End of year celebrations are a bittersweet, haunting time for me. This year especially so, as it marks the 6th year since the “darkest day” of my eating disorder - the day that I arrived at the doctor’s office and he told me that he couldn’t find my pulse. These 6 years have been a period of immense growth and change for me, and much of this internal change has honestly been quite uncomfortable and difficult. But I can honestly also say that I wouldn’t have had it any other way, because I know that I am stronger for it. More grateful for what I have today. More focused on the things that truly matter.
I remember being so “out of it” during my grandmother’s annual birthday bash on December 31st - I was beyond the point of counting calories, even - I was just completely exhausted. Exhausted with struggling against my mind and against family members who wanted the best for me, whose well intentions I deeply felt but was completely unable to reciprocate. I look into my own eyes in the photo above, and I see emptiness and exhaustion - someone who just wants the day to be over, but who is also dreading the next.
She’s still there, that exhausted soul, and I can’t pretend that the big social gatherings that come at the end of the year don’t still scare me a little. The food, the idea of losing control, and having to eat amongst large groups of people sometimes is still too much, and there are moments where all I want to do is to crawl into my onesie and eat oatmeal at home. Sometimes I take a mental health day, and that’s exactly what I do.
But there are also moments this holiday season that I have been so proud of - when I have been able to be so present in the moment, where I have fed off the energy of those around me and have been able to just enjoy my time eating, laughing and just being. Complimenting the pudding at my grandmother’s birthday banquet because I actually tasted it without worrying how many calories there were inside. Baking a cake for my mom’s birthday and not hesitating to give the crust a taste test. Hearing the familiar voice in my head trying to tell me to “resist temptation”, and being able to tell it to shut the heck up while I enjoy whatever it is that I have always wanted to taste. I see light and true joy in my eyes again, and for that I am truly grateful.
My resolution for this year is to keep growing, but to also appreciate how far I’ve come. To chase opportunities for improvement but also understand when I’ve pushed my limits and perhaps need to take a step back. To look forward, but also be present in every moment.
Thank you to the friends and family who have been in my life thus far - thank you for being part of a life that I am so excited to live! Much love to you all! :* <3
Hello world! I'm Steph, and I am an aspiring clinical psychologist, avid advocate for eating disorder awareness, and bubbly human being :)