It’s been a week since I’ve moved back to Baltimore although it feels like it’s been longer. Every time I come back, I realize just how much I’ve missed it. It’s grimy and weird and beautiful and a little offensive and I love it here – I’m convinced that there’s nowhere else really like it.
“I would never want to live anywhere but Baltimore. You can look far and wide, but you’ll never discover a stranger city with such extreme style. It’s as if every eccentric in the South decided to move north, ran out of gas in Baltimore, and decided to stay.”
- John Waters
I’m really happy being back, and especially happy living with my sister. We’ve been having fun putting our apartment together and reuniting with family and friends – things are feeling pretty settled for the most part. We don’t have internet at our place yet, which has been a blessing in disguise as it’s given me the chance to think about what is going on with me lately and what these next couple months are for: recovery, realignment, and health.
As far as my mental health goes, though, I’ve been a little wishy-washy. I haven’t been on my meds for a few weeks now (I know, I know – not a good idea) and the withdrawal has been awful. Nausea, anxiety, paranoia, irritability.. it’s all a big, uncomfortable mess sloshing around inside my head. I need to get in touch with my psychiatrist to get refills but something keeps stopping me from calling, something for weeks now has kept me from getting those refills. I’m fucking around with my brain chemistry and for what? I hate the idea of being dependent on medications but I know that I need them at this point in my life, so why don’t I just call? Momma needs her pills!
In the meantime, I’ve gotten in touch with the treatment program my parents want me admitted to. I was hoping for enrollment in the evening program but there’s a waiting list, and after speaking with the admissions lady she thinks my “symptoms” are better suited for partial hospitalization (PHP). If and when insurance clears it, I’ll be going to PHP for twelve hours a day, five days a week, for meals, family therapy, group therapy, individual therapy, and education. Ah! It’s a huge commitment of both time and hard work – I won’t be able to get a summer job because treatment is my summer job – but it’s something I gotta do.
I told my good friend Sarah (a recovery friend and ally) about my hesitations about going into partial, and how I wasn’t sure I was “sick enough” or that I even really “needed it,” and she helped put things into perspective for me:
it feels like failure babe i know i’ve been there BUT it’s not at all, each hospitalization gives you much longer and better recovery … no one ever ever sees it as failure, they see it as courage and commitment, you need a booster, we all tend to need it … and babe, im worried … as much as you don’t see it right now, remember ED gives you these rosy colored glasses to see a life with ED and being okay when ED is never okay in life, it makes us sick … now its tune up time and clearly you’ve been losing weight and well not all of that was “health” targeted and the goal weight range shouldn’t dictate our lives. I am here for you alexa, fully and i want the best for you, this summer needs to be you, think of how much more you’ll enjoy/see/feel/experience WITHOUT ed there to nag n nag … you aspire to such high things and i don’t doubt the world ahead of you. Just take it day by day, and relax a little, because recovery is lifetime not short comings.
And she’s right, too; recovery is an ongoing thing, a lifelong fight. A life outside of ED’s control is so much fuller and well worth the hard work it takes to get there.
It’s just a matter of doing the work.