Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Everything But My Name

During the past eight months I have...
Called 4 different treatment facilities home.
Shared a room with 17 other women.
Lived with approximately 65 other people.
Lost and regained almost 50 pounds.
Spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and my birthday in treatment.

If you would have told me eight months ago this is what I traded my senior year field work in for I probably would have bought a plane ticket and left the country. At the time, I thought my first 21 day treatment stay was the end of the world. I remember begging the program director to let me leave early because I didn't think I needed to be there (haha).

One of the women I lived with in my second treatment facility said, "Recovery means changing everything but your name." She was right. Sometimes I get impatient with myself thinking I should have this figured out by now; that one treatment center should've been enough. However, when I allow myself to think about it, changing everything but my name is a process and would take any normal person an extended period of time. Not to mention, I was super resistant to any kind of change during the first four or five months (and still am at times). Looking back, when I first began this process last September, I honestly didn't think I had a problem or needed treatment. That statement is comical now. As my cognitive and emotional health slowly returned, I was able to see the seriousness and life-threatening consequences my actions could have easily caused. Not an easy thing to face. Staying in denial was easier than facing my truth, which is why I remained in a state of oblivion for so long.

This morning I spent a couple hours reading through old journal entries from the past eight months. I think it's safe to say I went a little crazy at times. It hasn't been an easy road. Some of the journal entries gave me a good laugh. Some of them had me reaching for a box of tissues. I found this quote in one of my journals...

"The length of your recovery is determined by the extent of your injuries.
And it’s not always successful.
No matter how hard we work at it, some wounds might never fully heal.
You might have to adjust to a whole new way of living.
Things may have changed too radically to ever go back to what they were.
You might not even recognize yourself.
It’s like you haven’t recovered anything at all.
You’re a whole new person with a whole new life."
-Erin Brown

These past eight months have had their ups and downs. My recovery has been far from perfect and I've had to learn a few lessons the hard way. Sometimes I get so angry and impatient with myself because I have this disease. Sometimes it feels easier to crawl back into bed rather than face the day. Sometimes I curse normal people out for a walk with their loved ones because there were times when I couldn't even go outside without permission. 

But sometimes, I feel grateful for all of the people I have met along the way and people who can relate to my daily struggle. Sometimes I realize how important it has been for me to heal in a safe environment. Sometimes I look back and think of the lifelong friends I have made. It's horrifying to think about where I might be without this experience. I know I have a long road ahead of me and I am far from where I would like to be, but I am no longer in treatment. Today I have the opportunity to make decisions for myself and to practice what I have learned from four different treatment centers. Today is the next step toward changing everything but my name. Today I can say I survived the hardest part.