Our client shares her experiencing of finding freedom in recovery.
As the time draws near for me to finish treatment with Orri I thought what better time than now to write a farewell blog about finding Hope, finding Belief and finding my Freedom.
Freedom and recovery from an eating disorder looks different for everyone. My motivation to keep on keeping on was to visualize exactly what I wanted in my recovered life. It became a constant motivator for me to keep reminding myself how much I wanted that better life for me and my Family. That better life was to be full of choices rather than rules, of freedom rather than restrictions, and of enjoying not earning.
I desperately wanted a life of acceptance, self-love, kindness and self-compassion, rather than a life of punishment and compensation. It literally was the opposite of the life I had built for myself over so many years.
“Nothing changes if nothing changes” is one of Orri’s many, many mantras. For things to change I needed to change. So I put my faith and my trust in Orri. Overnight, the structure and routines I had built my life around had to change. I stopped exercising completely – which was on the one hand unbelievably hard but simultaneously a huge relief. At the same time, just as importantly, I began to eat.
With my treatment team’s amazing patience and support I slowly began to see food differently. I began to accept that food didn’t need to be earned, that I didn’t need permission to eat and that food was a basic human need. Slowly biscuits became just biscuits and toast became just toast. Slowly I began to separate all my emotions from the food.
I had told myself for so many years that food was my worst enemy, but I soon realised that my worst enemy was my mind, my memories and my illness.
Motivation in recovery may be different for everyone, but our end goal and dream is the same: we all want to be well and to live a life free from the constraints of an eating disorder. We all have a story or a reason for how and why we found ourselves here in treatment. Exploring that and pulling everything apart is just part of the process. Just as everyone’s story is unique, treatment with Orri and our recovery journeys are too…
My journey to finding my freedom involved first finding hope and finding the belief in myself that I was worthy of help and worthy of change.
When I couldn’t find the hope that I so needed Orri held it for me. When I lost hope, when things were just too difficult they held it for me then too. As they did on the days that I just wanted to give up and go back to living the life I had before. Orri have been by my side throughout my treatment and for that I will be forever grateful. They believed in me when I was unable to believe in myself.
When you’re in the illness you don’t think straight; your mind is starved and until you begin to feed your body well your mind cannot function. It’s as simple as that. When you manage to step out of the illness, just for a moment you see a world of possibilities and those glimpses of freedom are moments to hold onto. I can remember so many of those moments in the beginning. Those moments were a taste of freedom, a taste of my better life.
A year ago, if anyone would have told me that I’d be where I am today, firstly I would have laughed at the thought of recovery being even possible and secondly I would have doubted that it was something that I actually deserved. Fast forward to where I am right now, I’m here. In recovery, doing recovery, choosing recovery day in day out. No longer doubting my deservedness, no longer doubting my worth or questioning if recovery is for me?
Recovery is possible, I am in recovery and I am so worth it.
I have learnt that recovery is messy, it is extremely complex, it often feels never ending and I have had moments of it feeling relentless.
Recovery is exhausting, emotionally charged, challenging, and just so raw but WOW it is so worth it.
Choosing recovery and committing to recover has undoubtedly been the best decision of my life, choosing to do it through Orri has been the second best.
As messy and relentless as being in recovery and striving for recovery is, it is also a beautiful journey of self-discovery. I have discovered strengths I never knew I had and parts of me I never knew existed, parts of me that were so engulfed by restriction and punishment that I feel like I am meeting them for the very first time.
I have learned so much about myself and what I need to be that healthier and happier version of me. I have found so much more than I feared I would lose by saying goodbye to my illness. I found ME.
At Orri we talk about building out toolkits and filling them with tools and techniques to distract, to find comfort, to feel safe and grounded. Learning new healthy coping mechanisms are essential when we begin to challenge our ED thoughts and behaviours. I’ve found such distraction and comfort in writing, in journalling, in drawing and painting.
My wall of art at home is a representation of my journey so far. It’s my safe place and it represents all the emotions and changes I’ve experienced so far. My art shows moments of hope, of freedom, of growth, happiness, acceptance, my love, my vulnerability…… It really is my recovery journey in pictures.
On the hard days I look at my wall, I read the quotes I have gathered along the way and I remember how far I’ve come. I remind myself of the beautiful stories shared in sessions, of the honesty and vulnerability of the Orri community. A safe space that is built on trust and authenticity. A place that I will hold close to my heart for years to come.
My story does not end when my treatment ends. When I move on from Orri I won’t be leaving it behind, I will be taking everything I have learned, everything I’ve witnessed and experienced with me, because my Hope, my Belief and my Freedom are all within me.
As sad and emotional me saying goodbye will be, I know that my story is just starting a new chapter. I am excited for all the new beginnings, for the creating of new memories and for finally LIVING MY BETTER LIFE.