There was a time where I believed I was too far gone to ever remember what it felt like to be alive. When that passed, it shifted to a fear that once I remembered, once I became, I would be so alone, haunted by my past and surrounded by many who would stay back. Lying in savasana this past Saturday, I (shamefully) peeked around the aerial yoga room on the seventeenth floor of the midtown Manhattan building in which I lay and came to realize I’d missed the cue for everyone to return to their hammocks for the final pose. My back pressed against the hard ground, I snuck a glance at the bodies levitating above me. On both of my sides were the peaceful, safe bodies of two of my closest friends from treatment flying above me. I realized, these times have passed.
There is a sort of phenomenon that occurs in treatment where, in unison against the illnesses of the mind, bonds are formed so strong that it’s difficult to imagine or continue them outside of the walls in which they were formed. It’s felt, at times, that to get better meant returning to relationships that would forever seem sub-par in comparison. Even in recovery for a while, this felt true. So many of the people I once sat arm-in-arm with, fantasizing about the lives we would have once we’d put it all behind, were still so far behind.
This Saturday, however, I uncovered a reality I hope persists far beyond just my experience: we can all be well and it will be far greater than when we were sick. The relationships I’ve made in treatment have been extraordinary, but there is something that, though unusually close, can also be distant in connecting with another with an uncertain fate. This weekend, spending a blissful afternoon practicing yoga in bodies we can use, I spent time truly connecting with some of the best people I’ve had the opportunity to know. The extraordinary parts stayed, but I felt this great relief and excitement in the tangible possibilities of our futures. Similarly, I also got the chance to meet and appreciate people/geniuses outside of the treatment realm through these connections, as we “Escaped the Room” (look it up and see below…it’s awesome and there are several locations!) the night prior. This, alongside all of the incredible friends I’ve made here at Boston College and the moments we’ve shared together made me think…the time to get well is now.
There may have been a time in my life where being well would not have been nearly as fruitful, or maybe the perspective I have now would have simply been lacking to allow it to feel as such. Whatever the reason for the past, it is just that: history. Someone once told me something along the lines of, “not one person ever needs to die of an eating disorder,” and, though so simply true, it is a concept I never really thought much about. In the depths of it, the disorder, itself, seems so much more complex, so much more necessary for survival and difficult to escape, but, simultaneously, it can be that simple: an unnecessary, maladaptive coping mechanism that can and must be stopped. The time is now to be well. There are so many hammocks left in which to fly!
P.S. A little shameless self-promotion…it would be greatly appreciated if you could take a moment to click the link below and vote for My Shiny Reflections for Best Health Blog 2014. You can vote daily until January!