(Technically I still have 2 days left. But since Tuesday’s are #TransformationTuesday’s, I’m sharing this today.)
One year ago, I made the conscious decision to expose a secret I was smothered by for nearly 4 years: Anorexia.
Since then my life has radically changed. I cannot even explain how hard the journey of recovery has been- especially the first 6 months. For me, it’s been harder to kick than a drug addiction or getting over a heartbreak. You consciously allow your body to put on weight- all the while you’re terrified. It’s the last thing in the world you want. I thought the weight gain would NEVER stop. I bawled a lot. Each day I had to choose to let go of control. I had to trust loved ones more than my own perceptions and thoughts.
I put on at least 30 pounds within the past year- BY EATING HEALTHY and still under-eating. I guess my body was actually starved.
This is a glimpse of what my ED journey has looked like:
2015- July: Before I even put effort into changing my diet, I had my first doctor’s appointment. It took a few weeks for me to believe that I actually had an eating disorder. I would ask my sister over and over again, “Are you sure?” “Do I really, like really, have an eating disorder?” I wore sweaters every day throughout the summer.
August: For the next 4 months, I’d wake up at nights drenched in sweat. I’d get up to change my clothes and get back to bed. My metabolism was starting to work again. My stomach was constantly upset as I reintroduced foods slowly into my diet. I gained weight steadily.
September: The battle in my mind was so strong. I came home from work one day and curled up into a ball on the living room floor. I felt like voices were screaming at me telling me, “It’s still not too late! You can take the control back! You don’t really have a problem. Go outside, run! You can still go back.” One day my sister came home as I was running around the block, thinking I would turn back to my ED ways. She reminded me why I chose to start this process and why I should keep going.
October: I got my period after having amenorrhea. Like a 12 year old, I was ecstatic. I even took a picture with a tampon. TMI? No such thing.
November 2015 -January 2016: This was probably the hardest time. I purely hated my body. I cried. I got angry at God. I hated myself for hating myself so dang much. My entire wardrobe needed to change. My sister bought me new clothes and convinced to me to give away the ones that were now “too small.” When I’d look in the mirror, my perception was not in line with reality. Total body dis-morphia. I constantly had meltdowns.
February 2016 : Mentally things began calming down just a little. I focused on school and just blogged.
March: I knew I was ready to reintroduce exercise. I was limited to 3 days a week- no more than 30 min of cardio each day. I got a gym membership and was somehow disciplined enough to stick to the plan! I made a new Facebook friend who became a little distraction from all my ED thoughts. (He is now my amassing boyfriend.)
[August 2015 – May 2016: Went to Dr. visits & had continuous therapy appointments.]
April-July : Needed constant reminders to eat more. I finally began feeling much better about myself. Exercise became enjoyable. Logically, I understood that eating well & exercising is all I can do for my body & whatever happens is not for me to control. I’ve been able to wear t-shirts & tanks. I haven’t been spending the entire summer wearing sweaters.
I have new priorities- honesty with God, myself, and the people around me. I’m focused on my education. I hope to become a therapist in an ED clinic. I enjoy fitness and am slowly becoming more comfortable with different foods. I value my family and friends. I actually have a boyfriend. Up till this year I could not do relationships. I was already in a relationship, one that I was faithful in- a relationship with a ruthless eating disorder. Yes, I still need reminders to eat more daily, but finally I’m healthy and learning to love myself.
As I’ve given ED up and told it to get out of my life, I have gained so much more. Speaking out about my journey has got me occasional criticism, but has also brought me much freedom. I have seen anorexia kill, and I still know many people with eating disorders/body issues. This stuff is real guys. Most people just don’t talk about it. It can look different for each person: overeating, under-eating, yo-yo dieting, horrible body image, obsession with muscle, etc. We as people don’t like to show weakness, we’d rather put on an act. Well I’m not into that stuff any longer, and am willing to admit that anorexia is a part of my life story. Like a scar, it’s healed, but will take just a little more time to completely disappear. One day it’ll all just be a memory.
I want to thank each person who has been on this journey with me. I am so, so, so, surprised I have made it this far. I’ve heard if you can make it through a year of recovery, you have a good chance of not going back. I could NOT do this without the support of loved ones. I seriously could not. It’s impossible to overcome eating disorders without love. I thank each person who had enough guts to confront me about my problem in a loving way. I thank all my coworkers for letting me cry when I needed to and for encouraging me along the way.
Boyfriend- Thank you for being so encouraging and kind 🙂
Alesya- You deserve more than a blog post. Of all people, I could not come this far without YOU. You’ve spent hours talking to me, calming me down, helping me take baby steps with new foods, etc. In fact, you are the reason I’m still alive. Kid trauma/drugs/partying/suicide moments/anorexia, etc. you’ve stuck by my side. You genuinely reveal to me the love of Christ.
And God- thanks for keeping me alive. Thanks for finally giving me the desire to live. You’re the best Dad ever.
I love being alive.