Monday, October 22, 2012

"What a difference a year makes.."

So ya know how people say 'What a difference a year makes'?
The past few months when I have seen or heard that phrase, I have sadly thought, yea.. it sure does.
A year ago I was running fast times on a team with the only people I had really known in college, I was in love with a serious boyfriend, my family wasn't in the financial situation we now face, and I wasn't freaking out about being accepted to a PhD clinical psychology program.
So I obviously chose to focus on the positive aspects of my past and the negative situations of the present when confronted with this statement.

However, this past weekend I was in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia with an environmental group called "Mountain Justice", and I had a good bit of time to think about things.
The cycle of life for a tree is so beautiful.
First of all, this time last year I was not at all involved in any type of environmental movement. I was vice president of Earth Club in high school, and I have always recycled and urged others to do so, but I haven't done much at all in my college years to help with preserving this beautiful earth we live on.
That has changed over the course of just a couple months. I have gone to two environmental conferences, and I am really passionate about Students for a Sustainable Campus, our club at school. I have met so many awesome people from it, and I feel like I'm standing for something that really means something and can possibly change the world. I feel whole when I'm engaging in activism, and I love it.
Fellow environmentalists just hanging out in the mountains :)
Another key difference between this year and last year is the fact that a once overwhelming fear of food is now completely diminished, and with that the fear of living life to it's fullest!
At the summit this past weekend they served things like diced potatoes and eggs for breakfast, sandwiches and fruit for lunch, rice with lentils and greens for supper, and pumpkin pie for dessert. And being true to my character as a food lover, I had first and sometimes second helpings of all of them.

However, even last year at this time I would have been very anxious eating most of this food because while it may be 'healthy', it is not low-calorie or 'diet friendly'. And for so long that was how I lived.
Even in recovery, I bought 100-calorie english muffins rather than the whole wheat english muffins that were a mere 20 extra calories. Not until this summer was I able to say, *excuse the obscene language here* What the fuck am I doing?! What does it matter that this piece of bread is 120 calories rather than 100? It is better for me and it TASTES better!

Anyway, things like that held me back for three years. If I had gone to this conference any other time in my college career I would have hung back when they rang the bell for meal time.. I would not have been okay with stopping at Burger King on the way home because we were running late for our bus and that was the only food available by the gas station.. And most of all I would have spent all of this time preoccupied with the stupid, completely invalid idea that I do not deserve to eat like the rest of the population, thereby crawling deeper and deeper into these self-destructive thoughts and behaviors.
On the way to WV :)
So yea, I have much to be proud of in regards to this past year. I have opened myself up to all kinds of experiences. I left the only social circle and life that I knew. I have met new people, most of them wonderful. I have allowed myself to love and receive love in return, and sometimes I ended up hurt, but that's all part of living.
You see, it took completely leaving my eating disorder behind to accomplish all of this, and I have not once regretted my decision to recover.

As for the stressful situations lingering over me these days, what are they compared to what I have gone through (kicking a mental disorder's ASS in order to win my life back)? I'd say not much.. :)


Monday, October 1, 2012

A friend's suicide attempt

One of my best friends tried to commit suicide yesterday.
She called last night to tell me this news and that she is going to a rehab center in her home state (hundreds of miles from me).
As soon as I got off the phone, I was a total wreck.. couldn't eat or move.. just totally numb.
She texted me this morning before she left for rehab saying, 
"I am safe now and will recover. You're my best friend Haley, I love you. I want to get better so I'll be alive and able to come see you and take you out and smile and take pictures in person."
I want all of those things for her, too. I cannot describe to you how much I want those things.

I feel like a piece of my heart is missing. This girl is the most gorgeous, intelligent, witty, unique, and creative person I have ever come across. It's so hard for me to come up with a reason for all of the sadness that has been dwelling inside her these past few weeks. She didn't deserve any of it.

One of my favorite poems by Mary Oliver
All day, guilt has overcome me whenever I catch myself smiling or laughing, while this beautiful friend of mine is struggling.
However, I know that she wouldn't want me to be sad. Honestly, she would probably be upset with me for putting my life on hold for something like this. But I can't help my aching heart.
I just wish I was with her. I wish I could hug her so tightly that she could actually feel the love I have for her emanating from my insides.

I don't know what else to say right now.. other than I am happy each of you are alive to be reading this. Life is a precious gift, not to be wasted worrying over things that won't matter a lifetime, or even a year, from now.
I'm going to continue living mine, for myself and for my friend.

P.S. Greg Laswell's song 'Comes and Goes' is very relevant and has been in my head all day. Maybe you'll enjoy it as much as I do.