Today is my last day at Mather.

After two months of going there every day, today is my last day.

Although I’m a little nervous about leaving, for the first time since the beginning of my eating disorder, I can say that I truly think I’m ready to be on my own. I won’t be truly on my own of course; I have supportive friends and a supportive boyfriend, I’m seeing a therapist starting Wednesday, I’m going to see a nutritionist. I’ve got a ton of people that are willing to help me, and now I’m capable of reaching out for that help.

So ten years after my eating disorder began, I’m finally feeling like I’m capable of having a solid period of recovery. For the first time in my life, I believe in full recovery, I believe I am capable of achieving that one day.

Going to Mather was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. It saved my life.

I’ll write another post tonight or tomorrow morning about my last day, maybe recapping some of the most important things that I’ve learned but for now, I’m kind of just…reflecting on the past two months. It’s amazing that I’ve come this far in such a short period of time.

Boyfriend gave me this little guy to encourage me to get better. His name is Bamboo and boyfriend got him for me because his tag says “always hungry.” Im putting him in my bag as a reminder to keep trying :)

The Last Day.

So, as expected, it was sad. People said lovely things to me, remembered the first days they met me and talked about how far I’ve come. Some girls came up to me and said that they admired my strength and courage, that I’ve inspired them to keep fighting. The intern said that she’ll miss me, that I’m her little ray of sunshine. She was mine. That intern was literally a little ball of happiness all the time…sometimes she was the only one that smiled all day. I loved that.

At the end of the day, I received four cards.Four. They left me their numbers, words of encouragement, last names so I can find them on Facebook. One girl came up to me and said “listen, I wanted to ask you…you’re such a positive person in recovery, and I’m struggling…can we keep in touch?” I literally almost cried. Of course I gave her my number and told her that she can call/text/message me any time. These girls deserve the world.

By the end, though, a few negative thoughts crept in. “The second I leave I can go right back to where I was, as always.” “What if I can’t keep this up, maybe I should just give up now.” Ideas of purging my meal came into my head.

I fought them. I wrote pages upon pages of the reasons why I want and need recovery. I read through the lovely, amazing things that the girls wrote. I remembered how proud boyfriend looks every time I make it another day, that look of pride on his face when we woke up New Years morning and he realized that I made it past my first milestone. I remembered what I wrote last night about believing that I could truly have full recovery if I keep trying. I remembered my “science experiment” and am deciding to give recovery another six months. I have a feeling that, just like my last three month “experiment,” by the end of my time frame, I’ll still want recovery. I know it’s worth it, so I’m not sure where my mental block is. Is it that I’m afraid that I’ll gain too much? Probably not. I think it’s just that Mather was this safe haven for me, a place where I could vent my feelings when I had a bad day and no one would judge me or call me overly sensitive. I think I’ll just miss the structure, the stability, the feeling that I was going to be okay.

Of course, I’m happy to be out of there. I have my free time back. I have my life back. I can have dinner with my Mom again, have dinner and dessert with boyfriend when we find a free night. I can have a social life. I can study and sleep and eat what I want (within reason, of course.)

I know that I’m capable of a beautiful, disorder free life…it’s just a matter of pushing myself to stick with it. I went in at a very unhealthy weight, and I’m now a happy, healthy one. I’m honestly okay with my weight. Do I have bad body image days? OF COURSE. Every woman does. But I’m working on saying “fuck it” to the voice in my head and realizing that my personality is what matters. The fact that I’m a good person matters more than the size of my waist, my intelligence has a much higher value than the number on the scale. I have to remind myself of this every day. It’s work, but it’s work worth doing.

Was it worth the $6,000 in debt that being in this program put me in? Absolutely. Maybe I’m being overly cocky here, but personally I think my life is worth more than $6,000. And I’d be paying more than that  in fertility treatments, in medical bills, in constant ER and doctor visits and possibly on my funeral if I hadn’t gone. This gave me the kick in the butt that I needed to realize that my health was truly at risk. Without this program, I honestly think I would have died by now. So yes, the massive debt is more than worth my health as well as my relative sanity.

I went to boyfriend’s house afterwards and he realized I was sad. I was sad and afraid and just….honestly, just terrified that I couldn’t do this. “Baby, you have done more than I could have ever imagined. You’ve come farther than I could have ever asked of you. I’ve never been more attracted to you, not only because you’re beautiful, but because you’re incredibly strong, so talented, and finally your inner beauty is beginning to shine through again.” And he’s right. For so long, the disorder masked any kind of inner anything that I had. I was a hollow shell, longing for some kind of purpose or meaning in my life. Now that I’ve begun to push the disorder out, I’m starting to find it. My purpose is to help people, to play music, to find my own happiness and share it with others, to hopefully make a discovery in some field one day…to live. I have faith that all of these things are possible because now, without this disorder being the prevalent force in my life, there is nothing to stand in my way.

Am I afraid? Absolutely. Is there the possibility that I could fall back? Yes. But am I going to let it happen if I can stop it? Absolutely not.

I made a plan with boyfriend: I’m sending him pictures of every meal and snack I eat for the next week…not so he can check up on me, but so I can feel accountable to something. I think that’s my fear, the lack of accountability. So I’ll send him pictures or a text of what I’m eating. Then next week, if I feel ready, I’ll keep track of it in a food journal still. I’ll be seeing a nutritionist at the end of the month, I start seeing a therapist on Wednesday…so I’m not alone. I always have support and love every step of the way. I have to remember that going on.

And I’d also like to thank you guys. For pushing me to seek the help that I desperately needed, for being there every step of the way, for reminding me of the millions of reasons why giving up is not an option. For the first time in my life, I can honestly say that I am in recovery and I’d like to thank each and every one of you that have supported me through this for literally saving me. I love you all.

My Grandpa is my favorite.

I sent him an email yesterday telling him that I had decided to go back to Mather. I hadn’t told anyone in my family until that email. This was his response.

Well, you seem to know what’s best for you and I think you had to do it. I am glad that you are smart enough to realize what you need and take action. I would suggest that you take a few less courses and make your education less of a chore and more of an experience. It is not how fast you get to the goal, but it’s the getting to the goal. I think you put too much stress on yourself trying to be what others think you should be. You need to be what you want to be and not be influenced by anyone else, including your family. It is hard to live up to the expectations of others. I really hope that you pursue your dreams and a career that you love. Slow down and enjoy your education, stress less, and I will help you where possible. I always thought that you were taking too many courses each semester. Take less and do better in the ones you take and try to enjoy this time of your life. I have no expectations for you, I just want you to be happy in whatever you choose to do, be it a scientist or bus driver, happiness is the objective. Grandpa

The joke in our family has always been"you could even be a bus driver, and we'dstill be happy if you’re happy,“ because myAunt and I, at some point in our childhoods, wanted to be bus drivers. Itmakes me so happy that he doesn’t hate me for this. I was afraid thathe’d say I was ruining my education, that I was being stupid. But he doesn’t. He realizes that I was overloading myself in school and that it was bound to be too much. THIS is why my Grandpa is literally my hero.
Here's the plan:

A post a day about my experience in Mather. I’m going to try to keep em positive, but mostly, I want to keep them real. I want to see my progress, I want to see how I do over the course of treatment.

I’m committing to this, something that I’ve never been good at doing. But recovery comes first. Always.

I'm going to say this now before I change my mind.

I don’t like my body right now. Not because I am too fat, but because I am too thin. I looked better when I had a fuller figure, when I had finally started to look like a woman rather than a little girl.

I look fragile and breakable, meanwhile my goal has always been to be strong.