I never believed that I would be writing from a place of recovery, and for that, I am so grateful. In my adolescence, I experienced deep darkness, and I turned to food as a coping mechanism. I was looking for someone or something to tell me I was worthy of life. And my eating disorder did, for a short while. It gave me a sense of accomplishment.
The longer and longer I went without food, the greater the euphoric rush. And, in that moment of success, the depression lifted. I found myself chasing that high. Things spiraled quickly, and soon, nothing felt safe to eat. For a while, I thought I was winning the game, but my eating disorder continued to take over. It is a disease of “more”; it is never enough.
I would tell myself that once I got to a certain weight, everything would be okay, but once I reached it, I didn’t feel any better, so I simply lowered my goal. I strived for empty. I needed my stomach to mimic how I felt.
I tried to make my outward appearance match how broken I felt inside. I was on the fast track to death, and I knew it, but I didn’t care. I wanted to die. I often prayed my eating disorder would kill me because I thought that might be easier for my family.
I finally asked for help and entered a treatment program. If you can take away one thing from my story, please know that recovery exists. Whenever someone would tell me that, I would roll my eyes at them, I thought recovery was for everyone else except me.
Actually, I thought that rule applied to a lot of things. I thought everyone else needed food to survive, but I could sustain myself on air. I thought everyone else deserved help, but I was undeserving.
I can tell you that since then, I have learned I am not any greater of a human being than anyone else. I cannot survive off air alone, and neither can you. We need food to survive, and as humans, we need each other to survive.
We cannot fight this battle alone, no matter what the battle may be. Things do get better. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it probably won’t happen next week or the week after. But over a period of months and years, you will grow stronger.
You will start living again. It was hard, I won’t sugar coat it. I had to decide I wanted life more than my disorder. And some days I still have to make that choice, but I’m telling you, it’s worth it.
Today I have a life I never imagined possible. I used to deny the existence of a future, and now I have one. I have new goals that have nothing to do with the number on the scale. Recovery is a continuous process, but it is possible. With each new chapter of my life, I am reminded that in my recovery, I can do anything. Reach out if you need help. Keep fighting. It’s worth it, I promise you.
About Our Sponsor:
At Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center outside of Chicago, Illinois, we provide specialized care for women and adolescent girls who are living with eating disorders, substance use disorders, and various mental health concerns. Our residential treatment and partial hospitalization programming (PHP) help our residents achieve lifelong recovery by combining clinically excellent treatment with spiritual and emotional growth. We provide care that is holistic, personalized, and nurturing, empowering women to be active participants in their wellness journeys.
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 2, 2020, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC
Published October 2, 2020, on EatingDisorderHope.com