Reflecting on Recovery
July 30, 2008 was my first time in treatment. Sometimes, each July, I open up old journals and read about my eating disorder and my recovery. This year is one of those years. I thought I would share a few entries with you summarizing my journey.
July 28, 2008
I can’t believe I become a true patient at a facility for people with eating disorders on Wednesday. I guess it’s making me realize that this is real.
July 31, 2008
As far as being here goes—I can’t believe this is happening to me. I think yesterday was me finally admitting I need some help. (Day #1 of treatment)
August 17, 2008
I’m struggling for the new life I want this morning. It’s difficult to walk into the center and not allowing that new life to be sucked out of me. I’ve had my boxing gloves on this entire time, and I’ve been fighting and beating up myself and anyone who is trying to help. I think I’m ready to fight for my life. My new life now. I’ m ready to rock it out. I think I’m ready to experience the rush of just jumping into treatment. I want and need to be vulnerable so I can be known, be real, and have my needs met. I think the small glimpse of being with my friends last night reminded me of why I have to start fighting my eating disorder.
I WANT MY LIFE!
September 10. 2008
LAST DAY OF TREATMENT!
I have a lot of conflicting and intense emotions about transitioning full time back to Vail. I’m excited, joyful, ready to be home, terrified, anxious, scared shitless, afraid, calm, confident, insecure, frustrated, confused, sad, and ultimately realizing recovery is possible when I make the choice to cut ties with my eating disorder. I have to let Coach die in order to find Freedom. It’s the only way. I think because I still identify myself with the disorder it’s like I’m losing a piece of myself.
Those were a few excerpts before, during, and after treatment. My struggle went on for another seven years with three more admissions to treatment. I had a lot of shame about going to treatment multiple times. I had a dear soul, Dr. Tamara Pryor tell me, “Mindy people go back to treatment multiple times to do different chunks for work whey they are ready.” In 2015, I was ready. I was ready to do the harder work. Trauma from my past that I didn’t even knew I had begun to bubble up. It was then, I began my journey of being behavior free so I could work on the trauma.
In 2015, when I discharged, things were up and down. I finally got tired of my eating disorder and the ups and downs, that I made a commitment to myself and my RD. Doing that set the course for the next seven years of my recovery. Eventually, I could no longer use behaviors. It felt uncomfortable to engage in behaviors. I didn’t want to be sick anymore.
Fast forward seven years and here is what my journal entries look like now.
July 5, 2022
I’m grateful for all the moments I’ve had over the past five days. So much goodness! Connection, Jesus, wine, beauty, fun, adventure, exploring, and coffee.
July 8, 2022
I had a couple of friends text, “How are you?” I’d like to pause and truly think about my answer to check in with myself. How am I?
I am feeling tired, content, bored, anxious, and want to be cared for emotionally. I am able to recognize my needs these days. I am also able to tell my friends my needs (sometimes). I can regulate my emotions and care for myself when needed too. I’ve grown so much over the years.
July 31, 2022
As I sit here and reflect about 14 years ago, and even 4 years before that, I can’t believe how sick I had become. I had friends try to warn me of the destructive path I was going down, but I didn’t listen. I thought everyone was making a big deal out of everything and that I was ok. They were just jealous of my changing body and movement abilities.
I can’t even put into words the gratitude and thankfulness I have for where I’ve been and how far I have come. Some of my friends have been with me for this entire journey, and for their faithfulness, I am speechless. I wasn’t easy to love or hangout with for a long time. I am grateful for all the providers and treatment teams I have had over the years. They pushed me and loved me well. Everyone loved me well when I was so difficult to be around.
As I sit here and write, tears are in my eyes. I NEVER thought I would be free from my eating disorder. In fact, I thought I would die from it and never imagined being able to live past my 30s. I’m so proud of myself for taking a leap of faith and trusting that the professionals and my friends who just might be onto something if they are all telling me the same thing about recovery.
I can’t put into words the journey I’ve been on over the past seven years about my trauma. Trauma doesn’t have a timeline. I’ve processed it, faced all the intense emotions, learned to regulate, done EMDR, and dealt with the symptoms of PTSD and I keep pushing through. I keep fighting to calm my nervous system, trust again, and have faith I WILL be ok, believe that I am OK, and that I’ve already healed so much of my story.
There’s nothing more beautiful than living life and being engaged in it. I get to rewrite my story. There’s nothing better than being vulnerable with people and feeling connected. I’m continually thankful for all of those who have been on my journey. I’m also at a loss for words when I think about the patience, grace, and faithfulness God has shown me while trudging through life trying to get well and pushing Him away. He stayed. I’m the one that tried to run away. And here we are…together.
Forever grateful for it all. It’s molded me into the human being I am today. I am happy to say, I like her and she is worthy!