When I came through Magnolia Creek’s red door, I was lost and overwhelmed. In my first therapy and dietetic sessions, I told the team, “I’m here to get rid of my eating disorder.” I had no idea how much more I would accomplish over the next four months.
At first, I was determined to keep my secrets. While I had no problems talking about how my life was crumbling at the hands of my eating disorder and self-harm, I refused to acknowledge the impact trauma was having on me. But as I watched the strong women who surrounded me share their stories, I began to open up. It was painful, scary, but I did it, and it helped. On the days I insisted I was to blame for everything that had happened to me, there were people to lift me up and help me carry my burden. Gradually, those days waned, and I was able to ease the burdens of others.
I remember telling Christa (my therapist), “I’m not a perfectionist. I never do anything right,” and I remember her smirk as she invited me to challenge that statement. As it happens, I am a huge perfectionist, or at least, I was. One of the biggest challenges to my perfectionism was the idea that recovery is not linear. It’s loopy, swirly, and sometimes scary. But after the initial shock that comes with the realization that I can be truly healthy and happy, recovery is joy. It is growth and change; it is getting my life back and learning to love it.
Cooking Group was always the highlight of my week here. One particular group I remember was the day we made brisket. I shared how this traditional Jewish dish was tied to so many happy Hanukkah memories, and John (the Creek’s chef) shared this bit of wisdom with me. “Eating is a celebration.” At first, I took this to mean that food brings people together, which it does. But now, I also know that when I eat, I am celebrating the body God has given me. I am celebrating all the ways it keeps me healthy and all the things it lets me do. I do not believe that I have the authority to hate something made in God’s image, nor do I want to live that way.
When I came to the Creek, I was a shadow of the woman I am today. These past four months have made me stronger, healthier, and happier. As I head home and start the next chapter of my life, I am confident in my ability to write it. Thank you to all the amazing women who guided and supported me on this journey. I am proud to say that today I am happy, healthy, and hydrated.