Thanks For Visiting

Monday, August 2, 2010

For 21 years I've made the 9 hour drive to the Outer Banks, NC with my family, grandparents, aunt & uncle and cousins.  Although we've stayed at a plethora of houses in various neighborhoods, the Outer Banks has served as a second home, for myself at least.  Familiarity was developed through the continuity of traditions and rituals, and thus, has been ingrained in my mind.  For instance, my mom and grandmother have lists and notes of what and how we pack and eat.  Pictures portray the continuity of activities and traditions that are repeated every year.  Thus, the two jars of jelly beans, wholesale back of trail mix and decks of cards are purchased and packed weeks in advance.  My obsessive-compulsive personality traits have been comforted as I know what to expect every single year.  For example, I pack five outfits, four bathing suits two sweatshirts and three pairs of shoes, because I know those items will fit into my blue and green Vera Bradley bag without difficulty.  I also know that I can set my alarm for 8:30 am, have breakfast by 9 and leave for the pool or beach by 10:30.  I thrive on the schedules, continuity, and rituals, which can be both comforting and detrimental.  Last summer, I had hit my (I aim not to generalize) rock bottom-- both in terms of weight and mental health.  In fact, I don't remember much of the trip as I was consumed by my eating disorder and trapped in isolation.  What's more, halfway through the trip I had to leave, unexpectedly, and drive to Philadelphia to be seen by a psychiatrist. It was then that my eating disorder was diagnosed and my life was forever changed. The panic attacks, obsessions and illusions had taken a toll on my entire family, and they were frightened. To this day it's hard for me to recount what went on during those two weeks, but I know I am petrified of ever returning to that state of being. Therefore it was only natural that I'd fear a repeat of thoughts, behaviors and events as I prepared myself for this trip. What if the familiarity created an easy ticket for ED to join us? What if those OCD traits allowed me to subconsciously revert back to old, harmful rituals? I contemplated and worried the entire 9 hours in the car, screaming at myself without making a sound.


I am pleased to report that I enjoyed this year's vacation, very much. My alarm woke me at 8:30 am, I played the same card games and helped prepare for our annual crab night, but I was different-- I was more me.  Sure there were doubts, insecurities, stress and anxiety, but I was stronger.  I was able to genuinely enjoy time with my younger cousins and siblings, focus on my next Monopoly move and laugh-- Yes, I was able to live mindfully and earnestly in the present moment.  And now, for the first time, I am able to internalize and accept the progress I've made in recovery over the past year.  


As I look ahead, I am uncertain as to what the future holds.  Though today I feel strong and determined, I know that at any moment stress and anxiety can overcome me, allowing ED to make a grand appearance.  Eating is (pardon my language) fucking hard and accepting myself is even harder.  But, as reflected from this past trip to the Outer Banks, I possess the tools and strength to keep fighting and to move ahead step-by-step down the road that leads to my Emerald City.  I am certain there is life beyond ED and hopeful that there's a life worth living, but what remains unclear is if and how I'll allow myself to find it.  Recovery is a journey, it's a sacred and patient process that I must endure and have faith in-- that I must trust.  And unlike my vacation to the Outer Banks, recovery is unpredictable.  There are many paths I can take and even more choices I have to make, which remind me how indefinite life really is.  Thus, for now, I will adore the memories--and the truths captured in pictures, all which show some aspect of a life led more altruistically and less with ED.




"Plans are deliberately indefinite, more to travel than to arrive anywhere"-- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance 




22 comments:

  1. Rebecca, it's so nice to read your words again! I am glad you enjoyed your vacation. I love it when things are nice and planned. When you know what to expect, hat you are going to wear, do, eat, etc. But you can't plan all of life. Life does happen, after all, and sometimes that life is so much fun! I hope things in your life are going well and that you keep writing and keep in touch! I have missed you.

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  2. I am so glad you are able to accept the progress made, it didn't come easy. I am proud of you. And I hope that you see within the memories made year after year, sunset after sunset, beach walk after beach walk, card game after card game, just how wonderful life can be. And I look forward to the day when you can finally feel that living a full life where you make a good memory each day, even if it is as simple as smiling at someone you don't know, brings you joy and happiness. Thank you for a beautiful vacation.

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  3. Life is all about the unpredictability. When you think about it, living to a schedule, a routine, a checklist, isn't living in its true form. It is a false sense of living, because you have to follow rules and do things 'right'. When you know what's to come, it takes the excitement out of everything and living just becomes exsiting.

    I am so proud of you, and I am so glad that you had an amazing vacation/holiday. You deserved it, afterall. You've learnt from past experiences, and you're continuing to make a history for yourself. Scared of going back to where you were last year? Well, use that fear to never go back there again. Use that fear to stop you from falling. I know it's alot harder than that, but like you said yourself, you possess the skills, the strength and the ability to push forward and keep going.

    You are a rockstar, lady. The very best kind.

