Sneak Peak of My New Book
In case you missed it, I published a book last week! Choosing Life, the third and final book in the Changing Ways series, is based on my personal experiences with an eating disorder and follows a high school senior as she navigates the ups-and-downs of recovery. Anyone who’s had to recover from a mental illness understands how very exhausting and constant it is. I hope this excerpt, taken from the end of Chapter Four, does justice to that struggle.
For the seventh day in a row, I wake up to dark clouds dominating the sky. I peer out my window, scanning the horizon for any hint of sunlight, but all I see is grey. It’s becoming harder and harder just to get out of bed.
The morning seems to last an eternity. I keep staring at the clock, as if somehow that will make time move quicker. My head feels heavy, and more than once, I catch myself zoning out. No matter how hard I try to stay alert and present, fatigue and inattentiveness continue to get the best of me.
I briefly consider checking in with my guidance counselor, but I decide not to. Everyone has bad days—or, in my case, a bad week. It’s like Bono says in Mom’s favorite U2 song: It’s just a moment. This time will pass.
By my one fifteen appointment with my therapist Anna, however, that horrible feeling of dread that I woke up with hasn’t passed. Instead, it’s only gotten worse. Mom drops me off at Anna’s office building, and I trudge inside, my feet dragging against the damp pavement. I take a seat in the waiting room and scroll through my Instagram explore page until Anna is ready to see me. After she’s recorded my weight, she takes a seat in her chair while I sit cross-legged on the couch.
“You look comfortable today.”
I glance down at my outfit: an oversized grey sweatshirt and black leggings paired with beige moccasins. “I was going to wear something lighter, but it was in the forties when I got up. Again.”
“Well, it is almost October.”
“I hate October,” I say.
“Because of the cold?”
“Because of a lot of things. It’s just . . . it’s hard to explain.”
Anna leans forward, resting her elbows on her knees. “Try me.”
I sigh. “Last October, I was in a bad place. I was restricting food and hurting myself and feeling hopeless, like I had nothing to live for. It was also the first time I went to the hospital.” The thought alone sends a chill down my spine. “And although I’m doing better, the memories are still so vivid and constant. Like yesterday, Mom had on the radio, and a song I used to listen to when I was sick came on. Suddenly, all I could think about was lying in my bed and crying myself to sleep to those lyrics. It’s more annoying than anything else, really. I mean, something so small shouldn’t be able to mess with my head like that.”
“And yet, it does,” Anna responds. “When someone has gone through a traumatic experience, it’s common for certain things to trigger unpleasant memories. But what you have to remember is that you’re not in that place anymore. Who you were then is not who you are now. Does that make sense?”
“I guess so.” I stare out Anna’s window, watching as a single orange leaf floats to the ground. “I just wish there was a way to forget.”