What-ELSE-My-Journey-Towards-Anorexia-Recovery-Has-Taught-Me a.k.a. Sometimes-You-Have-To-Be-Your-Own-Hero
Good morning my loves! <3 <3
MOTIVATIONAL MONDAYS is ACTUALLY a thing (YAY! Finally). So here I am (or rather, here I was, at 5:00AM), brainstorming, thinking, pondering & typing (backspacing, proofreading, rereading) away ferociously… & I am so eager to share all the beautiful new life lessons I have learned almost three months into recovery!
Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I just want to put it out there that RECOVERY IS AN AMAZING JOURNEY (Believe it or not!). I genuinely & truly believe that I am who I am because of every experience & opportunity that I have opened my heart up to, regardless of the outcome and that everyone has a journey throughout their life, which brings them to where they are now & where they will continue to go (even if said journey(s) is(are) HARD AF to go through).
But most of all, I am who I am because I GAVE RECOVERY A CHANCE. And, lovies, doing so has allowed me to see that there is a whole other wonderful, blissful, beautiful world that I need to experience (& that I was so badly depriving myself of). It hasn’t been an easy road, but if I can do it, SO CAN YOU (In case you hadn’t noticed, that was my little inspirational rant directed at anyone going through the same or similar illness or simply, anyone who is just having the-worst-day-EVER!).
Anywho my loves, thanks to the journey that is my anorexia recovery, I have begun to understand that each area of my life is not a separate unit, but individual pieces that blend together to create a mosaic. Without each piece, the image would not be complete. And, I think I am the best example of the fact that even though these pieces are NOT ALWAYS POSITIVE (& are rather, the most HORRIBLE & TRAUMATIZING experiences in the world), they are crucial to my narrative.
SO, (ALMOST) THREE MONTHS INTO RECOVERY, what else have I learned, you ask? Here goes! (P.S. You might want to pour yourself a really-really-really-tall-latte for this one. IT’S GOING TO BE A LONG ONE! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!).
RECOVERY IS SCARY, BUT STAYING THE SAME IS SCARIER
I will not sit here & tell you that stepping into the world that is eating disorder recovery was easy or fun. It was probably the scariest & toughest decision I ever had to make. BUT, I HAD to make it. When I tell you that I was faced with death, I am not exaggerating. I am telling you the complete & utter hard truth that I was faced with that night in my therapist’s office. He looked at my husband and flat out told him: “You could walk in from work one day & find Kelly dead in on your living room floor after having had a heart attack”. I froze.
You can imagine that being told by someone (not to mention, someone with years on end of expertise in the field) that death is an imminent possibility has this crazy way of making you realize that you have reached rock bottom (Literally, YOUR LOWEST POINT). That there is no more time for the “Maybe things will get better in a week” thoughts. That it’s time to value & PRIORITIZE yourself (for once in your life) & what’s more, that it’s time to value the gift that is LIFE. But most of all, that it’s time to MAKE A CHANGE. So yes, deciding to let go of Anorexia. To say goodbye to her my best friend & worst enemy for good & to let go of all the rituals & routines we had going on was FREAKING TOUGH. BUT, knowing that I was at risk for heart attack. That my situation was only getting worse by the minute, HECK, by the second. BUT, WORST OF ALL, that I could die, WAS EVEN SCARIER.
And so, when faced with two very scary things, namely, the battle between letting go of the one thing that had DOMINATED & CONTROLLED my life for the past year & half (EFF YOU ANOREXIA) VERSUS dying (Yes, literally dying, ergo disappearing from the face of this earth), SUDDENLY, the decision to was UNQUESTIONABLE & this everlasting-incessant-motivated-AF desire to recover came over me & I NEVER LOOKED BACK.
AS INDIVIDUALS, WE MUST ACCEPT & FACE REALITY, NO MATTER HOW “HARD” IT IS THROWN AT US
Both my eating disorder recovery & (finally) grieving my mom’s passing have taught me that life has a way of throwing things at us when we least want or expect them & that as individuals, we have no choice but to face REALITY, no matter how hard it is, no matter how badly we want to avoid it & no matter how much we wish it wasn’t real.
