It is a terrible disease. An isolating, tormenting, and conniving disease. A disease so powerful you can barely decipher your own thoughts from the thoughts of the disease. This disease is anorexia. I was officially diagnosed with anorexia at the end of junior year, but I had been unknowingly fighting in a secret battle with the disease for months before actually being diagnosed. The key word in that sentence is “secret”. I was silent. The disorder had stolen my voice and my identity.
Many therapists and psychologists refer to anorexia as “Ed”, standing for eating disorder. Luckily, Ed no longer controls my thoughts and actions, but my journey with Ed and separating myself from him was one that truly tested my strength. I am still actively learning about myself and who I am everyday as I continue to recover. I know now how I am strong enough to never succumb to the control of another person or thing again. Since this experience, I am well aware of who I am, what I stand for, and what I deserve.
A year ago I was a passenger on a train going downhill, with no brakes or intent of stopping. It was not until my parents and friends voiced their concerns that I realized I might have a problem. One of the most pivotal points in my journey was acknowledging that I was anorexic, essentially surrendering all my control and admitting my failure. No one wants to admit that they are wrong; it is human nature. I was in denial that I was anorexic. To me, I was totally normal – a teenage girl merely trying to eat healthy and exercise daily. That is what I was doing right, just being healthy? Well, not so much. I had definitely crossed the line between healthy and unhealthy, letting Ed takeover. As humans we naturally fear the unknown, tempting us to take advantage of what little we can control. Eating and exercising are activities that we can fully control. I was controlling every calorie I put into my body and every calorie that I burned. In order for me regain control of my mind, I needed to relinquish control over everything I consumed.
My weeks have been filled with doctor’s appointment after doctor’s appointment. Although not ideal, I learned more about myself and my capabilities in those doctors appointments than I ever would have otherwise. I said earlier that never in a million years would I have chosen to be anorexic, and I still would not, but I am thankful for everything it has taught me about myself and the people I have met on the way. If I am strong enough to overcome an eating disorder; I am strong enough to overcome anything that comes my way. I have learned to value others’ opinions, but I will never let their opinions change who I am or how I feel about myself. I am in control of my own life and self; I respect who I am because of this control. My choices and actions do not define me, it is how I react to those choices and actions that does.
Let’s spread awareness about eating disorders and end the negative stigmas associated with them! Eating disorders have the highest fatality rate out of all mental illnesses, let’s change that! If you or anyone you know is suffering from an eating disorder it is okay to talk to someone and get help. Eating disorders do not have to be permanent or define you. You are beautiful, strong, and way too good for ED. xoxo