Taking each day as it comes.

It’s been five years since I began my recovery, or at least, I think so, recovery is confusing and so is trying to figure out when it begins, when it ends, if it ends? As I mentioned in my Eating Disorders Awareness 2019 post, an eating disorder is individual and I guess, that means recovery is too. As well as being individual, I think it changes, well, at least for me it does. It changes with wherever I am, I have used the words ‘recovered’ before because that is how I have felt at that time and then I change again, I learn more about myself and things get better or unfortunately sometimes they get difficult again. Right now, my recovery is ongoing, I used to think there were weakness in this, but I don’t think that anymore, I prefer to take each day as it comes and right now, this works for me.

More recently, a large part of my recovery has been trying to process where I was five years ago. The 11th of March, a date that sometimes feels as though it is engraved within me, I was at rock bottom and it has only been the last year or so, where the realisation of how dark things were, has hit me, over and over again. When this first started happening, hitting me in this way, memories I thought I had processed started to appear and send my mind into pain and my body into panic. Things got pretty confusing, I mean, after four years, why was this happening now?

As I questioned what and why it was happening to me now, I started to learn more about traumas, the mind and mental illness too, I started to see that five years ago, at the beginning of my recovery, my mind was processing a lot, so the last thing I had energy for was processing what was, then happening. I guess, this is when I started to push the realisations and difficulties of my then, away, focusing on what lead me there, instead of where I was. From what I have read, I think this is common for people who have been through an illness, almost like an automatic response to something difficult and a way of coping.

During the last year or so, I have been trying to work on overcoming these traumas alone, without professional help and things have been pretty difficult. There is, no doubt things would have gone smoother and perhaps, I would be in a better place if I had seen a professional, but as I am sure you know, it is not as easy as that. In this time, my mother has been a therapist, listening to me as I try to make sense of the confusion in my mind, she has held me up without even realising. Mental illness can hide a million things, even the good things, such as, how my family have been a lifeline without even knowing.

I have tried exposing myself to things and seeing how I cope. I have tried learning new ways of coping and seeing if any are able to help with the pain and panic of unwanted memories. I have tried to understand why I dissociated for so long and how I could now change that, to accept and overcome. I have tried to explain how I was fine three years ago, but not so fine now. Non-of these attempts, have worked, not alone anyway, but each has given me something, something that when put together; the exposures, the coping, the understanding and the explanations, gives me a greater structure for my next attempt in letting go.

I say ‘letting go’ because there is a part of me that thinks I will never be able to compassionately accept what happened to me and what continues to happen to many others, but I question, do you have to accept in order to let go? Perhaps, writing a post like this, continuing to share my experiences, in the desperate hope to help others and to gain some kind of justification for my past is the opposite of letting go. Perhaps, both can be done or, then again, maybe not.

I do not know the answers, I think if I did, I would not be here, five years later and writing this oh so confusing post.

My recovery may not be squeaky clean, I doubt anyone’s ever is, but I have never gone back to point where I was five years ago today, even with the moments of illness, amongst the confusion and the pain, that bad days may bring, there have been a whole lot of ‘me-moments’ that five years ago, without any of this would not have been and for that I am blessed.

Today has, surprisingly, been a good day, with memories kept as just that and the blessings of the present day and reflections of the good moments the past five years have brought me all came at once with the realisation of where I currently am, no longer the girl wishing to jump into an image in a travel magazine, but really there and really seeing, feeling and being right, there.

So, I shall continue to try, to try and let go and for now, keep taking each day as it comes.

If you are still here, thank you for reading, if you scrolled to the bottom, I don’t blame you.

Love always,

Nicole

If you need support or advice on eating disorders please visit B-eat.

For more information on the effects of stigma please visit Time to Change. 

If you need support now please see: B-eat Support, Mind, Samaritans, C.A.L.L Wales

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