Dec. 7, 2022, noon
When we step out of toxic situations, relationships, or habits, reminiscing is often the toughest part. Remembering the highs is easy. Despite the fact that there we’re likely more lows and lies, it seems to be our natural instinct to replay the few moments that felt like flying.
I journaled last night about how I so desperately want people to understand that whether it's an eating disorder or another all-consuming mental illness, there is another side. Reaching a place of lightness feels like swimming through a heavy current, surges of force attempting to wash you obsolete with every wave, but with everything in life, the pushing through, the trying, is so undeniably rewarding.
This is me, speaking from the most authentic place I know, trying to present the feelings that recovery has unveiled for me in a series of words that I hope can push you to keep moving through.
Recovery feels like coming home.
For years I thought my personality had changed, that I was suddenly this introverted soul that relied on isolation to feel okay. Things weren't funny, speaking was a drag, and sleep was all I craved. Dance, the outlet I poured every ounce of passion into for 12 years of my life, suddenly felt like work. I can't recall feeling passionate, or even strongly about a single thing. If my mom left me alone in a grocery store for a minute, I would be consumed by anxiety. I couldn't speak to people on my own. I was nearing the end of my senior year of highschool, and I felt more powerless than a child.
Living victim to your own mind is a hurt that I don't feel is talked about as much as it should be. There is nothing more invalidating than trying to explain to others why you feel so controlled by a concept that is completely fragmented in your mind. The voice of an ED cant be understood through the words; loud, powerful, or debilitating, they simply don't capture the essence of force that is endured. Despite this evident truth, it is just a voice, and because of that, the struggle is often not understood by people outside of first-hand experience. If you're here, I see you. I know this may feel like a forever feeling, but life is filled with impermanence, and I hope the rest of these words can remind you of that.
This week, I went out with new people, I went grocery shopping by myself, I had insightful conversations, and I had the energy to move. I was even outspoken and, dare I say? present. This being the first time I have interacted with new faces in a long time, I am able to see with such clarity how my ED stole everything that made me special. Laughter fills me, and it's genuine, and it's whole. I feel pretty, powerful, and able to stand up for myself when necessary. I feel warm and I feel like I project warmth too. Falling asleep at night, I feel peace in knowing that I lived throughout the day, truly experiencing what it means to be alive as opposed to merely surviving. That is recovery: finding peace with the impermanence of life because for the first time, I am living it.
Truly, wholly, with every piece of me, I never thought I would make it to a place that feels safe. I didn't think I would make it to my 19th birthday. I didn't think I would be alive to see my siblings experience the world. I didn't think I would be alive to experience inner peace. If something is keeping you on the journey to recovery, let it be that. You have not lived your most beautiful moments yet. You don't know for certain what joy tomorrow can hold, so please, fight to stay, fight for your health, fight for yourself, one day at a time.
In the beginning, the days may feel like years.
As incredible as a quick-fix would be, sitting through discomfort with as much compassion as you can foster, and watching the feelings ease over time, is the only way through. Making yourself a nice breakfast despite what happened the night before, choosing to let your family sit with you in times of crisis, letting people in, breaking down—all of these things, these hard and complex things, are what will make life feel okay again.
These words are heavy to write, though they may be the most important arrangement of letters that will ever pour out of me. My hope is for you to understand that a life in recovery will not always feel good, but in recovery there is life to live. With recovery there is life, and giving this life a chance will forever be my most cherished choice.
Recovery is choosing.
With choosing there is life,
With life there is love,
With love there is fight.
With fight there is fear,
With fear there is spite,
With spite there is feeling,
With feeling there is light.
Restricting is neglecting
With neglecting there is pain,
With pain there is deflecting,
With deflecting there is no gain.
Choice is freedom,
Neglecting is fright.
Choose the path with more bumps,
To reveal the light.
With an abundance of love and hope,
Mariah Gabrielle is a student with heaps to say. She uses her mental health experiences, particularly her anorexia recovery, to write what she once needed to hear. Her hope is to help others in similar whirlwinds of life, while also pouring into her passion of words. She blogs weekly on such topics!
Read more @reflectingonreality.ca!
Personal blog: reflectingonreality.ca