A question I get a lot from people on Instagram and from people that contact me is “Why should I recover? What made you recover?
I’ll tell you a bit of my story, and how I came to accept recovery (if you want to read more of it, click on the ‘My Story’ tab at the top of the page). Once upon a time, long before I even accepted the fact I had an eating disorder, I told my mom that I hadn’t had my period (I didn’t know this was a result of being underweight). My mom took me to a doctor where I got diagnosed. I was forced into recovery, without even believing I was sick. This went on for YEARS, my friends, YEARS. I would lose weight, would gain some, then lose it all again. I ignored all the bad things my anorexia did to me.
For me, I only recently accepted recovery. In July of 2014 it finally hit me: I was miserable. I was on vacation and too afraid to spend time with any friends because there would be food involved. I was tired and depressed. I had seriously contemplated suicide until I got put on meds, but even then, I was numb. I could not walk past a mirror without seeing a disgusting, fat creature, and had no self-confidence. I spent all my time obsessing about food, exercise, and my grades. I fought with my mother daily and she cried all the time, yet I was void of emotion, not feeling sorry at all. I realized I was a monster, a walking shell of my old self.
Even if you don’t feel like that yet, trust me, that’s what an eating disorder turns you into. I realized I wanted to be happy. I wanted to maintain friendships, get married, go to college, and so much more I could do with an eating disorder. So please, choose recovery. Do it for yourself, for your future. Do it for those that love you and so that one day, you may love yourself too.
I made a list of things I can now do that I couldn’t experience and enjoy when I was in the depths of my eating disorder. I hope that it inspires you and makes you think twice about recovery.
• Social life
o Anorexia made me lose my best friend. I pushed her away. I didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere because I was afraid of the food that would be involved and I had no energy. Since I’ve started recovery and entered high school, I have made a new group of friends that have given me something to live for and that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
o School was always important to me, and though my grades never slipped while I was very underweight, I was threatened with inpatient treatment and health issues that were constant would have soon caused me to have to be pulled out of school. I had no hopes of going to university while I was so sick, something I dreamed about.
o I love little kids. However, if I kept my anorexia, I wouldn’t have any children of my own to cherish in the future. I lost my period for nearly three years which threatened my fertility and my hopes of having kids when I was older. I also hope to get married when the right person comes my way, but I wouldn’t be able to live a happily married life if I kept my eating disorder.
o Osteopenia, messed up bloods, chemical imbalances, and upset stomach were all health issues I had to deal with. I’m happy to say now that I have a clean bill of health and hopes for a longer, happier life.
o Thinning hair, blue fingernails, lifeless eyes, lanugo, tooth decay, dry skin, and protruding bones are not attractive. End of story.
o Not only am I able to enjoy things, I also have the energy and am healthy enough to do them. I can paint, draw, go horseback riding, cook, shop, run, walk, dance, sing, and spend time with the people I love and live my life to the fullest.
Recovery is not easy. Imagine facing your greatest fear five times a day for the rest of your life or else you die. Imagine losing your best friend, your identity, your only job and joy. Imagine feeling like everybody wants something for you that you don’t want for yourself. That’s what recovery is. And yet imagine being able to do all the things I listed above. Imagine a life relatively free of health issues and living a life with a purpose and with a positive outlook. That’s what recovery is.