Jutting out of a dark abyss is a rocky cliff that levels out into a flat plateau. While I had an eating disorder, I was either slowly and carefully climbing upwards, in free fall, or in pieces at the bottom.
I’d climb, fall, and hit the bottom over and over again, each time feeling less and less capable of making it– but I kept trying. One day, I lifted my hand and realized to my amazement I had reached the surface. I pulled myself over and sat on the edge of the cliff, looking down, exhausted. I couldn’t move for a long time, until… I could. I stood up, turned away from the edge, and faced the future. The ground underneath my feet was life without ED.
Let’s say every day I have been recovered, I’ve walked a mile away from that cliff. That’s 1,050 miles. I’m almost halfway through the Appalachian Trail! I’m far away from the cliff edge, but it’s still there behind me.
There were some days I walked a few miles back towards it. Some days I would just turn around and stare out in the distance, knowing what was out there. Some days it took every recovery skill I had to keep myself facing forward.
I haven’t mentioned that I’m also wearing a backpack. This backpack is full of the trauma I carry from having had a full-blown eating disorder for seven formative years. I’ve slowly been unpacking it, but it’s still so heavy. Some days I’m doing so well I hardly notice it, but other days I struggle under it’s weight until I’m in a state of tiredness so deep I can’t move. Those days I lay there and remind myself that no matter how hard it is right now, it’s better than being back in that abyss, looking up at the cliff I thought I’d never conquer.
I can’t change the landscape of my life, that cliff will always be behind me. But it’s a big world out there– now I have the chance to get so lost in it that I couldn’t find my way back even if I wanted to.
Photo by Joshua T from Pexel