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August 10, 2023

Sun and Blue Skies. Rain and Clouds. – All Part of Recovery.

Sun and Blue Skies. Rain and Clouds. – All Part of Recovery.

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

By Mollie Twitchell

I am starting to accept that I may not be able to change or erase some things from my past — which includes the things I have lost from having an eating disorder. I am trying to learn how to manage better, live a healthy life, and achieve the things I want to do despite the things that have happened.

From all that I have been through the last 11 years battling this illness, I know I won’t be able to eradicate everything I have faced. Rather, I am learning to manage eating disorder-related thoughts and feelings when they do arise with the tools and coping skills to let them go and carry on, despite the negativity that fills my mind. I accept them like a passing cloud.

I see, feel, and recognize the negative voice or thought in that dark cloud, but I let it pass by, knowing that, eventually, it will clear. The rain will come, but I know the blue skies are not far behind. I understand that this is how life is, and it is not all blue skies. I always thought that I had to have this constant feeling of happiness and positivity all the time. I thought keeping it together meant I was getting things right. I always felt like I failed when I hit a bad point or struggled with something, and things didn’t go according to plan. I turned back to my anorexia every time to help cope with this negative feeling of failure. I wanted to find the answers to how I can find this linear pattern of life and not have a constant ebb and flow and downward spirals. A linear pattern meant that I was doing life “right,” but since coming out of the hospital and being in a better place in my recovery, I am realizing that there is no such thing as a linear life.

I was striving for a constant upward trajectory and burning myself out because I felt that I wasn’t getting it right, as everything felt so hard. I am letting go of that because life is not all blue skies, and, actually, I don’t want it to be.  The clouds and darker days have allowed me to grow, get stronger, and learn more about myself along the way. The tougher days make you really appreciate the good days, however much you wish the cloudy, rainy, and dark days did not exist.

It has taken time to build my awareness and control over how I connect with myself and respond to these thoughts. I have been faced with so many demons and obstacles, and each time, I have noticed I can face them and get over them a lot better and quicker. I am learning new skills and want to take care of myself better. I am choosing life and choosing to fight against what that negative voice tells me so I can be the person I want to be and live the life I want to live.

The ebbs and flows are all part of the journey — and that’s okay. You just need to keep getting up and trying every day because it does get easier when you start to take control and stand up for yourself. Your illness shouldn’t be the one controlling and dictating your life. It is possible to break free. Never give up, because you deserve so much better, and there is a brighter life on the other side.

Rain and clouds, blue skies and sun — it is all part of recovery. Keep going!

Get help. Find hope.