In the summer of 2019, I was simultaneously attempting to close a chapter in my life and start writing a new one. I had just gotten back from a school year abroad, I was in a long-distance relationship and planning to move closer to my partner in the fall, and I had started living with my parents again. I was back in the same room I’d grown up in, struggled so much in. I was in a hometown that felt less like home than ever before, and I was forced to figure out how to become a real adult (whatever that means).
I was in this anxiety-producing state of in-between when I relapsed into my eating disorder. I realize now how easily this happened, but in the moment, it felt like it came out of nowhere. I was happy in my relationship; I was focusing on my summer job and volunteering as a leader for a young adult group at my church. I was enjoying the sunshine and spending time with my family. I felt like I was living my life to the fullest. I felt like I was doing everything right.
And yet, it is in these moments that our eating disorders can be the sneakiest. I find that in the summer, I can get busy with social obligations and 4th of July parties and everything else that happens between sunrise and sunset that I have a harder time catching when my mind starts to slip. Bit by bit, our brains can slowly sink into old ways of thinking, and all the barbecues and beach days start to become more and more challenging. It’s precisely what happened to me.
Thankfully, towards the end of that summer, I got help. I reached out to my support system; I started to challenge those ED thoughts and heal once again. I eventually moved closer to my partner, who is immensely supportive, and involved myself with a tremendously healing community. And today, I am truly able to enjoy my summer to the fullest. I check in with myself. I challenge any lingering ED thoughts. And then I urge myself to fly free.
If you are anything like me in this way, I want to encourage you to check in with yourself today. Be honest. Try asking yourself these questions:
- Are you making time to challenge ED thoughts?
- Are you busying yourself to the point where you may be vulnerable to a “summer slip?”
- Do you have a caring support system around you?
- Are there any triggers or triggering people you may need to distance yourself from so you can stay healthy?
These are questions I regularly ask myself, and because of this, I can now more genuinely and confidently say to myself, “fly free.”
Raven Mia is 24 years old and lives in Palmer, Alaska. She is an aspiring young adult fiction novelist and would love to be a published author someday. Her two favorite things are books and music. Raven lives with her husband David and has been in recovery from her eating disorder since 2015. Raven continues to be genuine and open in her personal past with her eating disorder, both online and in daily life, in hopes of others feeling seen online and in their own communities.