Friday, October 11, 2013

One Hundred and Three Percent

This post is a little difficult for me and quite personal. Just last week I wrote an email to a recovery friend who is enviously studious confessing a few of my insecurities surrounding school. We were discussing how she enjoyed going to her teacher's office hours; while I, on the other hand, wasn't so thrilled about one-on-one time with my teachers. My exact words were...

"I've always been rather shy in class and I have a fear of authority figures. I fear not being "smart enough" to hold a conversation with my professor. Weird, right? While I was sick and in high school/college in the past, I was never a very good student because I was so caught up in my disorder. So I'm still in the process of believing in myself academically. I am one of those people who needs to study A LOT just to get a B."

For some reason it is difficult for me to share that quote here on my blog, but there's a good reason behind it... Trust me.

 Even before I was physically ill in high school (binging and restricting doesn't exactly scream eating disorder), I still struggled mentally to find a level of self-respect that allowed me to believe I could succeed in the classroom. I think I graduated with a 3.2 GPA and was actually denied acceptance to my first college of choice. To say I was an average student would be an understatement.
 Teachers scared me.
Test anxiety was my expertise.
 I didn't believe in myself.
Honestly, what was the point?
School just wasn't "my thing."

Now imagine beginning college with no study skills, not a clue what I wanted to do with my life, a belief that I wasn't really good enough for school, and an increasingly dangerous eating disorder - talk about a recipe for disaster. And as many of you know, disaster is exactly what happened.

Now if you can, imagine going back to the school I failed out of five years later and facing the daily triggers associated with being reminded of previous failures on daily, consistent basis; you can begin to understand how it feels to be back on that campus. I recently told my best friend there are days when I get so caught up in those past failures and triggers that I need to get off campus ASAP, nap, and then regroup before I can even begin to cope in a healthy manner. I know that might sound extreme, but it's very real.

 Here's where the good news comes in...

Five years, a very solid recovery under my belt, and a new found sense of self later, not only am I back at the school I once failed out of, but I am proving to myself that I am beyond intelligent enough to be there. Can I please just brag for a minute and share that I got 103% on my most difficult midterm yesterday?!

Recovery has given me so many things; but I honestly think my brain, or at least my developing belief in my academic skills, is by far the most rewarding. Although I still have what seems like an eternity to go before I am done with school, at least I can say my brain power has improved immensely.

Most importantly, I can now confidently say that I am not, and never was, too stupid for college.  

While caught up in an eating disorder, it was nearly impossibly to concentrate on anything except my illness. An eating disorder is a full time job, just like recovery, and I don't think many people realize that. It has taken me a full year out of treatment to reach a point where I can finally say I believe in my academic future. I'm not stupid. My eating disorder might have made me believe I was, but I am no longer a victim to that disease.



  1. Congratulations! Who thought that you were stupid before? I bet that was only you ;) Sometimes, a little detour in life helps us to bloom. I feel like a failure today for my recovery process, but I see that someone is blooming :) Hope is always there in recovery. <3

    1. Haha yes, those thoughts were all in my own head and no one else's. I bet you are blooming more than you give yourself credit for. Hope your day gets better! :)

  2. So proud of you Kelsi!

  3. Congratulations - for both your academic prowess and also your willingness to share your vulnerability here! So true about eating disorder and recovery being full time jobs - I'm finding it really hard to keep moving forward in recovery while also being in grad school. Enough so, I may need to make some tough decisions in the near future. For now, I'm hanging in there.

    But enough about me :) I love that you have found your sense of self and are willing to take risks and be there at school again. And that when you get triggered you notice and take care of yourself. I think that piece is so very important.

    1. Best of luck with your upcoming difficult decision! A wise friend of mine once helped me make a tough decision based on what was right in the long run, rather than what I wanted in the moment. That was something I hope you have the strength to do, too. Thanks for your kind words! :)