Today’s prompt gives me a chance to talk about something close to my heart. Eating Disorders. When I was in high school – the summer between my freshman & sophomore year – I was bulimic and anorexic. I know that there are a lot of people out there that don’t understand and I feel like there is a stigma around the common disease by those who don’t live with it, so I wanted to shed some light on what I wish people knew about them.
- Eating Disorders are a Mental Illness: When I was going through my own disorder, I was solely focused on losing weight – I really didn’t think that I had any additional issues that needed to be worked on. But early on in my recovery I learned that wanting to control your weight is a side effect of deep emotional issues. I really kept my depression at the time to myself, as I was worried that my family & friends would think I was doing this for attention. Eating disorders are extremely unsafe, and cause more physical harm than one would think, even after recovery, the physical side effects can last for months, years, and even be permanent.
- Eating Disorders are not a choice: I didn’t one day wake up and say “hey I am going to start not eating today”. It was a slow moving process that I didn’t even understand until I was already consumed by the disorder. I started with being anorexic (not eating at lunch and eat extremely small portions at home) and then because my stomach became so small anything that I did eat I would eventually throw it up because my body couldn’t handle it.
- Eating Disorders are not the same: Society doesn’t fairly cover the reality of eating disorders. It is extremely glamorized on television and in movies. There are multiple types of eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Bulimia Nervosa, as well as others that are not as common.
- Recovery is long & hard: I was admitted to the hospital at the lowest of lows during my eating disorder. But it was the first step in my recovery. To this day I can still remember my time in the hospital. The rules they had in place were really hard. You ate with a supervisor and had an hour to finish your meal – if you didn’t finish it in the time allowed, you had to have a meal replacement drink, and if you didn’t finish that in an hour they would give you another, it was a really viscous cycle that I never want to go through again. I was also sick during my stay – which wasn’t helpful for me at all because although I was trying to get better, I couldn’t keep my food down and I ended up being forced to have a feeding tube. They took my visitors away (everyone but my parents) which was so hard for me because having the love and support from family is one of the biggest factors in recovery – for me at least. But I got though it all because I WANTED to be better. I am not going to lie and say it’s easy, because it’s an uphill battle that you deal with every single day, but I can also say that it is so worth it and if I can do it so can you.
- Recovery isn’t the same for everyone: Just like eating disorders can differ by person, recovery processes do, too. There is no perfect way to recover, and just because you may recover at a different pace compared to someone else it doesn’t me you’re a failure.
I hope this topic wasn’t to much for you guys, but it is something that I feel more people should be aware of. I am so thankful for this challenge for it has allowed me to find a way to speak about a topic that I normally wouldn’t chose to write about.
Until Next Time,