My 3 years in recovery from my eating disorder is 1 month away. My 3 years out of any form of a ‘higher level of care’ is almost 2 months away.
These are great milestones! I deserve to be very excited about them. At the same time…I don’t know why I seem to think that these 2 days will actually change anything. June 22nd and July 15th are just 2 more days in my life. My body image and eating disorder recovery won’t miraculously be “perfect” and require no more effort on June 22nd. My Bipolar won’t suddenly be cured on July 15th either. They’re just 2 more ordinary days to everyone except me. I don’t know why I care so much about these 2 days.
On one hand, yes, EVERY year is a milestone. Every year that I’m able to maintain my recovery and not end up back in a higher level of care for one reason or another is something to celebrate! On the other hand though….I’m currently placing so much emphasis in my own head on 2 days that don’t mean scrap to anyone else. I don’t get any awards on these 3 year anniversaries. I don’t get a trophy, a plaque, or a ribbon. There will be no parties or any real celebrations. These 2 anniversary days mean more to me than to anyone else, as they should. But they’re not going to change anything.
3 Years Doesn’t Mark Miracles….or Maybe it Does
My life doesn’t automatically get any easier just because these days come and go. My symptoms don’t go away. I don’t magically become “stable” in regards to any part of my mental health. While it’s a sign of improvement and continued growth and development, these days don’t mark miracles….or maybe they do.
Specific Milestones and Markers
Maybe these two 3-year anniversaries do mark miracles. It’ll have been 3 years without a relapse with my eating disorder (my longest streak to date). July will be 3 years since I’ve been in any ‘higher level of care’ (Inpatient, Partial Hospitalization/PHP, or Intensive Outpatient/IOP). Which, considering I was in and out of multiple higher levels of care a couple times in under 12 months between 2014-2015…yeah, I’ll consider that a miracle. It will have been 3 years since I was last on a meal plan…which is great considering I don’t follow meal plans nor listen to dietitians very well. I will have been continuously weight-restored for 3 years & have been able to successfully maintain a health weight for myself on my own.
That Being Said
That being said, I realize I seriously do deserve to give myself more credit than I normally do. I’ve worked my butt off to get to where I am since I 1st went to treatment for my eating disorder in August 2014, and I’ve really worked my butt off to improve this much since June 2015. I’m not the same person I was this time in 2015, when I was re-admitting to treatment for my eating disorder for the 2nd time, still undiagnosed and untreated for Bipolar until later that June when I was officially hospitalized. I’ve come so, so far. I still have a long ways left to go, no doubt. For now, I don’t consider myself “recovered”, but I’m happy with being “in recovery”.
I have a whole lot to be proud of, leading up to my 3 year anniversaries this summer, I just need to allow myself to be happy about it all and to really set myself free to celebrate myself on those days. I promise, there will be a big post or 2 here on Zealous Zebra when those days finally do come =)