when I left outpatient, my last assignment was to write a letter to myself that would be mailed thirty days later. I got it in the mail today:
thirty days ago, you left IOP at Meier. for over three weeks, you spent every weekday morning in a room full of other people who were all facing different paths and stories and difficulties, but somehow you all felt a similar pang of emptiness. I know you left feeling unsure; you’ve been unsure since day one. but I hope you understand that it takes more than three weeks to even feel the tiniest bit of improvement. that makes it really hard to feel hopeful, and that makes it even harder to see recovery as a worthwhile effort. but let me ask you this: is staying where you are right now, stuck and empty and indifferent, a worthwhile effort? is living every day at war with yourself a worthwhile effort? I know you probably can’t think back to the last time you truly felt at peace with yourself, in everything you are and what you have done and what you are doing, but maybe that’s something to look forward to. maybe you’re not going to find answers from the past or even in the present, and you’re going to have to trust life beyond where you are right now. this life isn’t your own, but it also isn’t your eating disorder’s or your depression’s; trust in the One who created you as a uniquely gifted child of God. He will guide you, He will sustain you, He will fill you with love and value and purpose, but you need to let go of the control you so desperately want for your life in exchange for trust and obedience.
I hope you’ve opened up a little more. I hope you’ve taken risks with your heart and your story and I hope you’ve recognized what you need and have learned to ask for it. I hope your scars remind you that you are strong, and that they don’t mean you are weak and unstable. you are strong, Tessa, and you always have been. and when you catch yourself believing that voice that tells you that you are weak and that you’ll never be able to recover because you are worthless and unimportant, remember how you learned to walk as a baby. the doctors said you wouldn’t, that your muscles were weak and your lower body wasn’t quite in connection with your brain. but you did. even as a baby you were strong and determined, and you learned to walk. and remember back to last June, when you ran your first marathon? that took strength. that took patience and perseverance and courage, and you ran 26.2 miles just like you told yourself you would. so what I’m trying to remind you is this: you have the ability to do anything you’d like. you are given a choice whether you want to choose recovery, and if you decide to, I know nothing is going to hold you back from healing. you are capable; God might’ve allowed you to fall under the cloud of depression and self-harm and an eating disorder that’s stuck around for over six years, but I want you to realize that He’s also given you the strength to get better. the decision is up to you. I hope you’ve chosen well.