“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything” – George Bernard Shaw
This week, I’m doing things a little differently for my Marvelous in my Monday post. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately on where I am at currently in my recovery process. Oftentimes it is easy to focus on all of the things you want to change or all of the things that you want to improve on that we end up getting pretty negative about our progress in recovery. We tell ourselves that we still can’t do ‘this’ or that we still struggle with ‘that’. Maybe we still have old behaviors that we’re struggling with or holding onto. But sometimes it’s so important to just take.a.step.back. We need to see our current reality in the grand scheme of things.
For me, too, I can focus on all of the things that I need to change yet or that I still struggle with…but it’s so SO important to look at how far you’ve come. Think of all of the things that you once did, or once struggled with, or once couldn’t do and compare that to where you are now. There was a time where I felt stuck or like I was going to forever be an individual with an eating disorder. But I think what made me realize my progress, or what made me check my reality, was going to a NEDA walk out in Madison on Saturday. That really made me take a moment to :stop:, think, and reflect. Making progress and reflecting is marvelous.
On Saturday morning, my mom, my best friend, my husband and I hit the road and headed out toward Madison. They were hosting their first ever NEDA Walk. This was something I wanted to share with these three people. They have been my biggest support throughout my eating disorder, never leaving me no matter how horribly I treated them, or how irritable or isolated I became. My mom was there walking to support me and also to walk for her mom, who struggled with an eating disorder (and died of complications of her eating disorder) at a time where eating disorders were not understood or even really known of. My best friend was walking for herself, for her own personal journey, and to reflect on her own life. My husband was there to walk for me. I was there for me, obviously, but I was also there for all the other individuals who I met throughout the years who have struggled with their own personal battle with an eating disorder, and to all those individuals all around the world who I haven’t met personally but fight the same battle that I fight. There is power in unity, and that is another reason why I wanted to be present at this walk.
It was truly inspiring to see all of the people who came out. There were many who filled out name tags that indicated who they were walking for. Many had themselves listed. Many had family members and friends listed. Yet, we were all there, together, walking as one. For the same purpose, for the same goal, for the same cause. I looked around at those present and just felt overwhelmed. There were a couple girls who I saw that literally broke my heart. They were so, so thin and looked so, so fragile. It hurts me so much to see people have to suffer and face such a destructive, all encompassing illness. Yet one thing rang true for all that were there who were walking for themselves. No matter where they were in their recovery process, no matter how sick they may be currently, they all (we all) have that fight within us. If we didn’t care about our life and living, we wouldn’t have taken the time to go there, to walk there. We all had some inner motivation that willed us to take the initiative to be there. And what is more, we had family and friends there with us. While eating disorders can be such an isolating illness, we all came together as one. If for nothing more, we took a stand against our eating disorder in that moment. We became united as one.
I left my mark.
Just the fact alone that I could have a real, genuine smile on my face is progress. There was a time where I was so in my eating disorder that I couldn’t feel anything. I felt numb to any emotion, unable to enjoy anything at all…living each day, each hour, each moment in complete misery. It feels good to feel again.
I realized that no matter how many obstacles I have to face, no matter how long I need to continue to fight for the freedom of living a normal, healthy life without my eating disorder, it is worth it. I will fight, as I have continued to fight, and I won’t give up. Looking back on where I was, it was a scary place to be. I was a complete mess in every area of my life as a result of my eating disorder. While I still have many strides in front of me to conquer and hurdle, I know that I can do it. Because I have that inner strength and determination in me. If I didn’t, I would have given up long ago, when things didn’t go as smoothly as one in recovery always hopes things will go. But I didn’t. I re-framed and re-evaluated what MY recovery was going to look like and set reasonable expectations for myself. At times, I still do get bogged down with all of the things that I continue to do wrong or not good enough. Yet I need to shift my focus to reflecting on all of the HUGE momentous strides I have taken and use that as the fuel to motivate me to continue pushing forward. Marvelous is my inner push to continue to challenge my eating disorder every day of my life.
Speaking of some of those hurdles that had always been in front of me and that I have for so long wanted to try and leap over, I have conquered some very big ones lately. As some of you may know, dinners are a meal that have forever been an obstacle for me. Eating a dinner was a huge HUGE no-no. But I set the goal, especially with Scott now back home, to make dinners for us both to share and enjoy together. I made two dinners for us the last couple days.
These two meals were super easy, but so good. Not only was this a huge win for me because I struggle so much with dinners, but I also struggle with adding variety into my food choices. I tend to eat the same things, because they are ‘safe’ or ‘comfortable’ for me. These two meals made me push myself to try other things that I normally would never have touched. I literally can’t even remember when I last had a REAL egg. But, I just did. And you know what? I can do it again…and again…and again. Each hurdle I jump over gives me more confidence in my ability to jump over the next hurdle. Once I get that momentum going, it’s easier to continue moving forward.
In order to do so, I’m planning ahead. I talked to Scott about us doing a weekly meal-plan for dinners for each week. This will help give me some structure and a game plan. Often in the past, I used not planning ahead or coming home from work and not knowing what to make as an excuse not to have dinner at all. Now, I’m removing even the option of an excuse. He was totally on board with it. So each weekend we’ll come up with our dinner plan for the week, which will also help with grocery shopping and knowing what we need to get to make these meals happen.
So ask me how I’m doing in recovery. I would have normally rambled off all the things that are not perfect, all the things that I still want to change or improve upon. But now, now I am choosing to see all of the strides that I have made, and all of the strides that I’m currently making. To me, my recovery has been a success so far. And I will continue to pick up one foot after the other, tackling each hurdle as it comes, or maybe even going out of my way to jump a particular hurdle that has forever taunted me. I have this fight within me and I will not be defeated. I will win this race.