“I need help. I can’t take this anymore. I am losing control of my life again, and I am sick… I know I am.” Those were the last words I had said before my doctor told me I couldn’t climb until I regained control again. Everything seemed to be going well at the time: I excelled in school and was nominated to serve in several leadership positions, I climbed hard and was in the midst of one of my best seasons, and I planned to live in Kentucky at the Red all summer- a dream of mine since I first went to the Red a few years back. What could be wrong with me? How could I possibly be so miserable on the inside when everything seemed so right?
Now that I am in a much better place, I thought I would partially share my story. I am not afraid to say that I have been dealing with an eating disorder for the past six years of my life. I relapsed this past spring, and although some view relapsing as a sign of weakness, I view it as a sign that my eating disorder is real. Not only that, but my relapse validated my strength, tenacity, and wisdom: three characteristics I posses from dealing with my eating disorder for all of my teenage life.
My eating disorder began in 8th grade at the young age of 13, but as I grew older I realized that it wasn’t something that would just go away. I recognized that recovery is not something you go through for weeks, months, or even years. Recovery is also not just the time you spend in a mental institution. Recovery is life. Recovery is learning to be stronger than what was once stronger than you. These two simple ideas transformed the way I viewed life going forward. I knew the process wasn’t going to be easy, yet I also knew that nothing truly worth it comes easy. I knew I had to live for recovery and overcoming this demon… I think that’s what ultimately inspired me to really put in such hard work this relapse.
I decided to seek treatment again this past April. I knew my weight had dropped: my clothes were baggy, I felt weak and fatigued, and I looked gaunt. I wasn’t okay with how I looked, yet the eating disorder voice kept pushing me to take it further… to listen to it. I knew I couldn’t because I would lose so much, yet I kept giving in to this parasite that kept consuming my mind. When I arrived at my psychiatrist’s office back in April, I broke down screaming and in tears because I knew I couldn’t take it anymore. She knew it, too, yet she was waiting for me to open up about the eating disorder I had been trying to hide for so long. She knew that recovery wasn’t something you can force someone into (unless they truly are in a critical stage), rather recovery has to be desired by the person in need. After this appointment, many appointments followed including to my therapist, nutritionist, psychiatrist, and primary care physician; furthermore, I couldn’t be more grateful for my care team and the attention they provided me in such a time of need. I am also so glad to have had friends and family that stepped in and did anything to support me. I am truly connected to wonderful people.
Although I am back to normal physically, I still have a little work to do mentally. Every day is a new fight and provides me with new challenges to overcome. Now that I am in a much better place, I thought I would share my story with the world in hopes of ending the stigma attached to eating disorders. No, I cannot just “eat a hamburger” (I can, but you get what I meant). No, I am not psycho (maybe a little weird, but not psycho). Eating disorders are debilitating, but once can certainly overcome an eating disorder with tenacity and the will to push forward. What those going through such a painful experience could use is the love and support of a community… so let’s end the stigma. Treat eating disorders as you would treat any other disease.
I didn’t mean for this to be a novel, and I hope to keep my blog posts short and sweet in the future. I thought I would take the opportunity to open up my new blog, however, with a bang. More to come about my life up in Chicago after the big move from Atlanta… bikes, beaches, baked goods… woot woot! Chicago life is pretty good… not gonna lie.