Tonight’s blog is from Stephanie Farmer, she is a graduate student in Winston-Salem, NC currently pursuing a masters in counseling.
Last week was the first time I’ve seen my therapist in close to month. Nothing had changed, and yet EVERYTHING had changed. After I spent what seemed like forever babbling about the complete transformation that has occurred in the last month or so, she hit me with a question that I am just now able to wrap my head around enough to answer. I adore my therapist, and I’m usually able to handle most of the tough questions she throws at me, but this one was different. This one caught me off guard in a way that was both unexpected, and terrifying all at the same time. For those of us who have had severe eating disorders, our diagnosis often becomes our identity, a label that we attach to ourselves, and one that we could never imagine living without and I was no exception. I have always dreamed of the day that I could say ” I WAS anorexic,” but as badly as I wanted it, I never truly felt like that would be possible, that is until my therapist asked me this question:
“What would Stephanie today say to Stephanie 2 years ago?”
After about a week of wrapping my head around the thought, I finally have an answer for the underweight, empty, depressed, lonely, girl whose body almost visibly shook with stress and anxiety that I was just 730 days ago.
You are at the beginning of the most painful, yet transformative journey of your life. You can’t see it now, but over the course of the next two years, you are going to learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible, but getting there will require every ounce of strength you have. I know you want to give up, but I promise, 2 years from now you will be happier, healthier and more complete than you ever thought possible. The darkness that surrounds you will eventually make way to a light that will illuminate your soul, and a world will open up to you that you only thought existed in your dreams. I know you are questioning whether the fight will be worth it, I promise you, it is.
Over the next two years people you never expected to hurt you will let you down, but others will surprise you with their love, compassion, strength, and unwavering support. There will be days when you feel too weak to keep moving forward, it’s ok, you have lots of people who love you, and they will take turns helping you walk on days that you are too weary. Let them help you. Ed will tell you that the people your life see you as a burden, and don’t genuinely care about you. Don’t listen. He will try to make you push everyone you have ever loved out of your life so that you draw closer and closer to him. Throw your arms open wide and embrace them the same way that they have embraced you. Some people will walk out of your life. Let them. They are meant to leave your life for a reason. Your bond with others will grow stronger than you ever thought possible. Let it. Their support will be invaluable as you continue moving forward. They will be the first people you call with good news, and the first you reach for in the darkest of moments. You will meet people who will change you from the inside out. Let them. Let the experience of others guide you down this road, and don’t try to do it all by yourself. You will meet people who will change your life, and if you’re lucky, you may even change the lives of others in the process. It’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok to take down your walls. You don’t need them. You are strong enough without them. You are loved, and yes you are worth the love that others are showing you. Love them back.
You don’t know this, but two years from now success in the business world will be but a distant thought. You will no longer define yourself by how good you are at your job, your salary, your possessions, or your latest promotion. Working late hours will be but a fleeting thought and your job will simply become just that, your job. Not your life. Not your identity. Not your measure of success. You are going to leave the corporate world, and all the stress that it entails for a job at a non-profit, and you will love every minute of it. You will meet women whose strength and faith will give you the courage to begin exploring your own faith again, and help you reconnect to a part of your life that you thought was gone forever. Your job will be just that, a job. It will be a means to an end. An end, that you would never see coming. An end that will tack three new letters onto your name. No, not MBA….. LPC. That’s right. Two years from now you will be pursing your Masters in Counseling at a prestigious school in the southeast, and you will love every minute of it. You will find beauty in your brokenness and dedicate your life to helping others who have experienced what you have endured.
You will have a passion and conviction that guides you from within and drive to impact the lives of others. You will learn that life is too short to worry about things you can’t control. You will spend more time with the people you love, and make your own happiness a priority. You will find the beauty in your own imperfections and love how human they make you feel. You will finally put down your cape, and your unrealistic expectations. You will become the person you’ve always wanted to be with a strength that emerges from the fight you have endured. You will have unshakable confidence and conviction, and a joy that radiates to everyone around you. You will be recovered.
Keep fighting….. recovery is beautiful, and so are you!
The girl you always wanted to be