My name is Jordan, and this is my story and my hope of eating disorder inspiration. I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa when I was 14 years old. Since then, I have been in and out of countless treatment programs. I have been in residential programs, IOP, PHP, and have done multiple rounds of Maudsley.
After 8 years of attempting treatment, it wasn’t until I finally understood the negative effects my eating disorder was having on my life that I could consider myself to be in recovery. I was told countless times that my ED was ruining my life, and was even experiencing the consequences, but for some reason, I could never step out of the disorder and believe what everyone was telling me.
I was scared. I was scared that without my eating disorder, I would lose control. I was scared that without my eating disorder, I would be nothing.
Eventually, my metabolism just gave up on me. I was hungry all the time, barely eating all day, and planning my life around meals and exercise, but I wasn’t losing weight anymore. Unfortunately, it took me 8 years to get to this point. 8 years of my life that I wasted because I thought that my ED was the only path to true happiness only to find that it resulted in suffering.
I was filled with anxiety, depressed about the way that I looked, and for some reason, I just could not believe that my eating disorder was the cause of that. I finally reached a point where I was willing to try ANYTHING to feel better.
I decided that I was going to force myself to eat three appropriate meals a day and a snack regardless of how anxious I was feeling or how “not hungry” I was. I’m not going to lie and say this was easy, I felt horrible the first few days. I was determined to put as much effort into this as I had put into my ED. I was strong.
For once, my strength was not measured by how much I didn’t eat, but how much I wanted to be happy, and how much I wanted things to change. I have not looked back since. There are still days that are very hard and days that I dread getting dressed or looking in mirrors, and I do not feel like an eating disorder inspiration.
But the doctors were right, once I started to feed my body, my metabolism got back on track, and I actually lost weight. Recovery isn’t about weight, though. Recovery is about getting to a place where food doesn’t control you.
Recovery is about getting to a place where your emotions aren’t guided by what you ate that day or how much you exercised, but the experiences you had. I always thought that once I let go of my anorexia, it would mean that I was no longer strong. It is the complete opposite; I didn’t know how strong I was until I dealt with the discomfort of the unknown.
If I could speak to my 14-year-old self, I would tell her that her eating disorder ruined what could have been some of the best years of her life. Unfortunately, I cannot.
But, I can be an eating disorder inspiration, and I can tell others who are going through this that it is not worth it. I know how glamorous eating disorders might seem to you. I was infatuated by mine. It is not worth it. You will never get the time back that you spent wasting on your ED.
Whether you’ve been battling your ED for 8 days or 8 years, it is time to let it go. Don’t let your eating disorder take away your happiness, because it will.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Reviewed & Approved on October 23, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC
Published October 23, 2019, on EatingDisorderHope.com