You might find a “before and after” shot on a weight-loss website, touting the benefits of a new diet plan or an exercise regimen.
This is not that kind of before and after.
I’ve had a bit of a rough day, which I won’t get into. However, it got me thinking about how I need to press pause and reflect upon the improvements that have surfaced in my life as a result of my recovery. Recovery is not supposed to be easy, and while I consider myself out of that “recovery phase” and well into a “recovered life” where my eating disorder really no long factors into my day-to-day, I still need to check myself if I find that I’m getting down in the dumps about x or y.
In the vein of self-acceptance, a theme I am hopeful will resurface throughout the new year (and beyond), a before and after (version recovery.0)
Before, I rarely socialized- I spent my days alone, with my thoughts (which were definitely not my friends)
After, I enjoy spending time with my friends. Whether it’s a movie, a walk in the woods, a coffee or a party, I do my best to balance pushing myself out of my comfort zone with being fully in my happy-place with people who love me as I am.
Before, I used to spend hours in the gym, pounding the treadmill in pain. I scheduled my life around my incessant workouts, I never went to a single class without my hair congealed to my head with sweat.
After, I include activity into my day in a healthy way. I stroll around campus or with my little dog, I dance as if no one is watching, and I embrace my inner yogini.
Before, my eyes were empty shadows, usually shrouded by sunglasses even on a cloudy day.
After, I’m proud of my baby-greens as they sparkle and gleam with emotions I used to ignore.
Before, I was an emotional basket-case in some ways and a stony-faced robot in others. I didn’t want to feel, so I would stuff it all inside and it would all come bursting out at once in a panic attack- an anxiety explosion, if you will.
After, I feel happy, I feel sad, I feel angry- in turns. In short, I feel.
Before, food scared the bejeezus out of me. Little by little, I lost my taste for things- or felt guilty about not loosing my taste for them. It was lose-lose.
After, I try new things. I delight in the mantra “everything in moderation”. Truly- I pride myself in really trying to listen to what my body wants and needs, no matter what society tells me is “good” or “bad”.
Before, my mom and I were close, but instead of being interdependent, we were completely enmeshed.
After, my mom and I are two grown women, who are very close. We need each other but more importantly, we like to be around each other.
Before, I was caged.
After, I am free.
Recovery is hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Sometimes it’s still hard. But it is always, (ALWAYS.) worth it.