It is common for people to say that time heals all wounds, but in my case, that is not quite accurate. I believe it is the manner in which one is able to deal with those wounds and want to change which is the determinant in the process of healing.
On this day, I clearly remember my doctor diagnosing me with an eating disorder and telling me that my heart rate was too low. At this moment, I did not want to accept reality. My whole mind was completely consumed with thoughts about food and exercise. I was in denial and wanted to continue living my life the way I was because I thought that it brought me happiness.
At this time, mostly all I focused on was eating “healthfully” and exercise. I sacrificed spending time with family and my schoolwork to get my exercise in. I did not want to give up everything that defined my life, and I chose to disregard all of the medical advice and urges from my parents.
I went one week continuing my extreme exercise habits and caloric restriction until I had to visit the doctor yet again. My heart was in an even poorer state, and my bones were becoming weaker. During this visit, my doctor informed me that my heart rate was so low that I could have died in my sleep. At this moment, I realized that I needed to change and embrace the process of recovery.
I think this is a pain that only a person who has recovered from an eating disorder can understand. I felt like my whole life was falling apart because I had defined my existence based upon my physical appearance and tried to attain an unrealistic goal for my body type. Throughout my eating disorder, I really only cared about my diet and exercise, so going from exercising two to three hours a day and restricting my calories to not being able to work out affected me greatly.
Every day was difficult, but as time passed, my self-worth improved and I based my identity on attributes which defined me as a person, not by my physical appearance. I clearly recall being told by my doctor that an eating disorder mentality does not all of a sudden disappear overnight. It is a gradual process of learning to love yourself for who you are and embracing your body the way it is.
Today, I sometimes cannot fathom how that was me three years ago. Although the recovery process was difficult and one of the most painful experiences of mine, I am grateful that I learned about myself and that I was strong enough to overcome something that had so much power over me.
I overcame the eating disorder and became a stronger person as a result of it.