Looking back now at the trauma that I went through in the last month of my beloved mom’s life, I remember SO VIVIDLY when her doctor told us the most-dreaded-thing-in-the-world… that she didn’t have much time left. What do you do when you are faced with a DISGUSTING REALITY like that one? How do you cope? How do you accept it? How do you face it? I didn’t. I put up a wall (a really, really, tall, unbreakable, too-solid CEMENT WALL) & it was one of the biggest mistakes I EVER made. I internalized so much grief, anger, frustration & sadness. I did not cry. I did not blink. I did not scream. I did not flinch.
And today, I look back & I wish I had BAWLED MY EYES OUT. I wish I had SPOKEN ABOUT MY FEELINGS. I wish I had GRIEVED. I wish I had WORKED THROUGH MY ANGER & FRUSTRATION. But most of all, I wish I had LET MYSELF FEEL, ACCEPT & FACE REALITY. So, here I am today, years later & doing just that. Facing the reality that my best friend is no longer here to help me overcome my eating disorder. But, I have also been a witness of the next best thing: It can ONLY be HER who has provided me with the overwhelming power (I did tell you guys I was Superwoman, right?) to battle Anorexia & to come out a winner (Yes, even if it I still have a hella long way to go).
And then… a few years later… LIFE THREW ANOTHER ONE AT ME. Anorexia. How do you face the reality that a fictive being controls your every move? That you no longer have control over your body? That a number dominates your daily life & not only our daily life, but also your mood? How do you accept that you’ve reached rock bottom? But most of all, HOW DO YOU ACCEPT & COME TO TERMS WITH THE FACT THAT YOU NEED HELP? You open your heart. You let yourself feel. You teach your mind that asking for help does not mean you are weak, but rather it means that you are strong enough to accept & face a reality that is SO OFTEN DENIED OR IGNORED (until it gets too late… & for me, it ALMOST did). And, you look that reality straight in the eyes (for me, that reality was the imminent possibility of death) & you make it your B. YOU ACCEPT IT. YOU FACE IT. AND THEN, YOU TACKLE THE H*LL OUT OF IT!!!
Anorexia has taught me the value of analyzing my struggles so that I can come to terms with & survive my grief. I’ve learned that given that I did not take time for myself to understand where all the hurt & pain was coming from, the emotions built up inside & ultimately, led to me harming myself (ergo, developing my eating disorder). I’ve ALSO learned that the mind is HELLA smart. It does not allow you to hold in what it needs to get out. And, my anorexia is THE PRIME example of that – it came out of my inability to address & face the horrible realities that were thrown at me & yearning to be “perfect” to please EVERYONE ELSE AROUND ME. EVERYONE, BUT MYSELF.
All this to say, yes, I may be where I am today because I was unable to accept & face the realities that life had thrown at me. I cared TOO MUCH about preserving that “perfect-image-life”. I put myself LAST. I put myself ON THE BACK BURNER. I did not let myself FEEL (even though my emotions were clearly out of whack). In turn, I did not let myself be IN TUNE WITH MY EMOTIONS. But most of all, I AVOIDED & PRETENDED said realities did not exist. And then it hits you, REAL HARD. The realities EXIST & THEY ARE POWERFUL. THEY ARE STRONG. THEY WANT TO BEAT YOU DOWN, but you CANNOT LET THEM. And, just like that, when faced with the reality that is LITERALLY, NO LONGER EXISTING, you realize that you are the only one who can teach your mind that facing & accepting them is okay. Rather, it’s more than okay. It’s the most liberating thing in the world.
LIFE IS A GIFT THAT SHOULD NEVER BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED
Thanks to Anorexia, I almost threw my life away (Literally). I didn’t care about my well-being or about myself anymore. A lot of people think that anorexia is a self-centered illness, but it’s so not. Rather, it makes you have ZERO regard for yourself or your life. Your life is centered on DEPRIVING, HARMING, HURTING, NEGLECTING & LITERALLY, KILLING your body. Anorexia teaches you to take your life for granted & that’s exactly what I did. I did that until it was (ALMOST) too late. Until I faced DEATH.
