Light at the end of the tunnel
My name is Kathryn and I have suffered from anorexia nervosa the past 3+ years. Those years have been filled with constant torment, each day being a battle just to stay alive. How is it even possible to truly live your life to its fullest whilst consumed by degrading, terrible thoughts filled with self-hatred and misery? You want the honest answer? It’s not. Life whilst consumed by an eating disorder is only a mere existence. Your eating disorder will manipulate your thoughts; it will try and tell you that you are living, that your life’s purpose is to hurt your body, deprive it of the essential nutrients it NEEDS to stay alive and push yourself to achieve unrealistic, irrational expectations.
But that is not true. I can tell you that now with a much more rational mindset that life is worth so much more than starving yourself, or purging your feelings and damaging your body, your life vessel. You were born into this earth to LIVE, to be the beautiful, amazing person you are. NO ONE is perfect; it’s a simple fact. We are all different and unique in our own special ways. Every single person born in to this earth deserves life, health and happiness.
I know as you are reading this some of you may be thinking that you are an exception to this. I used to think that, no matter how many times anyone said I was beautiful or deserved to live, have happiness and be free, it wasn’t true. How could it apply to me when I despised myself so much, when I felt like nothing I could do was right or good enough? I used to believe that there was nothing wrong with me, that I was meant to be like this. That I was my eating disorder. That it was me screaming and shouting, getting worked up over irrational ideas and situations. Saying terrible things to both myself and my loved ones. But now I can see that that was not and is not me.
I also believed if I gained weight I would be fat, that somehow my body would defy all the odds and balloon in size. That doesn’t happen. Your body knows – it is clever, and once it feels healthy it will tell you. You should trust your body – it has survived and carried you through so much throughout your life. Don’t ever give up fighting. I know you may be reading this thinking it’s just not that easy and I know. It is not. Recovery is not a linear process there will be ups and there will be downs. I have had my fair share of both. I have relapsed and I have blossomed; I have cried and I have sung. The strength it takes to wake up every single day and fight for your life is immense, and challenging yourself is tough, but it will only ever make you stronger. Nothing will ever hurt you as much as your eating disorder will.
If you are looking for something to keep fighting for, this is it.
There IS a way out of this hell hole. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how impossible it seems, you can and WILL get through this. If it’s impossible today, if you keep fighting and keep challenging yourself, next week it may only be extremely hard. Take small steps that are right for you, even if your step today may be just to survive, just to get through the day. Be brave, take those steps, accept those challenges, even though it may take all the little strength you have. Fight back, because you are worth so much more than a stupid eating disorder.
A few months ago, I was crying my eyes out every single day, only hanging on to life by the smallest thread, consumed by irrational thoughts and feelings with no hope whatsoever for the future.
Today, here I am, writing this. I can honestly say my journey has made me a much stronger person. I may still not be 100% recovered, but I am living breathing proof that you can fight back. You can make those positive changes and you can regain the real happy healthy version of yourself that you want to be. Each day you have to CHOOSE recovery – no amount of therapy or support can do it for you. YOU have to make that choice.
Earlier this year I did something I never even thought I could or would – I have booked myself in to do a skydive for Beat. I am aiming to raise £500 for this amazing charity that helps thousands of eating disorder sufferers and carers across the UK. Beat helped me through some extremely tough times and I will be forever grateful. There is nothing more that I want than to be able to make a difference to inspire and help others. I hope that maybe by reading this I could help at least someone see that there is some hope because there IS. No matter how terrible you feel no matter how impossible it seems, you can fight and win this battle.
Remember this: you are stronger than you think, and you have the power to change.
Anything is possible.
Contributed by Kathryn
You can help Kathryn raise money for Beat here.