Good Morning to you all, and here we are again…Monday, another weekend has zoomed by!
Overall my weekend was filled with ups and downs. Nothing in particular was wrong, in fact, I went out both Friday and Saturday night! If you have been reading my blog for some time now, you would know that is a feat in itself and that I am a self-proclaimed grandma more often than not.
However, during the day on Saturday, I felt “blah” for lack of a better term. I tried to understand where these feelings were being fueled from, but there was nothing that I could attribute to… at least nothing I could think of. I spent the day on my own, wallowing in self-pity and holding onto the thought of I am going to feel bad for myself today. Initially I planned to stay in and continue dwelling on my bad mood, but then I saw a person I work with, asked what he was doing that night without really intending to, and joined up with him and some other friends.
It turned out to be a great night, and it was exactly what I needed. *Note to self, when being alone feels like the right thing to and will eventually make you feel better… this is not always the case. Interact, socialize and be with others, your mood could perhaps brighten. I have pretty positive this “funk” will return again, and I will at least have an understanding of how to get myself out of my own head. (if that makes any sense at all).
Alright now, it’s time… time for me to reveal the information I have been keeping from you. The elusive, “forbidden” Internship that I have been nervous, yet exited to tell you all about. Although “nervous” might not be the exact word I want to use about myself when describing this to you, there are traces of nerves.
Maybe it won’t seem like such a big deal after I actually discuss what it is I am even doing…
I understand that this is my personal life and my blog, a space I can write whatever the heck I want, and I also have the free will to make choices on where my life could go. Having said that, I do care about what you all say to me, your judgements, comments, and input and I am rather curious right now what your thoughts will be. As I have wrote a number of times, I read every.single.one of your comments and respond when appropriate because it is genuinely important for me to do so.
Gahh enough with the preface here, let’s get to it!
So last Tuesday was the first day of working at an eating disorder clinic which provides psychiatric in-patient services, while also integrating medical, behavioral and nutritional care. At this particular location, there are partial and intensive outpatient programs for adults and adolescents with eating disorders- anorexia, bulimia and binge eating.
To someone that knows nothing about me and my personal history with an eating disorder, might think this internship is an intense one, but also great! I mean heck if that is what I am interested then go for it!
Obviously this is not the case with me.
Although I have never been “officially” diagnosed Anorexia because I did not meet the DSM IV weight BMI weight requirement, I did have an eating disorder, disordered eating, whatever you want to call it. Oh wait HAD one? Well clearly the ED thoughts are still with me on a daily basis, something I both understand and am 100% honest with.
At this point you might be thinking, what in the hell is she thinking working at a place like that when she is still not completely stable?! And of course, this is where the “nerves” come in, because I can understand that thought and why some of you might voice this. Yes, part of this feeling is of where I am working, I mean it’s a high-stress environment! But there is more to this…
I am having a hard time articulating this… and perhaps I am even putting thoughts into your head! Hmm bear with me here!
For over a year now, I have been battling against this ED, fighting braver and stronger than I ever thought possible, and reaping the benefits of my effort. Recovery has always been the goal, and because of the strength and determination I have put forth, I have been beating this illness that nearly destroyed my life. I have been fighting, winning, recovering.
Slowly but surely, I have gained my life back, and while pieces of the puzzle are still falling back into place, I know I will beat this mofo once and for all. It has been one hell of a year, and I have shown courage and belief that I was not even aware was a part of me.
This recovery process has been a major learning experience as well. I have grown to understand more of who I am as a person, what I like and dislike, who my true friends are, and how much I truly love my family, my main support system through this time. Learning a great deal about myself perhaps is one of the few positives that has come out of suffering through this illness, and the fact that it has led me to the person I am today.
And this is where the internship plays a major part of the transition period I have gone through in the past year.
I have gained an understanding of the path I hope to lead in my life and that is to help people. Specifically, I want to help people with this illness- aid them in realizing and understanding that although having ED feels “right” and the way things need to be, managing your life without the safety-net of the Eating Disorder is both possible and truly amazing. I personally know the horror of what this illness can do to your existence, and no one deserves to live a life subjected to the rules of an ED.
