The Recovery of a Lifetime

Do you know someone with an eating disorder?

I hope you answered yes, because you know me. I am a survivor of anorexia nervosa for life. This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and I hope you all have been bombarded by posts, news segments, and other materials about eating disorders. Kate has been doing some awesome informative posts about all types of eating disorders to break myths and bring awareness. I have been participating in Awareness Week since my first year of recovery, and this week is one of the most meaningful weeks of the year for me and my family. It is because of this week and the efforts of many organizations like NEDA that eating disorders have finally left the closet and people have started talking about it. So let’s talk.

Eating disorders are a mental illness, each eating disorder is individual and unique. Yes this illness shares similarities between cases, but no eating disorder is ever the same. I know a large majority of people believe that eating disorders are about appearance and dieting, but that isn’t the case. Those who develop eating disorders don’t necessarily want to be thin. It took me a long time past reaching my goal weight to recognize that this mental illness 1.) doesn’t go away just because I look healthy again and 2.) the reason for my obsessions with food, diet, and exercise were really just a way for me to deal with other life stressors. Turning to food and restriction and compulsive exercise was/is a way for me to block out the rest of the world, escape from things I wasn’t happy doing.

Now my eating disorder, or my life in recovery really, has taught me how to live my life for me- taking care of myself physically and mentally in order to live a healthy and happy life. I resisted recovery for longer than I would like to admit. Even when I had reached my goal weight there was still a piece of me that wanted to go back. You see, eating disorders take over your brain, they have a separate voice, and it is a strong voice with the potential to ruin your life if you aren’t strong. Recovery gave me strengthonce I accepted it. The day I chose recovery became the day I started to live again. I began to live a life that didn’t revolve around food. I started to challenge my perfectionism. And most importantly I began to see the real me again.

Because of recovery, I know who I am. I know how to deal with the stressful moments of life, and I have the tools to recognize when I need to ask for help in any situation. Recovery is more beautiful than any life in an eating disorder ever was. There is no perfection in recovery. There is fear in recovery. There is no escape from life in recovery, because recovery (the good and the bad) is life.

I have found hope in recovery and wish that for anyone suffering today. If you know someone who might be suffering or you are struggling yourself reach out. Don’t stay silent, because one more day of saying and doing nothing is another day you are not living.

For more information on Eating Disorders check out these resources:
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Fill You In Soon

Some may have seen a rather distressed tweet from me recently. I am not going to lie there is something going on. But I don’t know how to put into words something I do not fully understand yet. I am going to talk with someone in the next week hopefully, and I have been shown more support than I could have expected. Thank you to everyone that has reached out and spoken to a very confused me on the phone over the past couple of hours. Thank you for the hugs, words of wisdom, and listening ears I am truly blessed and I know that.

This is not meant to be alarming. I am not falling to an eating disorder again, this honestly has less to do with that and more to do with some lingering anxiety and other normal 20 something year old life problems. I am still living and enjoying many pieces of my life. There are new things occurring even as we speak (Read: classes are starting, I just met with my professor- I am going to start researching at VT! and I am discovering new things I love every day). But I still need to tackle a few things. I am looking forward to having the time to sit down and write my thoughts. I know it will help me to process and I also hope it will bring insight into reader’s lives if they need it.

 

 

Just be patient with me. I tend to make myself busy really fast in the school year and end up barely having time to read blogs, much less write one of my own. But I am going to make time. Because over break this has been such an amazing release and way to express my thoughts. Plus I know I am going to learn so much this Spring that I have to share with the world!

I’ll be back sooner rather than later (read hopefully this week!). But first I need to get into the swing of things again!