“You look so healthy!” Four simple words that hit those in recovery like a ton of bricks. Being healthy is something to celebrate, but after over a decade of self-destruction and starvation, the only words that come to mind as a response are: fat, pig, gross, disgusting, obese. After telling myself for years that smaller was better, the idea of getting bigger and people noticing made me want to crawl out of my skin. It’s no shock that during my 7 years in recovery, I have relapsed multiple times usually around major life changes. If I shrank, my problems would shrink with me and I believed it would help me handle anything. In reality, it only amplified all the negative things I dwelled on and the circumstances around me. A year ago, I hit what I would probably call my “rock bottom.” I was in Korea, away from my normal routine and facing an uncertain future in terms of my career progression and relationships with pretty much everyone in my life. To escape the sadness I felt, I turned to drinking and exercise to numb my emotions and in turn, I spiraled into the darkest place I’ve ever been. 

I remember sitting on my bed, literally drinking vodka from the bottle trying to forget the world around me, I would drink until I couldn’t do anything and most nights I don’t really remember. I still did my job, but the second work ended, I was drinking and working out to fill my time. Food was an after thought most of the time, because I wasn’t worthy of eating. In my mind, since I was doing so poorly mentally, I didn’t deserve to eat because I was failing. Sure, I lost weight and was the smallest I had been since Kuwait, but I was the most unhappy I had ever been, most nights not even wanting to wake up the next morning because I felt I had nothing to look forward to. A few people knew that I was struggling and asked me regularly if I was okay, and I always said I was fine because I wasn’t important enough to worry about. My time in Korea lead me to an ugly streak of drunken nights. I could count on one hand the number of days I hadn’t drank and that in itself scared the shit out of me. 

It’s only now, a full year later that I am beginning to understand my worth. While I might not be a good person in everyone’s eyes, I have people in my life that love, care and support me. While I don’t have much sober time under my belt, I have slowly cut back on destructive behaviors and work daily to be a better person for myself. The icing on the cake is that those around me get to see the changes that I don’t always notice, but ultimately this journey is mine and for me. I am 15 pounds heavier today, than I was a year ago, and with that 15 pounds I have gained immense happiness and strength. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could crawl out of the hole I dug myself into, but with the help of friends, family, and my boyfriend I am making progress daily. I’m working out for me, lifting heavy, eating right and listening to my body because I have so much to live for and so much to be grateful for. So now, when someone says, “you look so healthy”, I smile and say thank you, because I know it’s a compliment and should never be considered an insult. Smaller is not always better because sometimes it’s the one thing standing between you alive or you dead. This seven year journey has been hard, but with the right support I know that one day I will be free from the prison that is my brain.

3 thoughts on “Healthy!

  1. I love you so much my friend. I knew they were bad and I knew they were probably worse than you were letting on . I know because I’m the same way . I never want others to worry about me or be sad or upset when they think of me . I was so worried that you wouldn’t come back home at least not alive . I think we have both grown so much and are in so much better situations now than a year ago. I’m so proud of you and I’m glad you are proud of you too

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This post is so relatable. When I was deployed in Korea is 2017, I hit my lowest point mentally and emotionally. However, from the outside looking in, everyone kept mentioning how skinny and “fit” I looked. The didn’t know I was working out everyday of the week after work to help make a dent in relieving the stress, sadness, and loneliness I was drowning in. I was drinking more than I was eating. So yeah I lost a lot of weight.
    Now, nearly two years later, I gained some weight, a new therapist, and a new chapter. I still struggle with body issues and have some bad, low days. But overall I am happier and more at peace. I still have a lot to work on with my self-love journey but at least I know I’m walking down that path one day at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

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