I was recently reminded of how precious our lives truly are. Yesterday, my dear cousin Nick who I grew up idolizing lost a very cruel battle with alcoholism; he was 34. 34! His struggles with alcohol and depression really only surfaced to friends and family within the last few months, but I, as well as many of my other family members suspect that he had been dealing with these deeper issues much longer than any of us ever even realized.
All day yesterday and during my sleepness night, I couldn’t help but ask “Is there anything that I could have done to help him?” “What if I tried to reach out to him more?” “How could I have missed the signs?” “Is there anything I could have done/said/tried to do that could have prevented this from happening?” After going over all of these shoulda/coulda/woulda’s in my head, I was instantly reminded of the countless times my friends and family tried to help me, tried to say or do anything and everything to get me from listening and acting on my eating disorder.
While alcoholism and eating disorders have their succinct differences, they come from the same beast: addiction. Even at my sickest points, those times when I tiptoed the line of living to see tomorrow, the only person that could help me, that could change me, was me. Doctors and psychologists, friends and family could give me the facts, could express their concerns and could offer words of encouragement, love and inspiration, and I believe a large part of my recovery is due to those very things, but the one thing, the only thing that propelled me into the happy and healthy place I am in today was me. I had to fight my demons. I had to face my fears. I had to overcome obstacles and hardships and relapses.
I say these things to you today because I believe that you can too. But you have to make that first step. YOU have to be the one to say enough is enough. YOU have to be the one to kick your eating disorder, your depression, your negative thoughts about yourself in the ass!
My cousin Nick was an amazing person. He was loving and funny and kind and caring. He was an all-star soccer player, knew how to play the guitar like nobody’s business and could make one mean pancake (as was seen by the Sunday morning pancake breakfasts that we had whenever we came to visit). He was so full of life up until those last few years/months when he just couldn’t deal with his burdens any longer. He got so caught up in his unhappiness, in the bottle, that he lost the will to fight anymore.
I urge you all to keep fighting! Nothing is worth risking your happiness, your goals and dreams, or your life for!
I love you all and want you to know that if you ever, EVER need someone to talk to, to redirect your thinking, to reassure you that you are the amazing and beautiful and incredible person that you are, I am here! No matter if you have ever suffered from an eating disorder or not, we all have our daily battles that try their hardest sometimes to throw us off course. The most important thing to remember is…
DO NOT STOP FIGHTING!
I love you, Nick, forever and always. Even though I will miss you more than words could ever express, I know that you are in a much better place. You are no longer in pain, are no longer hurting, are no longer alone, and I cannot wait until we are reunited someday. And since you never fully taught me how to play Metalica’s Fade to Black on the guitar, I’m calling the first spot in line with at least five free lessons buddy–God can just wait his turn ;)