Part of growing up is being young and dumb. Especially your first years in college, being on your own for the first time, it’s not uncommon for people to get a bit crazier than in high school. I didn’t really have that phase because I was in treatment and then working on my recovery. I don’t drink a lot, mainly because I know how easily addictions settle in with me, and I don’t need to put myself at any more risk. I haven’t done drugs. The “crazy adventures” my friends go on are to Walmart to get ice cream to go with our movies. Overall, I just tend to play things safe.
A lot of that is maturity. Some of it is that I already wasted a lot of my life being sick (although not my fault), why would I want to do dumb things and miss more. And some of it is that I can’t make mistakes if I don’t take risks. The perfectionism never fully goes away. Consequently, I don’t put myself out there as much. I keep to my routine and don’t sway from it much. Although, sometimes it’s hard for me to balance wanting to break out of my shell because it’s not what I’m “supposed to do.” I have this view of who I am and what I should do, but, in reality, my values and beliefs change as I grow, which means I should grow and change with them. However, that’s not always easy for me.
It’s easy for me to see when things aren’t right with me or if something’s bothering me. I’m more apt to skip meals and focus more on my body. The hard part sometimes is doing what I need to do to make it right because, and I think everyone could agree, the right thing isn’t always the easiest. That could mean taking less shifts at work to better balance school, work and life. It could mean reevaluating what I’m eating to make sure I’m getting the right nutrients. It could mean taking more time to hang out with friends and do things I enjoy. And it could mean growing a backbone in my relationships and voicing when I don’t think things are going right.
As I’ve grown up and gone through treatment and therapy, it’s a lot easier for me to put people in their place – so to say. I’m not bitchy about it, and I’m also not saying I’m 100% innocent in things that happen, but I know what I’m worth and that I deserve to be treated with respect. While I don’t like confrontation, I have no problem doing it. Not everyone is going to treat you the way you deserve, and sometimes it takes some guts to take a step back and walk away, especially if it’s someone you care about.
However, that same difficult decision can also lead to a much simpler, healthier life. Cutting ties isn’t something I do well, but there comes a time and place where it’s the best thing for me. I struggle with it a lot because I’m someone that only has a few spots in my life for people, and if I open up one of those to you it’s because you mean a lot to me. I will give you chance after chance because everyone screws up from time to time. But when I spend more time having to forgive or trying to lift myself back up after we’re together, it isn’t worth it anymore.
I know this all sounds whiny and bitchy – like the kind of thing you would rant to your friends about over a beer, but here’s where it plays into my recovery. When I let people take advantage of me my recovery is shaky. When I finally voice my needs or do what I need to do for me, I feel empowered and eating isn’t a problem. That doesn’t mean it’s any fun because who likes losing people they care about, but everyone has to do it at some point in their life. I need to do what’s best for me and keep my recovery and needs at the forefront of my priorities.
Like I said, I have to take responsibility for my life. If someone isn’t giving me the respect I deserve, it’s because I let it happen before and they know they can get away with it. We’ve all done stupid things before and those don’t define you. What does define you is how you handle it and how you grow from the situation.
The last few weeks have been a reminder of just that. Some things have happened, and, while my recovery was going a lot better than it has been, my anxiety and overall body image was pretty bad. I had a few anxiety attacks that left me in my room in tears in the corner repeatedly counting my fingers (my hands become my focus when my anxiety is out of control). As soon as I realized that I didn’t like how things were going and that I have a backbone and can do something about it, I felt like I could breathe again. It’s so important for me to remember that. It’s about confidence, and mine took a huge hit the last couple of months. But as I’ve been working out, following my meal plan, and reevaluating parts of my life, it’s coming back, and that means I’m better able to grow a pair when needed! After a relapse I always take a look at all aspects of my life because obviously something was off. Then it’s up to me to fix them and make sure it aligns with my values and worth. It’s not always fun, but it feels like I have a clean slate again.