It is Possible to Go Home Again

I want to thank you guys for such kind words in my last post about my upcoming move back to Ohio. I was so touched by all the wonderful comments, and all the prayers that you all have been saying over the years for this. I can’t believe how incredibly blessed I am to have such a loving community here online.

You know, it’s funny. Rewind ten years ago, when I first moved to New York City, and I wanted to get as far away from Ohio as possible.

One thing they don’t tell you about recovering from an eating disorder is that it’s really hard to live in the same place that you were “sick.” For starters, everything was a reminder: of the deception, of blowups, of episodes of rage. But the hardest part: was escaping other people’s memories. I came from a pretty “well known” family in my town — which forgive that brashness, but my mom led a huge Bible study at our parish, and we were super involved there. My brother was the captain of the football team, and as a family, we were mega involved in the community and school district. So not surprisingly, when the daughter of that family wastes away to 78 pounds, and has to abruptly quit Varsity soccer, and stop doing all the shows at school, people noticed.

And it was the terrible shadow that followed me around.

I was the “former anorexic girl.”

And even years later, revisiting my old church when I would come back home to visit, I would still get well-meaning church-ladies coming up to me, saying things like, “You look so much better now,” or “We’re so glad you’re healthy again.”

It just — ugh, I get cringe shivers down my spine just thinking about it. But I get it. I was a walking billboard of anorexia, and people noticed, and — like I’ve mentioned in all my prior recovery advice posts — well-meaning people can – and will – say really dumb things. They’re trying to connect again, say something to acknowledge that they’re relieved you’re healthy — but it most often times comes out clunky and in words that, frankly can be taken as insensitive to the person.

So I just wanted to run. Far away. First to college in Colorado, and then to life in New York.

I wanted — and needed — to rediscover who I was without my anorexia. Not re-invent, per se, but rather reestablish that I am a worthwhile person that has a purpose, has something to offer, has the ability to make friends and create a life — not only without ED — but free from the stigma that I felt was attached to me back home in Ohio. I needed to prove that to myself.

One thing they don't tell you about eating disorder #recovery is how difficult it is to return #home, because of the "shadow" that follows you around, even after you #recover. How I'm dealing, given my upcoming move home...#edrecovery #family #ohio #moving #mentalhealth #wellness #life

I didn’t want to be, Caralyn – the former anorexic girl from high school. But rather, Caralyn – my friend who is fun to be around and makes me feel valued as a person.

And for a long time, I harbored major resentment and anger towards that period of my life when I was suffering with anorexia, because I felt it had robbed my home from me. I was the girl that, growing up, wanted to live next door to my mom. I had the most beautiful childhood, but the eating disorder stole being able to feel “home” at home from me, and I grieved that for a long time. And had kind of come to terms with letting “home” go, as devastating as that was.

One thing they don't tell you about eating disorder #recovery is how difficult it is to return #home, because of the "shadow" that follows you around, even after you #recover. How I'm dealing, given my upcoming move home...#edrecovery #family #ohio #moving #mentalhealth #wellness #life

Friends, it is truly only through God’s peace and grace He has poured over me that those wounds have healed.

That, plus time and perspective.

I don’t think I’m alone in those former feelings. Perhaps not an eating disorder, but I know that for many people, it’s hard to go home for a myriad of different reasons. Heck, I “ran away” for a decade, so believe me: I get it.

It is possible to go home again.

One thing they don't tell you about eating disorder #recovery is how difficult it is to return #home, because of the "shadow" that follows you around, even after you #recover. How I'm dealing, given my upcoming move home...#edrecovery #family #ohio #moving #mentalhealth #wellness #life

Those are words that, ten years ago, I would never ever have thought would come out of my mouth. But it is. It is possible to go home again.

I am not the girl that left Ohio those ten+ years ago. I have changed, in a really profound way.

I no longer allow myself to be defined by the stuck-in-the-past minds of yore, whose notions of me had kept me from embracing the future and blossoming into person God created me to be.

I am finally whole. Finally healed.

And you know what, yeah — I did have that terrible season of life when I was ruled by anorexia, but I am not that girl anymore. And in fact, going through that only made me stronger. It only gave the perspective and strength I have today, that has formed me into the young woman I am.

That was ten years ago. I have moved on. And heck, if there are people who refuse to move on with me, then hey — I don’t want them in my life anyway.

One thing they don't tell you about eating disorder #recovery is how difficult it is to return #home, because of the "shadow" that follows you around, even after you #recover. How I'm dealing, given my upcoming move home...#edrecovery #family #ohio #moving #mentalhealth #wellness #life

The broken, wounded girl that left — she had no idea the life in store for her, and she would be so proud of how we “turned out.”

And I’ll be darned if I let that eating disorder rob even a millisecond from me any longer.

Home, sure — it’s going to have it’s ups and downs, and challenges and whatnot. I am not going into this idealistically. But by George, it is where I grew up. Where my loved ones live. And the place that contributed in shaping who I am. It makes me really sad to think I pushed it away for all those years.

One thing they don't tell you about eating disorder #recovery is how difficult it is to return #home, because of the "shadow" that follows you around, even after you #recover. How I'm dealing, given my upcoming move home...#edrecovery #family #ohio #moving #mentalhealth #wellness #life

But I have to let that go, and only move forward and embrace everything that’s coming, and live, ready to make up for lost time.

It is possible to go home again. Because though the “home” you left may have been filled with pain and strife, the “you” that’s returning is different: bolder, stronger, and able to see with different eyes.

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19 responses to “It is Possible to Go Home Again”

  1. I am very happy for you guys, Caralyn! A new chapter opens for you both, God bless! ❤️☺️🙏🏻

  2. I hope that you enjoy your return to your home. Sadly, my home is getting more dangerous, like NYC, but I hope to find a place where I can relax.

  3. Now you can better represent the One who healed you, Christ. As the new Zach Williams song goes, “If you miss the old me, it’s Jesus’ fault…” Give hope to the hopeless through your ongoing testimony of a life changed.

  4. 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, … 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4

    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

  5. I “came home” 9 years ago, and I am grateful every day for the move. I have no regrets (even though I miss my friends and life in Philadelphia); I appreciate the sense of belonging that my family gives me, and I love, love, love being able to see family all the time. It is the biggest blessing of my life. And, I am not the same person who left when she was 18, who felt she needed to get far away from her past. I returned as the person Ihave grown into. I wish you God’s choicest blessings on your return to Ohio.

  6. Bless you, Caralyn. You’ve made me cry. You’ve reminded me of other struggles I’ve had (not anorexia) but other struggles, where I’ve had to move to another place to get away from things that reminded me and hurt me. . .it is such a blessing to feel whole again. . . I am immensely happy for you. . God is with us in our struggles. Alas, there is light at the end of those dark tunnels. . .Thanks for making me cry . . .and reminding me of just how blessed we are to feel whole again . .

  7. Caralyn, I can’t wait to see how God will use you in a different place where people may be more open to your message, and you can point them back, to your great physician. So very excited for you and Steven. Will be praying for you both, in this transition.

    Alan

  8. Glad you are getting out of the mess of NYC and moving home. You have changed through the power of Jesus. You are a different person than you were ten years ago.

  9. Caralyn,

    You are such a beautiful girl and person. I hope you know that you definitely can “come home” and that we will be so thrilled to have you back and see the impressive young woman you are. Love and Welcome home.
    -Jane Elfers

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