Three years ago today, I was discharged from inpatient care.
It was a sunny day, although all I really remember is how bizarre it felt, and how scared I was of being launched into the outside world.
I’ve reminded myself of this a couple of times today – it gives me a little thrill of pride that I have made it this far from that time and those feelings.
People will tell you, when you are about to do something difficult, that it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. This is the truth.
It is easy – and I know I do on here – to portray life as either being wonderful or terrible. Things are either going very well, or very badly. I’m either winning or losing.
Three years have taught me that life can be both wonderful and terrible at the same time. They have taught me that life is very rarely either wonderful or terrible; rather different shades of my life. They have taught me that I can cope with far more than I ever believed that I could, and that recovery is within my grasp if I only reach for it. They have taught me that nothing – nothing – is insurmountable.
Despite proof to the contrary, I don’t quite believe yet that nothing is insurmountable: the next step always seems daunting and somewhat impossible, but taking small steps has meant that I’ve been able to move quite a long way, these last three years. I have volunteered; got a part time job; upgraded that job to a full time job and been to a buffet in Greece. I never imagined that I could do any of this. But I can, and I have.
At the same time, there have been days where I haven’t wanted to be awake – alive even -, where I have been frightened and fed up and tired of living my life with Anorexia. I have learnt that there is nothing wrong with this: it’s OK to be angry about having a mental illness as long as I am trying my best to get better.
It’s been a long three years. Really long. Quite a lot of it has been like walking through treacle. However, I have told myself over and over again that the longer I can stay out of hospital, the more likely I am never to have to go back in. It’s a fight I’m willing to fight, and a fight I’m going to win, if I have any say in the matter which, indeed, I do.
I’m not here gloating because I’m special.
I’m not special.
As I packed up the last few things from my hospital room three years ago today, I had to make a choice.
And, just like I did, I urge you to choose life, and to choose recovery; to choose to eat and to choose to rebuild a relationship with yourself. It is so very possible as to be almost tangible, and it is completely, utterly and totally worth it. It doesn’t have to be Anorexia, or even mental illness. You can achieve anything you set your mind to.
As I drove home, those three years ago, this song played itself. I went away to get better. I have spent three years learning to come home to myself.