I started knitting this scarf when I was first admitted to Renfrew. Everyone there already knew how to knit or crochet, or were taught these vital skills within the first week of their admission. Knitting was a safe outlet, a form of creative expression amidst pain. It grounded us and brought us a sense of purpose.
To me, this scarf represents my journey through recovery. The journey itself is not linear; the scarf’s overall shape morphs and shifts, never remaining as a perfectly straight line.
I remember starting this scarf during my second week at Renfrew. I’d take my knitting with me everywhere I went, as did the rest of my peers with their creations. I’d knit during the dreaded discussion groups in the DLR, I’d knit during my time at the downstairs level, I’d knit in the evenings and during breaks. It was a form of escapism–a mechanical motion meant to comfort and soothe.
I finished my scarf yesterday. It was a surreal moment, infused with feelings of sorrow and pride. I am proud of myself for getting to where I am today. Sitting in the hospital room in August of 2019, I was more than frightened. I peered through the tunnel of fear and saw light as a tiny dot in the far-off distance.
Now, I am infused with light. Of course, my body image can negative. Yet, I am so distanced from what I once was; I am alive, and accomplished, and strong. It still brings me immense joy when I realize that I’m not always cold or that I can run without losing my breath. My smile is genuine, not forced.
It is hard for people without eating disorders to understand the struggle we face on a daily basis. Just know that EDs are NEVER worth it. They can never compensate for a lack of control you may experience, or an absence of self-love.
Recovery is necessary and fruitful, regardless of what your ED tells you. And it is SO much better than the alternatives.