goals, yes, but don’t forget to take it a day at a time. Each successful day is a step, and if you regress, that’s okay. Reset, find your footing again, keep your eye on the main goal, but focus on what’s immediately ahead.
My main resolution for 2018 (is it too early to talk about resolutions? We’re in December so I reckon it’s cool, right?) is to get through at least one whole month purge free. I’m not going to try and begin every month. I’ll start on the 1st of January, and see how many days I can go. If I get a week and have a bad day, I’ll start over again the next day rather than wait till the next month. If I get through 30 consecutive days I will have completed this self-given challenge… and who knows? 30 days could stretch into 60, and 60 could stretch to 3 months…
Having a long term goal is important, but the steps you take to get there are equally as important.