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Change. The word we all want to hear, and the word we all hate to hear. For the average human being, change can be a very scary and uncomfortable process, especially when it is marked with uncertainty and unpredictability.
However, for individuals battling a disorder, like ED, depression, or anxiety, change and the fear of change can be the catalyst to perpetuate and maintain every self-destructive thought, tendency, behavior, and feeling.
Unfortunately, this is when change is needed the most, and becomes the only solution to finally reaching full recovery. That is why sometimes our greatest fear in life becomes our greatest savior.
In the midst of my disorder I had to reacquaint myself with the idea of change, and I had to make many changes in order to learn to enjoy all of the wonderful changes that come with life.
After spending years perfecting my daily schedule to a synchronized, reliable, and predictable sequence, I became inflexible and terrified of everything and anything that might alter my pattern. Even the changing seasons were an unwanted burden met with great irritation, as I would contemplate about how I would handle the uncertainties and events the next few months would bring. Suddenly life had become about remaining static, constant, and unmoving.
Unfortunately, as I stayed in the same place, I quickly realized that I was left behind. Everyone beside me was moving forward on the journey of life. Being left behind is just as terrifying as moving forward, thus my relationship with change was redefined.
Change needs to be approached and handled with great care. Little by little, day by day, you must challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone, set new goals, alter your “life plan,” or just be spontaneous.
However, the first changes that need to be made are those that are going to make you healthy. (tweet)
Accepting, enacting, and enjoying change is not going to be possible until your body is physically and mentally strong. This might mean changing your meal plan to satisfy your nutritional demands, taking more time to spend on yourself, or establishing a different treatment plan and team that can help you finally reach your recovery goals.
These changes are the key ingredients toward moving in a positive direction, which is what change is all about. For me, these steps included enacting various food challenges into my weekly meal plan, trying new and different forms of exercise to prevent myself from becoming obsessive, and finding a new doctor and therapist that I could trust to guide me toward the finish line.
These first changes enabled me to get healthy enough to become open and comfortable with the concept of change, and eventually get me to a place where I could start to change and move forward with those around me.
Although my relationship with change is still not perfect, I am now able to recognize all of the wonderful things it can truly bring. This summer I had the opportunity to be a part of a huge family change, my only sister’s wedding. My sister and I have been best friends since birth, and she has been a huge part of life. After 21 years of living together, I had come to rely on her presence, her helping hand, and her support to guide me through the difficult days and greet me at the door, but things were going to change. Rather than meet this change with anxiety, fear, anger, or disappointment, I was overjoyed, excited, and honored to stand next to her.
I met each wedding event, from the bachelorette party to the reception, as a challenge to enjoy all of the laughs, smiles, and memories that changes can bring. By looking at this change in a new and optimistic light, I did not myself as losing a sister, but as gaining a brother and an amazing opportunity to learn more about what relationships, love, and life have to offer. I was able to enjoy this joyful event for everything it should be because of my recovery and new acceptance of change.
I am here to tell you to not be afraid of the changes you will encounter in life. As I move forward into the next chapter of my life, I know that I will face many difficult and nerve wracking adjustments, but I am choosing to be excited instead of afraid.
Life is about moving forward – onward and upward. By transforming yourself, you can have the capacity to take part in, look forward to, and learn to love all of the amazing changes that your life will be blessed with. More importantly, you will be adding some color, taste, and liveliness to your personal palette – making life a bit more fun and interesting, and a lot more fulfilling.
Although I may not know what will happen today, tomorrow, or next week, I do not need to know because whatever changes come my way, I will be able to confront them head on, just as you will! As Jim Rohn said, “Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.”
Shelby is currently working on completing a double major in Psychology and English from Central Michigan University, and will graduate this spring. She recently applied to graduate school for doctoral programs in Clinical Psychology, and hopes to pursue a career in eating disorder treatment and yoga therapy. She is incredibly passionate about increasing advocacy and awareness for eating disorders, and has devoted her life towards providing support, guidance, and love for those inflicted by “ED.” She hopes she can use her experiences and writing to encourage victims towards recovery. In her spare time, Shelby enjoys running, yoga, and spending time in the great outdoors. She someday hopes to travel to Africa and help provide mental health services and yoga treatment to the African population as a part of the Africa Yoga project.
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