It’s crazy to think about the way things can change over the course of a year. This time last year, I definitely did not have the mental or emotional strength and stability that I have today. I was pretty much a mess. But when I stop to think about it, I had been living like that since my sophomore year of high school so it had begun to feel normal to me.
It took me four years to recover from that monster of an eating disorder. Sometimes when I think back to those years, it doesn’t even seem real. How did I get myself in that situation? Why did I let my mental and physical health decline so drastically? Why did I not respect my body enough to take care of it properly? It all kind of seems like a blur now. It’s like an out of body experience. Sometimes I wonder if that’s some kind of self-defense mechanism. Maybe I don’t want to think about or remember that time period because it definitely was one of the hardest things I’ve ever endured.
The expression, “eating disorders kill,” is dead on (no pun intended). Yes, most people who suffer from eating disorders live to tell their stories or continue their disordered eating habits and are lucky that their bodies keeps functioning. But in a more figurative sense, eating disorders kill.
They kill all of the joy and happiness inside of you. When I think back on those years, it makes me sad to think about all the time I spent obsessing over food and exercise. I could have been spending that time being happy and thankful for all that I have. I have the most incredible family in the world. My parents and sister love me unconditionally, and I love them back just the same.
During those years, however, I didn’t appreciate or even really think about how truly loved I was. Instead, I would spend my time and energy listening to the lies my eating disorder told me. I was completely and totally consumed by negative thoughts and unhealthy habits.
All of these self-destructive behaviors just reinforced my eating disorder. These habits fed it, and continued to let it live and control me. My parents knew better, though. They are the two people I adore most in this world and they were stronger than my eating disorder and all of my fears that came along with it. They were determined to get me better, even if I didn’t want to heal. If it were up to me, I would have continued my destructive behaviors and who knows where I would be today.
Sometimes all it takes is a hand to pull you out of the darkness. And that’s exactly what they did. They are the most amazing people I know and I don’t think I have given them enough credit until now. They are the reason why I am where I am today. I have a healthy heart, mind and body. While I still struggle with anxiety or obsessions, I know that I can never go back to that disordered place because it would hurt them as much as it hurts me.
I wrote this several years ago but I never had any intention of posting it anywhere. I didn’t want to be so open and vulnerable.
The other day, I was getting coffee, and I overheard a college-aged girl speaking to a mentor of some sort. She was talking candidly about her struggles with her eating disorder and how everything and everyone she had once loved, became secondary in comparison to anorexia.
Her eating disorder consumed her every thought, her every mood, her every action. My heart broke for her because I had been there not too long ago. I wasn’t brave enough to go up to the girl and share my experience with her, but I felt compelled to share this story so that other people who are struggling with eating disorders have hope. I promise you, it gets better.
Surround yourself with people who love and support you unconditionally. Ask for help and let yourself receive it without feeling ashamed. We all struggle. We are all flawed. We all need a helping hand at times.
I’ve been recovered from my eating disorder for two and a half years now. I skip days of exercise, I eat what I want, and I DON’T feel guilty.
If you had told me three years ago that this is where I would be today, I would have never believed you. So for those of you who are struggling with an eating disorder or for those of you are just struggling in general, believe me when I say it gets better. I promise.