Coming home a year ago was really hard. I was excited to get out of NYC because I felt like I was failing. I was failing at recovery, failing at living in the city, failing at making enough money to sustain my treatment, and most of all I was absolutely failing at anorexia. Now I know that you can't put your faith in a cape and a hood, they will not protect you the way that they should. My disorder had become my security blanket (much like Little Red found comfort in her cape) and it was slowly slipping away from me which was the scariest thing that had ever happened. But I also felt like I wasn't recovering very well or very quickly. I was in a strange no man's land - not disordered, not recovered...not a little girl, but not an adult. So I came home because I honestly didn't know what else to do. I had to put everything on hold and commit myself 100% to detoxing anorexia out of my life. Needless to say I relapsed about 3 days into being back. Awesome. New Years Eve I even broke out my old bag of tricks and told my mom I was eating with my sister, told my sister I had eaten with my mom, and then didn't eat at all. I felt the buzz of hunger in my brain that night, and coasted on the high for as long as I could. I felt invincible. I felt light. And then I woke up feeling like absolute crap the next morning, and proceeded to have maybe the worst panic attack of my life. I felt very much like I was back to square one.
Why am I telling you all this? Because it is an extreme case of how hard the holidays and coming home to see family and friends can be. Seeing people and cramming all of our friends into the few short days we have at home can be extremely stressful, even when it doesn't need to be. We tend to revert back to old habits, whether they be restricting, snapping at family, isolating ourselves, or running away (For those of you dealing with ED specific problems, here's a post that might help ease some of the stress).
I mentioned to my Mom last night that I don't identify as an anorexic in any way anymore. I identify as someone who has recovered. Who has gone through the battle field and somehow, some way, made it to the other side. I also don't believe any one ever TRULY loses every single bit of their disorder. Emily will always whisper in my ear every once in a while (she loves to show up at holiday parties), but while that used to drive me to do irrational things, now I say "lol ok but also you're not real." That's recovery. That's coming home and being excited to see my family and friends.
Just remember when you're venturing home for the holidays that people are going to probably say stupid things. Loved ones might make a comment about how you act or look differently. Siblings might push your buttons. Parents might nag you. Friends might seem distant. But that is no reason to change or lose the growth you have accomplished over the past year. We are ever changing beings in this insane, difficult, amazing world - and we deserve to celebrate our accomplishments.
Happy Holidays, everyone. I love you. <33