Catharsis and hope

My friend Charlotte had posted about how far her daughter had come in her fight against anorexia over the past year.  In an email to me, she asked me to post this on my blog:

This time last year (3rd November, 2009), my daughter's anorexia had changed my warm, funny bright loving daughter into a cobra with PMS, my other daughter was crying hysterically, my husband was as angry as a hungry grizzly and I have never felt so hopeless and helpless in the whole of my life. So, taking courage in both hands and laying aside my uptight English reserve, I posted on the ATDT forum asking for help.

And through them, I found Carrie.

A year on, a lot has changed. My warm, funny, bright, loving daughter is back. My other daughter only cries when she gets moisturiser in her eyes. My husband is back to his habitual horizontal position and I feel empowered and useful.

And, I still have Carrie.

We talked about how far we have come in a year and for both us, looking back, has been cathartic and hopeful.
I feel like I've known Charlotte for so much longer than a year.  She has truly become a dear friend.
And yet, looking back over this past year, I realize how far I've come.  I've actually embraced the concept of recovery, not just to get my parents off my back or to make my therapist happy.  There are still parts of recovery I hate, but I'm starting to really accept them.  I do still miss the eating disorder at times, but I also have other times when it's not at the forefront of my mind.
If you would have asked me last year what I would be doing in November 2010, I wouldn't have told you that I would be trying to buy a condo and working full-time as a freelance writer.  That I would actually be showing signs of success in my career.  To be honest, back then I wasn't really thinking of the future.  The future consisted of trying to weasel out of the next meal or next snack.  It consisted of dreaming and hoping and wishing.  Yeah, it would be nice to kick this ED to the curb, but it would also be nice if pigs would fly and my coffee cup magically refilled itself.  That didn't mean it was going to happen anytime soon.
My life isn't what I anticipated it would be before I got ill.  I didn't expect to be still living with my parents at age 30.  I didn't expect to have more health problems than I care to count and know that padded rooms on psych wards actually exist.
Yet time passes and things get better.  Until I got into this conversation with Charlotte, I didn't realize just how much progress I have made.  I am, by no means, totally recovered.  I still struggle with ED thoughts, but I find it getting so much easier to keep the behaviors in check.  Thinking of a life beyond the ED isn't just a pipe dream anymore.


hm said...

BEAUTIFUL- One year is not THAT long in the grand scheme of things. Hope, hope, hope.

Sarah Owens said...

Thats amazing, good for you! I love how circumstances, events, relationships, etc change so much over such a short time period. It kind of puts things into perspective. Thinking how short life really is and do I want to give up another second to this ED?...nope.

Keep up the great work :)

Cathy (UK) said...

Charlotte rocks :)

I'm so pleased that you, Carrie, and Charlotte's daughter are doing so well!

Dana Udall-Weiner said...

Sometimes progress and growth have a way of sneaking up on us. We don't often know how far we've come until we turn around and look back. Glad to hear that all three of you have experienced so much change.

flaweddesign said...

i like to look back on the year too and see how far i've come. even when it feels i'm in the throes and maybe still am at times of the ED i'm not sitting on death's door not caring this year. good job!

Jen said...

Your post reminds me, too, that growth isn't linear but it can be steady as she goes. One of the sayings I live by and have for a long time now is "progress, not perfection." Thanks for this reflection!!

Sarah said...

The power of community. The power of being honest with each other right where we are. Good or bad. When we are isolated we forget. When we risk and reach out, we are reminded about hope. We are reminded of who we used to be. Who we can be. Hope becomes more of a reality than a crazy wish.

Mary B said...

This sounds so familiar. I have spent this year recovering from anorexia as well. I have yet to accept it though, that'll be a project for 2011 I guess. I am a normal weight again, people who do not know the tail of the past year would have no idea that I have been a walking skeleton.
I am so happy for you as well as for Charlotte's daughter, it is always encouraging to hear stories like yours!.

Anonymous said...

simply said, I really like this post. It's honest and I respect that

Unknown said...

Such a fan of both of you!!!!

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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