The Final Chapter: Reflections

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Seeing me. Photo Credit: T.J. Spencer, Wild Shutterbug Photography

It’s hard to believe it’s Christmas. Time has gone by so fast. When I reflect on the state of my being, the difference is profound. If you would have told me a year ago that today I would be at a healthy weight, that I wouldn’t be fighting with my Mom, my sisters, my own head, I wouldn’t have believed you. These things were inconceivable to me such a short time ago. It’s scary to look back and see I only understood myself after my disease destroyed me, but it’s an experience that has allowed me to know myself better, strengthen my relationships with family, and brought me to a place of peace.

“What I see in my reflection in the mirror makes me smile. Gone is the tattered spirit of a young life that held little self-esteem or confidence.”

You’ll find many layers going through the recovery process. It’s almost like peeling back each insecurity I carried on my shoulders.  What I learned in treatment is that there are many facets to my disease that kept me confused and sliding back into destructive thinking. Strategies incorporated and practiced at UCSD IFT program and continued work on communication skills with my family and therapist gave me the courage to keep working at my problems one at time until I climbed the mountain of obstacles my disease always puts in my way.

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Together on solid ground. Photo Credit: T.J. Spencer, Wild Shutterbug Photography

 

Everything is different now. Every fragment of who I am, as well as every aspect of my daily life, has changed. This path through turbulent times has given me the ability to face whatever comes my way.

This year, I learned what I am truly capable of overcoming. Not only have I gained freedom from my eating disorder, but I have also been able to accept my diagnosis with a disease called Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. For me, this diagnosis wasn’t the easiest. My father passed away from this disease almost eight years ago. Additionally, my grandfather had been diagnosed with this as well, not too much earlier than I was. Though treatments and procedures were quite difficult and new, having survived Anorexia, I knew acceptance was possible. I was equipped to handle the emotions that previously could have put me into a downward spiral.

Today, I am living with a level of peace one would not expect to come from a girl having gone through such serious things.  I do my best to help others heal who are struggling, and in turn, that continues to heal me.  My life has vastly changed in just a few months. I am happier, stronger, and braver than ever thought possible. Now, my priority is to help others in any way I can and I am truly thankful to be able to use these blogs to give back.

Always brave.

I encourage you to take a moment and be grateful for all you have. If you are recovering from an eating disorder, be thankful for that. If you’re struggling, be thankful you woke up this morning and have the ability to heal like I did.

If reading any of the #LaurensRoadToRecovery entries authored by me and my family have helped or educated one person, then sharing this deeply personal, and at times difficult journey has been worth every moment.

Peace and love,

Lauren Spencer

 

 

 

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Flowers in her hair – hope in her heart. Photo Credit: T.J. Spencer, Wild Shutterbug Photography

 

 

 

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