On March 6th, in a Starbucks, I Met a Milestone in My Eating Disorder Recovery


I’m sitting in Starbucks on a rainy Friday morning, sipping my coffee between classes. It’s been a long week, I’ve barely slept in days, and I feel the anxiety start to creep in. Free time: what do I do with it? Finish the assigned reading for my next class? Review for my midterm in two hours? Eat my morning snack? What do I even want to eat? I shouldn’t eat. Eating is a waste of time. I should study. But what should I study? I can’t even focus. Eating would help with that. I don’t care; I’m not eating this snack. I’m exhausted and overwhelmed. I just want to go home, get back into bed and cry.

Instead, I sit quietly, sipping my coffee. Slowly. I don’t like moving slowly. Slow means lazy. Lazy means not enough. I’m not good enough. I’m skipping a snack. How long before this is daily again? How long before I’m back in the hospital? I should be studying. I’m not doing enough. I’m only taking 12 hours. I’m not going to graduate on time. I’m not studying. I am going to fail. 

STOP. 

Breathe. It’s OK. You’re in Starbucks. It’s raining. It’s March 6th.

It’s March 6th. Last year on March 6th I came home for spring break. I came home, and instead of returning to college, I was admitted to a residential eating disorder treatment center. It’s March 6th and last year on March 6th I was crying on the flight home, appalled that I’d spent the past two weeks in bed. I skipped classes and exams and watched paper due dates fly by. I hid from the world, too scared to even attempt these tasks. Too scared to face my life.

It’s been a year. It’s March 6th and I’m sitting in Starbucks sipping coffee between classes. Today I’m taking two midterms, turning in a paper and then going on a sorority retreat for the weekend. It’s been a long week: This week I laughed and I cried. I argued with my nutritionist even though I knew she was right. I shut down and dissociated when my therapist pushed a little too hard. I had a panic attack on Tuesday night.

But this week I also studied, and wrote, and ate my full meal plan. I went to mixers and took study breaks to joke around with my sisters. I went to a bookstore just because. I worked a few hours at a job I like with people I love and asked someone to cover a shift for me because I knew I needed the time for self care. I skipped a few workouts because I just didn’t have enough time or energy to do them. I’m working on accepting the fact that my GPA this semester probably won’t be my best, and that’s OK. It’s all going to be OK

It’s Friday morning. I’m back at school. I’m not in a hospital. It’s raining. It’s March 6th. I’m sitting in Starbucks sipping coffee. Slowly. I’m learning to engage in my life. I’m doing things I’ve never done before. I have bad days. I have better days. I’m practicing balance. I’m making progress. I’m recovering.

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