When I went into treatment for the first time, my whole world was turned upside down. The world that I knew (the ed) was being taken away from me and it terrified me. The eating disorder had been my identity for so long that I thought I would disappear without it. When I discharged and went back home, I came back a different person. My body looked completely different, my face looked different. I didn't recognize the person that I saw looking back at me in the mirror. When I looked into my eyes, I saw someone who was lost, scared, and confused. And even though, those are the things that I saw while I was struggling with my ed... it was a different kind of lost and scared this time.
I was thrown into a world that felt so foreign to me. I was living in this world of "recovery" and I felt so lost. I had a really hard time adjusting to it and ended up relapsing soon after. It took many more years, with lots of ups and downs, for me to get to where I am today. But today when I look in the mirror and I look into my eyes, I see ME and I now know who that person is. I do still struggle with body image, and there are parts of me that I am still trying to figure out and find. But I am a lot closer than I have ever been. I am happy and comfortable in recovery. I know this is where I belong and I know it's the place where I will be able to live the life I want and to continue strengthening myself and pursuing my dreams. Recovery is so scary. It is a process... it was a long one for me. But it IS worth it!
This is a poem that I wrote in 2007, shortly after coming home from my first treatment center. It describes how I was feeling about being thrown into this new "life" and the confusion I felt about leaving my old world (the ed) behind and embracing this new world (recovery). It's hard for me to read this poem because it was a really confusing time for me in my recovery. But I am thankful to be able to say that I have been able to heal that girl inside of me, and I have found comfort in recovery.
I walk up to the mirror
And take a deep breath.
I stare at the reflection
That's looking back at me.
Who is that girl?
And where did she come from?
When did she get here?
The small and delicate girl I knew,
Is not here anymore.
Where did she go?
If I cry hard enough, beg and plead,
Or promise to never let her go again
Will she come back?
Or is she gone for good?
Is she too far gone for my outstretched arms to reach her?
Is she too far away for my cries to be heard?
And who is this new girl anyway?
I already don't like her!
But why don't I like her?
I don't even know her.
Should I give her a chance?
Should I find out all I can
About her hopes and dreams,
What she likes and what her fears are?
But I'm so afraid to get to know her.
I'm so afraid to let her in.
I'm afraid I'll lose the old me forever!
But would that be so bad?
Maybe this new girl
Is a better version of me.
Someone who is not so afraid of the world.
But I don't think I can let the old me go.
She is me, she is all I know!
I have a lot of good memories,
But I also have too many nightmares.
She had such a hard time trusting anyone - even herself!
You could see fear and sadness
When you looked into her eyes,
More often then happiness and joy.
But...she is me - and I love her!
So now, I'm torn.
I'm stuck in a tug of war!
I'm not sure who I should reach out and hold on to
And who I should let go of.
Can you help me?
Will I trust your advice?
Or is this something I need to figure out on my own?