Em's first entry in her Letters to Myself Blog Series. Join Em as she shares her journey in a higher level of care for eating disorder recovery.
Take a deep breath. Now relax. You’ve got this. Your world is going to be turned upside down and that’s okay. You know that your life now isn’t sustainable. You have been miserable and denying it, acknowledge that. Remember when you thought everything was ‘fine’. When you were convinced that there was no reason for anyone to worry, but still you always kept a hospital go-bag in your car. You missed birthdays, engagements, family pictures, the birth of your best friend’s baby. And now, looking back you recognize how much you were suffering each moment of every day. Life then was about surviving, not living. You’re not there anymore, but everything you enjoy (travel, trail running, baking, learning) has lost its spark. I know you want it back. It will come back, but you have to take this time. Use this time. Enjoy this time. This is your opportunity to focus on you.
The emotions are big and you don’t know what to do with them right now. Be gentle with yourself. You don’t have to have all of the answers. But when they come, take a moment to sit with them, acknowledge them, feel them, honor what they are telling you. Be vulnerable. You have learned that it’s not safe to trust. It is deeply ingrained within you that nobody actually cares. You are ready to be hurt, to be disappointed, to be let down at a moment's notice. You can’t live like this forever-and you don’t really want to. You are entering into a safe space. A space where vulnerability is going to be encouraged. Where you can reveal your deepest, darkest secrets, and still be accepted. Take this opportunity to learn who you are and to develop trust within yourself.
It’s okay to make mistakes, to have bad days, to struggle. Nobody recovers perfectly. Just like you can’t win at the eating disorder, you cannot win at recovery. You’re not there to be the best client (there is actually no ‘best’ client). You’re not going to just check one more thing off of your to do list. That’s been tried before-and it didn’t work. Let people see your struggles-they are there to support you. Reach out and ask for help when you need it-this is a space you can learn to trust again. Challenge yourself. Don’t just take the easy/safe route. Confront your fears and if you fail, that’s okay. You are struggling right now (and that’s okay). Learn from those mistakes, but don’t give up on yourself.
Be honest. More than anything, please be honest. It’s going to be terrifying and you don’t have to go all in right away, but start with your team. Lay it all out on the table, you have nothing to be ashamed of. This is so much different than last summer. You want to be here. You want to be in the PNW. You want to be at this facility. You really want recovery this time. Please don’t waste it. You know that as long as you’re holding onto secrets real recovery won’t happen because the eating disorder thrives in every single one of those secrets. Practice honesty and vulnerability while you are surrounded by people ready to support you on a daily basis.
I know you’re going into this with your own expectations. Be willing to accept that plans change. You enjoy plans and control, but maybe, just this once try letting go. Let others make the tough decisions for you-or at least allow them to help guide you. And please be open to trying something new. You are so competitive. Relax. Find joy in life, in movement, in food (again), these new opportunities are what will bring joy and excitement to the recovery process. You’ve got this, I promise. If anyone can do it, you can!