Today was the Hartford NEDA Walk and although the walking part didn’t happen (due to heavy rain + wind + cold), it was extremely motivational to be with a crowd of so many survivors, fighters and supporters who have done so much in the fight against eating disorders.
It took me so long to finally say I had an eating disorder. It all started when I was 14 years old (9th grade) and I didn’t enter outpatient treatment until I was 23. This December marks my 3 year recovery birthday. A lot of people know about my disorder, except my mother and father. A lot of this has to do with the fact that my complicated relationship with my mom is a very big trigger for me. One day, I’ll tell her but it’s just not the time. Even without my mom and dad’s support, I’m lucky enough to have the most amazing person by my side who has seen my cry in front of a plate of food, who has seen me serve dinner and not eat it, who has seen me be afraid of eating at night, among other scenarios. I have amazing friends who have lifted me up in the darkest times. And, I had an amazing psychologist who respected me, allowed me to take recovery at my own pace and taught me how to eat and enjoy eating again.
After three years in recovery (I say recovery and not recovered because recovery is a life-long process) I am lucky, though I fight every day with my thoughts, I no longer buy laxatives, I no longer binge and then spend days agonizing about how to get those calories out of my system. However, not all are lucky to recover and be alive to tell the story.
Every day is an internal battle, every meal eaten is an accomplishment. Being hungry is a sign that I am alive and my body needs fuel. However, to this day, I cringe if someone makes a comment about my eating, looks at me while eating or touches my stomach..and that’s okay because I am able to recognize this and actively work on it. This is why I say that I’m in recovery. It’s a lifelong battle but one worth giving our all for.
I’m usually quiet about my eating disorder. I remember it took me YEARS to tell my husband (then boyfriend) and even then I don’t think I uttered the words but rather wrote it out. It’s scary. It’s horrifying. But, IT’S LIFE-SAVING. There is NO SHAME in battling an eating disorder.
Eating disorders do not discriminate. Eating disorders are not a trend, phase or choice. Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that hurt more than 30 million people combined + their friends & family.
I share my story not for attention, recognition or reinforcement! I share my story to let others know that it’s okay, recovery is possible and you are not and never will be alone in this battle.
Did you know eating disorders are the deadliest mental illness?
Did you know 10 million men and 20 million women will suffer from an eating disorder at some time in their lives?
If you or somebody you know is suffering from an eating disorder, please seek help immediately. NEDA has amazing resources, here are a few.
Thank you for reading.
This is not a sponsored post. Though I mention NEDA, it’s only because I believe in the power for their association and am thankful for all the education, inspiration and awareness they create.