I don’t know how I did it, finding my way in to recovery, but suddenly something just clicked. I can’t pinpoint what it was or how I did it. I just realized how GOOD and capable I felt when I ate normally. It felt so good to be able to go out for a meal with my friends. I no longer isolated myself from them. I wasn’t scared of food anymore. I had energy! I didn’t sleep all day or stay up all night. I didn’t label foods as ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’. I was able to work without much stress or exhaustion. It was the weirdest thing. It was as if I’d had some epiphany and it felt amazing and magical and I just wanted to share it with the whole world. I did have a bit of a relapse in 2013 due to some personal situations that occurred but I’ve already shared so much that I’m mainly not sharing these situations out of respect for saving space, ha!
Do not give up hope! The end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 have put me back in a place of recovery. Do I still count calories? Yes, but not nearly as much as I used to, and I try my very best not to do so. Do I still feel guilty after eating? Sometimes. It depends on what it is and how my mood is that day. Do I still exercise? Yes, but very moderately and never on a machine that tells me numbers. Do I still step on a scale? NEVER. It is useless. I listen to how my body feels and how my clothes fit. If you are struggling with recovery, please throw out your scale. If you HAVE to get weighed, do a blind weight with your doctor. Do I still use skills I learned from treatment (kind of like when students ask, will I actually use this math in the real world?) you wonder? Yes! I’m working very hard on using only positive coping skills. When I am upset, I still lose my appetite. When I am angry or hurt I don’t feel like I deserve food. However, I talk myself through the situation and find other ways to deal with whatever it is I am feeling. And I make myself eat a well balanced meal, no matter what. If I am really, really struggling with my appetite I drink supplements.
Why is Recovery Worth it for me?
I feel like I am finally living my adult life. For the first time since I graduated college in 2008 I have an ‘adult’ job. This is a job that is actually related to my degree. Yes! A job in which I utilize the things I learned in my 4 years at Adelphi University! I am employed at a company–that I shall not name for anonymity purposes–in which I work with mostly late adolescents as they transition in to adulthood. They have an array of diagnoses: Downs Syndrome, Developmental Disorders, ADHD, Aspergers, Traumatic Brain Injury… I also, on occasion work with adults with similar diagnoses as they navigate and prosper in their daily lives. I LOVE MY JOB AND THE PEOPLE I WORK WITH.
As for falling in love…well, it just happens, I suppose. I never thought I’d trust again or find love after what happened with my ex. I have met someone wonderful, however. It’s lovely when it happens and it makes continuing on in recovery much more important to me. Yes, I am doing it for myself, but it doesn’t hurt to want to be the best person you can be for someone you love. I have found an incredibly supportive partner in my fiancé, Steve. He lets me cry when I am overwhelmed by food and doesn’t judge me or tell me I am being dramatic, he hugs me until I calm down, he tells me when my thinking is skewed but uses empathy in doing so, and he even removes the nutrition information from food so that I won’t accidentally count calories and begin to feel guilt if I eat something!
Growing Up Alex: Final Words will be posted on Thursday 4/10/2014. Make sure to follow the blog to receive an e-mail for when it’s posted or follow it on Bloglovin‘!