I want to do everything I possibly can to help people beat this. I desire to understand why this happened to me, why it happens to others, why it is increasing in our society, why people can die from it and most importantly, what can be done to counteract the horrible effects of an eating disorder. (On that note I am also taking a nutrition class focusing on Eating disorders!)
After I graduate this spring with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health, I plan to enroll in Nursing School in the fall. (Just have to get in first, more on that later!) Nursing has always been a career goal of mine (that is why I went to UVM- I was in that program but when I transferred to UMASS, I could not get into the one here), and I still wish to pursue this path. However, emergency care or labor and delivery will no longer be the goal, but coupling my RN status with eating disorder care is the new objective.
Perhaps I am being a bit presumptuous when I say this, but I have a fairly strong feeling that I truly could help people suffering with any sort of eating disorder. I have an understanding, an insight into how the mind of someone with an ED thinks and functions. That there is way more to this mental illness than meets the eye, and in fact what is underlying the surface is the core of the disorder and must be treated. Because I have an ED myself, I get it.
Again going back to the Internship and what i said before… what am I thinking working at place that could be incredibly triggering? Well it’s a valid point and one I am fully ready to address. For months I thought about whether or not that sort of environment could negatively effect me, and I have come to the conclusion that while it could and will “bother” me to an extent, there is no way it would force me to relapse.
I have come way too far, have learned way too much, and realized the extent to which the benefits of recovery rule over the holding on to the eating disorder. When I work at Walden, I am going to see first-hand, young women still suffering with their personal EDs, and that is even more reason for me to keep on fighting toward a peace of mind with food and my body. I can then pass on this knowledge and HELP people.
I am doing this Internship to gain experience, the legitimate reason you are supposed to partake in one. I want to see if a place like Walden is one where I want to be the rest of my life, or what other options I will have once I am a registered Nurse. Pairing the Public Health degree with the RN title has the potential to lead me to a career, but one I am still working to understand and then establish.
Perhaps I am getting way too ahead of myself here… I mean I have not graduated yet, have not yet been accepted to a nursing school (waiting on that), and still have no idea if this Internship will even be a good one. With all of that said, I have know from the bottom of my heart, that my passion in life is to continue personally healing from this and to help anyone out there I can because again, NO ONE deserves to have this.
My first week at Walden has been well, fantastic and exactly what I am hoping for. I am there 16 hours per week- 11 hours in the intensive outpatient program which treats Anorexia specifically, and then 5 hours at night, when Binge Eating Disorder is the focus. I am still quite new to the philosophy and methods of the facility, but will be reporting back and telling you all more about it as I gain experience.
So there you have it, the big “secret” has been revealed!
I don’t mind if you think this is a completely terrible idea and again, the thought that it has the potential to trigger me into a relapse.. it is a valid point after all. I am not looking for anyone’s approval on this necessarily, but more just letting you know what is going on. I have realized what I hope to do with my life and it feels liberating, exciting, and almost unbelievable.
Of course, I still have a long way to go in this recovery process and I understand that. Victories and failures, set backs and triumphs, good and bad days, will all continue to occur. It is still going to be really hard at times, and even moments where I want to throw up my hands and give in… NO! I refuse to let it happen and now part of my goal in life is to help others out there too.
Every.single.day is a battle in itself and by looking at the larger picture, what is important to me, and what I want my future to look like, I am given even more motivation to keep on going. Again, I do not deserve to suffer with this debilitating illness anymore, and neither does any other single person out there. We must keep on fighting.
I mean it when I say this… I would love to hear from you,
-I suppose the most obvious question I could ask, what are your thoughts on this?
-Do you know what you are truly passionate for?
-If you do, are you taking steps to pursue this passion? And if not, what is holding you back?
-On a 100% completely unrelated note, how was your weekend?! Share something you did
Phew… majorly wordy and if you read the whole thing, well major kudos to you and I also really appreciate it and I thank you.