I graduated from college on May 8, 2016.
On May 10, 2016, I entered residential treatment for my eating disorder.
Not exactly your typical post-grad plan.
I resisted going to treatment because it wasn’t the “right time.” I was going to have to put off working. I was going to have to miss out on all of the celebrations. I wasn’t going to travel the world or move to a tiny apartment in a glamorous new city like my classmates. I was going to pack my two bags, filled with clothes that I prayed would continue to fit and enough yarn to make a blanket. I was moving into a house with 15 other girls to be monitored 24/7 by therapists, nurses and professionals. I had officially lost my course.
I was always a good student. I enjoyed school. I graduated in the top 100 of my high school class (which was a feat at my very academically rigorous public high school), I got accepted to 4/5 of the colleges I applied to, I attended one of the most prestigious public universities in the country where I was accepted into one of the top 5 journalism programs in the country. After four years, I graduated with distinction. I should (dangerous word there) have graduated, taken a few weeks off, maybe a month, to rest and travel and then started my perfect (another dangerous word) job in Nashville or New York. The rest would be history, happily ever after.
But it wasn’t.
On May 10 I entered treatment. I spent the next four months moving through the ladder of treatment options. I put my life on hold. I did nothing school or work related other than the work I was doing on me. [Side note: honestly, it was awesome. You had nothing to do other than focus on the task ahead of you, recovery. It wasn’t easy, but it was hugely helpful to have the world on pause at that point in time].
It was what I needed at the time.
Then came September.
I was newly out of treatment and suddenly looking for the plan to kick back in.
I’M DONE WITH TREATMENT NOW I’M STABLE GIVE ME A JOB WORLD….I AM READYYYYYYY.
Spoiler alert: the world does not work like that.
I spent hours each week unselectively applying to jobs that might hire me. I was miserable. I found a part-time job nannying for the cutest kids ever. I was slightly less miserable, but still, my life was not going how I had planned. I applied and interviewed for jobs, either not hearing back or being politely turned down. Try not taking that personally when you’re newly in recovery. My self-worth has taken quite the hit.
I told people that I would be happy if I had a job by January.
Well, now it’s January. Still no job. So I’ve officially hit a wall and thanks to my good friends eating disorder, anxiety and depression, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am defective, unworthy, unqualified and worthless.
THX GUYS YOU ARE ALWAYS THERE FOR ME WHEN I NEED A PICK ME UP <3.
I’ve all but given up. But every once in a while I get a glimpse of hope. The piece of the real me, deep down, that knows that I am worth it. I am DAMN good at what I do. I have more experience that most of the people I knew coming out of school. I actually KNOW what I want to do with my life. I have the skills and resources to set myself apart and I can’t let that extinguish because of doubts of the parts of me that I know I can’t trust.
It’s not easy. I had a plan. I had a life laid out in front of me, and it didn’t happen. It still hurts, the wound is very fresh. But the one thing I never forget is that without treatment, without recovery, without therapy and meds and appointments and all of that jazz, I wouldn’t be in the position to even be looking for a full-time job. I would be slowly dying.
So today I applied for two jobs I’m actually really interested in and on Thursday I’m going to go babysit my little friends and the world will keep turning and I will be okay.
Everything doesn’t have to go according to plan.