Hello everyone! It is good to be home free. Residential treatment is intense, rigorously scheduled, and worth every penny. I went there to process trauma and gain control over a 40-year eating disorder, both of which happened over my month-long stay.
I met amazing people. The mental-health professionals, behavioral health specialists, kitchen help, janitors, safety personnel- these invested in me and in the lives of all the residents. I observed steel strength under pressure, self-controlled professionalism under duress, and mile-long patience. If you know anyone who works at a residential treatment center, give them a thank you and a hug today.
Of course, there were other impressive people too, the addicts in recovery. I met heroine, attention, alcohol, food, metamphetamine, relationship, nicotine, self-harm, drug, and sex addicts. Most of them were inspirationally strong as they fought their individual nemesis. Those who seemed still lost in addiction were trying to become strong. They were in a good place for that.
As for me, I feel like I can breathe!! This is incredible. Everything has lifted- the hopelessness, depression, sense of worthlessness, dread of the future, suicidal thoughts… it’s all gone. Symptoms I’ve known every day since childhood have been gone for a week. This is marvelous; I’ve never known the joy of just being alive until now.
Your prayers have been appreciated. I returned home earlier this week a little anxious about being able to continue recovery on my own. Then I remembered, I am not alone. I’m diving into support groups who ‘get it’ when talk of disease versus decision comes up. I want to be around more of those people who are able to be real and can discuss common struggles and strategies for the win. I choose to spend time with more recovering addicts.
Did all this happen for me magically at the treatment center? Not by any means. In fact, if I’d gone there any sooner the result would have been less-than. It is the patient reiteration of truth from my therapists over the last two and a half years that finally clicked in the 24/7 setting. I was able to take back my power because they had prepared me by teaching me I had that option. Slowly my brain absorbed their information over the years until suddenly knowledge seeped into my heart and became true to me. In no way would I be here if it were not for them.
Do I have doubts? Yes, and they are manageable. I’m going to tell you, my readers, something I’ve not been able to say truthfully for decades. I deserve to be free, to not dread each day, to be ME. For the first time in my life I get to be who God created and not feel ashamed and guilty for daring to do that.
As one therapist has said to me, “I know what this feels like, and I want you to have it!” Now that I am aware of what he meant, it is my desire for you, too. Stay tuned.
NOTE: I am not a trained or licensed mental health professional. I am not a doctor. I speak only from my experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.
*picture from Qulaitystockphotos.com