Four Years.

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Left: Dec 2011 / Right: Feb 2016

It’s been four years. Four long, trying years of conquering, failing, rising, and failing again.

It wasn’t until I had been so far outside of the eye of my eating disorder storm that I could look back and recognize patterns that had been building over years and years. When it all came to a head I was in a panic stricken state of denial. Not me, I thought. I’m too old for this, I insisted. But I was wrong.

Dealing with an eating disorder in your mid- to late 20s is really rough. I had done so much research on the topic, and it was nearly impossible to find someone to whom I could relate. Eating disorders, and specifically anorexia, are often deemed an adolescent issue. Something born of wanting to fit in, look a certain way, gain attention, and be well thought of. All of which it is not.

My disease was exacerbated by the need for control. My outside world was in the brink of collapse. I had so much on my plate and so little know-how to handle it all. So I turned inward. I took control of the only thing I could think of, my food intake.

I was in deep denial as I whittled away, bones protruding, losing feeling in my leg, and having little energy to even breathe.

It wasn’t long after my 28th birthday when I knew it was ‘now or never.’ I either had to fight back or I had to accept that I wouldn’t be around much longer. It all happened so fast but I knew my life had to mean more than this.

And so after weeks of contemplation, I chose recovery.

A lot of people wrongly assume recovery equates to cured. It doesn’t. Recovery is such an individual experience, I’ve come to learn. Just when I think I have a grip on my own I am thrown for a major loop.

Everyday is a new day to choose recovery, and I choose it. Every single day.

I won’t say it is always ‘easy’ or comes as second nature. Some days the voice in my head is loud and torturous, and some days it is barely a whisper. But every day, with every meal, with every feeling with which I am faced, I have to make a conscious effort to choose recovery, to choose my health and my well being, to choose my life over my disorder.

I’m proud of myself. I don’t admit it often, but I am. And I acknowledge those who help keep me on track when I need it most. It isn’t easy to reach out when I need support. It isn’t easy to admit I suffer in my own little private hell most days. But I do.

This is my story. Albeit briefly.

This is who I am beneath the surface. I am learning to accept that.

And I will continue to share this story over and over again in hopes of it reaching the right person at the right time.

I will never say fighting your demons is easy but it is so important not to give up. I’ve struggled my entire life with feeling as though I wasn’t good enough – for people, for relationships, for jobs, for experiences. It is something I am still working through, four years into recovery and every single day of my life.

We all deserve to experience immense joy despite our pain.

We are all worthy.

 

If you or someone you know may be suffering from an eating disorder, please reach out. There are so many resources and so many people willing to help.
National Eating Disorders Association
Eating Disorders Hope
Nat’l Assoc of Anorexia & Associated Disorders
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The Year of Me.

Changing. Finding. Creating. Expressing. Authenticity. Peace.

These are words I am holding near to me as the new year sets sail.

I don’t subscribe to the ‘new year, new me’ proclamations. There is nothing new to be found in me. I am moving more toward¬†unearthing, discovering, becoming.

The last few years have been a mash up of trying too hard, trying too little, over-consumption, impulsivity, lacking, confusion.. The list goes on.

The life I envisioned for myself at 32 looks nothing close to the one I am living. And I don’t mean that in a glorified expectations kind of way. There was so much I wanted to be and experience by now, and I have fallen short of the mark.

But it’s never too late.

The other night I was struck by this feeling of wanting to grow into myself, truly be at peace in my own skin and in the world around me. You see, I have never felt like home to me. Instead I went in search of it in the wrong people, the wrong jobs, and the wrong emotions.

I don’t want to be at war with myself any longer.

I want to be more than this body, this skin, my disorder, my job, my past. I want to come home to myself, feel at peace with myself, be better to those around me, and be better in this world.

And so I have declared it, this is the Year of Me.