And, it’s funny because I often ask myself how I so suddenly chose LIFE. And then I realize, NOBODY knows what it’s like to be faced with death until (G-d forbid), it happens to him or her. And most of all, nobody knows that when faced with it, the desire to LIVE & CARE FOR YOURSELF & YOUR BODY BECOMES STRONGER THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD & this incessant urge to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to PRESERVE YOUR LIFE comes over you & becomes your top priority (And, I’ve also learned that that’s okay. That it’s normal. That it doesn’t make me selfish. But most of all, that it’s what HAS TO BE DONE to literally say “CIAO, ANOREXIA!”). Basically, I AM DOING IT & I AM KILLING IT.
So today, almost three months into recovery, tell me to deprive, harm, hurt or neglect my body & I WILL LAUGH IN YOUR FACE. My journey towards recovery has taught me that LIFE IS THE GREATEST GIFT ON EARTH. It has taught me that WITHOUT HEALTH, I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. It has taught me that life is about NOURISHING YOUR BODY.
I no longer take pride or find joy in depriving my body. If I want that scrumptious cookie or that moist chocolate-chip brownie, I EAT IT. Heck, I DEVOUR it. I no longer think it’s okay to harm, hurt or neglect my body. I’ve learned so much about nutrients, vitamins & supplements and most of all; I’ve learned to feed my body EXACTLY what it needs. I’ve learned to listen to my body, not to push myself too hard & to be in tune with my feelings & emotions.
BUT, BEST OF ALL, I’VE LEARNED THAT LIFE IS THE BEST GIFT EVER & that either way, THERE IS NO RETURN POLICY. In other words, you are the only one who can take control of your LIFE & your BODY and if you fail to realize the importance & the value that your mere existence has, you will be “stuck” with a gift that you hate & take for granted. AND, that, my loves, is a huge mistake (I SPEAK FROM EXPERIENCE). All this to say, ACCEPT, EMBRACE & LOVE THE GIFT THAT IS LIFE WITH OPEN ARMS, AN OPEN MIND & AN OPEN HEART. Basically, prioritize yourself. Put yourself first. Pamper yourself. Treat yourself. Take care of yourself. Nourish yourself. Listen to yourself. BUT MOST OF ALL, LOVE YOURSELF (Forever & Ever & Ever).
THE IMPOSSIBLE IS ACTUALLY QUITE POSSIBLE. YOU JUST HAVE TO WANT IT & PUT YOUR MIND, HEART, BODY & SOUL INTO IT
I remember when I first started seeing my therapist & we would talk about what recovery entailed, the words were literally going in one ear & out the other. This is not because what he was saying had no value or because it was wrong or untrue. It is because at that point in time, I genuinely did not believe I would (or, rather, could) ever recover & overcome this horrible mental illness. Not only did I think doing so was impossible, but I also did not have the urge or desire to get better. Anorexia had such a hold & such a control on me that the mere possibility of recovering “one day” was UNIMAGINABLE.
BUT then I realized, FROM ONE DAY TO THE NEXT (Literally), that I reached such a LOW point that recovery was no longer an option. It was the only answer & suddenly I wanted it SO BAD, I LITERALLY CRAVED IT. I envisioned a life WITHOUT ANOREXIA (#allmysingleladies) & although it seemed VERY far away, it no longer seemed impossible or unattainable. And ever since that day, I have not only put my mind to it, but I have also put my heart & soul into it – I have been MORE COMMITTED THAN EVER (& for those who know me, sure know that that’s saying a lot because I am generally a hella committed individual). I’ve learned that when you do just that, you turn the impossible into the ATTAINABLE, the ACHIEVABLE, the DOABLE, the FEASIBLE the REALISTIC, but most of all, you turn the impossible into the possible. And just like that, you see THE LIGHT.
My loves, the light (& all your love and support, of course) is what keeps me going, gives me hope for a BRIGHTER (no pun intended) future, provides me with the strength to continue fighting (even on my REALLY bad days… Yes, I do have those) & keeps me standing TALL with my HEAD UP HIGH (even when I feel like falling). (Please, light, NEVER BURN OUT. I NEED YOU. & I NEED YOU BADLY!).
