Recovery is never easy. For the most part I don't think its meant to be. Whether you're recovering from drugs, alcohol, self-harm or an eating disorder. What we are essentially doing in the recovery process is learning to love ourselves again and learning how to forgive ourselves. In any case it takes everything you've got and more to not give into temptation.
My name is Jade and I am a recovering diabulimic and self-harmer. If I look back at life before all this I never would have imagined that this is where my life would lead. The day I was diagnosed with diabetes would be the start of a very long, downward spiral. I grew up in a loving family. My mum and dad escaped war to build themselves a better life. My sisters and brother have been my rocks and without my family's love and support I probably wouldnít have the strength to keep fighting.
I still remember the day I got diagnosed like it was yesterday; it was scary and painful. Thirst had pretty much taken over my life at that point. After a week of spring break it was enough to send my body over the edge. It was my best friendís birthday and I was in bed curled up in a ball. I got no sleep that night and the next day I was taken to hospital. After hours in the ICU being poked and prodded, and after having them take my blood, they told me the news.
I remember thinking ďI can do this. A little prick over here, a little stab over there.Ē However, even with all the doctors, nurses and endless specialists, no one can prepare you for what it's really like to live with this disease and how much it changes EVERY part of your life. I spent the next few weeks trying to do what was right for my condition. But as time went on skipping my shot once in awhile became skipping two shots, and then it turned into me never taking my shots and never checking my blood sugar. After just a month of my diagnosis I had completely given up.
When I discovered that skipping my shots resulted in losing weight it was a win/win!! I mean who wouldn't love losing a kilo overnight and eating all the sweets in the world? At this point my depression had started to take its toll and the next three years would prove to be the hardest years I think I'll ever have to go through. I spent the first two years in denial.
Living with diabulimia was my way of gaining back the control I lost when I got diagnosed. So in order to gain control I lost control. After two years of living like this, my life was hell. I hated not being able to get up in the morning because I had no energy. I hated that I was so moody and depressed and I hated that almost half my hair had fallen out, but I was still determined. Diabulimia was the only thing that gave me any happiness, even though it was momentary.
Six months before I started recovery I hit rock bottom. All the sadness, anger and resentment caught up with me in one massive blow. I found myself thinking about suicide every minute of everyday. I started self harming daily. At this point I believed myself to be worthless and I deserved to feel pain. I didnít think I could survive with all this pain, guilt, shame and anger. There was just too much! I felt like I was being trapped in my own body.
The thing we donít realize when we are struggling is the more we bottle our feelings up, the more intense our emotions are when we burst. This disease made me feel weak, pathetic, worthless and broken. I honestly couldn't see myself living the way I did for much longer.
My rock bottom was when I was being reckless and found myself in trouble with the law. I donít think I have ever cried so much in my life. I woke up the next morning staring at a wall for hours. I was numb and felt like a zombie. In that time I was thinking to myself, "What the hell am I doing?" I was always the happy kid that laughed and always found the good in life. What would my happy 16 year-old self say if she looked at what I had become? She would be heartbroken and disappointed. At that point I knew I had to change or my life would just continue to be out of hand. I was always strong for other people, but now I needed to be strong for myself.
I started to take my insulin and made an appointment to see a psychologist. That was my first step. It sounds so simple on paper but in reality it's one of the most difficult things Iíve ever done. For the first few months, everyday, every hour, every minute, heck every second, was a struggle. This deadly addiction will do everything in its power to break you. It takes every ounce of strength to ignore the critical voices in my head that tell me to give up.
Some days I still battle with myself constantly to keep going. I take it one day at a time and if I am ever having a bad day I just tell myself, "You just need to get through today, because today will turn into tomorrow, and before you know it, tomorrow will become the rest of your life.Ē You have to face up to all your pain you've kept bottled up, and that's emotionally draining; learning how to sit with your pain when you've avoided it for so long is really hard.
Recovery is a long journey and a bumpy road. We smack into things and we fall and that's okay, just as long as we get back up and keep going. We were strong enough to survive our addictions and we can use that same strength to do good for ourselves!
Things can be hard for us, but if we fight back, things will change for the better!!
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Always consult your physician or other qualified healthcare or mental health provider for advice, diagnosis and treatment of any health-related matter, including relating to diabetes and/or eating disorders. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.