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Clementine Briarcliff Manor Primary Therapist Dana Sedlak, LCSW shares an inspiring piece about finding freedom and hope this New Year’s Eve. Read on to learn more from Dana…

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.” – T.S. Eliot

With New Year’s Eve upon, we sometimes find ourselves anticipating a fresh start with new beginnings, while other times we are holding on to the security of the present with fear of what’s to come ahead of us.

2018 might have been a difficult year if you were struggling with your eating disorder. It might have consisted of memories or moments that you have wished away countless times due to guilt or shame that often felt intolerable. If this has been your experience, you are probably wishing for time to fast-forward so that next year can arrive in order for you to feel that you can begin again.

Many people with eating disorders often reflect feeling as if they have missed out on many memorable events due to their illness. The end of the year can result in an increase in difficulty when you find yourself reflecting on important moments that might not have gone as planned. If this is the case, you may be flooded with regret or anger. First, breathe. Do not beat yourself up. Do not listen to the voice that convinces you that you have wasted time, for that voice depletes you. Challenge those thoughts by reminding yourself that this does not have to be your 2018 narrative.

If someone were to ask you what has this year attempted to teach you, what would you say?

Has it taught you how to communicate in new ways in order for your voice to be heard?

Has it taught you how to start trusting that part of yourself that you used to repress out of fear?

Has it taught you that even on your worst days, the sun still rises the next morning with a clean slate?

While you cannot control what the past year has brought you, it is important to take a moment to reflect on the lessons that it’s communicating to you. Be careful not to avoid this important information out of a desire to deflect from the potential pain that it may also bring. It is these moments that you begin to heal the most.

Once you are able to develop insight into what the past year has brought you, you become truly prepared to transition to the new year in a healthy manner. As New Year’s Eve approaches, ask yourself what memories or relationships from this year that you would like to release. What themes from this year are you carrying around that no longer serve you?

Are you minimizing your needs in order to maintain the status quo within your relationships?

Are you stifling your passions out of fear that you won’t reach your desired goals?

Are you letting your eating disorder overpower your healthy self?

Allow yourself to let these things go. They are not worthy of taking up space in your new beginning.

Wherever you may be when the ball drops at midnight, remind yourself of this: You get to decide what your 2019 narrative will become. It is your choice about what you want to leave in 2018 and what you want to bring with you into the upcoming year. Do not allow your eating disorder, your guilt, your depression, or your anxiety tell you anything different.

This year is yours and yours alone to be written. At 12:00 am, feel that freedom, feel that hope, and begin again.

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