one year

It’s almost my one year anniversary since discharging from Renfrew’s residential center, where I was located for two months. 

A LOT has changed. I look back at myself before the onset of my anorexia and during it, and I cannot recognize that person. I mean, I can; but it is someone extremely different from me now. 

I’m proud of myself. It’s usually really hard for me to be proud of myself for anything, but I can say with confidence that I am SO proud of myself. I almost died that fateful summer of 2019; and though I’ve been through countless hardships this year, I’m still going strong. 

I remember being at Renfrew for 8 weeks, and each week feeling like a different eternity. I remember begging my therapist for extra time in the computer lab to do schoolwork; I remember doing homework for AP Calc AB and literally learning everything on my own, straight from the textbook; I remember doing my first physics exam the same day I had a challenge meal. I am proud of myself for persevering in my rigorous classes despite not having physical teacher guidance and extremely limited time on the computers—  and navigating this while simultaneously going through one of the hardest periods of my life.

I am grateful. So very grateful. I was walking with my mom the other day, and we were talking about how it felt for all of us around this time last year. Oh, it was awful. I was terrified and freezing cold; my parents had to bring me blankets and warm clothing almost immediately after they dropped me off at Renfrew. I was in a wheelchair, my fingers were constantly being pricked to measure glucose levels; I was given huge tablets of literal sugar and boxes of orange juice to bring up the sugar in my blood. 3 AM vitals— every single time was orthostatic, and thus the chugging of gatorade commenced. I was SO cold. 

Maybe week 2 or 3 into my stay, I was talking to my therapist about my measured discharge date. She had said it was estimated to be around December. I remember having a literal meltdown. I was accepted on August 28th or so; if I had left early December, I would’ve been there three whole months (luckily, I was discharged late October).

Now, I feel joy every second I step outside and see the gorgeous nature around me. I am so thankful I feel warm and can go back to wearing dresses when it’s snowing outside; I am so grateful I can have all of those fun Autumn drinks and treats. I’m able to wear fall outfits that I like, without constantly being insecure in my body. I have enough nutrition to have mental-space for pursuing my passions and extracurriculars. I have discovered a huge love for philosophy. 

This whole post is kind of like a congratulations to me. I don’t normally tell myself “I’m proud of you”, but I’m doing it now. When I was in the hospital, I was looking down my journey and it felt like a long tunnel— a musty, cold, dark tunnel, with a tiny little circle of light in the distance. And I DID IT!!! I made it to the light!!!

I’m looking at my past self, and I am hugging her. I am embracing her frail and weak body, and kissing her worried forehead. I am telling her that it will be okay. In fact, it will be more than okay. It will be brilliant.

And this goes out to everyone who is on this journey to recovery, from anything really. You will be okay. I promise you it is worth it. I promise you with all my might that it is going to be beautiful. It won’t be easy— but LIFE isn’t easy. In order to live life, you need to take risks. And the risks associated with fighting simply pale in comparison to all the benefits you reap. 

You can do this.

“Life can be magnificent and overwhelming – that is the whole tragedy. Without beauty, love, or danger it would almost be easy to live.” – Albert Camus

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