Wednesday, April 25, 2012

10 Years Ago, Today

On  April 25, 2002, I entered inpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa for the first time.  I was 17.  I was terrified.  I was out of my mind sick, and damn near dead.  My parents essentially made the decision I was to go into treatment before I turned 18 and could legally refuse it.  I was angry and bitter and I didn't understand my disorder at all, in fact I didn't even think I had a problem.

I thought that I'd go into treatment, eat, do a little therapy, and 90 days later, voila, I'd be all better.  I was terribly naive, and I didn't know that treatment doesn't work unless you WORK to make it work.  And so, sadly, during that treatment stay, I didn't really get better.  Yes, I got "better" in the sense that I gained weight, but I wasn't ready to give up my eating disorder, and I didn't - not yet.  It took me several more years to understand what recovery was and what it took, and it took me a long time to understand that I didn't want anorexia to kill me.

Photo - I thought for about .485 seconds about posting a picture of 17 year old Brie, but then realized you'd all shriek out thinking I was DEAD.  Don't want to be triggering, so those pictures will forever be hidden in boxes in my storage room!  So you get me...looking...serene?  In my recovery maybe?

I was searching through some old boxes this morning, and I found my journal from when I was in treatment.  I wanted to share a few excerpts from my very first day in treatment:

April 25, 2002

...So I just ate my first meal here...they gave me a 24 hour "grace" period where I don't have to eat everything on my plate if I don't want to.  Which is good because we had hamburgers.  Yeah, definitely haven't eaten one of those in forever!

So Mom and Brett dropped me off.  It actually was okay.  There really were no tears until the very end...when I was hugging Brett.  I got really choked up.   ...I've met most of the girls, and they seem really kind for the most part...but I'm one of the youngest girls here, at 17.

...It's just so hard for me to imagine that right now I should be in AP English class.  The whole world is going on and continuing, while essentially, my life is on hold for 3 months.  But I don't like to think of it that way.

I'm hoping this will be a kind of new beginning for me.  I'm coming here scared and sick and confused, but in 90 days when I leave, I'm going to be happy and healthy and a new and better me.  I guess I just can't get over it, I keep trying to get used to the idea that this very place I'm sitting in will be my home for 3 months.  It really hasn't sunk in yet.

So today has been really busy.  They drew my blood and did and EKG - which they said was abnormal - and then about four people have asked me the same questions over and over!

I'm trying to be so optimistic, but I'm scared.  Before I got here, I pictured treatment being this place where they strapped you to a bed and pumped you full of food until you got fat, sort of like some nazi eating disorder camp.  And I can tell it's not going to be that way, but it's still not going to be easy, and I'm really scared.  I don't like admitting that I am, but I am.  I really really am terrified.  I hope I can do this.

Wow.  Reading that....I don't know how it makes me feel.  Kind of sad.  Kind of nostalgic.  But mostly just really really glad that I am not back in the past, with 17 year old Brie.  I'm so happy that I'm here, that I'm healthy and energetic and vivacious and doing recovery.  I'm so happy that I went into treatment, even though it was scary and hard, and even though it didn't stick that time, because it set the foundation for me to get better.  I think it took the whole of all of my experiences, all of my failure and triumphs, to get me here.  To get me to Live.

And so, 10 years ago, I made a pretty scary, but a pretty awesome decision to get better - or, to at least try.  The seed of recovery was planted, even if it didn't yet begin to bloom.  And I'm glad that it did eventually bloom; that 10 years later I can confidently say that I am happy and ALIVE and so happy that I chose to get rid of this needless disease that sucks the life out of you until it eventually tosses you aside, dead, or at least as good as dead.  I'm so glad I didn't choose that for me.  I'm so glad I chose Life.


Amy said...

I'm glad you chose/are choosing life, too.

Krista said...

You should be proud of how far you have come. I have read my journal from my first days at CFC and they are kind of sad and a bit scary. Funny you mentioned hamburgers because that was one of my first meals too as well as shakes from Dairy Queen. I was so scared of the food that was primarily what I wrote about. I agree that even though we may not have magically recovered after our first stays at CFC, it did plant the seed of recovery.

Heather Lindquist said...

I remember the day you looked so nervous and shy. That stay may not have cured you, but like you said, it was a necessary stepping stone to where you are now. It was a stepping stone for me too.....and thank goodness for those stones! : ) A lot has happened in your life these past few years, and I'm so happy you have walked through the fire and are standing firm now!

Liz said...

Isn't it crazy the paths we have to take to reach happiness.

po said...

Love this post!

Sarah @ Bearing, Eating, Being said...

I'm glad too!!!! Congratulations on ALL the progress you have made. Keep looking ahead and walking proudly into your future as the wise and strong woman you are.

C-Girl said...

what a day to celebrate! i said the same thing, "ehhh give me a couple months to gain weight and I'll be just fine." wrong. I am learning and fighting more and more by the day. but I would rather have a long, long road to health than a rapid backslide to only existing. here's to the next ten years!

Katie said...

So glad you are where you are. Congrats on your recovery!

CH said...

This post made me so proud of you - you've clearly come so far, and had a long, hard battle with your ED. Every single day that you choose recovery, you are choosing life, and you should feel so proud of yourself.
I know I've said this before, but truly - your recovery is inspiring, and helps others to realize that there is life after an eating disorder.
I just love this post, because it shows how much happier you are :)

Laura said...

I choked up reading this post. Probably because I relate. Really grateful that you're here with us today and doing as well as you're doing. PS: we're the same age.

Laura said...

Also... so weird but tomorrow is the exact same anniversary for me....

Keely said...

ha ha ha! The Urban Dictionary made me laugh...I am going to say because of the way it was phrased, and not because I'm immature. :)

I am not sure of advice for pulling Cade out of school for now. Maybe it would be good for him to keep going just a bit longer for the social aspect. Does he look forward to seeing friends at school?

mallorymallorah said...

I'm so glad you chose life! I was in that same AP English class, and although we didn't really talk, I noticed your absence and I remember hoping you were getting better. Look how far you have come! You have so much to be proud of :)

Lou said...

You made a good choice :)

Sia Jane said...

I went into treatment for the first time in 2002, I was 211
My parents pretty much dragged me in kicking and screaming.
I thought it would be simple then.
I did.
And whilst a lot changed in me, the year that followed was the worst of it all.
By January 2004, after a nightmare few years I chose, for myself, to get well.
I am now fully recovered and have been for a good number of years.
Fully recovering has bee THE hardest thing I have ever done and despite a relapse in 2007, I have been well since.
Life is so precious.
I am so proud of your fight <3

Fight 4 Ur Lyfe said...

This is my favorite post in a long time. So real... And open ..and vulnerable. You should post more of your past journal articles. Very inspiring and hopeful to others who are in their own battles. Thanks for sharing. You're amazing. :)

Alicia B. Designs said...

Congratulations! You should be so proud of yourself. Makes me think about the progress I've made too and makes me want to keep going. You're amazing.

Alicia B.

bri said...

I love this Brie!! I am so incredibly proud of u!! Love u!