“Nothing worth having comes easy” -Theodore Roosevelt
Of course in my life I’ve frequently come across this quote. Especially in hard times, this quotes seems to come out of nowhere to remind me to keep pushing forward. It comes from family members’ mouths, appears on my social media feeds, and even pops up in books I’m reading. It so conviently inserts itself where it isn’t welcome. And, of course, in those times, I reject its meaning and influence in every way possible.
When you’re struggling to find motivation and your struggling to accomplish your goals, “keep trying” is the last thing you want to hear. And about two months ago, this was my exact state of mind. I was struggling to find happiness, good grades, motivation, and struggling as all hell to stay on meal plan. I had just accepted that life is hard and I’m not worth the work it’s going to take to get to a better place.
At this point, I was struggling with anxiety and depression to top it all off. The fatigue and dissociation that came with it was a great partner in crime with my eating disorder. One little bit of doubt is all my mind needed and it sure ran with it. “God, nothing is going to ever get better so why even try?”, “You don’t deserve to be better. You’re disgusting and you deserve to be miserable”, “ Be done. Be done dreaming. Be done working. Be done trying.” Writing it out, these thoughts echo in my head with the memories of hopelessness. But I can happily say that today is a better day.
Unfortunately, getting to this position took a swift kick in the ass from my treatment team. Right before I left for spring break, I was told that my behaviors weren’t gonna cut it. They gave me an ultimatum that if I wasn’t 100% meal plan, medication and movement plan compliant by the time I returned that I was getting a higher level of care assessment. And let me tell you, after almost a year on the road to recovery, my car had swerved off path. And I had no desire to get it back on the road. But I also had no desire to waste the gas it would take to start my journey over.
So I did it.
I worked hard. And it hurt. It was painful and unrewarding and impossible. But I did it. And I can’t even say I felt good about being on track. I did’t. Every little part of my being wanted to retreat back to my eating disorder, back to what I mistook for comfort. And, on April 15, I sat in class and told myself that I am in the exact same place.
Every second I want to restrict. Every second I want to isolate. Every second I want to stop trying to work towards recovery. Because Roosevelt was right, “nothing worth having comes easy.” Recovery is hard. It’s not enjoyable. But it’s worth it. Today I can say that even when it feels like it isn’t, recovery is worth it.
Waking up at 9 am, I quickly got ready for what was bound to be a challenging day. The day before had been full of bad body image and a feel of being left behind in recovery world while everyone lived in the normal world. And after a day like that, the last thing I wanted to do was go to the NEDA walk. But I had made plans to go and I had worked hard to raise money for this day. But leave it to this day to challenge me just as much as the last. Abby showed up at 10:20 to catch the bus. Of course, this is the day that OSU decided they didn’t want to have the buses running. After discovering that we would have to look for another way to get there, my anxiety decided that it wasn’t meant to be, that it would be worth more to go back to sleep. But Abby and I continued to problem solve.
Then, after our second idea (to rent a car 2 go) resulted in a week long waiting period for a membership card to show up, I was really done. I didn’t want to go. I thought this was the sign that it just wasn’t meant to be. However, my recovery mind pressed us to find another way. That’s when Abby called an Uber. Of course, on our way there, the driver got lost. Then when we finally got to the park, we couldn’t find the walk itself. But we did. We made it. And it felt so good. A year ago, Abby and I would’ve listened to the anxiety. We would’ve taken all of the obstacles as proof that we didn’t deserve to participate in this walk. But on April 16, 2016, Abby and I pushed forward. It wasn’t easy.
We got to the walk and I was immediately overwhelmed by how significant this day was. I spent almost a full year on the road to recovery. I went over pot holes, got flat tires, even ran into the occasional troll under the bridge. But I made it to this day full of love and strength. I cried. I cried because I hurt. I cried because I’m proud. I cried because I’m scared. And I cried because of how beautiful this entire day was. It was worth it.
Now, I sit here in my bed after this incredible day and I’m not exhausted from depression, not enduring a busy, anxiety ridden mind, not feeling light headed from my lack of food. I feel good. I can happily say that I feel exhausted from my hard work, I am enduring an angry ED mind that isn’t winning, I am feeling light headed from the happiness of good grades and good friendships. And I am not even close to being at my goal. This car may veer from it’s path a few more times before it reaches its ultimate destination. I may need a tow truck to come help me back on the road. I may need a few more ultimatums. But, no matter how hard, I will get back on the path. Because I am worth it. I am worth the hard work. I am worth the time, the energy. And I will reach my destination. Because today, I realized just how possible it is and just how worth it I am.