“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.” -Abraham Maslow
September 17, 2014, was the absolute worst, yet best day of my life. On this Wednesday afternoon, I finally checked into rehab. I was completely mortified as I began signing in. Both my mind and body wanted to run as I watched a complete stranger lock away my phone and search my bags.
I was then given a tour of a house that was my own personal version of hell. I was told I would be watched day and night, even when I went to the bathroom and that privacy was a luxury that had to be earned. I remember silently crying tears of fear and frustration that night. I had known exactly how strict the place was going to be and that all of this would happen, yet I was still shocked when it actually did.
Every night I went to sleep with ED yelling at me for coming to this horrid place to begin with. ED and I had been in a back and forth relationship since I was 13 years old. Every high and every low I had throughout my adolescence, ED was there, and that relationship only grew stronger as I came into adulthood. I had become very submissive and dependent when it came to this relationship, so to say disappointing ED was hard on me was the understatement of the year. The nightmare only seemed to continue in the mornings when I was asked to step on a scale but not allowed to see my weight.
My day then proceeded as followed:
- group therapy
- morning snacks
- more group therapies
- afternoon snacks
- rest/down time
The only thing that scared me more than eating was the number of times I had to eat. I wanted nothing more than to just pack my bags and go home. I wanted to sleep in my own bed, to eat (or not) on my own time and most of all, go to the bathroom alone. For some unknown reason, I stayed, and although each passing day was exactly the same, every day seemed different. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was beginning to change. I began to hate the place less and less every day. More surprisingly though, I began to hate myself less every day, too.
I began to actually listen to what my team was saying, granted I may not have agreed with them, but I was willing to listen. With each passing meal, I slowly began to taste the food, rather than just mindlessly eat. For years, my ED was a coping mechanism, so the less I was allowed to use behaviors, the more I was able to deal with issues and begin to heal. I was slowly growing stronger every day, and ED was getting weaker.
Fast forward to today and that’s still the case. I still struggle some days, but I get stronger with each day that passes. I have slowly taken back control of my life and learned to silence the voices that told me I wasn’t worthy or good enough. I wish I could say that all of my insecurities and issues completely vanished, but the truth is, they visit from time to time. The difference is, now I know how to fight back. This will inside me to keep fighting is the reason September 17, 2014 is both the worst and best day of my life. It was one of worst, because it was the day I truly came face to face with my personal demons. This acceptance and willingness to ask for help is why that date is also one of the best days of my life.
I have experienced both horrors and blessings on my road to recovery, and maybe one day I’ll be comfortable sharing more, but for now I share my hope. It will not be easy nor will it be fast, but I stand here today, willingly and vulnerable, sharing my story through my imperfectly flawed writing as living proof that recovery is possible.
Tania Marin is a young woman who has lived a majority of her life battling an eating disorder. She was raised in a traditional Mexican household where mental illness was somewhat of a foreign concept. Because of her background and size, her battle was one that she not only fought with herself, but often others too. Three years into recovery, she is now opening up about her dark past relationship with food and how lack of understanding about eating disorders sadly caused many years of suffering. In sharing her experiences through this blog and her YouTube channel, she hopes to help break the stigma around eating disorders and continue shedding light on the lack of conversation for mental illness in general. Follow Tania’s journey on YouTube here!