Recovery Advocate Guest Blog
by Colleen S.
The Winter Solstice just so happened to be the night before I was going to admit to EDCare as a patient. The shortest and darkest calendar day of the year falls on December 22nd – it also marked one of the darkest nights of my life.
It was official, I had run myself into the ground in more ways than one. I couldn’t hide my suffering and pain any longer, my secrets were out and I had been exposed. My ability to do my job and sustain relationships with others were hanging by a thread. I felt hopeless, defeated, and worthless. I was a shell of what I used to be and had been leading a lifeless existence. My life had come to a grinding halt. My efforts over the years of ignoring and numbing the painful memories and traumas I had experienced in my past had finally caught up to me. My personality and zest for life were totally MIA, making me unrecognizable to those around me. I had lost who I was and had no idea what I was supposed to become. I needed help outside of myself in order to change the course of my life from the destructive path I had been forging for so long. I was terrified of how dark and hopeless my life had become.
Little did I know that upon my arrival at EDCare the next morning, I would slowly have more and more light come into my life to fill the darkness that I had been consumed by for so long. As numb and scared as I was on the first day of program, there was something deep down inside of me that felt like I could come to trust the people in this place. Something I had never been able to do before. I spent the next 6 months experiencing my own life transition out of the Winter Solstice I had been trapped in for so long and slowly started moving towards something brighter than I thought was possible.
Every person I have been blessed to work with at EDCare met me where I was and came alongside me to help me start to find my way. I never felt judged for my experiences or behaviors or beliefs about myself. For the first time in my life, I started to feel what it was like to actually be heard and understood. I found if I continued to show up and be honest and be vulnerable a little bit at a time that I could start to trust the people around me. The amount of patience, support, kindness, and time the staff dedicates to each patient is truly remarkable. From admission to discharge – every staff member is a part of what makes the individualized care one receives as a patient unmatched when compared to other settings.
During my time at EDCare I have had the opportunity to learn many things. How to journal. How to knit. How to build new neural pathways. How to be spontaneous. How to be assertive. How to challenge my monster. How to take calculated risks. How to hold multiple emotions at the same time. How to cry. How to laugh again. How to show up where I am and know for the moment it will be okay. How to listen to my authentic self.
Since discharging from EDCare, my life is so much brighter than when I entered treatment. I have been on adventures, changed careers, found new passions, and been challenged in ways I could have never imagined. The growth I have continued to experience since discharging has not been easy or linear, but it has continued to transform me. I still rely on tools and experiences from my time at EDCare to help me continue forward in my life journey on a daily basis. If someone had told me several years ago that I would be where I am right now I would have never believed them. I am truly thankful and in awe of what has transpired. Things have changed in my life, I have started to change, and things are different. Healing really does take time and I know I still have a lot of work to do, but now I am free to view life as an adventure to be lived! After all, adventures really are the best way to learn.