It is always around October time, when I feel the first coldness in the air and the leaves starting to fall that, the clear sunny days that I remember. It is that change in season that takes me back and maybe always will do to a life changing experience that will always stay in my mind. It is now with relief, happiness and pride I look back at this time, so it is not a negative memory anymore, but also a sad memory for where I was at the time. I was doing a 4 week inpatient treatment followed by continuing as an outpatient with Recover.
I found a piece of paper from my inpatient time (October 2010) that stated my hope of where I would be in five years time. October 2015 marked the 5 years. For the reason I thought about reflecting on the last five years and where it has bought me to today.
On the piece of paper, I had had to write where I saw myself in 5 years if I did not try to recover and where I could be if I did recover.
The first part was very sad to read and I remember at the time how much pain it caused me to think that my life would not have moved on. It included; living with my parents, relying them still at the age of 33 (I was 28 at the time). In addition, not enjoying time with my friends, or attending social occasions and mainly staying in alone. As usual, experiencing constant guilt for not eating healthy or little food, and forcing myself to the gym almost every day. My job, continuing to be affected by my tiredness and lack of energy, meaning my career would not go as far as I wanted it to. Finally, the feeling of loneliness, not having met someone and not sharing precious time with those who matter. Maybe if I had even gone further, death. The future looked bleak.
On the other list, there were things I hoped for in five years time. I wanted to be exercising in a healthy way, strong and fit and enjoying new challenges. I wanted to go on holidays and see the world (without my scales)! I hoped for lots of time with friends, and fun experiences to remember. I hoped to be living with someone special and entering a new chapter in my life that may include marriage or children. I would be working towards being free of the constant guilt and be able to enjoy the good things in life. Comparing the list I think you would agree which looks more appealing.
I do believe this exercise helped me visualise the future. It also made me realise that my eating disorder had never bought be any of the things I wanted in my life, even though I had hoped that it would. The last five years have been the hardest fight– every day. Fuelled with pain, anger and many other difficult feelings, the journey trying to get back is never going to be an easy thing.
Today, I have got to the role/career that I set out to achieve. I enjoy the gym and love running still, also cycling- one of my favourite hobbies. I love eating out and enjoying myself on social occasions. Holidays and seeing the world are top on my list and I live with my fiancée and am getting married in August. I still have things to work on, and it is not always easy. I think though, for the first time, the things that recovery has bought me have started to significantly outweigh the power of the eating disorder. It is a still a fight at times, I know it will try to win, but to be honest, I think it’s a losing battle.
Without the help and support I received from Recover, I would not have worked towards the future I wanted. Healthy self–care, self love and acceptance are the most wonderful gifts you can teach a newborn baby or child over any other lesson in life. After all my experience and journey I am proud to have learnt this, even if it was the harder way.