This time last year I wrote my divorce letter to Ed with one of my best friends S. Exactly one year later, 2nd July 2014, I am graduating from University.
The two days are very different. Last year I felt like a child who was unable to look after herself, today I begin life as an adult. However, the two days also have similarities. I consider them both as turning points in my life. Last year was a turning point as I found the courage to make a commitment to my recovery. This year is a turning point because I have finished university and am about to embark upon what I am told is “the real world”!
I considered writing another letter to Ed, but instead decided to reflect upon my last year in recovery.
I can’t believe a year has passed since the divorce letter. It might have been a tough year, but I have started to believe that there really is light at the end of the dark road to recovery. Last year, I was begging for freedom. I was desperate to be ‘healthy’ and I never believed it would be possible to live the life that I am living today.
Over the last year there have been times I have wanted to give up. Days when I questioned whether recovery was even worth it. And moments when I didn’t think I had the strength and courage to fight for another day. However, with the support of friends and family, I have proved myself wrong.
In my divorce letter I said that I wanted to listen to my own advice. At first, I didn’t have the right advice or the answers to my problems. I was too used to listening to Ed’s advice to know the right thing to do. But by spending time in the clinic, reading about recovery, speaking to people about recovery and having weekly therapy, I now believe that I am equipped with the answers to my problems. There is no point in kidding myself into believing that I don’t know what to do to recover. I know full well what to do. I just need to be brave enough to do it.
I also wrote that I didn’t expect the divorce to be ‘easy’. I was right. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it. There are still difficult days and there are still times when I look in the mirror and want to cry, but these days are out numbered by times of freedom. I still hear Ed’s voice every day, but I no longer feel inclined to act on his words. I can turn the volume down and find my own voice.
This time last year I was saying goodbye to Paris and preparing myself for a summer in the clinic. This year I am saying goodbye to Bath and preparing myself for a job and 7 months of travelling. There were times last year that I didn’t think I would even be able to go back to university, and today I am graduating with a 2.1. I am proud of myself for that. I am also proud that unlike my year in Paris, I can look back at my time in Bath with Ed only as a shadow in the background, as opposed to being at the forefront of everything.
I also want to thank my friends and family for all their help and support this year. While anorexia is a very lonely illness, I have learnt that recovery doesn’t have to be that way too.
To my family, thank you for your never-ending love and support. You have put up with the tears, tantrums, anxiety and fear and also celebrated the success along the way… big or small. It can’t have been easy living with something that is impossible for an outsider to understand, but you have all done a bloody good job. I also want to thank my younger sister. When I came back from Paris I became the ‘baby’ of the house. I couldn’t be the supportive older sister. But you have always been a support to me and I can never thank you enough for that.
To D, thanks for always being there. I could always rely on you for some fighting talk whenever I needed it. But most importantly, thank you for all the laughs. You kept my smiling at the worst of times… Laughter is a great medicine.
To S, we may have spent the last year on the other side of the world to each other, but you never felt more than a second away. You really are my rock and together, we have put up a pretty good fight. I am so proud of us both this year.
So people are right when they say that recovery can be hard, that there are times it doesn’t seem worth it, and days when it all seems like too much work. But people are also right when they say that if you keep fighting and stay committed to your recovery, life will be better. Today I am living a life that I didn’t believe would be possible this time last year. That makes me both proud and excited for what is to come.
I asked last year that I could just walk the path to recovery with my head held high. Today, as I walk on stage to collect my graduation certificate, I will hold my head high and remember that recovery is worth every second.