I realized that my last journal entry was over a year ago! So much has changed since January 2013; I've been accepted to universities, been surprised with a birthday party, graduated high school, and moved away from home for the first time. It really was an active year, to say the least. However, what was really important about the past year was what I learned about myself.
I was attending what I thought to be the university of my dreams, the one place I would love like a home and experience a whole new way of living. Unfortunately, I wasn't ready for a "whole new way of living." I realized quite quickly that living away from home and attending school was not meant for me, despite the pressure from family and friends to get the "college experience." I was able to stick out my first semester, emerging with a 3.87 GPA and an invitation into my university's Honors Program. But the following semester would not be so successful. In fact, I would last only about two weeks of it.
While living on campus and attending classes, I found it strange that I never experienced one panic attack; I have panic disorder, and moving away from home was nearly guaranteed to spark my anxiety. Instead, my mind was craftier than a simple panic attack; my anxiety manifested itself into anorexia nervosa.
It wasn't confirmed that I had this eating disorder until Thanksgiving Break, when I visited my therapist and psychiatrist for the first time in several months. I had been aware that there was a problem with my eating and outlook on food in general, but having it confirmed was difficult. I went back to school feeling as if I'd been hit by a truck. But I still managed to work my way through the remaining three weeks until Christmas Break, thoughts of going home being the only thing helping me through the stress of finals.
Going home was an amazing feeling! I was able to relax for the first time in several weeks and sleep as much as I wanted. Sadly, the period of happiness was over in one month, and I was forced to head back to school in the middle of January. I was sad and miserable to be leaving for school once again; I knew it was wrong of me to feel this way. Living on campus was supposed to be an enjoyable experience, not one that I dreaded. Nevertheless, I switched roommates and told myself that everything would get better.
A meeting with an APRN at the university health center told me just how not okay everything was, and how difficult it would be for anything to get better. My eating disorder had left me weak, nutritionally depleted, and ninety-five pounds. I was told I needed treatment, and it was decided that I apply for a medical withdrawal from the university and focus on recovering. Needless to say, the news was shocking and the decision even more so, but I knew it was what had to be done. So as quickly as I had moved in, I packed up my things and moved out.
Even two months later, I've made zero progress. I now float between eighty-eight and ninety pounds, obsess over small changes in my eating habits, and drive myself crazy daily. Though I visit my psychiatrist and therapist weekly, I'm not going to be making any real progress until the end of April. At that point, I'll be going to an out-patient treatment center, working to recognize and overcome the causes of my plight. Until then, each day is a little battle in and of itself, what with my food limitations and need to over-exercise. But I'm still not going to lose hope!
I've applied to a good university close to home; in the fall, I'll start commuting to and from school. Until then, I'll focus on treatment, a driver's license, and a part-time job. While I'm nervous about the changes that are to come, I'm excited to see how bright the future can be!