When I decided to leave treatment early this last time, I got a lot of resistance from my treatment team. The message that I got was that they truly did not believe that I could do the work on my own. And that is okay, I don’t hold any anger towards them – more so pride that I proved them wrong.
But for a lot of people, the structure that treatment provides is so incredibly necessary – even life saving. In fact, it was that way for me the first time I went. It was pivotal that I had that structured environment – the ED had taken over too much of my brain for me to make coherent decisions.
But the second time around, I knew in my heart and my gut that if my goal was to truly recover, I needed to make the decision to eat for myself. I couldn’t have a treatment team putting down food in front of me and making the decisions for me. I needed to eat unrestrictedly on my own terms, without adhering to a schedule or the time on the clock to give me ‘permission.’ The permission that I needed could only come from within.
And when I realized that, I knew that I had to leave. I knew a lot of people wouldn’t believe in me and I knew people would be worried that I would simply slip back. But in my heart there was a fire burning, and I knew I had to let it grow stronger and stronger until I was finally set free. This fire had started out as a tiny little kindling, a mixture of anger from the memories ED had forced me to miss out on but also some purpose, courage, determination and perhaps some sadness. I could feel this odd combination of emotions whirling up within me with great strength, and I knew that this time around, my recovery would be different.
My recovery would not be defined by simply eating enough to appease my family. Nor would there be any shortcuts or bargaining with the ED. My life is worth more than that, and I wanted every single part of it back from the ED, not just some of it or must of it, but all of it. That fire has lit the way to where I am today – not quite there, but so much closer than I have ever been. And when the fire dies down or looks like it might be running low, I work to rekindle it and stoke it back to strength with the declaration that my life is worth more than this disease. It is my past but I refuse to let it be my future.