It’s been a while since I last sat down to blog. I’d like to credit it to not having the time, which I could probably do. This term has by far been my busiest yet, with taking 19 credits, being a manager of the gymnastics team, which includes being at all practices and meets (including travel ones), having a boyfriend, spending time with my other friends, working out, and staying committed to my faith. In all honesty though, this blog just hasn’t been a priority for me recently. And while I was feeling a decent amount of guilt about that for a period of time, I’ve reconciled it. For a good chunk of my life (six years), my eating disorder, as well as battle with anxiety and depression, were the center of my world. My life revolved around appointments, group therapy meetings, daily vital sign testings and weekly blood draws, meal planning, etc. Everything I did was determined by what would best help my recovery. I commuted to Corvallis from Portland and back (170 miles roundtrip) for about a year because I needed the support of living with my mom but wanted to keep the consistency and normalcy of staying in school and seeing my college friends as much as possible. That life became my normal.
I don’t know how to explain the shift that happened in me over the last six months, but boy, has a shift taken place. For six years, I “trusted the process.” I went through the motions that all of the professionals in my life told me to, without seeing any real progress. I mean sure, I saw some physical signs. I gained weight, my heart rate and blood pressure stabilized, and my digestive system sorted itself out to the point where I could eat food without experiencing severe pain. My mentality, though was still the same. I felt like an anorexic living in a normal-sized person’s body. Which, to be honest, felt even worse. I felt like a fraud! Finally, though, after six years (SIX YEARS!), I can say that that’s no longer the case. My mind has finally caught up to my body, it’s caught up to my actions. My thoughts are finally those of someone who has a healthy relationship with food, a healthy relationship with exercise.
Is my life perfect right now? Ha! Not at all. My face is breaking out the worst it ever has (due to my body STILL trying to figure out an equilibrium with it’s newfound hormones, a result of finally having an adequate amount of body fat after suppressing it for so many years), my hands are still causing me problems (yes, the ones that I’ve had three surgeries on in the last sixteen months), my grades are not nearly where I’d like them to be, and I got my first speeding ticket last night. Yet despite all those things, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier. I’ve never felt so comfortable in my own skin, even in the moments when I’m uncomfortable. My mom actually had to remind me the other day to schedule an appointment with my dietician because it’s almost been a month since I’ve seen her and been weighed in. I don’t think I’ve gone a month without having my weight taken since I was fifteen. It just so is not at the forefront of my mind right now; there are so many things that are so much more important to me at this time. Eating healthily and exercising are still a big part of my life, but that’s because of the way that they make me feel and the joy and confidence they bring me, not because of a number they’ll bring my body down to or a specific way they’ll make my body look. I’m not rigid about going to the gym or getting a certain number of steps in each day, rather, I workout when I’m able to make time for it (which ends up being about five days a week, give or take), and stay as active as I can aside from that. I’m not trying to hit a specific number of calories, macros, or exchanges; I eat what I’m hungry for when I’m hungry for it, and stop when I’m full. Some days that means I’m eating quite a bit more than I normally do, and sometimes I eat a little bit less. If I have a drink, I don’t deprive myself of that many calories-worth of food, I just acknowledge that it’s a treat, and not something I do every day, and that my body knows what to do with it. I’m not going to gain any real weight by having a beer every once in a while.
I’m cognizant of what I’m putting in my body, but I’m not obsessed with it. I truthfully didn’t think I’d ever get to this point. It’s for that reason that I’m writing this post tonight, that I decided to make it a priority. At our gymnastics meet today, we honored a mental health campaign that’s being spearheaded by two Oregon State student athletes (one of which is a former gymnast), called Dam Worth It. It’s centered around recognizing the epidemic of mental health issues in student athletes, but it really can be applied to everyone. The message is that whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing: You aren’t alone.
So while I’m proud, and happy, and so, so thankful, that being enthroned in the grips of mental illness isn’t my life any more… I recognize that for a long time, it was. And I want anyone, and everyone, who’s experiencing any sort of it right now: Whether you’re struggling for the first time ever, or have been for twenty years, there is hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I didn’t believe it, but praise Jesus, I continued to hope and walk in that direction, and I’m finally there. It can happen for you, too.
YOU are Dam Worth It.