A letter to myself before my eating disorder recovery
"Eating disorders had been in my life for the last ten years, and I did not want to see it take another year of mine."
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“It's all I think about. It wakes me up at 5 am every morning. I cannot see a way out of this mess.
Monday, a new day. A new week. Somehow, I am still here. My head says I shouldn’t be. It makes me feel horrible, guilty. Like I don’t deserve the air I breathe.
At least I have work today, a distraction. It means walking around for 6 hours, my head likes that. I lost more weight, when I stepped quietly onto the glass scales this morning. Every day, it gets lower, and I believe what it says less and less. It can’t be accurate. I am clearly fatter than that.
A small part of me says that it isn’t good. I can’t afford to lose anymore. A bigger part of me says I could easily lose more. It’s hard to fight back. I know losing more will not get me anywhere, but the only way I can maintain, is by exercising less, or eating more. And neither are an option.
If I don’t exercise, I simply eat less during the day. It has happened before.
A small part of me is screaming inside, terrified of what will happen at my appointment on Wednesday. What will he say to me? What will be the ultimatum? The stronger part of me doesn’t care.
She doesn’t care about me at all.”
I wrote this little extract a few months before I lost the ability to walk. I came home from being out all day, and I dragged myself up the stairs. The second my feet reached the top, I collapsed. I sobbed, I screamed and I was terrified. My legs literally would not carry me anymore. I was only 21.
It was summer of 2017, and I had to quit my job. I was housebound for several weeks, and that was only when I realized how serious it was. That anorexia had its grasp on me so tightly. I knew then, that it was either stay like this forever, and get progressively worse, or try and turn my life around.
Fast forward 10 months later, and here I am writing this. Not only can I walk without any issues, but I am in such a good place now. I can fully say that Anorexia is not a part of my life anymore. Yes, there are hard days, and times when I just want to hibernate, but I do not suffer in silence anymore. If something is wrong, I speak out, I go to therapy, I meditate. I do not use food to deal with life's ups and downs. The loud cruel voice that used to dictate every single thing I ate, what exercise I did and attacked my self esteem, is non-existent. For the most part, my head is silent.
I cannot tell you that one specific therapy, or creative outlet helped me turn my life around. It was a combination of several things, that has helped me get to where I am today. What I can tell you, is that it was my motivation/inner ambition that made this recovery successful. Previously, when trying to loosen Anorexia's grips, I did it for the sake of my family, or for being well enough to complete exams, to not be a burden on others around me. But one day, whilst lying in bed, a week before my 21st birthday I lay wide awake, thinking about how tough my life was, how much this illness had taken away from me, the fact that this could only end two ways, me in hospital fighting for my life, or getting better. Eating disorders had been in my life for the last ten years, and I did not want to see it take another year of mine.
No matter how much Anorexia had worn away at my self esteem, or the "real" me, there was still a part of me that told me to fight back. For once, I was angry and upset, at Anorexia, for how I had let it get this bad again. I had decided to put an end to the torture, and agony that I had been going through, and actually use the help that had been offered to me. It was from then that I decided I was actually worth this. I did deserve to be happy and healthy. Personally, I think that is the key to success when trying to fight an eating disorder, not doing it for anyone else, but yourself.
This can happen to you too. The suffering will not last forever, even though in this very moment, it may seem like it. Please reach out and get help. No one deserves the pain that comes along with any mental illness.
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