I HAVE LEARNED THE TRUE VALUE & MEANING OF THE SAYING THAT “EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON”
“Everything happens for a reason” is something that I actually ALWAYS believed in. However, my eating disorder has been a clear-cut demonstration of this belief and has truly shown me that although it is the SECOND worst thing that has ever happened to me, there is actually some (rather, A LOT) of good & positive that has come out of it (WOAH, I swear, believe it or not). How so?
- Anorexia has shown me that sometimes things fall apart so that better things can come together.
- She has allowed me to change as a person.
- She has allowed me to face, accept & come to terms with all my cray-cray emotions & feelings.
- She has allowed me to break down that really tall & strong cement wall & face the loss of my best friend in the entire world.
- She has made me stronger (OKAY, maybe I am not like super strong physically, but I am SUPERWOMAN, EMOTIONALLY).
- She has taught me the value of life & nourishment.
- She has turned me into someone who is open, able, willing & eager to talk about my feelings & emotions (Sometimes, I even talk too much! I am so referring to my chatterbox rants that you guys LOVE OH SO MUCH!).
- She has allowed me to start Kelly in the Kitch, which has not only become an outlet & a form of therapy for me (not to mention, an opportunity to get all my recipes down on paper), but has also served as a way for me to help & inspire others going through same or similar issues (not to mention, provide all my beautiful supporters with millions of ways to fill their tummies, a.k.a. RECIPES FOR DAYS).
- She has allowed me to realize that if I do not take care of myself, nobody else will.
- She has taught me that I must follow my heart & my gut and not allow others to sway or determine how I live or what choices or decisions I make. Basically, she has taught me to LIVE FOR ME & to not worry about what others will say or think or whether or not others will pass judgment.
- She has taught me that no longer accepting to neglect myself & my body is NOT SELFISH.
- She has allowed me to let those who love & support me into my HEART & into my LIFE.
- She has allowed me to be in tune with my emotions & taught me that it is okay to cry. Hell, it is okay to curl myself up into a little ball & BAWL MY FREAKING EYES OUT.
- BUT MOST OF ALL, she has allowed me to challenge myself. To wake up every morning knowing that “Today is a new day” (It may be a good one, but it may also be a really-really bad one) & a new day means an opportunity (NOPE, A PRIVILEGE) to set new goals for myself, to achieve the ones I’ve already set & to tackle any & all obstacles that try to get in my way or hinder my progress. BASICALLY, SOMETIMES, YOU HAVE TO BE YOUR OWN HERO (& just like that, YOU BECOME SUPERWOMAN!).
So yes, my loves, ANOREXIA is a terrible, traumatizing, heart wrenching, life-ruining horrible mental illness (like I said, the SECOND most horrible thing that has ever happened to me), but being the “glass-half-full” person that I am, I know it happened to me FOR SEVERAL REASONS. AND, I made it my mission to see the GOOD & the POSITIVE in it & to take everything I could from my experience with it & TURN IT INTO SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL. SOMETHING AMAZING. SOMETHING INSPIRING. SO HERE I AM TODAY, I’m Kelly in the Kitch, I can, I will, I’m doing it, I’m killing it & I wouldn’t have it ANY. OTHER. WAY.
I LOVE YOU ALL <3 <3 <3 & once again, I want you guys to know that I could not be more GRATEFUL & THANKFUL for all the outreach, love & support you have shown me throughout my journey towards recovery. I wake up every morning to beautiful, motivational & inspirational messages that have me all teary-eyed & that show me that THERE IS SO MUCH GOOD OUT THERE THAT YOU GENUINELY CARE. THAT YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM GOING THROUGH. & THAT MY SUPPORT SYSTEM IS ABSOLUTELY-POSITIVELY-CERTAINLY EVERYTHING TO ME. So thank you from the bottom of my heart (that is BEATING ever so normally thanks to THE. BEST. DECISION. I. EVER. MADE. If you haven’t figured that one out… I’m talking about MAKING RECOVERY MY B & EATING FOR THREE, NBD. Waddup?).
OH, & one last thing (SWEAR!!!):
I HAVE LEARNED THE TRUE VALUE OF WHAT IT MEANS TO LOVE & DEVOUR DESSERT & COOKIES & MUFFINS & ZOMFG
I think this picture is self-explanatory. You?
OOPS! #treatyoself <3 <3 <3