I’m so proud of the things I’ve gained…but I could’ve gained them sooner

Posted 03/03/2018

There are so many things I have gained since deciding to seek help for my eating disorder. While I’m not 100% of the way there, and still have some weight to gain, there have already been so many improvements:

  • I have started talking to my family and friends about how I really feel; not just in relation to my eating disorder, but in relation to many different aspects of life. And while this is difficult, it has really helped me to feel less alone, and has even helped others to be more open with me.
  • I have started to become more flexible, and be able to enjoy the more spontaneous things in life, like hungover Sunday pizza with friends and afternoon tea with my mum.
  • I have had to start thinking about who I want to be without my eating disorder, which has forced me to identify other things I like about myself and what my interests really are.
  • I have managed to completely stop binging and purging behaviours. I feel so much better physically (and mentally).
  • I am starting to become more compassionate towards myself.

These are all fantastic achievements that I should be (and am) proud of. But I can’t help feeling disappointed by the fact that I could have had all of these things so much sooner.

This year Beat is focusing on recognising the early signs of eating disorders. While it is absolutely important that those around you be aware of any early warning signs, I think it is also so important that people can be aware of these warning signs in themselves.

Your eating disorder will give you a thousand reasons not to seek help. For me a huge factor was that I convinced myself I didn’t have an eating disorder; I didn’t fit into what I felt a ‘typical’ eating disorder should be, and so I felt that I didn’t deserve help. I left it many years, until somebody else expressed their concern, before I actually allowed myself to believe I had a problem and needed help.

While waiting lists were admittedly long, the help I have received since starting treatment has been phenomenal. I just wish that I had accessed this sooner. I wasted so many years through school and uni and work being miserable and stuck, because I didn’t understand the signs of an eating disorder in myself. I really believe that if I had understood what was going on sooner, I could’ve been at this point many years ago.

So I’m writing this because I want to encourage people to be aware and look out for themselves. If you think you have a problem, then you don’t need someone else to validate that – you do deserve help. Trust in yourself – you know yourself better than anybody else ever can.

Don’t wait for someone to say something, or until you feel ‘bad enough’ to deserve help.

You can have all of the things I have now, and so much more. #WhyWait?

Contributed by Anna