It’s cold. I’m always cold—the bone-chilling cold that is never alleviated despite numerous blankets and layers of clothing. I don’t want to get out of the covers, but I have a class of first graders to teach. I tiptoe to the bathroom so as not to wake anyone. The room turns fuzzy, but I am used to that. I jump in the shower, and turn on the water—hot, hot to numb the cold. The shower starts to spin around me. Everything goes black. I am aware of my body, but not in control of what it does. I reach out to grab the bar on the wall, but my arm knocks off the shampoo and soap instead. I know what is about to happen, but I can do nothing to prevent it. The room continues to spin as I collapse into a wet pile of body and shampoo bottles on the floor of the shower. Shit. I knew this was going to happen. When I come to, I turn off the water, clean up the mess, go back to my room and call the school; Ms. Rhea won’t be in today (good thing it was only student teaching in college). I curl back up in my bed in the wet towel; not even bothering to put on clothes because that would take too much effort—effort that I don’t have. I fall back asleep. I knew I should have eaten. My best friend of six and a half years/roommate wakes up to begin her day, “What are you still doing here?” she asks. I am afraid to tell her the truth, but I know she already knows. She always knows. She was the first one to talk to me about “my eating issues”. She was the first one to tell me that what I was doing to my body was not healthy, she knew it, I knew it, and I needed to get healthy. She was not afraid to tell me what I needed to hear; not always what I wanted to hear—she is very good at that. She knew I did not respond to coddling or sugarcoating; that it would only help the ED to grow. She pushed me towards therapy (in a good way). She did not always understand the complex and confusing world of EDs, but she knew she loved me and that was enough…and I loved her too. I may have been angry at the time that someone was challenging my ED, but it was exactly what I needed to wake me out of the haze of its power. I needed someone to show me that there are other ways to live than under the thumb of ED. I needed accountability. I needed a friend. I needed someone to tell me the truth. I needed someone to listen. That was over two and a half years ago. Our friendship has grown as I have, bit by stubborn bit, let go of my ED. I am so thankful for what she has done in my life. Had it not been for her support, I would have continued on with my ED and I’m not entirely sure where I would be. Had she not helped me towards recovery, we might not be as close as we are today. This Christmas, my gift is the gift of recovery…it was initially given to me over two years ago from my best friend and it continues to be given to me today through my own efforts. Words can never express how grateful I am for her insistence that I take care of myself…but I am forever thankful for her gifts of support, friendship, recovery and, most of all, love. I wish for you the gift of recover this season.
The gift of recovery December 24, 2012