I became a nurse to heal others.
I became a nurse because in college I didn’t know how to heal myself.
I saw an opening to try to break out of my eating disorder, depression, anxiety by helping others get better.
What I learned (the hard way) is that you cannot effectively heal others if you aren’t healed yourself.
I was scattered. ineffective. overwhelmed.
Times like these when I get to a low point, I try to remind myself of that time. of how long it took me to get out of that hole. that it wasn’t just me I was hurting. that I almost didn’t make it out alive.
“if you were born with the weakness to fall you were born with the strength to rise” -rupi kaur
Having an eating disorder is a LIFELONG battle. while I may not always be using symptoms (purging, restricting, over-exercising), the thoughts are ALWAYS there. it is exhausting. while an alcoholic can try to avoid situations where alcohol is served, a bulimic has to eat 3 meals a day. 3 times a day I have to overcome the anxiety not to purge. I have to go to social situations and parties and stay calm under pressure. there is not enough therapy or self-help books in the world to manage this stress.
Since I graduated from college I had been doing well managing my ED until recently. as a result, I gained a lot of weight. my therapist told me this is because I am so scared of getting sick again that I did basically the total opposite than my first relapse. I stopped working out and playing hockey because I was scared I wouldn’t be able to stop. I stopped managing portions- if I wasn’t counting my “tallies” then I wasn’t in the program and I wasn’t sick anymore, right? I stopped going to therapy. I stopped talking about it. I had PTSD about going to Melrose even for a check in. I was overwhelmed seeing the cafeteria, that scale, those exam tables, the group therapy rooms, my inpatient bed. I had panic attacks in the parking lot. Even driving on Excelsior Blvd in St. Louis Park makes my heart race. I still don’t understand why I feel this way. Melrose saved my life. I think that I’m scared- for good reason- of getting to that point. of needing that help. that healing. again.
I think since getting sick this winter. and losing so much weight. my ED sparked in me again. the thoughts are so much louder. I don’t use symptoms nearly as much as I did in college, but more than I have in years. and I’m scared. scared the thoughts will get louder and take over again.
so now I begin to heal myself. read my books. journal. reach out. take a walk. call my mom. play hockey. see my therapist.
sometimes, on a bad day, it feels like too much. but I remind myself that tomorrow is a new day. and hopefully one day this will be just be a memory and no longer my story.