When people first meet me they usually get one of two impressions “she’s really fun and nice”, or “wow, she’s hard to get to know.” For most of my life I’ve been plagued with thoughts and ideas of worthlessness often tied to my body. As a dancer I was never quite good enough. But too, because I frequented the stage starting at a young age I learned how to detach myself from my emotions, feelings and fears and put on a performance. This proved detrimental to my relationships with friends and family and my growth as an individual.
For most of high school I hid my disrupted sense of self, negative emotions and food behaviors behind my excellent grade point average, and my work ethic in the dance studio. Most people that knew me well knew I had a problem – but it didn’t really come to a head until I was on my own at James Madison University. I was in counseling there, group and individual, and for a while did okay until I continued to deteriorate my junior year. I was in and out of the hospital and after the year had ended went to a inpatient treatment facility in Arizona – Remuda Ranch. Remuda didn’t fix all my problems or make my life easier overnight. Leaving treatment I still had a lot of work to to do in recovery, so I ended up taking a semester off of college so that I could focus on treatment and recovery principles.
Today I am weeks away from graduating from James Madison University, and I have never believed in the recovery and treatment process more. I know that I will always need some professional support to help me deal with my mental illnesses, but I also know that when I commit myself to my treatment plan and work hard to keep myself healthy by asking for support, using the tools I’ve learned in treatment, taking my medication, and following my mental health plan guidelines than I can live a full and productive life. That is why today and for everyday as long as I live I will stand for recovery – because it gave me my life back.