I’d be lying if I said that I was fine.
I’m not fine. I’m not okay. I’m not the worst I’ve ever been and I’m not okay.
Depression hit me hard when the second lockdown was announced. I was finally getting my life together – I was in a good place in recovery, I graduated from Marca College, and I was applying for jobs – and I felt so good about my direction in life. All of a sudden, I felt that everything I had worked for was gone. So I slept a lot that first week in lockdown because I didn’t want to do anything and even if I did, I was too exhausted to even try. I didn’t want to be around anybody so I didn’t answer my phone, even when my Mom called to ask if I was okay. I ignored everyone and everything.
Why was this second lockdown so hard for me to cope with? I’m in a completely different position than I’ve ever been and yet, I felt so pathetic and useless. Why can’t I accept that I have made good progress instead of constantly putting myself down for all the things I haven’t yet accomplished? Why can’t I accept where I am instead of being angry for where I’m not? The answer to all these questions lies in me and where I place my value, and if there’s anything that this experience has taught me it’s that I place a huge portion of my self-worth in work. I’m angry at myself for not having a job or an income; I’m angry at myself for taking so long to get a job or an income; I’m angry at myself for not being more successful; and I take this out on myself.
How is that fair? Well, it’s not. It’s the complete opposite of fair, actually. I’m not even giving myself the opportunity to appreciate how far I’ve come and I’ve come pretty damn far. I’m ignoring all the progress that I’ve made in the past year since leaving completing treatment. Do you know how hard it is to adjust your body to a normal intake when you’ve been engaging in eating disordered behaviours? Let me be the first to tell you that IT’S REALLY HARD. My first time in treatment was, by far, the worst as I’d been struggling for so long and my bowels decided to stop working. I had to be prescribed medication to allow food to move through my stomach. When I look back on everything I experienced because of my eating disorder, I can’t help but acknowledge the fact that I’ve come a long way from my first day in hospital.
- I’ve found medications that work for me and can accept that right now, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication allow me to function through my day.
- I’ve learned how to cook balanced meals that will properly nourish my body.
- I’ve learned how to question my own behaviour and the behaviour of others
- I’ve developed skills that allow me to properly communicate my feelings and needs rather than relying on ED behaviours.
- I’ve learned how to notice distorted or disorder thoughts in myself and others.
- I’ve learned to see food as medicine for my body, mind, and soul.
- I’ve accepted that I am not myself while engaging in ED behaviours.
- I’ve allowed myself to learn from my mistakes and to grow from them, rather than allow them to sink me.
- I’ve developed healthy relationships with those that I care about and am learning to let go of unhealthy or toxic relationships.
- I’ve learned that movement is an integral part of my recovery and that it can be used in beneficial ways, rather than in an obsessive format.
- I’ve developed a sense of hunger and actually search out food.
- I can build a meal plan and a shopping list, and go grocery shopping in order to take care of myself.
- I’m going to feel different emotions everyday, and it’s my job to honour those emotions and where they come from.
- I’ve graduated from my college program without falling into ED behaviours.
I need to appreciate every step I’ve taken, no matter how big or small. I am proud of every single item on this list because they have gotten me to this point in my recovery. I’m still alive because of these lessons. I’ve come so far from the girl who’s body could no longer keep up with her. I’m capable of amazing things. This lockdown has taught me to acknowledge and appreciate myself for everything that I am and to honour how I’m feeling. I’m still depressed. I can’t change that. And I don’t have to allow that depression to push me back to my eating disorder. I can’t allow that.
Yes, the lockdown affected my mental health. That was inevitable, I think, but I can choose what to do with it. I can let the lockdown hold me down and risk losing everything I’ve accomplished, or I can honour what I’m feeling and rise above.