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Oliver Pyatt is an Eating Disorder Treatment Center in Miami
I was diagnosed years ago with ‘stress-induced anorexia, depression, OCD, panic disorder and social anxiety.’ Now that’s a mouth full, huh!
My mental illnesses and disorders had wreaked almost complete havoc in my life for 10+ years until I broke down. I also almost passed away from the effects of “My Toxic ED” and relapsing a handful of time during this timeframe.
After feeling like I had tried everything I could think to do but nothing permanently fixed my issues up to this point, I just couldn’t let myself give up.
Of course, I put myself unknowningly in this situation and not by conscious choice but I had to go through hell, almost die (a few times), have to say goodbye to my loved ones and hit absolute rock bottom to find a way out.
My lifestyle for years was centered around pushing myself super hard in everything that I did. I was OCD about it all!
Let me quickly mention that I have been self-employed for the last 10 years and owned a few demanding businesses. I was working day, night and on the weekends. I didn’t have much of a life outside of work but I was also a single-Mom to a very deserving and loveable boy. I also had been in a few serious love relationships during this time.
My son and my boyfriend at the time, they simply didn’t get enough of my time and attention. I was way too fixated on my businesses. I was determined to not go backwards in my life as I had been on welfare and public assistance on and off for a few years before then. But, instead of have a good work-life balance, I neglected everything and everyone, including my health and well-being for years.
In Japan they have a saying for people that ‘work themselves to death,’ it’s called karoshi. I was close to killing myself by overworking a handful of times. It’s actually a miracle that I am still alive today and here to share this experience with you! Honestly!
Flash Forward a Few Years
I had been married (for the third time), my son grew up, turned 18 and moved out a few months later. By this time in my life, I had a much better grasp on things, I was more stable with my health and weight. I understood my disorders but I was triggering myself still, having panic attacks at least once a month and wasn’t able to overcome things so that I could have a truly healthy life. The stress level in my life was ongoing, almost uncontrollable and relentless. I tried countless things like: therapy, reading, classes, working less, exercising, doing art and singing, living a more balanced life, etc. I was still stuck and felt myself sinking a little deeper into a dark pit of hopelessness and despair.
After a series of events in my marriage, I decided to leave it in August of 2018. My son had moved out a month before and subconsciously, I had been preparing for a major change for months. I packed up my belonging one night after having a fight with my husband and gave him one last chance. I asked him if he would go to marriage counseling with me. He said, “If you pay for it!” Angrily, I refused and moved my belongings into his SUV (I had sold my SUV a few months earlier because I was going to go on the road with my husband for his job and we thought we only needed one vehicle. He was nice enough to let me borrow his SUV and he had a spare SUV that he could use in the meantime) and drove off, after telling him “I hope you have a good rest of your life!”
When I drove away I could see that he was utterly and totally crushed. I drove on, found as cheap of a hotel as possible and tried not to freak out that night when I went to sleep.
This move triggered a major relapse for me, one that I couldn’t afford. But I refused to live a miserable, oppressive life which was what my marriage was at that time. I also had told myself that I was going to take full responsibility for myself from the moment I left and that whatever happened, I was going to deal with on my own. I was so damn determined!
The grief, heartbreak, anxiety and sadness I felt immediately triggered my ‘stress-induced’ anorexia.
As I focused on one-meal at a time and making sure to drink enough. I was debilitated and crippled emotionally. I still took full responsibility for myself and my choices. In my heart, I knew that it was 100% the right thing to do for myself and my health.
After settling into a Candlewood Suites in Pensacola, a few hours away from my ex, I started to unwind, decompress and try to turn myself in the right direction.
On one hand, I was so relieved to be away from a toxic relationship (and some of the people in his life that I couldn’t stand to be around) and I also felt truly hopefully for my ED recovery.
For years, I had been going against my nature instincts and intuition. You know those ‘red-flags’ that go off inside you that warn you and should be things that you listen to. Instead, I hadn’t been advocating and standing up for myself or putting myself and my needs first and “My Toxic ED” (as I like to call it now) made sure to suppress things and keep my true self down where it was hard to find it.
In the next few weeks, I worked hard to distance myself from my ex, to put up boundaries for myself and create a work-life balance that I could function and thrive in. I was starting to get excited but at the same time my weight had dropped so low that I was also actively trying to ‘stay outta the hospital.’
