I have been ordered to wear a heart monitor for the next thirty days, and it is not something that you can easily hide from people. It makes occasional, yet loud and obnoxious, beeping sounds. The wires hang out from under my shirt, and the monitors battery back clips on to my waist and creates a bulge that makes any outfit weird. My eating disorder has always been something that I have been embarrassed about, and now that has been physically manifested in a chunky heart monitor for all of the world to see.
I try very hard not to be embarrassed, but I just am. I know what an eating disorder is, I know why I have it and what I am trying to accomplish by having it, but most people don’t. Most people hear the words “eating disorder” and slap a label you. This label might say something like this:
She is a shallow and spoiled girl who cares way too much about her looks. She probably learned those habits from her years at a private school.
This stereotype is something that fills me with an unbearable amount of anger and hurt! I have a really hard time with this stereotype because it is something that I know NOT to be true. At all. The girls that I have met through recovery, are some of the most amazing people I have, and will ever meet in my entire life. Their resilience is incredible, the amount of insight, wisdom and compassion that they have can not be found anywhere else.
I can confidently say, that most of the people who are affected by ED, are some of the most emotionally intelligent and intuitive people, and this ability that they/we have to feel so deeply is a gift, but is also one of the reasons why ED chose our minds.
This resilience, compassion and intuition is what I want people to see in me and in the people fighting this battle. I would be perfectly fine if that was the persisting stereotype. But it’s not. When people see me and my heart monitor, they are going to label me. It’s inevitable. It’s to be expected. But, this embarrassment that I feel as a result of that is something that I have to overcome, it’s something that this blog helps me with everyday.
I am Liv. I am a caring daughter, sister, aunt, and niece. My love for others and for the world is going to be what leads me on my future journey to the Peace Corps. My emotional intelligence grants me with gifts of insight, wisdom and the ability to love deeply. My strength is what has allowed me to overcome the pain of childhood abuse, middle school bullying, and the loss of my father to the darkness of severe mental illness. My tenacity may one day be what ends the stereotyping of beautiful, amazing, priceless, women who happen to be effected by an eating disorder.