If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. -Lao Tzu
One thing I know for sure is the only way to grow from our past is to learn from it. I have spent much of my life dwelling on all of my mistakes only to make more. I’ve spent too much time seeing all my wrong-doings as reasons to fail further. I’ve wasted moments thinking about wasted moments. In turn, I’ve learned to start learning.
In my most recent struggles, my initial reaction was to resort to the ways I’ve ‘fixed’ things in the past. I saw my flaws and wanted to hide them, pretend that everything was okay, and believe it to be so. I wanted to ignore the pieces of myself that were breaking down in order to live within a world where everything was okay. The list of short-term benefits was tantalizing, as was the uncertain prospect that I could turn things around on my own before I hit the long-term repercussions. Yet, the false fixes of my past have left scars deep enough to know the unnecessary risks in living in lies. I decided to do something different.
Embracing the moments of struggle and reaching out in the dark has not been easy. Though I’ve been told slips- even relapse- is a part of recovery many times, I don’t actually believe that to be true across the border. I’ve always had the tendency to take the perfectionism of my disorder and project it onto my journey to health, pursuing the flawless recovery, despite knowing the impossibility of the task. Hitting a bump in the road, didn’t leave much space for this reality, nor did accepting it. Finally, choosing the latter let the feelings – that I was letting others down, that I was letting myself down, that I was scared – in.
This has been a small price to pay beside the enormous pile of pros. Perpendicular to the incongruence I’ve felt in acting on behaviors, I have been able to maintain a harmony with my soul in telling my truth. I have felt the support of so many who have reached out to me with uplifting anecdotes of the positive outcomes of their own strife, as well as words of encouragement. I have simultaneously heard the very necessary, harsher feedback that has snapped me back to the relationships I lose within my disorder. I have had things taken from me, in addition to the incentives I’ve been given. Most importantly, I have been given more freedom to make choices.
After initially seeking support earlier this week, I still found myself having difficulty breaking the unhealthy cycles I had gotten myself in. Talking through scenarios and reaching out with the foundation of what was truly going on allowed me several minds to pick and alternative routes to take. After a few days, I realized I needed more than just words and opened up to my family to choose another path.
Deciding to come home before finals and being able to use my family to get back on track has been a huge blessing that couldn’t have happened had I been living with lies, nor without such a great support system. Though, at first, I was having serious FOMO around the end-of-semester festivities and was worried about how I would be able to study without the resources on campus, I was able to come to terms with my priorities, as well as the fact that any moment in a disorder is already being missed out on. Being able to have an open dialogue about what was happening, what I needed, and how I could obtain that was invaluable. Yesterday, I was able to land outside of the chaos, rest, practice self-care, and feel congruent again. I broke the cycle.
Today, I start fresh. I learn.