Over the next few weeks and months a lot of changes are coming and I am both excited and scared!Change can be wonderful and I am keen to embrace it rather than running in the opposite direction. The one thing that seems to prevent people from doing what they want is fear, fear of loneliness, fear of the unknown, fear of change,illness,flying,the list goes on and on. The only way to overcome fears though is to face them, approach what scares you with a confidence that you can overcome it. One of my favourite sayings is fake it till you make it. Sometimes you may need to act like something doesn’t scare you and face it until eventually it is not a fear anymore.

I have my last shift at work on the 14th June and I am actually quite sad about it.The restaurant I have worked at feels like a second home. We are a crazy, dysfunctional family. Working has also played a large part in puling me out of my eating disorder both when I first started and sixteen and also this year. The social aspect helped me to feel less isolated and alone after my friends went to university and I took a gap year instead.The long hours and random shift patterns threw me out of my comfort zone in terms of eating,timings,habits and forced me to adapt. Seeing people eat normally around me and enjoy themselves made me think “maybe this is ok?”. It pulled me out of bed on low days and forced me to get out of my mind and into the outside world. I will always be grateful for this job.

I am going to Bulgaria with two friends on the 15th of June for five days, then to Norway for a week then coming back and finally going to South America for two months. I am beyond excited and cant believe it is actually happening. The thought of not working and travelling for about 2 and a half months does scare me though! Everything will be new and unknown.New people,new places, new foods. Especially when travelling south America!We will be staying in a different place every 1- 3 days and that does make me slightly anxious being constantly on the move. I hope to pack everything into my rucksack apart from my eating disorder! Maybe that is wishful thinking but I am determined to move on with life and not be a slave to this disorder anymore. Sometimes I get scared at the thought of going to South America for so long and having no one to keep me accountable. Its just such a big step from where I was the last summer, I wouldn’t have even gone away alone for a few days then.Everyone says recovery is a marathon and not a sprint but the past few months have definitely felt like a sprint!

Then there is moving into university and beginning my nursing degree. I feel ready this year. To anyone thinking of taking a gap year I would so recommend it. There was no way I would have gone to university last year, recovered AND done well academically/socially. At the end of the day It is only one year and the experiences you can gain on a gap year are so valuable. I strongly believe now that what is meant to be will be.

If I have learned anything this year then it is how to live again. Weight restoration and changing thoughts and habits is an important part of recovery but I cannot emphasise how important it is to put LIFE back into your life so that it doesn’t feel like an eating disorder is worth going back to. To experience new things.

There have been some terrible things happening in the world, the Manchester terrorist attack being one of them. My heart goes out to all the people affected by it. Trying to remember how precious life is and you never know what may happen. Being thankful and living for each day is so important. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in our problems but when you look outside and realise what you have the weight of those problems may feel lighter.

I hope to never relapse again but at the same time you never know what the future holds. I’m taking each day as it comes and keeping in mind my end goal; to be free of an eating disorder and live a fulfilling life. The moment you begin to believe you can be free from the things that hold you back is the moment you begin to set yourself free.

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