7 July 2016
One Anniversary at a Time...
Thursday 16th July 2015- the day I walked through the door of Rharian Fields Specialist Eating Disorder Unit as a voluntary inpatient. Emaciated, desperate and exhausted; I admitted defeat to a long battle with my mind and my body. Unable to live a life without the torturous effects of my eating disorder, it was time to pass on the responsibility of my care to the 24/7 aid of the hospital.
In the weeks prior to my admission, I remember nothing other than tears, fear and despair. Every day was a horrendous battle, not only with my head but also with my family and health professionals. I fought so hard to avoid the notion of hospital admission, but it was inevitable. Curled up in the chair during my final assessment, I sobbed- begging for a place in hospital. I could not do it anymore. I wanted to live my life, but this was not how I wanted to live it. Stripped of my ability to drive, my family holiday to Italy cancelled and my knees making me weep with every step; this wasn’t life, it was existence.
So with the anniversary date approaching, how do I feel? At first, I took the self-criticism avenue- a failure, unworthy of the care and riddled with guilt. Why? Why do I always resort to finding the negatives of a situation? Is it because it is easier to put yourself down than to acknowledge praise? Well, as the anniversary dawns, so does a shift in my mindset.
Leaving my psychologist appointment this evening, I was filled with happiness. Reflecting on the state I was in this time last year and where I am now, I recognised just how far I have come in a relatively short space of time. My physical health has improved dramatically, my mental health has improved enormously and my ability to live an ambitious and fulfilling life has improved considerably. Yes, it has taken a long while to get to this point- 7 assessments, 4 months in hospital, 6 weeks attending a day patient service and fortnightly GP, dietician and psychologist appointments- but it has all been worth it to get to where I am right now.
To celebrate the occasion, I decided to buy a gift from me, to me! Flicking through the Pandora book, I came across a beautiful charm that was labeled as representing ambition. I knew immediately that it expressed exactly how I wanted to remember this past year- a year of determination, but also how I want to live the rest of my life. Naturally, my motivations in life have changed. Ask me a few years ago and I would have told you that my ambitions in life were to achieve academic success. Ask me now and I will tell you that my ambitions are to be healthy, happy and generous.
This past year has been the hardest experience I have ever had to endure, but it is something that I never want to forget. So as the 16th July 2016 arrives, I will not mark it as a day of sadness, desperation and hopelessness. Instead, I will mark it as the beginning of the rest of my life- a day of strength, discovery and most importantly, pride.