It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to ask for help.
I know you’re scared, I know you’re striving for something, and I know you might not even know what that something is anymore.
I’ve suffered too. I’ve been scared, I’ve been deceitful. I’ve tried to hide from my demons. But you can’t hide from the very thing that has taken hold of your whole being.
From the age of around ten, I had an unusual relationship with food. I knew there was something off with how I handled myself around food, but never really understand where my mind was taking me until I started secondary school. It was as if one day something in my mind snapped and my food relationship deteriorated. It started very subtly, and I told myself I had control and a hold over it. I was the one calling the shots. That wasn’t true. Before long I was no longer me. I was ‘an anorexic.’ I was unhealthy. The control I desired more than my own life was a myth. The control was never mine to have.
It started off with slight unnoticeable changes to my diet, and lifestyle that progressively got worse.
I was in a terrible mental state. I’d watched my dad suffer with suicidal tendencies, and already had stress in wanting to have the perfect friendships and family relationships as well as achieving the best results possible. I needed something to control, and gradually bit by bit I thought I had full control over my body and food. Until my mum realised what was going on – I was heading down a path of self-destruction. Part of me knew this too – I know I did – I just didn’t want to let go of the control. I needed it. I would have died for the control.
Then I lost control. My mum monitored me like I was a prisoner; she informed my school; I was banned from taking part in any strenuous sports as I was too weak to take part. My periods had stopped. I was losing myself. If I hadn’t already. Relationships with my family members were rocky and I was very manipulative and stuck in my own mind and way of thinking. I got sneakier with hiding my problem and tricking my family into believing I wanted to ‘get better’. I DIDN’T. I couldn’t hide any longer when I was getting sent home from school so ill my mum had to bath me as I had no strength left. That’s when she saw. I wasn’t getting better.
Ultimately, I met with dieticians, and received a long process of counselling to get me to a point in my life where I could say yes, I am in recovery.
I’m 20 years old and I’m here; however, I would never say I’ve got a ‘normal’ relationship with food. I respect my body a lot more now and I know my mind and I know the signs of what could push me to spiral.
I have relapsed multiple times, but the only difference now is I want to be healthy. I CHOOSE HEALTH. And I have a desire to fight past this disorder. My family pick up on my eating habits and the anxiety I feel when under stress, whether it be related to general life or my university studies. But sometimes I forget how far I’ve come, and I watch myself slipping. I know I’ve never had a good relationship with food, I feel guilt after eating or feel disappointed in myself, and I often find myself calorie counting.
I know the recovery will last a lifetime, but I’m ready to take on the battle and keep fighting.
I want to show an insight into my disorder and my battle. My battle continues. I am healthy, I’m happy, and I’m motivated to be the best I can. However, that doesn’t come without some acceptance. I accept my battle; I accept where I was, where I could have been, and where I am now. I know deep down I will fight forever to never be the girl I once was. However, I know that that girl remains, and she is inside of me deep down. An eating disorder is a battle. You can fully recover, yes, and be healthy and happy, but for me that part does remain somewhere.
But I am proud of that girl. She helped me get to this point where I can look back and remember the journey, the battle and the strength that is within. On my darkest days I remind myself what the girl I was has done for me. She took the first steps of recovery and I owe it to her. I owe it to the me I am now to fight and keep fighting.
I want my story to speak to people. I don’t want to portray the story of the battle being over. That’s not always the case and that’s okay. Eating disorders are a mental illness, an illness that will be a battle of choosing to fight it. I want you to be willing to fight.
If you’re in recovery, fight for the version of yourself that got you into this position. Keep fighting for that you.
If you’re suffering, fight for you in the future. Fight for the you that you deserve to be.
Eating disorders are a constant battle. But choose yourself to be the conqueror.