I am still racing in college–in fact, after coming out about my eating disorder and starting this blog, I am only halfway through my college career. I have two more years!
At this point I see the final two years of college as a second chance–a second chance to compete for my team, to continue letting go of Rawchael (while remembering her too, for she has made me into the stronger person I am today) and to continue to become the best Rachael I can be.
A second chance to be able to live the college life free from (or at least lessened by) the burden of anxiety with food. I can’t believe I’ve been consumed with all of this for nearly four years now . . . and that’s often a short span of time for those with eating disorders. Through research I learned it can last ten years to a lifetime in some cases. And it seems early intervention is the key to recovery. In a way, trying a raw food diet forced me into getting help. But it still took a long time. Once I did receive more help, I saw that writing, analyzing myself, and getting the support and help from friends and family (i.e., talking a lot) sped things up.
So yet again, I encourage anyone dealing with an eating disorder to get help (I don’t care if you think it’s “not bad enough.” I thought the same thing and couldn’t understand why I still couldn’t shake it off for the longest time). Even if it’s just a message to me, just a note to share your struggles with someone, please do it, because it will only help the process.
When Times Get Tough Again
Nothing is smooth sailing from there on out. It’s tough when things have been going so well and you suddenly find yourself trapped again. That familiar feeling creeps over you, like an enemy who has died has come back to haunt you. It’s hard to hear the voice of hope disappear again, a voice that had been so strong for so long once everything started feeling good. The tough part is pushing the bad voice away as you reach for the railing to pull yourself back up, to reach for your support and goals and beliefs in life. It means applying the tools you knew you may have had to use but hoped to never have to use them again. It means gritting your teeth and getting back on track again, even though the pain of the mistake may still linger.
Each time I fall back or make a mistake, I evaluate the situation. I tell myself “it is what it is,” learn from it, and try my best to move on. It’s difficult when my mind keeps falling back to I shouldn’t have taken that extra bite, or if only I ate this instead of that… or maybe I should skip lunch only to surprise surprise, find myself ravenous and seemingly out of control later.
Second chances. Since we have to eat every day, we always get another try, another go at our next meal. And this doesn’t have to just apply to eating disorders–any other troubles in our life in general can see this happening over and over again. If you make a mistake in one area, you are able to try again the next day. It’s time to leave the past (“it is what it is”) and move forward (“I have a second chance”).
So with two more years of college running ahead of me, days ahead to look forward to, and every meal to try again, I can find hope and happiness. It will come back.