NEDAwareness Week

Welcome (a little late) to National Eating Disorder Awareness Week!

Usually I am on top of and prepared for awareness week every year, but this year it snuck up on me.  This year I have been busy with recovery, which feels very fitting for this week.

Every week I am attempting new challenges, taking better care of myself, and doing more and more healing.  I feel strong in my recovery, stronger than I have ever been.  And it continues to improve the more effort and hard work I put into it.  The hopelessness I used to feel was the farthest thing from the truth.  There is hope in recovery and I have continuously been finding it in the challenges I overcome, the strength I gain every day, and the more healing I do.

Last week I was so proud of myself for yet another successful year of celebrating my birthday.  It may seem insignificant to most people, but after so many years of believing that I was undeserving and too worthless to have a birthday, especially over the last 5 years having it be within 10 days of the anniversary being raped, it is a huge accomplishment.  This year especially with the anniversary being so big and choosing one of my favorite yet most feared fear-foods for my birthday dinner.  I enjoyed my dinner.  I did not fear it.  I enjoyed my Seahawks cake, too.  And that is huge!

This awareness week, I can remember these things and be especially proud.  Recovery is possible and full recovery is closer and closer.

To read what I wrote for Provincial Eating Disorder Awareness Week, go here!

The Anniversary Day 2: Choosing Recovery

On what is to me the second day of the 5-year anniversary of my rape, I reflect upon my journey over the last five years.  It has been a hard fought journey of the days and weeks after being constantly reminded and replaying in my head the events of that night to these most recent months where I do not have those thoughts anymore but work through all the images, thoughts, feelings, etc. that are still stuck in my mind that have never gone away.  It is a journey that I finally see an end to after over four years of blaming myself, convinced it must have been my fault because those around me told me so and I told myself so because I believed everyone and I believed that I did not do enough to protect myself, as if I could have done something more.

It was not my fault.  I could have said ‘No’ a thousand times more and it would not have made a difference.  I cannot change what happened, erase it with magic or forget it somehow.  What I can do is work through what happened.  I can stop blaming myself, work through all the pain, anger and sadness, and find full recovery from this just like I am finding recovery from my eating disorder.  I can stop using the eating disorder to try and cover up all of the feelings and instead feel them.  I can choose recovery.

I fight through the pain and memories of the rape to finally find peace and find recovery.  I choose recovery over the blame, living in the eating disorder, and being stuck in that night.  I know recovery is possible and I will get there.  I will heal from this.

February 10th, 2009

I met him through a mutual friend I trusted.  He seemed polite and well-mannered.  When we started speaking about our likes and dislikes, we started to find little connections.  It seemed as though he was the nice, good-fitting guy my friend said he would be for me.  It was with no hesitation after our blind first date that I invited him back to my apartment where we had first met that night to continue talking.  I felt at that moment I had no reason to mistrust him.

It soon became obvious that I did have reason.  A little after we sat down to talk, red flags came up that I did not know how to listen to at the time.  It was too late by the time I tried, I was being raped.  I was trapped in paralyzing fear, by his body and strength, and an IMG_1792overwhelming sense of uncertainty of what to do.  If saying ‘NO’ did not work, then what would?  I doubt anything would have stopped what happened.  I did what I had to do to survive instead.

In the aftermath, I took the rape-kit, did the report, and like many who report a rape, received a letter two weeks or so following stating that no charges could be brought against him since it was a “he-said-she-said” case.  My heart immediately sank because I had a text message a day later of him quasi apologizing and admitting his guilt and I knew what happened that night.  It truly broke my heart to know that I was about to face what had happened to me through therapy, in school (I was in college at the time), and even in the places and people I thought were safest.

Over the next several years, I struggled with my eating disorder that only worsened significantly after the rape.  While still in college, I had friends who decided to walk away from the mess of a person I was becoming.  And the friend who set me up on the blind date?  She never spoke to me after I told her what happened.  I struggled every minute I was in my apartment having to look at the places where it happened and live in that place.  I was able to move only briefly into an open dorm on-campus.  Therapy was few and far between at this time because of the limitations of living in a more rural area and I struggled finding therapy until after graduation.

So after those first several months, I learned not to speak about it.  It seemed as though people blamed me, others shamed me, and it only hurt to bring it up.  I kept quiet until this past year when I started to find my voice in recovery.  I slowly IMG_1794spoke about my recovery, my struggles, and learned that together not only are we stronger, but we can make a difference.  We can inspire each other through our words and our stories.

Today, I face the 5 years anniversary of my rape a different person than I was before.  I am a stronger, healthier, and happier person.  I have worked relentlessly to overcome one of the deepest wounds in my life.  I have fought for this “recovery”, too.  It still may hurt and I still may have quite a bit left to work on, but I am getting there and I am closer than I ever have been before.  I know it is possible to heal from this.

For more information about rape, sexual assault, and abuse and for support:

http://www.rainn.org/

http://project-unbreakable.org/

http://www.unslutproject.com/