This post is a little long, so bare with me! But, I actually learned a lot about myself just from writing it....
A. Acceptance. It took me years to accept and admit to myself that I actually had a problem. My brain became distorted; I didn't see what others saw. In my eyes, there was no sign of illness in my reflection.
B. Belief. As terrifying as it is to admit, there were days I did not believe I could ever be healthy, mentally or physically. When I first started treatment I was ready to do whatever the therapists told me and get out of here in 4 weeks. Fourteen weeks later, somewhere along the line my beliefs changed. I now believe going back to my old ways would be much more difficult than sticking this thing out.
C. Compassion & Confidence. These two go hand in hand for me. I'm still working on building up enough self compassion to improve my confidence. Even though I don't always notice it in the moment, I practice these two words daily.
D. Dignity. It might seem a little (okay, extremely) odd that I am publicly writing about the most difficult time in my life. However, this whole process forces me to sit down and be honest about what I am feeling in any given moment, which has been a huge struggle for me. If I'm being honest, dignity is not something I feel yet. This disorder takes away any sense of self worth and honor. I honestly don't know why I am with an ED.
E. Energetic & Enthusiastic. My favorite part of recovery has by far been the amount of energy I have now. Laughter and silliness have become a part of my daily life again, making this process a tiny bit easier.
F. Function. Another huge change has been my body's ability to function again. My thoughts are more clear, my hair is thicker, my nails are gorgeous, my cheeks have color, my digestive system is alive again, my metabolism is out of control (I am in a hyper metabolic state and sweat constantly. Gross), my heart rate is back to normal, my potassium levels are perfect, I could go on and on....
G. Goal Oriented. During the depths of my disorder, I had a hard time setting goals. It was hard enough to make it through one day, so thinking about the future was nearly impossible. Now I have places to be and people to see!!
H. Honesty. Yikes. Shame and guilt seem to have a way of beating out honesty. For some crazy reason being dishonest (telling people what they want to hear) seems easier than owning up to my true feelings and actions. Honesty will be one of my biggest tests if I choose to fully recover.
I. Integrity. A lot like honesty. I need to stick to my morals. Do what's right in my heart. Thankfully, my heart and eating disorder are polar opposites when it comes to morals and values. Listen to your heart, listen to your heart, listen to your heart.....
J. Joy. Sixteen weeks ago if you had asked me when the last time I experienced true joy was, I would not have been able to give an example. I was sucked dry of all the joy in my life. Now, I find joy all around me- smiling faces, a warm summer breeze, driving with my windows down and radio loud, eating chocolate (!!!!!!), a freshly brewed cup of coffee, sock monkeys, listening and helping others, the smell after it rains, getting lost in a book, another list that could go on and on...
K. Kindness. Kindness one of my most important values. Feeling the need to constantly be compassionate and caring towards others is something I am very passionate about. So why is it so difficult to turn that kindness inward. Treat others the way you want to be treated? Let's try, treat yourself the way you would treat others for a change.
L. Love. This blog, my fellow patients, friends and family have all showed me unconditional love throughout this grueling process. I am beyond grateful for the TLC I have recieved; I wouldn't have made it this far along without all of you!
M. Motivated. Some days I can recognize my motivation more than others. However, even if I don't see it at first, I know it's there. Somehow I manage to push through all the meals and snacks. Somehow I open up more and more each day in group. Somehow I push myself into uncomfortable
social situations. Somehow I try on 8 different outfits until I find one that isn't skin tight every single morning. Somehow I manage to laugh and be silly through the craziness. Somehow I have managed to make some life long friends. Somehow I have eaten not one, but two frozen meals everyday for the past 3 months. Somehow I continue to dig deep to find the motivation I need to push forward.
N. Neglectful. For so many years I was neglectful to myself and loved ones. I have decided its time to use that neglect towards my eating disorder. Obviously it's a skill I have mastered, so it's time to put it to good use!
O. Optimistic. True recovery requires a painful amount of optimism. Yes, I have to eat this god awful chicken pot pie, but it will bring me one step closer to my dreams for the future. Yes, I have to give up every coping mechanism I have ever known, but I am learning new, healthy ways to deal. Yes, I am putting my life on hold, but I will be able to start fresh soon and have my entire life ahead of me. Try it- look on the bright side! You might be surprised....
P. Perseverance. Before starting this process I had given up on my ability to persevere. Every time I tried to give up my eating disorder over the course of a decade, I failed. Until now, that is.
Q. Quality. There is nothing high quality about having an eating disorder. I would consider my overall quality of life much higher now that I'm not fully engaged in the ED.
R. Respect. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I Always think of my cousin Mary belting the famous Aretha song out in the car. I think finding resect from within is one of the most difficult thing to do during this process. For so long I have been practicing some pretty hard core disrespect; towards myself and others. It's time to turn that around!
S. Self Respect. Same as the one before, but turned inward. It's very possible that I will struggle with this me for the rest of my life, but it has gotten better. Why is it so difficult to give ourselves a pat on the back every now and then?!
T. Trust. Rebuilding trust plain ol' sucks for everyone involved. After trust has been broken, the last thing I want to do is give the person another chance. I have been forced to trust my treatment team, my parents are rebuilding trust with me, and I need to learn to trust myself again. This isn't something that happens over the course of a summer, but with time and patients it will happen.
U. Understanding. I hate this one. I don't understand why this happened to me. I grew up with a loving family and everything I could ever need or want. So what could possibly make me sick? I don't understand. My parents don't understand. Society in general doesn't understand for goodness sakes! This is a work in progress for all of us.
V. Voice. Learning to not only use, but listen to my inside voice seemed impossible when I started this journey. Expressing emotions, being assertive, listening to my heart, taking feedback and criticism... All require a voice. My voice was long gone. Luckily, I have been put in a few uncomfortable situations to help me begin to find it again.
W. Willingness. Raise your hand if you are willing to give up everything in your life right now. If you are willing to completely change your appearance and gain 40lbs during a single summer. If you can face your biggest fear every time you take a bite. Anyone?! Didn't think so. For a very long time I was anything but willing, but that has shifted immensely. Suddenly I have become willing to do whatever it takes to hold on to his happiness.
X. Xxxx. I have no idea what to use for X. I will think about that one and report back...
Y. I have been yearning for health and well being for a good part of my life. Finally, I have found the tools I need to get there. Accountability will be key. Sticking to my plan, being honest, reaching out for help. All of this things will keep me in line.
Z. Zany. Silly. Clownish. Sometimes I feel silly to even be here or have this problem. Why can't I just eat?! But, my sense of silliness has changed for the better. I haven't laughed this much in my entire life and I am thankful to all of you who have brought a smile to my face during this dark, dark time. :)
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