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From Miss to Mrs with an Eating Disorder

For a bit of background about me - I have struggled with my eating disorder since I was 16 (I am now 24 and in recovery). I never knew that it had taken hold of me that young until I started to talk about my experience and tracked it back. A poor relationship with a now ex-boyfriend was the trigger and I have never looked at myself in the same way since. I also suffer from pretty terrible anxiety, which seems to work alongside the insecurities I have about my body. But we’ll get there :)

In August of this year, my boyfriend and I decided to visit Disney World for our summer holiday (nothing new there, we go every year!). However, this time was different and The Happiest Place on Earth really lived up to its name when my other half got down in one knee in front of Mickey Mouse himself! We spent the entire holiday in a little bubble of our own where all we could think about was us and our future together.

When we arrived home, wedding planning began pretty quickly and although I was incredibly excited, some familiar little thoughts began to worm their way into my head. Will I fit into the outfit I want? What if I gain weight? What if I lose weight? What if I look ridiculous in everything and my plans can’t go ahead? I am acutely aware that all eyes will pretty much be on me on the day of our wedding and to a person with an eating disorder, that is just too much.

Yes, I have begun looking for wedding dresses. Yes, it’s exciting, but there always seems to be something in the way. Something in my head that inspires doubt and makes me see my reflection just that little bit differently from the other people looking at me. And I suppose there’s very little place to hide with a wedding dress. You either go for something slinky and body-hugging (they look gorgeous but when you’re conscious of your hips and butt they don’t seem to be the way to go) or find something with a good amount of poof in the skirt, regardless of whether you’ll fit down the aisle or not! No matter what I choose, I know that my friends and family will be excited to see what I’m wearing and that thought terrifies me. It keeps me awake some nights. What if people are disappointed and make comments, saying that I should have chosen a different dress for my figure? What if I choose something that I will regret wearing every time I look at my wedding pictures?

We will be getting married in 2019 and my family and fiancé are very supportive and I think they’re looking towards our wedding as a sort of milestone in terms of my recovery. This will be the day when she finally sees herself and says, “Wow. I look amazing”. Obviously, I highly doubt this. I can’t deny that trying on wedding dresses is fun and I could quite happily go about my daily business in a huge white gown covered in crystals but truthfully, the idea of doing that in front of my nearest and dearest does get my blood pressure up.

However, I have decided that I will be marrying the man who has stood by my side since the day he met me and said “you’re beautiful” every day. Therefore, I need a wedding dress. I think of it in this way – I have always wanted to be a Disney Princess. When else will I have the opportunity to be one? So, eating disorder, I will damn well be one on my wedding day!

Contributed by Hannah