Friday, September 6, 2013

One Year Graduation Anniversary


This post is a little more difficult to write than I was expecting. One year ago today I "graduated" from treatment. Even though I wasn't technically discharged for another couple of weeks (I began doing extended weekends, 5 days at home and 2 days in treatment per week), this day marked the end of my stay as a full timer at the River Centre Clinic, the end of the most memorable summer of my life, and the end of the security blanket treatment had provided. It was officially time for me to start fending for myself in the big and scary world ahead of me.

Sometimes when I look back on this past year, I have a hard time comprehending how much my life has changed. On my drive home from RCC one year ago, I remember thinking about all of the new adventures ahead of me. If someone would have told me all that I have accomplished in one year on that drive home, as mean as it might sound, I would have laughed in their face.

One of the most special parts of graduation at RCC is the box each patient receives at the end of their stay. My box has been in the same spot on my dresser for the past year. It is filled with the good luck cards I received on my graduation day and other feel good notes I kept from my stay at RCC. Out of fear, I have not taken the time to open the box at all over the past year - until last night. Needless to say, I was a bit of an emotional wreck.

The last time I opened the box, I was unsure what the future would bring. I was terrified to leave the treatment chapter of my life behind and had a difficult time even thinking about what was next. Honestly, I wasn't even sure if I could continue using the tools I had learned in treatment on my own. Without my treatment team constantly looking over my shoulder and a daily weigh in, how would I find the strength within myself to recover?


Thankfully, I have surprised myself with the inner strength I have somehow managed to find over the past year. I wish I could say it has been easy and recovery is a smooth ride, but that would be a massive lie. There was a moment during my stay at RCC, however, when I remember thinking there was no turning back and decided I was willing to do whatever it took to somehow reach the other side. 

After a few months and a couple dozen pounds gained, I began growing out of my clothes. In order to make ourselves feel better, a few of my best treatment friends and I decided to burn our old, too small clothes. In that moment I remember feeling a sense of empowerment that I had never felt before. I was fighting back against my eating disorder and surprisingly, it gave me a high that I had never experience. 

By thinking back on that high, feeling of accomplishment and power, and the inner strength I discovered that night, I have been able to push through difficult times. In that moment I knew going back into my eating disordered ways would be so much worse than continuing in recovery. Burning my old clothes wasn't easy, but I survived it. Recovery hasn't been easy, but I'm surviving it. 

 In some ways I have felt like a two year old observing, learning, and taking in all of these new life experiences. Each day since my graduation one year ago, I have learned something new about myself and the world around me. Perhaps the most amazing thing of all is, nothing, and I mean not a single thing, in my life is the same as it was one year ago. I'm not even the same person.

This day is bittersweet as it marks the final one year anniversary of my recovery journey. I can no longer consider myself a newbie in recovery; however, that also means I can start making even bigger strides away from my eating disorder. It's scary to think about where my life would be without my stay in treatment.

The quote on the inside of my graduation day box says, "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see," and I never realized how relevant that is until now. Yes, at first look my past is troubling, but it's no longer all I see. I never thought one year after graduating from treatment I would see my past as a blessing in disguise or as having a positive influence over my future, but here I am.

I can't wait to see what year two will bring.

Progress.

16 comments:

  1. Kelsi- What an amazing post!! I'm so glad you are able to see the huge strides you have made over the past year and what you have been able to do. Sometimes we can get so focused on the bad days or hard weeks that it feels like we're stuck, but being able to look at the bigger picture, where you stood one year ago and how much progress you have made to get to where you are today, is such a great perspective to have! You are amazing and such a huge inspiration to so many! no longer being a "newbie" in recovery only means you have even more insight to share with others, both about treatment and life after the ED. I too can't wait to see what year two brings for you :) I think one of the best parts about recovery is that, day in and day out, I am still able to shock myself by the things that I am capable of doing... things that while I was in my ED and in treatment were only dreams that I never thought I would achieve.

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    1. Thanks so much, Carly! :) It is exciting to think of all all the future holds for both of us. Let's keep shocking ourselves with the things we are now capable of doing - it's the little things like that keep me going! Thank you again for all of your support over the past few weeks. We'll have to catch up soon.

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  2. Congratulations!!! It is completely something to be celebrated. And just think -- if all this has happened during your first year since treatment, while still living under the protection of your security blanket, simply IMAGINE all that can happen in the coming years as you become more comfortable leaving your comfort zone. SOOooooOOOOoooo much potential -- I'm infinitely excited for you. The world is no longer just out of arm's reach, but instead, you hold it in the palm of your hand. It's all yours. xo

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    1. Thank you so much, Chelsie. It is definitely exciting when you put it like that. I am excited to see what the future brings for both of us. I'm so happy to have you along this journey with me. <3

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  3. wow I can't believe it has only been a year for you. this past may I celebrated my two year out which still seemed unreal to me. I think looking back at treatment, a weird part of me misses it - like the people, the support the break from reality. it is nice to hear I am not alone

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    1. A weird part of me definitely misses it sometimes too. I miss the whole not having responsibilities thing, well except eating and therapy of course.

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  4. Pyro...
    Just Kidding. So proud of you. You are an incredible young woman. Its an honor to know you.

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    1. My roommate actually was a pyro haha. Thank you so so much. :)

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  5. Beautiful reflections! I love the quote inside your box, and I pray that you see life through the best lenses possible! Reading your post, I'd say you are blessing far more people than you'd guess, and that your future looks very bright! Congratulations on this milestone in your life.

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  6. Nothing else to say except CONGRATS on 1 year!! First is the worst :)

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  7. :') seriously though... I'm all teary after reading this!! Keep up the awesome work... you inspire people everyday with these posts and your amazing strides in recovery!

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    1. Oh goodness, Emily. Thank you so very much. I'm so glad we are this together. <3

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