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.