Topic Tuesday: Recovery

“A New Year” (By: Emily Heard)

A nEmily Heardew year. For people all around the world this means new year’s resolutions. People’s new year’s resolutions confound me. Instead of spending more time with friends or family, or even breaking open a new gratitude journal, a lot of people (especially in the United States) roll with the diet idea. Whether it be to drink less of this or eat more of this or to do more of this activity, it typically ends differently than expected. As people with eating disorder knowledge could tell you: diets don’t work.  I know that in inpatient we would yell this phrase in unison anytime there was a diet related commercial.  While in public you may not be able to scream this every time someone mentions their new diet, but  I know I try to in my head.

See for eating disorder survivors new year’s resolutions are tricky. With all the talk of weight loss and “bad foods”, the sick voices in our head latch on to those disordered thoughts.  That’s why January is my least favorite month of the year.

Last January for me was awful. I was in relapse and my eating disorder was being fed with expectations of the New Year. A new year is an enticing idea. The idea of a fresh start and the ability to say, “Oh that is in the past” is relieving.  And I also know that I used to think that if something unfortunate happened once then it was spiral and there was no reason to fight it. I was convinced that I had ruined my year and I needed to accept whatever awful things I had coming.

After all the treatment and character development of the past year I can confidently say that I believe we get a fresh start every day . Now I take every day as it comes.  I wake up every morning to fight the same demons I fought yesterday and that is really hard.  I’m deciding to look at things a little differently this year.  This January won’t be like last January – I’ve learned too much to regress to that point again. This January I’m looking forward to the premiere of Shadowhunters. I’m excited for possible snow days. I’m happy to have new friends I didn’t have last year.  I’m at a new school with new opportunities and of course new struggles. But I’m starting to realize that just because it’s a new year doesn’t mean everything has to be perfect. Recovery isn’t. I’m not. Therefore there is no way everything could be.  This year is another of hardships, but it is also another year of laughter.  I don’t have any new year’s resolutions. I have resolutions that I try to accomplish day by day depending on the opposing forces at that moment.

I hope everyone invests in their recoveries this year.  Every person deserves to be passionate and happy. I hope at the end of this year I will be able to look back and say ,  “I fought as hard as I could in that moment” . And if I can say that then that is good enough for me.  🙂

About the Author

Emily Heard is a Nashville native who continues to explore how nature and movement can aid in the long term recovery process. She is thankful for support from her loved ones, outpatient and inpatient teams and everyone she meets who adds vibrancy to her life.