There have been three periods of time in my life where an eating disorder was my life. I woke, slept, breathed my eating disorder. Everything I did and thought was somehow connected to my illness. I almost died on several occasions and my brain, heart and other major organs stopped functioning properly. I felt helpless and hopeless. Even at moments when I was in treatment or eating properly between those crisis years I was overwhelmed by the disordered thinking that my illness would flood into my mind.I hated myself and surrounded myself with people who didn’t think very highly of me either. It was easier if they thought I was a failure too…then I didn’t have to convince them or surprise them when they figured it out.
I didn’t believe in true happiness. I thought it was a dream. It has become my reality. The struggle was worth the resulting joy.
As I think back on those stuggles in life I remember how discouraged, alone, afraid, tired and frustrated I was 24 hours a day. I was malnurished which caused physical and mental fatigue and complications. I was dehydrated and didn’t have the nurishment to be able to think properly. All my energy just went to getting through the day. I just wasn’t sure why I was bothering to continue struggling just to do it all over the next day. I felt like I’d never be good enough and therefore never find happiness…I share this because it was hard to believe life could get better, that I could find peace and joy and have a good life but now on the other side of it, seven years later with a life full of happiness, peace, fulfillment I know it was worth it…there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
It is possible to live life without thinking about calories or scales or physical appearance. I once heard someone comment on a person with an eating disorder looking in the mirror so much. They said “I think she must love the way she looks…she spends so much time in front of a mirror”…. I was pained at how wrong the person was. Someone with an eating disorder will spend hours in front of a mirror picking apart every small detail of their being. Their mind becomes obsessed with imagined flaws. The ED mind spends 24 hours a day, every minute, every second convincing you that you are not good enough in anyway. That you don’t deserve and will never be happy….I am here to tell anyone that stuggles with an Eating Disorder and depression….You are beautiful….the eating disorder is ugly. Your body is the gift wrapping of a beautiful soul capable of a fulfilling and wonderful life. I rarely look in a mirror now. And when I do I only allow myself to say or repeat positive things about me. If I say a negative comment I follow it with “but I have a kind heart, or beautiful eyes”…A person is not their eating disorder, you are not your past mistakes, you are the strong person who picked yourself up and carried on. My life is no longer controlled by an eating disorder. It has no power…and I want to give hope and support and courage to others who haven’t found the light and joy after an eating disorder. Think of the strength you have had to have to battle an eating disorder each and every day. Some days it requires Super Hero strength just to get out of bed. But you have done it for a long time…Have Faith. Rely on your Father in Heaven. Your faith and His strength will get you through. There will be a day when those powers can be used for good in the world and good in your life because you will have made it through an even more incredible and compassionate soul then when your journey began.