Castlewood Eating Disorder Treatment Center Blog

The Hula Hoop of Life

Guest Post By: Samantha Reynolds, Castlewood Alumnus  With recovery comes reality –a simple concept with a million complexities trailing behind it. They say it’s hard to be the person on the outside, but what’s even harder is being the person on the inside looking around and having no clue what’s truly going on or what’s happening around them. That was the person I was before recovery. I may have been on the “inside”, but I had no clue what that really meant. I had no clue because I was searching for answers in the most negative ways imaginable; but there is something I’ve learned from those dark times and that is an analogy that will stick with me forever. I like to call it my “Hula Hoop of Life” –yes, I am a proud Hula Hoop owner- and to me it represents every stage of my recovery journey. You see, inside the Hula Hoop of Life represents the eye of the hurricane, the outside of the hula hoop being the hurricane itself. As long as I stay inside the hula hoop (the eye of the hurricane) I think I’m safe, but really I’m surrounded by danger. The hurricane represents all of the negative coping mechanisms that I’ve developed over the years –self harm, restricting, over-exercising, etc.- and they’re a constant barrier that keep me from swimming out to safety; the Hula Hoop even prevents me from being able to let other people in and get the positive support I need. The cool thing though, is that I can choose at any time to remove myself from the Hula Hoop. It’s just like a fish in water that’s wearing a life preserver; the fish doesn’t need the life preserver, it simply needs to be itself. That’s what I have to do each and every day…be myself. I’m a human. I make mistakes, I have lapses, but I’m no longer keeping myself in the eye of an emotionally induced hurricane. No, now I’m in the midst of a life that has both balance and abundance. There’s joy, happiness -and most importantly- a life out there for me (and, you, too) to find!