Hello everyone, I still have a blog, and I'm back!
Wow, it's been quite a while since I posted.
And the truth is, I was just not in a place for most of the fall where I felt that I could be talking about my recovery.
Because I was struggling. A lot.
I was on shaky ground for most of the fall, thinking that I "had it under control" or that my seemingly inevitable relapse into my eating disorder "wasn't that bad."
After about Thanksgiving I started to slide in a way that I hadn't seen before. My disordered behaviors got much more frequent and severe than they had ever been...
At the insistence of my team, I once again called a treatment center for an assessment. I figured it was best that I pursue treatment in Denver as I'd be around family and able to lean on them for support.
And so I started treatment again at Eating Recovery Center on January 2nd. This time I was admitted into PHP (Partial hospitalization program), which met 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Looking back, it's truly incredible the amount of work I was able to accomplish in the 3 weeks that I was there. My insurance cut me after 2 weeks, because in their minds, severe eating disorders can be stabilized in 2 weeks?! That's a story for another post...
I struggled a lot this time in treatment to really find my WHY for recovery, and to become motivated to do it for myself. Every other time I've been in treatment I've done it, at least in part, for someone else, whether that was a significant other, my family, or my team.
I struggled with the invalidation that came up time and time again as I fought back against the voices and messages that told me I was less valid, less worthy, in my experiences. That because of my body and relative medical stability, I didn't deserve my current level of care.
I struggled with believing that I was in the right place, and that I deserved treatment, good treatment, too. I struggled to believe that I also deserve a life full of recovery, without my eating disorder.
That I deserve life, too.
The community at ERC was nothing short of spectacular, and I feel extremely blessed for the time that I did have there. They helped me through the really bad and hard days (which there were plenty of), and gave me the space to do the work.
They reminded me time and time again that I was worth recovery, treatment, and life.
The word "worthy" continued to come up throughout my stay here. My community continually reminded me of this. My treatment team and the amazing staff were regularly challenging me to believe it.
And eventually, amazingly, I started to think that maybe, just maybe, I too was worthy of all of this.
There was a poignant moment in our psychodrama group where this became overwhelmingly clear. One of my friends was picked to play my infuriating case manager from my insurance company, while I switched between acting as myself, and playing her.
We went back and forth for a while, until the therapist eventually had one person come over and pull my arm, telling me that I was right, I wasn't actually worth it, and the insurance company was right too... that I didn't deserve this, and I would never recover.
I stood up and (with some profane language) told her that actually, I DID deserve recovery, regardless of what they said. That I would choose recovery, even when it felt impossible, because I was worthy of it. And that I was going to go finish my degree so that I could help others recognize they deserve it, too, even in the face of the bullshit that insurance companies constantly put us through.
The entire atmosphere in the room changed when I said that, as I stood, triumphant, tears streaming down my face.
Our therapist then had everyone come and pull the other arm, if they agreed that I deserved recovery, and could find that, regardless of the lies I was being told.
Every single person grabbed the other arm--an amazing reminder that I had my community behind me, backing me up, even when I found it hard to believe myself.
It was one of the most powerful moments that I had there.
As I eventually discharged and made my way back to NYC, I started thinking about getting another tattoo, with the word "worthy" ringing so loud in my mind that I knew I had to get it.
Two days after my return to the city I was with one of my close friends, catching up with her over beers at a German Biergarten. I confessed to her that I NEEDED to get this word tattooed on myself, as soon as possible. She instantly found a tattoo shop with good ratings that took walk-ins, which was located just a block away. Less than an hour later, there we were.
I chose my wrist so that it's a constant reminder that I AM WORTHY of treatment, recovery, and life outside this disease.
As I pondered what font to get my new tattoo in, a thought occurred to both myself and my friend at the same time.
"What if I did it in my handwriting?"
And so, this is the result. A love letter to myself, so to speak. A tattoo of a powerful word and reminder, in my own handwriting, to remind me just that:
I am worthy.
Worthy of life.
Worthy of love.
Worthy of everything that I believe the people around me are worthy of.
And worthy of a life without my eating disorder.
And that's the best reminder (and Valentine's Day love letter) I could think of.
Hi, I'm Charlotte! I'm a 24 year old navigating life in NYC and mental health recovery. I am passionate about public health and eliminating stigma.