2018: A Year In Review
Often, we are so quick to focus on the negatives in life. It is much easier to ruminate on the things that didn’t go as planned, or the situations that made us sad or angry or frustrated. But while it is important not to deny or work through such situations, it is equally important to practice shifting our focus from “what went wrong” to “what went right”. Writing “a year in review” is incredibly therapeutic. It is a combination of celebrating the good times and recognizing that despite the hard times, we are capable of so much.
January was pretty quiet. I settled into my routine at work after the holiday break, and I was happy to be back as I had found the holidays quite long. Christmastime was a little darker than I had expected, so I was glad to begin a new year. January was also when I received my first hate message, with said person questioning my purpose for blogging (claiming that it was all for attention, and that it was keeping me stuck in the illness). If you are interested in reading more about my real reasons for blogging, you can click the link below.
In February, I realized that things weren’t going as smoothly as I had hoped. I was struggling to maintain my weight and I was restricting my food, both in terms of quantity and variety. So, I sent an email to my old dietitian, asking for her support. My email was not without hesitation. I told her I was nervous to reach out because booking sessions with her would mean I would need to commit to making some dietary changes, and nothing is more threatening to an eating disorder than a change in meal plan. Here is the link to my post about reaching out to my dietitian.
March was filled with the joys of working at the learning centre, but also with the pitfalls that accompany anorexia. I tried to prioritize nutrition, self-care, and being kind to myself, but those goals were becoming increasingly difficult. I practiced letting go of my negative thoughts regarding weight gain through exposure, and utilized nostalgia to help me through food-related challenges. I have linked the post that describes a typical week in my life in March, where I was living in this weird state of quasi-recovery.
In April, I turned the big 3-0, and I wrote a blog post all about it (I’ll link it down below). My post caught the attention of my high school friend, who interviewed me for her piece in The National Post. My file was closed at the eating disorder treatment centre here in Montreal, which was bittersweet. I was glad that I was well enough for them to discharge me, but saying goodbye to the nurses, doctors, and team members that saved my life was emotional. I was also really tired in April - my life involved running from work to appointments and back and managing the occasional bout of anxiety, while trying to maintain a somewhat normal social life.
May was a month where I was tested with patience. I had a lot of great things going for me, yet still, I was in the grips of anorexia, and I was judging myself for still being sick. I also felt like I was leading a life with two identities; the eating disorder Meghan, and the “real Meghan”. I wished that my therapist and treatment team could see me in my "natural environment", because that person is truly the person I am - the person I aspire to continue to be. Therapy is a weird thing - psychologists and social workers and psychiatrists and dietitians only see this very small sliver of who we are. They don’t see me as the person who loves to laugh and be silly and joke around. And that silly person is ME.
In June, I celebrated my one year blog anniversary. I compiled a list of the Top 5 lessons I learned while blogging for a year, and the list included: 1) not everybody will have nice things to say; 2) the blog/life balance is not always easy; 3) writing continues to be therapeutic for me; 4) more people can relate than I thought; and 5) I will definitely continue blogging. I also wrote a post, linked below, explaining my absence on social media. (I had been admitted, once again, to the Day Hospital).
In July, all of my energy went into simply "making it through the day". I didn't have much in the "reserve" to muster up the strength to get up when I fell. I cried in frustration because my eating disorder was sucking up all of my energy and most of the time, I felt like I "didn't have it in me" to continue the fight. So what did I do? I reached out. I reached out to my therapist and my family and my friends and I counted on them to carry me when I was feeling too weak. Unfortunately, I also dealt once again with a very nasty hate comment. Click the link below to read all about it.
I celebrated Recovery By Meghan reaching 10,000 site visits in August, and hosted my very first giveaway. On a more serious note, I was asked to leave the Day Hospital, as I was failing to meet the weight gain requirements set up by the program. I was making progress, but not quick enough. There was constant “chatter” in my head, and I wrote a blog post about the contradictory “voices” I hear on a daily basis.
In September, I posted a blog (linked below) called “I Want To Be Transparent With All Of You” where I admitted that the eating disorder had taken control of me once again, and I was being admitted to inpatient treatment. I felt disappointed in myself and I felt like I was disappointing others. However, I really tried to see my admission as a sign of resiliency in the face of hardship.
I spent Thanksgiving in treatment while my family was away at the cottage, and that was tough. However, I still managed to compile a list of five things I was thankful for, including: coffee, mindfulness in the morning, health, turning thirty, and my Recovery By Meghan community. I also wrote a blog that gained a lot of recognition. I’ll link it below.
I discharged myself from inpatient treatment in November, and began adjusting to life as an outpatient. I noticed the progress I had made since my admission to the hospital, and wanted to continue on the right path. However, I was experiencing extreme anxiety, and had trouble managing my impulses. I did write a very powerful letter to my body (linked below) that allowed me to, again, clarify my purpose.
I had a great holiday season this year. I spent unforgettable time with my family, something that wouldn’t have been possible if I was still entrenched in my eating disorder. And just as importantly, I made huge strides in discovering what is maintaining my eating disorder. I am hiding behind my body because I don’t like who I really am, and that is a concept I am going to continue to work through in therapy. See the link below for a post that goes into detail about this.
How would I characterize 2018 as a whole?
Well, it wasn’t great. A lot of it was spent dealing with my eating disorder, but with each relapse, I felt myself getting stronger. My purpose - changing the mental health landscape and helping others through similar struggles - has become more and more clear as the years progress.
Here's to 2019. I have no idea what's in store for me, but that's part of the fun, isn't it?
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WHAT WAS YOUR BEST PART OF 2018? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS! :)