    <3
    Eleanor

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  4. It sounds as though this vacation has helped you to appreciate how far you have come in recovery - well done! Clinging less to rituals and old habits demonstrates strength and courage, and here's to many more enjoyable holidays in the future :-)

    Sarah x

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  5. I am so proud of you, my friend. And you should be proud of yourself too. Because to feel more like the true you is a sign of progress, and behind this feeling lies very- VERY hard work.
    You have fought your way to the place you are now, and you will have to continue to fight.
    But carry with you the memories from this vacation as a beautiful reminder that it is worth fighting. Worth crying, feeling afraid, despair.
    Because this vacation is a part of living life, and that is wonderful. Spending time with loved ones, make discoveries, eat, laugh.

    You will make it through. Life can not be planned, none of us planned to develop an eating disorder. Life is a mystery, and we must learn how to deal with that. Adapting to changing circumstances is a challenge, but we will make it. Because change is in reality not necessarily scary, it can be exciting and lead to the most amazing things.

    Keep shining, love!

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  6. I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed your vacation :-) This is a great post!

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  7. So glad to hear you enjoyed your vacation this year so much! I'm so proud of how far you've come...you're amazing! I love that you are committed to focusing on what is true...although ED may try and confuse you at times, it is important to focus on truth. :-)

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  8. i'm glad you had a lovely vacay, i absolutely love outer banks (i went with my entire extended family before my freshman year of college) such a peaceful, yet fun place.
    routines are hard to break, for some reason i don't even like to admit that i practice routines. my therapy goal right now is to try 5 new foods and take a break from carrots for a while. i think my ed just has me convinced that i don't actually have a real ed...
    your right, we have no idea what the future holds, but progress does happen. its amazing, i am so proud that you have seen that you've made steps forward. don't worry yourself about maybe not being as motivated tomorrow, because we have to be mindful of today (i know you taught me that)
    love you <3 you are absolutely amazing && one of these days we are going to meet for realz. i just know it.
    loveee

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  9. I am SO glad you were able to actually enjoy things instead of simply making it through. Often the situations are much more stressful in our minds and beforehand than they actually turn out to be.

    Along with actually learning to let yourself have fun on this trip, you also learned (or were reminded) that you are so much stronger than you think. You can use this as a great springboard to keep up the hard work. Such a great post!

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  10. I am SO proud of you for living the moment and enjoying things girl!! that is awesome. this is only the beginning of a beautiful journey <3

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  11. I loved reading this, it really hit home about rituals and things being the same, a sense of familiarity - if you will. I used to/sometimes still do thrive on that ... Just glad you were able to enjoy your vacation! You: 1 ED: 0

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  12. I'm so glad you enjoyed your vacation. Amazing progress!
    I'm a slave to schedule and rituals. I wish I weren't so rigid.

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  13. Glad to here you had a nice vacation! It was hard enought for me to turn down a vacation this year, because of my ed, so the fact that you are at a good place in your life and are stable enough to enjoy time out with the fam, is great!

    It's amazing what difference a year makes, huh? Did you ever think you'd come this far in such a short time? I think you will continue to enjoy your family vacations, for years to come. And I hope each one is better than the last! You deserve it girl! :)

    <3 Tori

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  14. What a great post. I'm so glad you had a good vacay. Glad to have you back too!

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  15. love this post. You are fabulous! Glad you are livin on the positive side of life!

    xo-Molly

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  16. This is so fabulous to hear! I know I just recently discovered your blog, but what a beautiful thing to see you making progress and wanting to take on the challenge. Congrats!

    And I added you on Twitter. I'm TinaFFF.

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  17. Glad you enjoyed your vacation :) Keep up the great progress!!!

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  18. hey girlie!
    it's so good to meet you. thanks for your sweet comment :)

    xoxo
    becca

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  19. hey you. how you doing??? i haven't heard from you in forever!! and yes, pb on a peach is divine...but AB on a peach is even better!

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  20. so glad to heart this and girl: I'm so, so proud of you! You rock! Stay strong, stay healthy and enjoy the normal living:)

    Way to go!

    xxx Julia (Taste of Living)

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  21. This is brilliant, girl! Isn't amazing to see the progress we can make, even within a year?

    That was one of the things people told me when I returned from IP and continued my journey of recovery---that I seemed more "me." And that it the greatest compliment someone can give. Depressed, obsessive, anxious, deceitful... those things aren't who we really are!

    Yes, we still experience those things, and recovery is flippin' difficult, but so so worth it. I'm proud of you, girl. You've come so far already!

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  22. So happy to hear that you enjoyed your vacation! Sounds like you really understand the process and trials that are involved in your recovery and how important that is!

    On a side note... I'm going to the Outer Banks for the first time (leave next Friday)! HOw is it? What are some of your favorite places? A big group of us are renting a house in Avon. Any great restaurants/cafe's around?

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