| | The Butterfly Effect - Life after the Cocoon
Like the username, I sometimes think of my recovery from bulimia as opening up from a cocoon and spreading my wings and revealing the butterfly that remain hidden underneath.
When I first started thinking about recovery five years ago, I was very hesistant. I felt the Ed was all had and made me special, I was scared to go back to being a nobody. Thats where I was wrong, you see as you recover, you grow and change and the person who starts to emerge is very different from the one you left behind.
In recovering, I'm not going back to being vulnerable and lonely, instead I am gaining an active social life and an abundance of friends and a strong sense of self. Your probably asking, whats changed? Everything.
Physically, I got sick just before puberty so my body will never be the same. I got sick as a child and as I recover I'm becoming an adult. My personality and spirit are free-er, I have the gift of being awareness and shifting perspectives. The strength and discipline of constant trying and also I'm less naieve. I know what its like to hit rock bottom and I am more compassionate as a result. I am literally learning to really see and experience the world whereas before I only experienced my own little box. My obsessions, my ups and downs and immediate circle of family and friends. Now I seek to understand things on a greater level, to keep learning, to keep striving, to keep asking what else?
Often the greatest challenges we face are the greatest teachers. Don't be scared that recovering means going backwards, its about taking baby steps until your full grown and gaining a new life and perspective. The limiting beliefs and obsessions, compulsions are all part of the cocoon, its part of livign a limited and narrow life. As you emerge from that state, however slowy you begin to see life from a new vantage point. One of freedom and choice. Recovery doesn't mean never getting sad or hurt again, it means being able to deal with the struggles and the joys as a team with other people instead of carrying the load on your own.
The next thing, I often find myself thinking is, "How can I be the 'new' me around my other people?" I have noticed others echo this same sentiment as well. Its my belief that there is no 'new' you, its just another stage of development. Your still the same person who likes green apples and hates spinach but you now have the option of seeing the world differently and allowing everyone, including yourself, to adjust to your new place in it.
I had a few hospital admissions during late high school. I was rarely open about why I went to hosptial and then came back. Needless to say there was always alot of commotion when I would return to school from hospital, after being away for six weeks. When I entered the hospital programs, it was because I was struggling and after graduating from each admission, I would return to school with a new perspective on things. For example, after my first hospital admission, everyone started noticing that I now ate at school with them. There were naturally alot of questions. But the thing I learnt was, people will always comment on something different. It doesn't mean they don't accept it or like it.
After the intial adjustment period I would always be accepted at my new stage, sometimes I would choose to hang out with different people or do things differently but I was always accepted and welcomed back eventually. Often too, people were happy for me. Happy to see that I was getting healtheir, able to get to know them and it worked both ways. I wasn't the only one who was growing. I was also able to get to know new people and still keep my old friends. Of course I didn't have the same group of friends forever but the key thing I learnt was just because I changed, doesn't mean my friends have too. Often we all just need time to adjust. So don't write your friends off as not being able to accept you as you grow, without giving them the chance to adjust. Maybe your right and they can't adjust and thats okay but surely you'd like to know for sure before you make any decisions.