I’m 35 years old and have battled with an eating disorder of some sort for the past 15 years. I’ve been diagnosed with anorexia and then later on told it was bulimia with compulsive exercise. I think both myself and the professionals just wanted to put a label on what I was doing but the truth is I had various components of different eating issues built around rules and fear.
At the start of this year it was like I had a light bulb moment; it got to New Year’s Day and I thought “It’s been 15 miserable years battling this blasted thing. I’m fed up now; I’ve had enough; my husband has had enough; I want me back; I want my life back”.
I was discharged from treatment a few months back, told that my weight is now ‘normal’ and that I’ve just got to keep going with recovery. In truth, I wasn’t ready to be discharged. Yes, I’d been following the set meal plans to gain the weight I needed but I hadn’t tackled the rules, the fear or the exercise. I was discharged and left to it. This upset me and scared me but now I’m realising that it’s actually a good thing for me. I’ve now found a way to try and help myself, a way that I’m invested in, a way I believe in. I’ve taken responsibility for what I’m doing and decided it’s time to change.
I frantically started researching online for self-help treatment guides and found some amazing books and one website in particular that really resonated with me.
I realised that in the past I did want to get better and be recovered but I wasn’t ready to face the fear, to accept the changes and battle against my eating disorder. I researched and researched; I looked for answers to all the questions I had running through my mind and came to the following conclusions:
Once I knew what I needed to do, for the first time ever I actually feel like I can do this.
I’ve written my personal goals in a new journal, I note down my daily achievements each day – no matter how small, I have listed all of my eating disorder rules (there are lots) and I am going to attack them and challenge them every day, consistently.
Exercise for me has stopped completely; it had to. I used exercise to compensate and if I didn’t stop then I’d always be supressing my weight and keeping the eating disorder alive. I understand that now, I don’t like it and I’m scared of gaining weight but I’m willing to trust my body that it knows what it’s doing.
I’ve invested in some self-help books to read and follow, this have given me vital information that I needed and the encouragement and motivation to do this.
I’ve even started doing mindfulness meditation, giving myself the tools to relax, focus and breath.
It’s not easy by any means and every day there is anxiety around what I’m eating, how I’m not exercising, and the fear of weight gain scares me, but I am determined and committed to doing this.
I’ve wasted 15 years of my life. I’ve missed out on so much that I’ve just had enough – it’s time I took back control and I want to see the real me again.
Ask yourself, where am I now? Am I committed to recovery? If I can do this after 15 years so can you. Take control back and be responsible for getting better. Let’s make it our year to be recovered, I am.
Good luck and be strong.
You have to learn how to live again and, like with any lessons, you often have to fail to learn the best way or the right way...
In the past I’ve wanted to hide the eating disorders that are part of my history, but I want to shout from the rooftops: I'm proud of how far I had come!
I want to shed some light on diet culture and what it drove me to do to myself for eight years. I will never get those eight years back, but what I do know is that I will never put myself through all the self-inflicted pain it took in order to look a certain way.