I‘ve learned a lot about myself in the past 30 years. I’ve learned about other people’s struggles and how dealing with anorexia and bulimia don’t define me (although that one creeps up every so often). But most importantly, I’ve learned that I’m NOT alone in this battle.
Though opening up to others about my struggles has been helpful, learning from others is what’s been even more crucial to my recovery.
Relationships have truly been my saving grace in recovery. In the midst of a long road to recovery, my relationships truly believed saved my life.
Hearing how others felt the same way I did and had the same battles in their head helped give me a completely new outlook. The support and understanding of the people I met during my journey can never be replaced.
If they can do it…
Struggling with an eating disorder, depression and anxiety brought me years of shame and fear that nobody (I thought) would understand. I thought I would live alone in my head for the rest of my life.
Did I even want to try to open up?
Then, I started hearing therapists, other patients and friends share their stories. They said recovery was real. And that it feels good to be fully recovered.
They said life without an eating disorder is far better than the life I was living.
Yes, recovery can be a slippery slope. It may be a daily fight to win your life back.
However, seeing how many people I know come out at the other end, is quite possibly the best inspiration.
I slip and fall all the time. But I’ve learned it is not how many times you slip and fall, it’s the battle you have within yourself (with the support of others) to get back up and keep fighting.
Fighting with a smile
Have I still not convinced you? Here’s an example:
I met someone about a year ago who fought hard to escape the cage of anorexia. Though we had this in common, I still had no idea what an impact she would make on me.
Like i said, she fought for years to escape the anorexia. And continues to fight every single day. However, she does so with an outlook I had yet to come across.
Every time we take our kids out to eat, she reminds me that enjoying the food, drinks, the company of each, and being present is so much better than fearing all of it. She reminds me that the empty shell of anorexia will never give you the kind of enjoyment that eating a burger and fries with a great friend does.
These conversations stick with me. They make me just want to stop and enjoy these moments- these moments of freedom.
I want to enjoy these moment without consuming myself with fear of calories and waistbands.
I don’t say this to mean that I have it all figured out. It’s not a perfect “happily ever after”; it still may be a lifelong battle.
But even so, fighting with this positive outlook and perspective makes it so much more enjoyable!
So, I thank my friend and everyone else whose stories, support and love have gotten me to where I am today.