What allows you to wake up each and every morning and continue to fight, continue to push forward?
What made you look at your life and see the need to change?
This is a question I think about a lot as I wonder if some of y own motivators are similar to other people's.
During recovery I had a lot of different things that allowed me to keep fighting, all of which changed depending on my mindset and what seemed to be important to me at that time.
I remember being in treatment and being completely motivated by being able to be active again. I was used to riding my bike around town, rollerblading up and down the street, and hiking with my dogs. But these seemingly simple activities were no longer an option for me due to my extremely low weight.
So I used them as something to look forward to after I got healthy. When I was healthy, I could do all of the things I so desperately wished I could do.
After treatment, when these things no longer were an issue, I had to find new motivators to keep me on the right path. College seemed to be the big one that stood out. My mom made it clear that if I was not doing well when college came around, she wasn't going to let me leave and live away from home, where I could easily fall back into my old ways.
College was a good motivator for the time being, but as soon as I got there, I began to fall apart. There was nothing to hold on to once I was there. Nothing that made me want to stay healthy. The kids around me were dieting, exercising all the time, and perfect.
I wanted to be smaller. I wanted to go back to the way I was. I wanted to be accepted.
This was the first time I had a lack of motivation for the right reasons. Sure, I had many things that allowed me to turn back down the road to ED, but nothing to pull me back to my healthier ways.
And this resulted in a full-blown relapse, where I was right back to where I had started before treatment.
During this time, the people around me seemed to be annoyed with me. I wasn't the same person I once was. I was no longer the laughing girl who liked to do fun things and be silly. No, I had become the rigid version of someone completely different. I no longer wanted any part of the people around me. Nothing they did seemed to make me happy and all of my laughter had vanished.
That was, until my fiance, Ben told me the truth about myself. He flatout said that I was no fun to be around, that I didn't make him as happy as I once had.
This hurt. It broke my heart to hear those words come from him. But I also awoke in that moment. To reality. To what my life had become.
I needed to change. And I had my motivation. Ben. Love. Life.
I used the thought of making Ben happy again as my sole inspiration to heal once again. I needed to be the person he had fallen in love with two years prior. I needed to be the silly and loving person so many people enjoyed. But most importantly I needed to be myself again.
As I began to pull myself back together, another motivation entered my life. Pregnancy.
I had known for a long time that I wanted to be a mom, that I wanted to have kids running around the house. In fact, since I was very little, I would come up with baby names I liked and would one day name my children.
So, as I was trying to recover, I thought about what it would like to not have these things.
What if I could never get pregnant and have those names be my children? What if this eating disorder and all of these choices I was making prevented my body from doing what it was made to do?
This fact really stung. It hurt more than all of the others. But for good reason. I had a clear motivation, one that I banked upon each time I had a hard moment or day.
I wanted a life full of love and family. Not one filled with sickness and hardships.
I wanted to love Ben and him love me back. I wanted my future children to look up to me and be able to teach them what I failed to learn: to love themselves and to appreciate their bodies.
I began to slowly heal, keeping all this in mind.
Today, I continue to use these motivators for staying on track. Saying you're recovered does not mean that a relapse could not happen. No one is perfect and we all need to remind ourselves what is important. I remind myself every day what I want my life to look like.
I tell myself each and every morning that I want to live and not merely survive.
What motivates you? What helps you see the benefits of your struggles?