Yesterday, I turned 41 years old. 364 days ago, I entered residential treatment for anorexia. That’s right, folks. A mere TWO DAYS after my milestone 40th birthday, yours truly found herself leaving her husband and toddler to say at a treatment center where I no longer had the right to flush my own toilet without supervision.
It’s SO FREAKING FITTING that I found the message above in my inbox. I have spent the weekend ruminating on the past year and honestly, in awe of what one year in recovery has been like.
For my birthday last year, I went to my favorite Italian restaurant with some friends. It was the scariest thing ever. I had seriously considered canceling. I ordered my favorite dish, the lasagna. I was shaking, and dreading its actual arrival to the table. I ate two bites and wrapped the rest in a box to go home (I threw it away of course). My friends, bless them, ordered a tiramisu for the table to share. They made me eat some. It was delicious, and I hated myself for thinking so.
Two days later, I said goodbye to my 22 month old daughter and husband. I was in residential treatment for six weeks. Due to my lack of motivation, I was tossed out all the way to outpatient, a highly irregular move.
Over the past twelve months, I have clawed, climbed, and crawled my way out of the hell hole that is anorexia. Everyday, I have to choose recovery. Everyday, I have to choose to accept myself and my body. Everyday, I have to feed myself truth about who I am and what makes me valuable.
Please read my recent post on 10 truths about recovery where I share the ways that I came back from a deadly mental illness.
For my birthday this year, I was in Texas. Part of my recovery was getting myself back to my home state where there is sunshine and my closest friends and family. Again, I went to an Italian restaurant with friends. This time, I was excited and there was no thought of canceling. This time, I ordered the Bolognese and was excited for it to be placed in front of me. This time, I ate until I was full and then had the rest wrapped in a box to go (I ate it the next day for lunch, yum). My friends, JJ, and I stayed at the restaurant for three hours, laughing and having a great time.
I have to admit. This anniversary of residential treatment, which will always coincide with a milestone birthday, has been very triggering. For over a week, I have thought about restricting again the day after my birthday (that’s today, folks).
So, I laughed out loud when my first email in my inbox this morning was for “International No Diet Day” with the message to be good to my body and take care of myself. God always knows about to deliver an awesome punchline.