Contributor: Juliet Golden, valued Eating Disorder Hope community member
It almost killed me.
It almost killed me when I, unknowingly and innocently, took my first steps into its territory.
It almost killed me when I first began to realise I was sick, and tried desperately to right things before it was too late.
It almost killed me as I sat in the emergency department of a big city hospital, sick and saddened and sore.
It almost killed me when I ran with cramps and stitches and injured feet, too frightened of missing even one form of exercise.
It almost killed me when I walked out of an appointment after finding out I was too sick to go on my school camp, and I threw rocks at a pile of dirt, over and over, until my arm ached and I collapsed into tears.
It almost killed me when my heart slowed down to barely beating, when I was dehydrated, when tube after tube after tube went down my nose, when I tore apart every relationship I had ever fostered, when I realised with shaky disbelief that every day might be my last because of this illness of my mind, when I almost overdosed, when I had to be sedated so that they could pump liquid into me, and when I binged and purged over and over again, till there was no fight left in me.
My Eating Disorder almost killed me.
But it didn’t.
Living Through Recovery Is My Greatest Achievement!
After months in hospital, months of recovering at home, months in a Day Program which changed my life and years of therapy, I am alive. This is my greatest achievement, because so many times, I could have given up, or my body could have given up for me. I’m glad that all the times I just wanted to leave, I hung on. Because the life that you earn through recovery is a million times better than anything you could have expected, or dreamt of, or imagined for yourself.
It’s eating macaroons with your friends at a local cafe, and sharing a family meal around the table. It’s going to the beach and playing cricket along the sand, and then having a barbeque at a park. It’s having the energy to smile, to rise out of bed with hope and determination, and make the day exactly what you want it to be. It’s being able to finish homework with a focused mind, and being able to sprint after your brother as you throw water balloons at each other.
It’s being able to jump on a bouncy castle and kiss your partner and stare up at the clouds and see patterns and shapes that aren’t food. It’s being able to take an interest in cooking, but not an obsession, and it’s being able to help others walk the path to recovery.
Working Through Recovery Strengthens Me
My recovery is still a work in progress but I have solid foundations and am building up the walls, and with regular, adequate eating, skills, communication and love, one day I will be placing a roof over my head and locking the door so my Eating Disorder can never step foot near me again.
I never thought I would be able to do all the things I do now. I thought I would spend the rest of my life in hospital, and I thought I would be okay with that. But through the help of my treatment team, family and friends (all relationships which have been strengthened ten-fold by recovery), I realise there is a world out there that is far greater than my Anorexia.
I’m about to head to the beach for three days with my friends to celebrate their completion of high school – I’d also be graduating this year, but being sick held me back.
I cannot assure you or promise you enough times that recovery’s worth it. It is by far the hardest thing I have ever poured sweat and tears and anger and fear and distress into, but you know what all those awful emotions churned out? A happiness that is slowly building itself up.
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 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.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 4, 2016
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com