It's been a big year for me with lots of changes, both good and bad. I feel like I've grown up a lot in 2011, although I can't say I'm sad to see it end. Time for new beginnings!
So here's a quick rundown of the past year:
- January - I withdrew from college and officially entered treatment for anorexia. In the span of about one week, I went from being a full-time college student to living at home with my parents, going to therapy twice a week, and embarking on - shiver - weight gain.
- February - I put on a little weight and my health was generally stabilized. Although I was living at home, I basically refed myself. Lotsa loneliness and self-loathing. I enrolled in a couple of classes at a local university, but they were lame and unsatisfying. I also started volunteering for a literacy organization, which was more interesting but not quite enough to keep me occupied and distracted from the yuckiness of weight gain.
- March - Still gaining weight. Still lonely. I took a trip with one of my best friends and she turned out to be an amazing support system and sounding board for me. We still talk semi-regularly (she goes to school across the country) about ED stuff, and I'm pretty open with her.
- April - I reached my highest weight in recovery (still a few pounds short of the goal set by my treatment team) and got my period for the first time in about two years. I was actually thrilled about that, and I've missed it since then. Every month, my hormones still get wacky and I desperately wish for my period to come back.
- May - My weight gain faltered here. Getting so close to my goal weight (eek healthy!) made me super panicky and uncomfortable. The exercise started becoming a problem; I had exercised throughout all of my recovery, but it really ramped up by late spring/early summer. I got a fake wimpy period this month, and it hasn't returned since.
- June - I started my blog! I can't even describe how significant this has been for me. This blog originated as a private journal on my computer because I was too shy to actually put it up online, but I finally took the plunge and I'm SO happy that I did. Writing NVNL has become a tremendous emotional outlet and I've found more support online than I could have ever imagined. You guys rock!
- July - Working at the most boring, awful, uninspiring internship ever. Yawn. By this point in the summer, I'd dropped a bit of weight and found myself in the most crippling depression I've ever experienced (I blamed my too-high weight, therapist blamed my too-low weight). My eating was okay, but I was running too much and gave myself a hip injury that still bugs me from time to time.
- August - I finished my internship, had some challenging sessions with members of my treatment team, and finally returned to college! This was a tough month of transitions, but I was ultimately really happy and proud of the way it turned out.
- September - Back at school and back in treatment. I started with a new therapist and dietician, both of whom I really liked, even though they pushed me out of my comfort zone. I started dating a wonderful guy, S. I became super close to my roommate, who has become one of my best friends ever. Sometime during the fall, I also realized that I'd lost touch with some of my old friends, but that's okay because I had changed.
- October - Made it official with S, who bought me flowers and chocolates and took me on nice dates and succeeded in making me feel halfway decent about myself when we were together. I still struggled with the idea of gaining weight, which frustrated my new therapist, but he persisted. I was still working out religiously at this point, but had actually cut way down on the exercise since the summer.
- November - My exercise rituals came to a screeching halt when I injured my Achilles tendon. This was (and still is!) tremendously difficult to deal with, but the forced break may prove to be a blessing in disguise. My weight stayed basically the same, which was a success and failure at the same time. Success because I resisted the urge to lose more by resorting to sick and unhealthy behaviors; failure because I was supposed to be restoring the weight I'd lost over the past few months, and had been struggling to do this since starting with R in September. At the end of November, I had a wonderful trip home for Thanksgiving, which was a good distraction from the food/weight/exercise issues.
- December - I broke things off with S, which I still can't totally justify other than it didn't feel right. I got through my finals with straight A's, which was a major ego-booster after a rocky semester. After three months of waffling on the weight gain thing and resisting IP with every fiber of my being, I agreed to do more intensive outpatient treatment over my winter break. I'm heading back to College City in a few days to start seeing R and J several times over the next couple weeks in an attempt to boost my weight and get to a healthier place before school starts up again.
Whew, did I say "quick rundown?" I meant "epic reflection." If nothing else, I just want to emphasize how much I appreciate the support I've gotten from the blogging community. I started writing this blog six months ago, and still get ridiculously excited to read new comments and watch the number of pageviews go up. It makes SUCH a huge difference to know that I'm not alone in this, that other people have fought this illness too and won, and that there are so many incredibly compassionate, smart, perseverant people out there. I'm so thankful for all the texts/e-mails/comments from everyone, and of course I appreciate silent readers too!
Thanks again everyone! Have a wonderful New Year's.