Bridging the Gap

Over three months.

Fourteen weeks.

Ninety-eight days.

That’s how long it’s been since I’ve attended a class at UMass Amherst. Nearly one hundred days ago, I attended my last class and then came home in the middle of a crazy rainstorm crying nearly as hard as the rain was falling.

My foolish thought then was that this would be a quick fix. Not knowing the depths of my disorder; not being aware of just how tightly it held me in its grasp, I figured that I would go home, magically be cured (somehow the actual weight gain was left entirely out of this process), and then returned to UMass in a sparkly and glowy fashion, ready to take on the spring semester in a blaze of glory like never before. I would be happy, I would be healthy, and I would be so successful that nothing would dare stand in my way.

This, of course, has proven to be incredibly incorrect. Anorexia doesn’t play nice. It caught wind of the fact that I wanted to be rid of it, and it rebelled with astonishing force. That’s why I’m sitting here in the hospital instead of at my desk getting ready or in a classroom learning about something minorly fascinating. That’s why this is my third time in the hospital instead of my not even having had to be admitted. That’s why I still have an absurd level of hatred for my body, and why I know that even if I do manage to recover by treatment standards in the next few weeks, this is something that will haunt me for the rest of my days. Such is the unfortunate truth of my disorder. There is no magic cure-all. There’s not a bandaid you can place over the cuts this disease has laced across my heart and soul.

Something I have learned, though, is that this recovery takes time. I’ve already had to take this spring semester off in my efforts to get better. 

And now I’m contemplating doing it again. Forgoing this upcoming fall semester; thereby essentially giving myself a year to recover enough to attend college safely. Maybe learning things about myself in the process. Maybe rediscovering who I am and where I’m meant to be in this world. Maybe even discovering what it is I’m meant to do.

So I’ll put a poll here, just for the heck of it. I won’t necessarily take the results of it into consideration at all. But a lot of my readership has dealt with eating disorders before, and I’m willing to bet the vast majority also has my best interests at heart where I might not always.

Do you think I should take off another semester?

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4 thoughts on “Bridging the Gap

  1. I think taking the fall off is a great idea, weather you use that time to stay in the hospital or resident program or you travel as long as you stay working toward being healthy and happy. I never have given myself that time and I think that’s why I keep relapsing after going to treatment. Rushing back into your “regular” life can be overwhelming. Take the fall slowly encorporating aspects of your life before treatment to ease back into it while continuing to work on recovery!

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  2. Hi. I think ultimately the decision is up to you. but I would just like to remind you that you can’t really put a time restriction (excuse to pun, sorry!) onto recover. you cant at all, actually. it doesn’t work that way. Just as you didn’t develop the eating disorder overnight, or even in a week, its not going to go away that quickly. a nurse in treatment told me that for every year I was sick, I have to allow at least a month for myself in recovery. I don’t know if that makes sense…but its a different way of looking at things you know?

    also the other thing I would urge you to think about, is whether or not the Umass campus will be helpful towards your recovery. what I mean is, if you think being on campus where you can always be around somebody and if you think being busy in class can help you, versus if you think it will be too easy to use behaviors on campus or if you think classes will stress you out to the point of endangering your recovery. one of my favorite things in the world is a pros and cons list!

    I too had to recently make the choice of whether or not to take a semester off (I go to umass Dartmouth!) and I chose to take it off. after weighing out the pros and cons (sorry about the pun again!) and decided to take it off, because living away from home right now is not an ideal or safe idea for me. And also because when I went off to school last September I was technically in recovery, but still in the vulnerable stage, and I relapsed very quickly and got to the point where I was almost sicker than ever. so, college isn’t always the best environment to nurture recovery.

    of course, I am planning to go back! and if it helps, perhaps you could take the semester off (if that’s what you choose) and still take one single class. that way you wont fall too much behind and you can still have something to keep you busy and your mind working without the added stress. this is exactly what I am doing! It is also helping with the guilt I am feeling of taking time to myself. and it is lessening the chance of me being stuck in my thoughts all the time…we all know how bad that can get!

    so like I said the decision is ultimately up to you. however if you do go back this semester, I would urge you to reach out to supports on campus i.e. campus counselor, health services, and I think umass Amherst might have a nutritionist. and just remember, that if you take this semester off, you CAN always go back at a later time!

    I hope I helped you, I’m not sure if I have though. I just really understand where you are at right now. (We also have a lot of mutual friends on facebook so I’ve been kind of following your journey through the posts that show up on their timelines. I hate to compare people’s strength because I don’t believe strength is comparable, but I do want to say that you are incredibly strong. and I commend you in being so open about your disorder and recovery. I hope to one day have that kind of bravery, and think im getting closer day by day). anyways good luck with this decision and do keep us updated!

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