When we think of celebrations we tend to think of the things most people celebrate; birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, births, graduations. Today I am celebrating an anniversary, but not an ordinary anniversary – today is the first anniversary of my new purge-free life.
The ability to keep your food down is not something “normal” people celebrate. You won’t find it on a Hallmark card, written on a cake (that would actually be pretty hilarious) or scribbled on a little note nestled in a bouquet of flowers but that doesn’t make it less worthy of celebrating.
When I was 14 years old (13 years ago) I started purging, I remember thinking that I couldn’t believe what I was about to do and said a quiet apology to myself in the bathroom stall at a church retreat. Since that day I have purged at least once every 3 months (yes, even in treatment) sometimes as often as 5 times a day. Last April when I decided to turn my life around and start into recovery I couldn’t manage to go more than 2 or 3 weeks without purging, I was gaining weight and eating normally but I really didn’t think that I would be able to stop purging.
The last time I purged was the night before we were leaving to spend a weekend at the cottage. I was so anxious and nervous about the whole trip. If you want to read more about all that head over here but the long and short of it is that on the first night my disorder made my experience completely awful. The second night I decided that I was going to let it go and enjoy myself – I had the greatest day / night of my life and wanted to experience more of it. I decided then and there that I would do everything in my power to recover so that I would have access to this wonderful life I had a tiny taste of.
It has been an incredibly hard year, one with many urges and struggles but I have come out the other side and am stronger than ever. If you told me last year (even on this day last year) I wouldn’t have believed that I would make it to this point. It’s amazing what some determination and a lot of will power can do. I couldn’t have done it without the continued support of my treatment team, husband and dear friends but this is one place where I have to give myself a lot of the credit. When it comes right down to it as much as my loved ones wanted to help and be there for me, in the end it was me who had to make the final decision not to purge, one I have made over and over again and will likely continue to make. I fought hard for this and have done some amazing work utilizing some great coping strategies, I feel confident that this accomplishment will only continue to grow and I can honestly say that I believe I will never purge again.