I was completely on my own, it felt good and I often found myself writing down what I wanted my dream life to look like. I wrote it all out and put in where I could see it. Each day, I made good decisions to get closer to my dream life and the goals that would help me achieve things. I was in control over my life completely! It felt amazing and my soul was able to finally be free, to speak it’s truth and for me to be able to put myself first.
The Start of Living My Dream Life!
I had found the almost perfect place that I wanted to live in downtown Pensacola but it wouldn’t be ready for me to move in for a whole month. I put down $1,000 deposit and signed the lease on a 1 bedroom condo in the heart of where I wanted to be. I thought about living at Pensacola Beach too, but found it too far from town, stuff to do and I wanted going to the beach to be a special time. I figured if I lived on the beach that I would take it for granted. I was pleased and very happy with my decision.
Waiting that month was super tough. Living full-time at a Candlewood Suites for more than a week is not ideal, at least for me. Plus, it was so expensive. I used that time to try to do nice things for myself every single day. I’d go walk at the mall, go for a nice drive, try out a new restaurant or coffee shop or simply would relax, read or watch a movie back at the hotel.
My life at this time wasn’t exciting at all. I was very limited, my heart and veins hurt because I was too thin and my physical health was right on the edge. I was scared and almost everything was super tough. But, I pushed myself everyday carefully and was intuitive to listen to my body.
I knew that things would be a process on starting my dream life because physically I was really sick.
With me living and being alone most of the time and feeling lonely at times, it all was bearable but it felt like something was missing from my life. I wasn’t thinking at all about dating anyone to help fill this gap, I didn’t think that was fair. I just wanted to be good on my own! But, the massive daily struggle both physically and mentally and lessons learned were all worthwhile to me in the grand scheme of things. I am a survivor and a helluva fighter! That’s for sure!
I also blocked my ex so that he couldn’t call, text or email me. A few times I broke down, I unblocked him and reached out to him in moments of weakness. I told myself that I wanted him to be a friend. I didn’t have much of a support team at this time, but reaching out to him proved to be the worst thing I could have done and I knew it. I knew what I was doing and what would happen.
My son was amazing as were my eldest brother and parents as well as my teammates (one was a very good friend) that worked for me in my software business and a few friends that lived far away. I was super grateful for all of their support and encouragement.
My Controversial Choice
My ex and I had planned to meet in person to try to ‘talk things out and get closure’ a month after I left. I drove back to Destin and we had ‘our talk.’
I came to him as a friend and felt strong, empowered and in control of my life. When we talked, he looked absolutely miserable and said that he would do anything if we could get back together. The words took me by surprise partly and I was happy to hear that he was not doing well honestly and without sounding like a total shit here. He shouldn’t be good without me, right!?!
I told him I would think about it all but that I couldn’t rush anything. A few days later we saw each other again. In my heart I felt like the only way that I would consider coming back to my marriage was if we went to ‘marriage counseling’ and took it seriously!
I also was at a critical point in my own life because I was set to move into my new, unfurnished condo that I had been patiently waiting for. I’d planned to live there alone and couldn’t have a pet. I also had to buy all new furniture for the place, which was exciting but also would be expensive. Plus, my ex told me that he got a new 90-day job assignment to Miami and asked if I wanted to come along and that we would go get the counseling that we had so desperately needed for awhile.
I thought long and hard about things again and after a few weeks of us seeing each other and having our first talk, I decided to go with him to Miami and give our marriage another try. What can I say, I am a glutton for punishment, co-dependent and was stuck in a battered woman’s mind. Within our marriage there was never physical abuse but there was still abuse. I am a survivor of domestic violence, a handful of times over my adult life, so for me, it is a hard thing escape.
With all of this going on, I was so happy that my son wasn’t there and didn’t have to live through the ups and downs any longer. He was so smart to take off and start his own adult life. I am so proud of him and he is doing exactly what he wants to do and living his ‘dream life.’
It was hard enough telling my loved ones and friends that I was going to get back together with my ex and the reasons why. Looking back now, I should have stayed strong, offered to just be his friend and not gotten back together with him. BUT, if I didn’t, I would never had been able to have more time with him and I wouldn’t have been able to go to Oliver Pyatt, which is an Eating Disorder Treatment Center in Miami. Click here to read Part Two!
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