Topic Tuesday: Recovery

“Same Trail, Different Day.” (By: Jessie Capps)

The Red Trail Jessie Cappsat Percy Warner Park: a place where hikers clear their minds; a place where dogs can jaunt off-leash through leaf piles; a place where you can peak through any number of humble gaps in the tree line to see striking views of Nashville’s 2,000 acre forest.

For years, the Red Trail represented many additional things to me. The Red Trail was a place I only visited as atonement for last night’s binge; a place quiet enough for ED to whisper acidly in my ear; a place whose beauty was lost on me, because my mind was furiously calculating calories. Back then, the Red Trail was a punishing place. And during the period that I suffered from continual binge eating, I went there nearly every weekend for self-flagellation.

But when I entered treatment, I learned that punishment and “compensation” through exercise only feeds ED – and I decided to stop running the Red Trail. Once my binges stopped, I lost even the desire to go – after all, my weight had stabilized, I was the healthiest I’d been in my life, and I felt no need to run such a difficult trail. My interest in Percy Warner Park waned along with ED’s reign.

However, this weekend there was a February heat wave (read: 55 degrees). After several gloomy weeks, the sun was out, and I unexpectedly found myself thirsting to run that old trail.

Was it because the previous night I’d eaten a hefty (read: delicious) hibachi dinner? No. I wanted to feel that familiar clay beneath my feet, cushioning the steps for my (prematurely weak) knees. I wanted to experience the primal sense of accomplishment that comes from leaping over roots and rocks, using trees as leverage to climb sheets of limestone.

This time, the Red Trail cleared my mind. This time, I laughed at the dogs clumsily galloping down the path. This time, I paused to gaze out through the tree line, silently thanking the many people who helped me get to this point in recovery – this point where my head is genuinely a nice place to live.

Now that ED isn’t on the trail with me, I can run more strongly than ever.

About the Author
Jessie Capps is a native Nashvillian and Vanderbilt graduate, now working as a technical analyst. Having entered treatment in October 2012, she aims to help reduce the stigma around eating disorders by sharing her story of illness and recovery.