I don’t know when things turned a corner for me. But when it did, the corner was sharp and around it was a twisted turn.
Years upon years, I struggled with binge eating and bulimia. I cut my body in self-harm. I abused medicine and narcotics, I made friends with pharmacy staff. A smile on the outside covered up a million tears on the inside.
While I struggled with those things physically, mentally I was also defeated. Anxiety, fear, depression, panic- all still masked by a simple smile and a “have-it-all” lifestyle.
Then the corner came. I rounded it and for the first time in so very long, I saw light. I had made progress. I was in treatment, in recovery, being presented with opportunities to do things I’ve never thought I’d do- advocate and fight for the mental health community. Finally all the struggles and treatment and pain started to feel worthwhile.
But, another corner appeared suddenly. It stopped me dead in my tracks. My physical health started to take a toll. Years of abuse in many forms had brought me to a halt. The things I had dreamed of, that only a few steps back were right before me, now seemed dim in this new light.
My mind was now so much better, and I was delighted that my dreams of advocacy were coming true. But my body had been holding on for so long and then it stopped. It started to fail me. Headaches that led to discoveries of blood pressure issues, abnormal EKGs, ER visit after visit, chronic tachycardia. The list went on. My entire GI tract damaged in some way from laxative abuse and vomiting, my teeth yellowed from more of the same. My bone density was found to be far lower than it should be for someone my age. My body unable to balance it’s own electrolytes anymore, constantly putting me in need of IV medications and at an even higher risk for seizures and heart attacks. Weekly blood tests and heart tests keep me busy and friendly with the local hospital staff. Procedures, tests, appointments and medication surround my every day life.
Tonight, I look over next to my bed and there stands an oxygen tank. Next to it, me. Twenty-nine years old, young, a wife and a mom in the beginning of her life’s calling. The whisper of oxygen blows through my nose and I feel it deep in my lungs when I inhale. I feel better, but only slightly.
It would be naive of us all to think that I could put my body through what I did and it not weaken in some way. It’s weak right now, but I am convinced this is only a wake up call. My schedule for the next few months is packed with speaking engagements, conferences, events, fundraising and so much more. I have come too far to succumb in this way. No. I will fight. I will do what I can NOW to be healthy, leaving old behaviors behind. I will try to undo anything that I can physically and do whatever I can to make myself stronger.
My mind is strong now. And I have a job to do. Physical weakness will not slow me down. So tonight, I lay here feeling weak and weary, but I know I am strong and ready to wake up fighting.
What corner will come next? I’m ready to push forward to find out.~Lindsay