Well hello there! It has been a Mississippi minute since my last post! Elenore Roosevelt once said “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”; we as human beings love to romanticize the concept of distance because it beats admitting how hard it can be, but I think Ayn Rand was more correct in my case… she once was quoted saying “You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.” Through my recovery journey, I have been 100% candid about my recovery: the struggles, the triumphs, and all that fall in-between. I have not posted in a while for a few reasons, and I feel compelled to share them with you. Avoiding is my go-to protection mechanism, as Dr. Burnett so kindly reminded me of today, and I am done hiding what I have been going through, so bear with me!
Okay, so I guess I can do it the old fashioned way: Hi, my name is Brooke, and I have been struggling. Phew. That feels so freeing to admit. I feel better already. Shall I elaborate? I think so.
The last few months have been rough. I have had my safe haven of a home disrupted because of circumstances beyond my control, warmer weather has brought a whole new challenge with my growing body and need of new clothing, and the constant drone of “Mommy” due to summer break has prompted my wise mind to take a back seat to the ever persistent eating disorder voice that promises to fix everything. It has been rough. As I type this I am a bit teary because I think this may be the first time I am truly letting it sink in how tough it has been. Again- avoidance is my jam until reality catches up with me… and here I am being real. I have had to fight tooth and nail to say recovered the past two months.
Two weeks ago, I went to Starbucks to get a Frappuccino; as I was driving home, all I could hear was my ED mind telling me “I didn’t need that coffee treat. Why was I so weak to give into that craving? Brooke, you know what to do. You know how to get rid of it.” So, like my eating disorder brain wanted me to, I dutifully, reluctantly, yet desperately went running up the stairs as soon as I got home to the trusty bathroom. I paused. I looked at the toilet and thought about my choices. My ED mind was telling me to “get rid of it!!!”while also calculating the calories I consumed… but my wise mind was frantically reminding me of the past 16 years of suffering followed by the hardest 87 days of my life in treatment followed by a year of being free of behaviors…. Wow. Once I really compared the two as I was staring down at my crossroads the choice seemed so clear. I literally shook the ED thoughts out of my brain, said “NO” out loud and walked out of the bathroom and back into my messy life.
It was not an easy choice. I wanted to use a behavior so badly. I was there, alone, and no one would know, but I would know, and through recovery I have discovered that I matter. You see, I use to put all my worth, all my happiness into others. My body, my life circumstances, my abilities were my determiner of my worth. How fast I ran, how good I looked, how liked/loved/accepted I was by those around me… and guess what? Having those things at the forefront of my contentment was a disaster waiting to happen, always. Dr. Burnett often told me the only thing I can control is myself; that woman knows what she is talking about, believe me. I cannot control everything around me, I can only be settled and well with myself. I actually matter. You see, using a behavior in that moment of panic would not have changed the circumstances of my life; in all truth, it would have actually complicated it even more. Behaviors such as running, purging, binging, and any and all in-between are not solutions, only a mask for reality. Avoidance. Distance between me and a life of freedom. I am no longer willing to give up that freedom so easy. I have lived in it long enough now to understand its value… and a Starbucks Frappuccino is not the straw that will break this camel’s back, I can tell you that right now. But in all honestly, I can talk big now, but I almost allowed that delicious drink to be my first slip. Recovery is a choice, just as anything in life, and it is easy to make the wrong choice in a moment of weakness, not just for me in my battle with my eating disorder, but for everyone every day in this life. Can I get an Amen?
So, here is the deal. I struggle, but I am proud to say that I have taken time to process my struggle and choose the free life. The ED voice can be strong, but the skills I have learned through my treatment are stronger. I needed to do this without the accountability and pressure of social media to know that it was truly what I wanted, not just what I was promising to so many for acceptance and approval. Thank you for understanding my absence… but the reality it much sweeter when we share our hearts. I am grateful that I finally know the value of mine.
It is simple, but not always easy. Thank God for living free.